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.

At Beacon Broadside, Jeremy Adam Smith responds to the recent NYTimes article “How to Read Racist Books to Your Kids.” While Smith understands the complexity of the issues raised in the Times article, he takes issue with the way that author Stephen Marche seems to “dodge tough questions about kids and race.” Instead, he offers a three steps to help parents navigate these situations.

The digital revolution in publishing offers the chance for presses and authors to distribute content in new and creative ways. The Duke University Press Blog has an interview with author Nicholas Mirzoeff about the digital extension of his new book. As Mirzoeff says, “any writer is tormented at the end of a long project by what they’ve had to leave out.” Online resources give writers new ways to share that left-out material.

Some of the most fascinating natural phenomena are the uses of various toxic chemicals by seemingly innocuous plants and animals. At the Island Press Field Notes blog, Emily Monosson takes us through “the story of one of the premier chemical defense systems known.” The evolutionary relationship of black swallowtail caterpillars and Queen Anne’s lace is truly fascinating.

The Proust Questionnaire is one of the most famous templates for an interview, and at the University of Minnesota Press blog, Mark Dery gives his answers. It’s an enjoyable read, with topics ranging from Duchamp to the “corpse flower” to the “unimprovably loathsome Clarence Thomas.”

Congrats to UNC Press director of contracts and subrights Vicky Wells, the recipient of the AAUP2012 Constituency Award! Elsewhere at the UNC Press blog, Manisha Sinha traces the origins and roots of the Abolition movement from the 1830s back to the Revolutionary Era.

From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, has been running a stellar series of posts by the authors of LGBT studies books for their Pride 2012 series. It was hard to pick just one of these posts to feature, but Thomas Foster’s introduction to the long and complex history of same-sex couples and marriage equality in America is a great place to start.

Fifteen years ago Thursday, boxer (and actor in a newly minted Broadway one-man show) Mike Tyson bit off a significant chunk of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a boxing match. At the OUPblog, Donald W. Black looks back on Tyson’s unpredictable career and examines the fighter’s outbursts of temper both inside and outside of the ring. However, Black also mentions that Tyson seems to have gotten past many of his issues today.

FDR’s administration usually takes the credit/blame for creating the modern, centralized American government in during the Great Depression. However, in Princeton University Press’s stellar Election 101 blog series, Kimberly Johnson’s work on the development of cooperative federalism in the late 19th and early 20th century gives evidence that the New Deal was built on foundations laid in the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era.

The Syracuse University Press blog featured an interview with poet Laila Halaby this week. In her interview, Halaby emphasizes the value of being from “two worlds,” claiming that navigating between two cultures gives you “two sets of eyes with which to view the world.”

The death of Davy Crockett has been the subject of debate over the years. The more poetic story of his decease tells how he died “on the ramparts of the Alamo swinging the shattered remains of his rifle ‘Old Betsy.'” Historian Dan Kilgore argues that Mexican army officer José Enrique de la Peña’s account of Crockett’s execution by Mexican forces after the battle is more convincing. This week, the Texas A&M University Press Consortium blog explains the fight over the death of “the King of the Wild Frontier.”

Immigration looks to be one of the crucial issues in the upcoming presidential election, and at the University of Toronto Press blog, Ronald L. Mize compares immigration enforcement policy under the Obama administration to two earlier forced deportation campaigns. Mize also discusses how these earlier deportation campaigns sent a message to U.S. employer that “they would not be held responsible for the mass migration that they had earlier initiated.”

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