Monday, August 2, 2010

Thanks for reading

We want to thank you all for following this blog for the past few years. We're focusing our efforts on the SUNY Press Facebook page at this time, and for that and a number of other reasons, we're going to let the blog go to an archival status for now. Again, thanks go out to those who followed it reguarly and even those who only read a few posts in recent weeks. We've enjoyed writing for all of you on this blog and hope you'll continue to follow us for the same news and notes on our Facebook page. (And if you haven't signed up for Facebook yet, maybe this is a good enough reason to join!)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Truckin' with Sam Review

Lee and Sam Gutkind's father and son memoir, Truckin' with Sam: A Father and Son, The Mick and The Dyl, Rockin' and Rollin', On the Road, was recently reviewed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Here's an excerpt of Peter Oresick's review:

Mr. Gutkind typically works like an anthropologist garnering material for his books. He spends years gaining entrance to and carefully observing a closed community -- organ transplantation, robotics engineers, baseball umpires -- then delivers an insightful, character-driven chronicle that unveils that subculture with dramatic flair and intensity.

In Truckin' With Sam, however, the closed-community motif is personal: His own father-son relationships.

In his 2003 memoir, Forever Fat, Mr. Gutkind first delved into his stormy relationship with his dad. This new book amplifies many of those 1950s traumas, but it aims to be a corrective by focusing on the new generation. Sam Gutkind's coming-of-age, under the tutelage of a literati father, will not resemble Mr. Gutkind's bar mitzvah experience.

Read the full review and learn more about the book here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Now available: Teaching the Silk Road

Teaching the Silk Road discusses why and how to teach about China’s Silk Road. Subtitled "A Guide for College Teachers", the book advocates for a global rather than Eurocentric perspective in the college classroom.

The romance of the Silk Road journey, with its exotic locales and luxury goods, still excites the popular imagination. But study of the trade routes between China and central Asia that flourished from about 200 BCE to the 1500s can also greatly enhance contemporary higher education curricula. With people, plants, animals, ideas, and beliefs traversing it, the Silk Road is both a metaphor of globalization and an early example of it.

Editors Jacqueline M. Moore and Rebecca Woodward Wendelken highlight the reasons to incorporate this material into a variety of courses and share resources to facilitate that process. The book is intended for those who are not Silk Road or Asian specialists but who wish to embrace a global history and civilizations perspective in teaching, as opposed to the more traditional approach that focuses on cultures in isolation.

Visit our website to view the book's table of contents to see how the essays explore both classroom and experiential learning in an intentionally interdisciplinary manner.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Now available: A Soaring Minaret

Laury Silvers, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion at the University of Toronto, is the author of the newly released A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism. The book traces the development of early Islamic mysticism and metaphysics through the life and work of theologian Abu Bakr al-Wasiti. Today we're offering you a teaser of the book, via Laury's introduction. Enjoy!

Abu Bakr Muhammad b. Musa al-Wasiti (d. ca. 320 AH/932 ce) was an unpopular shaykh. He had the knack of alienating almost anyone with his exquisitely honest observations on the divine-human relationship. When a man asked Wasiti if his good or bad deeds will matter on the Last Day, Wasiti bluntly informed the man that God creates one’s bad deeds and then punishes one for them. Despite being theologi- cally sound in its particulars, Wasiti’s explanations for positions such as this one do not make them any more comforting. It is not hard to imagine why he may have been driven out of nearly every town he visited and died with only one known devoted companion. But these same statements are also praised in the classical Sufi literature for their uncompromising eloquence and theological sophistication. Several biographers depicted his habit of calling people to account with his sublime if forceful expressions by naming him “a soaring minaret.”

Wasiti’s legacy is a number of firsts: He was one the first students of the great Baghdadi Sufis, Abu al-Qasim al-Junayd (d. 298/910) and Abu al-Husayn al-Nuri (d. 295/907–08). He may have been the first of them to migrate east and establish the Baghdadi Sufi tradition in Khurasan. He was among the first Sufis to articulate a complete metaphysics in keeping with developments in early Ahl a-Hadith theology. Wasiti’s thought anticipates important discussions in later Islamic metaphysics, demonstrating that questions concerning ontology and ethics were being explored with subtlety and rigor from the earliest period onward. Moreover, his sayings offer insight into the development of theological norms in the period just prior to the rise of Ash`arism. Finally, he was one of the first Sufis to compose a Qur'an commentary. Although the original text of his commentary is now lost, Abu Abd al-Rahman al-Sulami (d. 412/1021) included Wasiti’s work in his compendium of Sufi glosses on the Qur'an, Haqa’iq al-tafsir and its appendix Ziyadat haqa’iq al-tafsir preserving his thought and establishing his influence for the later tradition.

