University Press Roundup

Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best articles 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.

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century has been everywhere recently, and the Harvard University Press Blog has a guest post from HUP sales rep John Eklund on the experience of getting Piketty into bookstores across the countries. He notes that many booksellers were skeptical of their ability of sell “a $40 book on economic inequality,” and wonders whether the success of Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a fluke or whether it’s a sign that people actually will buy good, important, relatively expensive nonfiction books generally when given the opportunity.

Another figure who has loomed large in the media recently is embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Much has been made of the potential actions that NBA players, particularly those on Sterling’s team, and other NBA owners should take in regards to Sterling’s recent racist comments and more disturbing history of racist actions, but little time has been given to a discussion of what Clippers fans should do. At Beacon Broadside, Fran Hawthorne has a guest post on “the role of an ethical consumer in this kind of situation.”

“What is our global future? The science is in, and the prospect is not great.” John L. Brooke introduces his post on the history and future of human existence on earth with these cheery words, and things don’t get more hopeful from there. Brooke attempts to explain the inability of the American public to accept the scientific consensus on global warming, arguing that a combination of “self-interest in an era of economic uncertainty” and the problem of visualizing a process operating on a time-frame that exceeds the average human life make it difficult to convince people of the changing climate.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, and at the Duke University Press Blog, Rabbi Michael Lerner, editor of Tikkun magazine, discusses the complicated history of Judaism in America and looks at the current state of the Jewish community in the United States: “So this is the conflict that remains the enduring heritage of American Jews: an internal tension over whether to adopt mainstream values and a celebration of “that which is,” thereby fitting in with the cultural assumptions of the world’s largest imperial power, or to challenge those values, a challenge which not only leads to “speaking truth to power” in the larger society but also to challenging the Jewish community’s blind loyalty to an Israeli state that itself is committed to being “a nation like all other nations,” with its blindness to the suffering of the Palestinian people and its arrogance and hypocrisy as it attempts to turn Judaism into a cheerleader for immoral policies.”

“[T]oday Latinos are the largest ethnic/racial minority in the country, with some 57 million Latinos (or 17% of the total population),” but, as Mario T. Garcia argues in a post at the UNC Press Blog, “Latinos are still a very poorly understood group.” In his post, Garcia attempts to provide a brief history of Latino immigration to the United States and to correct some of the common myths and misunderstandings that characterize the way that many Americans see Latinos.

How should governments treat distinct minority groups? At the OUPblog, Federico Lenzerini has a guest post looking back at the history of multiculturalism in human rights law, from the 1935 advisory opinion of the Permanent Court of International Justice to the League of Nations on. In particular, Lenzerini discusses the complicated situation of indigenous peoples “who, due to their cultural specificity and vision of life, actually need a differentiated treatment in the context of human rights adjudication and enforcement” as a way to understand the many issues complicating human rights law.

Last week, the University of Minnesota Press Blog began a series of posts by Lori Emerson looking at case studies from the University of Colorado’s Media Archaeology Lab, starting with the Apple Lisa from 1983. This week, Emerson takes on the Altair 8800b from 1976, a computer that was a catalyst for the “personal computer revolution” despite the fact that only around one thousand of them were ever made.

It’s not often that incest makes an appearance on the University Press Roundup, but this week Brian Connolly, writing at The Penn Press Log, has a fascinating post looking at the various ways that incest was defined and prohibited throughout the nineteenth century. Using Jeremy Irons’ statements equating same sex marriage and incest as a starting point, Connolly notes that such statements “presume that incest has always been prohibited, that it is a universal taboo that has never changed. Yet, this is a presumption with little basis in history.”

“Alimony has a nasty reputation as a device that enslaves men and demeans women—preventing divorced men from beginning new lives, and perpetuating female dependence on men.” At From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, Cynthia Lee Starnes takes a fresh look at alimony and dispelling some of the myths that have led it to be such a commonly reviled idea.

This year marks the 50th birthday of the National Museum of American History, and so we’ll wrap things up this week with Robert C. Post’s history in brief of the MAH at the JHU Press Blog. Post looks back at the initial criticism of the museum’s architecture, the varied exhibits that drew people to the MAH, and the changes that the museum has made in the past few decades.

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

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