JHU Press Blog

Affirmative action no more?

by cmt | Friday, October 12, 2012 - 8:30 AM

Guest post by Dennis Deslippe The long-standing call to replace race-sensitive programs with class-sensitive ones has taken on fresh meaning in the wake of oral arguments in the University of Texas case ( Fisher v. Texas ) at the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this week. Although the justices can cast unexpected votes (think Chief Justice John Roberts’ vote in the health care reform case this past spring), it seems likely that the justices will invalidate affirmative action at the nation’s colleges and universities. The arguments for class-based programs are that such a shift in focus would garner favor with white Americans, especially those of modest means who point to the lack of consideration for their disadvantaged status, and it would address in a more wholesale fashion educational inequality. There is much to commend this move. Its success, however, will depend on advocates bringing together organizations with resources and influence in equal employment policy-making, much as civil rights and feminist organizations did decades ago for our current affirmative action programs. Little work to this end has been done thus far. The history of affirmative action suggests that class-based affirmative action will face significant opposition. Affirmative action...Read More

Wild Thing: Rockfishes. Oh, Rockfishes . . .

by cmt | Thursday, September 27, 2012 - 8:00 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.

Guest post by Val Kells

Rockfishes are a diverse and highly successful group within the Family Scorpaenidae, or Scorpionfishes. There are currently 102 known species of Scorpaenids worldwide. They live primarily in temperate to cold seas in the northern and southern hemispheres. Most are demersal, meaning they live close to the bottom of the sea. Most are spiny, some are venomous. They have a bony structure on the cheek that I won't begin to explain.

I am in the midst of coauthoring and illustrating A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Alaska to California, a new book to be published by JHU Press. It will follow the layout and design of A Field Guide to Coastal Fishes: From Maine to Texas and will serve as a companion. The overall goal is to illustrate and describe in field guide form all of the fishes to about 600 feet from both coasts of the continental United States. It's a Guinness...Read More

Chapter & Verse: On Translating Homer's Iliad

by cmt | Tuesday, September 25, 2012 - 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 Edward McCrorie

You translate for many reasons, no doubt, but I think the most important are a strong response to the author’s vision and a conviction that you can render that vision accurately and musically in English.

I did not always feel strongly about Homer’s Iliad . So much of it struck me as gore—the build-up to often overlapping and extremely graphic gore. No re-write or film version depicts every wound and killing that Homer depicts.

But I was lucky in college to study the Odyssey ’s Greek first. (My translation was also published by the JHU Press in 2004.) Homecoming dominates that story, women play a much more important role, and welcoming strangers is a key moral obligation. But what of the Greek’s music? Again, I was lucky to have spent months with the music of Virgil’s Aeneid. Both Virgil and Homer work with a line called dactylic hexameter . Once I devised an...Read More

Acquiring Journals: A Q&A with Journals Publisher Bill Breichner

by bjs | Friday, September 21, 2012 - 10:05 AM

The Journals Division recently announced the addition of three journals to the JHUP catalog. We took this opportunity to sit down with Bill Breichner, Journals Publisher, to take a look at the overall picture of bringing new journals to the Press. The announcement each year of new acquisitions must be an important moment for the Press. Is it a relief to finalize all the work which goes into these new titles? I would characterize it as satisfying more than a relief. It also starts the arduous process of integrating the new titles into the program. That’s really when the heavy lifting begins and the Press is fortunate to have such an outstanding Journals staff. But getting back to the original question, growing the program is critical and that process becomes more challenging. The pool of available, quality journals is dwindling and for those that remain, there is much more competition. So yeah, now that I think of it, there is some relief especially since adding titles shows up on my performance review each year! Each of the three journals added for 2013 ( Classical World , Leviathan , and The CEA Critic...Read More

September news and new books

by cmt | Monday, September 10, 2012 - 2:11 PM

News and Notes

Hurricane Isaac may have forced the cancellation of last week’s Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (APSA), but that didn’t stop us from putting together our own APSA Virtual Exhibit Booth ! Garrison Keillor reads X.J. Kennedy’s poem, “Décor,” from Kennedy’s collection In a Prominent Bar in Secaucus in honor of his 83 rd birthday on The Writer’s Almanac .

