JHU Press Blog

The Empowered University

by eea | Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 12:00 PM

Higher education matters, now more than ever, for our students, our colleagues, and our society. And because it does, the culture of our campuses also matters now more than ever, because our values, attitudes, goals, and behaviors either encourage or limit what is possible. In The Empowered University , we discuss how we have shaped our institutional culture at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) to incentivize inclusion and innovation through the questions we ask, the achievements we measure and applaud, and the initiatives we support.

We wrote The Empowered University as we reflected on our institutional progress over the past 30 years. This allowed us to look at our accomplishments, from doubling our six-year graduation rate, to developing a national model for supporting underrepresented minorities and women in science and engineering, to pioneering the use of data analytics to support student success. It also allowed us to reflect on two events that framed our work: our upset win over the University of Virginia in the 2018 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and a student protest on our campus later that same year over sexual assault and Title IX processes. These two...Read More

Read. Think. Act.

by mktstu | Thursday, November 7, 2019 - 10:34 AM

I’m at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association. Every year, I come to this meeting and talk to people who are, in a sense, trying to save the world. Climate change, gun violence, the opioid crisis—there’s almost no terrible news that I won’t hear here. But the spirit here is one of strong, practiced, and even professional optimism. These people believe that if they work hard enough they can change things for the better. So what’s the role of a university press editor when it comes to problems with a national or global scale?

I read articles, books, tweets, the back of cereal boxes, and then I come to places like this and I think. Sometimes things fit together slowly, and others it happens at 4G speeds. When I came to Johns Hopkins University Press a couple of years ago, it was just a month before Freddie Gray’s death in police custody and the uprising that followed. The city was thrown into turmoil that was as strong in our minds as it was on the streets. One day I read some words on Twitter that focused on why this happened in Baltimore, and all of the...Read More

Law and People in Colonial America

by eea | Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 2:00 PM

How did American colonists transform British law into their own? What were the colonies' first legal institutions, and who served in them? And why did the early Americans develop a passion for litigation that continues to this day? These questions and more are answered in Law and People in Colonial America – an essential, rigorous, and lively introduction to the beginnings of American law. To mark the publication of the second edition of the book, author Peter Charles Hoffer writes:

"I have taught early American history for nearly 50 years, and American legal history for 35 of those years. So much has changed in our emphases over these years, but one change stands out. When I began teaching, slavery was one of the many subjects we covered, but only one. In the past 15 years, it has become a central, for some the central, subject of interest and study. The second edition of Law and People in Colonial America devotes a full, up-to-date chapter to slave law and slavery in the law, including comparative materials on slave law throughout the Atlantic World. As I prepared the new chapter, I...Read More

Mergers In The 21st Century Higher Education Landscape: Why A New Book Was Needed

by eea | Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 2:00 PM

Sometime between the summer and winter of 2012 a few of us were presented with a new and mandatory challenge – a challenge that could readily overwhelm even the best of college and university leaders. “Merge your institution with another… do so successfully… and do so quickly,” we were told, with the additional admonition that “By the way, we have never done this before...” Such was the test of what was to eventually become the grand transformation we now call the ‘Georgia Experiment’. An effort that is the first (and to date only) large system-wide planned wave of mergers in a public four-year higher education system.

For those of us tasked with completing this seemingly Herculean task, there were no ready roadmaps available. And yet we were not the first. Many others had successfully led mergers of higher education institutions, from system-wide mergers of technical and two-year colleges, to mergers of health science universities and nearby colleges and universities, to mergers of single-discipline colleges, such as law and business, with more comprehensive institutions. The experience was a global one with many countries, including China, the Scandinavian nations, Australia, and South Africa, undertaking large scale systematic mergers. Still, no blueprint...Read More

Print Plus: A Blueprint for Open Access in the Humanities

by eea | Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 9:00 AM

The Modernism/modernity Print Plus platform , winner of the 2019 Prose Award for Innovations in Journal Publishing is a successful and innovative collaboration between the Modernist Studies Association and the Journals division of the Johns Hopkins University Press that, since its launch in January 2016, has advanced the concept of the digital “commons” to become a kind of virtual meeting space for the modernist community. The platform’s intellectual foundation is the JHUP-published journal Modernism/modernity , but Print Plus enhances the print journal by leveraging audio, video, and image files and utilities like the Hypothesis annotation tool that are intended to build added layers of context and interpretation into the content. Modernism/modernity editor Debra Rae Cohen of the University of South Carolina and Matt Huculak, Digital Scholarship Librarian at University of Victoria and current Project Muse Advisory Board member, were the platform’s content architects and JHUP is the ideal development partner because of our relationship with the Modernist Studies Association and our tradition of excellence in digital publishing, as evidenced by Project MUSE.

