JHU Press Blog

All the Horrors of War – Q&A with author Bernice Lerner

by eea | Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - 12:00 PM

You wrote All the Horrors of War partly about your mother, and her narrative accounts are incredibly detailed – what did the interview process for these portions look like?

I have been asking my mother questions since I was a little girl, didn’t want to go to bed, and could stay up as long as I could keep her talking. Our conversations about her past continued through my teenage years (when I learned about her wartime experiences) and over subsequent decades. So I had organically acquired a framework, knew where she was during the war, and had heard many of her stories repeatedly. When I wondered about something specific I might include in the book, I might say, “I hate to take you back to this painful moment, but when you were on the death march (for example), can you recall what you were wearing?”

Can you describe some of the feelings and emotions you had to process – as a daughter, as a Jewish person, as a scholar – while you completed these interviews with your mother?

In order to write about my mother, I tried to envision...Read More

Taxi: A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver

by eea | Monday, April 13, 2020 - 12:00 PM

I drove a taxi in New York City from 1971-1975, graduating from hacking as a part-time earning a 42% commission on each fare to becoming a “steady man” who earned 49% of each day’s receipts plus tips. My first hack was a broken-down Dodge Polara with a smoky interior, bad breaks, a clunky transmission, and very weak shock absorbers. When I ascended to full-time status in 1973 Dalk Service, my garage, awarded me a brand-new Polara, which I drove until I totaled the car in a late-night accident. Dalk Service promptly fired me. I then worked for Frenat Taxi Company for two years until the dispatcher, irritated at my surly, defiant attitude, fired me, ending my career as a cabdriver. Unlike unfortunate drivers of today, I always earned money each day. But after five years behind the wheel, my body ached after each shift.

I mention these conditions because they are part of the background story of any cabdriver of that period, qualities that I tried to capture in my book, Taxi: A Social History of the New York City Cabdriver . As I explained in the 2008 first edition of the book,...Read More

The Lost Tradition of Economic Equality in America, 1600–1870

by eea | Thursday, April 9, 2020 - 12:00 PM

I began The Lost Tradition of Economic Equality in America, 1600–1870 while finishing my previous book, Tribe, Race, History, on Native Americans in southern New England from the Revolution through Reconstruction. At that time, 2005, the widening gulf between rich and poor in the U.S. was becoming a major public concern, decried in a growing number of policy studies and articles in national publications like the New York Times . As usual, few considered the history of the issue, and those that did at best went back to the Gilded Age for what the writers assumed was the origin of concerns over economic inequality. But I knew from that past research that during the Revolution and for decades afterward Americans worried about the corrupting influence of concentrated wealth and believed that widespread property ownership was essential to republican government. I had also learned that during Reconstruction, Congress had rejected land redistribution for freedmen while extending the vote, which seemed to mark a substantive ideological shift. I wanted to remind Americans of their Revolutionary ideals and wondered when, how, and why the shift had occurred, so I researched and wrote this book.

Probably my greatest surprise...Read More

On Becoming a Healer: The Journey from Patient Care to Caring about Your Patients

by eea | Tuesday, April 7, 2020 - 3:30 PM

I remember driving along a lovely country road to class in July 1989, the sun shining on my first day in medical school, and thinking “How bad can this be?” I had spent years preparing for the moment. Within a few days, however, I was anxious and overwhelmed. As the months passed I learned to function in academic survival mode, studying all the time and memorizing hundreds of answers from old tests so that I could regurgitate innumerable facts on countless exams. During the clinical years, we learned to “work patients up,” to “present them” on rounds, to do “scut-work” and to write exhaustive notes. That process seemed designed to turn me and my fellow students and, later, fellow residents, into efficient “task completers” rather than caring professionals.

After more than two decades as a medical school professor, I look at the way we treat medical students with dismay. For instance, I remember a first-year student who missed two days of class to be at the bedside of a parent who has just had a heart attack and was in the ICU. She had to provide written proof, per medical school policy, that...Read More

Not Even Past: A Q&A with Cody Marrs

by jdm | Thursday, April 2, 2020 - 10:00 AM

A Q&A with Cody Marrs, author of Not Even Past: The Stories We Keep Telling About the Civil War .

What led you to write Not Even Past ?

A lot of it was just living and teaching in the South. The Civil War shades into almost everything here. It’s in the places, the names, the sense of identity. That’s what generated the book: I wanted to connect what I do as a scholar to the everyday world I live in. I wanted to figure out how, why, and when the Civil War became this enduring conflict in American culture. I was curious: Who gets to tell the story of the Civil War, and how does that story change over time? What books have had the biggest impact, and why? I wanted answers, so I read everything I could get my hands on—poems, songs, letters, films, novels, statues, memorials—and then wrote about it.

How has Civil War memory changed over time?

Well, cultural memory never occurs in a vacuum. It’s social and adaptive. So it tends to change as the country changes. For a long time, the...Read More

Autism Awareness Month

by may | Tuesday, March 31, 2020 - 8:34 AM

Puzzle Pieces

Nearly 50 years ago, The Autism Society declared April Autism Awareness Month - a time when organizations and individuals work together to increase awareness, understanding, and acceptance of people with autism. As medical research continues to work towards understanding the condition, academics too have made great contributions to a deeper understanding of Autism and the experience of those living along the spectrum. Many JHU Press journals - ranging in subject matter from psychology to ethics, publish research and critical thinking that touches on those with autism. Here is a selection of titles, though many more are available (now with free access) on Project Muse.

