January 16, 2013, 5:00 pm
Major changes are afoot with the National Book Awards, but did that require a jab at university publishing?
As detailed in an AP story, the National Book Foundation will alter the rules for the awards to include a “long list” of 10 nominees for each of the four competitive categories (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature). This extended list will be released on September 12, before narrowing to a “short list” of five finalists in each slot on October 15, with the awards announced on November 20. In addition, “the pool of judges will be expanded beyond writers to include critics, booksellers and librarians.”
Morgan Entrekin, a foundation board vice president and the CEO of Grove/Atlantic was pleased. Among other things, he said he had found recent fiction lists “very eccentric” and that expanding the pool of judges might make the list “a little more mainstream”…
December 16, 2012, 5:00 pm
As four recent books reveal, befuddling and even dangerous ethnographic research can be an engrossing read.
Dashes to safety over the Siberian steppes, fearful run-ins with colonial occupiers in West Papua, brushes with the shadowy camorra of Naples. Graduate students in mathematics, nuclear physics, or divinity don’t have to contend with the likes of those.
For ethnographers, danger often seems to accompany sticking one’s beak in—taking the side of subjects whose lifestyles, and lives, are threatened. Of course, in anthropology and other social-science disciplines, the ruling view has been that such partisanship is suspect, although it’s been a less-discussed concern that such partisanship risks losing scholars in action.
In his new book, The Art of Making Do in Naples, just out from the University of Minnesota Press, Jason Pine describes the uncertainties and risks he…
November 16, 2012, 4:00 pm
Association of American University Presses
The Association of American University Presses is marking its 75th anniversary this year. To celebrate, the association declared November 11-17 University Press Week 2012, seeking to publicize “the extraordinary work of university presses and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and society.”
The AAUP’s current president, Peter J. Dougherty of Princeton University Press, has promoted the idea of “the global university press.” So it’s fitting that the association has created an interactive global “Influence Map” that shows the geographical range of individual presses’ publishing projects.
“We talk a lot about the impact of a university press—the books they publish, the scholars they publish, the readers,” said Brenna McLaughlin, the association’s…
November 15, 2012, 4:00 pm
Academics were the winners in two National Book Awards categories, poetry and young adult literature, at last night’s ceremony in New York.
David Ferry won for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press). The poet is a professor emeritus of English at Wellesley College who also teaches at Suffolk University. Two of Ferry’s poems are available at Poetry Daily.
Also, William Alexander won for Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry). Alexander is an adjunct faculty member in the liberal arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
November 12, 2012, 7:05 pm
Sorry, but we would like to quibble. Today the dictionary division of Oxford University Press announced two words for the year 2012, one from the U.S. branch of the press, and one from the British, and let’s face it, America has been slighted.
GIF? Are you serious? GIF? Let’s put aside for a moment that it isn’t a word per se and instead an acronym for graphics interchange format. We refuse to be mollified by OUP’s celebrating it as a new verb, “to gif,” not a decades’ old noun: “The recent development of verbal GIF is an example of a linguistic process called conversion, or zero-formation,” urges the press. “He GIFed the highlights of the debate,” it suggests.
We should note that one of the runners-up in the U.S. shortlist was MOOC (a term of no small familiarity to any Chronicle reader). If you are going to settle for an acronym, at least make it bovinely memorable.
November 7, 2012, 12:15 pm
David Perry, editor-in-chief at the University of North Carolina Press since 1995, will retire in March 2013. Perry has been at the press for 34 years since he joined as an editorial assistant in 1979. In acquisitions, his focus has been history and Southern studies, with a special emphasis on Civil War and military history. A search is underway for his successor.
He is optimistic about what’s ahead for university-press publishing. “I have been very impressed with the energy and skill set of the next generation of university-press folks,” he writes via e-mail. “We’ve been innovative since before innovation was cool, and that stands us in good stead in changing times.”
Those same press folks may have to proceed without him, however, even as a consultant. He has other ideas for retirement.
“I don’t plan to do anything that smacks of work, but that does not mean I won’t be busy,”…
October 30, 2012, 3:01 pm
Donald P. Green is a professor of political science at Columbia University. He is the author of four books, including Get Out the Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout (Brookings Institution Press, 2008), with Alan S. Gerber.
Q: What’s the first thing you read in the morning?
A. My mornings start around 6 a.m., when my dog awakens me to lobby for breakfast and a walk. While she’s wolfing down her food, I scan the headlines on my laptop so that I have some campaign news to mull over while strolling through Riverside Park. When we return home, I check intrade.com, to see how the battles for president and Congress are playing out in the betting markets, and visit PollingReport.com or Pollster.com for a digest of state and national polls.
During campaign season, I conduct experiments designed to gauge the effectiveness of voter mobilization or persuasion tactics (for a readable…
October 11, 2012, 9:00 pm
The naming of Mo Yan as the 2012 Nobel Laureate in Literature was not just a honor for the Chinese writer. It was also a coup for an American university press already poised to release one of the next of Mo Yan’s novels to be published in English translation.
Spirits were high at the University of Oklahoma Press on Thursday after the news broke. “We are certainly pleased to stand in the glow of Mo Yan’s achievements and this momentous recognition of his work,” wrote the press’s editor in chief, Charles E. Rankin, in an e-mail.
Within hours of the announcement, the press moved to finalize the cover for Mo Yan’s Sandalwood Death, changing the design to include a banner flagging the author as a Nobel laureate. Oklahoma now plans to have the novel available in December, before its official release in early January.
Sandalwood Death is the second title in a new series that marks so…
October 10, 2012, 2:00 pm
This morning’s announcement of National Book Award finalists included academics in three categories, with a cluster of poets published by university presses. However academics have gone missing, oddly enough, in nonfiction. This was a departure from last year, for example, where three academics were among the five nominees in that category.
As for the other categories, finalists with academic affiliations are:
Junot Diaz, a professor of creative writing at MIT, for This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead). Diaz must have had to restock his champagne. He was just awarded a MacArthur “genius grant” on October 1.
David Ferry, a professor emeritus of English at Wellesley College, who also teaches at Suffolk University. Ferry is nominated for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press).
Cynthia Huntington, a professor of English at…
October 6, 2012, 7:00 pm
After a long squabble, the University of Missouri has rehired Clair Willcox, whom it laid off in July as editor in chief of the University of Missouri Press.
Willcox now holds that position again, and will also be associate director of the press. He will take a lead role in trying to restore a press much damaged by the events of the last several months.
Late in May, University of Missouri system administrators said they would shut down the 54-year-old press, citing its continuing inability to close its budget deficit. They would, they said, end annual subsidies of about $400,000 a year—the kind of support that almost all 134 members of the Association of American University Presses rely on.
A large protest movement arose, organized on social-media platforms and fueled by allegations that…