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.)

A 2013 Washington Post article featured Jason Trigg, an MIT computer science graduate who had secured a job in finance and decided to continuously donate half of his income to the Against Malaria Foundation. Trigg, along with other recent graduates who work in high-paying fields, are among those described as an emerging class of young professionals who are making enough money to promise a significant portion of their income to charity in an article written by Peter Singer on Yale’s Yale Books Unbound blog. The New York Times columnist David Brooks warned against this, stating that taking a job just to make money could be “corrosive,” even if the money is used towards a greater good. However, most people who have undertaken this commitment say that their decision has made them happier.

A post written by Joshua D. Hendrick on New York University’s From the Square blog analyzes Fethullah Gülen, who leads a transnational social and economic network in Turkey called Hizmet, or the Gülen movement. After a July 15th, 2016 attempted coup d’état in Turkey that killed nearly 300 people, the Turkish government began a massive purge of state, military, and civil institutions in an attempt to remove power from any alleged plotters. Most of the purged are associated in some way to Fethullah Gülen, whose movement is a call away from Turkey’s primary Islamic political establishment and towards secular education and the market economy.

What kind of value does democracy have? Should we value it the way we value hammers, paintings, or persons?
muses Jason Brennan in a post this week on Princeton University Press’ blog. Hammers, according to Brennan, have a functional, instrumental purpose, paintings serve a symbolic function, and people have intrinsic value, as obviously people are important and function with self-dignity. If democracy has an inherent instrumental function, like a hammer, and we are able to identify a better functioning form of government, or “a form of government that better realizes procedure-independent standards of justice,” then we would “happily replace democracy with this better functioning regime.” In Brennan’s new book, Against Democracy, he argues that democracy is nothing more than a “hammer”- not intrinsically just, and if we can find a better hammer, then “we’re obligated to use it.”

In a recent guest post on the University of California Press blog, Harry W. Greene, author of Tracks and Shadows: Field Biology as Art, discusses how humans not only function as participants in, but also spectators of, nature. Greene considers how people can experience nature while still abiding by the “leave only footprints, take only pictures” rule, because “ecology signifies influential, multi-directional relationships among organisms, including us” which can include a person’s role as a spectator as well.

How has the way we read the news changed over the years? A technological shift from print to digital publication is the first answer many come up with, but, as Kevin Barnhurst discusses in a post on the University of Illinois Press’ blog, the form of news-writing has changed as well. The “main culprit”, Barnhurst says in his new book, Mister Pulitzer and the Spider: Modern News from Realism to the Digital, is “modernism from the ‘Mister Pulitzer’ era, which transformed news into an ideology called ‘journalism.'” Throughout the past century, stories have grown much longer and tend to elaborate more on background and context than on key events, locations, and names.

This week, the University of North Carolina Press blog shared a guest post discussing police brutality and racism in a historical context. J. Michael Butler, author of Beyond Integration: The Black Freedom Struggle in Escambia County, Florida, 1960-1980 , demonstrates that while activism during the 1960s eliminated the most visible signs of racial segregation, institutionalized forms of cultural racism still existed in the 1970s and continues to persist today. Drawing on the events surrounding the police killing of a young black man in Pensacola, Florida in 1975, Butler asserts how the recent murders of black people by law enforcement officers embody a much larger–and longer–national fight for racial justice.

North Philly Notes, Temple University Press’ blog, shared a blog post that addresses the theme of public security in Rio during the Olympics. Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes has said on multiple occasions that public security is the most important thing to consider in Rio, which has recently seen “rising street crime” and “newly emboldened gangs.” This is in addition to anti-Olympics protesters who are demonstrating against what they consider public money being misused on the Olympics, rather than used for health, education, and protesters who are fighting against the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Philip Evanson, author of Living in the Crossfire: Favela Residents, Drug Dealers, and Police Violence in Rio de Janeiro analyzes the safety precautions that Rio took at the beginning of the games.

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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