JHU Press Blog

Happy birthday, Edison, Lincoln, and Darwin!

by Anonymous (not verified) | Friday, February 10, 2012 - 1:22 PM

This weekend, we’re celebrating the birthdays of three great figures in history: Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, and Abraham Lincoln. Edison was born 165 years ago this Saturday, and Sunday marks the 203rd anniversary of the births of both Lincoln and Darwin. Did you know that Edison wasn’t the first to develop an incandescent light bulb? His invention, though, was the most successful of all the competing inventions. Drawing from the documents in the Edison archives, Robert Friedel and Paul Israel explain how this came to be in Edison’s Electric Light: The Art of Invention. (Nearly a hundred years ago, Edison predicted that another of his inventions, the motion picture camera, would render books in schools obsolete within 10 years; while that hasn’t happened yet, you can read Edison’s Electric Light via Project MUSE.) And for more on the Wizard of Menlo Park that might spark some of that 1 percent of your own genius that's inspiration, check out The Papers of Thomas A. Edison, Vol. 5, Vol. 6, and Vol. 7. ...Read More

In Other Words: American Quarterly Sound Clash

by bjs | Friday, February 10, 2012 - 12:00 AM

Editor Sarah Banet-Weiser discusses the newest special issue from American Quarterly. "Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies" was released in September 2011. Kara Keeling and Josh Kun served as guest editors for the issue, which examined the impact various types of sound have on American culture. 

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Are you caring for someone who has dementia?

by cmt | Thursday, February 9, 2012 - 3:08 PM

Guest post by Laura Wayman Are you caring for someone who has dementia? If not, chances are you know someone who is. Caring for a loved one with dementia can be overwhelming, and many caregivers become frustrated when trying to communicate and connect with that person. In A Loving Approach to Dementia Care you will find tried and true methods for developing a care plan that fits your dementia care journey. Please watch this video to find out exactly why I wrote this book. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JSjKeHrTl4&feature=player_embedded Few care providers are trained to meet the challenges of dementia. They need guidance to overcome caregiving obstacles and cultivate more meaningful relationships with loved ones who have dementia and memory loss. With respect, calmness, creativity, and love, I hope to help all caregivers do just that. Laura Wayman holds an associate in arts degree in gerontology and is a certified Social Services Designee. She has over a decade of experience in and a strong dedication to quality aging. She is the resident dementia expert and grant writer for Seniors First, a nonprofit organization that helps seniors live independently; the...Read More

Q&A with Amish Scholar Donald B. Kraybill

by cmt | Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 9:31 AM

Later this month PBS will air a new American Experience documentary entitled The Amish. This two-hour film gives viewers an unprecedented and intimate portrait of contemporary Amish faith and life. JHU Press author and Amish scholar Donald B. Kraybill served as program consultant and here answers questions about his experience working on the film.

Q.  What are the differences between writing books about the Amish and serving as the program consultant for a documentary on them?

A.  I served as the program consultant for building connections with Amish people and proposing stories, providing information, fact checking, and critiquing a rough cut of the film. Because the Amish forbid television and videography, they are much more willing to be interviewed for a book than a film. They willingly speak with me when I gather information for a book but it is much more challenging to persuade them to be involved with a film. Furthermore, I did not conduct the interviews for the film and Amish people were not always comfortable speaking to a stranger on tape. Second, an author...Read More

The Politics of Defunding Women's Health

by cmt | Friday, February 3, 2012 - 12:06 PM

Guest post by Alexandra M. Lord Recently, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation pulled its financial support of breast cancer screening and education programs run by Planned Parenthood. The reasons for pulling their support? According to a spokesperson for the Komen Foundation, the organization has adopted a new rule that prohibits grants to organizations under investigation by local, state, or federal authorities. Planned Parenthood is the only organization funded by the Komen Foundation that is targeted by this new rule. Just before the new rule was announced, the staunchly anti-abortion Republican congressman Cliff Stearns had announced that he would be launching an investigation of Planned Parenthood, and the Komen Foundation had hired a new vice president for public policy, Karen Handel, a former politician who has been hostile to Planned Parenthood and contraception in general. As a historian, I read these kinds of stories and feel frustrated. Frustrated because this is a tactic that has been successfully used by the Far Right in the past. Under the Bush Administration, a similar tactic was used to undermine organizations promoting sex education. Aggressive—and multiple—audits were conducted of organizations promoting sex education. The audits,...Read More

