University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best posts 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.

This week, Beacon Broadside celebrated the start of Poetry Month with a collection of videos of poets reading their poems! Mary Oliver, Sonia Sanchez, Craig Teicher, C.D. Wright, Kevin Young, and Dobby Gibson all make appearances. (Poetry lovers: stay tuned for our poetry feature here at the CUP blog next week!)

There are many reasons for scholars to write for an academic audience rather than a popular one, particularly when the topic is a controversial one. At the JHU Press Blog, Mark A. Largent explains why he decided to write a book for a popular audience on vaccinations, despite all of the disincentives. Writing for a popular audience is a “duty” for scholars, Largent claims: “we ought to find ways to do extension work that applies our expertise to broader public problems and appeals to broader audiences.”

This week From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, ran a post about a unique approach the press took to publishing their new book, Two Presidents are Better Than One. In order to draw more attention to the books unique argument (that a bipartisan executive branch might be the best way to break our cycle of political gridlock), the design team for the book decided to print two versions of the book’s cover, one with a Republican elephant, one with a Democrat donkey.

April 4th was the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and at the UNC Press Blog, Gordon K. Mantler has a guest post arguing that, while everyone remembers (and should remember) King’s work for racial justice, we would be well served to remember his other major march in Washington D.C.: the Poor People’s Campaign.

“[T]he U.S. housing crisis that began in 2008 is not behind us.” At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Dianne Harris argues that not only is the housing crisis very much alive, but that we shouldn’t forget that, for many, housing difficulties have their roots in the racially troubled past of the US: “housing segregation, the seeming ineffability of white privilege and its connections to home ownership, and the cultural work performed by representations of houses and housing issues” all come into play.

Are challenging projects that ask students to “make arguments backed by evidence, to analyze the arguments of their peers, to communicate what they learned to experts, and to work together” more effective than standardized, knowledge-based tests in preparing students for college? At Voices in Education, the blog of Harvard Education Publishing, Robert Rothman claims that these types of assignments, part of what he calls “deeper learning” should be a major part of US education in the future.

On a similar note, at An Akronism, the blog of the University of Akron Press, Thomas Bacher discusses the role that MOOCs and online learning more generally should play in the process of higher education. Bacher believes that online pedagogy has an important role to play, but also believes that face-to-face interaction is crucial. Finding a useful balance between the two will be a crucial part of the development of education in the near future.

Edward Luttwak’s concept of “great state autism” refers to “a collective national lack of situational awareness that reduces a country’s ability to perceive international realities with clarity.” This week, the Harvard University Press Blog has a post explaining Luttwak’s ideas and how they relate to major world powers, Russia, China, India, and the US, and expanding the idea through the work of Diana Pinto to a much smaller country in land area and population: Israel.

The case of Jack the Ripper, the famous serial killer from late 19th century London, has inspired a whole discipline: “ripperology.” At the OUPblog, Paul J. Ennis has a post explaining the attractions of studying the case of Jack the Ripper and delving into the specific case of Emma Smith’s murder.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a March Madness post from the University of Michigan Press blog. The Michigan basketball team is getting set to play in the Final Four this weekend, and in a guest post, Mike Rosenbaum details the rise of this specific version of the Michigan team, starting in 2009 and running up to the team’s present-day success.

Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!

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