Remembering and Honoring the Late Adrienne Asch

Adrienne Asch, co-editor with Michelle Fine, of Women with Disabilitiesrecently lost her battle against cancer. In this blog entry, friends and colleagues remember  and honor the late Temple University Press author and disability activist.

“Adrienne Asch was brilliant, funny, and provocative. In the early 1970s, just after abortion rights were secured, she would turn to me and say, ‘We need to write on disability justice and abortion rights.’ When the families of babies with spina bifida were denying them treatment at birth, she would say to me, ‘We need to write on the autonomy and human rights of these babies.’ With wisdom and reflection, Adrienne dared to enter intellectual and political territory that others (including me) feared. Gifted with an outstanding mind and a compassionate heart, she was patient with my stumbling responses: But what about the consequences of such writings? And might these efforts be used against women’s rights? Or against families’ rights?  Together we navigated politically and ethically treacherous territory, gently carving a space for dialogue and debate, honoring sacred rights to reproductive freedom and to disability justice.  She held my hand as we wandered with pen and paper into territory where varied social justice movements sat in silent tension. This is perhaps just one instance of the myriad ways in which Adrienne transformed my life. women with disabilitiesShe was a friend and a colleague who taught me about music, food, the depths of loyalty, the significance of thinking deeply and dangerously about what is and what could be. We would walk across the street, and strangers would grab her arm and escort her in another direction—all in the name of ‘care.’ She was outraged; for years I would secretly apologize to these strangers after her brusque response.  Soon I too took offense, stopped apologizing, and appreciated the incredible patience she exercised with those of us who are temporarily able bodied, deluded by our own sense of ‘innocence’ and ‘care.’ I miss her much, owe her much, love her always.”—Michelle Fine, coeditor of Women with Disabilities 

“Adrienne was a brilliant thinker on so many topics; women and disability, the area in which I worked most closely with her, was just the tip of the iceberg. But aside from her many professional accomplishments—her resume was 33 pages—she had an extraordinarily large, diverse network of friends, who stayed in close touch with her virtually as well as literally—some traveling from across the country and around the world—during the last months of her life. In the last few weeks, her bedside was crowded with people from all walks of life who shared stories and remembrances, read aloud some of her many writings, organized early music concerts, participated in Shabbat services, and were just there for her.  There are enough Friends of Adrienne, as we were called, to form a small town and definitely a community. Her death is an irreparable loss to all of us who knew her and to so many fields to which she made major contributions—disability rights/studies, women and disability, reproductive rights, bioethics, and numerous others.”—Harilyn Rousso, author of Don’t Call me Inspirational

“I have known Adrienne since I was seventeen, and she a year older.  My relationship to her was a personal, and not a professional one.  She came to my wedding, knew all my children from birth, and developed her own independent relationship with them over the years.  Despite our never living in the same city, and often not the same country, we always stayed in touch with telephone calls and visits, and of course since the advent of email, in that way as well.  I may be one of the few people who did not develop that personal relationship out of a professional one.  She dated my brother in high school, and I think we both assumed she might be my sister-in-law one day.  Instead, we became sisterly without the assistance of my brother, and shared over the many years we have known each other the ups and downs of relationships, and the happinesses and setbacks of life.  We shared a deep love of Judaism, and of Jewish liturgical music.  We went to syngogogue together during our visits, and attended our first Havurah Institute together in 2000, and then continued to attend together over the next few years.  She went on to become a board member of the Institute.  Adrienne never did things half-way.  Of course I have read Adrienne’s books, and some of her many articles, and attended the “famous” Peter Singer debate at Darmouth.  And of course we have talked about the issues for which Adrienne is so well known—prenatal testing, abortion, surrogate motherhood, disability.  But mostly, we lived into some of those issues together in our real lives.   Adrienne also shared in my life as well—she never forgot  single important date in my life, and came to every single important event she could.  She was as rigorous in maintaining the work of our friendship as she was about her professional work.  That we never lost touch, even when I lived in Canada and Israel, is to her credit.  She came to visit me wherever I, and my family, was.  I will miss our long telephone calls, her taking my arm when we walked as a concession to me and my fear of tripping over her cane. I will even miss her despair and anger when she was treated like a child during our travels together.  Her anger, though sometimes uncomfortably sharp, was well-placed.  I attended  the National Federation of the Blind convention this year for the first time, and came to understand why this organization was so important to her.  I had a wonderful time, and learned to dodge hundreds of canes, and laugh about it.  I know Adrienne’s death is a big loss to many professional communities, but for me, I will simply miss her presence, her indominable spirit, her stubbornness, her deep capacity for love.”—Randi Stein, dance/movement therapist, M.A., DMT

