Temple University Press’ book lovers select the books they read or want to receive this year

This week in North Philly Notes, Temple University Press’ book lovers pick the titles they read or want to receive this year.

Mary Rose Muccie, Director

Early DecisionOf all the books I read this past year, Early Decision: Based on a True Frenzy, by Lucy Crawford, was the one that stuck with me. The novel, written by a college admissions coach, describes such a coach working with five high-school seniors on their applications to top-tier schools. Their parents are overly involved, elitist, and pushy, and the kids struggle with achieving perfection in all areas IDed as key for admission to the college of their (or mom and dad’s) dreams. They’re caught up in balancing the need to stand out with not stepping too far outside the lines of expectation. As the mother of a high-school senior, this was a well-written cautionary tale. The book was poignant and, for me, depressing. It was the roadmap of a route I never intended to, and didn’t, travel.

Kate Nichols, Art Manager
AlltheLight

I just finished reading Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, a really intriguing, moving story, about the converging lives of a blind French girl and German boy during World War II. It is written beautifully, with such compelling detail, I was mesmerized.

 

 

Joan Vidal, Senior Production Editor

Mr. BoardwalkI hope to receive Mr. Boardwalk, by Louis Greenstein, the author’s debut novel about a boy’s infatuation with the wonders of summers on the Atlantic City boardwalk in the 1960s and 1970s and his subsequent nostalgia for Atlantic City in his adult life. Having spent many happy family vacations at the Jersey shore during the same era, I look forward to sharing in that nostalgia.

 

Micah Kleit, Interim Editor-in-Chief 
Eichmann in JerusalemBetween Bettina Stangneth’s new book on Eichmann and the recent revelations of Saskia Sassen’s “missing chapter” of her childhood in Argentina, Hannah Arendt has been in the news a lot this year, which lead me to re-read her book Eichmann in Jerusalem. I am amazed at how much of what she wrote, about the ironies of the trial and her description of totalitarianism (more contradictory than banal, as I read her), still remains essential today. Arendt was concerned, I think, with what it took to be moral and, perhaps more urgently, where morality could be found in world without absolutes, and her quest for both underpinned her reportorial and philosophical work, much of which was distilled through this excellent long essay. George Santayana famously said that “those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” As Arendt shows (as did Philip Gourevitch and others who write in her shadow), we always forget history and are always repeating it. The challenge we face isn’t so much the fight to preserve memory to prevent more genocides, but to recognize the human impulses behind them, and to identify humanity wherever it persists.

Aaron Javsicas, Senior Editor

ShipofGoldI’m late to the party on this one, but this year I finally got around to reading Gary Kinder’s 1998 book Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea. It’s a gripping popular history about the 1857 sinking of the SS Central America, a steamboat laden with California gold bound for New York, and heroic efforts to recover the wreck more than 100 years later. The loss of the Central America is thought to have been a significant contributing factor in sparking the Panic of 1857. Highly recommended!

 

Karen Baker, Operations Manager
GameofThronesThe book I want to receive/read is The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire) by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. García, Jr., and Linda Antonsson. Yes, I am ‘one of those Game of Thrones fans, and I would like to read this book to get the history behind the story, worlds and characters in the show.

 

 

Ann-Marie Anderson, Marketing Director

CosbyI was reading Cosby: His Life and Times by Mark Whitaker, and enjoying recalling “Fat Albert” cartoons, the “Huxtable” family, and reading how America’s favorite dad grew up in Philadelphia, attended Temple University, and tried his hand playing jazz.  I rejoiced in his climb to the top of one of the hardest industries—television. As an African American, I took pride in his accomplishments. I cried as I read about his only son being killed senselessly.  Then, the news stories broke and I put the book down.  I just couldn’t read it while the horrific stories circled; the book briefly mentioning his escapades as “womanizing.”  Resolved that the news was never going to end, I finished the book hurriedly this weekend.  I have never been more happy to put a book back on the shelf.

