JHU Press Blog

Algorithmic Criticism and Barthes: Two Perspectives on the Sentence

by eea | Friday, June 22, 2018 - 1:00 PM

Literary criticism, magpie discipline, has long benefitted from borrowing techniques from other fields--philosophy, history, linguistics. In recent years, criticism adopted methods for dealing with aggregate data and text analysis originally developed to manage large amounts of data--more poetically, the “wine-dark sea” of texts. Michael Witmore, Director of the Folger Shakespeare Library used Homer’s epithet to foreground the size and mystery of looking at many texts at once in the title of his blog, (created almost exactly nine years ago on June 22, 2018) dedicated to the study of “literary and cultural history at the level of the sentence . ” The sentence, as the largest unit of syntax, seems simultaneously to be the smallest unit to start investigating syntactic patterns, a trace of the literary critic’s commitment to organized units of meaning.

Many of the models most closely associated with algorithmic criticism, however, don’t work at the level of the sentence. Rather, many descriptive and predictive models look at feature sets--a range of lexical and grammatical features--instead. Even when I was involved in a project studying the sentence in the Stanford Literary Lab, we looked at relations among smaller grammatical units within each sentence in texts that...Read More

HHT Awareness Month

by eea | Thursday, June 21, 2018 - 2:24 PM

Did you know that June is HHT Awareness Month? You’re probably wondering, what is HHT ? That’s because most people, including many doctors, have never heard of Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT), a rare genetic blood vessel disorder. In fact, most people who have HHT don’t know that they have it! Which is precisely why awareness is so critical to identifying and treating people who have HHT. As someone with HHT and the author of Living with HHT , I’m happy to be part of this special month devoted to HHT awareness—and I hope my book will contribute to HHT awareness all year round.

In my last blog post, “When a Nosebleed is More than a Nosebleed: Understanding HHT,” I introduced you to HHT, describing its symptoms and complications and how to tell if you or your family should be tested for HHT. Today I’ll describe the primary screening tests recommended for people who are diagnosed with HHT (or are at risk for HHT) and give an overview of currently available treatments for common symptoms and complications of HHT.

Why are Screening Tests Needed ? As discussed in my prior post,...Read More

Walker's Mammals of the World

by eea | Wednesday, June 20, 2018 - 12:00 PM

The history of Walker’s Mammals of the World goes back to the 1930s, when Ernest P. Walker, assistant director of the National Zoological Park in Washington, began assembling data and imagery. First published in 1964, it became a Johns Hopkins University Press classic, with editions in 1968 and 1975 edited by John L. Paradiso. John asked me to join the project in 1976, and we co-authored the 1983 edition, setting major new standards of content and organization. Overall text length increased by 50 percent and approximately 90 percent of generic accounts received substantive modification, many being completely rewritten and greatly expanded. We began an effort to list the name and distribution of every species of every genus, to cover all genera and species that lived in historical time (approximately the last 5,000 years), and to provide extensive bioconservation information. I went on to author the 1991 and 1999 editions. Together with renowned authorities, I also authored five “spin-offs” from 1994 to 2005, covering particular groups of mammals.

I thought that would be the end of my participation, but Vincent J. Burke, now JHU Press Editor Emeritus, persuaded me to begin a new phase, in which...Read More

American Civil-Military Relations

by eea | Monday, June 18, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Why does the world’s strongest military willingly take orders from unarmed politicians who are unschooled in the logic of professional violence? In a world where “might makes right,” why doesn’t the American military insist on getting its own way in the Pentagon and on Capitol Hill? Americans have become so comfortable with our exceptional norm that we fail to appreciate—or even recognize—the political puzzle we inhabit.

As Plato considered the design of a political community, he wrestled with the paradox of guarding the guardians. How can a community keep its protective force disciplined for the common good—“fierce to its enemies, but gentle to its friends?” In the United States, the guardians tend to guard themselves pretty well. Americans enjoy the luxury of a powerful and effective military that has no desire to involve itself in political rule. A strong sense of non-partisan subordination underwrites American military culture; it’s a point of pride among military members to serve whomever the people elect.

A noble professionalism therefore keeps the US military out of politics, but the practical expression of this professionalism takes varied forms in the daily grind of civil-military interaction. These varying expressions of professionalism are rooted in...Read More

Cold War Perspective on the North Korea Summit: Lessons from the Berlin Crisis

by eea | Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 8:00 AM

Cold War Perspective on the North Korea Summit: Lessons from the Berlin Crisis

Jenny Thompson and Sherry Thompson are the authors of The Kremlinologist: Llewellyn E Thompson, Ame rica's Man in Cold War Moscow , recently published by Johns Hopkins University Press.

A summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, inconceivable a few months ago, now offers the tantalizing possibility of solving one of the world’s major diplomatic challenges. Harsh rhetoric seemed to be leading the U.S. and North Korea into a situation where one of the two would have to face humiliating retreat or put their missiles where their mouths were. But then a meeting between South Korea and North Korea opened a door to a roller coaster ride of an on again off again summit between Trump and Kim Jong-un.

