JHU Press Blog

Writing through Heart Disease with Carolyn Thomas

by eea | Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 12:00 PM

A Woman's Guide to Living with Heart Disease : my blog-turned-book!

By Carolyn Thomas

Part Two: Writing the Blog-Turned-Book

After two copies of my book contract were duly signed and returned to JHUP, I bought myself a new laptop to replace my ancient MacBook Pro in anticipation of starting this important project. I’d loved that old computer dearly despite its one perverse flaw: the “o” no longer worked on the keyboard. You would not believe how many words contain the letter “o”.

I knew that I’d need a visual outline of my 10-chapter draft Table of Contents to easily refer to for the year ahead. A big foam core poster fit the bill, propped up on my dining room table, covered with Post-its destined to be endlessly rearranged. It made for a unique decor accent.

Like many of my blog articles, each chapter of this book on living with heart disease was to start with a theme introduced by a brief personal narrative of my own heart attack experience. Each narrative was to be followed by a broader discussion of closely related themes,...Read More

A Night at the Museum Show

by bjs | Wednesday, December 6, 2017 - 9:00 AM

Earlier this year, Theatre Journal released a special issue on " Theatre and the Museum/Cultures of Display, " sparked by journal co-editor Jennifer Parker-Starbuck's personal fascination with the history of collection and display.

"This special issue, then, was initially sparked by a cross-section of my interests; indeed, my essay about taxidermy and performance (generously referenced here in Joshua Williams’s essay ) began when I became fixated on an exhibit of taxidermied dog heads circling around the head of a wolf in the Horniman Museum in South East London," she writes in her introduction to the issue.

Parker-Starbuck joined us in a Q&A to talk about the resulting five essays and how the topic makes a natural connection to the theatre performance.

How fun was it to work on an issue that developed from the intersection of your personal interests?

This Special Issue came about because not only was I brought up going to museums (from my mother’s love of art, to living outside of Washington, D.C. when I was young, where the free entry Smithsonian Museums provided hours of amusement) but also because my own research on...Read More

"You Gotta Know the Territory": Solutions to the Education Market with Robert Zemsky

by eea | Monday, December 4, 2017 - 12:00 PM

In 1958 I spent a rather extraordinary week in New York City—a California teenager on the loose with two high school buddies. What proved particularly remarkable was how we spent our afternoons. Each day we stood in the back of a different Broadway theater—and we saw the best the city had to offer: Ketti Frings’ Look Homeward Angel; Judy Holiday in The Bells are Ringing, and what I remember best, Robert Preston in Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man-- a now, too often forgotten musical masterpiece . Fifty-nine years later I am in attendance at another performance of the musical, this time in an upscale community theater in Narberth Pennsylvania. What had brought me to the theater was my grandson Noah who had the part of Winthrop, the role that introduced Ron Howard to American movie audiences. But it wasn’t only Noah that captured my imagination that night. Once again I was transfixed by the opening number’s clickety-clack of a speeding railroad car filled with traveling salesmen reminding each other of the rules of the road.

You can talk, you can bicker.

You can talk, you can bicker.

You can talk, talk, talk,...Read More

When a Nosebleed is More than a Nosebleed: Understanding HHT with Sara Palmer

by eea | Sunday, December 3, 2017 - 12:00 PM

Few people are familiar with HHT, an uncommon blood vessel disorder affecting about 1 in 5000 people around the world. So today I’ll introduce you to HHT—what it is and when to get tested for it.

What is HHT? HHT stands for Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia—a mouthful of medical terminology! Here’s what it means:

H ereditary (genetic; inherited)

H emorrhagic (causes bleeding)

T elangiectasia (abnormal blood vessel)

In other words, HHT is inherited; it causes bleeding; and the bleeding comes from abnormal blood vessels. HHT is caused by a mutation in one of several genes related to blood vessel development. If you have HHT, each of your children has a 50% chance of inheriting the disease. Only some blood vessels in people with HHT are abnormal or malformed. In these malformations, there is a direct connection between an artery and a vein, while normal capillaries (the smallest blood vessels) are missing. These malformations commonly occur in nose, gastrointestinal tract (gut), or on the skin (where they are called telangiectasias) and in the lungs, brain, or liver (where they are called arteriovenous malformations (AVMs )). The location, size...Read More

Modernist Literature and Communist Ideology: A Look into Red Modernism with Mark Steven

by eea | Friday, December 1, 2017 - 12:00 PM

I first started writing Red Modernism for the same reason I write most things: to work through a problem whose answer, tantalizing as it might be, just doesn’t come easily. The problem, in this case, evolved from a contradiction between my enthusiasm for certain types of modernist literature and my commitment to a certain kind of politics. To put things starkly, I’m a communist that spends way too much time reading poetry written by a fascist – namely Ezra Pound, who is the first of Red Modernism’s three major case studies, followed by William Carlos Williams and Louis Zukofsky.

My intuition, going into this book, was that even if a poet might be from the enemy camp, maybe their poetry would have other things to say about the matter. It has been argued elsewhere that there is an essential link between poetry and communism, because poets deal in language and because language is common property. I’m not entirely sure that’s the case – it’s all a bit too abstract for my liking – but there remain numerous good reasons to think the two as related, and with specifically modernist poetry there is also a relatively unique historical...Read More

Letting Go of Results: The Education of William James and My Own Medical Crisis

by krm | Friday, December 1, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Life is a soul school, and some classes are harder than others.

