University Press Roundup

Happy Friday! Time for our weekly roundup of the best articles from the academic publishing blogosphere. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

New York City features prominently in a couple great posts this week, so we can’t help but kick things off this week by showcasing them. (We apologize for the blatant homerism.)

First, the OUP blog has a fascinating guest post by Franklin E. Zimring in which he discusses the huge drop in street crime in NYC over the past two decades. Some of the numbers are staggering: “the risk of being robbed [by 2009] was less than one sixth of its 1990 level, and the risk of car theft had declined to one sixteenth.” Zimring’s explanation of this drop in crime is completely engrossing.

Next, the University of Illinois Press blog featured a Q&A with Julie Gallagher, author of the forthcoming book Black Women & Politics in New York City. Gallagher claims that the growing number of African American women on the ticket in political elections in NYC in the middle of the twentieth century “portends the national political dynamics, especially after 1960.”

Elinor Ostrom, the first and only woman awarded the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, passed away this week. Both The MIT Presslog and the Princeton University Press Blog ran pieces remembering Ostrom, her work in economics, and her importance as a public intellectual.

The MLA has recently come under fire for insisting that doctoral programs in English should include “advanced competence in at least one language other than English.” At the UNC Press Blog, Patrick Erben defends the MLA’s announcement, and puts forward the idea that promoting multilingual sensibilities has positive effects on communities.

While developments in the Egyptian politics are no longer making front page headlines in America, the situation in the lead up to the Egyptian first presidential elections since former President Hosni Mubarak stepped down is tense and fluid. And, as the Stanford University Press Blog shows in a recent post, however one looks at things, “the conclusion is a bit of a downer: no matter what happens this weekend, there’s not going to be a dramatic change from authoritarianism to democracy in Egypt. In other words, don’t hold your breath for a radical shift to democracy.”

The Chicago Blog from the University of Chicago Press ran an excerpt from Andrew Pickering’s The Cybernetic Brain in which he discusses Gregory Bateson, “the Kuhn-ian impresario behind systems-theory-based cybernetics,” and the ways that Bateson found similarities between Zen Buddhism and western psychiatry. Naturally, the post ends with a song by Captain Beefheart.

Teachers are being judged more and more frequently by “value-added reports,” calculated using test scores and complex statistical models. At Voices in Education, the blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Hilary Dauffenbach-Tabb questions our reliance on such reports, claiming that they “rely on inaccurate or incomplete data and have wide margins of error” and, as such, need to be used more responsibly. However, she does see and elaborate on other ways to use data more effectively to help schools.

Moving from primary to higher education, North Philly Notes, the Temple University Press blog, ran an article by James Saslow (originally published in Academe) in which he discusses how universities increasingly look and behave more like corporations than institutes of learning.

Atlanta megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar Jr. was arrested last week after he “allegedly punched and choked his 15-year-old daughter for defiantly attending a party.” At From the Square, the NYU Press Blog, Justin Wilford argues that it is important to view Dollar’s arrest as separate from other scandals involving megachurch pastors, since Dollar’s actions were actually in line with what he preaches week in and week out.

We absolutely love posts detailing the methods and art of translation, and there were a couple of really fascinating translation posts this week.

The University of Minnesota Press featured a post by Takayuki Tatsumi on Japanese speculative and science fiction. Tatsumi examines the complex and creative world of science fiction publishing in Japan, while also talking about the difficulty of bringing Japanese sci fi authors to the attention of the English-speaking world.

Meanwhile, Yale University Press has an article by Margaret Sayers Peden, who has translated La Celestina, one of the first European novels ever written. She discusses how she became a translator and how different it is to translate living authors and authors who are with us only through their writing.

At one point in Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic novel Are You My Mother?, Bechdel depicts herself reading Adam Phillips’ On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored, a Harvard University Press title. Naturally, the folks at the HUP Blog ran a post detailing Bechdel’s relationship with the text and excerpting the part of Phillips’ book that Bechdel found so intriguing.

Time to switch from literature to films about literature: the University Press of Kentucky’s blog ran a post on David Cronenberg’s philosophy as a lead up to Cronenberg’s adaptation of DeLillo’s Cosmopolis. The post includes a video of Cronenberg discussing his filmmaking techniques.

Finally, we wrap things up this week with Beacon Broadside’s Fathers’ Day post by Jeremy Adam Smith on the changing roles of the father in modern life and the ways that policy-makers need to support new conceptions of “Dad.” Smith claims that the way we talk about families is of crucial importance: “We also need to shift the language we use to discuss work-family issues in a more inclusive direction, so that it includes fathers as well as mothers. That language should stress resilience and meaning to men instead of the language of equality that has mobilized women.”

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