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.)

Yale University Press’s blog features a post by Jieun Baek, author of North Korea’s Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society. In this post, Baek seeks to dispel popular misconceptions surrounding North Korea, emphasizing the subtle changes that have influenced North Korean politics and government. For example, Baek addresses the relationship between the North Korean government and the circulation of foreign information and media. “Young people are taking more risks than ever before. People are trusting each other, watching each other’s backs, and building stronger bonds. The widespread grassroots marketization and unprecedented levels of access to foreign information now play a central role in changing the social consciousness of some North Korean citizens and are sparking subtle, yet irreversible, changes inside this country.” With regards to North Koreans themselves, Baek argues that their situation is a lot less hopeless than perceived, calling North Koreans an “extraordinarily resilient people.” “There is hope for positive change to emerge from inside this country. The people are the proof.”

This week, Duke University Press commemorated the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor with a post on Memorializing Pearl Harbor: Unfinished Histories and the Work of Remembrance by Geoffrey M. White and A Date Which Will Live: Pearl Harbor in American Memory by Emily S. Rosenberg. Memorializing Pearl Harbor focuses on the challenges that come with representing the attack on Pearl Harbor, and more broadly, examines public mediums through which history is “re-presented.” This book also considers the effect of the Pearl Harbor memorial on Japanese Americans and veterans. “The memorial has become a place where Japanese veterans have come to seek recognition and reconciliation, where Japanese Americans have sought to correct narratives of racial mistrust, and where Native Hawaiians have challenged their ongoing erasure from their own land.” On the other hand, A Date Which Will Live focuses on Pearl Harbor’s influence on American culture and memory. “In doing so, she discusses the recent “memory boom” in American culture; the movement to exonerate the military commanders at Pearl Harbor, Admiral Husband Kimmel and General Walter Short; the political mobilization of various groups during the culture and history ‘wars’ of the 1990s, and the spectacle surrounding the movie Pearl Harbor.”

Johns Hopkins University Press’s blog features a post on the origin of the 24-hour news cycle and our “psychological hunger” for the newsworthy stories. Our obsession with the news began with the invention and popularization of the telegraph. “Samuel Morse’s first telegraph message from Washington to Baltimore in 1844 was the celebrated Bible verse, ‘What hath God wrought!’ His lesser-known second message, immediately following, was, ‘Have you any news?’” This craving for current events only intensified during the Civil War, when crowds would gather together to read and discuss the latest telegrams. This post emphasizes the importance of investigating the way in which our attitudes and mindsets change due to innovation. “We have developed sophisticated frameworks for understanding the relationship between technological innovation and social change, but we understand far less about how technological change affects individual perceptions, expectations, and behavior.”

University of Chicago Press’s blog features a question and answer session with the author of Life Breaks In, Mary Cappello. Life Breaks In helps readers understand the concept of “mood” and how different moods are generated by every day experiences. The book is also highly personal, as Cappello takes readers on a journey of her memories. When asked about the relationship between the uncanny and nonfiction, Cappello says that the uncanny is “at the heart” of literary nonfiction. “The places where the real slip-slides with something unrecognizable, where the familiar and the strange switch places. Cognitive dissonance. Home not home. The pleasure and necessity of altered states.” In this question and answer post, Cappello sets the scene of a bike ride in New England and its impact on one’s mood.

Cambridge University Press’s blog features a post by Nicolas Dupont-Bloch, author of Shoot the Moon. In this post, Dupont-Bloch offers a list of tips and tricks in order to successfully capture one of the most fascinating subjects of all, the moon. For example, he states, “The full Moon is widely neglected because craters do not show cast shadows; however ray systems, some volcanic features and differences in the lunar soil are emphasized. But the full Moon is dramatic, don’t overlook it!” We also learn that a red filter should be used when the Moon is low, whereas a green filter should be used to fix chromatism. For more information on that perfect shot, check out Nicolas Dupont-Bloch’s post on Cambridge University Press’s blog.

University of Alabama Press’s blog features a post on the book To Stand Aside or Stand Alone: Southern Reform Rabbis and the Civil Rights Movement, by P. Allen Krause. This book is based off a series of interviews conducted by Krause with twelve Reform rabbis from southern congregations during the civil rights movement. Because interviewees were promised twenty-five years before their interviews would be released, Krause was able to incorporate the unfiltered views and experiences of these Reform rabbis into his book. One must not forget the harsh conditions endured by Reform rabbis during the civil rights movement. “These men functioned within a harsh environment: rabbis’ homes, synagogues, and Jewish community centers were bombed; one rabbi, who had been beaten and threatened, carried a pistol to protect himself and his family.” Despite these adverse situations, Southern Reform rabbis made substantial contributions to the civil rights movement.

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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