It’s time again for our weekly roundup of the best articles from the academic publishing blogosphere! We found a great variety of fascinating posts this week. Enjoy! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.
The History Channel has created a lot of buzz this week with their miniseries “Hatfields & McCoys.” The show is based on a book published in the 1980s by the University Press of Kentucky, who have run posts reflecting on the experience of having a backlist title suddenly become a bestseller and discussing violence and American tastes. Meanwhile, UNC Press, who also have a Hatfields/McCoys book, ran a blog post discussing what actually caused the famous feud.
Doc Watson, one of the most famous, well-respected, and influential American folk musicians, passed away earlier this week. The OUPblog has an excerpt from an obituary originally published in the Guardian by Tony Russell that looks back over Watson’s illustrious career.
The OUPblog also has a great review of/essay on Toni Morrison’s new novel Home by Mary Dudziak. Dudziak looks at protagonist Frank Money’s inability to escape from the effects of war even after he has returned back home, as well as Frank’s startling admonitions of the author herself.
Summer is fast approaching, and the Yale Press Log offers an excerpt from “A Rich Spot of Earth” that discusses how summer greens were served in Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. “[L]ettuce’s usual destination was the salad bowl, sometimes mixed with a bouquet of greens including spinach, orach, corn salad, endive, pepper grass, French sorrel, and sprouts.”
June 5, 2012 will be a historic occasion: “Venus will venture across the face of the Sun in a spectacle that will not be seen again for over a hundred years,” according to the Princeton University Press Blog. In a great guest post, Eli Maor discusses the history of Venus in astronomy, and in a subsequent post, Princeton shows a photo taken by Maor precisely one week before June 5.
Over at the Harvard University Press Blog, Roger Owen has a guest post reflecting on the political systems of “Arab presidents for life” that have been falling apart over the past few years, with a special focus on the changing circumstances in Syria.
On Wednesday, Beacon Broadside ran Carl Elliot’s interview (that originally appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Brainstorm blog) of Adriane Fugh-Berman, the director of the Pharmed Out conference, which will be taking place in June. Elliott and Fugh-Berman dig into questions of Big Pharma, the importance of activism, and the difficulty of keeping a conference running.
Marriage rights and citizenship are both hot topics these days, and, at the Penn Press Log, political scientist Priscilla Yamin writes about the history of the fluid institution of marriage and asks whether marriage status should really determine various human rights.
May 31 would have been German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 67th birthday, and in honor of the occasion, The Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press has an excerpt from an essay by Jonathan Rosenbaum on Martha, one of Fassbinder’s famous films. Unsure whether Fassbinder was an interesting figure? Rosenbaum claims that the German director “improbably evoked both John Belushi and Andy Warhol.”
The LSU Press Blog has been running a fascinating series of posts taking original looks at the history of the Civil War for quite some time now, and their latest guest post, by Aaron Astor, is another winner. Astor looks at the Civil War as a “battle of thirds: North, Middle, and South” rather than as a simple ideological struggle.
We will wrap up this week with a guest post on From the Square, the blog of our Manhattan neighbors: NYU Press. In this post, which originally appeared in Contexts, Julia A. Ericksen discusses the “ways bodily perfection has become an important part of [professional Latin] dancers’ identities.”