Monthly Archives: September 2008

The Quotable Kathleen Hall Jamieson

September 30, 2008
By
The Quotable Kathleen Hall Jamieson

In 1988, during a presidential campaign of yore, election coverage quoted Presidents Creating the Presidency coauthor Kathleen Hall Jamieson so frequently that the New York Times ran a story about it. “In every Presidential campaign,” the Times noted, “a handful of people become ‘hot sources’ of information, quoted seemingly everywhere only to fade from view the day after the election.”

But, twenty years and five campaigns later, Jamieson certainly hasn’t faded. In addition to appearing on PBS’s NewsHour to analyze this year’s presidential race, Jamieson has been quoted or cited in 2008 election coverage by virtually every major American news organization.

She talked to the AP, for example, about the tone of certainty both candidates have adopted. She discussed the campaign’s declining civility with the Arizona Republic. And in the Christian Science Monitor she analyzed the Republican Party’s press management strategy with Sarah Palin.

For more from this brilliant communications scholar, peruse Presidents Creating the Presidency—or simply read the news.

. . .

Read more »

Negative ads? What’s the problem?

September 30, 2008
By
Negative ads? What’s the problem?

In an article published this morning on the Politico website, John G. Geer, author of In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns turns a critical eye on this year’s presidential campaign to offer some fascinating insights as to why the mudslinging that many argue has sullied this year’s elections might not be so bad after all. Geer writes:

Americans do not like negative ads; as much as 80 percent of the public indicates distaste for them. Yet people do not think it’s negative for candidates to attack on issues. It’s the personal attacks they equate with negative ads. Most commentators include issue attacks as negative, such as McCain’s strongly disputed claim that Obama supports sex education for kindergartners. To complicate matters further, most attack ads in presidential campaigns are not personal, they’re about issues. That fact rarely gets discussed by the news media. Instead, the news media focus on one or two outrageous ads and fail to look at the broader patterns.

Along these same lines, consider the favorable aspects of negative ads that are rarely mentioned: They are more specific and documented than are positive ads. And they’re more likely to be about the important issues . . .

Read more »

Genres of the Credit Crisis

September 29, 2008
By
Genres of the Credit Crisis

In the last week, as the Wall Street bailout plan was developed and debated, Americans have struggled to visualize what $700 billion dollars could buy. A popular illustration of that buying power is the now-often-repeated 2200 McDonalds apple pies for every man, woman, and child in the country. This need to tie the intangible and incomprehensible to something more pedestrian and quotidian calls into question what exactly money represents. In order to expound on this “problematic of representation,” we called on Mary Poovey, author of Genres of the Credit Economy: Mediating Value in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain to discuss what history and the humanities can teach us about our modern credit crisis:

In Genres of the Credit Economy, I developed a historical argument to show that, in periods in which what I call the problematic of representation became visible, economic, political, and epistemological uncertainty often ensued. When I developed that argument, I never expected to live through such an experience myself. But here we are, in the United States of America, in 2008, facing exactly this kind of uncertainty. With the investment firms of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers now extinct, Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs having morphed into . . .

Read more »

Revealing the watery world of ocean scientists

September 29, 2008
By
Revealing the watery world of ocean scientists

Last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal contains an enthusiastic review of Ellen Prager’s new book Chasing Science at Sea: Racing Hurricanes, Stalking Sharks, and Living Undersea with Ocean Experts. Writing for the WSJ Michael J. Ybarra begins his review:

Ellen Prager would seem to have an enviable job: traveling the world to unravel the mysteries of the deep. “For the uninitiated, spending days doing research while cruising aboard a ship or living on a remote tropical island sounds glamorous, a vacation of sorts,” she writes in Chasing Science at Sea. “Glamour rarely comes into it.”

Ms. Prager, the chief scientist at Aquarius Reef Base in the Florida Keys, the world’s only undersea research station, uses breezy, accessible prose to evoke the beauty and magic of the underwater world—as well as the banalities of working as a scientist in an alien environment. She describes collecting fish poop, writing grant proposals (the competition among ocean scientists for money “is fierce”), and battling seasickness and skin rash from prolonged immersion. And Ms. Prager decries the alarming changes she perceives in the world’s oceans, including dying coral reefs, decimated fish stocks and the spread of algae blooms that “can kill fish and render the . . .

Read more »

Inside the Presidential Debates

September 26, 2008
By
Inside the Presidential Debates

The latest word is that tonight’s presidential debate in Oxford, MS, between John McCain and Barack Obama will indeed go on. This is a relief to millions of politically-obsessed Americans who otherwise would have to make other plans.

Newton Minow, who more than anyone else is responsible for televised debates, and his co-author Craig L. LaMay, have an op-ed piece in this morning’s Chicago Tribune in which they give a bit of the history of the presidential debates. (For the full story consult their book Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future.)

Minow and LaMay advise: “After you watch tonight’s debate, turn off your television and avoid the spin that follows.” Good advice, even though in Chicago we like to think we are as immune to political spin as we are to cold, wind, and snow.

