Where to see Temple University Press authors

This week, we encourage you to come out and see Temple University Press authors Ray Didinger, (The New Eagles Encyclopedia) and Dan Rottenberg (The Outsider) at their various Philadelphia area events.

Ray Didinger, author of The New Eagles Encyclopedia will be speakingThe New Eagles Encyclopedia_sm at:

  • The Union League 140 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia, on September 30, at 6:00 pm. (Appropriate attire required)
  • Barnes & Noble, 200 West Route 70 in Marlton, NJ on November 22, at 3:00 pm, and on December 21, at 3:00 pm.

Dan Rottenberg, author of The Outsider, about Albert M. Greenfield and the Fall of the Protestant Establishment, will be speaking at:

The Outsider_sm

  • The Gershman Y, 401 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia, PA, on September 21, at 11:00 am (Brunch; ticket required).
  • Union League 140 S. Broad Street in Philadelphia, on October 8, at 6:00 pm. (Appropriate attire required)

Is gender stifling our scientific imaginations?

This week, we showcase Conceiving Masculinity author Liberty Walther Barnes’ recent TEDx talk at Cambridge University. 

Is Gender a Liquid or a Solid?

In sociology we like to say that gender is “flexible and fluid,” because gender norms change over time and across cultures.  Men and women can choose to enact, perform, and express masculinity and femininity in a variety of ways regardless of their sex chromosomes or anatomy.  Just as liquids take the shape of their containers, we can shape our gender identities to fit us.

While personal gender identities and expressions are malleable, the gender system that structures our social world has proven able to withstand some pretty impressive seismic shifts. As sociologists Cecilia Ridgeway and Shelley Correll explain, the gender system is a large apparatus that determines who gets access to resources and opportunities. The gender system – invisible yet ubiquitous – is solidly grounded in very traditional gender beliefs, which prevent the system from being toppled. Because gender beliefs are pervasive and durable, we might say gender is a solid.

Conceiving MasculinityMost of us agree that gender stereotypes are silly. We laugh when people break the “rules” of gender in TV sit-coms and films. In our everyday lives we feel free to break the rules of gender to accommodate our personal preferences and life goals. In other words, we appreciate the fluidity of gender.

While researching male infertility for my book, Conceiving Masculinity, I discovered that gender is a more powerful social category than most of us realize. Just how solid is gender? As I explain in my TEDx talk, when gender and science come crashing together, something’s gotta give. And it’s not gender.

Gender, it turns out, is a stronger, more solid, and more powerful social category than science. Whodathunkit? Science is rigorous and robust, defined by hard facts and well researched, evidence-based truths, right? If we had to categorize science as a liquid or a solid, we would certainly call it a solid.

However, gender beliefs shape science. How we think about men and women, masculinity and femininity, channels the direction of scientific thought and shapes medical practices. Sometimes society has a hard time accepting scientific truths when they are glaring us in the face, because we cling to gender ideology. Rather than reconsider our gender beliefs, we bend science to accommodate our timeworn gender beliefs.

Day 4 of University Press Week – The Importance of Regional Publishing


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. For the full Blog Tour schedule, click here.

November 14 – Subject Area Spotlight: The Importance of Regional Publishing

Syracuse University Press:  Regional author, Chuck D’Imperio will discuss the roots of regional writing in many of the “classics.” From oral testimonies to local guidebooks, these stories contribute to the culture and history of the region.

Fordham University Press: Fredric Nachbaur, Press Director, writes about establishing the Empires State Editions imprint to better brand and market the regional books, reflect the mission of the university, and co-publish books with local institutions.

University of North Carolina Press:  UNC Press editorial director Mark Simpson-Vos highlights the special value of regional university press publishing at a time when the scale for so much of what we do emphasizes the global.

University Press of Mississippi: UPM Marketing Manager and author of two books, Steve Yates, gives his thoughts on the scale of regional publishing and shares the sage advice of businessmen.

University of Nebraska Press: UNP’s Editor-in-Chief Derek Krissoff defines the meaning of place in University Press publishing.

University of Alabama Press: JD Wilson presents a brief overview of the economic niche regional university presses occupy between mass market trade publishing and non-scholarly regional and local publishing.

University Press of Kentucky: Regional editor, Ashley Runyon, writes on her unique editorial perspective as a born-and-bred Kentuckian as well as preserving Kentucky’s cultural heritage. We’ll also be talking about some of the fun things that make KY (and KY books) unique.

