University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles from the blogs of academic publishers! Even though it was a short week for many publishers with Columbus Day on Monday and even though many lucky publishing folks are currently over in Frankfurt, there were still a lot of excellent posts on publishing blogs. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

Speaking of Columbus Day, on Monday, Beacon Broadside ran a post in support of Indigenous Peoples Day, a “reimagination of Columbus Day that ‘changes a celebration of colonialism into an opportunity to reveal historical truths about the genocide and oppression of indigenous peoples in the Americas, to organize against current injustices, and to celebrate indigenous resistance.'” In honor of the occasion, they featured an interview with Kim E. Nielsen on disability in American Indigenous cultures.

Last night was the first debate between Vice-Presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, and while there weren’t yet posts breaking down this debate while we were looking through the blogs, the debates and the election generally have generated a number of good posts. For those debate watchers who need to brush up on what it is that Vice Presidents actually do, at the Yale Press Log, Joshua M. Glasser has a guest post in which he discusses the changing, oft-overlooked role of the Vice Presidency in American politics.

The debate last night was touted as particularly important after the first Presidential debate, which took place last week. While Mitt Romney is widely seen as the victor in that debate, Andrew J. Polsky, analyzing the Obama-Romney debate at the OUPblog, claims that “the clear winner was the news media. No one likes a one-sided presidential campaign, and that was the direction of the contest over several weeks prior to the debate.” Polsky goes on to ask whether Romney’s “comeback story” is real or a media fabrication.

In the Princeton University Press Blog’s Election 101 series, Rasmus Kleis Neilsen takes Polsky’s point to the next level, asking whether Romney’s “ground war” campaign of personal communication can win him the election. Nielsen claims that, despite Romney’s debate showing, “Barack Obama is ahead in the polls in every swing state, and the Romney campaign will have to pull off a major upset to win in November.” After the Obama “ground war” soundly beat the McCain campaign in 2008, Nielsen believes that Romney has his work cut out for him if he is to win the Presidency.

The MITPressLog continued its Election Tuesday series this week with a guestpost from Mark Earls, who discusses “social learning” and its relevance to the upcoming elections. He notes the strange contradictions involved in our image of voting as a personal, private choice and our ideas of the political process as social process, complete with parties, rallies, and issues supported by large groups of people.

While the Presidential election is getting most of the media coverage, Amy Stone, in her guest post at the University of Minnesota Press Blog, reminds us that there are potentially historic elections taking place at the state level in November as well. In particular, Stone focuses on the elections with implications for same-sex marriage. Four states will be voting on same-sex marriage, and Washington, Maine, and Maryland will decide whether to legalize same-sex marriage.

Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case with huge ramifications for the legality of affirmative action. At the JHU Press Blog, Dennis Deslippe claims that it “seems likely that the justices will invalidate affirmative action at the nation’s colleges and universities” and wonders whether class-based affirmative action will successfully gain support.

The Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press featured the art of Laura Letinsky in a post this week. Here’s how Letinsky explains her art’s attempt to show intimate moments:

“it’s about the relationship between privacy and particularity. At first I had a sense of being a scientist or an explorer going into people’s private space. Then I wondered whether it was a private space, since its conventionality works against that. Not only in love’s promise, but in the singularity of the spaces, the sheets, the pajamas, the coffee cups. These details evaded the generic and particularized the couples. I became interested in the desire to be normal, and how people tried to live that dream out. And I saw how people could never quite do this, and yet still tried.”

Rafe Sagarin begins his latest post at Island Press Field Notes on the importance of predators in ecosystems with a universal truism: “Everyone knows that sea otters are adorable.” From this indisputable statement, though, Sagarin pushes on into more scientific territory, discussing how otters are key contributors to “kelp-based carbon storage.” Restoring otters to their historical range, Sagarin claims, would have a significant effect on the local atmosphere.

Finally, we’ll end this week’s Roundup with a fascinating post by Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey at the UNC Press Blog on the role (or lack thereof) of images of Jesus in the American Revolution. They point out that what little iconography Americans had in there homes was generally portraiture of George Washington rather than images of Christ. It was not until the 19th century, claim Blum and Harvey, that images of Jesus began to appear commonly throughout America.

That’s it for this week! We hope you enjoyed the links as much as we enjoyed finding them. Please let us know what you think in the comments. Have a great weekend!

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