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.

The 2013 gubernatorial elections in New Jersey and Virginia are fast approaching, and, in a guest post at the UNC Press Blog, Jaime Amanda Martinez argues that the absence of other political races means that these state elections will be viewed as “indicators of where the Republican Party, and indeed the entire country, will head in 2014 and beyond.” Martinez compares this year’s gubernatorial races to the North Carolina election in 1864, though she thinks it’s unlikely that “the 2013 the 2013 gubernatorial elections will provide such a clear signal.”

It’s Open Access Week, and the MIT Press Blog is running a short series of posts in honor of the occasion, two of which are currently up. First of all, Charles Schweik has a guest post in which he discusses data that shows how open source software projects succeed. Second, Peter Suber has a post about his experiences writing and publishing a book that actually became open access.

The New York Times recently ran an article on the growing practice of authors accepting the censorship of the Chinese government in order to sell their books in China. At the Harvard University Press Blog, Ezra Vogel, whose recent book on Deng Xiaoping’s role in modern Chinese history was mentioned in the article, takes issue with the idea that his accepting censorship to get his book in the hands of Chinese readers was done for commercial reasons.

Want to learn more about penguins? Of course you do. Gerald L. Kooyman’s recent post on penguins as a part of the JHU Press Blog’s Wild Thing series is a fascinating look at the author’s experiences studying the majestic Sphenisciformes. As Kooyman notes, “[w]e are truly blessed to be able to observe and learn about such a hybrid group that lives at the interface of land and sea.”

What’s it really like for an academic author out on a book tour? The University of California Press Blog has linked to a post by author Hilary Levey Friedman in which she gives a full rundown of her experiences out on tour for her recent book.

Last month, home health care aides were granted federal protection. At North Philly Notes, the blog of Temple University Press, Karla Erickson argues that this is a step towards health care aides being treated with dignity, but also that there’s still a long way to go for health aides to be given the legal protection and social status that they deserve.

If you’ve ever wondered about what’s actually happening when an airplane goes through periods of “turbulence,” this next post is for you! At fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Shaun Lovejoy writes about turbulence, common misconceptions about flight, and how the occasional bumps you feel while flying are just part and parcel of the whole process of flight, in which the plane goes up and down constantly whether you can feel it or not.

Another recent New York Times article focused on overpopulation, arguing that, contrary to popular beliefs, “overpopulation is not the problem.” However, at Island Press Field Notes, Charles C. Chester points out a number of issues with the arguments made in that article. In particular, he wonders why the author is “focused so single-mindedly on the human sustenance factor in the overall environmental equation.”

At the OUPblog, Robert Heinrich uses the fascinating life of civil rights activist Jo Ann Robinson to make the case that it’s important to study history, and particularly American history, in terms of biography. In particular, he claims, it’s important to “not only learn more about those people rightly acknowledged for their accomplishments but … also [to] rediscover those who, for various reasons, never received due credit.” (On an unrelated note, check out this very cool interactive map of urban warfare around the world, from a separate OUPblog post.)

Why should we read literature in the Digital Age? That’s the question Paul Socken sets out to address in his recent book. The McGill-Queen’s University Press blog has an excerpt of a conversation between Socken and Hope Leman in Critical Margins in which they discuss the future of reading.

In a guest post at From the Square, the NYU Press blog, Ruth Colker argues that “[b]laming the mother is a long-standing cultural tradition in the United States,” and that this unfortunate state of affairs is exacerbated in cases where the child in question is physically or mentally disabled. As an example, she tells a disturbing story of a case where a school districts blame the mother of a disabled child for filing “a professional complaint against a teacher who was subjecting her son to seclusion and restraint.”

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post at the University of Minnesota Press Blog in which Larry Haeg tells the story of Harriman vs. Hill, a 1901 case with profound implications for the modern day investor. The lessons he draws from this case look eerily similar to lessons often drawn from more recent cases, particularly #3: “Beware of over-inflated asset values.”

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

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