JHU Press Blog

Chapter and Verse: Britain’s bards and poetry with a different purpose

by cmt | Tuesday, May 28, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Chapter and Verse is a series where JHU Press authors and editors discuss the literary landscape of poetry and prose, whether their own creative work or the literature of others. Guest post by James Mulholland In September 1792, on the day of the autumnal equinox, a Welshman named Iolo Morganwg met friends on Primrose Hill in what is now Regent’s Park in London. There, they made a circle out of stones. The largest stone was fashioned into an altar. On this altar was placed an unsheathed sword. Standing on these stones and dressed in wildly colored robes, the company recited Welsh history and poetry. They were pretending to be ancient Welsh bards. A meeting of bardic performers (called gorsedd ) from Britanny in 1906. This Breton meeting provides a modern example of earlier Welsh models of the festival.

The meeting might sound like a pagan ritual or a gathering of overzealous Lord of the Rings enthusiasts, but this performance was serious business. The goal was to revive the customs of an almost forgotten Wales. Morganwg, the organizer, called these performances gorsedd , which he translated as “voice convention.” He imagined these meetings...Read More

New in Anabaptist Studies

by rr | Friday, May 24, 2013 - 8:30 AM

The Amish —the companion book to the American Experience documentary on PBS—takes an in-depth look into Amish life in America. Publisher’s Weekly says of The Amish : “ The authors successfully address the seeming exoticism of the Amish without sensationalism . . . The scholarship is enlivened with quotes and personal anecdotes, and the final section on the future of the Amish raises fascinating questions, even for casual readers.”

Hopkins Digital Shorts, Chapter Excerpts from The Amish

From Rumspringa to Marriage In this digital short, the authors consider the nuances of this important rite of passage into Amish adulthood. The Amish and Technology This digital short explores the complicated relationship between the Amish and technology today.

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More Titles in Anabaptist Studies

An Introduction to German Pietism: Protestant Renewal at the Dawn of Modern...Read More

Q&A with the authors of THE AMISH

by cmt | Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Read on for an informative, sometimes surprising Q&A with Donald B. Kraybill, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner, and Steven M. Nolt , authors of The Amish , the definitive portrayal of the Amish in America in the twenty-first century. Q: Why did you write this book? A: Mainstream Americans are fascinated by the Amish—and so are we. But despite the rise of Amish-themed tourism, television shows, and romance novels, there is surprisingly little authoritative information available about them. Although there are books about the Amish in specific locations or particular practices, there was no book that provided a comprehensive picture of the enormous diversity of Amish life. There are more than forty types of Amish in 460 communities across North America. We’ve spent more than a quarter century getting to know these people, and wanted to share the remarkable diversity and resilience we’ve found. Q: What do you think would most surprise the average American about Amish life/culture? A: Their friendliness and humor when you learn to know them. How satisfied they are even without the latest household conveniences and online technology. Also, people would be surprised by their creativity and inventiveness...Read More

Callaloo Takes Center Stage

by bjs | Monday, May 20, 2013 - 8:30 AM

We are proud and honored to publish all 80-plus journals under the JHUP umbrella, but are especially excited when one receives special recognition. That means, right now, that the apple of our eye is Callaloo , along with its esteemed editor, Charles Henry Rowell . PBS NewsHour recently aired a special segment about Rowell’s long-time commitment to African American literature, particularly poetry. The interview includes footage of Rowell and journal staff working on an upcoming issue of the journal, which was founded by Rowell and is publishing its 36th volume this year. Callaloo continues to identify, nurture and promote new black writers while also showcasing literary stalwarts. Former Poet Laureate Rita Dove , National Book Award winner Terrance Hayes , and current Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey have all been published in the journal. The segment also touched on Rowell’s extensive collection of pieces from black artists, some of which end up serving as the focus of covers for C allaloo. Later this year, JHUP will publish Callaloo Art , a special issue highlighting these and other works. Rowell’s passion for sharing undiscovered writers, poets, and artists serves as a reminder of the power held...Read More

The consequence of patents on BRCA genes

by cmt | Wednesday, May 15, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Sue Friedman

On April 15, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on whether Myriad Genetics’ patents on the BRCA genes, which are associated with hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, should be upheld. This case culminates a four-year legal tug-of-war between Myriad Genetics & Laboratories and a long list of individual, advocacy, and health care professional groups represented by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) . The plaintiffs agree that regulations allowing exclusive gene patents negatively affect access to care and research.

I was fortunate when I was first tested for a BRCA mutation in 1998: my testing costs were covered by my health insurance. Although I was initially tested without genetic counseling, I eventually went to a large cancer center for a second opinion, met with a genetics expert, and gained access to up-to-date, credible information. It wasn’t until I started FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered) that the deeper implications of patenting the BRCA genes became apparent to me.