A meeting between Trump and Kim would have pleased the old-school diplomat nicknamed the “Cold War Owl.” Llewellyn Thompson served six presidents over a distinguished four plus decade career, including serving as Special Advisor on Soviet Affairs to both Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He was on hand for most of the...Read More

Mental Health Resources from JHUP

by eea | Monday, June 11, 2018 - 2:58 PM


Mental health is something we should not take for granted. Depression, anxiety, mood disorders and other mental health issues impact the well being of millions of Americans everyday. Yet many of us don't know how to talk to each other about mental wellness. Below is a list of resources and texts aimed at promoting discussion and equiping readers with the facts and tools to fight for mental health. If you or a loved one suffers from depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues please know you are not alone. Mental health is just as important as physical health. Take care. Ask for help. Be Well.

Enter the code HTWN on our website to get 20% off any of these titles.

Explaining the basics of mental health—including sleep hygiene, diet and nutrition, exercise, routine and structure, and avoiding isolation— Managing Your Depression empowers people to participate in their own care, offering them a better chance of getting, and staying, well.

In her book, When Someone You Know Has Depression , Dr Noonan describes effective communication strategies to use during episodes...Read More

Northern Italy in the Roman World

by eea | Thursday, June 7, 2018 - 12:00 PM

I started writing this book , Northern Italy in the Roman World , with a question: what effects did the Roman Empire have on territories under its control? That question has been a mainstay of Roman studies for decades, and I was hoping to apply it to northern Italy, an area that has been relatively neglected in scholarship on the Roman Empire.

In attempting to answer that question, I encountered further questions. What did I mean when I spoke of the Roman Empire? Was it the Roman state? Was it a larger imperial system of emperors, administrators, soldiers, and economic infrastructure? If so, how did this system function, and did that system evolve over time? Combined evidence from ancient inscriptions, archaeological remains, literature, and material culture eventually suggested that the Roman Empire was a complex and ever-changing system. Correspondingly, the effects of the Roman Empire on territories under its control changed as the empire itself changed.

Those effects can be seen throughout northern Italy. A good example can be found about 70 miles from Venice, in the small town of Aquileia. While the town now has just over 3,300 inhabitants, in the Roman era it was one...Read More

Hydrocarbon Nation

by eea | Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 12:00 PM

As a political historian, my initial objective when writing Hydrocarbon Nation was simply to investigate the role that fossil fuels have played in influencing America’s political and economic advance. My sense was that although most environmentalists view these natural resources as fundamentally evil, in fact, they had been central to the rise of the United States as a global power. I spent a few years researching and writing about this before recognizing that in many ways the more incredible story was how a loss of energy security, presaged by the peaking of domestic oil production in 1970, revealed fundamental weaknesses in our governing model and eroded foundational norms that we had long cherished. This resulted in a partial redirection of the book project. Rather than focusing solely on writing a narrative examining how our hydrocarbon largesse was used within what I call the INNATE revolutions (INdustrial + N + Agricultural + Transportation + Electrification), I determined that it was necessary to chronicle the impact that reduced energy security had on contemporary politics. After working on this account for more than a year, it occurred to me that the book would still be incomplete without some serious...Read More

Unmasking 'Aspirational Fascism'

by bjs | Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 10:00 AM

The late Michael Rogin , a political theorist who taught at the University of California, Berkley, spent his career finding creative approaches to critiquing the intersections of culture and power. His work "foregrounds the patterns of racialized nationalism and spectacle that Trump inherits and revises in resonant and dangerous ways," according to his former students Alyson Cole and George Shulman . They co-wrote an essay for the Spring 2018 issue of the journal Theory & Event examining this perspective. Cole, a Professor of Political Science, Women & Gender Studies, and American Studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and Shulman, who teaches political theory and American Studies at the Gallatin School of New York University, joined us for a Q&A about their essay.

How did you two come together to work on this essay?

We are both former students of Michael Rogin, though from different generations. That shared intellectual parentage (we are also students of Hanna Pitkin) created an important foundation for our relationship. Indeed, we met for the first time shortly after Mike's sudden and unexpected death, and that too...Read More

Building Washington, D.C.

by eea | Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 12:00 PM

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson's To-Do List:

Declare independence (note the British are the most powerful economic and military force in the world). Win a war (see note 1). Convince the thirteen colonies to give up their autonomy and form a federation (clearly confederacy is simply not going to work). Write a constitution and get signatures to same (see note 3.). Build a nation’s capital – an inspirational city - from the ground up.

The two hardworking gentlemen did lead a revolution; one with his writing, the other with military acumen. They removed the American colonies from British control. Their team cobbled together a nation of states, complete with a constitution, from thirteen disparate colonies.

Though both these middle-aged fellows deserved time off to enjoy their preferred lives as farmers – Washington at Mt. Vernon, Jefferson at Monticello – they firmly believed that the future of their new nation depended on a symbolic, as well as a physically central, location from which the new United States would be governed.

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson were clearly not intimidated by any challenge, but this was a beauty. With no money, no plans, no materials and no experience –...Read More