JHU Press Blog

Behind the Book: Dr. Thomas J. Balkany On 'The Ear Book'

by krm | Thursday, June 22, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Despite increased awareness, the human ear continues to be assaulted with ever higher levels of noise. The inevitable consequence of this is hearing loss. The consequences of hearing loss to an individual and society are substantial. The treatment of hearing loss is therefore of paramount importance in modern society. As our population continues to shift towards higher ages, this becomes even more important.

One of the more surprising findings was that a link between hearing loss and dementia appears to exist. Whether this link is causal or merely an association is an intense area of study. Regardless, it now becomes of increased importance to maximize an individual's communication capabilities as they age.

We wrote The Ear Book: A Complete Guide to Ear Disorders as a means to introduce the complexities of ear function and disease to patients and parents struggling to understand what is affecting them or their children. In the busy clinical practice of today's ear doctors, incomplete understanding of a patient's condition may occur as both patient and practitioner feel the pressure of time. We hope this book can supplement a patient's understanding.

Five...Read More

Buy Buttons Revisited

by krm | Wednesday, June 21, 2017 - 6:00 AM

In March , I wrote about Amazon Buy Buttons and how we had started noticing used copies pushed as the first buying option. This has also been noticed by other publishers in the book industry, with Publishers Weekly , Shelf Awareness , The Huffington Post , The New Republic , Publishing Perspective , Vox , Cnet , and others covering the story.

Amazon has always offered used copies for sale, so what is different?

Buy Button Changes

Until March, buy buttons for in-print and available titles defaulted to buying options where the books were sourced from the publisher – directly or indirectly (meaning new copies sourced from a distributor or a wholesaler). Publishers provided Amazon with a discount, with Amazon and publishers hopefully each making a profit, from which the publisher paid the author(s) royalties.

Note in the example above that the new copy “ships from and [is] sold by Amazon.com.” Used copies (of this very new book) are available, but you have to go to the used copy options to see them.

Now when you search...Read More

Hurricane Season Playlist

by krm | Monday, June 19, 2017 - 3:00 PM

It’s June, and hurricane season has begun in the Atlantic region. Drawing on the discography of my recent book, Cultivation and Catastrophe: The Lyric Ecology of Modern Black Poetry , this blog post offers a disaster playlist to get you through these stormy months. (You can also listen to the entire Hurricane Season Playlist here: Hurricane Music )

Hurricane Katrina revealed the powerful connection between racial and environmental injustice and revealed, too, the potential for art to respond to that destructive intersection. This potential has a long history in black literature. From Zora Neale Hurston’s fictional narrative of the 1928 Florida hurricane to Shelton “Shakespear” Alexander’s poetry recitation before the gates of St. Vincent De Pau Cemetery in Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke (2006) , black writers have responded to environmental experience and ecological change, and to the experiences of historical rupture (catastrophe) and cultural continuity (cultivation) that are part of living in the natural world.

While researching the book I uncovered a parallel archive of black diasporic music that responds to environmental disaster, the recordings and transcriptions of which constitute both a history of environmental catastrophe in the U.S. and...Read More

Celebrating Bloomsday

by bjs | Friday, June 16, 2017 - 10:06 AM

Today is Bloomsday, a commemoration of the life of Irish writer James Joyce. Today will feature celebrations of the events of his novel Ulysses , which was set on June 16.

Earlier this year, Bryony Randall , a lecturer in English Literature at the University of Glasgow, took a close look at the the history of novels which focused on the action of just a single day, like Ulysses . Her essay was published in the journal New Literary History , and she joined our podcast series to discuss her essay and just what makes the one-day novel a draw for some people.

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Antiquated Power Play

by bjs | Thursday, June 8, 2017 - 6:00 AM

In late 2016, the Journal of Late Antiquity published a special issue on "Landholding and Power in Late Antiquity." The six articles in the issue covered a wide swath of topics on what journal editor Noel Lenski called "a subject of tremendous importance in all periods of antiquity." Lenski joined us for a Q&A to look closer at the subject.

The idea of "land holding and power" has played a role in society forever. How important is it to look back on the topic through history to help us in today's world?

If we accept the Marxian notion that human history is fundamentally the story of the distribution of material resources, there could be no more important subject than landholding and power. This applies whether we focus on the unequal distribution of real estate in today’s highly technologized urban environments or the control of landed resources in the late ancient countryside.