Minow and LaMay also recently participated in a panel discussion about the debates with former Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, and Ellen Hume the research director of MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media, at the Harvard School of Law. The HLS has a posted a nice summary of the discussion as well as an archived video of the panel on their website.

. . .

Read more »

Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame to induct Jane Addams

September 25, 2008
By
Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame to induct Jane Addams

Jane Addams, whose fascinating life Louise Knight chronicles in Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy, will be inducted this fall into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. Chicago’s’ Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues recently announced the nomination as part of its list of individuals and organizations up for inclusion in the only known government-sponsored hall of fame that honors members of the LGBT communities.

Read up on Addam’s accomplishments before the November induction by checking out this excerpt from Citizen. Or track her legacy by reading recent invocations of these achievements by political commentators tracing the genealogies of Barack Obama’s community organizing and Sarah Palin’s feminism.

. . .

Read more »

The Great Chicago Book Sale

September 25, 2008
By
The Great Chicago Book Sale

The University of Chicago Press announces its first public book sale in over twenty years. For two days only—Tuesday, October 7 and Wednesday, October 8—the University of Chicago Press will sell hundreds of different titles at incredibly deep discounts.

The sale will run from 9 AM until 5 PM on Tuesday and Wednesday, in the International House’s Assembly Hall on the University of Chicago campus (1414 E. 59th Street, Dorchester Avenue entrance). Over 10,000 books in a variety of subjects—from anthropology to poetry to zoology—will be available for purchase. With both hardcovers and paperbacks priced at only five dollars each, this is a one-of-a-kind opportunity to stock your personal library—or find some unusual gifts for the holiday season. From reference guides to contemporary bestsellers, Beethoven to Mike Royko, this book sale will offer something for everyone. Supplies are limited, so be sure to arrive early for the best selection.

Read the press release.

. . .

Read more »

Books to read before the election

September 24, 2008
By
Books to read before the election

We’re less than six weeks away from the election, but if you want to be a truly informed voter when you cast your ballot this November, we’ve got some books to recommend for the home stretch.

In preparation for the first Obama-McCain match-up this Friday, why not spend some time with Newton N. Minow and Craig L. LaMay’s Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future? This fascinating history offers a genuinely inside look into the origins of the presidential debates from the man who invented them. (See memorable moments from presidential debates and read an excerpt from the book.)

If the campaign has gotten too dirty for you, give John G. Geer’s In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns a read. Greer argues that when political candidates attack each other, raising doubts about each other’s views and qualifications, voters—and the democratic process—benefit. (See a special feature, John Geer’s Attack Ad Hall of Fame.)

And if the phrase “hanging chad” still haunts your dreams and you fear another Florida-like ballot debacle, have a look at Marcia Lausen’s Design for Democracy: Ballot and Election Design. A handsomely designed specimen itself, this book calls for and lays . . .

Read more »

Tim and Tom wrap it up in Chicago

September 23, 2008
By
Tim and Tom wrap it up in Chicago

After a week of radio and TV interviews, public appearances, and book signings in the Windy City, Tim Reid and Tom Dreesen, co-authors with Ron Rapoport of Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White, are moving on to the Big Apple this week to do it all over again. The comedy duo have events scheduled this week that range from book signings at several local bookstores (see the listings on our author events page) to taping an appearance for tonight’s Late Show with David Letterman.

Here’a a wrap-up of some of the Chicago interviews that are available online: Last Wednesday the authors stopped by the WBEZ studios at Navy Pier for an interview with Richard Steele for Chicago Public Radio’s Eight-forty Eight. Last week the authors also made several TV appearances including an interview with Janet Davies for ABC7 Chicago, an interview with Bill Zwecker for CBS2’s Eye on Chicago, and long interview (with some video from their act) for WTTW’s Chicago Tonight.

See the Tim and Tom website and read an excerpt from the book.

. . .

Read more »

Nancy G. Siraisi a MacArthur “Genius”

September 23, 2008
By
Nancy G. Siraisi a MacArthur “Genius”

Press author Nancy G. Siraisi, a Brooklyn-based medical historian, is one of the twenty-five new fellows announced this morning by the MacArthur Foundation. The MacArthur Fellowships, known as “genius grants,” provide each recipient with $500,000 over five years, no strings attached. MacArthur’s widely reported announcement noted that the grants “offer the opportunity for Fellows to accelerate their current activities or take their work in new directions.”

They are intended to celebrate “extraordinarily creative individuals who inspire new heights in human achievement,” MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton said in an announcement on the foundation’s Web site. Siraisi, for her part, “continues to provide contributions to the evolving scholarly understanding of medical history and, specifically, Renaissance intellectual history.” In Medieval and Early Renaissance Medicine: An Introduction to Knowledge and Practice, for example, she explores the inner workings of the medical community and illustrates the connections of medicine to both natural philosophy and technical skills.

As we congratulate Nancy Siraisi, we proudly add her name to the growing list of Press authors who have received the genius grant, including Stuart Dybek, a 2007 MacAurthur Fellow; George Lewis, a 2002 fellow whose book A Power Stronger Than Itself we published earlier this year; Danielle Allen, . . .

Read more »

Search for books and authors