Part One is Wasiti’s life told as a story about the development of Sufism in the formative period. The account of Abu Bakr al-Wasiti’s studies, travels, and teaching—especially the story of his Qur'an commentary and its transmission—takes us through the beginnings of Sufism in Baghdadi Ahl al-Hadith culture, the spread of Ahl al-Hadith culture and Baghdadi Sufism East to Khurasan, the consolidation of Baghdadi Sufism and the Khurasani interiorizing traditions by Sulami’s day in the fifth/eleventh century, and finally the contribution of Khurasani Sufism to the rise of the Sufi orders in the sixth/twelfth century....

Part Two turns to an analysis of Wasiti’s understanding the nature of the divine reality. As is typical of nearly all classical Islamic theology, no matter how intellectually detached or theoretical the language may sound, one primarily seeks to understand the divine reality for the sake of conforming one’s own nature to God and His will. In keeping with the theological trends of his day, Wasiti stresses God’s utter incomparability even as he affirms God’s self-manifestation through creation. Wasiti is at pains to preserve the proper boundaries of God’s incomparable Essence such that even as one recognizes God’s manifestation of His attributes through the creatures, one also affirms that the creatures possess nothing of those attributes. Wasiti’s position is seemingly at odds with the goal to conform one’s nature to divine reality. By denying human agency, he claims all human activities, even worship, are “indecent acts.” But in Wasiti’s way of looking at things, abandoning agency is nothing other than conforming to the divine nature and will.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Now available: Arsenic and Clam Chowder

The latest from our Excelsior Editions imprint recounts the sensational story of the 1896 murder trial of Mary Alice Livingston, who was accused of murdering her mother with an arsenic-laced pail of clam chowder and faced the possibility of becoming the first woman to be executed in New York’s new-fangled electric chair. Arsenic and Clam Chowder, written by James D. Livingston, is set against the electric backdrop of Gilded Age Manhattan. The arrival of skyscrapers, automobiles, motion pictures, and other modern marvels in the 1890s was transforming urban life with breathtaking speed, just as the battles of reformers against vice, police corruption, and Tammany Hall were transforming the city’s political life. In addition to telling a ripping good story, the book addresses a number of social and legal issues, among them capital punishment, equal rights for women, societal sexual standards, inheritance laws in regard to murder, gender bias of juries, and the meaning of “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Monday, July 12, 2010

Tales of New York Government

A couple of new Excelsior titles received a good deal of attention in recent days. The New York Times featured both books—Tales from the Sausage Factory and The Man Who Saved New York—in Sunday's edition. The Albany Times Union ran an extensive interview with the authors of The Man Who Saved New York, Seymour Lachman and Robert Polner, and the Staten Island Advance also featured an article on the book and interview with Seymour Lachman.

At a time when New York State's government seems more dysfuntional than ever, these books provide prime examples of how governments—local, state, and federal—can work to avoid the renewed threat of bankruptcy that now confronts not only New York, but most states.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hugh Carey and the Great Fiscal Crisis

NY1 Online's "Inside City Hall" recently featured a lively panel discussion between Lieutenant Governor Richard Ravitch and authors Seymour Lachman and Robert Polner to discuss former New York Governor Hugh Carey. Lachman and Polner's new book on Carey, The Man Who Saved New York—a portrait of one of New York’s most remarkable governors, with emphasis on his leadership during the fiscal crisis of 1975—will be available next week. You can preorder a copy here or at any other online retailer. Look for it in stores soon as well. It's certainly relevant reading for these times, as New York and most states in the nation once again find themselves in major financial distress.

