JHU Press Blog

Mourning the End of an All Around Education

by bjs | Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Sara Dreyfuss currently serves as the Managing Editor of the journal portal: Libraries and the Academy , but she previously worked as the editorial director of the World Book Encyclopedia. Dreyfuss wrote an essay called " Out of Print " about the disappearance of print encyclopedias for the July issue of the journal . She joined us for a Q&A to talk about the importance of encyclopedias and what their demise means to her and learners in general.

What made you decide to write this essay?

Print encyclopedias have long been dear to my heart. Like many members of my generation, I have fond memories of reading encyclopedias, and I have regretted seeing those once-thriving publications go out of business one by one. It has felt like watching beloved family members grow steadily frailer and die. Today, only The World Book Encyclopedia continues to publish a new annual edition, and I fear that even World Book may soon stop producing a print set.

What memories do you have of your relationship with encyclopedias?

As a child,...Read More

Triumph and Trouble: India at 70

by bjs | Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Today marks the seventieth anniversary of India’s independence. The Journal of Democracy included a series of papers on this milestone in its July issue. We are re-printing the editor’s introduction to this cluster of papers, which can be found online at Project MUSE .

For seven decades now, India has been a fountain of challenges to democratic theories. When it became independent on 15 August 1947, India was one of the world’s poorest places in per capita terms. It was also one of the most linguistically diverse and culturally complex, with caste, ethnic, regional, and religious identities cumulating and cross-cutting in volatile ways. Social scientists thought democracy’s prospects dim in such a poor, divided country. Yet India has defied the odds.

It has held sixteen national elections amid conditions of free and open political competition, broken by just one short authoritarian spell in the 1970s. Ballotings across the vast subcontinent with its more than half a billion voters remain consistently well and fairly run—a stunning achievement that makes India a standout in the developing world. Yet too often, violence, fraud, and corruption mar public life, and a shocking...Read More

Edelman Fossil Park: Dreaming of Dinosaurs Creates Pathways for 21st Century Scientists

by krm | Friday, August 11, 2017 - 6:52 AM

By James E. Samels and Arlene L. Lieberman

At Edelman Fossil Park, the past comes alive for people of all ages. Children, campers, families and students all get to dig alongside paleontologists in a site rich with fossils from the Cretaceous period – the heyday of the dinosaurs. Fossils capture the imagination of a broad audience transcending the boundaries of age, educational background, economic circumstances, and geography.

Rowan University, a New Jersey public institution, forged a new vision for educating our children when it purchased the endangered fossil site at a Mantua, New Jersey quarry and added a new School of Earth and Environment.

The Nation needs a significant workforce in the geosciences and environmental sciences to address pressing societal issues… Hands-on engagement in paleontology forges an alluring gateway to these and other STEM careers. Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, Director of the Rowan University Fossil Quarry and Founding Dean of the Rowan School of the Earth & Environment.

Rowan University alumni, Jean and Ric Edelman made a vital contribution to science when they stepped in to expand and preserve the site. In acknowledging their $25 million gift,...Read More

To Be Online

by bjs | Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Earlier this year, Shakespeare Quarterly took an important step and launched a brand-new website to showcase content from the journal as well as innovative Shakesperean scholarship outside the traditional print product.

Journal editor Gail Kern Paster , also Director Emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library, answered a few questions about the launch of the site, which coincided with a special issue focused on new media and Shakespeare.

Douglas Lanier , professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, served a guest editor for the issue, titled #Bard. He joined us for a podcast about the issue and the direction of Shakesperean scholarship and new media.

How exciting is the launch of the new digital space? GKP: All of us at SQ are really excited to be launching this new digital space. We recognize that there are many ways to reach out to our audience and to grow it. We want our readers to have a bird’s eye view of our current and upcoming content and access to one full-text essay from the current issue. And we also want our readers to have access another...Read More

Q&A WITH JESSICA L. ADLER, Burdens of War: Creating the United States Veterans Health System

by krm | Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Q: Why did you decide to write Burdens of War ?

I was a health reporter for a small daily newspaper in Paterson, New Jersey in the early 2000s, writing about issues ranging from the rollout of Medicare Part D and the financial woes of small inner city hospitals to how patients and their families coped with chronic and acute illnesses. During conversations with caregivers, providers, representatives of advocacy organizations, and others, I found myself wondering how certain programs and services came to be, and why some were so idiosyncratic. Around the same time, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were ramping up, and there was discussion and debate about how returning service members were being treated. In that larger context, I was drawn to explore the history of the army health system. My initial research focused on the origins of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which, of course, has always played a highly visible role in providing care for military personnel, including in the first decade of the twenty-first century. As I perused the hospital’s early annual reports at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., I came across information about the World War I era and...Read More

Could the famed B&O Railroad be saved? In 1858, one man thought it could.

by krm | Friday, July 21, 2017 - 6:00 AM

A few blocks away from Baltimore’s lively Inner Harbor stands one of railroading’s most iconic buildings: the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Roundhouse, known as the “Birthplace of American Railroading” and now the home of the B&O Railroad Museum . Built in 1884, this historic building celebrates not only the country’s first railroad, but also the man who commissioned it: John W. Garrett, seventh president of the B&O from 1858-1884.

