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’d like to open this week’s Roundup by saying congratulations to our neighbors Fordham University Press, new FUP Editorial Director Richard Morrison, and new FUP Editor Thomas Lay! Best of luck moving forward!
The University of Nebraska Press blog has a couple of fascinating posts up this week: one by C. Richard King on the future of the team name of the Washington Redskins, and one by UNP Marketing Manager Martyn Beeny discussing whether BEA is a worthwhile investment for University Presses. In King’s post, he looks at the recent ruling by the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office Trademark Trial Appeal Board voiding trademarks associated with the Redskins NFL franchise on the grounds that the name is “disparaging,” calls out the media for burying the actual Native Americans involved in the issue behind the intricacies of the legal case, and predicts where the saga might go in the future. Meanwhile, Beeny takes a hard look at the ever-increasing costs of setting up a booth at BEA, mourns the demise of the true “University Press Row,” and calls for UPs and the BEA to work together to allow all university presses to once again take advantage of the intrinsic benefits of attending the trade show in the Javits Center.
The sectarian violence that has erupted throughout north and west Iraq recently has set off a new round of questions in the media about American responsibility for the reemergence of civil war, and about America’s role in the region going forward. The Harvard University Blog has an excellent excerpt from the as-yet-unpublished Overreach: Delusions of Regime Change in Iraq, in which author Michael MacDonald “details how America’s fallacious equation of its ideals with its interests—and global projection of each—led to this unleashing of chaos with no end in sight.” (Also, HUP made a Thomas Piketty cake, which we can’t help but mention here, apropos of nothing.)
The World Cup is in full swing, and at the JHU Press blog, John Eric Goff takes on one of the most fundamental parts of the game: the makeup of the ball itself. After Adidas, the company responsible for providing the balls for the Cup, was inundated with player complaints about Jabulani ball used four years ago in South Africa, there has been much less backlash against the new Brazuca ball. Goff explains that the ball behaves more normally due to the intentional texturing of the ball and the 68% longer “total seam length,” which gives the ball a “more stable trajectory” than that of the Jabulani.
Do tenure laws protect bad teachers at the expense of poor and minority students? Judge Rolf M. Treu of Los Angeles recently ruled that they do in the case Vergara v. California, but Fran Hawthorne, writing at Beacon Broadside, argues that Treu “is trying to use a sledgehammer to repair a broken necklace. No, even worse: He has aimed his sledgehammer at a necklace, when it’s really a bracelet, brooch, and earrings that are broken.” She argues that tenure is crucial for attracting and keeping inspiring teachers, who are increasingly getting left out in the cold in the war against the phantom of “bad” teachers.
Staying on the topic of problems in education, the Stanford University Press Blog has a guest post by R. L’Heureau Lewis-McCoy on a startling and disturbing fact: “today, decades after Brown v. Board of Education, some of our nation’s schools are now more segregated than they were in the late 60s.” Lewis-McCoy argues that, while the legal apparatus of segregation has long-since been dismantled, many social and political barriers still exist, and are the more insidious in that they are rarely recognized as such.
An Indian state minister recently “described rape as a ‘social crime’, saying ‘sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong.’” At the OUPblog, Pratiksha Baxi writes powerfully about how the issue of rape is disturbingly tied into politics in India. As she puts it, “In India, the political rhetoric on rape continues to deploy conventional scripts: boys will be boys; sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s wrong; alcohol causes men to rape. There is a political refusal to recognise that rape is central to dominance, a routinized expression of sexualised power.”
As the world becomes increasingly interconnected and globalized, questions of human rights become increasingly international rather than intranational. However, this additional complexity makes the issue of judging human rights cases difficult for international human rights courts. In a guest post at fifteeneightyfour, the blog of Cambridge University Press, Courtney Hillebrecht explains the current state of regional human rights courts, and offers hope for the full realization of their potential in the future.
Expertise is often one of the qualities most highly valued in people in leadership positions. However, as James Noonan argues at Voices in Education, the blog of Harvard Education Publishing, the ability to see oneself as a “learner” rather than an “expert” is crucial to good leadership. He argues that acknowledging that one “needs improvement” is difficult, but is an “essential prerequisite for learning,” and thus for leadership.
Yuri Kochiyama, who passed away on June 1 this year, was an Asian American activist. Diane C. Fujino has written a blog post at the University of Minnesota Press Blog in honor of Kochiyama’s incredible life and often overlooked work. As she claims, “Yuri’s critiques of imperialism in the US, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and Latin America, and her six decades of radical activism deserve deeper study so that we can locate Yuri in her rightful place in history.”
It’s definitely now summer, in weather as well as name, and so we’ll wrap things up this week with a trio of posts celebrating the season. First, at Island Press Field Notes, Robert Keiter has a great guest post on his explorations of American National Parks. The Princeton University Press Blog has a post on some unusual New York City destinations, courtesy of Bill Helmreich. And finally, the Wake: Up to Poetry blog of Wake Forest University Press is featuring a poem by Conor O’Callaghan called “Mid to Upper Seventies.”
Thanks again for reading this week’s roundup! Have a great weekend, and leave any thoughts in the comments!