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.

Following Typhoon Haiyan’s tragic and devastating collision with the Philippine archipelago two weeks ago, From the Square features Filipino-American NYU author Catherine Ceniza Choy as she discusses the impact of the disaster here in the United States, where Filipinos constitute the fourth largest immigrant group, as well as the focus on international recovery efforts. Her hope, she imparts, is that “all of us partake in these efforts to give back to the Philippines, a country that has given and sacrificed so much for our own.”

And as great fans of Doris Lessing here at Columbia University Press, we must continue our roundup with the University of Michigan Press’s brief remembrance of the Nobel Prize-winning author. Gayle Greene, author of Doris Lessing: The Poetics of Change, writes that “I’ve no doubt that if there is a future, Lessing will be one of the writers by whom we’ll be remembered—one of the writers who will be seen as expressing what we were about.”

To mark today’s occasion as the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, long considered an historic turning point in U.S. history, this week Harvard University Press provides us with a fantastic excerpt from David Kaiser’s The Road to Dallas. Praised as “[o]ne of the most compelling passages in a book quite full of them,” the piece works to unravel the series of events that took place as a result of the presidential assassination. Perhaps more interestingly, however, the author goes on to expound on the varying outcomes, both political and social, that could have resulted had JFK’s assassination never happened at all.

Putting aside briefly the solemnity of this week’s more serious events and concerns, Oxford University Press celebrates the addition of the word “selfie” to the Oxford English Dictionary, as well as its ongoing proclamation of the word’s lexical supremacy over 2013. Said celebration is made appropriately manifest in a retooling of Macbeth’s “Is this a [selfie] which I see before me?” monologue, complete with an illustration of the guilt-ridden Scottish Thane indulging in a bit of electronic self-portraiture.

We return to From the Square as NYU author Joan C. Williams touches upon the perennial issue of gender bias in the workplace. Focusing on stats that attempt to answer the question, “Who wants to work for a woman?”, Williams remarks upon some of the more impressive elements of her research (such as her finding that 41% of people have no preference toward working for either a man or a woman), as well as some of the more distressing ones (“a much higher percentage (40%) of women than men (29%) prefer to work for a man.”). While her findings clearly demonstrate progressive professional attitudes over previous decades, Williams worries that gender stereotypes continue to inform employees’ perspectives regarding their superiors, and vice versa.

And lastly, for a bit of fun, Cambridge University Press’s fifteeneightyfour published the results of their contest in which participants submitted what they imagine might have constituted Hemingway’s famous “lost suitcase.” The winning pitch? “It was the end of the day and the Sherpas were burning the base camp farther down the mountain.” We think Papa would be proud.

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

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