JHU Press Blog

Five Common Myths Busted About Dementia

by krm | Wednesday, April 5, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Why should everyone in the world raise their dementia-awareness? Across our country and around the world there is a lack of awareness, creating harmful myths surrounding dementia, thereby resulting in stigmatization, barriers to diagnosis and care, and negatively impacting caregivers, families and societies-physically, psychologically and economically. It's, therefore, essential that we “bust” these myths for everyone, from doctors and professional caregivers to friends, neighbors and community members become more “dementia-aware”.

1. Dementia is not a natural part of aging

It's true that you become more at risk for having a cause of dementia after you reach the age of seventy, but loss of normal brain function (dementia symptoms) must have a cause-or diagnosis. And there are over one hundred different causes-normal aging is not one of them !

2. Dementia symptoms are always brought on by diseases, brain trauma or illnesses of the brain

Dementia is the name for an extensive collection of symptoms that include memory loss, mood changes and problems with communication, processing of information and reasoning . These symptoms are produced by a number of diseases, illnesses or brain...Read More

On Poetry in Full Color

by krm | Tuesday, April 4, 2017 - 10:35 AM

A new Johns Hopkins book, That Swing: Poems 2008-2016 , takes its title from Duke Ellington's song "It Don't Mean a Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing." That statement seems to fit a collection of verse almost entirely written in meter---regular rhythms----and might be taken as an objection to free verse. To write in meter and rhyme, I know, is to risk being branded as old-fangled. But then, nearly all the tremendous body of poetry in English prior to our century is old-fangled too. The rise of free verse, said Stanley Kunitz, has made poetry easier to write, but harder to remember. Poetry that doesn't bother to rhyme and scan often strikes me as pallid, like black-and-white television. Poetry needs all the music it can get, T.S. Eliot once told a poet he’d rejected for The Criterion that he had “found it advantageous in correcting [his] lines to read them aloud to the beat of a small drum.”

Some think a poem has to be a memory of actual experience, a faithful diary entry. But if indeed the poem derives from memory, I believe in letting it...Read More

Behind the Book: Critical Educational Psychology

by krm | Monday, April 3, 2017 - 11:51 AM

Illustration courtesy of Daniel Cottam

Have you ever wondered why Piaget is a household name in any discourse related to child development? Although Piaget’s theory is well ensconced in schooling discourse, Vygotsky’s view of human development is gaining a great deal of traction. Why? Grit is considered a noncognitive skill that has predictive value for academic success. Is grit a new idea that represents psychologists’ efforts to understand the whole child and the factors that influence academic achievement? The value for measuring and teaching creativity and critical thinking in contemporary discourse has increased. Why have policy makers suddenly found value in these so-called higher order thinking skills? These questions, as well as many others, are considered in the book Critical Educational Psychology . The foundational assumption in the book is that there is no such thing as a neutral and value-free educational psychological concept or theory. There are cultural, ideological, philosophical, and historical contexts that underpin the emergence and acceptance of educational psychological knowledge. The deliberation over these contexts is what I refer to as critical educational psychology. Ideology, philosophical assumptions, cultural narratives, norms, and values circulate through educational psychology....Read More

A Changing Military, an Entrenched Culture

by krm | Monday, April 3, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Earlier this month, the Marine Corps and other branches of the U.S. armed forces came under fire after service members posted nude and partially nude photos of their fellow personnel to Facebook and other websites. When Marine veteran Erika Butner discovered photos of her posted on a closed Facebook group called Marines United , she hoped that the Marines would not dismiss the incident as a type of “boys will be boys” prank. Butner is a rape survivor, and she told a reporter that this type of behavior can lead to sexual violence. The Pentagon has launched an investigation into the matter, and U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis issued a statement in which he asserted that “Lack of respect for the dignity and humanity of fellow members of the Department of Defense is unacceptable and counter to unit cohesion.” Mattis went on to say that “We will not excuse or tolerate such behavior if we are to uphold our values and maintain our ability to defeat the enemy on the battlefield.” Far from dismissing the incident as an example of “boys will be boys” behavior, Mattis cast it as the type of activity...Read More

Five Reasons Not to Read Days of Slaughter

by krm | Tuesday, March 28, 2017 - 2:38 AM

After 19 years at Freddie Mac, I have an insider’s perspective on the housing crisis of 2008. So I wrote a book about it: Days of Slaughter: Inside the Fall of Freddie Mac and Why It Could Happen Again . Here’s why you shouldn’t read it.

