Blog Archives

Read an Excerpt from “White Market Drugs” Our Winter #ReadUCP Book Club Pick

January 20, 2021
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We’re excited to share that our winter Twitter Book Club pick is David Herzberg’s White Market Drugs: Big Pharma and The Hidden History of Addiction in America. To get you started, we’ve included a short excerpt from the Introduction below. Then, order the book for 30% off with the code READUCP on our website, and join us on Twitter for a conversation with David on February 23 at 2:00 PM Central. Follow the hashtag #ReadUCP for updates. Thinking past the medicine-drug divide White markets are an open secret of American history, widely ac- knowledged but rarely examined in depth. This is, in part, because they fall into a scholarly gap between historians who study medicines and historians who study drugs. These are different people, who belong to different scholarly societies, each with their own journals and conferences, and who organize their research around their own distinctive questions. Addictive medicines sit directly in the gap between these groups and fit only awkwardly into either. Not all historians respect this boundary between medicines and drugs; a number of excellent works tell key parts of the story.11 Yet much of the story has not been told. Pharmaceutical opioids do not yet have their . . .

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Ten Things I’ve Learned Designing for a University Press

January 19, 2021
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We’re often introduced to a book through its cover. Catching our eye on a bookstore display, in a social media post, or shared by a favorite reviewer, covers give us a glimpse into what each book holds. But how does a cover come into existence? What goes into the process and how do designers dream them up? We checked in with Natalie Sowa, one of our very own in-house designers, to hear about working in book design. In turn, she offers the ten things she’s learned while designing covers for a university press. 1. A book cover is an overture. A cover cannot possibly contain everything in the book; its function is entirely different. An overture is a broad musical interpretation of a larger work of music; it picks themes and snippets from the work and puts them on display to whet the aural appetite. This is the function of a good book cover. The book is the entire musical composition, complete and exhaustive. The cover hints at what is inside and entices readers to open it. The best covers often focus on a single idea and visualize it in a way that’s difficult for potential readers to ignore. 2. . . .

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Five Books to Help You Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

January 4, 2021
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At the beginning of each year, many of us make resolutions. But often, it’s hard to know just how to get started or stay committed. That’s where we come in! Books are one of the best ways to explore how to best fulfill a resolution, and so we’ve offered some suggestions below of books to get you started on the path to self-improvement. Improve your writing with Wordcraft: The Complete Guide to Clear, Powerful Writing. In one of the most broadly useful writing books ever written, legendary writing coach Jack Hart breaks the writing process into a series of manageable steps, from idea to polishing. Filled with real-world examples, both good and bad, Wordcraft shows how to bring such characteristics as force, brevity, clarity, rhythm, and color to any kind of writing. Find new ways to relax: Doodling for Academics: A Coloring and Activity Book With the help of hilarious illustrations by Lauren Nassef, Julie Schumacher infuses the world of campus greens and university quads with cutting wit, immersing you deep into the weirdly creative challenges of university life. Offering a satirical interactive experience for scholars, the combination of humor and activities in this book will bring academia into entertaining . . .

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The Bourgeois Deal Summarized in An Infographic

December 18, 2020
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In their new book, Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich, economists Deirdre McCloskey and Art Carden summarize what they call “The Bourgeois Deal.” In short: when we leave people alone to buy low, sell high, and innovate, they do so—and in the process, they make the rest of us rich. To illustrate this, NowSourcing has put together the infographic below. Read on to see the Bourgeois Deal at work. Leave Me Alone and I’ll Make You Rich: How the Bourgeois Deal Enriched the World is now available on our website or from your favorite bookseller. . . .

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Watch the Book Trailer for “Yellowstone Wolves”

December 14, 2020
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Gray wolves are in the news: at the end of October, the Trump administration stripped them of protections under the US Endangered Species Act, effectively opening the way to renewed hunting of a species once nearly driven to extinction; yet in the 2020 elections, Colorado narrowly passed Proposition 114, directing the state to begin reintroduction efforts; and all of this is occurring as we mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the successful reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park. Publishing December 15, Yellowstone Wolves: Science and Discovery in the World’s First National Park is a testament to all we have learned from the wolves of Yellowstone since 1995—and to what we will lose if these ecologically vital predators were to disappear. Featuring a foreword by Jane Goodall, beautiful images, companion online documentary videos by celebrated filmmaker Bob Landis, and contributions from more than seventy wolf and wildlife conservation luminaries from Yellowstone and around the world, this book is a gripping, accessible celebration of the extraordinary Yellowstone Wolf Project—and of the park through which these majestic and important creatures once again roam. Below, enjoy a book trailer produced by Bob Landis in which the book’s lead editor (and Yellowstone Wolf Project leader) . . .