Gary Kramer, Publicity Manager
TakeThisManPerhaps the best non-fiction book I read this year was Brando Skyhorse’s exceptional memoir,  Take this Man. Skyhorse, who wrote one of my favorite novels, The Madonnas of Echo Park, chronicles his childhood, living with his mother and grandmother in Echo Park, LA. He describes the series of men his mother married and dated during his youth, and his interactions with them. Skyhorse’s adolescence was complicated  by his mother lying to him about being Native American, when he was in fact, Mexican. When he learns the truth, Skyhorse searches for his biological father and constructs his own identity. Take this Man speaks volumes about family and fatherhood, identity and passing as well as how one copes with dysfunction. These are themes that fascinate me, and Skyhorse’s story is as astonishing as his writing.

I loved you moreThe best fiction book I read in 2014 was Tom Spanbauer’s I Loved You More, which explores the intense bond between two writers — the gay Ben Grunewald and the straight Hank Christian—over two decades. Each chapter reads like a magnificent short story, but they are even more powerful as a novel. Spanbauer masterfully controls his characters’ romantic and dramatic experiences, right up to the book’s sucker-punch ending.

 

Happy Holidays and Happy Reading from everyone at Temple University Press.

We promise more great books in 2015.

Temple University Press Books of the Year

Temple University Press had much to celebrate in 2014. Ray Didinger’s The New Eagles Encyclopedia was the year’s best-sellerand it’s still selling strong.  Philadelphia Mural Arts @ 30, edited by Jane Golden and David Updike, was the third collaboration for the Press and the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program. And Thomas Foster’s Sex and the Founding Fathers  was a History Book Club Selection. 

But wait, there’s more! Press titles were honored all year long.  Envisioning Emancipation by Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer received the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, Non-Fiction. Adia Harvey Wingfield’s No More Invisible Man won both the Distinguished Book Award from the American Sociological Association’s section on Race, Gender, and Class as well as the Richard A. Lester Prize from the Industrial Relations Section at Princeton University. The Ethics of Care by Fiona Robinson won the J. Ann Tickner prize from the International Studies Association, and Bindi Shah’s Laotian Daughters received the Outstanding Book Award in the category Social Science from the Association of Asian American Studies.

Temple University Press also published it’s first journal, Kalfoumore about which is below. 

As the year comes to a close, the staff at Temple University Press reflects back on some titles they were proud of publishing in 2014. 

Mary Rose Muccie, Director

My best book of 2014 isn’t a book.  Despite the many great titles on our 2014 list, I have to go with our first journal, Kalfou: A Journal of Comparative and Relational Ethnic Studies.

Kalfou_smKalfou and I “launched” around the same time; the first issue was published shortly before I came to the Press in June. Adding a journal was an important step for us as a scholarly publisher and came with challenges big and small. We have years of experience publishing great books and had to learn quickly what was involved in publishing a great journal. The Press staff stretched, did what was needed, pulled together, and turned us into a journal publisher.

I chose Kalfou not only because of the accessible interdisciplinary content put together by a top-notch editorial board, the striking cover created by Art Manager Kate Nichols, or the electronic edition created with help from our friends in the Temple library. I chose it because it represents us stepping out of our comfort zone and expanding our own definition of who we are.

Kate Nichols, Art Manager

I am particularly proud of Kalfou, TUP’s first journal, published on behalf of the UCSB Center for Black Studies Research. Not only was the design and print/online publication a professional challenge (in collaboration with old and new colleagues), but the Kalfou’s content makes it especially rewarding.

kal´fü—a Haitian Kreyòl word meaning “crossroads” . . .

“This means that one must cultivate the art of recognizing significant communications, knowing what is truth and what is falsehood, or else the lessons of the crossroads—the point where doors open or close, where persons have to make decisions that may forever after affect their lives—will be lost.”—Robert Farris Thompson

Joan Vidal, Senior Production Editor 
Mobilizing Gay Singapore_sm

I’m particularly proud of Lynette J. Chua’s Mobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State for its analysis of the gay movement in a state that criminalizes homosexual acts and has no formal democratic process. Chua shows how activists have managed to put gay rights on the agenda by continuously adapting their strategies to circumstances under authoritarian rule.