Louisiana State University Press: Discussing the challenge of capturing an authentic representation of Louisiana’s culture, especially when it is an outstider looking in, as many authors (scholars or not) are, Erin Rolfs explains how it takes more than just a well-written, thoroughly researched book to succeed in depicting the nuances of Louisiana’s food, music, and art. It also requires a relationship of respect and acceptance between subject and author. She talks about LSU Press titles that have successfully shared and deepen an understanding of a regional cultural asset through collaboration with those most closely affliliated with the subject.

Oregon State University Press: Mary Elizabeth Braun provides an overview of regional publishing with specifics from the Oregon State University Press list.

Follow the University Press Week blog tour to learn about the importance of university presses. For a complete list of University Press Week events, visit universitypressweek.org

A review of the new film PARKLAND

In this blog entry, Temple University Press publicist Gary Kramer, reviews Parkland the new film about the JFK Assassination.

Released weeks ahead of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Parkland tells several stories—based on true events—that unfolded in Dallas during the horrible days in history that were November 22-25, 1963. Writer/director Peter Landesman (adapting Vincent Bugliosi’s book Four Days in November) introduces the players and their stories efficiently. Charles “Jim” Carrico (Zac Efron) is a doctor at Parkland hospital where the president is transported after he is shot; Abraham Zapruder (Paul Giamatti) shoots the famous home movie of the president’s assassination, which Secret Service Agent Forrest Sorrels (Billy Bob Thornton) asks him to hand over; Bob Oswald (James Badge Dale) learns that his brother Lee Harvey (Jeremy Strong) has been arrested for the shocking crime, and visits his brother and his mother (Jackie Weaver), who shares wild theories about her son; and James Hosty (Ron Livingston) is an FBI agent who was following Oswald at the time of the assassination.

parklandParkland uses these interlocking stories to present microcosms of grief that show how JFK’s death affected these individuals separately and collectively and, by extension, the nation as a whole. However, the parts here are greater than the sum. The urgency of the assassination is not nearly as striking as the scenes in the O.R. as Carrico works to save the president’s life. As the doctor tries to revive his patient, even as the flatline indicates death, the scene manages—albeit barely—to evoke some emotion, then goes overboard when Jackie Kennedy (Kat Steffens) arrives.

The rest of the film is equal parts hit or miss. A dispute that arises when the local medical examiner insists on keeping the body in Texas, as per law, is an interesting diversion, but it serves  mostly to illustrate that Parkland is a series of loosely connected anecdotes that never build to any great crescendo. When one character remarks, “Nothing is ever going to be the same,” the line has no impact.

Even moments that revolve around one character are uneven. The early scenes of Zapruder reacting to the shooting are played broadly, whereas Landesman achieves a more graceful moment in a scene that shows the assassination footage reflected in Zapruder’s eyeglasses. The image of the man watching the striking footage he shot effectively conveys his emotions to viewers.

Landesman nicely incorporates the archive footage of Kennedy with the Zapruder video, given the small scale and narrow focus of the film, but he also includes cringe-inducing scenes of Secret Service men trying to accommodate the president’s coffin on the plane. A sequence that cross-cuts between Oswald’s burial and Agent Hosty burning his file on Oswald is also heavy-handed.

Even the acting ranges from subtle—James Badge Dale gives a rather poignant performance in his difficult role—to over-the-top in Jackie Weaver’s case. Zac Efron is miscast as Carrico here; he just seems out of his league; Marcia Gay Harden, the head nurse, easily upstages him. Even Paul Giamatti, who is well suited to his role, fares poorly, sabotaged by the lame script.

Dangerous Knowledge 2e_smUltimately, Parkland is an earnest effort that is more leaden than solemn.  

For a more exacting analysis of the JFK Assassination in art and film, one should read Art Simon’s Dangerous Knowledge, which was recently reissued by Temple University Press. While Simon does not cover Parkland in his book, he discusses public fascination with celebrity deaths and recent assassination-related media—from documentaries to scholarly books to the scandalous video game JFK Reloaded. He shows that the assassination continues to inspire writers, artists, and filmmakers.  Dangerous Knowledge examines the seminal works of art associated with the assassination, including Andy Warhol’s silk screens, the underground films of Bruce Conner, and provocative Hollywood films like The Parallax View and JFK. Simon’s investigation places assassination art and images within a historical context—one that helps us understand what the assassination has meant to American culture.

