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 we’ll kick things off with a couple of looks back at the 2012 AAUP annual meeting in Chicago, courtesy of Raina Polivka and Mandy Clarke on the Indiana University Press blog. Both write interesting pieces on the most important things they took away from the meeting. Polivka found the “articulation of the current state of scholarly publishing and the challenges awaiting us” and the prevalent “spirit of collaboration” to be the most compelling parts of AAUP 2012. Clarke particularly enjoyed the panels on regional publishing and electronic marketing.

This week An Akronism, the blog of the University of Akron Press, takes a look at Peter Dougherty’s recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, “The Global University Press.” While An Akronism agrees with several of Dougherty’s key points, the blog post makes it clear that they feel other parts of the article “don’t seem to align with global realities.”

Hurricane Isaac is plowing through Louisiana seven years after Katrina caused so much devastation in New Orleans, and this week Beacon Broadside and From the Square (the NYU Press blog) are looking back at the aftermath of Katrina. Beacon Broadside has an interview with Tom Wooten on the neighborhoods in New Orleans that helped lead the recovery effort that helped to rebuild the city. From the Square has a guestpost from Jodi Narde, “a Tulane grad and Katrina ‘survivor,'” and an excerpt from Robert Bullard’s The Wrong Complexion for Protection.

Are we physically, psychologically, socially, and, perhaps most importantly, morally fit to live in the rapidly changing post-industrial world? In an article in the OUPblog (first published in Philosophy Now), Julian Savulescu and Ingmar Persson argue that our moral psychology, while well-adapted for the world that existed before the agricultural revolution, is poorly suited for life in today’s world. How can we remedy this problem? By looking into “moral bioenhancement.” It’s a fascinating piece, and it provides an interesting solution to a troubling set of problems.

With the presidential election looming, those intending to vote should be thinking deeply about which candidates they will choose. At the Princeton University Press Blog, Edward Burger has a five-step guide to thinking deeply about the election. Some surprises from the list: you need to take into account “how well the candidates fail” and how you yourself want to change/be changed through the voting process.

Last week, This Side of the Pond, the Cambridge University Press blog, featured an article on the contentious treason trial of Aaron Burr, written by R. Kent Newmyer. This week, Newmyer is back with a fascinating article on what Burr’s trial reveals about the dark side of Thomas Jefferson, one of the most beloved and oft-cited of the American Founding Fathers. It seems that Jefferson and Burr were an unfortunate President/Vice President combination, as Newmyer claims that “Burr brought out the worst in Jefferson and Jefferson brought out the worst in Burr.”

Bamiyan in Afghanistan is best known as the location of “the Buddhas of Bamiyan,” the huge stone scuptures destroyed by the Taliban in 2001. At the Harvard University Press Blog, Llewelyn Morgan reveals another interesting story about Bamiyan with a look back at the life of Julia Mulock, who lived in Afghanistan in the second half of the 19th century, and whose story Morgan readily admits “had become a minor obsession of mine as I wrote The Buddhas of Bamiyan.” Mulock was born in captivity in Afghanistan as the result of the British First Afghan War, and spent some of the first months of her life held in Bamiyan, near the great statues of the Buddha. It’s a great story that makes for a very interesting blog post.

Oscar Pistorius’s success in the Olympics is proof that prosthetic limb technology is highly functional. However, the MITPressLog (newly turned seven years old! Many happy returns!) has an excellent post asking why prosthetic limbs should stop at being merely functional. As athlete/actress/model Aimee Mullins says, [for her prosthetic limb] “I want off-the-chart glamorous!”

Ann Romney gave one of the most highly acclaimed speeches at this year’s Republican National Convention. At the University of Michigan Press blog, Sara Fitzgerald writes about one of the women who helped pave the way for Romney: Elly Peterson, the first woman to address the Republican National Convention in 1964. Coincidentally, Peterson was one of the most important Republican supporters of Mitt Romney’s father’s campaign for the Republican nomination that year.

At the UNC Press blog, Lara Putnam has a guestpost in which she discusses the immigrant family histories of the presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, as well as that of PBS political correspondent Gwen Ifill. It’s always surprising and fascinating to see how the families of even presidential candidates, ostensibly the most “American” of Americans, can be traced to other countries within very few generations.

Despite the popularity of the movie Glory, the “individual black experience in the Civil War has been underappreciated.” At the JHU Press blog, Ronald S. Coddington writes about his work to uncover rare photographs of black soldiers from the Civil War to publish in African American Faces of the Civil War. He discusses his research process in detail from readings on specific Civil War battles to PBS Antiques Roadshow to Ancestry.com.

At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Ashley Currier discusses LGBT activism in Africa. While many would likely echo her friends’ reaction to her work (“You mean, there is LGBT activism in Africa?”), she claims that LGBT activism “is quite vibrant in many African nations.” Currier believes that the Western news media helps to create the impression that there is no hope for queer Africans, but that in reality there are many pro-LGBT activists who aren’t widely discussed, partly because invisibility is often a politically effective option.

We’ll wrap things up this week with a guest post by Susan Kang on the Penn Press log that gives a reminder of the actual roots of Labor Day: the labor movement. Kang argues that, while many are claiming that collective bargaining is failing, citing the recent events in Wisconsin, the labor movement is crucial to the success of the American and worldwide economies.

As always, we really appreciate you reading! Please leave any comments, questions, or suggestions in the comments section below. Have a great Labor Day Weekend!

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