Watch the panel discussion over at NY1 Online.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Women and American Theater

The University at Albany's website has a wonderful article up about the recent book Women Writers of the Provincetown Players. The book, edited by UAlbany Professor Emerita of English Judith E. Barlow, is a collection of thirteen short plays by women that were originally produced by the Provincetown Players. Here's an excerpt from the article, including part of the interview with Judith:
"What made the Provincetown Players different from anyone else was that they performed American plays," said Barlow. As a result, they had a tremendous impact on the development of modern theater. In seven years, they produced almost 100 plays by some 50 artists, a large number of which were written by women.

Thirteen of the 29 people listed in the group's incorporation papers were female. Barlow shines a light on a one-act play from each of the female Players.

The Players were mostly white, middle class, and had some college education. But they considered themselves radical bohemians and performed in an abandoned wharf down the street from Glaspell's house on Commercial Street in Provincetown, Mass. They included an anarchist friend of Emma Goldman who sold tickets, and they questioned accepted notions about birth control, marriage, spinsters and the double standard.
Read the full article here and order a copy of the book here.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Road Trip with Dad

Truckin' with Sam: A Father and Son, The Mick and The Dyl, Rockin' and Rollin', On the Road is a perfect Father's Day memoir. In the book, Lee Gutkind recounts his cross-country road trips with his son, Sam, as they traversed North America talking, laughing, learning, and bonding. As one of a growing number of “old new dads” (recent studies have shown that one in ten children are born to fathers over forty), Gutkind faced challenges—both mental and physical—not faced by younger dads, not the least of which was how to bond with a son who was so much younger than himself. Gutkind’s approach to this challenge has been to spend one to two months of every summer “truckin’” with Sam, a term they define as a metaphor for spontaneity, a lack of restriction: “Truckin’ means that you can do what you want to do sometimes; you don’t always need to do what’s expected.”

ForeWord Reviews said: “Gutkind delivers according to his reputation. Truckin’ is by turns cerebral and funny. It makes for an enjoyable ride.”

Visit the book's website for more excerpts and other exclusive content, including TriQuarterly Online's interview with Lee and Sam!

Happy Father's Day!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer in the Hamptons

Whether you are heading to the Hamptons for a little summer fun or just watching Royal Pains and wishing you were there among the farmers, fishermen, artists, billionaires, and celebrities who populate the eastern end of Long Island, In The Hamptons Too will be your book of choice this summer. Dan Rattiner, editor and publisher of Dan's Papers, is back with his second book of stories about the people who live, work, and play in one of America’s best-known summer colonies, ranging from colorful locals like former East Hampton Town Supervisor Richard T. Gilmartin and marine patrol policeman Ralph George, to more well-known figures like Kurt Vonnegut, Betty Friedan, Alger Hiss, and Martha Stewart.

Rattiner has been covering the Hamptons for over fifty years and this second offering of tales from the Hamptons will make for the perfect beach read this summer. You can also catch the author at one of several readings he'll be giving this summer. Check out his full tour schedule on our events calendar.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Italian Actress

Claudia Cardinale, then and now.

Geoffrey Mock recently interviewed Frank Lentricchia for Duke Today, Duke University's daily news and information resource. The interview focuses on Frank's new novel, The Italian Actress, about a has-been American filmmaker in Italy encountering love, cruelty, death, and the enchanting Claudia Cardinale. Lentricchia explains his inspiration:

“Some of this is me trying to come to terms with mortality and the cult of beauty,” he said in an interview.

“When I saw [Claudia’s photograph], I was stunned by it. I wanted my lead character to be obsessed with her youth and beauty. His problem is he cannot accept change, either in her or ultimately in himself.”

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hudson Valley Writers Reflect on Writing

In River of Words: Portraits of Hudson Valley Writers, seventy-six contemporary writers consider the literary life, the craft of writing, and the beauty of New York's Hudson Valley. With text by Nina Shengold and photos by Jennifer May, the book takes us inside the lives of these writers and examines the pull of the Hudson Valley. For centuries, writers have drawn inspiration from the Hudson River and its surroundings. John Burroughs, James Fenimore Cooper, Washington Irving, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and Edith Wharton all lived and worked in the region immortalized by the Hudson River School of painters. River of Words offers intimate portraits of the current crop of Hudson Valley writers as they continue the tradition of writers drawing inspiration from this distinctive American landscape.

