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.

E.O. Wilson defines biophilia as “the innately emotional affiliation of human beings to other living organisms.” At Island Press Field Notes, Timothy Beatley argues for increasing the integration of plant and animal life into our cities, a process he calls “biophilic urbanism.” Citing research that shows that people are “likely to be more resilient and more creative when we live and work in the presence of nature” and that “we are more likely to exhibit generosity when nature is near,” Beatley points out successful biophilic experiments in cities around the world but claims that it’s clear that, even in cities, “nature is not optional but essential.”

What role should ideology play in foreign and domestic policy-making? At the OUPblog, Richard S. Grossman looks into this hotly contested question, and argues that, while “ideology is damaging in the economic sphere when policymakers adopt one key idea as the centerpiece of their policy and cling to it under any and all circumstances, whether or not this approach is supported by evidence,” the same is not necessarily true for foreign policy, primarily because what counts as “evidence” is more nebulous in foreign policy than in economics.

The government shutdown has had wide-ranging implications, but one of the most noticeable has been the temporary closure of the National Park System. At Beacon Broadside, Michael Lanza describes what it was like to have to cancel a family vacation to Utah’s Zion National Park due to the situation in Washington.

Frustrated with dealing with “a know-it-all, bully, brownnoser, slacker, whiner, or a boss who is abusive, controlling, incompetent, or overly reactive”? At the AMACOM Books Blog, Renée Evenson has a five-step plan for dealing with “difficult people” in a productive and healthy way. (Note: we here at Columbia UP are lucky in that we don’t work with anybody who could fit Evenson’s descriptions.)

October 2nd was the 134th anniversary of Wallace Steven’s birth, and at the JHU Press Blog, Thomas G. Sowders has a post in honor of the occasion. The central question Sowders tries to address in his essay is a simple one: “Why do we keep turning to this poet?”

It’s tempting to look at the Civil War through the lens of large, general, united groups. However, in a fascinating guest post at the UNC Press Blog, David T. Gleeson offers a reminder that the war took place in a nation made up of subtle divisions and smaller groups as well. In particular, Gleeson looks at how Irish Americans in the South experienced the war, and argues that “the conflict and its aftermath were crucial to the assimilation of Irish Americans in the region.”

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy is coming up in just over a month, and a new movie about the events surrounding the assassination, Parkland, is being released today. At North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, Gary Kramer reviews Parkland and concludes that “Parkland is an earnest effort that is more leaden than solemn.”

This week at fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Randall Hansen and Desmond King offer a fairly horrifying but fascinating and highly informative post about eugenics policies in the United States in the 20th century. “Over 70,000 Americans coercively sterilized under state sterilization laws. The original justification for the law was eugenic, meaning that the sterilizations were designed to ward off a decline in national intelligence through excessive fertility among the ‘feebleminded.'” For more information, they also have created an interactive slideshow.

Vidar Sundstøl is a Norwegian writer, but his latest work has been based on the North Shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota. At the University of Minnesota Press Blog, Sundstøl explains how the unique landscape and people of the North Shore inspired his Minnesota Trilogy.

We’ll wrap things up this week with a post from the Harvard University Press Blog on Sunil Amrith’s research on “centuries of forgotten interconnection that can help us better to understand our modern age.” Amrith studies the connections and migrations between the lands surrounding the Bay of Bengal, “Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia,” and explains how the shared history of the region has shaped the way that those countries are today.

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

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