JHU Press Blog

To form “a more-perfect-though-never-actually-perfect union”: An interview with historian Jane Kamensky

by may | Friday, February 14, 2020 - 9:54 AM

The Athenaeum Portrait of George Washington

The September 2019 issue of Reviews in American History introduced readers to a new and unique feature. Although RAH is a book review journal, “Process Stories” presents essays that do not review a specific title, but instead look more personally and concretely at how historiography shapes the way scholars teach, theorize, write, and/or serve. The first “Process Story” is Jane Kamensky’s Two Cheers for the Nation: An American Revolution for the Revolting United States . We took some time with Harvard Professor Kamensky to find out more about her work as a historian, and her essay - a thoughtful reflection on her challenges as an educator to teach our nation’s complex history critically while keeping students energized and civically engaged.

How did your essay become the first Process Story ?

I've been really impressed with what Ari Kelman and his board are doing with RAH , so I reached out to him with a draft of "Two Cheers," which started as a talk for a workshop in Melbourne in late 2018. The talk was an odd genre: part historiography, part pedagogy,...Read More

Discover Plant Communities of the Adirondacks

by eea | Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 4:00 PM

After walking through woods and wetlands many times one notices that certain wildflower species occur together, and with particular species of trees, shrubs, and other plant species within a region. This unique assemblage of rather predictable plant species is known as a plant community. A plant community can be either natural (like mixed hardwood or spruce-fir forests) or anthropogenic (“man-derived”; like old fields, ditches, wastelands) in origin. Wildflower guides usually include a few words about the community in which each species occurs but they do not adequately define nor emphasize the importance of that community, nor list all of the species that are expected together there. And most wildflower guides highlight the species that occur in natural upland areas, excluding wetlands and anthropogenic communities. Yet many of the wildflowers of open wetlands and old fields are among our most important insect-pollinated plants, and without them, pollinating insects would suffer. Wildflowers of the Adirondacks begins by describing over twenty plant communities in the Adirondacks and the wildflower species expected in each. So besides better understanding the many wildflower species in the Adirondacks, we hope readers will gain an appreciation for the natural assemblages of these species and...Read More

It's About the Regions

by eea | Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 3:30 PM

Writing a book that is designed to be both a textbook and a reference volume requires a strong bridge between the two objectives. For Across This Land the bridge is regional geography, which is basically an orderly way of keeping track of things geographically. In writing history, the ordering is chronological, with geography in second place among the subheadings. When the purpose is geographical—as here, to cover the broad expanse of the United States and Canada in a single volume—history still determines the ordering even though eons of geologic time and the events of human history both must be accommodated.

For these reasons and more, the book begins with Newfoundland. It is where the sun rises, where the Vikings made landfall, and where the Appalachians first emerged. Newfoundland has these claims to priority, and it was an easy choice to be the first chapter in Across This Land . But Newfoundland is only vaguely known to most people, which makes it seem like an odd place to start. A friend who read the first few chapters when I began writing the book asked, "are all of the chapters going to have so...Read More

Celebrating Black History Month

by may | Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 12:09 PM

African Fabric

America’s annual celebration of Black History month honors the innumerable (and all too often, overlooked) contributions that African Americans have made to this country. It is also a time to strive for a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the role of race in America. Academic research and scholarship are an important source of fresh perspectives, hard truths, and innovative thinking about race – and the journals of Johns Hopkins University Press are no exception. Here is a sampling of articles from JHUP Journals that tackle topics on the African American experience from many different lenses.

Identifying White Mediocrity and Know-Your-Place Aggression: A Form of Self-Care Koritha Mitchell African American Review, Winter 2018

US Medical School Applicant Experiences of Bias on the Interview Trail Avik Chatterjee, Charlotte Greif, Robert Witzburg, Lori Henault, Kristen Goodell, and Michael K. Paasche-Orlow Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, February 2020

Portfolio of Artwork: Skunder Boghossian Callaloo, 2017

Under Pressure: Reading Material Textuality in the Recovery of Early African American Print Work Jonathan Senchyne Arizona Quarterly, Fall 2019

...Read More

Caregivers Are The Key

by eea | Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 4:40 PM

As a geriatric and palliative care physician, I have provided medical care to many patients in their homes. They are typically very sick: some of them are frail, some suffer from dementia, a number are approaching the end of life. They have spent time in doctors’ offices and x-ray suites and in emergency rooms, they have been hospitalized, and they have had more than their share of operations and procedures. Most of them are at a point in their lives where want to stay at home for treatment. But because of their own physical or mental limitations, they cannot participate extensively in their own medical care. They do not have the mobility to get to a pharmacy to fill prescriptions, they do not see well enough to draw up their own insulin in a syringe, and they do not have the dexterity to change the bandage on a skin ulcer. They depend on a family member or, in some cases, a hired aide, to help them. It is for these patients and the family members who take care of them that I decided to write a book. It would be directed principally at caregivers, at the unpaid, unsung, and unsupported...Read More

From Enforcers to Guardians: Q&A with authors Hannah L. F. Cooper, ScD, and Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD

by eea | Monday, February 3, 2020 - 4:00 PM

Why did you write From Enforcers to Guardians: A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence ?