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Six Questions with Rachel Hope Cleves, author of “Unspeakable”

December 8, 2020
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What do we do with the life of a person who was celebrated in their own time, but whose actions, violating what are now seen as firm moral and legal boundaries, appall us today? The life of once-renowned twentieth-century author Norman Douglas raises this question in a particularly stark form. In her new book, Unspeakable: A Life beyond Sexual Morality, Rachel Hope Cleves takes a clear-eyed look at Douglas’s life, what it can tell us how societal standards change with time, and what we can learn from a better understanding of those shifts. We asked her a few questions about the book. Norman Douglas is far less famous now than he was in his lifetime. How did you first learn about him? Believe it or not, this very serious book began with a little light vacation reading. In 2013-2014 I spent a sabbatical year in Paris with my family and we bought discount airline tickets to Naples for the kids’ spring break. A friend recommended that we visit Capri while we were there. I didn’t know anything about the island, so in my typical nerdy fashion I looked for books to read and discovered that there was a 1917 bestseller . . .

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Read an Excerpt from “The Teaching Archive”

December 3, 2020
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As students and teachers look ahead to another semester of remote instruction, many are also thinking back fondly to gathering in classrooms for lively collaborations and discussions. With The Teaching Archive, Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan turn their attention to the classroom, reminding us that the classroom has long been a site of innovation and that the contributions of students themselves are far more intertwined in the history of literary studies than we might imagine. With their innovative new book, Buurma and Heffernan open up “the teaching archive”—the syllabuses, course descriptions, lecture notes, and class assignments—of notable critics and scholars, showing how students helped write foundational works of literary criticism and how English classes at community colleges and HBCUs pioneered the reading methods and expanded canons that came only belatedly to the Ivy League. The Teaching Archive rewrites what we know about the discipline and will be an invaluable resource as we enter a new decade of instruction and scholarship. Read on for an excerpt from the introduction of The Teaching Archive: A New History for Literary Study by Rachel Saagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan or click here to read the introduction in full. A New Syllabus In this . . .

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The Making of a Magazine: A Dialogue with the Team Behind “The Point”

December 1, 2020
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The Making of a Magazine: A Dialogue with the Team Behind “The Point”

Highlighting the first decade of Chicago-based philosophical magazine The Point, The Opening of the American Mind brings together responses to some of the most significant events and issues of the last ten years. We spoke with some of The Point’s team to hear more about the new book, their current work, and how this whole project got started. To learn more about The Point, check out their website: https://thepointmag.com/ First of all, could you each say what your roles are at The Point? Jonny Thakkar: I am one of the editors. This involves a mixture of tasks. Sometimes I’m the lead editor on a piece, in charge of communication with an author, and other times I’m supporting the lead editor of a piece by giving line edits or a second opinion. I have to be on the lookout for potential writers and also for themes and topics that we might want to cover in some way. Finally, I’m also involved in strategic decisions regarding the development of the magazine and its place in the cultural landscape. Anastasia Berg: Like Jonny, I’m also an editor. I solicit and edit pieces for the print magazine and our website and am involved in . . .

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7 Questions with David Sepkoski, author of “Catastrophic Thinking”

November 23, 2020
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7 Questions with David Sepkoski, author of “Catastrophic Thinking”

We live in an age in which we are repeatedly reminded—by scientists, by the media, by popular culture—of the looming threat of mass extinction. Such apocalyptic talk feels familiar to us, but the current fascination with extinction is a relatively recent phenomenon. As David Sepkoski reveals, the way we value biodiversity depends crucially on our sense that it is precarious—that it is something actively threatened, and that its loss could have profound consequences. In his new book, Sepkoski uncovers how and why we learned to value diversity as a precious resource at the same time as we learned to think catastrophically about extinction. We asked him a few questions about it. In the book, you explain how an “extinction imaginary” helps inform the way we see and value the world around us. Can you give us a quick introduction to that term? A central claim of this book is that scientific ideas and cultural values can’t be cleanly separated: science doesn’t “cause” us to believe certain things about society or politics, nor do political or social values “explain” particular scientific theories. Rather, the science and culture of a particular place and time are tightly interwoven and reinforce each other by . . .

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RaiseUP: Read an Excerpt from “Hearing Happiness” by Jaipreet Virdi

November 13, 2020
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Emphasizing the role that university presses play in elevating authors, subjects, and whole disciplines that bring new perspectives, ideas, and voices to readers around the globe, the Association of University Presses has chosen “Raise UP” as the theme for this year’s University Press Week, which runs through November 15. “Raise UP” is a particularly apt theme in a time when information moves at faster speeds than ever before across all platforms. It’s critical that scholarship about the most important ideas of the day is nurtured, championed, and made widely available.  We’re proud to participate in the UP Week blog tour, along with our colleagues at the University of Notre Dame Press, the University of Alberta Press, the University Press of Florida, University of South Carolina Press, Bristol University Press, Amsterdam University Press, University of Toronto Press, Bucknell University Press, Vanderbilt University Press, University of Minnesota Press, Harvard University Press, and Columbia University Press, to honor today’s theme of “Active Voices.” What follows is a powerful excerpt from the Introduction to Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History by Jaipreet Virdi, a historian and truly inspiring and active voice for disability rights and awareness. At the age of four, Virdi’s world went . . .

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