Jennifer May recently created a website for the book that is chock full of exciting content, including sections focusing on the seventy-six writers, excerpts, and news and current events.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Breaking news from Book Expo: Selzer wins another award!

Seems like only yesterday we were announcing that Richard Selzer's Knife Song Korea won an Independent Publisher Book Award (in fact, it was just last week). Just moments ago, we received word from our people at Book Expo that it's also been awarded the 2009 Editor's Choice Award for Fiction by Foreword Magazine! Congratulations are once again in order for Richard.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Selzer Novel Wins Award

The 2010 Independent Publisher Book Awards were recently awarded, and Knife Song Korea has tied for silver in the category of Literary Fiction. Congratulations to author Richard Selzer and to all of the other award winners!

Check out the full list of award winners.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Visit us at Book Expo America

Next week, we'll make our annual trek down to BookExpo America (BEA), the largest publishing event in North America. Publishers, booksellers, authors, librarians, and more will gather in New York City to celebrate publishing, books, and all things related.

We'll be featuring our newest books in the exhibit hall and many of our noted authors will be on hand for autographing sessions, including Binnie Klein, Barbara Chepaitis, Anthony V. Riccio and Silvio Suppa, and Dan Rattiner. BEA will take place from May 25-27 at the Javits Center in New York City. Passes are available to the public, so be sure to stop by and check us out!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On The Evolutionary Review

Watch Joseph Carroll discuss the journal he coedits (with Alice Andrews), The Evolutionary Review. Joe explains the journal's aim and style as well as the state of the two-cultures synthesis as it exists within the humanities and social sciences today. Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Keep on truckin'

Available next month, Truckin' with Sam is the story of a father and son as they drive across North America in a pickup truck—talking, laughing, fighting, and bonding. The authors, Lee Gutkind and his son Sam, have launched a great website where you can listen to the Dead's "Truckin'", read excerpts from and reviews of the book, and follow the authors' promotional reading schedule (that part coming soon).

Truckin’ with Sam is an honest, moving, and often hilarious account of one father’s determination to bond with his son, a cross-country travelogue that will appeal to old dads, new dads, and women who want to know more about how dads (and sons) think and behave. Preorder your copy of this perfect Father's Day gift today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Occultist John Dee inspires oddball opera collaboration

Sixteenth-century alchemist and occultist John Dee—often referred to as the "conjurer to Queen Elizabeth"—will soon at some point be immortalized in an opera, to be cowritten by the duo behind the cartoon rock band Gorillaz—Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett—and Watchmen author and magician, anarchist, and bearded wonder, Alan Moore. We say "at some point" because, as The A.V. Club reports, the project is in the very early stages of development. Here's a snippet from their latest report:
Albarn confirms that the story will concern the life of famed alchemist John Dee, the 16th-century thinker who blurred the line between science and mysticism with his equal devotion to mathematics and stuff like trying to talk to angels in their own language. But in addition to his dabbling in the occult, Dee was also a pioneer in navigation, a noted astronomer, served as a political advisor to Elizabeth I, and amassed the largest library in England—in short, he’s a real nerd’s nerd, right down to his fascination with the supernatural.
Obviously, a collaboration between Moore and Gorillaz based on the life of John "He Talks to Angels" Dee could turn out to be, as The A.V. Club puts it, "one of the most geek-tastic projects of all time."

Coincidentally, our book John Dee's Occultism: Magical Exaltation through Powerful Signs, by noted Dee scholar György E. Szonyi, is newly available in paperback. Renaissance Quarterly said of it:
“The scholar at whatever level interested in understanding the range and scope of occult philosophy in the early modern period, will find Szonyi’s one of the best first books to read.”
In short, it's a perfect companion for those looking to bone up on John Dee and occultism in order to fully appreciate what will surely be an eccentric opera on one of the towering figures of Renaissance mysticism.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book review: Blows to the Head

Binnie Klein's Blows to the Head continues to garner positive reviews and attention. Here's a sampling from the latest review, from The Jewish Chronicle:

Klein offers a light-hearted, self-deprecating, and entertaining romp through her unusual experiences as a boxer, using them to connect with her current activities, her past, and her Jewish identification.