 

Micah Kleit, Interim Editor-in-Chief 

Resisting Work_smA lot of what we publish in the social sciences confronts the challenges contemporary society places on the public sphere. Corporations, employers, social media; all of these parts of life make demands on us: on our identity and sense of self and other; our connection to the world; and, perhaps most subtly but crucially, our idea of who we are when we surround ourselves with friends and family.  Peter Fleming’s Resisting Work: The Corporatization of Life and Its Discontents grapples with these issues and offers real ways in which we can take back the public sphere from the forces of work and consumption in ways that recognize the destabilizing power of capitalism and neoliberalism.  It is a book that belongs to one of the great traditions of sociology, one that focuses on the power of social science as a force for transformation and liberation and affirms the importance of our existence as social beings.

Aaron Javsicas, Senior Editor


Dittmar_2.indd

Holman_v2_041614.indd

I was especially proud to publish two great new books on women and gender in politics: Navigating Gendered Terrain, by Kelly Dittmar, and Women in Politics in the American City, by Mirya Holman. This is an exciting, expanding area for us, and I’m pleased to say we’ll have additional strong projects on offer in coming years.

 

 

Gary Kramer, Publicity Manager

Hughey_front_012814_smAs a film buff and critic, I was particularly excited by the publication of The White Savior Film by Matthew Hughey. His canny analysis of films such as The Blind Side and Children of Men made me rethink how these films should be viewed. I especially appreciated his methodological framework that incorporates critical and consumer perspectives to explore “White Savior” films sociologically. This speaks to what interests me most as a critic: Why do people watch what they watch? I’ve long thought that folks look to the silver screen as a mirror. Hughey deftly shows that mirror is a prism.

Announcing the latest issue of Temple University Press’ journal, Kalfou

Kalfou is a scholarly journal focused on social movements, social institutions, and social relations. We seek to build links among intellectuals, artists, and activists in shared struggles for social justice. The journal seeks to promote the development of community-based scholarship in ethnic studies among humanists and social scientists and to connect the specialized knowledge produced in academe to the situated knowledge generated in aggrieved communities.

Kalfou is published by Temple University Press on behalf of the UCSB Center for Black Studies Research.

Kalfou

Vol 1, No 2 (2014)

Table of Contents

Feature Articles

Introduction: Banking without Borders: Culture and Credit in the New Financial World
Devin Fergus, Tim Boyd
Race, Market Constraints, and the Housing Crisis: A Problem of Embeddedness
Jesus Hernandez
Revisiting “Black–Korean Conflict” and the “Myth of Special Assistance”: Korean Banks, US Government Agencies, and the Capitalization of Korean Immigrant Small Business in the United States
Tamara K. Nopper
Reflections on the “Ownership Society” in Recent Black Fiction
David Witzling
United States, Inc.: Citizens United and the Shareholder Citizen
Lynn Mie Itagaki
Housing Desegregation in the Era of Deregulation
Christopher Bonastia

Talkative Ancestors

Walter Bresette: “All Struggles Are Related”

Keywords

The Model Minority: Asian American Immigrant Families and Intimate Harm
erin Khuê Ninh

La Mesa Popular

Sharing Knowledge, Practicing Democracy: A Vision for the Twenty-First-Century University
Seth Moglen

Art and Social Action

An Interview with Joe Bataan: Torrance, California, February 14, 2013
Tyrone Nagai

Mobilized 4 Movement

La Lucha Sigue: Latina and Latino Labor in the US Media Industries
Mari Castañeda

Teaching and Truth

“All You Needed Was Godzilla behind Them”: Situating (Racial) Knowledge and Teaching Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
Jake Mattox

In Memoriam

Hearing the Community in Its Own Voice: Clyde Woods, 1957–2011
George Lipsitz

Book Reviews

Racial Propositions: Ballot Initiatives and the Making of Postwar California, by Daniel Martinez HoSang
Reviewed by Nisha N. Vyas

A distinctive California story

In this blog entry, William Issel author of Church and State in the City and For Both Cross and Flag,  discusses how his books make a significant contribution to the California exceptionalism narrative.

