JHU Press Blog

The Cold War Mom in 'The Americans'

by bjs | Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Earlier this year, the television show The Americans ended its five-season run on the FX network. The Cold War-era drama followed two Soviet KGB officers posing as a married American couple. Smita Rahman , the Frank L. Hall Professor of Political Science at DePauw University (and a 2007 JHU grad), published " Honor Among Spies: The Cold War ‘Mom’, Family, and Identity in The Americans " in the journal Theory & Event . The essay examined the conceptual nexus between honor, espionage, and the formation of identity in the show, particularly in the show’s portrayal of motherhood. Rahman joined us for a Q&A about her article and the presence of television critique in academic.

What was the process of developing the article?

I am working on a book on the politics of honor in contemporary visual and literary culture. I'm interested in exploring the enduring significance of the seemingly archaic concept of honor in popular culture and our political discourse. Often, honor serves as a kind of aspirational ideal, but more often it serves as a kind of anesthetic to...Read More

The St. Bernard: Alpine Rescue Dog or Manchester Manufacture?

by eea | Monday, October 29, 2018 - 12:00 PM

The much-loved St. Bernard dog we know today was created by Victorian dog fanciers. It bears little semblance to the rescue dogs said to have been kept by Swiss monks on the St. Bernard Pass in the early nineteenth century. The leading champion of the new St. Bernard, defining its form and introducing it at dog shows, was the John Cumming Macdona, the colourful vicar Cheadle, now in Greater Manchester. Not only was the dog’s physical form changed and standardized when it became a show dog, but the preoccupation of Victorian breeders with fancy features and pure blood led to inbreeding and health problems.

Photo: The St. Bernard today

Our new book, The Invention of the Modern Dog , demonstrates that all types of dog, previously kept for work, sport, or companionship, were refashioned over the Victorian era. These changes were the product of the coming of fancy dog shows, which were pioneered Britain and then copied around the world, with consequences for dogs everywhere. The Victorian dog fancy radically changed the way we see and breed dogs; from types defined principally by function to breeds defined by form. The...Read More

Educating the Mammalogists of Tomorrow

by eea | Friday, October 26, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Mammals inhabit nearly every continent and every sea. They have adapted to life underground, in the frozen Arctic, in the hottest deserts, the coldest oceans, and every habitat in between. Some are terrestrial, while others are arboreal, fossorial, or aquatic, and bats are even aerial. Many mammals eat plants, many others are carnivorous or omnivorous, but a few species have specialized diets, dining on termites and ants, or even blood meals. A few mammals lay eggs, others house their young in marsupial pouches, and many (like us) use a placenta to nourish the fetus. In sum, mammals are a diverse and fascinating group. Mammalogists (those who study mammals) are understandably captivated by the group. We are drawn to mammals out of a curiosity for the diversity of behaviors and ecology they exhibit.

The main purpose of writing Mammalogy Techniques Lab Manual is to provide those who wish to study mammals an opportunity to practice the techniques used by today’s mammalogists. An additional goal is to get these students outdoors, where they can hone their observation skills and practice the essential tools of the trade.

Why is this important? Many species of mammals are threatened or...Read More

Tackling Estrangement

by bjs | Thursday, October 25, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Earlier this year, the journal Social Research: An International Quarterly released a special issue on Estrangement . The eight essays take a look at the issue in both historical and current social and political contexts. Editor Arien Mack from The New School for Social Research has agreed to publish her introduction to the issue, which is available on Project MUSE , here.

By Arien Mack Editor, Social Research

In putting together this issue on Estrangement , we made clear to the authors whom we invited to write for it that the issue was not intended to be a collection of papers reflecting on the Marxist notion of "alienation," but rather a discussion of the idea of estrangement in the sense of defamiliarization or "making strange"—the distance that in its positive aspect can provide the possibility of new perspectives, but in its negative aspect can cause division between intimates (members of a family or members of a religion) or groups within a single society (neighbors or racial/ethnic groups).

Estrangement has clear political dimensions, which are all too easily seen in the election of Donald Trump in the United States,...Read More

A Call to Vaccinate

by eea | Wednesday, October 24, 2018 - 12:00 PM

My latest book from the Johns Hopkins University Press was written as a literary form of crisis communications. Across parts of the United States and Europe we’ve now seen a reversal of some of the great public health gains achieved over the last two decades, mostly due to an aggressive and largely unopposed anti-vaccine movement. I became alarmed and wanted to write a unique book to slow or halt this rising tide of anti-science.