In the Family, a 2009 documentary by producer Joanna Rudnick, highlights some negative consequences of Myriad’s gene patents. The film includes ...Read More

The Doctor Is In: Staying connected to your baseline self in depression

by cmt | Tuesday, May 14, 2013 - 8:30 AM

The Doctor Is In is an occasional series where JHU Press authors discuss the latest developments and news in health and medicine. Guest post by Susan J. Noonan, M.D., M.P.H. Often times in depression, whether it is major depression or bipolar depression, a person can feel lost to him or herself. You may have difficulty remembering just what you were like before the episode began. This can come on quite gradually during the course of the illness. I have often heard phrases from sufferers such as “I don’t feel like me,” or “I just don’t feel familiar to myself!” What does this mean? It means that you are experiencing a set of feelings, emotions, and behaviors that are not typical of your usual self—these are driven by depression. This experience feels quite odd, alien, and uncomfortable when it happens. Depression takes away your sense of self as a whole human being, leaving you with the feeling that there is nothing in life BUT depression. Your baseline self seems to fade into the background. Your usual characteristics are still there, they are just hidden down deep and over-ridden by the stronger symptoms of depression. This adds to the distress...Read More

Callaloo editor on PBS NewsHour

by bjs | Monday, May 13, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Jeffrey Brown from the PBS NewsHour talks with Callaloo editor Charles Henry Rowell about his passion for promoting undiscovered and underappreciated African-American poets and artists. His latest effort is a new anthology called "Angles of Ascent."

Read More

Happy Mother's Day

by cmt | Friday, May 10, 2013 - 11:14 AM

For many of us, the approach of Mother’s Day prompts a frantic spree at the shopping mall or a quick stop at the florist. But allow it, please, to also inspire a once-a-year parameter for browsing recent titles and perennial favorites on the JHU Press list. From Nancy Demand’s Birth, Death, and Motherhood in Classical Greece to Jessamyn Neuhaus’s Manly Meals and Mom’s Home Cooking to Nancy J. Mezey’s New Choices, New Families , moms and motherhood have been the focus of thoughtful works by historians, literary scholars, political scientists, and sociologists. Just published, and a great new addition to this sub-set, is Maternal Megalomania: Julia Domna and the Imperial Politics of Motherhood , by historian Julie Langford. The book looks at the life of Julia Domna, wife of Roman emperor Septimius Severus, and especially at how her image and story were used in imperial propaganda to advance the position of her husband and two sons (both future emperors). The book is clearly a must-read for all who think their own family politics are fraught and...Read More

Let's make it National Railroaders Appreciation Day

by cmt | Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Theodore Kornweibel, Jr. Pop quiz: Who are Pamela Beckham and Lisa Harris, and why should you know them? Second question: What industry has been, historically, the most male dominated? Admittedly, that’s a hard one: there are so many candidates. But I’m a historian, so I’ll venture an answer: the railroad industry. May 11 is National Train Day . Let’s start the festivities with a bit of history (don’t worry; I’ll get back to Pamela and Lisa). Whether driving spikes or driving a locomotive, railroading has always been considered a male profession. Even today, women in the industry still have to be thick-skinned to endure the slurs and jibes of men who think their presence on the rails brings bad luck, or who are just male chauvinists. But as I studied railroad history, I uncovered a contradictory phenomenon. African American women were the first female railroaders, two decades before white women. They were slaves. Enslaved and free blacks, including females, built most of the South’s railroads before and after the Civil War. They weren't just cooking and washing, either. While American society regarded white femininity as something to be protected, black women never had that...Read More

What We're Reading

by bjs | Monday, May 6, 2013 - 11:55 AM

We have not visited this occasional series in a while, so let’s give an update on what some folks at the Press have read recently or are in the middle of reading. I just started All the Sad Young Literary Men , a novel by Keith Gessen I came upon in a dollar store. I needed to pick up something else that day, but the title caught my eye as I cut through their “literature” section. I am entertained in the early going, even though it carries some Ivy League/Manhattan pretension throughout the prose. Still, I’m a sucker for coming of age stories, especially when they only cost me $1. Here’s what some of my colleagues are reading, including a couple of JHU Press books: Rosa Griffin Office Assistant, Rights & Permissions Ms. Letitia Stockett, a Baltimore writing teacher, was successful at giving a cultural view of how Baltimore, Maryland came into existence in her 1928 book, Baltimore: A Not Too Serious History ( JHU Press). Ms. Stockett’s tour of the Baltimore region, which covers the years 1500 to 1900, begins on Charles Street at Mount Vernon Place. There is...Read More