Church and State in the City: Catholics and Politics in 20th Century San Francisco tells the story of a unique Catholic community’s century-long work to shape the language and the outcome of debates over how to define the common good in an internationally famous city in an exceptional state, California – the Golden State.  Named by Spaniards after a mythical Queen Califia who ruled over a tribe of fierce Amazon warriors, the Ohlone people described it as a place where “you dance on the edge of the world.”  James Duval Phelan, the San Franciscan who served as city mayor and later as U.S. Senator once put into words what millions of the state’s residents and visitors have felt about the place.  “If I owned both Heaven and California,” Phelan said, “I would rent out Heaven and live in California.”

Issel_Church and State_smMy book about San Francisco tells a distinctly California story, and it is part of a tradition of writing showing how California has possessed exceptional qualities since the Gold Rush of  1849.  The English aristocrat James Bryce wrote in 1888 that “more than any other part of the Union, [California] is a country by itself.”  It is perhaps not surprising that the story of Catholics and politics in San Francisco history would be distinct from, rather than a copy of, the patterns we associate with East Coast and Midwest big cities.  On New Year’s Day 1938, John J. Mitty, the Archbishop of San Francisco, departed from the Catholic Church line and commissioned an outspoken editorial that criticized official anti-Semitism in Germany and Nazi attacks on Jews as contrary to the principles and traditions of – “The West Coast.”  Out here, “We are really a different people.  We do not need to follow as the East leads.”  And in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, Mitty organized a nationwide radio broadcast from Catholic University in Washington D.C. that condemned the Nazi depredations. Eleven years later, journalist and critic Carey McWilliams called the state “The Great Exception.”  “California” he wrote, “is not another state: it is a revolution within the states.”  McWilliams had a point, but he would have been more accurate had he written that California “is not just another state.”

Perhaps a more useful way to think about California and its “peculiarities” as the largest and arguably most important of the Western states, would be to say that California is not just another state, it is the United States but more so.  Ever since that day in January 1848 when Marshall picked those pieces of gold out of the raceway of John Sutter’s sawmill, the diverse people of California have often been the first to embrace, and frequently in a more exaggerated fashion, the social, cultural, political, and economic innovations that eventually caught on “Back East”, “Down South”, or in “the Midwest.”

Because Church and State in the City is the first book to tell the story of the city’s distinctive history of church and state relations, it makes a significant contribution to the California exceptionalism narrative. The book details the many innovations in political activism that San Francisco Catholics created as they cooperated with, competed with, and sometimes accommodated to a variety of other San Francisco interest groups in the political give and take that marked the city’s history from the 1890s to the 1980s.  This is done through mini-biographies of Church leaders and lay men and women whose relationships with business, labor, other interest groups, and city government, influenced politics and policy-making for nearly a century.  Readers will come away with a more evidence-based and more nuanced understanding of the policy-making process in such areas as education, civil rights, housing, transportation, redevelopment, and the rights of black, Asian American, Latino, and LGBTQ residents.

For Both Cross Flag sm compChurch and State in the City also sheds new light, also by including detailed profiles about the most important transnational challengers of both capitalism and Catholicism during the twentieth century – socialist men and women, especially members of the Communist Party. One chapter details the ways in which women reformers from the Left, Right, and Center contributed to shaping politics and policy in the City from the 1890s to the 1980s.  The book brings to life the ways that contests to define the public interest took on a distinctive character in San Francisco because of the particular way that struggles over power, privilege, and prestige involving capitalists, Catholics, secular liberals, and socialists and communists were fought out, in the context of national and international events, from the 1890s to the end of the 1970s.

Church and State in the City makes a significant contribution to the scholarship that is currently “putting religion back” into American history, and it is the first to demonstrate the importance of the Catholic versus Communist/Socialist rivalry in a major American city for nearly a century, from 1890 to 1980. The book also demonstrates how European rivalries played out in a major American city and how both women and men were active on both sides of the Catholic Church versus Communist Party rivalry, from the Bolshevik Revolution to the last decade of the Cold War.

That’s All Folk

In this blog entry, Rachel Clare Donaldson, author of  “I Hear America Singing,” writes about the folk music that inspired her.