I became especially concerned about measles, a highly contagious viral infectious disease that killed more than 0.5 million people, mostly young children, annually in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Through a global vaccination strategy led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, together with UNICEF, the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other international health organizations, we achieved dramatic reductions in the deaths due to measles, for the first time reducing the number of childhood deaths to around 50,000, a 90 percent reduction! But then due to a well-organized anti-vaccine movement, vaccinations halted in parts of Eastern Europe, as well as in Italy and elsewhere in Western Europe, resulting in >60,000 measles cases in 2017-18 so far ( according to the...Read More

Responding Through Art

by bjs | Tuesday, October 23, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Earlier this year, Theatre Topics published a special issue on "Theatre and Protest ." The issue featured eight essays as well as production notes from a half-dozen campus performances of either "Every 28 Hours" or "After Orlando," short-form dramas designed to react quickly to current events. Journal editor Lisa Brenner joined us for a discussion about releasing this issue during the current climate of protest and action.

Did you have any challenges in putting this issue together? The biggest challenge in putting this issue together was coordinating all the moving parts. I wanted the issue to be inclusive of many topics surrounding protest: the environment, women’s rights, racial violence, etc. So, that meant there were several pieces. In one section, we included various takes on the same two projects: “Every 28 Hours” and “After Orlando” respectively. How important is it for an editor to take her personal experience and use that to mold an issue, like you describe in your introduction? I struggled with this question. On the one hand, I didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about myself—I’m the editor, not an author....Read More

The Nature of New York

by eea | Monday, October 22, 2018 - 12:00 PM

There’s something about honey bees that delights us. They are known as “social” for a reason: they care for each other throughout their lives. They are born to serve one another and this devotion to the tens of thousands of bees within their community ensures the survival of the hive.

In the fall of 2011, I learned from Peter Betz, my nephew and executive sous chef at the Waldorf Astoria, that the newly hired director of culinary, David Garcelon, would be bringing bee hives and a chefs’ garden to the 20 th story rooftop of the Waldorf, and that chefs, cooks, waiters, and workers from all over the hotel would be working during their days off to build the hives and the raised garden beds. I was both moved and intrigued. I had written several books about the parks, natural history, trees, and birds of New York City, but this book would have to weave together the history of the hotel, of early New York, of the biology of bees, and of the symbiotic relationship between bees and flowers. My research led me to the 130-year history of the hotel known as “the greatest of them all.” The Waldorf...Read More

Grieve The Losses That Come Along With Depression

by eea | Friday, October 19, 2018 - 12:00 PM

It might surprise you to know that along with a diagnosis of depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental illness, a person often experiences a number of personal life losses that need to be addressed. Most people don’t even think about it or realize that these losses are happening. If you choose to ignore them, these losses will frequently come back in some form, unexpectedly, to haunt you and add to your misery. If you try to suppress them, it’s a burden you carry that will require lots of emotional effort and energy. Dealing with losses as they arise is usually the best course to take. Losses are frequently associated with anxiety and stress, and it’s most helpful to use your coping skills in response.

What do I mean by losses? A difference in the way you see yourself as a healthy person is one example. If you lose self-esteem or confidence, this could lead you to feel as if you’ve also lost a particular perception of yourself, or of your standing in your community—whether that’s as a working person, a student, a homemaker, etc. Spending time feeling unwell and going to mental health treatment appointments and support...Read More

Putting Orthodox Studies on the Radar

by bjs | Wednesday, October 17, 2018 - 10:00 AM

Earlier this year, the JHU Press published the first issue of a new journal The Journal of Orthodox Christian Studies . An initiative of the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University, the journal will publish leading scholarship on all aspects of the thought, history, society, politics, theology and culture of Orthodox Christianity broadly conceived.

Journal editors George E. Demacopoulos (Fordham University) and Vera Shevzov (Smith College) agreed to publish the introduction to the inaugural issue on the blog.

Often associated with the qualifier "Eastern" and perceived as the Christian "other" in the context of contemporary world Christianity, Orthodox Christianity has historically remained largely off the curricular and scholarly radars of American academics. Yet, from late antiquity to modern times, as persecuted minorities, subjects of state-supported imperial regimes, or immigrants to "foreign lands," Orthodox Christians have made some of the most significant and lasting contributions to the visual arts, literature, music, philosophy and theology, among other fields. Equally significant, yet politically more contentious, is the fact that Orthodoxy, in all its distinctive permutations, has historically offered a host of alternatives to...Read More

The Future of News

by eea | Friday, October 12, 2018 - 12:00 PM

Until very recently, the things that we refer to as “newspapers” were exclusively material objects made of paper. Today, many people actually read what they call “newspapers” on digital devices, and some have even taken to calling printed newspapers “dead tree media” as a way of signaling what they see as the backwardness and even irrelevance of that particular method of news distribution. Though there are some signs that printed newspapers are thriving in local communities, it is unclear as of late 2018 what the future of the medium is. Dead Tree Media is not a forecast of what that future will be, but rather it offers a reconsideration of the newspaper’s past by proposing a new history of its industrial production as a paper object.

When most people think about printed newspapers, they tend to think about the words on the page and the effects and influence that those words have on public opinion. Newspapers are the things that provide us with the journalism that is vital for a democratic society. Dead Tree Media explores another element of the newspaper’s material history. Rather than starting with the news appearing before the reader...Read More