The New York Times on Heartbeats in the Muck

“. . .Hurricane Sandy reminded New Yorkers that the waterways surrounding them can be a dire threat as well as a great asset. This is a good time to explore their history. John Waldman, a biology professor at Queens College, offers a brief and elegantly written tour in Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life and Environment of New York Harbor (Fordham University Press, $18).

This updated edition was published before the storm struck, but as Mr. Waldman breezily chronicles the harbor’s ecological decline and rebirth over several centuries, he never underestimates the waters that in one way or another have always defined New York.

Also notable is a new volume edited by Mr. Waldman: Still the Same Hawk: Reflections on Nature and New York (Fordham University Press, $18), a collection of essays by writers including Phillip Lopate and Robert Sullivan.”

Read Sam Roberts’ entire column.

“. . .Hurricane Sandy reminded New Yorkers that the waterways surrounding them can be a dire threat as well as a great asset. This is a good time to explore their history. John Waldman, a biology professor at Queens College, … Full Story

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Why University Presses Matter

We are excited to have Fordham University Press Director, Fredric Nachbaur, blogging for us as part of the University Press Week blog tour! The tour continues today at Texas A&M University Press. A complete blog tour schedule is also available here.

Witnessing all the damage caused by Sandy has me feeling a melancholy. I was born and raised in New Jersey and spent many summers “down the shore.” In recent summers I have taken my daughter to some of the same beaches I enjoyed as a kid. I’ve been a New Yorker since 1991 and am a regular visitor to Coney Island, and lived for a short time in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It is quite devastating to see all the massive destruction done to our great city and state and to our neighbors in New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. As I was preparing to write my post for University Press Week, I reflected on how university presses have bonded together in the past during times of tragedy to help us all understand what is happening at the moment and how we can move forward. “Books for Understanding” was developed by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) soon after 9/11 to bring the latest and most valuable scholarship to readers in an easy to find and easy to use place. The AAUP instantly became a resource for people who wanted to know more and to find it from reliable sources—University Presses—the pillars of knowledge. The day after hurricane Sandy hit, a reporter from the Huffington Post contacted me about a Fordham University Press (FUP) author who wrote a history of the NYC subways. She wanted to interview him about the flooding of the tunnels and the mass transit shutdown. It is a prime example of how the media turns to university presses for expertise during times of crisis.

We emphasize scholarship by being witnesses to global events, detectives for finding the best authors, and sharers of critical information that has been researched and vetted. Combining efforts to make all of our books on a specific topic of current concern to citizens of the world is invaluable. There are several lists related to Hurricane Sandy, including one on Katrina. Knowing this, I’m not feeling as sad. Thank you AAUP! In preparation for University Press Week to celebrate the AAUP turning 75, Will Underwood, Director of Kent State University Press, asked fellow directors to gather some endorsements from key stakeholders. Happily, I got a great response from faculty and administrators on the Fordham campus as well as some FUP authors and friends. Here is what the Provost of Fordham University wrote:

“As the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) celebrates its 75th anniversary, Fordham University joins in honoring a rich history of committed leadership and collaborative service to the academy and to society. Fordham University Press has partnered with AAUP since 1938 to advance academic excellence in the full pursuit of truth and to enrich public discourse through the dissemination of scholarly research of the highest quality across the disciplines. We look forward to our work with the AAUP to engage evolving challenges and opportunities for university presses in the decades ahead.Stephen Freedman, Provost, Fordham University

FUP celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007.  Established in 1907 to help Fordham faculty publish monographs based on their research, we now publish up to 70 books per year from faculty at institutions all over the globe. Not unlike the AAUP, FUP is a small organization with big ambitions. We have established ourselves as a leading academic press concentrating in history, literary theory, philosophy and religion. We also publish well established series in continental philosophy, American philosophy, medieval studies, World War II, and the Civil War among others and have created new series spanning a diversity of topics from Orthodox Christianity to Italian American studies. We have a long history publishing regional books focusing on New York City and the Hudson Valley. In 2010, we established the Empire State Editions imprint to better brand and market these titles.

