University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

This week, the fast food chain Chik-fil-A has been at the center of the gay marriage debate because of CFA president Dan Cathy’s public opposition to same-sex marriage. At Beacon Broadside, Fran Hawthorne puts the liberal boycott of and conservative support for Chik-fil-A in the context of other instances of people shopping according to their ethical values.

The MIT PressLog has a guest post this week from Joseph Bock in which he discusses the role that technology can play in preventing bloodshed. Bock writes about his time in Beirut, Lebanon attempting to create an early warning/response system that would help prevent widespread outbreaks of violence by helping to defuse minor local incidents. Bock believes that social media networks (in the hands of committed and passionate groups of people) can help to reduce violence all around the world.

Venice has long been famous for it’s glass making. At This Side of the Pond, the Cambridge University Press blog, Joanne M. Ferraro has a post tracing the origins of the Venetian glass-making tradition, explaining why the island of Murano became the home of the city’s glass makers, and showing examples of some of the beautiful pieces of art that Murano produces.

Recently in the NYT Sunday Review, Andrew Hacker called for math education to cut some types of math education (notably algebra) from the standard education curriculum. The Harvard University Press blog agrees that math education in America is indeed troubled, but they offer the ideas of mathematician Paul Lockhart as an alternative. Lockhart advocates teaching mathematics with an emphasis on the creative beauty of numbers rather than eliminating the study of mathematics altogether.

From the Square, the NYU Press blog, ran a guest post this week from Kyla Wazana Tompkins in which she puts herself firmly in opposition to the “foodie” movement: “I am so tired of Food, with a capital ‘f.'” A confessed former foodie, Tompkins can’t shake the feeling that the foodie movement is a reflection of greediness in modern society.

The OUPblog has run a couple of fascinating posts on how the furor around Obamacare reflects the state of modern politics (with a heavy dose of Pericles and Athenian direct democracy thrown in for good measure). First, Paul Woodruff has an article about how “[t]he mess in and around Obamacare” shows how republican democracy in the US encourages petty party politics that ultimately endanger our well-being as individuals and as a country. However, while Matthew Flinders agrees that “[p]olitics is messy,” he also believes that Obamacare is a good example of a pragmatic solution to a difficult and divisive problem, and a good example of why American democracy works.

Ryan Crocker, described by the NYTimes as “the American diplomat most associated with the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan” is leaving his post in Kabul as ambassador to Afghanistan. At the UNC Press Blog, Michael H. Hunt gives his thoughts on Crocker’s departure and final interview with the NYTimes. He feels that “Crocker’s comments are more interesting for their omissions than for their self-evident insights.”

“Suspicion of human sexuality and the pleasure associated with its use has a long history in the Catholic tradition,” write Todd A. Salzman and Michael G. Lawler in the first half of a two-part guestpost on the Georgetown University Press Blog. In these two post, Salzman and Lawler ambitiously set out to propose “a renewed Catholic understanding of the sexual person.”

Despite lacking many superficial similarities, music and environmentalism have a long history of interaction and mutual support. At North Philly Notes, the Temple University Press blog, Mark Pedelty writes about the history of popular music’s relation to ecological crises. While he sees both reasons for optimism and problems in this relationship at the global level, he expresses more concern for the development of closer connections between local musicians and environmental matters.

At Island Press Field Notes, Charles C. Chester writes about the fate of animals in the face of climate change, paying special attention to the fate of the wolverine. The wolverine uses snow to help preserve its food stores in order to survive through lean months early in the year. With climate change threatening precipitation patterns, Chester wonders whether wolverines could survive without their “refrigerators.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with the latest of Matt Pardue’s series of posts on webcomics at the University Press of North Georgia blog. This week the webcomic up for discussion is Unsounded, a semi-horror comic featuring the relationship between a young girl in need of a father figure and her zombie companion.

That’s it for this week. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading. Thanks!

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