Read the full review. Also, we're happy to share Binnie's book trailer, below!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Busy busy busy

Spring has sprung in the northeast, and as usual that means our next seasonal catalog—the fall seasonal catalog, mind you—will be dropping soon. We've been busy working on that lately, hence the lack of exciting new blog posts. We hope to remedy this soon, but while you wait, remember to become fans of SUNY Press on Facebook, where you can follow our latest news and notes. Also, get out and enjoy the spring weather!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Holocaust Remembrance Week

April 11-18 is Holocaust Remembrance Week. In light of the timing, we'd like to share some of our books on the topic with you. Click on the book covers to learn more about each title.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Integral Options Cafe

As mentioned in an earlier post, we're taking orders for the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, plus releasing books in our new companion series on Integral Theory. We've recently discovered the Integral Options Cafe, and thought that readers of our new journal and series might find the blog of interest. Here's how William Harryman at the Cafe describes his mission:

Integral Options Cafe offers a place to discuss all things related to a Buddhist, integral worldview. While theory is important (Buddhism, Ken Wilber, Spiral Dynamics, psychology, and Integral Theory), so is politics, art & poetry, human values, popular culture, and humor. I invite comments, different points of view, and anything that can add to a civil discussion of living in an integral world.

Stan Grof, author of the forthcoming SUNY book Holotropic Breathwork, is actually featured in today's post on the Integral Options Cafe. The article offers a thorough exploration of how Grof helped "launch the dawn of a new psychedelic research era." It's a must-read for anyone interested in Grof, his research, and his impact on the field.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Find us on Facebook

Short but important post for today: SUNY Press is on Facebook! Find us there by clicking on the Facebook link you see on the right side of our blog, just beneath our logo.

Tell your friends!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Prestigious publication grant awarded by French Embassy

SUNY Press has received a prestigious Hemingway Grant from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy supporting the forthcoming publication of Guilty, an important work by the 20th-century French philosopher Georges Bataille. Translated and with an introduction by Stuart Kendall, Guilty will be published in January 2011 in the SUNY series in Contemporary French Thought, edited by David Pettigrew and Francois Raffoul. Check back often to our website for further details on this exciting new translation, the first to include the full text of Bataille's Oeuvres Completes.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Should lawmakers be allowed to draw their districts?

Seymour P. Lachman answers "no" in his recent New York Times op-ed piece. The former five-term New York state senator and coauthor of the forthcoming book, The Man Who Saved New York: Hugh Carey and the Fiscal Crisis of 1975, says that his years spent working in state government convinced him that allowing lawmakers to redraw districts can create a sort of lifetime tenure for elected officials and a near "imperial level of control for the majority leadership."

Read the full op-ed here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Digital Revolution

Today we'd like to share a message from our Executive Director, Gary H. Dunham.


It’s high time to speak again about the digital revolution. Dizzying advances in digital communication technologies make it an extraordinarily promising time to be a publisher. At the start of the second decade of the twenty-first century, our authors are sharing their creativity and scholarly research with readers through a wide array of means and media, only one of which is the printed book. As I have often said, those publishers who cling only to the printed book often are not standing in the same room where authors and readers are holding conversations. It’s time to move to where the information flow is taking place.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely adore an elegantly designed, printed book—a real, bound narrative that’s portable, acquires a wonderfully vintage smell over time, carries the marks and moments of its owner, and looks so right on a shelf. Printed books will not and should not go away, but they are part of a richer, more dynamic world of information sharing nowadays. It is our responsibility as a publisher to track closely and understand the evolving, myriad ways that authors and readers connect, and to offer a range of choices to both facilitate that communication and enhance the worldwide visibility and accessibility of SUNY Press publications. You deserve that attention and vision from a university press, and so do the lives, peoples, topics, issues, and histories that we share through publications.