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics Volume 2, Number 3, Winter 2012 Symposium: Parenting Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders Through the Transition to Adulthood

Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology Volume 26, Number 3, September 2019 An Anthropological Perspective on Autism

Literature and Medicine Volume 25, Number 1, Spring 2006 Mindblindness: Autism, Writing, and the Problem of Empathy

Feminist Formations Volume 30, Issue 1, Spring 2018 The Desire to Recognize the Undesirable: De/Constructing the Autism Epidemic Metaphor...Read More

JHU Press Journals Welcomes Christianity & Literature

by may | Monday, March 30, 2020 - 1:31 PM

Stained Glass Window

Last year, JHU Press was honored to acquire the journal Christianity & Literature . Christianity & Literature , published since 1950, is a scholarly journal devoted to the exploration of how literature engages Christian thought, experience, and practice. The first issue published by JHUP is Volume 69, Issue 1 (March 2020), a special issue titled Literature of / about the Christian Right . The journal’s editor, Mark Eaton of Azusa Pacific University, and the special issue’s guest editor, Christopher Douglas of the University of Victoria, took some time to discuss how the topic for the special issue came about, how the issue tackles the theme, and what’s in store for this journal ahead.

How was the topic of "Literature of / about the Christian Right" and Christopher Douglas chosen as guest editor for this special issue?

ME: Since becoming editor of Christianity & Literature in 2015, I along with Associate Editors Matt Smith and Caleb Spencer, have organized two special issues each year, or two out of four issues in each volume. Special issue topics have ranged widely, including The Environmental Imagination, Poetics/Praxis, The Sacramental Text Reconsidered, and Sincerity. We have asked a...Read More

Books to Escape With

by Anonymous (not verified) | Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 10:00 AM

Responsible global citizens are following news about the latest in COVID-19 developments in their communities and around the world, listening to experts, and taking precautions to keep themselves and their communities safe, so many of us are finding ourselves with a lot more quiet time at home. It’s important to stay informed (and we’ve put together a list of our books to help understand the situation), but we also sometimes need a break from the heaviness of the day’s news.

Below, we’ve put together a handful of books for anyone who’s practicing social distancing, quarantined, or just looking for an engrossing new read. Books that tell stories about our world, history, and even books themselves.

Nonfiction Gertrude Stein Has Arrived: The Homecoming of a Literary Legend

Roy Morris, Jr.

The American book tour that catapulted Gertrude Stein from quirky artist to a household name.

"[Morris's] writing is brisk and breezy... he magnifies and makes new."

Wall Street Journal The Lost Books of Jane Austen

Janine Barchas

"The lesson of this delicious book is that [Jane Austen] was even more popular for even longer with an...Read More

Writing Can Change Health Care

by eea | Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 12:00 PM

For more than 20 years, the “ Narrative Matters ” section of the health policy journal Health Affairs has showcased some of the most compelling personal stories in health care. I have edited the section since the fall of 2012, following in the footsteps of Ellen Ficklen, Kyna Rubin, and the section’s founding editor, the late Fitzhugh Mullan. When Mullan launched the section in 1999 with the encouragement of John Iglehart, the founding editor of Health Affairs , he and the rest of the Health Affairs team envisioned it as an opportunity to leverage the power of storytelling – with all its depth, drama, and emotion – to bring a human, and humane, perspective to research data and to policy debates. As a happy by-product, we’ve also nurtured this form of writing (what we call the “policy narrative,” but also the genre of medical and health narratives more broadly) by creating a regular space for it, and providing peer review and editorial guidance to authors. In 2006, Mullan, Ficklen, and Rubin gathered some of the most popular Narrative Matters essays in a collection called Narrative Matters: The Power of the Personal Essay in Health...Read More

Books for Understanding COVID-19

by eea | Friday, March 6, 2020 - 9:00 AM

When a new disease emerges, one of the public’s biggest enemies can be misinformation. While everyone is encouraged to keep up to date with the latest progress of the 2019 novel coronavirus, the cause of the disease COVID-19, it is important to fully understand the various factors at play in identifying and controlling a global epidemic. These include concepts of epidemiology such as: prevention, vaccine development and distribution, regional health governance, international policy, and pillars of immunity and the immune system.

Below, we’ve put together a brief guide to JHUP books and authors that may help readers understand potential causes of the outbreak, what we can be doing now, and what the path forward may look like.

A Modern Contagion: Imperialism and Public Health in Iran's Age of Cholera by Amir A. Afkhami

In A Modern Contagion , Amir Afkhami argues that Iran’s nineteenth-century Cholera crisis had a profound influence on the development of modern Iran, steering the country's social, economic, and political currents.

As the novel coronavirus continues its widespread infection of the Iranian population, Afkhami has been approached by multiple outlets, including The New York Times , to speak...Read More