To kick off the festivities of UP week, we hosted an open house for faculty showcasing their work as authors and series editors. Despite the previous evening’s nor’easter, we got a nice turnout and received positive feedback.  Here are a few shots.

 

On Veteran’s Day, FUP hosted a Veteran’s Day public program entitled Five Historians Reflect on World War II: What We Know, What We Still Need to Learn and What We May Never Know. It turned out to be a successful event with a lively engaged audience. Here are some pics.

Dr. Scott H. Bennett, author of Army GI, Pacifist CO: The World War II Letters of Frank and Albert Dietrich

Dr. G. Kurt Piehler, Dr. Scott H. Bennett, Dr. Sidney Pash, Dr. Ann Pfau, Dr. John Chambers, Dr. J. Garry Clifford

FUP is lean, resourceful, hardworking, and determined. I’d say that about captures the definition of a university press and the AAUP. I’m proud to be a member of this superb, caring, humane community. Happy birthday AAUP. Here’s to another 75 years.

I’ll end with a quote from a friend and a fan of university presses:

“What words to describe the university press? Patient, ambitious, demanding, sustaining, generous, utterly essential. Serious thinking is unimaginable without it.”
—William Germano, Dean of Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Cooper Union

Fredric Nachbaur (Twitter: @FNachbaur) is the Director of Fordham University Press.

 

Next stop:  Texas A&M University Press.

We are excited to have Fordham University Press Director, Fredric Nachbaur, blogging for us as part of the University Press Week blog tour! The tour continues today at Texas A&M University Press. A complete blog tour schedule is also available … Full Story

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Veteran’s Day Public Program

VETERAN’S DAY PUBLIC PROGRAM

Five Historians Reflect on World War II
“What We Know, What We Still Need to Learn and What We May Never Know”

Monday, November 12, 2012
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus
113 West 60th Street
Lowenstein 12th Floor Lounge
New York, NY 10023

Participants:

Dr. Scott H. Bennett is an authority on the American peace movement and the Second World War and, among other works, is editor of Army GI, Pacifist CO: The World War II Letters of Frank and Albert Dietrich (Fordham University Press, 2005).

Dr. J. Garry Clifford is one of the country’s leading diplomatic historians and has written on how America raised an Army in World War II.

Dr. Sidney Pash is author of Defending the Open Door: American-Japanese Relations, 1899-1941 (forthcoming University Press of Kentucky) which offers a re-examination of the coming of war in the Pacific.

Dr. Ann Pfau is author of Miss Your lovin: GIs, Gender, and Domesticity during World War II (Columbia University Press), which examines how GIs thought about war and dreamed about the homefront.

Dr. G. Kurt Piehler is author of Remembering War the American Way (Smithsonian) and over the course of his career has interviewed over 300 World War II veterans. He is book series editor of FUP’s World War II: The Global, Human and Ethical Dimension.

Books in World War II: The Global, Human and Ethical Dimension series:

The United States and the Second World War: New Perspectives on Diplomacy, War, and the Home Front
edited by G. KURT PIEHLER and SIDNEY PASH
356 pages, 978-0-8232-5203-9, paper, $26.00

Army GI, Pacifist CO: The World War II Letters of Frank Dietrich and Albert Dietrich
by FRANK DIETRICH and ALBERT DIETRICH,
edited by SCOTT H. BENNETT
408 pages, 978-0-8232-2378-7, cloth, $38.00

Hungary in World War II: Caught in the Cauldron
by DEBORAH S. CORNELIUS
400 pages, 16 b/w illustrations, 978-0-8232-3344-1, paper, $28.00

Red Tail Captured, Red Tail Free: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman and POW
by ALEXANDER JEFFERSON,
with LEWIS H. CARLSON
160 pages, 71 b/w illustrations, 978-0-8232-2366-4, cloth, $29.95

For more books in the World War II series, CLICK HERE.

VETERAN’S DAY PUBLIC PROGRAM Five Historians Reflect on World War II “What We Know, What We Still Need to Learn and What We May Never Know” Monday, November 12, 2012 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus … Full Story

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Freud, Dreams, and Loaded Words

By Ruth Walker / October 24, 2012

Janus words in the language of dreams

Words with mutually contradictory meanings indicate how our minds cope with complexity.