A full biography of Garrett was long overdue. After writing a biography of his daughter, Mary Elizabeth Garrett: Society and Philanthropy in the Gilded Age , I thought it was time to turn my attention to Garrett. Father and daughter had a very powerful, complex relationship; they greatly influenced and admired each other. But writing about the two proved very different. Mary came of age after the Civil War and, like many women of her generation and background, kept countless diaries and journals and left a copious paper trail of her innermost thoughts. Her father, also a product of his times — the male-oriented, show-no-weakness persona of Gilded Age industrialists — left few personal reflections. He was all business and what we know of...Read More

Achieving the “Greater Good”: Is Lack of Education Beyond High School the Culprit?

by krm | Monday, July 17, 2017 - 6:00 AM

The main cause and best permanent solution to the populist dissatisfaction that led to the 2016 electoral revolt in the US and in Europe lies in the issues discussed in this book. Colleges and universities do not produce students, they produce human capital skills that are used throughout life not just to increase earnings, savings, and income but also during times not at work to produce better health, children’s health, children’s achievement, greater longevity, and happiness. During time spent in the community, the human capital skills of graduates operate civic institutions, contribute to lower crime rates, increase tax revenues, and generally improve the quality of life and life’s chances. Beyond this, there is a race between new technology and education. Research universities produce both. This book addresses, and documents, how these processes occur.

The 64% of the US population that have a high school education or less have not enjoyed these benefits. Their plight is real. They have not benefitted from the economic growth generated by freer trade and advancing technology, but instead have been left behind with no increase in their real earnings since 1980. Many suffered reductions as they lost their manufacturing jobs and now lack the...Read More

The Erie Canal’s bicentennial: a reminder of what happens when wealth, politics, and science converge

by krm | Friday, July 14, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Two centuries ago, when the richest man in America ran for higher public office, he prioritized the public good above personal gain, and he cultivated American science and technology as key potential contributors to general prosperity. Stephen Van Rensselaer’s behavior certainly contrasts in interesting ways with the political realities of the early 21 st century in the United States. Readers of DeWitt Clinton and Amos Eaton: Geology and Power in Early New York learn about how the Erie Canal’s construction initially depended upon, and then, in turn, boosted, the growth and development of American geological theory and practice.

"Schenectady" (from The Water Ways of New York, in Harper's New Monthly Magazine , vol. 48, no. 283, Dec. 1873, p. 13).

DeWitt Clinton was the newly elected New York governor on July 4, 1817, when he thrust a shovel into the ground at Rome, New York to initiate the ambitious 350+ mile-long canal construction project. A Jeffersonian Democrat, Clinton shared very few things in common with the Federalist Rensselaer, but there were three key points on which these two men agreed.

Both shared an abiding personal fascination for the...Read More

“Perfectly Polite and Agreeable”: Anglo-American Encounters on the Far Side of Jane Austen’s World

by krm | Monday, July 10, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Rear Admiral Charles Austen (1779-1852) and Sir Francis Austen (1774-1865)

In June 1812, just after Jane Austen had completed her inaugural novel, Sense and Sensibility , the US Congress astonished Britons by declaring war on their nation. Through the War of 1812, Austen would continue to publish, producing some of her best-known works: Pride and Prejudice in 1813, Mansfield Park in 1814, and Emma in 1815, though she would write nothing about Americans.

As Lauren Gilbert observes, in an article entitled, appropriately, “Unrequited Love,” Jane Austen had little to say about America, and that little was not good.” A letter of September 2, 1814, noted, “I place my hope of better things on a claim to the protection of Heaven, as a Religious Nation, a Nation in spite of much Evil improving in Religion, which I cannot believe the Americans to possess.” Americans have since shown more love for Austen than she showed them. Yet, Austen’s readers may have thought that the atmosphere of gentility and politeness that she explored in her wonderful novels aptly conveyed the relationship between the two countries—encounters of “pride and prejudice,” but little “sense...Read More

Examining Jewish Life Through Objects

by bjs | Friday, July 7, 2017 - 6:00 AM

For a short time, Fisher Price made a set of Little People toys to help celebrate Hannukah. You can only find the set on the collectible market these days, but the figurines served as an easy starting point for Lauren Leibman's introduction to a recent special issue of American Jewish History on Jewish American material culture.

Leibman, a professor of English and Humanities at Reed College, said the toys exemplify "the variety of ways in which objects can embody what it means to be Jewish in American life." The special issue contains a diverse set of articles which dig deep into that concept. She joined us on our podcast to talk about the issue.

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