Monthly Archives: July 2006

Mark Monmonier on WBUR, Boston

July 13, 2006
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Mark Monmonier on WBUR, Boston

Mark Monmonier, author of From Squaw Tit to Whorehouse Meadow: How Maps Name, Claim, and Inflame, was interviewed last week by Robin Young on WBUR’s program Here and Now. Young begins the segment by warning that “some of the language in the following conversation about maps might be upsetting for some, but that’s the point.” Monmonier discusses map names—toponyms—that are offensive, pejorative or simply lascivious. He does manage to get bleeped, but just once. Listen to the program segment. Read an excerpt from the book and a blog essay by Monmonier. . . .

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Press release: Timmermans, Postmortem

July 13, 2006
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Press release: Timmermans, Postmortem

Postmortem shows in utterly fascinating and close up detail what death investigations are like from behind the scenes. Stefan Timmermans spent three years shadowing medical examiners—the type you’d find on the hit TV series CSI—to show how these professionals unlock the secrets of corpses and speak to the living on behalf of the dead. More broadly, he also considers how death titillates us as an existential drama, exploring why we find the work these medical examiners perform so compelling. Read the press release. Read an excerpt from the book. . . .

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Press release: Bartsch, The Mirror of the Self

July 12, 2006
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Press release: Bartsch, The Mirror of the Self

Lustful Stoics, moral hypocrisy, divided selves—on Shadi Bartsch’s sexy and philosophical journey through classical notions of selfhood, we encounter all of these, plus much more. Exploring the links among vision, sexuality, and self-knowledge in the ancient world, Bartsch argues here that this unexpected ménage á trois has much to teach us about how the ancients understood what it meant to be a person. Read the press release. . . .

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Ezra Klein on The Medical Malpractice Myth

July 11, 2006
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Ezra Klein on The Medical Malpractice Myth

Ezra Klein, who writes on health and medicine for Slate, posted an article today about the ongoing political battle over malpractice lawsuits. The Republican leadership in the Senate wants to cap jury awards in medical malpractice cases, while the Democrats are focused on cutting the number of malpractice lawsuits by reducing medical errors. Klein brings Tom Baker’s The Medical Malpractice Myth into the debate, calling it “the best attempt to synthesize the academic literature on medical malpractice.” “Baker marshals an overwhelming array of research,” says Klein, who goes on to use that evidence—as well as other just-released studies of medical malpractice suits—to argue that it makes more sense to improve medical practice. Read an excerpt from the book. . . .

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Edward Rothstein on Smith and Strauss

July 10, 2006
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Edward Rothstein on Smith and Strauss

In his “Connections” column in today’s New York Times, Edward Rothstein contributes to the current debate over the meaning and influence of Leo Strauss. Rothstein singles out Steven B. Smith’s book Reading Leo Strauss: Politics, Philosophy, Judaism. Smith, says Rothstein, “makes it clear just how thoroughly Strauss has been misunderstood.” Strauss, says Rothstein, was “trying to synthesize the worlds of the ancient and the modern. … What the ancients remind us is that humanity is not infinitely perfectible, that the ideal world is not ruled by reason alone, that cultural and historical variation does not mean that anything goes, that notions of egalitarianism do not guarantee virtue.” We have an excerpt from Smith’s book. . . .

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Gridlock, schmidlock

July 10, 2006
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Gridlock, schmidlock

Sunday’s issue of the Los Angeles Times featured an opinion piece by Robert Bruegmann. “Sprawl is not the worst thing that ever happened to the nation’s cities. In fact, by many measures, it’s been beneficial,” writes Bruegmann. But isn’t sprawl to blame for gridlock on the LA freeways? No, says Bruegmann, the problem is a lagging infrastucture: “Population and density have increased without a corresponding development in the highway network. The L.A. region, once at the forefront of freeway development, now falls toward the bottom of the list of cities in the number of freeway lane miles per capita.” The divisive debate over sprawl has “weaken the consensus for funding for all kinds of transportation—public and private, highway and rail.” LA needs to “put aside for a while the old and not-terribly-helpful battles over sprawl.” See also our excerpt from the book. . . .

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Scott McLemee on publicity in the digital age

July 7, 2006
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Scott McLemee on publicity in the digital age

Last month at the Association of American University Presses annual meeting, Scott McLemee participated in a session on “Publicity in the Digital Age.” He has posted a version of his remarks on Inside Higher Ed where he writes the Intellectual Affairs column. Says McLemee: “There may now be more opportunities than ever to connect up readers with the books that will interest them.…The bad news is that, for the most part, it isn’t happening.” The problem, as he sees it, is that “very few people at university presses have made the transition to full engagement with the developing digital public sphere.” By and large, McLamee believes, university presses are missing the potential publicity available via academic bloggers. Academic bloggers do not receive appropriate review copies of university press books. “It would also help if more publishers were inclined to make extracts from their new books available online,” says McLemee. And “signing up for e-mail notifications of new books from university presses rarely pays off.” Read the whole piece—it’s worth the time. And, here at Chicago, we’ll try harder. . . .

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Press release: Solzman, The Chicago River

July 7, 2006
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Press release: Solzman, The Chicago River

“In a strong sense, the river is Chicago,” David M. Solzman writes: running through the heart of downtown, it is a vehicle both for pleasure and for the industry that keeps Chicago humming. And with a brand new museum just opened in its honor, the river is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. The time is ripe, then, for this significantly expanded and thoroughly updated new edition of Solzman’s The Chicago River: An Illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways—a guidebook and historical narrative which explores both the river’s physical character and natural history. Read the press release. . . .

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Press release: Kruse, The New Suburban History

July 6, 2006
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Press release: Kruse, The New Suburban History

The ten essays in The New Suburban History are all written by historians on the cutting edge of an expanding field, and draw on original research on locales across the country, from California to Michigan to North Carolina. Paying special attention to the little-known histories of blue-collar, African American, Latino, and Asian suburbanites, the authors shed light on the role suburbs have played in the transformation of liberalism and conservatism; in the contentious politics of race, class, and ethnicity; and in debates about the environment, land use, taxation, and regulation. Read the press release. . . .

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Review: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

July 5, 2006
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Review: Brown, Richard Hofstadter

Sean Wilentz has an eight-page review essay of David S. Brown’s Richard Hofstadter: An Intellectual Biography in the current issue of the New Republic. Here is a paragraph from the review: In some respects, indeed, Hofstadter’s standing has risen since 1970. His fascination with the history of what he called “political culture,” the quirks in American politics beyond official platforms and speeches, is now very much in vogue. And no historian of the United States with the same combination of intellectual heterodoxy, literary brilliance, and scholarly sweep has replaced him. Amid the current dizzy political scene—with its snake-oil preachers, and anti-Darwinian Social Darwinists, and Indian casino ripoff artists, and a president whose friends say he thinks he is ordained by God—Hofstadter’s sharpness about the darker follies of American democracy seems more urgently needed than ever. Read an excerpt from the book. . . .

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