University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

We’ll open things up this week with a big congrats to our NYC neighbors Fordham University Press! As they announced on their blog, they’ve just launched their totally redesigned redesigned website. It looks great!

On a sadder note, on Wednesday the UNC Blog ran a guestpost by Douglas M. Orr reflecting on the life of William Friday, a hugely influential part of the higher education system in North Carolina and an advocate for public education around the country, who passed away last week.

The presidential election is now less than three weeks away, and many of the UP blogs we cover for the UP Roundup are doing an excellent job of giving in-depth analysis of the campaign. This week, we’ll start our politics section of posts with an examination of how the two candidates are defined in the public mind from the Harvard University Press Blog. A fascinating observation: while Obama seems to be consistently defined by his “first African American president” status, some 40% of Americans this summer were unaware that Mitt Romney is Mormon.

Both campaigns (and the associated PACs and Super PACs) are stepping up the political ads as the election draws closer. At the Princeton University Press Blog, a guest post by John McGinnis in PUP’s Election 101 series asks an important question: are campaign ads worth the exorbitant costs campaigns pay to create and air them? While McGinnis acknowledges the common complaint that there is too much money in politics, he believes that ads ARE an important part of the political process in that they are a way to “break through a cacophony of nonpolitical information” and reach viewers with policy information.

Tuesday’s town hall debate between President Obama and Governor Romney was widely seen as a victory for Obama, reversing the outcome of the first debate. However, at From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Scott Melzer argues that the big winner of Tuesday’s showdown was neither Obama nor Romney. Instead, Melzer claims that the greatest beneficiary of the debate was the National Rifle Association, due to the discussion of gun rights that took place in the debate.

While most of the election discussion is focusing on the Democratic and Republican candidates for President, this week North Philly Notes ran an interview with Judge James P. Gray, the running mate of Gary Johnson, the Libertarian party presidential candidate. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Judge Gray has little good to say about either major party candidate: “President Obama and Senator Romney are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on TV ads, and not talking about their records – because they can’t – nor about their ideas – because they almost literally don’t have any – but instead spending all this money showing how inept the other one is – and we agree with both of them!”

This October marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, one of the most-discussed and least-agreed-about occurrences of the Cold War. At the Princeton University Press Blog, David Gibson takes a look at the standard interpretation of JFK’s actions during the crisis and comes to some startling conclusions. Meanwhile, the Stanford University Press Blog has started a sequence of excerpts from The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory that tell the story of the crisis as if in real time, starting from Day 1, October 16, 1962.

Recently, Jennifer Howard wrote a post for the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Ditch the Monograph” that provoked a good deal of discussion around the publishing world. Should scholars give up on the long-form monograph and embrace the short-form ebook as the best way to deliver scholarship? On Tuesday, the Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press ran a meditation on the questions raised by Howard’s article.

The recent racially/religiously-motivated mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin raised important questions for scholarly disciplines like Asian American studies for Min Hyoung Song, editor of the Journal of Asian American Studies, in a guest post at the JHU Press Blog. “How do we as scholars best intervene in a social context that has acted as a kind of condition of possibility for this kind of violence[?]”

American social contexts are also the topic of discussion for Anatol Lieven in a guest post at the OUPblog in which he discusses how American nationalism is informed by chauvinism and idealism. Lieven discusses the constantly changing “American attitudes to race” and discusses how “America’s magnificent ‘self-correction mechanism,’ the power of its democratic values and institutions has repeatedly brought the country back to democratic stability and tolerance after episode of chauvinist hysteria like McCarthyism.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a fascinating, in-depth conversation about Italian filmmaker Antonioni from the University of Minnesota Press Blog. Scholars Karl Schoonover and John David Rhodes discuss how Antonioni’s cinema sought to “produce counter-narratives against globalization and neoliberalism” and how his films continue to inform filmmakers today.

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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