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.

We’ll start things off this week with a post by Matthew W. Hughey and Gregory S. Parks at From the Square, the blog of NYU Press, examining Fox News’ strategic use of race. Hughey and Parks look back at various ways that they see Fox News “cater[ing] to ethnocentric assumptions,” and argue that Fox “constantly constructed the average white viewer as a hard-working American who is, at base, frightened by the unfair and racialized agenda of Obama.”

A controversial law has recently passed in Belgium allowing child euthanasia in certain carefully defined situations. At the OUPblog, Tony Hope discusses the underlying moral principles and empirical assumptions in the debate, and discusses the way that “rhetoric [can] ride roughshod over reason” in political debates about such charged issues.

The Shanghai Catholic Church has been divided between a “patriotic” Church that works closely with the CCP and an “underground” Church that maintains closer ties with the Vatican since the late 1970s, when Deng Xiaoping reversed some of Mao’s anti-religious policies and attempted to tie the Catholic Church to the CCP. At the Harvard University Press Blog, Paul Mariani tells the story of the long-time faces of these two churches: Aloysius Jin Luxian and Joseph Fan Zhongliang, each recognized as the bishop of Shanghai by one of the two factions.

The University of Minnesota Press Blog featured another post by Lori Emerson in her series of case studies from the Media Archaeology Lab at the University of Colorado at Boulder this week. The subject? The Vectrex Gaming Console, from 1982. Emerson uses the Vectrex as a way to “explain the unreality of technological progress while pointing to the inanity of warnings against technological determinism.”

The coati is a member of the raccoon family native to South and Central America, and is decidedly not a type of aardvark. A few years ago, however, a rogue Wikipedia edit described the coati as a “Brazilian aardvark,” and led to a long tangle of consequences, with a number of journal articles and even a book referring to the coati as an aardvark, citing Wikipedia, which itself in turn added cited those sources in the coati article. The Stanford University Press Blog uses the curious case of the coati to discuss the unique and oft-criticized model of uncredentialed authors on Wikipedia.

“Why would a Yankee study the South?” At the UNC Press Blog, K. Stephen Prince explains why, despite his New England upbringing, was interested in writing about the South. Interestingly, he cites the very fact that southerners and northerners alike seem to feel that “the South is (or can be, or should be) of interest solely to southerners” as a driving force behind his fascination with the region.

At the University of Illinois Press Blog, Jordynn Jack has a Q&A about autism, and, in particular, the way that public opinion about the disorder tends to be driven by storytelling and inaccurate “stock characters” rather than by scientific research. She points out that autism is seen as a disorder that affects young boys and computer geeks rather than girls, and notes the way that parents with autistic children are seen as likely to divorce.

Finally, we’ll wrap things up this week with a post from the University of Virginia Press Blog highlighting a little-known but important building in Farmville, Virginia. The Robert Russa Moton Museum (formerly the Moton High School), was a crucial site in the beginning of the civil rights movement, when Barbara R. Johns led a strike to protest the terrible conditions in the African American “separate but equal” high school in 1951.

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

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