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. (And look back at our University Press Roundup Manifesto to see why we do this post every Friday.)

Recently, Cornell University Press sat down with William J. Kennedy to discuss his new book Petrarchism at Work: Contextual Economies in the Age of Shakespere. Part One of this interview discusses how the development of print technology changed the canons of Shakespeare and Pierre de Ronsard by allowing them to publish multiple revised editions of their works. As a mercantile economy based on increased production became more prevalent, writing became monetized and writers and playwrights were able profit from their works, such as Shakespeare who, according to the author, was able to buy his way into the Gentlemen class as discussed in Part Two.

At Johns Hopkins University Press’ blog, Bernard Golden, PhD discusses ways to cultivate healthy anger, anger that is rooted in compassion for oneself and others. In his new book Overcoming Destructive Anger, Golden differentiates between healthy anger, which is constructive, and destructive anger, which is what one exhibits when they don’t feel a sense of self-compassion. Ultimately, by being more self-aware of one’s anger, we can “harness our energy and live a more fulfilling life.”

North Philly Notes, Temple University Press’ blog, features a post by Phillip Evanson, co-author of Living in the Crossfire, about current political unrest in Brazil. Evanson argues that a “neo-liberal program in 2016 seems suddenly antiquated, having fallen out of favor even perhaps at the International Monetary Fund which had presided over its creation.” He writes that Christine Legarde, IMF General Director since 2010, noted the great boom in commodities of the first decade of the 21st century, having come to an end, would not return soon, perhaps never, and that today’s IMF economists now admit that the benefits of neo-liberalism may have been oversold.

This week, NYU Press’ On the Square blog shares a post by Jill A. McCorkel about the presence of the Management & Correction Corporation (MCC) on Orange is the New Black. On the show, this private corporation receives a contract from the government to take over the day-to-day operations of Litchfield prison, presenting a fictionalized story of a very real situation in America today. “When state governments,” McCorkel writes, “contract with private corporations to run their prisons, they typically stipulate that the provider will deliver a savings of at least ten percent less than what it costs the state to run a similar facility. For their part, private corporations require that the state maintain a “lockup quota” to ensure that the number of prisoners never dips below 80 to 100 percent of the facility’s capacity.” However, this system ultimately doesn’t save states that much more money, such as is the case with CCA, or Corrections Corporation of America, whose stock lost 93% of its value in 2000. McCorkel, who wrote Breaking Women: Gender, Race, and the New Politics of Imprisonment, wonders if the for-profit prison presence on Orange is the New Black will reflect the trajectory of for-profit prisons in real life.

Princeton University Press’ blog shared an interview with Katharine Dow, author of Making a Good Life: An Ethnography of Nature, Ethics, and Reproduction, about nature, ethics, and reproduction technologies, from IVF to surrogacy. She considers fears about environmental degradation, the rise of the biotechnology industry, and the ethics of race, gender, and class as they relate to people’s understanding of politics. Dow, who is aware that most people are not personally involved with assisted reproduction, aims to fill in the gap in our “understanding of these technologies, which are actually crucial to the time we’re living in, in terms of how IVF has provided the platform for a whole biotech industry and what that has done to forms of labour and medical treatments, how they’ve opened up parenthood to gay, lesbian and single parents.”

Recently, University of California Press shared an excerpt from Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City by Gordon Young, about burning buildings and budget cuts in Flint, Michigan. “Three years after being named arson capital of the nation,” writes Mollie Young of MLive, “Flint’s Arson Squad is being cut in half after the decision was made to pull Flint police from the team.” Teardown reflects on the presence of poverty, the absence of the middle class, and the pervasive arson in cities that are becoming increasingly abandoned.

This week, MIT shared an interview with Benjamin Peters on his new book How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet. The purpose of the Soviet Internet was to realize an “electronic socialism,” that would guide socialism another step towards communism. His new book recounts the Soviet Union’s failed attempts to construct its own Internet during the Cold War and considers the implications of this experience in today’s connected world.

What if the Hebrew Bible wasn’t meant to be read as “revelation”? What if it’s not really about miracles or the afterlife – but about how to lead our lives in this world? In an essay on Cambridge University Press’ blog, Yoram Hazony, author of The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture, argues for an exclusion of the Bible from the Western tradition of political philosophy due to the Bible’s “radical opposition” to philosophy and, according to the Jewish philosopher Leo Strauss, because the Hebrew Bible was seen as philosophy’s “antagonist.”

Thanks for reading! As always, we hope that you enjoyed the links. Please let us know what you think in the comments!

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