One of our guiding principles was that Print Plus be developed and viewed first and foremost as a scholarly resource...Read More

Embracing Open Access and Revisiting a Scholar’s First Books

by eea | Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 9:00 AM

Being committed to open access publishing of scholarly works by salaried faculty and having chosen to have five books published in the last decade or so with a pioneering British open access publisher , I am delighted that the Johns Hopkins University Press, the nation’s oldest scholarly publishing house, is moving into this up-to-date, promising field and I am honored that my own earliest publications have been selected for its new open access series . I am particularly pleased because for many of my eighteen intellectually stimulating years teaching at JHU I served on the editorial board of the Press and enjoyed the confidence and friendship of its then-director, the unforgettable Jack Goellner.

The two books of mine that have been selected for republication in the new series could not be more different. The earlier, Men and Masks , on the seventeenth-century French playwright Molière, reflects the influence of the charismatic René Girard, then an associate professor in the Department of Romance Languages. An early advocate of what came to be broadly termed post-modernism, René despised “positivist” scholarship and historical, contextual, and traditional philosophical approaches to literary texts. As a result, my...Read More

Notes from My Year as a Cyber Investigator

by eea | Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 9:00 AM

Much of the creative energy in the University Press world is committed to pushing in new directions, whether they are new directions in research, advanced strategies for marketing and publicizing books, or new scheduling experiments. When I heard of the project—funded by the National Endowment of the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation—to create an online repository of JHUP’s out-of-print books , it felt like a different kind of experiment. True, it was an opportunity to continue experimenting with the exciting new mode of publishing Open Access books; but it was also an opportunity to bring back some of JHUP’s most important books that at the time only existed in libraries, used bookstores, and on the shelves of readers. This was a unique project that simultaneously looked forward and backward.

Before this project presented its many unique production and design problems—all handled fabulously by my expert colleagues—it presented one big author relations problem: in order to sign a new contract for each of these books, how does one contact with 200 people (or their living relatives) when so many of them have retired from their professional lives, and when the JHUP editors with whom they...Read More

Happy Open Access Week

by eea | Monday, October 21, 2019 - 9:00 AM

Who doesn’t love something for free? Free speech? Free Wi-Fi? Free beer? In celebration of the Tenth Open Access Week, I’ll throw in free scholarship. Yes, books and journals for free. No catch. Free. Take all you want. At Johns Hopkins University Press, we are committed to delivering impact for ideas, and now we’ll deliver selected content for free.

This might sound too good to be true, but through a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, this is exactly what we mean. This fall, we will make two hundred classic backlist books open to the world on Project MUSE. (Earlier this year we also made another hundred titles open access.) These three hundred will join hundreds of other books and journals openly available to discover, explore, download, and read.

The move to open scholarship was first sparked in the world of science journals. Research supported by public funds and performed at public universities, the argument goes, shouldn’t be locked away in journals available only to those who could afford subscriptions. Publicly-funded research should be available to the public. Over time, the OA movement has expanded to some...Read More

City People: Black Baltimore in the Photographs of John Clark Mayden

by eea | Friday, October 18, 2019 - 12:00 PM

It began with a visit, on a calm December day, to a spacious, sunlit farmhouse on the edge of Leakin Park. There I encountered for the first time John Clark Mayden’s Baltimore “street portraits”—photographs set worlds away from that peaceful location … or so you might think.

I was there with Dr. Lawrence Jackson, Bloomberg Professor of History and English at Johns Hopkins, but also a Baltimore native and family friend of the Maydens. We gathered around the dining room table as John turned over his black-and-white prints one by one—a stunning display of luscious tones and deeply satisfying compositions that somehow suggest both spontaneity and thoughtful arrangement.

But, to be honest, my first impressions did not focus on these technical achievements. What I noticed first—more of a feeling than an observation, really—was the pop of connection. Through the interface of the photograph, I saw my fellow citizens, mostly Black, often framed by the doorways and windows of Baltimore’s iconic rowhouses, looking back at me with the full force of their gazes, or going about their business despite my presence. Whatever was happening in any given image, the photographer had opened a passageway through time, space, and race....Read More

Killing for the Republic: What is the Most Important Takeaway?

by eea | Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 12:00 PM

For thousands of years, people have written about the Roman Republic, how it achieved its empire, and why it collapsed. Scholars of each generation have specialized in different aspects of Rome’s republic. Modern scholars tend to focus on laws, institutions, power structures, and the geographical and historical circumstances that made the Roman Republic so successful. In the writing of my book, Killing for the Republic: Citizen-Soldiers and the Roman Way of War , I was indebted to these scholars, many of whom knew far more about their particular topic than I do. However, I have also noticed that it is currently out of fashion to consider the spiritual and moral fabric that bound the Roman Republic together.

This is perhaps part of a broader trend that downplays the public life of the spirit. Eric Voegelin opened his epic, eight-volume History of Political Ideas with the conviction that beliefs create a political people. Political units are evoked when convictions are articulated in language and linguistic symbols. In a modern age obsessed with legal systems, formal declarations, and political institutions, Voegelin argued that such things were secondary. Ideas make laws; myths create nations. A constitutional order does...Read More