University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles 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 the Roundup off this week with an excellent article at the University of Wisconsin Press Blog by UWP Editorial Director Gwen Walker. In her post, Walker describes ways that scholars can help the editors at academic presses “discover” their work. She points out the crucial role of conferences and conference papers in the academic book business, argues that professors need a robust faculty page, and gives helpful advice on what to do when an editor expresses interest in a project.

The JHU Press Blog has been running a series on the constantly rising cost of higher education, and, in the most recent post, John V. Lombardi argues that the popular narrative of “college as an out-of-control expense machine” is not backed up by a close examination of data. Instead, he ties the rising costs to changes in the sources of funding for public higher education. “Government, from Washington to the state houses across the country, want to shift the conversation to the campuses and demand that they provide a cheaper education that does not require as much expenditure of either public money or personal income.”

“Who owns a country?” With the debates over the fate of Crimea dominating the media over the past few weeks, Cecil Foster, writing at the McGill-Queen’s University Press blog, believes that this is a perfect moment to discuss a question that rarely gets airtime, even though “[i]t is a question that is never far below the surface in any discussion, among others, about Quebec, Scotland, Catalonia, Sri Lanka, England, Germany….” He argues that consideration of this question should lead us to what he calls “Genuine Multiculturalism,” which will create space for true democracy.

The idea that music is expressive, and, more specifically, expressive of emotions, has been a popularly held belief for some time. But what does it mean when we say that music is expressive? At the OUPblog, Dorottya Fabian, Renee Timmers, and Emery Schubert look at this question, examining how psychologists, musicians, and philosophers have attempted to answer it since “the pioneering work of Carl Seashore in the 1930s” to more recent research.

Dostoevskii’s character Ivan Karamazov is one of the most iconic figures in world literature, and at fifteeneightyfour, R. E. Batchelor argues that Albert Camus found Ivan and the other characters of The Brothers Karamazov to be “a powerful and vital source of inspiration.” He claims that “it can be safely asserted that no French writer has dwelt so lengthily upon the novels of Dostoevskii or pondered their significance as Camus,” and draws a convincing parallel between the scene of Philippe Othon’s death in The Plague and Ivan’s comments to Alyosha on the unjust torture of children in The Brothers K.

French filmmaker Alain Resnais passed away at the beginning of March, and, at the Duke University Press blog, Carol Mavor has a guest post looking back at Resnais’s interesting life and important career. In particular, she discusses his film Hiroshima mon amour, “a devastatingly beautiful film of skin, pleasure, pain and never forgetting.”

On March 24, 1989, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Alaska, dumping millions of gallons of crude oil into Prince William Sound in one of the worst oil spills in history. Eva Saulitis was researching orcas in the Sound at the time, and, to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the spill, she tells the story in a powerful guest post at Beacon Broadside.

From one Alaskan disaster to another: fifty years ago, on March 27, 1964, the largest earthquake ever recorded in North America (known as the “Good Friday Earthquake”) created a tsunami that devastated the Pacific coast from Alaska to California. At the OSU Press blog, Bonnie Henderson looks back at the Good Friday Earthquake, which registered 9.2 on the Richter scale, and muses on the possibilities of a future “Big One.”

Recent discoveries at the South Pole lend support to the case for the existence of gravitational waves, which would in turn confirm “another facet of Albert Einstein’s theory of gravity and general relativity.” At the Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press, Harry Collins explains these “recent discoveries,” and explains what is at stake for physics in the confirmation of the various theories in play.

Finally, at the University of Minnesota Press blog, Paul Carter discusses the process of writing a book about places where people meet, and of the interesting way that writing a book about meeting places produced many meetings, both physical meetings and meetings of the mind via different kinds of correspondence. “Meeting is a bit like migration: it can take a lifetime; it’s an attitude of revisiting what has been done and said, and sifting through it for the other interpretations.”

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

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