University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts from the blogs of academic publishers! The election is over, and, understandably, this week many of the blogs on our list are looking back at the election process or looking forward to President Obama’s second term. As always, if you particularly enjoy something or think that we missed an important post, please let us know in the comments.

First of all, a quick reminder: University Press Week is NEXT WEEK! We are very excited to be participating in the UP Week Blog Tour, and we hope you will join us and all the other academic presses around the country in celebrating the value that scholarly publishing adds to the public life of America. Join the conversation and keep up with the events on Twitter via #UPWeek.

An unfortunate consequence of the end of the election season is that we won’t get any more insightful posts from the Princeton University Press blog’s Election 101 series. The PUP blog has a number of posts looking back at the election this week, notably a wrap-up by Rasmus Kleis Nielsen looking back at the importance of “ground war” aspects of the campaigns, particularly in actually getting people out to vote.

Superstorm Sandy is widely seen as an important force in the presidential election. In an interesting snapshot of pre-election analysis, both the OUPblog and the Florida Bookshelf (the blog of the University Press of Florida, which we have just (belatedly) added to our UP Roundup blogroll) ran posts on Election Day discussing the impact of Sandy on the vote. At the OUPblog, Elvin Lim asked which candidate benefited most from the storm. At the Florida Bookshelf, David K. Twigg argued that Sandy’s biggest impact could be in voter turnout.

Another excellent election series that we are sad to see end is the MIT Press blog’s Election Tuesday series. In the concluding article of the series, posted on Election Day, Peter Wenz wonders whether the “sane center” be successful in elections, or whether increased extremism on the Right and Left will continue to be the order of the day in politics.

From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, also ran a post looking back on the lessons learned from the campaign season. Michael Serazio’s post is especially interesting given that it was published immediately before Election Day, and given that it focuses on the presidential campaigns from a marketing perspective rather than a political one.

Now that President Obama has been elected, Bill Ayers, writing for Beacon Broadside, thinks that the time has come for the federal government to take a good hard look at the educational reform system in place. Speaking to the president directly, Ayers urges Obama to “resist these policies and reject the dominant metaphor [of education as business] as wrong in the sense of inaccurate as well as wrong in the sense of immoral.”

Of course, there were a number of important issues voted on at the state level as well as the federal level this Election Day. At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Amy Stone discusses the “huge victory for same-sex marriage at the ballot box” and offers three reasons why all four contested ballot measures on same-sex marriage went the way the LGBT activists hoped they would.

The Fisher case at the Supreme court, in which affirmative action policies at the University of Texas are being challenged, is still ongoing, and at Voices in Education, the Blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Michael J. Feuer discusses the “‘catch-22’ that could spell the end of affirmative action.” This “catch-22” is that “using numerical targets is illegal, but not using them might make the admissions process appear unacceptably vague or unfair.”

On Election Day, rather than focusing on the much-analyzed 2012 election, the Chicago Blog, the blog of the University of Chicago Press, chose to look back at the life and work of Nobel Peace Prize winner Jane Addams, a scholar and suffragettte in the Progressive Era. In an excerpt from Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy, Louise W. Knight explains ” how Addams’s experience with the Pullman Strike in 1894 led her to question—and later, so eloquently articulate—the dangers of moral absolutism to democratic citizenship.”

At the Indiana University Press blog, Martin Krieger has an interesting guest post about his reasons for writing his book Doing Physics, and his hopes for and worries about the finished product. I wonder how many academic authors find this sentiment to be true: “When I am writing I always have one of my teachers in the back of my mind. My worry will be that they will find out that what I am saying is wrong, or that I made a mistake.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up with a post about the Civil War (the actual historical one, not the potential one that Donald Trump advocated via Twitter on Tuesday night). At the JHU Press Blog, guest poster Adam Mendelsohn takes a look at the Civil War from a unique angle: from the perspective of American Jewish history. He speaks about the importance of avoiding “any self-congratulatory celebration of Jewish contribution to the war,” focusing instead on the “fascinating and revealing complexities of Jewish life during a period of profound tumult and change in American history.”

We hope that you enjoyed this week’s installment. As always, please post any thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading! And be sure to join us next week for our celebration of University Press Week!

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