For decades after his death in 1910, William James served as the genial uncle figure of American philosophy. He was famous as a popularizer, even though his tendencies to offer insights connecting disparate parts of life and contrasting outlooks reinforced his reputation for lack of rigor. Recently, research on the relations of dual contrasts between religion and science, mind and body, and philosophical thinking and lived experience has increased appreciation for James’s ways of thinking. My book, Young William James Thinking , tells the story of James’s evolution toward his mediating postures, and writing the book brought home to me the significance of connecting theory and life.

In December 2003, I was working on chapter 2, “Between Scientific and Sectarian Medicine.” However, in previous weeks, blurry vision in my left eye was making reading increasingly difficult. My eye doctor conducted some tests, including an MRI, “just to rule some things out.” A few days later, the doctor called to say that the MRI results explained my blurry vision: I had a brain tumor growing on my pituitary gland...Read More

The Tragedy of Eugenic Sterilization with Molly Ladd-Taylor

by eea | Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 12:00 PM

Fixing the Poor: Molly Ladd-Taylor’s new take on eugenic sterilization

Even in these polarized times, everyone can agree that the sterilization of more than 63,000 Americans under state eugenics laws was wrong. Most Americans recoil from the idea of improving human society by limiting the reproduction of the “unfit.” The 1927 Supreme Court decision allowing the sterilization of Carrie Buck, a white “feebleminded” unwed mother, is now seen as one of the Court’s worst mistakes. Yet the national consensus against eugenics does little to explain how state sterilization policies developed or how to prevent them from developing again.

Eugenics laws are typically blamed on scientific hubris and the arrogance of elites. My research, however, shows that state sterilization policies reflected many worldviews and political agendas. Eugenic sterilization was driven as much by state and county welfare politics as by crude theories of genetic improvement.

Thirty-two states passed sterilization laws between 1907 and 1937, but who was targeted and the number of people sterilized varied. Fixing the Poor explores one state’s policy, focusing on how it was implemented and how it affected ordinary people. Instead of examining a state with the...Read More

Writing in the Digital Age: A Tour from Blog to Book with Carolyn Thomas

by eea | Monday, November 27, 2017 - 10:36 AM

A Woman's Guide to Living with Heart Disease : my blog-turned-book project! :By Carolyn Thomas

Part One: The Pitch

"Have you considered writing a book based on your excellent Heart Sisters blog ? I would love to explore the possibility with you."

The date was September 9, 2015, and this was the message that was about to change the next two years of my life. It came from Jacqueline Wehmueller, then Executive Editor at Johns Hopkins University Press.

After many subsequent conversations, Jackie asked me to submit a standard proposal package including a sample chapter and a draft outline of a 10-chapter table of contents. She also sent me a multi-page author questionnaire, essentially asking "Why this book? Why now? And why are you the person to write this book?"--to which I answered (but only to myself): "Ahem. You called ME, remember?”

Another important question that Jackie and I had explored was this one: why would anybody buy a book when they could read much of the same content free on...Read More

Race and the Urban Landscape: The Historical and Social Impact of Skyscrapers with Adrienne Brown

by eea | Monday, November 20, 2017 - 4:26 PM

The skyscraper is certainly not an understudied building typology. It has received plenty of scholarly attention in the century-and-a-half of its existence. A recent search for skyscrapers in the Library of Congress catalog resulted in 391 listings, which includes scholarship that situates this architecture in relationship to capitalism, gender, engineering, construction, economics, façade design, the fine arts, and cinema. So you might be wondering, as I did at almost every stage of writing this book: What new is there to stay about this very very well-studied building type?

Although saying something new about the skyscraper was an admittedly daunting task given the many amazing and brilliant books that have been written about this structure, my book works to forge new ground by focusing on its relationship with race. Moreover, that race is one of the few neglected aspects of the skyscraper’s well-studied historiography suggests something broader about all the things we don’t yet know about both race and architecture. By studying how writers described and engaged the skyscraper, I argue that we get a new story about the skyscraper as both a fount of racial anxiety but also a site of major experimentation for considering how...Read More

Singing with Specific Detail: The Art of the Short Story with Lee Conell

by eea | Friday, November 17, 2017 - 9:00 AM

The story I sometimes tell about why I write stories begins like this: The summer after second grade I was having an imaginary pie fight with my imaginary brothers and sisters. I’m an only child and I’d never been in a pie fight, but I had watched many, many hours of cartoons and I knew what to do. I jumped around on my bed, ducking from imaginary pies, darting around pillows. My room was small and my bed was low down, not even a real bed, but a big box in which our apartment building’s new elevator doors had been delivered. My mom had asked my dad to bring the box in from the garbage room, and reimagined it: Now the elevator box had a mattress on it, had many pillows on it had, had many stuffed animals on it. As I jumped on the elevator box I swerved to avoid the stuffed animals and, while I pretended to throw an imaginary pie, landed weirdly on my ankle.

I screamed out. I couldn’t walk.

When my foot wasn’t better the next day, my mom took me to the doctor, and my ankle got put in a cast. I’d...Read More