JHU Press Blog

“We'll figure it out.”

by cmt | Friday, August 16, 2013 - 10:00 AM

That’s become our motto at the JHU Press, where the only constant is change, as they say. And we ’ ve decided to embrace it. So when a prominent dermatologist agreed to write a book for us on the condition that we publish it as a multi-touch iBook, with patient videos and three-dimensional graphics, we replied with an enthusiastic, “We ’ ll figure it out.” That’s what we set out to do. But we knew that we needed a beta project on which to cut our teeth. We needed to learn the ins and outs of iBooks Author and figure out the best way to integrate iBooks into our traditional workflows. That’s how Meet the Johns Hopkins University Press was born: an iBook history of the JHU Press complete with text, three-dimensional graphics, interactive maps, video, audio, and even a self-grading quiz. We recently wrote a piece for AAUP’s The Digital Digest on the making of Meet the Johns Hopkins University Press. Read an excerpt below, and click here for the full article. There was a small twinge of anxiety over the fact that...Read More

Climate change, Prince George, and chatter that matters

by cmt | Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Brian Southwell In late July 2013, Twitter posts regarding Prince George, the latest addition to the British royal family, outpaced those related to climate change by more than a 10 to 1 margin, according to the social media measurement site Topsy.com . One might argue that this signals the doom of our planet, as we seem more interested in talking about an infant prince born to a figurehead monarchy than in unprecedented change to our planet’s environment. It is not as though this was a mundane year in the annals of climate change, after all; in May, the level of carbon dioxide reached a new milestone long feared by climate researchers. That we would not spend most waking hours talking about that development might be seen either as a woeful failure or a strategy to cope with overwhelming news. In either case, our relative conversational silence about climate science seems noteworthy. Whether talk between people actually matters to public understanding and, if so, how such exchange matters are open questions, however. To argue against the significance of talk, one can point to evidence that interpersonal exchanges, at least elements of personal...Read More

Mammalogists by the thousands

by cmt | Monday, August 12, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by John L. Koprowski Just across the pond in Belfast, Northern Ireland, more than a thousand mammalogists are attending the 11th International Mammalogical Congress from August 11-16, 2013, which is hosted by Queen’s University. This large international congregation brings together one species of social mammal ( Homo sapiens ) interested in other mammals as model systems for the study of evolution, phylogenies, morphology, physiology, population ecology, genetics, and conservation. Previous congresses have been held around the globe, with the most recent occurring in Mendoza, Argentina, in 2009. IMC 11 maintains the customary 4-year interval that separates the congresses. Needless to say, much scientific progress has been made and new challenges have moved to the forefront in the interim, creating a rich and stimulating atmosphere for participants from dozens of nations.While no one will complain about spending a week of their northern hemisphere summer in the cool, green landscapes of Northern Ireland, the opportunity to interact with such a magnificent group of colleagues from diverse scientific perspectives and countries of origin is the real draw. We should put up large yellow signs warning “Scientists at Work” across the university campus! The format of the International...Read More

Chapter & Verse: The contemporary relevance of Homeric poetry

by cmt | Friday, August 2, 2013 - 9:21 AM

Chapter and Verse is a series that features JHU Press authors and editors discussing the literary landscape of poetry and prose, whether their own creative work or the literature of others. Guest post by Erwin F. Cook The following is excerpted from the Food for Thought Lecture Professor Cook originally presented at Trinity University on May 1, 2013. I initially balked at the request to talk about the contemporary relevance of Homeric poetry. I did so because I am of the camp that maintains great art does not need to be defended on these terms, which is to say its skill, beauty, and profundity give it all the relevance it needs to be of lasting relevance. But I do recognize that my justification, which also keeps me from studying ancient graffiti and medieval doorknockers, assumes that at some level of remove there are enduring qualities to these works that do indeed, and will always, give them contemporary relevance. Instead of trying to sell the Iliad in these terms, however, I found I could do something more in the spirit of the original request and show how it allows us to see certain aspects of the contemporary...Read More

Mid-summer news and new books

by rr | Friday, July 26, 2013 - 1:00 PM

News and Notes

Curious about life sciences, or want to learn more about American history? Click here to let us know which subject areas you are interested in so that we can let you know about books we know you'll want to read.

Tragically, there seems to be a rash of train wrecks of late, including fatal derailments in northwestern Spain two days ago and in Quebec earlier this month. George Bibel, a professor of engineering and the author of Train Wreck: The Forensics of Rail Disasters , spoke yesterday with CNN about why trains derail.

Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity was recently interviewed on NPR’s Tell Me More about some hard truths and common misconceptions about infidelity. Michael Olivas, an expert on higher education law and author of ...Read More

Wild Thing: Q&A from Geckos: The Animal Answer Guide

by rr | Thursday, July 25, 2013 - 8:45 AM

Wild Thing is an occasional series where JHU Press authors write about the flora and fauna of the natural world—from the rarest flower to the most magnificent beast.

Today in Wild Thing, take a glimpse into the fascinating world of geckos with a Q&A from Geckos: The Animal Answer Guide , by Aaron M. Bauer.

Q. Why do geckos have big eyes?

A. Geckos have large eyes, on average larger than any other group of lizards. This is related to their nocturnal history as a group, because larger eyes are advantageous for night vision. The size of the orbits in the skulls of some fossil gekkotans reveals that this was a feature of even the earliest members of the group. Eye size is greatest among terrestrial species of nocturnal geckos. Israeli herpetologist Yehudah Werner hypothesized that this may be to compensate for the ground-dwellers’ more limited field of vision. Incidentally, he also proposed that the elevated posture that many ground geckos adopt is also related to increasing the field of vision. Diurnal geckos typically have smaller eyes than their night-active relative,...Read More

In Other Words: Late Imperial China

by bjs | Monday, July 22, 2013 - 9:58 AM

by Janet Gilbert Journals, Direct Response and Renewals Senior Coordinator Time travel is possible, in the pages of Late Imperial China —and in our newest installment of In Other Words , featuring editor Tobie Meyer-Fong. The video opens a conversation on the journal’s special section on gender and medicine, transporting viewers to a time more than a thousand years ago when the gendering of disease was explored and documented. Why were unmarried women, nuns, and widows singled out as more susceptible to demonic possession than reproductive women? How did the patriarchal society in which both patients and practitioners lived translate into medical opinions? These questions are relevant today, as they were in the Ming-Qing dynasties. And it is precisely the sort of conversation that Daniel Coit Gilman might enjoy, as evidenced by his words in a speech at Berkeley on October 25, 1899: “Let us study the progress of human civilization, remembering that by ideas the world is governed.” Please enjoy this intriguing look into the ideas examined in Late Imperial China , and reflect on their influence and relevance today. Video of In Other Words: Late Imperial China

Late Imperial Chin a co-editor Tobie Meyer-Fong...Read More

In Other Words: Late Imperial China

by bjs | Monday, July 22, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Late Imperial China co-editor Tobie Meyer-Fong discusses the journal, which is the principal journal for scholars of China's Ming and Qing dynasties. She focuses on several important articles from the recently-published Volume 32, Issue 1 on gender and medical history. The journal is the official publication of the Society for Qing Studies .

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The Trayvon Martin event between past and future

by bjs | Friday, July 19, 2013 - 8:00 AM

Guest Post by Neil Roberts

Not guilty.

The force of those two words, delivered on July 13, 2013, by the six-person jury in the State of Florida vs. George Zimmerman case, nationally and globally ignited already intense domestic debates about race, Stand Your Ground laws, gun control, and the strictures of federalism demarcating distinct domains between federal jurisprudence and state statutes. An irony of the ruling was that the first two issues did not receive scrutiny during the course of the trial, although they have continued arguably to serve as the principle topics perpetuating transnational discourses on the Zimmerman verdict.

The 2012 shooting of Floridian Trayvon Martin, a black seventeen-year-old, by the multiracial volunteer neighborhood watch guard George Zimmerman, was an event whose facts we shall never know completely. Nonetheless, its effects disclosed facets of race and the law, facets that long preceded Martin’s death and that we must still grapple with today. After the spectacle of the trial, the dramatic testimonies, the emotional pleas from the Martin and Zimmerman families, the technological reenactments conjecturing what might have happened that fateful night in the gated Sanford community; after the verdict; after the post-trial juror...Read More

Summer Travel Then and Now

by cmt | Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 10:50 AM

Guest post by Daniel Kilbride The summer tourist season is upon us. Travel today certainly has its frustrations. If Dante were to write The Inferno in our own time, he would certainly reserve a special circle of hell for the customer service employees of certain airlines. And anybody (like me, recently) who has ever had to drive into North Carolina’s Outer Banks during the summer knows that the much-touted speed of our conveyances is a relative concept. Still, twenty-first century leisure travelers enjoy conveniences that women and men from earlier periods could hardly dream about. Travel can be so frustrating for us precisely because we take speed, ease, safety, and comfort for granted. When we are inconvenienced, we feel as if we are being deprived of an entitlement. Those conveniences are very, very new developments. My book Being American in Europe, 1750-1861 is not primarily concerned with transformations in the means and frequency of trans-Atlantic travel. Rather, it focuses on how Americans abroad struggled to situate themselves in western civilization at the same time they tried to develop a sense of national distinctiveness. But when reading the letters and diaries of my travelers, I could...Read More