I Think of You When I See Roadkill

by krm | Thursday, February 16, 2017 - 6:00 AM

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that from one of my students, I’d be a rich man. Most people hearing that would be downright offended, and understandably so. To 99 out of 100 people it would be an insult. To me, however, it’s like music to my ears. It means a student got the full experience in my “Animal Form and Function” course where they were forced to dissect a carcass, feed it to flesh-eating beetles, and rebuild the remains. Some do it well. They get A’s. Others produce monstrosities of unknown origin with hints of mythical creatures. They don’t get A’s. But both populations still tell me they think of me when they see roadkill.

I wrote The Skeleton Revealed for a couple reasons. First, I’ve been fascinated by bones, especially dinosaur bones, since I was a kid. And, like most little boys with dinosaur toys around their bedroom, bringing them back to life and guessing how they’d act consumed hours of my life. How many times have you seen a young child pick-up a dinosaur toy and say, “RARRR!”? Unfortunately, while we think we know how dinosaurs communicated, we’ll...Read More

Celebrating All Kinds of Children

by bjs | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 6:00 AM

The final 2016 issue of Children's Literature Association Quarterly was a special issue on African American Children’s Literature and Genre. Sara Austin (SA), a PhD candidate in English at the University of Connecticut, and Karen Chandler (KC), an associate professor of English at the University of Louisville, served as guest editors. The pair joined us for a Q&A to talk about the issue and the field of African American children's literature.

How did this special issue come about?

KC: Sara approached me about working with her on the special issue, and so maybe she can speak about what initially motivated her to propose a special issue on African American children’s and young adult literature. I will say I was drawn to the project because I have been greatly influenced by the earlier special issue in African American Review on African American children’s literature.

SA: I was working on an article about Virginia Hamilton and talking to Arnold Adoff about life in New York before Zeely was published. While researching the article, I noticed how little scholarship there was on...Read More

The Great Recession and the Web of Inequality

by krm | Monday, February 13, 2017 - 6:00 AM

The following is an adapted excerpt from Ronald Formisano’s Plutocracy in America: How Increasing Inequality Destroys the Middle Class and Exploits the Poor as a part of our Black History Month blog series.

Unequal access to health care is but one example of how income inequality creates a proliferating range of consequences not often discussed in relation to one another. None of these subjects has been ignored or unreported somewhere, either in print or on the Internet. But by drawing many of these topics together and showing interconnections, I highlight the widespread consequences of inequality as it washes through society like a noxious flood. This approach rejects arguments that downplay the effects of governmental or corporate policies and instead invoke the role of impersonal forces, such as globalization, as mainly being responsible for inequality in income and wealth. The OECD finds that “the evidence as to the role of globalization in growing inequality is mixed.” Whatever globalization has contributed to inequality as an independent cause, corporations have set the rules in global markets that virtually eliminate workers’ bargaining power, while environmental and other standards have been ignored.

It is too easy to blame impersonal...Read More

Minecraft and Robinson Crusoe

by bjs | Friday, February 10, 2017 - 6:00 AM

In the Fall 2016 issue of the journal Configurations , Josef Nguyen took a look at similarities between the computer world-building game Minecraft and pieces of fiction like Robinson Crusoe , which rely heavily on the creation of a new world. An assistant professor of game studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, Nguyen engages science and technology studies and media studies in his research, focusing on the politics of play, toys, and games. He joined us for a Q&A to talk about his essay.

How did you come to link Minecraft with Robinson Crusoe ?

When I first heard about Mojang’s Minecraft (2009/2011), I heard it described as a survival game where players must gather resources and build to survive. As a result of my literary studies, I immediately draw comparisons of cultural texts premised on being stranded and needing to survive to Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe (1719)—especially with the historic and enduring popularity of robinsonade narratives. Johann David Wyss’ novel The Swiss Family Robinson (1812), R. M. Ballantyne’s young adult adventure The Coral Island (1858), and Robert Zemeckis’ film Cast Away ...Read More

AAUP 2017 Book, Jacket, and Journal Show

by krm | Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 6:00 AM

Each year the Association of American University Presses recognizes the best in cover design in their Book, Jacket, and Journal Show. We are proud to have three Johns Hopkins Press books featured in the 2017 list! You can view the complete list of showcased books and journals here .

Selected entry for Trade Typographic, Chickenizing Farms and Food: How Industrial Meat Production Endangers Workers, Animals and Consumers by Ellen K. Silbergeld

Selected entry for Scholarly Typographic, John Adams's Republic: The One, the Few, and the Many by Richard Alan Ryerson

Selected entry for Scholarly Typographic, The Collected Poetry of Mary Tighe edited by Paula R. Feldman and Brian C. Cooney

Read More