University Press Roundup

Welcome back from the holiday break, and welcome back 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 kick off the new year with a couple of fascinating and thought-provoking posts from the University of Minnesota Press Blog. First, they have the discussion delivered by UMP director Doug Armato at a MLA 2013 roundtable on serial scholarship and the future role of scholarly publishing in scholarly communication. The UMP blog also has an article by Kathleen Nolan on what really happens when police have an increased presence at schools.

Racism in European soccer is an ongoing problem, especially among fans. The recent incident involving AC Milan player Kevin-Prince Boateng has brought the issue back into the public eye over the last couple of weeks. North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, is running a blog post from Andy Markovits addressing the responsibility of fans in fixing the racial issues plaguing big-league European soccer.

At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Charles Tripp offers an explanation of various resistance movements in the Middle East over the last few years. He finds particularly interesting (and darkly humorous) the similarity of responses to resistance coming from the resisted, those in power.

“Granted, everyone hates the idea of jury duty.” At From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Pete Hahn offers a personal anecdote about and an argument for why jury duty really does matter. As he explains, “The wheels of justice move slowly. Really slowly. And this may be why jury duty gets such a bad rap…. But all of this is on purpose. You need to go slowly to establish the facts. You need to go slowly to give everyone a chance to testify, even if it seems like they are telling the same story as the previous witness. You need to go slowly to avoid reaching hasty conclusions.”

Richard Nixon would have been 100 years old this Wednesday. Taking this chance to look back at one of our most complicated and infamous political figures, the Harvard University Press has an excerpt from No Right Turn: Conservative Politics in a Liberal America detailing “how Nixon won the allegiance of conservative power-brokers without actually delivering the reforms they sought. (Spoiler: Portnoy takes the fall.)”

There are many unsolved mysteries about the nature of the universe, and about humankind’s place in it. This week, the OUPblog and guest poster Jason Rosenhouse take a shot at answering one of these mysteries: What, exactly do mathematicians do? Rosenhouse comes up with an unusual but interesting answer to that question: “You see, more than anything else, to be a mathematician is to be part of a community. Whatever else it is, mathematics is a social activity undertaken by human beings to further human goals and purposes.”

On a somewhat similar note, Rafe Sagarin over at Island Press Field Notes has a post delving into one of the most important and universal aspects of what scientists do: attempt to face their own biases. He quotes a caution from Ed Ricketts: “When a person asks, “Why?” in a given situation, he usually deeply expects, and in any case receives, only a relational answer in place of the definitive “because” which he thinks he wants.”

At the UNC Press blog, Fiona Deans Halloran has a fascinating guest post about the ways that famous political cartoonist Thomas Nast (two of his most famous creations are the depictions of Democrats as donkeys and Republicans as elephants) transcended and broadened common conceptions of literacy. While many people (notable among them, Boss Tweed) claimed that Nast’s effectiveness came from the fact that those who couldn’t read could still understand his cartoons, Halloran points out that Nast’s work was deeply literary, and used images and language from Shakespeare’s plays, in particular.

Finally, we’ll wrap this Roundup up with a couple of posts on the art of making a book from a collection of letters. First, from the UVA Press blog, Alan G. James discusses the process of turning the letters between Henry James and British Field Marshal Lord Wolseley and his wife, Lady Wolseley into The Master, the Modern Major General, and His Clever Wife: Henry James’s Letters to Field Marshal Lord Wolseley and Lady Wolseley, 1878–1913. And then, at the JHU Press Blog, Jonathan F. S. Post discusses how one “selects” letters for a book called The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht. “The tricky adjective “Selected” in a book’s title usually means something different to readers than editors, more often taken by readers in the concessional sense (as in “not complete”), whereas editors are more alert to the problem of plenitude and the competition it instills.”

Well, that will do it for this week! We hope that you enjoyed this edition of our UP Roundup. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!

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