University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! We’ve got a selection of excellent snowstorm reading this week. 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 things off this week with a list of “Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Rosa Parks,” compiled by Jeanne Theoharis at Beacon Broadside on Monday in honor of Parks’ 100th birthday. Some highlights: “Parks had been thrown off the bus a decade earlier by the same bus driver,” “The Parks family had to leave Montgomery eight months after the boycott ended,” and “Parks was far more radical than has been understood.”

At the Harvard University Press Blog, John Burt has a two-part post series, the first of which was published Thursday, on President Obama’s second inaugural address, which “deserves far greater consideration than afforded by the swift turn to business [following the inauguration].” Hurt emphasizes Obama’s references to Lincoln and Lincoln’s sense of “what American nationality is.”

The controversial but critically acclaimed movie Zero Dark Thirty received a mix of plaudits and criticism for its depiction of torture in “history’s greatest manhunt for the world’s most dangerous man,” Osama Bin Laden. At the Texas A&M Press blog, William Clark Latham Jr. takes a look at torture through a different lens: the story of “torture American soldiers suffered at the hands of North Korean allies.”

The debate over the place of gun rights in modern American society has raged since the tragic shootings at Newtown, Connecticut, and at the JHU Press Blog, John A. Rich asks why Americans see the need to own weapons, and argues that understanding the roots of the problem of gun violence in America is crucial to finding a solution. His questions lead to more questions: “what can we do to make all of us feel safer, especially those who are most likely to be victims?”

Happy birthday, University of Georgia Press! On Monday, UG Press announced the celebration of their 75th year of publishing scholarship and literature. Congrats!

“A lot of professional pride goes into every project. Yet for all our diligence, caring, and commitment, errors are inevitable.” In an honest and heartfelt post at the AMACOM Books Blog, Senior Editor Bob Nirkind discusses errors in books from the point of view of the publisher. He talks about the difference between typos and factual errors, and how factual errors can lead to productive discussions with passionate people.

There’s been a growing emphasis at the MLA annual meeting (and elsewhere) on the digital humanities (DH), field that’s hard to define, but that “includes scholars who employ computational methods to study traditional evidence like literary texts, historical data, and cultural artifacts, and those who use humanistic methods to understand digital media and culture. This work results not only in print and digital books or journals, but also in databases, digital archives, online maps, complex visualizations, and more.” At From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Monica McCormick has a post discussing DH and the various panels on DH at the MLA meeting this year.

Over the last few years, growing concerns about injury, and in particular, growing concerns about concussions and other head trauma injuries, have necessitated a number of rule changes in major college and professional football leagues. At the OUPblog, Anthony Scioli argues that football, at least in its current incarnation, cannot last (and quotes Cicero on the dangers of gladiatorial conflict in proving his point).

Injuries, of course, are not the only problem that major college sports face. This week the University of Illinois Press blog has an interview with Albert Figone, a professor emeritus and former head football and baseball coach at Humboldt State University, discusses the history of game fixing scandals and other gambling-related problems in college sports.

At Fordham Impressions, the blog of Fordham University Press, Timothy J. Orr has a post on a fascinating Civil War story he unearthed in the summer of 2006 concerning the politics behind military promotions. “In 1862, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general had to answer a hefty stack of letters about [Lieutenant Colonel Gustavus] Town’s promotion to colonel. As I read the ill-toned epistles, the reason for the controversy became obvious. A cluster of Union generals, all of them well-known Democrats, wanted to deny Town—a Republican—his promotion to colonel. Meanwhile, state politicians—all Republicans—insisted upon Town’s elevation.”

Last November, the UN General Assembly acknowledged Palestine’s status as a state. At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambridge University Press, John Quigley has a guest post looking at what this new development means for the situation in Israel, and looking back at the Six-Day War in 1967.

And finally, we’ll wrap things up with a look back at the double life of George Cukor in a Q&A with Patrick McGilligan on the University of Minnesota Press Blog. Cukor was a famous “Golden Age” Hollywood director, and McGilligan claims that Cukor’s life and, in particular, his sexual orientation and the prejudices he had to face because of it, teach us lessons about the time period, but also about how people deserve to be treated.

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, and stay warm this weekend!

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