Embracing the latest in digital communication technologies is thus a key cornerstone of SUNY Press’s long-term strategic plan. Many of the strategic initiatives and partnerships necessary to carry out this transformation are in full swing, and let me mention some of them here. Our seasonal catalog is now primarily issued as an online, interactive edition. All new titles and a growing number of our backlist are offered in XML, the most versatile and powerful digital platform available. We’re making huge strides towards realizing our dream of a largely virtual warehouse. Each new scholarly monograph published by SUNY Press is available simultaneously in an eco-friendly and affordable DirectText electronic edition. The press’s new journals and conference proceedings dissemination programs are also digitally based, allowing purchasers the freedom and flexibility to buy a digital or print-to-order copy of the whole volume, an individual chapter, or bundles of chapters. We have also aggressively pursued partnerships with a host of online partners in order to maximize the presence of our publications on the Web: NetLibrary and ebrary offer thousands of SUNY Press titles to libraries; Amazon's Kindle now features SUNY Press best sellers, with thousands more soon to be available; Barnes & Noble currently offers over 1,000 SUNY Press e-books, with thousands more on the way. And Google currently makes available thousands of SUNY Press books on Book Search, all of which will soon be sold also through the revolutionary Google Editions program. Wherever you look for a book on the Web, nowadays you are very likely to run into a SUNY Press publication.

Whew! There’s much going on here, digital-wise, and so much more in the works. Stay tuned!

Until next time,

Gary H. Dunham
Executive Director

Monday, March 29, 2010

Integral Theory

We're happy to announce that orders are now being taken online for the Journal of Integral Theory and Practice (JITP), "the official outlet for material related to Integral Theory and its application." This quarterly, peer-reviewed journal provides research on humanity’s most pressing problems. JITP articles are written by experts from several disciplines, including ecology, religion, sustainability, leadership, psychology, psychiatry, coaching, business, politics, and education.

Be on the lookout in the coming months for new books in our companion series on Integral Theory. The first book in this new series, A Guide to Integral Psychotherapy, is available in April.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Get your ebooks here, there, and everywhere

Have you visited the SUNY Press eBookStore lately? If not, then you may not realize we have 230 (and counting) downloadable books available, including Black Elk Speaks.

We also have a growing list of ebooks available for both the Kindle and the nook. So far there are over 500 1000 titles for the nook and around 50 for the Kindle, with many more to come for both, of course. So the next time you're looking at our books on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, check for the ebook version for your preferred device.

Monday, March 22, 2010

ForeWord Book of the Year Finalists

Congratulations to authors Richard Selzer, Joe Amato, and Eve Pell. Their books were recently name ForeWord Book of the Year Finalists!

2009 Finalists in Fiction - Literary Category

Knife Song Korea, by Richard Selzer

2009 Finalists in Autobiography/Memoir Category

Once an Engineer, by Joe Amato

The 2009 Book of the Year Award winners will be announced on May 25 at a ceremony at BookExpo America. The winners are being selected by a panel of librarians and booksellers.
ForeWord's Book of the Year Awards program was designed to discover distinctive books from independent publishers across a number of genres. The Awards program often serves to provide these worthy projects with a second wind of publicity.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Problem with Pacifism and How to Fix It

Dustin Ells Howes, author of Toward a Credible Pacifism: Violence and the Possibilities of Politics, wrote to share some information on a couple of upcoming speaking engagements in Syracuse and Oswego, New York. Both events are open to the public. Dustin will also have a few books on hand for purchase and signing.

Here is the basic appearance info:

March 25th, 2pm
Lemoyne College
Grewen Auditorium
Sponsored by the Center for Peace and Global Studies. Co-Sponsored by the Department of Political Science and the Lectures Committee.

March 25th, 7pm
SUNY-Oswego, Hart Hall Basement
Sponsored by Peace and Conflict Studies, Political Studies, Global and International Studies, Civic Engagement Coalition, Interdisciplinary Programs and Activities Center

Talk Title: The Problem with Pacifism and How to Fix It (same talk at both locations).

Here is a brief description of what Dustin will be discussing:

Most pacifists argue that violence is immoral and making politics more ethical requires a more or less wholesale rejection of it. Yet nearly every political ideology besides pacifism – liberalism, conservatism, fascism, communism, and anarchism – remains unconvinced. Professor Howes argues that this is because pacifists too often try to tackle the problem of violence from an ethical as opposed to a political standpoint. Pacifists should cede that, at least on their own terms, the major ideologies have made an effective case for the legitimacy of violence. The political significance of Gandhi’s techniques is that he showed that violence is never necessary. A practical pacifism can concede that violence sometimes works and sometimes produces just results, but hold fast to the insight that there is almost always an alternative to violence that is more responsible. Gandhi demonstrated this by inventing a political technique that, even in the context of extreme instances of violence and oppression, has just as much of a chance of succeeding as violence.

