Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Launching the Journals Program: The Evolutionary Review

We are excited to begin a new Journals Program here at the Press, starting with the inaugural issue of The Evolutionary Review: Art, Science, Culture.

Over the past several years, “literary Darwinism,” evolutionary aesthetics, and evolutionary cultural theory have expanded and flourished, displaying their vitality in numerous articles and books, and gaining ever-increasing visibility not just in academic journals but in newspapers and magazines aimed at educated general readers. The Evolutionary Review (TER) now offers a forum for the whole scope of evolutionary thinking in every field of human interest.

Most of the writers contributing to TER are academics, but the editors didn’t want this to be an “academic” publication. Even in its more respectful connotations, the word “academic” suggests writing oriented to specialized professional audiences highly tolerant of routine recitations, dry facts, neutral or conventional authorial personas, an impersonal manner, and prose that is merely efficient—not aesthetically pleasing, not expressive or evocative, not, in itself, enjoyable to read. Why should serious writing be dull? The editors (Alice Andrews and Joe Carroll) decided that they would make pleasure for readers one of the chief criteria for selecting contributions to TER. They aimed at eliciting critical reflections that would charm the imagination with wit, humor, and invention. They wanted prose that would please the tongue and tickle the ear, satisfying a lust for language that is sinuous, vivid, sharp, and clear.

The editors knew many evolutionists with lively, cultivated minds. They saw that many humanists have acquired a sophisticated understanding of human evolutionary biology and that many evolutionary scientists have become increasingly alert to the peculiarly “human” character of “human nature”—recognizing that culture has a truly exceptional importance for this one species. The time, then, seemed right. Even five years ago, such a journal might not have been possible. The first volume of TER splendidly demonstrates that evolutionary cultural critique can be wide-ranging, powerful, and subtle. The editors and contributors are confident that a vast territory lies open here for exploration. The pool of potential explorers has no visible limits. Come join us!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Interview with author of Vampire God

TheoFantastique, described as "a meeting place for myth, imagination, and mystery in pop culture" recently interviewed Mary Hallab, author of Vampire God. It's a fascinating and in-depth interview in which Mary expounds on the major themes of her book. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Take a breather

This Friday, January 22nd, is the Global Day Of The Breath. From the website Breathwork:

This is the day that the whole planet is invited to participate in some form of conscious breathing.
The event(s) are nominally organised by the International Breathwork Foundation through the National Coordinator for your region. If you do not know who this is, follow the link and search the IBF members list.

If you want to participate and cannot or do not want to find an IBF NC or event, then please do the following:

• At midday wherever you are...
• Stop what you are doing...
• Sit quietly...
• Close your eyes...
• Focus your attention on the physical sensation of your breath moving in and out of your body...
• Continue you to do this for 15 - 30 minutes or longer if you wish

This sounds quite relaxing, so count us in. Sharon Mijares' book, The Revelation of the Breath: A Tribute to Its Wisdom, Power, and Beauty, would make for some wonderful reading, should you decide to pursue the healing power of the breath more regularly. And coming this fall we're publishing the latest from Christina and Stanislav Grof, the developers of holotropic breathwork. Stay tuned for more on this exciting new project.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Go, Tell Michelle: From Page to Stage

Go, Tell Michelle is making the transition from the written page to the performance stage. Here are the details, straight from the GTM Sisterhood Network blog:

On January 19th, we will make history when the dramatic adaptation of "Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady" comes to the stage at Allen Hall Theater at the University at Buffalo. Adapted and directed by Robert Knopf, chair of the University's Theater and Dance Department, "Go, Tell Michelle: the Play" will feature three readers; Karima Amin, Peggy Brooks-Bertram and Barbara Seals Nevergold.

Congratulations to Barbara and Peggy on this exciting development. For more on the dramatic adaptation, check out recent posts on the GTM Sisterhood blog and also visit our events calendar for exact time and location information.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Author Spotlight: Samer S. Shehata

Samer S. Shehata is Assistant Professor of Arab Politics at Georgetown University and the author of the new book, Shop Floor Culture and Politics in Egypt, an ethnographic study of textile factory workers in Alexandria, Egypt. Samer's been busy promoting the book these past few months and recently shared some of his multimedia interviews with us.

