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.

Election season is almost upon us in the US, and many of the blogs we look at for the Roundup are providing great analysis of the political happenings around the country.

We’ll start things off with a post on the Harvard University Press Blog that details one of the most important and most hotly contested questions this election season: Are Americans better off now than they were in 2009? The post offers Martha Nussbaum’s ten “Central Capabilities” as a way to accurately gauge whether people are “better off.”

At the MITPressLog, Michel Balinski and Rida Laraki argue that “majority judgment” may be a more effective way to elect officials than “majority voting.” The propose a system of voting where citizens evaluate candidates as “excellent, very good, good, acceptable, poor or to reject.” The candidate with the highest grade from this system wins the election.

At the OUPblog, June Carbone and Naomi Cahn argue that the marriage status of voters may be of crucial important to the presidential election. They argue that “Marriage, especially when combined with parenthood, primes even committed liberals for more conservative views. A lot less marriage — with the Great Recession accelerating the move away from formal unions — increases Democratic chances.”

In the Election 101 series on the Princeton University Press Blog, David Runciman puts the 2012 presidential election in the context of other “crisis elections.” Runciman argues that while historically elected governments have difficulty being reelected in times of economic downturn, the 2012 “crisis” is more inconclusive, and thus this year’s elections may be an exception to the rule.

The big story of late in Chicago, of course, has been the on-going teacher’s strike. The Chicago Blog of the University of Chicago Press has a post and excerpt that explain the history and importance of teachers unions. Along the way, the post raises important questions: “Does designing one’s own curriculum or determining the course content in one’s classroom constitute a professional right? Are teachers’ rights violated when they are mandated to treat students in ways they find unethical? What is the role of teacher unions in improving teacher quality? And to what degree does it make sense to frame professional decisions and performance in terms of a discourse of rights?”

Not every post this week concerns the election, however. This week An Akronism, the blog of the University of Akron Press, has a post explaining problems with the ruling in the recent Georgia State case. The post takes a firm stance in favor of copyright protection: “Good scholarship has its costs. Use of that scholarship comes with a fee.”

Like many publishers, we here at CUP are suckers for interesting quirks in English grammar. At the AMACOM Books Blog, Associate Editor and Copy Manager Erika Spelman has a fun and interesting post detailing “Eight Things That Are Not Actually Copyediting Mistakes.” Among the entries: can you verb nouns? Is the use of “who/whom” to refer to inanimate objects acceptable? Can one ever be allowed to boldly split infinitives?

Schools have been increasingly aggressive in patrolling various social media sites in order to monitor and, in some cases, punish what students say online. At Beacon Broadside, Daniel L. Hudson Jr. argues that “[s]uch conduct could violate students’ First Amendment right to free speech and Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures.”

“To fully understand Jane Austen, hiking boots are a must.” So begins Janine Bachas’s post on the JHU Press Blog. Barchas argues that wandering the 18th-century sites that Jane Austen may have written about offers an important look into the mindset of the famous author. Complete with beautiful pictures, Barchas takes us along on her research journey through sites connected with Austen’s novels.

This week, the Illinois Press Blog is featuring an interview with Margaret Kartomi on the musical tradition of Sumatra, Indonesia. Kartomi claims that musical trends in Sumatra “are closely linked to the lingual, theatrical, and dance repertoires of the many ethnic groups, so the music contributes immensely to each group’s sense of ethnic identity.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with another entry in the Penn Press Log’s series of pre-1930 American Indian poetry. This week, they have “Mount Shasta,” by John Rollin Ridge (often known as “Yellow Bird”). The poem is as imposing as the mountain it describes:

Behold the dread Mt. Shasta, where it stands
Imperial midst the lesser heights, and, like
Some mighty unimpassioned mind, companionless
And cold.

As always, we really appreciate you reading! Please leave any comments, questions, or suggestions in the comments section below.

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