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 (or, in this case, Monday).)

Tim Dixon, Professor of Geology and Geophysics at the University of South Florida, recently composed a post on Cambridge University Press’s blog. This post features an excerpt from Dixon’s soon–to-be-published, Curbing Catastrophe, a book that addresses the sewage issues of St. Petersburg, Florida. Dixon analyzes the politics behind these issues. “Large infrastructure projects such as sewage treatment plants and their citywide network of underground pipes are expensive to build or fix, take a long time to build or fix, and tend to result in torn-up streets when they are built or fixed.” Dixon goes on to examine sewage policies in Figueres, a Spanish city that heavily resembles St. Petersburg. He seeks to follow Figueres’s example through implementing an “infrastructure board,” composed of experts and local citizens, who “manage both the planning and subsequent implementation of a city’s critical infrastructure.”

In honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, University of Nebraska Press’s Blog features a post by Bruce Smith, author of Stories from Afield: Adventures with Wild Things in Wild Places. In this post, Smith discusses the importance of national parks from an environmental perspective. “Interconnected national parks, wilderness areas, and other wildlands not only nurture large-scale terrestrial migrations, they are bastions of wildness. Wildness demands that native species maintain their freedom to move unimpeded.” Smith’s book focuses on Grand Teton National Park, a part of the Greater Yellowstone Area that plays a crucial role in elk migration. According to Smith, “Grand Teton is one of those wild yet accessible national parks that embody the best of what America once was and still is.” This blog post also includes excerpts from the reflections of University of Nebraska Press authors who write about their favorite National Parks.

Stanford University Press’s Blog discusses the limitations and lasting effects of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. According to this post, “The apartheid past lingers on in today’s South Africa,” and it’s apparent in the rise of protests against educational bias and financial exclusion, led by South African college students. This post compares these protests to the activity of students during the 1976 Soweto uprising. “This and other apartheid-era protests against minority rule are today drawn on as models for current protests.”

Princeton University Press’s blog features an interview with Ben Akers and Matthew Chingos, authors of Game of Loans: The Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt. This book examines public discussion and perception of student debt issues. In their interview, Akers and Chingos address the media’s tendency to perpetuate misconceptions surrounding student debt. “The typical borrower we hear about in news stories about student loan debt tends to have an enormous balance, is unemployed or working a low-paying job, and lives with his or her parents to save money on living expenses. These struggling borrowers are real, and their problems are troubling, but they are outliers in the broader picture of student borrowing in the United States.” Generalizing the experiences of these outlier situations deters our progress in crafting effective solutions to combat student debt. According to Akers and Chingos, “The problem with allowing an inaccurate narrative to persist is that it prompts policy solutions that solve the fictional problems and do little or nothing to help borrowers who really are in need of assistance.” Akers and Chingos leave us with a piece of advice. “We propose simplifying the system of both borrowing for and repayment of federal loans to alleviate this problem.”

Dr. Janice Wiesman, author of Peripheral Neuropathy, converses with Johns Hopkins University Press in a recent blog post. Peripheral Neuropathy is particularly important in its field, as it is the “only up-to-date, consumer-targeted book about neuropathy written by a neurologist on the market.” In her interview, Dr. Wiesman discusses her inspiration behind writing her book, in addition to the many ways in which the book was able to surprise her and teach her new things. The most significant element of her book is the inspiring takeaway that, “patients who are empowered to control their illness will be more successful in leading the fullest possible life.” Dr. Wiesman also hopes to increase the transparency when it comes to medical procedures, improving the relationship and sense of trust between doctor and patient. “I want patients to know ‘what the doctor is thinking’ at each step of the office visit,” says Dr. Wiesman.

In light of Halloween, Oxford University Press’s blog dedicates a post to the psychology behind our obsession with horror. Even though horror entertainment does not typically evoke pleasant emotions, we still crave our seasonal dose of horror. To address this paradox, the post delves into the scientific relationship between humans and horror. “Horror is crucially dependent on our biological constitution. We evolved to be fearful, to be keenly attuned to—and curious about—dangers around us.” Horror entertainment also provides thrill-seekers with a risk-free way to experience a good scare. “Horror is an important means by which we become equipped to handle a world that is sometimes dangerous and often unpredictable. That’s all the more reason to embrace the fun of fear this Halloween.”

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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