Samer was interviewed by the publication for the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown and you can read it here. The school's media relations office also produced a video interview with him; watch it here. Finally, you can listen to an in-depth interview where Samer explores what he learned while researching and writing the book, including how the "tools of a different discipline—cultural anthropology, specifically the discipline of ethnography—opened up the world to him in way that had great implications both for the book and for his teaching."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Aging by the Book

Kay Heath, author of Aging by the Book: The Emergence of Midlife in Victorian Britain (now available in paperback), is today's feature interview on ROROTOKO. In the piece, Kay discusses the origins of our often unhealthy obsessions with aging. Here's a snippet describing the personal experiences that sparked Kay's interest in writing the book:

I became interested in writing about age as a “non-traditional” graduate student in my early forties. Not just self-conscious about being older than my classmates, I also couldn’t help but notice that sometimes I was older even than the professor. As we discussed race, class, and gender as key aspects of identity, I began thinking about age. My fellow grad students were finding life partners and wondering whether to have babies, but I was parenting teenagers and dating after the end of a twenty-year marriage. My life stage seemed just as important as my middle-class, white femaleness. I became fascinated with the ways midlife was portrayed—and overlooked—in the texts we were reading. I began researching this topic and found midlife anxiety in a wide variety of nineteenth-century publications: conduct books, medical texts, and advertisements, but especially in novels.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Hitting with her best shot

Binnie Klein, author of Blows to the Head: How Boxing Changed My Mind, was recently interviewed by Ken Best on WPKN. Fittingly, the interview begins with Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot"! The New Haven Register also ran a feature story on Binnie, which you can read here.  Be sure to check out Binnie's website as well, which is chock-full of all things related to the book and her boxing experiences.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Deciphering Warhol and Van Gogh

The New Yorker recently ran two stellar pieces on legendary artists (summarized nicely at The ArtBlog), one by Adam Gopnik about Vincent van Gogh and his severed ear and the other from Louis Menand concerning Andy Warhol's life and work. They're engrossing articles, with revealing facts and analyses on these artists, which is surprising, given that these are two of the most studied and dissected artists of all time.

We highly recommend both essays, with a chaser of the following books from last year, Mystery of The Night CafĂ©: Hidden Key to the Spirituality of Vincent van Gogh and Materializing Queer Desire: Oscar Wilde to Andy Warhol for additional perspectives and critical analyses.

Have you read these essays and/or books? If so, what are your opinions?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Congratulations to SUNY Press award winners

Five SUNY Press titles have been named 2009 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles. Here are the winners:

Measured Meals: Nutrition in America
By Jessica J. Mudry

Digital Diaspora: A Race for Cyberspace
By Anna Everett

The Politics of Inquiry: Education Research and the "Culture of Science"
By Benjamin Baez and Deron Boyles

The Lebanese Army: A National Institution in a Divided Society
By Oren Barak

Fairy Tales: A New History
By Ruth B. Bottigheimer

Congratulations to all of our award-winning authors!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Staid publishing world rejoices—in a dignified manner, of course

From today's New York Daily Intel:

Back in December, the staid publishing world was ruffled by the news that both Editor & Publisher and Kirkus Reviews were to be shuttered by parent company Nielsen Business Media as part of a massive restructuring. But Daily Finance reported this morning that there's still hope for at least one of those venerable titles. Read the rest here.
Last month, the possible shuttering of Kirkus did set off yet another round of "death of publishing" missives. At the time, we enjoyed this reasoned piece on the matter, also from New York, which nicely summed up how Kirkus was(is?) viewed:
The Pepsi to Publishers Weekly's Coke when it comes to prepub press, Kirkus was always known, to the booksellers and industry reporters who relied on its write ups of forthcoming titles, as the cranky one ... Kirkus could usually be counted on to demolish the overblown writers, and to be unsparing when it came to first novels by photogenic young things. A rave in Kirkus was truly a prize; a hatchet job was an easy enough excuse for a bookstore owner, besieged by the sheer volume of books being flogged, to move on. Read the rest here.
The Kirkus story looks like an evolving one, so we'll keep our eyes on it.