 Adrienne Asch’s obituary appeared in the New York Times on November 23, 2013.

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A Strange Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the JFK Assassination

In this blog entry, Art Simon, author of Dangerous Knowledge: The JFK Assassination in Art and Film, ponders provocative commemorations and the meanings of the JFK assassination.

With the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination coming up this Friday, the air and cable waves have been jammed with recollections, profiles and anecdotes about the slain president and his administration. PBS devoted four hours to JFK on the American Experience, NOVA took another look at the logistics of the killing, The New York Times reported on the meaning and on-going sequester of Jackie’s blood stained pink dress. Even the AARP Newsletter ran a piece by Bob Schieffer about his experience of being in Texas on that fateful day. The list goes on and on

But one of the stranger commemorative events is taking place at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth in an exhibition featuring the art that was collected and displayed in Suite 850 of the Texas Hotel where the Kennedys spent their last night together. The curators, while not wanting to re-create the room exactly, have brought together works by Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and Kline that were no doubt put on display to let the well bred first couple know Texans were not totally ignorant about high culture.

Dangerous Knowledge 2e_smThis strikes me as among the strangest forms of reenactment yet for an event that has been subjected to all kinds of re-creation, from The Warren Commission, to Hollywood versions in JFK and In the Line of Fire to an episode of Seinfeld (or was that a reenactment of a reenactment?) to a 2004 video game called JFK: Reloaded that places the player in Oswald’s alleged sixth floor window with the rather perverse object being to re-create the shooting just as The Warren Commission described it.

Somewhere Sigmund Freud has a knowing smile as the nation cannot break free of its own repetition compulsion and the killing of JFK. But with the art exhibit in Fort Worth we have moved away from reimagining the public space of Dealey Plaza and into conjuring the private aesthetic experience of the first couple. Why? Having heard from virtually everyone involved in the assassination, from Secret Service agents to Governor and Mrs. Connolly to witness-bystanders, and having participated in the question posed by virtually everyone alive at the time—do you remember where you were when you heard the news?—the only experience not yet tapped is that of the Kennedys. And since we can not get to the heart of their experience, we might substitute for it their experience of the hotel that morning, their waking up to a wall of 20th Century masterpieces.

As I have written about the culture of the Kennedy assassination over the years, I have always been reluctant to speculate about mass psychology, resisting the impulse to diagnose the various national obsessions around JFK and his killing. But with another nod in Freud’s direction, it does seem as though the art exhibit in Fort Worth is one more example of our 50 year old fetish, a need to find substitutes for what we don’t know but wish we did—about the Kennedys, about Oswald’s motives or those of his accomplices (depending on your opinion), about exit and entrance wounds and about what the Sixties might have been had the assassination not happened. We respond to the absence of knowing with a glut of images, recycled footage of Camelot, yet another examination of the Zapruder film, another memoir by someone who claims to have known the private side of the President.

And yet turning our attention to art on this 50th anniversary is not a bad idea. I would suggest however that we look not to what hung in the Texas Hotel but to what got produced within weeks and then within a couple years of the assassination, namely the silkscreen portraits created by Andy Warhol and the underground film masterpiece Report made by Bruce Conner. Indeed, pop artists at the time offered a fascinating reply to the assassination and its afterlife in the pages of Life magazine, the Warren Report and American culture generally. It’s a shame that in the media blitz now attending to JFK’s death, these works are being overlooked. Nearly 50 years after their making, they still present a compelling and visually provocative commentary on the meaning of the JFK assassination, both in its time and ours: Who gets to write the history of an event like this? Who profits from its telling and re-telling? How should we understand the moving image as evidence and window onto the past?