When I heard on the radio one evening that Harvard professor Marjorie Garber was to speak at a local bookstore on her newly published book of essays, Loaded Words, I decided I had to jump onto the Red Line and go hear her.

She is a Shakespearean scholar – of the kind who can fold Alfred E. Neuman and Don Drap­er into an essay on the Bard.

One of her overarching themes in the book is that as individual words evolve, they remain “loaded” with the underlying metaphor of their original meaning. “Those hidden meanings,” she said at the bookstore, “can come back to haunt you.”

Walking back, to avoid climbing down

One of my takeaways from her talk was a tidbit on Sigmund Freud’s interest in what are often known as “Janus words,” words with mutually contradictory meanings. How does “oversight” mean both “supervision” and “neglect”? How can “sanction” mean both “to permit” and “to punish”?

Read more…

By Ruth Walker / October 24, 2012 Janus words in the language of dreams Words with mutually contradictory meanings indicate how our minds cope with complexity. When I heard on the radio one evening that Harvard professor Marjorie Garber was … Full Story

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How to Lose a Close Election

 A version of this first appeared on the blog With A Brooklyn Accent on October 22, 2012.

By Mark Naison, co-author of The Rat That Got Away (Fordham University Press).

Virtually every poll now has President Obama and Mitt Romney embroiled in an extremely close race. The president could very well win this election; but he could also lose. And if he does lose, I will have to go back to something I first started saying nearly three years  — namely that turning off the nation’s teachers with educational policies which silence their voice and put them under extreme stress is not only bad for the nation’s schools, it could cripple the president’s re-election efforts.I have worked to get the president to incorporate the nation’s teachers into education policy discussions, and stop requiring schools to ratchet up the number of standardized tests to receive federal funding. I have privately engaged people close to the president in conversation about teachers’ disillusionment, efforts which were totally unsuccessful.The president’s inner circle, from what I could gather, refused to bend on support for Race to the Top and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. They were not only convinced that these policies would end up improving the nation’s schools; they felt that the political gains to be made in terms of support from wealthy donors and influential journalists was far greater than any losses that would occur in terms of teacher enthusiasm. They knew the largest teachers unions would support the president no matter what policies he chose to implement.

Now, at crunch time, when it’s too late to change course, I can tell you that this judgment was a severe miscalculation. Not only have the president’s policies failed to narrow testing gaps by race and class, they have contributed to teacher morale in the nation to be the lowest it has been since pollsters began measuring this trait.

But the political consequences may have been even more serious than the educational ones. Most teachers will probably end up voting for the president, but from what I have seen, in both New York and around the nation, they will not be manning phone banks, canvassing in their neighborhoods, traveling to swing states on the weekends and generally giving time, money and energy to assure the president’s election the way they did in 2008.

Many pundits attribute the Obama victory in 2008 to an incredibly strong “ground game” composed of huge numbers of volunteers, as well as paid staff, working to get out the vote in battleground states. Many of those individuals, including me, my wife, and many of my friends, were teachers, professors and school administrators. During this election, I know of few, if any educators putting in that kind of heroic effort, almost entirely because they are feeling betrayed by the president, indeed, by the entire Democratic Party, on educational issues, even though they support the president’s positions on reproductive freedom, gay rights, taxation and medical care.

There is no way of knowing whether the phenomenon I am describing is will be a “game changer” in this election. But based on what I have seen in 2008 and in this campaign, there is a chance it could be. And if it is, the Obama brain trust has no one to blame but themselves.

Mark Naison is co-author of The Rat That Got Away (Fordham University Press). He is professor of African and African American Studies at Fordham University in New York and chairman of the department of African and African-American Studies. He is also co-director of the Urban Studies Program, African-American History 20th Century. A version of this first appeared on the blog With A Brooklyn Accent.

 

 A version of this first appeared on the blog With A Brooklyn Accent on October 22, 2012. By Mark Naison, co-author of The Rat That Got Away (Fordham University Press). Virtually every poll now has President Obama and Mitt Romney embroiled in an extremely close race. … Full Story

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