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, University of Chicago’s blog shared an excerpt from an article by Natasha Kumar Warikoo, author of The Diversity Bargain and Other Dilemmas of Race, Admissions, and Meritocracy at Elite Universities. This book, which publishes this fall and examines how both white students and students of color understand race and privilege at three top-tier universities, explains “the diversity bargain”, in which white students approve of affirmative action as long as they can see how they can personally benefit from it. In her article written in The Boston Globe, she explains, “The sole emphasis on benefits to themselves also leads many white students to fear that affirmative action may in the future limit their opportunities. Affirmative action becomes an easy scapegoat when they fail in competitive processes like graduate school admission, summer internships, and jobs.”

Earlier this year, Harvard University Press published Track Changes: A Literary History of Word Processing by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum. This week, Harvard University Press’ blog shared additional findings that Kirschenbaum has uncovered since publication of the book. 1981, an important year for word processing, saw the debut of the Osborne 1 and IBM PC and when Isaac Asimov had his first home computer delivered to him. It was also the year that Gay Courter published her best selling novel, The Midwife, which she wrote on an $18,000 IBM System 6 word processor. Kirschenbaum’s post examines the significance of one of the first female author’s contribution to the history of word processing and how she influenced other authors to write using a word processor as well.

As part of Johns Hopkins University Press’ blog series Unexpected America, The Perils of Overpromising: Boosterism in the Twenties and Now links patterns of turmoil within the Republican party in the United States and in the United Kingdom following the Brexit vote to patterns seen in the response to the New Economy of the 1920s and the Great Depression of the 1930s. Phillip G. Payne, author of Crash!: How the Economic Boom and Bust of the 1920s Worked, shares how during the 1930s, it is “easy to find victims of a poor economy, but before that not everyone won in the New Era economy of the twenties, regardless of the bullish promises of boosters and technocrats. Similarly, the bullish promises of globalization and free trade have not included all, and those who were left behind have demonstrated their discontent at the ballot.”

Between 1819 and 1845, as veterans of the Revolutionary War were filing applications to receive pensions for their service, the newly-formed government learned that many of the soldiers were not men, but boys, many of whom were under the age of sixteen, and some even as young as nine. This week, University of North Carolina Press’ blog shared an excerpt from Boy Soldiers of the American Revolution by Caroline Cox, which explores the life of a boy soldier and considers how “a strong desire to enlist” led him to join the army at the age of sixteen.

On From The Square, New York University Press’ blog, Derek W. Black, author of Ending Zero Tolerance: The Crisis of Absolute School Discipline explains a new position taken by the National Education Association (NEA) about school discipline and the school-to-prison pipeline. The school-to-prison pipeline disproportionately places minority students, those with disabilities, and those who are English language learners into the criminal justice system for minor disciplinary infractions that could easily be dealt with by school administrators, subjecting them to harsher punishments than their white peers would receive for the same behaviors. Overall, the school-to-prison pipeline drastically diminishes students’ educational opportunities and positive outlook about their futures. The new policy, which aims to end this trajectory, will focus on five major points: “Eliminating Disparities in Discipline Practices; Creating a Supportive and Nurturing School Climate; Professional Training and Development; Partnerships and Community Engagement; and Student and Family Engagement.”

Stanford University Press’ blog shares a post about redefining what “organic” food means through the USDA’s current proposal to transform the treatment of poultry and livestock on organic farms. Michael A. Haedicke, author of Organizing Organic: Conflict and Compromise in an Emerging Market, shares how the proposed rules would include increasing the minimum size of dairy cow pens, require farmers to allow chickens to roam free-range, and prohibit physically altering animals, such as poultry de-beaking. These changes, according to Haedicke, are a double-edged sword. He thinks that these actions could move large-scale food production businesses in a positive direction, while at the same time the marketing techniques of large companies may eclipse the efforts of small, local farms. “If a consumer who is concerned about farm animal treatment believes that the chickens who produce conventional eggs for Wal-Mart are treated as well as (or even better than) organically-raised chickens,” he writes, “why would she buy pricier organic eggs?”

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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