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.

Climate change has been in the news lately (more even than usual) with the release of the most recent IPCC report. At fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Robert McLeman takes on an important result of climate change: how it will affect the way that people move around the world. He argues that, while a rapidly changing climate will certainly prompt greater levels of global migration, it’s not the most worrying aspect of the situation.

Meanwhile, at Island Press Field Notes, Emily Monosson ponders the possibility (and implications) of rapid human evolution in response to pollution, in particular, industrial age chemicals. She offers some worrying ways that industrial chemicals might affect the way that we reproduce, for instance, and, while she also wonders whether chemicals just aren’t relevant to human evolution, asks “what if the pressure was pervasive, reaching across large swaths of a population? And what if it hit us where it really hurt, reproduction?”

On Saturday, March 22, a major mudslide occurred a few miles outside of Oso, Washington, causing widespread damage and killing at least thirty people. At the JHU Press Blog, Donald R. Prothero has a long article explaining the mechanisms that caused the slide, and discussing why, when another major slide in the region was predicted, houses continued to be built in the area near the Steelhead Drive neighborhood where the slide occurred.

Jane Goodall turned 80 this week, and, in honor of the occasion, Nancy Merrick has a guest post at Beacon Broadside giving some of the most important lessons that she has learned from working with Dr. Goodall. Some examples: “You cannot get through even a single day without having an impact. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” “Solving problems of chimps and forests requires addressing human issues as well.” And, “rules are made to be broken—as long as you proceed in a manner respectful of others.”

Why should we study the history of philosophy? After all, as Graham Priest points out at the OUPblog, “[i]f you go into a mathematics class of any university, it’s unlikely that you will find students reading Euclid. If you go into any physics class, it’s unlikely you’ll find students reading Newton. If you go into any economics class, you probably won’t find students reading Keynes. But if you go a philosophy class, it is not unusual to find students reading Plato, Kant, or Wittgenstein. Why?”

Cesar Chavez, a Mexican American labor and civil rights activist, was born on March 31, 1927. In honor of his birthday, Marc Grossman, communications director for the Cesar Chavez Foundation, offers his perspective on Chavez’s life and accomplishments at the UC Press blog. Grossman talks in particular about Chavez’s “insistence on nonviolence” in organizing his protests and union action, even in the face of internal disagreement.

Philadelphia has become known for the murals that can be found in nearly every neighborhood throughout the city. Most of these murals and much of this reputation can be credited to the Mural Arts Program that has helped plan and fund the city’s murals for the past 30 years. At North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, David Updike discusses the history, mission, and successes of the Mural Arts Program.

As we’ve addressed in our week-long feature here at the Columbia UP blog, the idea that slavery doesn’t exist in the modern world hides and delegitimizes the pain and exploitation felt by modern-day slaves. At the Duke University Press blog, Denise Brennan has a Q&A in which she discusses the system of forced labor in the United States, and explains how it really is a system of slavery despite its lack of popular recognition.

The Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference recently released a statement saying that transgender athletes “should compete in the gender category most appropriate to their unique personal situation.” At From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Ellen Samuels discusses the way that “this policy highlights the growing centrality of issues of non-normative gender and sexuality in athletic competitions as well as in the wider cultural sphere.”

The period of Reconstruction after the Civil War, as K. Stephen Prince claims in a post at the UNC Press Blog, “one of the most widely misunderstood eras in United States history.” Prince argues that the period was one of crucially important cultural production, as different groups attempted to frame the Civil War, the South, the North, and the concept of slavery in drastically different terms. Prince argues that the way that the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction is remembered will give us an idea of how Reconstruction is still thought of today.

For our final link today, we’ll highlight a post by novelist Jack Hart at the University of Washington Press Blog. Hart discusses the process of writing and tries to explain why so many writers compare writing to spilling blood or, more generally, being in agony. Hart also offers some advice: operate “with a split personality…. [Cast] civilized restraint aside, letting an uninhibited process of creation carry them quickly through the first version of the story.”

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

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