JHU Press Blog

The Beauty in your Own Back Yard - with Bryan MacKay

by eea | Friday, February 23, 2018 - 12:00 PM

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day” – Henry David Thoreau

Recalling the wise advice of the Sage of Concord, I head down a trail near my home on an unseasonably warm February morning. It has rained lightly during the night, and a humid fog settles in the low places. Although I usually set a goal of seeing some aspect of nature on these walks, today I have no such expectations; it is early in the calendar year, and the quiet season of winter still grips the Maryland countryside. Even so, after so many days of snow, ice, and cold, it’s good to get out and breathe fresh, clean air, and stir the blood so oxygen reaches every cell.

Thirty minutes of quietude is broken by an odd noise ahead; the sound of quacking ducks reaches my ear. But this is a forest, and I know there is no open water nearby. As I get closer, the sound gets louder, and I realize it’s not quite a quack, but something different. Dredging up memories of past hikes, I realize I’m hearing wood frogs.

And not just one or two wood...Read More

Remembering Sanford Gifford

by bjs | Thursday, February 22, 2018 - 10:00 AM

American Imago dedicated the final issue of its 2017 volume to a comprehensive collection of work by and about Sanford Gifford , a prominent psychoanalyst, psychiatrist and historian most known for his work at the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute Archives (BPSI). Gifford died in 2013, leaving behind a significant amount of unpublished work.

Olga Umansky, MLS , a Librarian/Archivist at the BPSI, led the effort to share Gifford’s work in the American Imago issue along with Rita K. Teusch, Ph.D., a Training and Supervising Analyst at BPSI and psychiatrist Anna Kris Wolff, M.D. Wolff is the daughter of Sigmund Freud’s colleague Ernst Kris, who served as editor of the journal Imago, the European precursor to American Imago.

The three driving forces behind this issue joined us for a Q&A about Gifford and the importance of sharing his legacy through the journal issue.

Sanford Gifford in the BPSI Seminar Room, 2005. Photograph by Allen Palmer, M.D. Reprinted courtesy of the Boston Psychoanalytic Society and Institute.

What was the process of putting this special issue together?

...Read More

Why Digital Equality Matters With Zoe Corwin

by eea | Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 12:00 PM

How do you write?

When you have an important deadline, do you buckle down at your office computer? Or venture to a café with wifi, toting a laptop? Do you spell check? Share drafts with colleagues via Dropbox or Google docs?

What if you had to do it all on your smartphone? And how would your work unfold if you didn’t have access to the Internet?

Really think about it. From sketching out your outline to editing, how would the quality of your work change?

For the past six years, my Pullias Center colleagues and I have been examining the effects of games and social media on college access . The main focus of our research has centered on a series of tools we created in collaboration with USC’s Game Innovation Lab and the non-profit Get Schooled. Along the way, we have been documenting barriers to digital equity faced by low-income, minoritized students.

We spoke with students (many of them) who composed their college essays entirely on their cell phones.

We heard countless stories of students doing their school work and college applications in fast food joints or on sidewalks next...Read More

Journals Celebrates Black History Month

by bjs | Wednesday, February 21, 2018 - 10:00 AM

As we celebrate Black History Month, we invite readers to visit the JHUP-published journals Callaloo and African American Review . These venerable publications provide a compelling glimpse at the literature, culture and history of African Americans and the African diaspora.

African American Review recently completed its 50th volume, a significant milestone for any journal. Led by editor Nathan Grant , the journal provides a home for vigorous conversation by leading minds. The journal is a scholarly aggregation of insightful essays on African American literature, theatre, film, the visual arts, and culture; interviews; poetry; fiction; and book reviews.

Callaloo provides an international showcase of arts and letters in its five issues, which include the annual Callaloo Art issue. Founding editor Charles Henry Rowell has created a home for an engaging mix of content by and about writers and visual artists of African descent worldwide.

But our commitment to celebrating the contributions of African Americans to America's heritage goes beyond these two journals. With more than 80 journals focusing on so many different areas of the humanities and social sciences, we naturally have...Read More

The Great American Railroad with Mark Aldrich

by eea | Monday, February 19, 2018 - 12:40 PM

It is hard to think of another industry in which safety has taken such as roller coaster ride as it has on railroads. When I wrote Death Rode the Rails , which charted rail safety down to 1965, it was a great success story. I stopped in 1965 because that was the end of ICC safety regulation. Though I knew that safety had begun to fall apart by then, I didn’t know why. No one else has told more than parts of this story and so Back on Track is my effort at home schooling.

