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. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday (or, in this case, Monday).)

University of California Press’s blog features a post by Molly Dragiewicz, co-author of Abusive Endings: Separation and Divorce Violence against Women. This book examines domestic violence and the abuse that persists even after a relationship is dissolved. “One of the most pernicious misconceptions about woman abuse is that it ends when the couple breaks up,” says Dragiewicz. Dangerous attitudes surrounding violence against women can also be attributed to what Dragiewicz calls, “structural failures.” The tendency to blame victims for their role in their assault is often embedded in the perpetuation of language such as “it takes two to tango; she was asking for it; she made me do it.” In this post, Dragiewicz emphasizes the fact that domestic violence not only outlives a relationship, but also often escalates as a result of separation. Dragiewicz seeks to raise awareness of this issue and aims to “help move popular and professional discourse to take the next step on from awareness, recognizing the complexity of woman abuse as well as how it changes across the span of relationships.”

Amacon Book’s blog features an interview with Stephen Wunker, one of the authors of Jobs to Be Done: A Roadmap for Customer-Centered Innovation. “What’s great about using Jobs to be Done is that it gives you a common language to help build that culture of innovation, even where one has never existed before,” says Wunker, who seeks to strengthen relationships between companies and customers. Wunker’s advice for achieving a more innovative future is threefold: “First, get outside the office and talk to real customers. That gets overlooked way too often. Second, start thinking about how you might build a process to both understand and respond to customers’ jobs. If success isn’t repeatable, you’re going to waste a lot of resources on failure. Third, drop your industry-specific or product-specific way of looking at things.”

Anne M. Blankenship, author of Christianity, Social Justice, and the Japanese American Incarceration during World War II, recently published a post on the University of North Carolina Press’s blog. In this post, Blankenship writes about the importance of pilgrimage and the way in which it provides us with a connection to both the past and present. “Pilgrimages have become sites of resistance not only by reshaping the memory of an ethnicity’s disenfranchisement, but by employing remembrance in the fight for the civil rights of first themselves and then others.” A perfect example of this conception of pilgrimage is the annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, where groups are able to discuss and share memories of the experiences of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II. Not only is this pilgrimage significant in honoring the communal memory of Japanese American incarceration, but it also serves to support the experiences of other minority groups. According to Bruce Embrey, co-chair of the Manzanar Pilgrimage, “Remembering is not passive. We must act on our memories. We must stand, today, with all those who face civil rights abuses, stand with those who are unjustly accused or persecuted simply because of their faith, their birthplace, or ancestry.” Representatives from local Native American tribes and the Muslim Public Affairs Council have delivered speeches at Manzanar ceremonies, and in 2002, “verses from the Qur’an were read alongside Buddhist and Christian scripture during the 2002 memorial services.” Embrey’s words have been put into action.

University of Michigan Press’s blog recently posted an interview with William Cheng, author of Just Vibrations: The Purpose of Sounding Good and the recipient of this year’s Philip Brett Award from the American Musicological Society. Cheng is the youngest and the first two-time winner of this award. “My view is that music should be treated as neither a necessary nor sufficient entity for being human and humane. Too often, however, we witness dehumanizing and ableist rhetoric piled upon peers who do not showcase narrow conventions of musical taste, proclivity, or capability.” Cheng challenges us to approach our interactions with others in the way we would sample new music. “The next time you hear someone say something that you think is nonsense or uninformed or inarticulate, listen again, if you’re so inclined. It’s what we’d do with a piece of music or with a poem. Our peers in society deserve no less.”

Coll Thrush, author of Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of the Empire, composed a post on Yale University Press’s blog. In this post, Thrush sheds light on London’s rich Indigenous fabric and discusses the close relationship between London’s Urban and Indigenous histories. John Dee, who gave rise to the term “The Brytish Empyre,” is Thrush’s primary example of the interplay between Urban and Indigenous spheres. “Among [John Dee’s] possessions was an obsidian mirror that somehow found its way from the Aztec Empire to Dee’s London home. From before its inception, London’s colonial project was deeply linked to Indigenous people, places, and things.” Thrush’s post highlights the diverse group of individuals who travelled to London. Some were captives, others were diplomats. Even performers who looked to pursue a career on London’s main stages, contributed to its Indigenous history. “Their stories show how even in a place like London, we can find Indigenous history—past, present, and future—and even rethink the history of one of the world’s great cities.”

Oxford University Press’s blog features a post on the evolution of memory and its relationship to the brain. The cerebral cortex has been the long-standing explanation for our ability to retain memories and form perceptions; however, this post suggests an alternate approach in studying the role of the brain in human memory. “Evolution has led to different parts of the cortex specializing in distinct kinds of neural representations.” These representations “correspond to the information processed and stored by a network of neurons, and they underpin our memories as well as our ability to perceive the world and control our actions.” The authors of this post present a list of representational systems in the brain. This post also highlights the importance of studying evolutionary history in order to understand more about biological function. “By embracing all of our ancestors we can both enlarge our identity and develop a deeper appreciation of how evolution produced our memories, our complex cultures, and the stories of our lives.”

Thanks for reading! As always, we hope that you enjoyed the links. Please let us know what you think in the comments!

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