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 start things off this week with a powerful article in defense of the reading of Miranda rights, even in cases like the Boston bombing, by David A. Harris at From the Square, the NYU Press Blog. Harris worries that “the administration seemed to be telling the public that Miranda warnings are just petty rules—another instance of hyper-technical laws that get in the way of real justice. This is dead wrong, and it shows grave disrespect for the rule of law and the Constitution—the very things that make our country great.”

Monday was Earth Day, and the OUPblog had a great series of posts in honor of the occasion. We’ll highlight one in particular: a post by Michael Allaby looking back at the history of Earth Day and our ongoing failure to reconcile the “conflict between environmental protection and the need for economic development.” (Also, they have a post listing eleven facts about penguins.)

In 1942, there were only fifteen whooping cranes left in the wild. Thanks to the work of ornithologist Robert Porter Allen, that number has grown to nearly six hundred. At The Florida Bookshelf, the blog of the University Press of Florida, however, Kathleen Kaska argues that the whooping cranes are hardly out of danger of extinction, and breaks down some of the current day challenges the species faces.

The Common Core curriculum emphasizes “informational readings” in primary education. At Beacon Broadside, the blog of Beacon Press, David Chura argues that this emphasis on informational readings over books deprives students of an incredibly valuable part of education. “[I]t makes me sad to see the education of the heart—the real core of any worthwhile English curriculum—gutted for the sake of global competition, and to see teachers once again take the hit for “dummied down” education.”

Historians have recently made the case that a form of linen armor, the linothorax, was a popular and influential type of military protection in ancient Greece from the time of Homer until well after the death of Alexander the Great. At the JHU Press Blog, one of these historians, Alicia Aldrete, tells the story of how she and her husband unraveled the mystery of the linothorax, complete with accounts of “large groups of weapon-wielding students in our yard, [with] my husband, Gregory Aldrete, shooting arrows at them” and of discoveries that sidetracked their research, like the fact “that linen stiffened with rabbit glue strikes dogs as in irresistibly tasty rabbit-flavored chew toy, and that our Labrador retriever should not be left alone with our research project.”

Liah Greenfeld believes that solely biological and genetic explanations for human behaviors are “a new bubble,” particular in regards to explanations of mental illness. Instead, as explained in a post at the Harvard University Press blog, she believes that “the phenomenon that was for a long time called simply “madness”—today’s schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression—is actually a symptom of modernity, an effect of our cultural environment.”

In 1913, the Woodrow Wilson administration led a drive to segregate the federal government. At the UNC Press Blog, Eric S. Yellin argues that this 1913 drive was a “pivotal episode in the age of progressive politics” and looks at the ramifications over the course of the past century of the “introduction of Jim Crow discrimination in government offices.”

At This Side of the Pond, the blog of Cambidge University Press, David Stahel asks and answers one of the most important questions any scholar should ask herself or himself before starting a research project: “Why bother?” For Stahel, while a great deal has been written about the Second World War in general, and its Western Front in particular, “[o]ne of the exciting things about researching Germany’s war in the east between 1941 and 1945 is that the field is still at such an early stage of its development with many more questions than answers.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post from the University of Minnesota Press Blog by Aaron Shapiro about the development of the North Woods in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan as a tourist destination. In his post, Shapiro urges us to consider the fact that for any tourist destination, and particularly in the North Woods, “work and leisure have proven inseparable from nature.”

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

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