In 1997 Smithsonian Folkways released Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music on CD. I was in high school, working at a local record store and my boss proclaimed it to be the best release that year. At the time, folk music was going through something of a resurgence in popularity—Billy Bragg and Wilco had just released Mermaid Avenue, a collection of Woody Guthrie songs that he had never recorded, set to original music by the musicians. “California Stars” became a staple of my local radio station out of Woodstock, New York. (While this was popular with a host of people, try as I did, I could not convince the prom committee of my high school to use it as the theme song.) After learning to appreciate popular renditions of folk songs, I was ready for the “real” thing. I think I received the Anthology for my 18th birthday, and the music was like nothing I had ever heard before.

I Hear America Sing_smThe interesting part about this is that just as the Anthology introduced me to the world of folk music—or, more specifically, commercial recordings by both amateur and professional regional musicians during the late 1920s—it had done the same for a cohort of folk enthusiasts that were at least three generations older than I. The Anthology consists of selections from the massive personal collection of 78s that Harry Smith, a record collector and artist, compiled into six LPs released as a set through Folkways Records in 1952. When this hit the record shelves, or more likely the shelves of public and school libraries, it introduced young listeners to something completely different. Although these recordings were only twenty or so years old at that time, they sounded worlds away from the popular music of era. It was as if they came from an entirely different place—a place that music theorist and critic Greil Marcus referred to as the “old, weird America.” And the places that they did come from—small recording studios in the Mississippi Delta; Louisiana Cajun country; and towns like Bristol, Tennessee, among others—were entirely different from the urban neighborhoods and suburban communities where these young listeners lived. The music had an air of authenticity and oddity that contrasted sharply from the pop music of early Cold War America. The fact that Smith selected these recordings precisely because they were odd, and wrote cryptic liner notes to accompany the collection, only enhanced the Anthology’s aura of mystique.

Indeed, it was the very same scenario for me, growing up during a time when boy bands and Brittany Spears dominated the pop charts. I continued listening to the Anthology (it provides an excellent background for writing papers) throughout college and graduate school, but never with the intention of turning it into a focal point of my first book, “I Hear America Singing.” As my interests turned from Medieval Studies to American Studies to southern labor history and then to the history of the folk music revival, I had the good fortune to study something that I loved. A fellowship at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, the home for Smithsonian Folkways Records, brought me back to where it all began. But, even though the Anthology has turned into a key component of my research, it still remains a fixture of my personal music taste. At the end of my wedding, when it took a few moments for our friend who did the music to load up the recessional song, Henry Thomas’s “Fishing Blues” (the last song on Volume Three), I explained to everyone that it was worth the wait, for this was perhaps the happiest sounding song of all time. I still believe that.

University Press Week Blog Tour concludes

It’s University Press Week! All week long university presses will be participating in the UP Week Blog Tour, where presses will be blogging each day about a different theme that relates to scholarly publishing.

 up-week

November 14 – Subject Area Spotlight: Follow Friday

University of Illinois Press A post discussing the emerging topics and authors in our Geopolitics of Information series.

University of Minnesota Press John Hartigan, participant in our new Forerunners (short-form publishing) series, is writing a post about the ways in which he uses social media to enhance scholarly connections and establish social-media conversations with regard to his research.

University of Nebraska Press How should UPs be adding to the conversation on social media and who is doing it right? UNP marketing takes a look at the potential social media has for scholarly publishing.

NYU Press A post on our forthcoming website for our book, Keywords for American Cultural Studies (Second Edition).

Island Press A post about what our editors are paying attention to and why those scholars/fields are important.

Columbia University Press Every Friday, the Columbia University Press blog runs a post called the University Press Roundup in which we highlight posts from around the academic publishing blogosphere. Our Blog Tour post will explain how and why we have made this commitment to a blog series that rarely features our own titles. We will discuss how university press blogs generate publicity for individual titles, but also provide a much-needed environment where scholarship can be presented for a general readership.

 

Celebrating University Press Week with a look at Temple University Press’ influential Asian American History & Culture Series

It’s University Press Week! All week long university presses will be participating in the UP Week Blog Tour, where presses will be blogging each day about a different theme that relates to scholarly publishing.

 up-week

 

 

 

 

 

 

November 12 – Subject Area Spotlight: Throwback Thursday: A look back at an influential project or series.