Day 5 of University Press Week – The Global Reach of the University Press

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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 15 – Subject Area Spotlight: The  Global Reach of the University Press

Princeton University Press:  Peter Dougherty, Press Director, writes about the importance of foreign language translations to the future of university press economic health and fulfillment of our missions.

New York University PressChip Rossetti, managing editor of the Library of Arabic Literature (LAL), will discuss the new LAL series, an ambitious international project which comes out of a partnership between NYU Press and NYU Abu Dhabi.

Johns Hopkins University Press Brian Shea considers how Johns Hopkins University Press thinks beyond the borders of the United States from book translations to international marketing and the growth of Project MUSE into many different nations.

Columbia University Press: Writes about the foreign presses they distribute and how it reflects upon their commitment to promoting the diversity of scholarship and thought from around the world

University of Wisconsin Press: Press director Sheila Leary profiles the publishing career of Jan Vansina, one of the founders of the field of African history (rather than colonial history). His innovative seven books with the University of Wisconsin Press from the 1960s to the present have continually broken new ground, influencing the historiography of Africa and several related disciplines.

Georgetown University PressJackie Beilhart discusses how Georgetown University Press gives its readers the tools they need to have a global reach themselves through our foreign language learning materials, our international career guides, and our international affairs titles.

Yale University PressIvan Lett writes on recent transatlantic collaboration of US-UK marketing initiatives for Yale University Press globally published titles, series, and digital products

Indiana University Press:  Laura Baich discusses IUP’s  Mellon-funded Framing the Global project. This project supports scholarly research and publication that will develop and disseminate new knowledge, approaches, and methods in the field of global research.


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

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

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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

3rd Day of University Press Week – Spotlight on Subject Areas

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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 13 – Subject Area Spotlight:
Wilfrid Laurier University Press: Cheryl Lousley, editor of the Environmental Humanities series, writes about the engagement of environmental issues through the humanities disciplines, such as literature, film, and media studies. She outlines the genesis of the series and discusses some of the most recent publications.

University of Georgia Press: Nik Heynen, series co-editor, will discuss the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series and how it relates to UGA Press.

Texas A&M University PressCharles Porter, Texas historian and author of the forthcoming book Sharing the Common Pool: Water Rights in the Everyday Lives of Texans, discusses the many facets of Texas history explored in books and series published by Texas A&M University Press.

MIT Press: Gita Manaktala, Editorial Director, writes about the possibilities of the web MIT Press authors are using for scholarship, finding newly mediated ways to teach,
conduct research, present data, and engage with various publics.

University of Pennsylvania Press: Penn Press acquisitions editors discuss the foundations and future of some of the press’s key subject areas.

University of Toronto Press: will discuss the Medieval and Renaissance Studies lists at University of Toronto Press.


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

The Future of Scholarly Communication

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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.

 

A Future Where University Presses
and University Libraries Work Together

by Alex Holzman, Director

The future of scholarly communication depends to a significant degree on how well university press publishers and university librarians can cooperate to create a sustainable means of transmitting scholarship to the broadest possible audience.  Because our communities tend to focus on different parts of the current system, we sometimes disagree on the best means to achieve that goal, but as units of the university we both must and do share it.

library imagePresses have a horizontal focus, competing for the best scholarship across entire disciplines while also being careful to choose disciplines that reflect their home universities’ strengths.  Libraries focus first on meeting the needs of the home university’s scholars and students, though to be sure they invite researchers across the intellectual world to utilize their resources.  Library collections service every academic discipline within the university; presses just a few and with some exceptions those few are overwhelmingly in the humanities and social sciences.  This at the same time that libraries spend most of their acquisitions budgets on STM materials.

For too many years, presses and libraries operated on entirely different tracks within their home universities.  Now mutual need and complementary strengths bring them together.  There have been a variety of experiments ranging from making s a press’s monographs available to at least the local community via open access to the intriguing situation at Purdue, where the Press director is also the director of scholarly communication, allowing the dissemination of materials ranging from data sets, local conference proceedings, and the like right through to fully peer-reviewed “traditional” scholarship, to be united in one place.  Surely, this is a more efficient way of doing things than having presses and libraries continue on entirely separate tracks.