Just as Manhattan, San Francisco, London or Shanghai represent loci of value and sites of economic competition in the contemporary economy, so too the landed estates of Lower Egypt, central Italy or Asia Minor generated the capital as well...Read More

“More Likely to be Attacked Than Honored”: Changing the Way We Remember Black Soldiers

by krm | Tuesday, June 6, 2017 - 6:00 AM

On Veterans’ Day last year, the Equal Justice Initiative released a new report, “Lynching in America: Targeting Black Veterans,” that says, between 1877 and 1950, “no one was more at risk of experiencing violence and targeted racial terror than black veterans.” [1] The report supplemented the organization’s 2015 report, “Lynching in America,” that documented 4,075 lynchings, which is 800 more than any previous tally. Although historians have noted that white supremacists disproportionately targeted black veterans for assault and murder, the subject has never been examined so comprehensively. Thousands of black veterans were assaulted, lynched, or threatened. Bryan Stevenson, the founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said in an interview that the report should change the way we remember black veterans. “We do so much in this country to celebrate and honor folks who risk their lives on the battlefield,” Stevenson said, “but we don’t remember that black veterans were more likely to be attacked for their service than honored for it.” [2]

As sobering as his comment is, Stevenson left out black soldiers who were violently assaulted, unfairly punished, or disproportionately among...Read More

From Here to There: Amazon Author Pages

by krm | Monday, June 5, 2017 - 6:00 AM

I didn’t set out to focus on Amazon in this column, but it seems that is where most of the questions (and misinformation) come from. I’ve thus far discussed buy buttons and sales rankings , and now I want to turn to author pages.

One of the things that Amazon gets right is linking and connecting all of the pieces of book data to create multiple paths to purchase. The detail pages tout the specific book, but from there web spreads out to include the author’s other titles. Authors have the ability to create author pages, linking all of the books they have published together, supplemented with additional information.

Note below how Nancy L. Mace’s name is hyperlinked, by Peter V. Rabins’s is not.

That is because Ms. Mace has set up an author page :

Author pages are available to authors and require that authors place a request to claim the page. Publishers are then contacted to confirm the person claiming the book is who they say they are. Authors can further utilize Author Central ,...Read More

Shining a Light on Latinx Theatre

by bjs | Monday, May 22, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Several years ago at an Association for Theatre in Higher Education conference, Gwendolyn Alker invited members of a group then known as the (then) Latina/o Focus Group (LFG) for a special issue. Now the Editor of Theatre Topics , Alker said this invitation started the process of something that had not been done before, but that needed to be done: Theatre Topics had never focused an issue on concerns relevant to Latinx theatre-makers and their wider communities.

The resulting issue was published earlier this spring. Alker joined us to talk about how it came about and why it is important to the field.

Audio titled Gwendolyn Alker, Theatre Topics

Several years ago at an Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Gwendolyn Alker invited members of a group then known as the (then) Latina/o Focus Group (LFG) for a special issue. Now the Editor of Theatre Topics , Alker said this invitation started the process of something that had not been done before, but that needed to be done: Theatre Topics had never focused an issue on concerns relevant to Latinx theatre-makers and their wider communities. The resulting issue was published earlier this spring....Read More

Calculus in Context as a Pyramid of Oranges

by krm | Monday, May 15, 2017 - 6:00 AM

The setting is the crowded Mercat de la Boqueria in Barcelona, by reputation one of the best fresh food markets in Europe. Scores of fruit vendors display varieties of apples, pears, peaches, plums, lemons, apricots, cherries, grapes, grapefruit, and oranges in but the few square meters of area that each has available. In competition with each other, they vie for the attention of housewives and tourists who press ahead from stall to stall.

One of the merchants has arranged his Valencia oranges in an eye-catching display. His fruit is large, round, polished, beautiful, and the tall pyramid of their arrangement glows rich in color, light, and shape. It is striking and draws much attention. The child of a customer is about to reach for an orange near the bottom of the stack, … but our story now turns to an analysis of the pyramid. The merchant’s attractive display had been constructed very carefully. The pyramid has a triangular base of 12 oranges to a side. From each side of this triangle rises one of the sloping triangular faces of the pyramid.

Each triangular face starts with its row of 12 and continues with rows of...Read More

Why it is more important than ever to understand what government does

by krm | Friday, May 12, 2017 - 6:00 AM

As the Trump administration seeks to upend much of what our government does, our book, What American Government Does is an indispensable resource for understanding what is at stake. The new president is seeking radical changes in the direction of public policy, with substantial budget cuts to popular programs that deliver health care, environmental protection, worker safety, and consumer protection. His promised tax cuts are massive and he has proposed cutting popular social and regulatory programs to the bone. Meanwhile, he would substantially increase military spending and seeks to vastly increase the budgets and authority of immigration enforcement, while renewing the war on drugs.

Many Americans are confused about all of this, embracing both a knee-jerk hostility to “government,” while embracing much of what government actually does. This has to do with the anti-government rhetoric that has gained ascendance in recent decades. Our book cuts through the ideological haze to show citizens, students, and even scholars the achievements of, and yes, the concerns surrounding, modern American government. Our point is simply that Americans need to more fully understand what their government does, in order to make up their own...Read More