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. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)
December 10th was Human Rights Day. In honor of the occasion, the Stanford University Press Blog and the OUPblog both have great posts looking at the history and current status of the idea of “human rights” around the world. At the SUP blog, Mark Goodale looks at the history of what it means to have a “right to rights,” while Boaventura de Sousa Santos finds troubling problems in the history of human rights thinking and advocates “a counter-hegemonic conception of human rights.” At the OUPblog, Kenneth Roth identifies the difficulties in instituting changes to combat human rights abuses carried out by governments.
Questions about the rights and limitations of both people interacting with police officers and the police themselves have been widely discussed recently, following the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. At Beacon Broadside, Noliwe M. Rooks attempts to bring the Kerner Commission Report, first published in 1968 in response to clashes between the civil rights movement and police, into the conversation. She argues that it’s hard to imagine that any new report “will be more prescient than the Kerner Commission, which ends its report by acknowledging, ‘We have provided an honest beginning. We have learned much. But we have uncovered no startling truths, no unique insights, no simple solutions. The destruction and the bitterness of racial disorder, the harsh polemics of black revolt and white repression have been seen and heard before in this country. It is time now to end the destruction and the violence, not only in the streets of the ghetto but in the lives of people.'” Meanwhile, at fifteeneightyfour, David Krugler takes the opportunity of the current protests to take a detailed look at the history of racial tension and violence in America. By placing today’s situation side by side with racial issues from the past hundred years, he hopes to provide new insight into the sources of recent events.
The fallout from an article on campus rape at the University of Virginia is ongoing, and has prompted a widespread conversation about rape on college campuses generally. At From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Sameena Mulla takes the problem head-on: “Let me begin with my conclusion: there is not only a campus rape crisis in the U.S; rather, there is a rape crisis in the U.S. and college campuses are symptomatic of this broader issue.”
Stepfamilies, and most often, wicked stepmothers, are a popular trope in various fairy tale traditions, and, as Lisa Wilson claims in a post at the UNC Press Blog, the development of this trope is quite a fascinating one. She identifies the idealization of mothers as perfectly loving is behind the move of poor or outright cruel parenting to a stepmother, particularly in Enlightenment Europe and after.
At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Luis M. Castañeda argues that the massive impact (and the correspondingly massive monetary value) of the Olympics and the Olympics’ brand can be traced back to massive branding and design efforts in the mid- and late-twentieth century. In particular, he identifies the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games as one of the most successful and most visually striking branding efforts in Olympic history.
GPS tracking has given biologists and conservation experts new windows into the lives of a wide variety of species around the world. At IP Field Notes, the blog of Island Press, Cristina Eisenberg discusses how GPS has helped fully reveal the “carnivore way” that runs up and down the Rocky Mountains and the west coast of North America. Grizzly bears, wolves, wolverines, lynx, jaguars, and cougars constantly make journeys thousands of miles long up and down this corridor.
At the JHU Press Blog, Lara Friedenfelds has a fascinating guest post looking at changes in women’s situation through history through a unique and important lens: reactions, both public and private, to menstruation. One surprising question Friedenfelds thinks she answers: “My research showed me a solution to a mystery I did not initially realize I would be addressing: Why do the large majority of Americans think of themselves as middle class, even though we are in fact economically quite diverse?”
Finally, at the McGill-Queen’s University Press blog, Gwilym Eades explains the concept of “place-memes”: “meaningful, linked, sets of places with rich information attached in the form of stories, maps, names, and images that are handed down through time. Think of a route that is planned in advance, plotted on a map with a line connecting the start and end points of the journey.” Eades uses the example of kaachewaapechuu, a commemorative trip offshore in northern Quebec to flesh out this idea.
Thanks for reading! As always, we hope that you enjoyed the links. Please let us know what you think in the comments!