Excessive police violence has become an inescapable reality in the United States. Some of us have learned to scan the sidewalks and streets for officers from the moment we lock our door behind us to the moment we reach our destination. Some of us breathe a sigh of relief when friends and family make it home unharmed by police. All of us have witnessed on our screens, frame by frame, day after day, the horrors of police killings of civilians who were little or no threat to them. These horrors have been compounded by the repeated judicial exoneration of the police. One innocent pedestrian looking over his shoulder, one sigh of relief, perhaps even one unprovoked police killing might be an acceptable “trade-off” for a safe society. But when whole communities are terrorized and thousands of people – disproportionately Black men and boys – are killed by police without cause and without legal consequence for the perpetrators, we must question the purpose of policing itself. If so many people are being murdered by the police, clearly policing...Read More

Wildflowers of the Adirondacks

by eea | Thursday, January 30, 2020 - 4:40 PM

Stunning. That was my impression on my first visit to the Adirondacks in summer 2009. I had recently spent considerable time in other beautiful areas but nothing compared to the majesty of the Adirondacks. It was a new world to me. The image of sky, water, and forests, the smell of the lake on that sunny day – stays with me.

I was invited by Professor Don Leopold to teach a botany course at the Cranberry Lake Biological Station that summer. I jumped at the opportunity because I taught at other field stations and always found the experience rewarding. As an avid botanist, dwelling right in the forest was an ideal setting to learn about the flora. And the privilege of teaching about plants only heightened the experience.

For several years I taught at Cranberry Lake and worked with Don Leopold learning his expertise in the flora and ecology of the Adirondacks. I saw his images of plants, many of which were the best I had seen in my long career of teaching and publishing. His pictures of orchids deserved wider attention. I encouraged him to consider a book that would share his knowledge of plants and plant...Read More

Tackling the CRISPR Debate

by may | Monday, January 27, 2020 - 3:09 PM

DNA Editing

Perspectives in Biology & Medicine has dedicated its entire Winter 2020 issue to exploring the complex and contentious issue of CRISPR gene editing. In light of the timely nature of the topic, three articles from the issue have been made freely available online prior to the journal’s official publication. Once published, the entire issue will be freely available for three months online via Project MUSE. The issue’s guest editor, Neal Baer, M.D., is an Emmy-nominated television producer and pediatrician. Dr. Baer explores the potentially harmful uses of CRISPR on Designated Survivor , a Netflix series he writes and produces.

CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) is a genome-editing tool that allows researchers to alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. The technology has been at the forefront of scientific and public debate following the announcement in November 2018 that a Chinese researcher successfully altered the genes of human embryos that resulted in the birth of twin girls. He Jiankui’s announcement at the Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing sent shockwaves across the scientific community and ignited a firestorm of criticism that his work crossed moral and ethical boundaries.

CRISPR has provided...Read More

Preventing Child Trafficking: A Public Health Approach

by eea | Monday, January 13, 2020 - 2:30 PM

I started researching trafficking and its attendant forms of child exploitation in the late 1990s. Back then, if I mentioned that I was working on “trafficking,” most people assumed I meant drug trafficking. A few even responded by telling me about their frustrations with their morning commute. In the late 1990s, most people had not even heard of human trafficking. More than two decades later, human trafficking is regularly in the news, and hundreds of organizations work on the issue. Legislatures are actively developing law and policy to address the issue. And January is recognized as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month in the United States.

In short, we have witnessed a dramatic change over the past twenty years, with human trafficking transforming from a largely invisible issue to one that is recognized as a priority by most governments. Yet, despite this progress and the substantial ongoing antitrafficking work, it’s unclear whether the prevalence of human trafficking has changed. In Preventing Child Trafficking: A Public Health Approach , Dr. Angela Diaz and I draw on public health methodologies to advance a vision for a comprehensive response to child trafficking that is both evidence-based and prevention-oriented....Read More

Entangled Lives: Labor, Livelihood, and Landscapes of Change in Rural Massachusetts

by eea | Monday, December 23, 2019 - 9:00 AM

Among the most powerful artifacts I know of early American women’s work isn’t an artifact at all. It is the darkened wood around some eighteenth-century flooring, shown to me many years ago now by an architectural conservator at work in the Porter-Phelps-Huntington House (Forty Acres) in Hadley, Massachusetts. I had spent a lot of time in and around that site in the course of my research, working to recover insight into the lives of the women whose labors had made the household run, and I had seen plenty of tools—spinning wheels, churns, and so forth—associated with their work. But this was different. The discolored wood, now hidden away in a storage space, was a remnant of hundreds of scrubbings. The chapped hands that created this evidence may well have never held a pen, but they nonetheless left me this testimony of their labor.

For historians eager to understand the lives of working women in the early republic, artifacts—from household goods to agricultural tools to entire cultural landscapes—are sometimes the only way to find our way into lives too rarely preserved in archival records, or preserved only as they appeared from the perspectives of their employers. In the course of...Read More