Beating the winter blues

by cmt | Thursday, February 2, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest Post by Dinah Miller, M.D. Blah, Blah, Blah It's early February and for many people, it's not the best time of year.  The nights are long, the days are cold and gray, and the sidewalks are icy.  Here in Baltimore, football season ended with a devastating loss by the Ravens in the playoffs, and we’re left with Newt versus Mitt on the big screen. For some, it's a relief that the holidays are over. They may be laden with disappointment for those who have too little to do, exhaustion for those with too many obligations, and bittersweet memories of childhood and loved ones now gone. For others, there is a let down after all the holiday activities, and the winter hibernation begins a countdown until spring. For some people, the winter blahs are not simply a time of slowing down or being disappointed. The sadness can be profound and accompanied by changes in sleep and appetite, overall energy level, productivity, and even the ability to function at routine tasks—a condition psychiatrists call an episode of major depression. If it happens repeatedly and predictably, we think of these difficulties not only as clinical depression, but as a phenomenon called seasonal...Read More

How many senses do we have?

by cmt | Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by John M. Henshaw

Just how many senses does a human being have? If you Google this question you will find, as with just about anything else you might care to Google, a variety of answers. Some say we have seven senses, while others put the total at nine, ten, or twelve. What’s the right answer? It all depends on how you define things.

Let’s first observe that all of the numbers in the paragraph above are greater than five. It doesn’t take much reflection to figure out that humans possess more than the five “classical” senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch.

The idea of five classical senses dates back at least to Aristotle, himself a rather classy guy. In De Anima (Of the Soul) he argues that, for every sense, there is a sense organ. So far, he’s on reasonably solid ground. It’s when he goes on to say that there can be no sixth sense, because there are only five sense organs, that he gets himself into trouble.

It doesn’t take much reflection to figure out that humans possess more than the five “classical” senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch....Read More

Monthly contest: share your sounds

by bjs | Friday, January 27, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Do you hear that? In September 2011, the journal American Quarterly released its annual special issue. This edition "Sound Clash: Listening to American Studies" gave authors a chance to study the role sound plays in American culture. Articles focused not only on music, but on noise pollution, CB radios, and telephone training films. A special web page was posted with supplementary content from a number of the articles. Show us how sound affects your life with our first monthly contest. Submit a sound clip (MP3 format, please) which best describes your American experience. Let us hear what your commute sounds like or the ambient sound of your favorite restaurant. Maybe the sound of children playing speaks to you or you get inspired by the everyday sounds in your office. We will collect these audio postcards and share selections here at a later date. Please submit your entry of one minute or less by February 17 to jhu.journals@gmail.com. The first 10 entries will receive a free copy of the American Quarterly special issue...Read More

The High Holy Days of Biology are here

by Anonymous (not verified) | Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 8:00 AM

Guest post by John L. Koprowski For many, the days of winter may seem endless. Perhaps the shininess of the New Year has begun to dull. But there is reason to celebrate! The "High Holy Days of Biology" are upon us. To the student and professional or lay biologist, the excitement of this festive season continues! I share with my students at the University of Arizona each year the "biologically important" days of winter.
Eastern Gray Squirrel

Credit: Laura Perlick/USFWS.

January 21st got things rolling with "Squirrel Appreciation Day." And just who cannot appreciate a squirrel? For some, we may marvel at their ability to raid the birdfeeder and utter the occasional curse word not quite loud enough for our neighbor to hear. But look again as that squirrel descends a tree and notice how it rotates its ankle 180 degrees from the normal forward position and tell me that that flexibility alone does not deserve a day of appreciation. And so, for the eastern gray squirrels and fox squirrels that have scatterhoarded the fall bounty of nuts or the red squirrel that has piled the winter’s supply...Read More

Q&A with Tintinologist Benoît Peeters

by cmt | Monday, January 23, 2012 - 8:00 AM

With Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin in American theaters for over a month now, in this country there is a renewed interest in all things Tintin, including the life and work of the creator of the comic, Georges Remi, better known as Hergé. Recent reviews in The New York Times, Washington Post, and elsewhere of the English-language translation of Benoît Peeters's seminal biography of the man, Hergé, Son of Tintin, brought a few question to mind, so we posed them to Mr. Peeters. (JHU Press manuscript editor Michele Callaghan translated Mr. Peeters's answers from the original French.)

Q. Did you know Hergé

A. I knew Hergé a little in the last years of his life. My first meeting with him dates back to April 29, 1977, when Patrice Hamel and I interviewed him. He spent more than two hours answering all the exacting and bothersome questions—often naive and sometimes...Read More