A growing number of university presses report directly into the library.  This has benefits for a press—increased access to IT support, more investment capital—and benefits for the library—increased understanding of the costs involved in reviewing and polishing scholarship and an introduction into the need to incur marketing expenses if scholarship is to be disseminated broadly. Both benefit from increased opportunities for the two similar but different cultures to adjust to each other.

There have also been successes on the level of the aggregate library and press communities.  The University Press Content Consortium (UPCC) was developed by multiple presses and now serves roughly one hundred; its model was developed by consulting with the entire academic library community and an international array of libraries are participating in purchasing the collections.  Books at JSTOR and Oxford Scholarship Online have also drawn on presses and libraries to improve scholarly dissemination.  Both the ARL and AAUP have made attempts to engage their counterparts in various meetings and conferences—more of that is needed.

Where can presses and libraries further extend their cooperation even further?  Open access models beg for further exploration.  There are at least two proposals currently circulating that explore ways in which monographs can be underwritten by institutional investment, allowing for true open access.  Where that investment comes from and how we move from an end user pays to an institution pays model for cost recovery are sticking points, but only by working together will we find durable solutions.  One effort in this direction that is just getting off the ground is Knowledge Unlatched, which combines elements of subscription models, deluxe versus basic design, and library and press cooperation to achieve open access as well.  (Full disclosure—Temple is a participant in both the aforementioned UPCC and KU.)

I’d suggest enough progress has been made that it is time for the two communities to start working together seriously to solve the economic elephant in the room of scholarly communication, namely STM publishing.  For reasons somewhat lost to history, university presses largely abandoned science publishing around the time of World War II.  There are exceptions of course—Cambridge, Oxford, Chicago, Duke all have strong science journals among their offerings—but few mid-size or small presses do.  Instead, science journals are largely published by commercial publishers whose first concern is enriching their shareholders.  It’s time to change that.

What if presses cooperated on certain aspects of the costs of starting university press alternatives in STM publishing, taking note of the ways library consortial activities have worked over the many more years that community has engaged in inter-institutional cooperation.  Could we form alliances with learned societies also looking for new publishing models that will preserve the income they need to serve their members, but lighten the burden on library budgets?

This wouldn’t be quick or easy or cheap and it would have to be done in a way that didn’t, at the beginning, just add costs to library budgets. But the potential payoff is large enough that a clear demonstration of library and university press commitment to such a venture might attract the start-up funding it needs.

There are probably infinite ways libraries and presses can cooperate to the benefit of each; surely there are more than I can imagine here. What’s already been done demonstrates that libraries and university presses not only need each other, but can achieve great things if they broaden their partnerships. Creating a new scholarly communication system will require the expertise of all university parties involved in the old one, along with a willingness to embrace ideas and methods of operation that may at first be uncomfortable.  To borrow a phrase, it will take a village.


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

2nd Day of University Press Week looks at the Future of Scholarly Communication

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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 12 – Future of Scholarly Communication:

Duke University Press: Priscilla Wald, Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Duke University, will discuss the slow future of scholarly communication.

Harvard University Press: Jeffrey Schnapp, faculty director of metaLAB (at) Harvard and editor of the new metaLABprojects book series, will discuss the emerging currents of experimental scholarship for which the series provides a platform.

Stanford University Press: Alan Harvey, Press Director, will discuss the challenges presented by new technologies in publishing, and how the industry model is adapting to new reading-consumption habits.

University of Virginia Press: Historian Holly Shulman, editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition and the forthcoming People of the Founding Era, looks at the need for university presses to adapt to new technologies, while acknowledging the difficulties of doing so.

University of Texas Press: Robert Devens, Assistant Editor-in-Chief for the University of Texas Press, will discuss the future of scholarly communication.

University of Minnesota Press: Editor Dani Kasprzak will announce a new UMP initiative.

Temple University Press: Our own Director, Alex Holzman, explores the partnerships university presses and libraries can forge as the means of communicating scholarship evolves.


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

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