You totally think Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are to blame for the financial crisis . Known as spongy government conduits, the two firms abided in a murky world where they could “privatize the profits and socialize the losses.” Operating under the cover of expanding the American dream of homeownership, the firms are a colossal example of failed government policy. With their out-sized profits and political cronies, Fannie and Freddie are clearly to blame. You totally think Wall Street firms are to blame . Greedy unregulated investment banks sent shady subprime brokers out to trap unsuspecting borrowers. Then they fed those risky loans into securities that ratings agencies labeled triple-A, which were sold to unsuspecting investors all around the world. When borrowers began defaulting on loans they could not afford to repay, Wall Street firms foreclosed on millions of mortgages and pocketed billions in government bailouts. That’s why...Read More

Behind the Book: Science and Religion

by krm | Monday, March 27, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Each year I teach an upper-division course on the History of Science and Religion. The course draws students from a variety of religious and nonreligious backgrounds, most of whom are studying science. Year after year I find that my students hold the same outdated misconceptions about the alleged conflict of science and religion. In lecturing recently on the monastic preservation and transmission of natural philosophy (science) during the so-called Dark Ages, for example, I mentioned Gerbert of Aurillac (c. 940-1003), a brilliant French polymath who combined considerable classical knowledge with theological learning. He was the first European in that unlearned age to use Aristotle’s works of logic, which later became an important part of medieval education, and he wrote extensively in several fields, especially on music and his special field of mathematics. I asked the class what they thought would happen to a man like that. One student immediately raised a hand and confidently surmised that he was burned at the stake! I surprised the student by saying that in fact he became Pope Sylvester II.

The first edition of my Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction appeared in 2002. The volume has enjoyed...Read More

Journals Celebrates Women's History Month

by bjs | Friday, March 24, 2017 - 6:00 AM

A quick look at our collection of journals would show two obvious candidates during Women’s History Month — the Journal of Women's History and Feminist Formations .

These two journals both feature outstanding editorial teams helping to present leading scholarship in many areas of women's studies.

Feminist Formations has brought its own perspective to gender studies since establishing an independent voice in 2010 after 21 volumes as the National Women's Studies Association Journal.

The journal editorial office recently relocated to the Oregon State University after successful stints at the University of Arizona and University of Minnesota. Patti Duncan leads the editorial team at OSU.

With a focus on women's, gender, and sexuality studies, Feminist Formations also features Poesia , a section in each issue dedicated to providing a space for creative commentary on important issues within the field. The next issue of the journal will focus on “Homefront Frontlines,” offering analyses of gender and militarism.

Based at Binghamton University, the State University of New York, the Journal of Women's History was...Read More

A Commitment to Community

by bjs | Thursday, March 23, 2017 - 6:00 AM

In the introduction to a recent special issue of the journal Library Trends , the guest editors simply state that “libraries are part of the fabric of society.” That kicks off the discussion of “Libraries in the Political Process,” the topic of the Fall 2016 issue edited by Christine Stilwell, Peter Johan Lor, and Raphaëlle Bats.

Lor, an extraordinary professor in the Department of Information Science at the University of Pretoria who also serves on the journal's Editorial Board, and Bats, a conservateur de bibliothèque at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Sciences de L’information (ENSSIB), in Lyon, France, also provided essays for the issue. The print publication grew out an open session called “Libraries in the Political Process: Benefits and Risks of Political Visibility, ” part of the Library Theory and Research (LTR) section of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) World Library and Information Congress in Lyon, France, in August 2014.

Stilmann, a professor emeritus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa, joined the editorial team during the process of putting the issue together. The three guest editors participated in a Q&A about...Read More

Behind the Book: The Snake and the Salamander

by krm | Wednesday, March 22, 2017 - 6:00 AM

When Matt asked if I was interested in writing a few paragraphs to accompany each of the illustrations he was creating for a book on the amphibians and reptiles of the northeast, I jumped at the chance. A quick check of his website convinced me that he could produce really wonderful, high quality, scientifically accurate illustrations. He wanted to explore the fantastic colors and body forms exhibited by this group of lesser known vertebrates. I wanted to explore the diversity of lifestyles and habitats used by these critters. Our goal was a book that would excite the interest of naturalists and students as well as be of interest to the general public.

Our first discussions centered around how to define the northeast for our purposes and which species to illustrate. If we only dealt with New England we would have about 60 species to work with. And we would be missing a number of very colorful species found in the New Jersey Pine Barrens as well as the states as far south as Virginia and West Virginia. Defining the northeast as Maine to Virginia would also correspond to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Region 5 and Partners in...Read More

Ten Principles of Good Sustainable Design History

by krm | Tuesday, March 21, 2017 - 6:00 AM

1. Good sustainable design history is aware of contemporary design strategies. Industrial designers in recent years have adopted several strategies for sustainable design. Among them are use of life-cycle assessments , developing related voluntary certification programs (such as Cradle-to-Cradle ), and upcycling. Understanding what the profession is attempting to do to reduce its effects on the environment is important.

2. Good sustainable design history uses history to critique contemporary design strategies. History allows us to see how decisions made in the past affected society and the environment. We may use it to understand how past design decisions in architecture, fashion, and industrial design had effects on the waste stream, on the health of consumers, and on resource use. Contemporary efforts at sustainability may be responses to problems of the past, and they may also repeat problems of the past. Because upcycling has a history, history can investigate the opportunities and limits of past upcycling practices.

3. Good sustainable design history recognizes history as an important contributor to contemporary design approaches . By evaluating past practice, history provides...Read More