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.)

Current events continue to inspire university presses to interview and commission pieces from their authors and editors on resonances between contemporary American politics and their work. To start us off, the University of Virginia Press blog features a post by Michael Bérubé, author of an introduction to a new collection of lectures by the commentator and philosopher Richard Rorty, whose 1998 predictions of a ‘strongman’ being elected to the U.S. presidency are being re-investigated. Bérubé looks back at what he thought of Rorty at the time, and at the present for what Rorty might have gotten right.

George Orwell’s 1984 has also been held up around the web as a cautionary tale newly relevant to the times. On the University of Illinois Press blog, Jeffrey Meyers, author of Orwell: Life and Art (2010), writes on the importance of the past and of language to the story Orwell tells in ways which are not explicitly connected to the present, but which nonetheless elicit comparison to how we think of the past and use language today. At the Duke University Press blog, African-American anti-fascist struggles, particularly in the context of the Black Panther movement, are the topic of the day for Robyn C. Spencer, author of The Revolution Has Come: Black Power, Gender, and the Black Panther Party in Oakland. “If the growing resistance movement to Trump’s fascism is to realize its potential for societal transformation,” Spencer writes, “it must draw from the deep well of Black anti-fascist resistance.” Elsewhere, the NYU Press blog has a roundup of essential reading on women’s issues and politics in the wake of the global Women’s March, and the Oregon State University Press has curated a list of books on the history of key women in the politics of the northwest.

Wider topics on how we all live have also been popular this week. At the Cambridge University Press blog, scientist Timothy Dixon, author of the new Curbing Catastrophe: Natural Hazards and Risk Reduction in the Modern World, summarizes some of the devastating known effects of sugar on human bodies in a post entitled, pointedly, ‘Sugar is the New Lead.’ From the Stanford University Press, Bob Kulhan, author of Getting to ‘Yes And:’ The Art of Business Improv (with Chuck Crisafulli, 2017), writes about how the improvisational and fun-seeking habits of millenials are changing the modern workplace. And focusing more particularly on the United States, the University of Pennsylvania blog features a guest post from Vicki Howard, author of From Main Street to Mall (2015), on the slow and occasionally unnerving cultural and financial demise of the American shopping mall.

Various blogs have featured fascinating cultural pieces this week. The Cornell University Press has a post on ‘Poetry to ease the final passage,’ a beautiful meditation by Steve Zeitlin, author of The Poetry of Everyday Life, on the power of words to depict, memorialize, and ease the moment(s) of death. The University of Kentucky Press introduces and excerpts a new book by the Italian director, producer and photographer Gianni Rozzacchi (with Joey Taylor), in which he describes how he came to capture iconic images of Elizabeth Taylor and others. And the Oxford University Press has a post by Gideon Nesbit, one of their editors of their Oxford World Classics series, on the challenges and rewards of translation as a profession and art form.

Finally, an entry not easily categorized: the Princeton University Press introduces, with a bright and artistic trailer, a new book on the color red by Michael Pastoureau (who has already written on Blue, Black, and Green). The book promises a lot to learn about the color red, given that it has variously “conjured courtly love, danger, beauty, power, politics, and hell;” it has “represented many things, so many, in fact, that in several languages, the word means ‘beautiful’ and ‘colorful’ at once.”

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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