BEA 2013: ‘PW’ Rep of the Year: Bruce Joshua Miller

This week in North Philly Notes, we reprint Publishers Weekly‘s April 26 column honoring Temple University Press sales rep Bruce Miller as PW’s Rep of the Year.

Last summer, many industry observers considered Bruce Joshua Miller to be rather quixotic, vigorously tilting at the University of Missouri’s administration by leading a letter-writing and social media campaign after the university’s May 24 announcement that the 54-year-old University of Missouri Press’s scholarly publishing program would be dismantled and its editor-in-chief, Clair Willcox, fired.

Bruce MillerSince Missouri rescinded its decision on August 28, and reinstated Willcox six weeks later, however, Miller has been lauded throughout the academic and book publishing worlds as, in the words of Johns Hopkins University Press director Greg Britton, “our David against a formidable Goliath.” And he’s PW’s Sales Rep of the Year.

PW received a record number of nominations for the 2013 award; the most impassioned, by far, were those for Miller, 58, a commission rep based in Chicago, who does business as a sole proprietor. Miller Trade Book Marketing represents 26 scholarly and independent presses to the trade in the Midwest—including, for the past 20 years, UMP, which publishes about 30 titles annually.

The words “hero” and “heroic” appear repeatedly in Midwest booksellers’ nominations, as well as those from less typical nominators for this award—university press directors and their marketing managers. UMP’s consulting director, Jane Lago, notes, “He served this press, and simultaneously all university presses, as an informed, engaged, articulate champion of what scholarly publishing does best.”

To read the rest of the article click: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/industry-news/bea/article/56991-bea-2013-pw-rep-of-the-year-bruce-joshua-miller.html

Lance’s Sins, Our Forgiveness?

This week in North Philly Notes, Erich Goode, author of Justifiable Conduct, applies his knowledge about how writers neutralize their wrongdoing to the case of Lance Armstrong.

Why were we so surprised?

The steadfast denials. The defiant stares. The self-righteous attitude. The attempts to destroy his opponents and accusers. The seven Tour de France triumphs—withdrawn. The awards, the accolades, the medals—tainted, erased, invalidated. Dust in the wind. The heroic survivor of a toxic, potentially fatal case of testicular cancer? Stigmatized by scandal. The altruistic booster of charitable foundations and causes—discredited; the organizations themselves undermined, their very existence in doubt. Now facing an eight-year ban from the sport, and possibly barred from competition forever. His legacy, a pile of rubble. A proud man humbled; his supporters and endorsers aghast; an army of fans baffled; a nation bamboozled.

It was much worse than we could possibly have imagined. The USADA report, which concluded that Lance Armstrong ran “the most sophisticated, professional, and successful doping program” the sport of cycling has ever seen, is now regarded definitive, incontrovertible. Lance Armstrong did not passively allow a trainer to administer drugs to himself; he ran a doping ring. A big one. A highly organized one. He gave others dope. He pressured them into taking dope.

It takes one’s breath away.

Lance Armstrong wanted to win. Desperately. So do all of us—some of us, admittedly, more than others. And Armstrong’s doping scheme was grander, badder, more spectacular than any act of knavery most of us could have come up with.

But what happens when we get caught breaking the rules? What do we have to say for ourselves? And what did Lance Armstrong have to say for himself?

Justifiable Conduct_smWe try to explain away our cheating. We self-exculpate. We offer strategies of redemption—“acceptable utterances” that account for what we did. We neutralize the stigma of our behavior. “Lots of others did the same.” “I didn’t run the show.” “The system is unfair.” “I’ve been through some rough times.” “I apologize for my sins.”

“Hollow” efforts at redemption? Yes, we call these strategies “rationalizations,” and true, they are rhetorical devices. But I sense a measure of heartfelt emotion oozing from these contrivances. Wrongdoers typically believe that the acts they exculpate are not as bad as their detractors claim. These are not simple lies to get away with wrongdoing; they represent efforts to ingratiate themselves with audiences. They reflect an all-too-human quest for forgiveness.