Until I began to dig I did not know how broadly and badly safety had collapsed. Like everyone else I had forgotten the hazmat accidents of the 1970s. Yet these were only the most spectacular instances of an upsurge in derailments that coincided with a rise in worker fatality rates and the growing slaughter at rail-highway crossings. One of the most important things I learned were the intimate connection between the railroads’ economic health and their safety, the second how difficult it was for those with a vested interest in economic regulation to grasp that. Many things caused the railroads’...Read More

When News and Education Meet

by bjs | Saturday, February 17, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Today marks the 147th anniversary of the 1870 Education Act, which established compulsory schooling in England and Wales for children between the ages of 5 and 12. A recent special issue of Victorian Periodicals Review took a look at the relationship between periodical culture and the changes in educational opportunities for men, women, and children. Guest editor Janice Schroeder, associate professor of English at Carleton University, joined us to talk about the issue and the connection between publications and education in the late 19th century.

How did this issue come about?

The history of education and schooling in 19th-century England and its colonies is a vast field of study that has received much attention from historians, literary critics, and education and child studies specialists. At the same time, the study of the Victorian periodical and newspaper press attracts researchers from a range of disciplines. I pitched a special issue on education to the editor of Victorian Periodicals Review because I was interested in both Victorian schooling and 19th-century newspapers and magazines, but hadn’t seen a great deal of attention in the journal to the way the “Education Question,” as it was called,...Read More

The Ruin of J. Robert Oppenheimer

by eea | Friday, February 16, 2018 - 12:00 PM

When World War Two ended in 1945, Americans found themselves with a mysterious new weapon. They quickly learned that the weapon, which destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and effectively ended the war, had been built in the remote New Mexico desert, in utmost secrecy, by an assortment of physicists, mathematicians and other scientists many of whom were too young even to have earned their PhD's. The man whose photograph was displayed in all the newspapers and who was credited with leading this group was a slender, fragile-looking physicist by the name of Robert Oppenheimer. He became a hero, the man credited by many Americans for ending the war early and sparing their families the loss of a husband or brother or son.

Oppenheimer remained in the public eye. During the postwar decade he spoke out on the decisions facing the United States. And after the Soviet Union broke the American atomic monopoly by conducting its first test in 1949, Oppenheimer and other scientists were asked for their advice. Should the United States negotiate with the Soviet Union, led by Josef Stalin, or try to build a bigger bomb, the hydrogen bomb, a weapon said to...Read More

Mountain Lions of the Black Hills

by eea | Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Writing the book, “Mountain lions of the Black Hills: History and Ecology” was a great experience that allowed me to pull together aspects of research projects that my students and I conducted from the late 1990’s to about 2014. During that period, graduate students working under my direction and in close association with biologists of the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks radio collared over 300 mountain lions for the purpose of answering a variety of questions about the species. The information gained was critically important to the successful management of the species. These were amazing experiences that allowed us to learn much about the species as we addressed these questions and objectives.

The experience of getting up close and personal to immobilized lions while we collected biological information was facinating. Even the thought of encountering marked mountain lions when out in the field was an exhilarating experience. Yet, these short-term projects missed long-term patterns that became evident when I linked data and observations collected over the duration of our work on the species for the book. Weaving these studies of the species together over for such a long period allowed me to envision how...Read More

What Makes Health Care Special?

by bjs | Thursday, February 15, 2018 - 10:00 AM

What makes health care special? That’s the question driving an essay by Chad Horne in a recent issue of the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal . Horne, currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, PA, joined us for a Q&A about his essay .

What is the difficulty of coming to a conclusion on why health care costs should get special treatment?

When I talk about treating health care as special, what I have in mind is just the fact that citizens in most wealthy countries pay very little of their own health care costs out of pocket. Instead, either the government or a very heavily regulated private insurer foots most of the bill. Now of course there are lots of important goods, like food or housing, where the state steps in to provide targeted benefits for the disadvantaged, and that’s very important. But what makes health care unique is that health care programs typically cover all citizens, rich or poor (the U.S. being something of an outlier in this respect). Health care is typically universal program,...Read More

In the Body of a Victorian - with Kathryn Hughes

by eea | Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 12:00 PM

A few years ago it suddenly hit me that, as an historian of the nineteenth century, I hadn’t been doing a very good job. Or rather, I had done only half a job. Because while I had been diligent in finding out everything there was to know about the intellectual, professional and emotional lives of various eminent Victorians, I didn’t have a clue about what it felt like to live in their bodies. Was George Eliot secretly pleased that she managed to stay slender right through her fifties? What steps did Prime Minister William Gladstone take to disguise the fact that the forefinger of his left hand was missing? And how did the poet Elizabeth Barret Browning deal with the experience of being mixed race (her family were Jamaican plantation owners) in a smart residential area of London that was over-whelmingly white?

These are the kinds of the puzzles that I set out to unravel in my new book Victorians Undone . At first my plan was to write about the everyday bodily sensations experienced by unstarry Victorians – toothache, constipation, a graceful neck or slender foot. Almost immediately, though, I hit the buffers. For it...Read More