Hot off the Press

George Washington’s Eye : Based on Washington’s personal diaries and correspondence and accounts of visitors to his estate, this richly illustrated book introduces a George Washington unfamiliar to many readers—an avid art collector, amateur architect, and leading landscape designer of his time. Tapping into The Wire : The Real Urban Crisis : Tapping into 'The Wire' uses the acclaimed television series as a road map for exploring connections between inner-city poverty and drug-related violence. Each chapter recounts scenes from episodes of the HBO series, placing the characters' challenges into the broader context of public policy. ...Read More

Celebrating Feminist Formations

by bjs | Wednesday, September 5, 2012 - 9:54 AM

Tomorrow afternoon in Tucson, AZ, the new editorial team of the JHU Press journal Feminist Formations will hold a celebration to mark the move of the editorial staff to the University of Arizona. Part of the celebration will include a talk from Roxana Galusca , a University of Chicago researcher who contributed an article to the newest issue of the journal . We spoke with her about the milestone for the journal and her research. How excited are you to play an important role in the Feminist Formations celebration? It is a privilege to be part of this celebration. Feminist Formations has had a formative role in my training as a scholar of gender and sexuality and it is a central publication in the field of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. As someone who truly believes in the unlimited potential of this field of studies, I find this celebration refreshing and I am proud to be part of it. You are speaking about your article “Slave Hunters, Brothel Busters, and Feminist Interventions: Investigative Journalists as Anti-Sex-Trafficking Humanitarians,” which is included in the newest issue of...Read More

Unearthing rare images and unique stories of African American Civil War soldiers

by cmt | Wednesday, August 29, 2012 - 9:14 AM

Guest post by Ronald S. Coddington

After my second book, Faces of the Confederacy , debuted in 2008, colleagues and friends asked me about my next project. I answered that African American soldiers would be the focus of my next volume.

My reply was met with a healthy dose of skepticism.

Two bits of conventional wisdom surfaced in their comments. First, that finding enough wartime photographs of identified soldiers would prove impossible. Second, that the stories of African American soldiers are uninteresting because so few fought in battles.

I can appreciate both points. The individual black experience in the Civil War has been underappreciated. Most Americans today know it through Glory , the movie about the famed Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Infantry and its courageous yet tragic assault on Fort Wagner, or from scant chapters in history books illustrated with the same few photographs of unnamed black men in blue uniforms. Despite the groundbreaking service of roughly 200,000 African Americans in the Union army and navy during the war, the contributions of a far smaller group of Buffalo Soldiers in post-war America enjoy...Read More

The Intersection of Work and Friendship

by bjs | Monday, August 27, 2012 - 11:52 AM

By Janet Gilbert Journals Direct Response and Renewals Senior Coordinator Sometimes, you get to work on a journal you just can’t put down. For me, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics: A Journal of Qualitative Research (NIB) has been one of those from its inception here at the Press, because of its captivating combination of first-person narratives and substantive research. About a year ago, after reading the journal’s articles on psychiatric hospitalization in preparation for writing some of its marketing materials, I thought, this is where the rubber meets the road in health care —this is where research meets real life; where technology intersects with humanity. This became the essence of the messaging for NIB . And ordinarily, that would just be a work thing—one would compartmentalize it, and move on. But that’s not to be my experience, evidently. NIB published an issue this year on living organ donors and, Carla Hubbard, a co-worker, recently underwent a kidney transplant thanks to a living donor. Thankfully, Carla is home resting now, but I shared her story through a column in The (Baltimore) Sun last week .Read More

How many people does it take to write a bestselling textbook?

by cmt | Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 11:00 AM

Guest post by Nova J. Silvy

How do you get 119 individuals to work on the same book? It takes professionalism, persistence, and dedication, plus an incredible passion for wildlife. Those 119 people provided expertise for the 37 chapters of the seventh edition of The Wildlife Society’s The Wildlife Techniques Manual . The volumes would not have been completed without the hard work of a huge number of people, and I am deeply grateful to these authors for their chapters, PowerPoint presentations, figures, and sample questions.

Wildlife professionals and students must constantly adapt to new challenges, technologies, and issues. But when does a landmark text need to be revised and what goes into the decision to revise a major textbook? In this case, the decision to reorganize the material and develop a two-volume set was made after major university users of the Techniques Manual were surveyed to determine what chapters they were using in university courses and for what type of courses. The surveys identified two major use areas: (1) courses in wildlife research techniques and (2) courses in wildlife habitat management techniques. Respondents indicated that most wildlife students...Read More

Tales from the assistant's desk: theories of peer review

by cmt | Monday, August 20, 2012 - 10:06 AM

by Jennifer Malat, Acquisitions Assistant Before I started to work in academic publishing, I thought of peer review as that high school English class staple “swap your essay with a classmate for comments.” You look over someone else’s essay, fix some typos, and correct any egregious errors. If more people read your essay, more mistakes would be corrected. Simple, right? But in academia the process is more complicated. Many debates exist regarding the best type of peer review, from anonymous reviewers to open peer review. Does anonymity encourage honesty or hurt open scholarship? “Peer” can also be a tricky definition. If a book combines multiple disciplines, such as history and sociology, should you get reviewers from each field? How many from each? Does the reviewer know the author? Should you solicit reviews from scholars with a similar understanding of the subject, or from those who support an opposing school of thought? What if the author is the leading expert on a topic and nobody wants to question his or her methods? Acquisitions editors put a lot of time and energy into these questions, seeking appropriate and fair reviewers who want to help improve a manuscript. Peer review is a...Read More