Autobiographical statements brim with recitations of absolution for one’s sins and transgressions. They represent the conclusion of morality tales—its illegitimate love-child, so to speak. They bring their audience into the narration and manage to lift a sickly pallor from the narrator’s person. Apologies, justifications, denials—all constitute clay for sculpting one’s self-portrait. St. Augustine’s abasement before God for stealing a few of his neighbor’s pears and for fathering an out-of-wedlock child, and Lance Armstrong’s declaration, “I will spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people,” are fraternal twins: Both of them address and seek absolution from an audience, and hence, both are rich with empathy. Their narrators use a conventional vocabulary to apologize for unconventional behavior; they acknowledge the common ground between speaker and audience, agree that the speaker has sinned, and recognize that said speaker has vowed to atone for past sins. They have entered into a kind of social contract that we can liken to a morality play, with the speaker playing both protagonist and antagonist. “I have sinned, but I have been sinned against, and I will sin no more.”

Armstrong has gotten our attention. Many of us hear his apologia—his version of an apologia—and hold damnation in abeyance. The hair shirt, the speaking engagements, the PR machine, the skillfully placed, orchestrated op-eds—they are likely to follow a well-worn path toward ultimate redemption. This is a human drama that sinners and audiences have played out multiple times throughout history. Accounts of wrongdoing subsequent to public revelation serve to reknit the damaged social fabric and reintegrate the sinner with the society at large. If Lance Armstrong has not perfectly played out his role as the ideal repentant sinner, neither is he the perfect monster we love to hate. He reminds us of our frailties and entreats us to readmit him to the flock. How can we say no?

All of us wait, with enormous anticipation, to hear and read Lance’s elaborated rhetorical shift from denial to apology; we can be sure it’ll be interesting and revealing. We can count on that full account in his inevitable, forthcoming memoir. I’ll be one of his first readers.

In Memoriam: Aristide R. Zolberg

John Torpey, editor of the Press’ Politics, History, and Social Change series, writes a tribute to Aristide Zolberg, who passed away on April 12.  The Press published Professor Zolberg’s book, How Many Exceptionalisms?: Explorations in Comparative Macroanalysisin 2008.

Ary Zolberg changed my life.  I was working on a book about the history of passports which, although addressing migration issues was not my primary purpose, forced me to learn something about migration.  I knew nothing about the topic at the time, so I cast about for some guidance in the literature.  A book called Human Migration: Patterns and Policies, and edited by the distinguished world historian William McNeill, seemed like a good place to start.  I read a few of the papers in the volume, feeling relatively unmoved, until I read the 45 pages under the name Aristide Zolberg, of whom I had then never heard.  It was a tour de force, unlike anything I had read in a long time: enormously erudite, gracefully written, immensely illuminating.  I quickly sought out other writings of his, which often were buried in edited volumes and not necessarily easy to find.  They were all like the first paper I had read – clear, insightful, powerful.  This Zolberg guy was someone I had to get to know.

ImageThen, as fate would have it, I did have the good fortune to get to know him – in a two-installment, transatlantic seminar that spread over two years in the mid-1990s.  He led the seminars with great charm and wisdom.  But then there were the parties.  Here was this, well, not young guy wearing unbelievably cool African print shirts, dancing with the girls, and telling great stories.  My favorite was this: Ary came to the United States shortly after World War II and promptly went into the army.  He was shipped off to El Paso, Texas, where he had a lot of time on his hands as a resident of the base.  So, he thought to himself, “I’m in the military.  It’s time to read War and Peace.”  So he did, carrying it around the base with him to take up in spare moments.  “But most of the guys with whom I was in the service,” he said, “had never seen any book that big that wasn’t the Bible.  So they called me ‘the Preacher’.”

That was especially funny to me because, soon after we first met, he had described himself as my “co-religionist” (I was raised Catholic).  And I’m thinking: How could this guy, who just had to be Jewish, be my fellow Catholic?  Well, that’s a longer story, about being a “hidden child” (from the Nazis, of course) in Belgium during World War II.  As part of his “cover,” he would indeed eventually be confirmed in the Catholic Church – along the way learning English by Imagereading National Geographic with the German soldier billeted in the town where he was “hiding.”  Did the German soldier know?  Ary thought he did.  Far from a hardened Nazi, the guy had been living in the United States and only conscripted as a result of an ill-fated return to Germany during the war.  Another great story, full of the strange twists and turns of history and fate.  Ary understood – from hard-won personal experience and from a lifetime of learning — that history was like that.

Indeed, given his personal history, it’s hard to see how his scholarly work and his life can really be separated.  He was personally insulted by racial discrimination and animus, but also had a more level-headed view about what to do about them than many people preoccupied with the problem.  He was always a source of wisdom, whatever the topic.  He was a humane, wise, generous scholar, the like of which we do not see much anymore.  I will miss him, but I will certainly not forget him.


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