Ask the Temple University Press staff for examples of influential scholarship and they respond unanimously with the books in the Asian American History and Culture series (AAHC). The series was founded in 1991 by Sucheng Chan and represented the Press’s commitment to an emerging academic field that has from the start been rooted in communities and unique experiences of race and ethnicity.

ToSaveChinaAcrossPacificChineseAmTrans

Under the guidance of Temple University Press Editor-in-Chief, Janet Francendese and series editor Chan, AAHC books immediately began to shape the discipline. Pioneering AAHC titles such as Gary Okihiro’s Cane Fires (1992), Renqiu Yu’s To Save China, To Save Ourselves (1995), Evelyn Hu-DeHart’s Across the Pacific (1999), and Sucheng Chan’s Chinese American Transnationalism (2005), had a profound impact on scholars, many of whom went on to become Temple University Press authors.

TianFicAs the series evolved, it attracted young scholars who learned from their forerunners. Many authors appreciated the fact that the AAHC provided an outlet for Asian American scholarship at a time when it was not always easy to find one. AAHC books often addressed the relationship between ethnic studies and globalization when this kind of work wasn’t de rigueur. One young scholar, Belinda Kong, author of Tiananmen Fictions Outside the Square (2012), saw the series as a beacon for academic publishing. She became interested in work that had a transnational focus and linked Asian America to Asia, and saw in the series a home for her work.

 

 

SumPartsOther trends emerged as the series developed, and the AAHC positioned books in a field that had been shifting and changing—not unlike the demographics in Asian American populations. The Sum of Our Parts, edited by Teresa Williams-León and Cynthia Nakashima (2001), became a key text on mixed-race scholarship and continues to be frequently referenced. At a point when mixed-race studies primarily addressed black and white examples, The Sum of Our Parts put Asian Americans at the forefront.

WorldNextDoorDesis

The AAHC series promotes rigorous scholarship on Asian America, but the series editors encourage scholars to push their work in new directions. As such, authors came to address a myriad of issues about identity and region within Asian America. Transnational scholarship became a significant focus around 2000, as scholars foundational to Asian American studies developed frameworks of analysis beyond the nation. Titles such as The World Next Door, by Rajini Srikanth (2005), about South Asian American literature, and Sunaina Maira’s Desis in the House (2002), about Indian American youth culture in New York City, reflected Indian culture at home and abroad.

thisisallLikewise, This Is All I Choose to Tell, by Isabelle Thuy Pelaud (2010), and Transnationalizing Viet Nam by Kieu-Linh Caroline Valverde (2012), focused on Vietnamese American literature and culture in the diaspora, respectively. These and other books were integral to developing this academic exploration.

CaneFiresThe approach to the discipline exemplified in the AAHC series has been widely embraced; 9 of the 18 Association of Asian American Studies Presidents—Sucheng Chan, Gary Okihiro, Franklin Odo, Elaine Kim, Yen Le Espiritu, Rajini Srikanth, Rick Bonus, Josephine Lee, and, Linda Trinh Võ—have been Temple University Press authors. All but one of those scholars (Kim) have published in the AAHC series; her book was published before the series was established. Such influence is an accomplishment the press is particularly proud of.

In addition to reporting on and influencing changes in the discipline, books in the AAHC series have won numerous prizes. Cane Fires received the Outstanding Book in History and Social Sciences from the Association for Asian American Studies (AAAS) in 1992, and since then, nine other titles in the series have won AAAS prizes.

TVNAAHC books have won various other awards as well. Six have been named “Outstanding Academic Titles” by Choice, the American Library Association publication. Other titles have won prestigious awards from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights in North America, as well as from history, sociology, political science and LGBT associations.

To date there are 65 books in the Asian American History and Culture series, more than any other press with a similar Asian American studies list. The authors cross disciplines, trained in a variety of fields in humanities and social science, which is unique for such a series. It will continue to grow as one of the key components of Temple University Press’ list. In time, the students of the current scholars influenced by AAHC titles will be publishing their books in the series, taking it into other new, exciting directions.

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