Dustin Ells Howes is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Louisiana State University and the author of Toward a Credible Pacifism: Violence and the Possibilities of Politics. He studies political theory with a particular emphasis on the problem of violence and politics and has published articles in International Studies Quarterly, Human Rights Review, and Holocaust and Genocide Studies. He received the Tanner Award for Teaching Excellence at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a contributor to the blog Waging Nonviolence.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Author Spotlight: Annette Dunlap

We're happy to share with you that author Annette Dunlap set up her own author's page over at Amazon. Here's a bio she put together for the page:
When people ask me why I wrote a biography, I tell them it was on my "bucket list." Ever since I was a schoolgirl, I have enjoyed reading about other people's lives, and I determined that one day a book of mine would be in the biography section of the library. The decision to write about Frances Cleveland was made during my years as a marketing professor at a small, liberal arts college in North Carolina. The advertising textbook discussed the advent of mass marketing, and mentioned that a very attractive first lady's image was used, without her permission, to market a wide variety of products. That first lady was Frances Folsom Cleveland. I did a little background reading, and learned that she was our nation's youngest first lady, that her wedding took place in the White House, and that there was a 27 year age difference between her and her husband, Grover Cleveland. Such is the stuff of novels, but as is often the case, the facts may be more believable than if an author had used the same characters in a work of fiction. 
Frank is my first book, but it will not be my last. I am at work on a second book, again to be published by SUNY Press/Excelsior Editions.
You can track Annette's recent events related to her biography of Frances Folsom Cleveland, Frank. Annette's also listing her upcoming events, including one tonight in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Let's Be Frank: First Ladies & Second Marriages

Annette Dunlap's recent book, Frank: The Story of Frances Folsom Cleveland, America's Youngest First Lady, is the first full-length biography of America’s youngest, and possibly most underrated, First Lady. This past weekend, Annette participated in a Q&A for Parade Magazine. The question concerned First Ladies who've remarried (hint: her expertise on Frances Folsom came in handy). Check it out!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

On the Origins of Comics

Brian Boyd's fascinating essay in the inaugural issue of The Evolutionary Review is now available online for you to read—for free! Here's the opening two paragraphs, to set the scene a bit:
Comics can have almost no mass and yet be the most mass of mass arts: Garfield has had up to 263 million readers a day. Comics constitute a new art, just over a century old, and usually an unusually accessible one. So what can evolution add to our understanding of comics?

Evolution lets us see comics, like almost anything human or even alive, in a panoramic context but also in extreme close-up, as close as a comics artist trying to grab readers’ attention in this frame or with that angle. And it can zoom smoothly between these two poles. Evolution offers a unified and naturalistic causal system from the general to the very particular. Far from reducing all to biology and then to chemistry and physics, it easily and eagerly plugs in more local factors—in a case like comics, historical, technological, social, artistic and individual factors, for instance—the closer we get to particulars. Evolution accepts multilevel explanations, from cells to societies, and allows full room for nature and culture, society and individuals.
Read the article and then subscribe to The Evolutionary Review (download the entire issue, order a hard copy, or order individual articles).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New York's Indie and Small Press Book Fair

Check out this LA Times article about last weekend's New York Indie and Small Press Book Fair. Author Binnie Klein (Blows to the Head) is featured prominently in the piece. Here's another picture of Binnie, relaxing at the Excelsior Editions table with our very own James Peltz.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Dutch Albany Extravaganza

Attention Albany, NY area residents: Save the date and mark your calendars for the Dutch Albany Extravaganza on Sunday, March 7th! From the Capital Region food blog, Table Hopping:

The event will include traditional Dutch treats and coffee at the Bistro/Bar at 74 State, a trolley tour of historic Albany locations, lecture by food historian Peter G. Rose on Dutch art and food, and a traditional Dutch dinner at Marché.

Peter G. Rose, food historian and author, will also be giving a lecture on Dutch art and food. Rose, recipient of the Alice P. Kenney Award for research and writing on the food customs and diet of the Dutch settlers in New Netherland, is author of Summer Pleasures, Winter Pleasures, a cookbook filled with informative and tasty Hudson Valley recipes.

This will be a day of events that you won’t want to miss.

Visit Table Hopping for the pricing and menu information, and check out Peter G. Rose’s cookbook.