Tag Archives: science

  • The Heritage Book Project: Selected Science Books

    In this final contribution to the University Press Week Blog Tour (November 12-17), Harriet Kim provides a selection of interesting science books that she recently brought back into print as part of UTP's Heritage Book Project. For today's theme of #TurnItUP: Science, Harriet provides some fascinating picks from our backlist.

    By Harriet Kim

    University of Toronto Press carries a rich history in the breadth and depth of scholarly, reference, and general interest books published since our founding in 1901. Expanding on our tradition of advancing knowledge, the Heritage Book Project aims to increase access to our books by bringing out-of-print titles back into circulation as ebooks and as print-on-demand paperbacks. Titles date from 1928 to 2011 and range in categories from health sciences and medicine to philosophy, anthropology, politics, mathematics, and literature. We are making these important heritage resources available for a new generation of readers and learners to discover and to continue outreach to academic communities in their engagement of critical and innovative scholarship.

    When I think of a new generation of readers and learners, I think of many of my friends, colleagues, and peers who are pursuing a variety of career paths and could possibly benefit from having these resources. I think of, for example, those pursuing careers in science – as science educators, climate change researchers, and epidemiologists – and the heritage titles that cater to their work.

    I also think of the readers and learners who could benefit from this series in a less traditional or obvious way. Working on this series and having firsthand access to these resources has been a learning process for me, too. I think about a younger version of myself with her love of science and her many dreams of becoming everything from astronomer to zoologist. As someone who pursued a different path from the sciences, this has been a unique way for me to be doing what I am doing in publishing but also continue chasing my curiosity of the sciences.

    Here is a roundup of some science titles from Heritage Book Project that piqued my curiosity:

    Forest Regeneration in Ontario: Based on a Review of Surveys Conducted in the Province during the Period 1918-1951 (1953) by R.C. Hosie, "presents a general view of the nature of tree reproduction on cut-over forest land, an analysis of the procedure in conducting and reporting regeneration surveys, and conclusions and recommendations for the conducting of future surveys.”

    The Snakes of Ontario (1957), by E.B.S Logier, gives an account of "the natural history of snakes, or how to identify those found in Ontario.”

    Bacteriology Primer in Air Contamination Control (1967) by V. Victor Kingsley, provides a basic overview of the “problems in bacteriology which would help in the understanding, handling, and moving of 'clean' (uncontaminated) air to and from critical areas.”

    The Life Puzzle: On Crystals and Organisms and on the Possibility of a Crystal as an Ancestor (1971), by A.G. Cairns-Smith, advances the author’s theories on the origin of life, with considerations of molecular biology and chemistry.

    The Natural Alien: Humankind and Environment (1993) by Neil Evernden, “evaluates the international environmental movement and the underlying assumptions that could doom it to failure.”

    Wild Things: Nature, Culture, and Tourism in Ontario, 1790-1914 (1995), by Patricia Jasen, “shows how the region now known as Ontario held special appeal for tourists seeking to indulge a passion for wild country or act out their fantasies of primitive life.”

    The Discovery of Insulin: The Twenty-fifth Anniversary Edition (2000), by Michael Bliss, recounts the fascinating story behind the discovery of insulin at the University of Toronto in 1921-22: "a story as much filled with fiery confrontation and intense competition as medical dedication and scientific genius.”

    The Sleep of Others and the Transformation of Sleep Research (2007), by Kenton Kroker, is the “first ever history of sleep research, drawing on a wide range of material to present the story of how an investigative field – at one time dominated by the study of dreams – slowly morphed into a laboratory-based discipline.”

    The magnitude of such a project is not lost on me – from the figurative weight of UTP’s history represented in this series to the literal weight of all the books that are sent for scanning! Since 2014, we have brought nearly 1,000 titles back into circulation and over 1,600 titles will end up in the Heritage Project. It has been and continues to be a tremendous effort supported by continuously improving scanning and printing technology and more importantly, many people at University of Toronto Press, University of Toronto libraries, and the Toronto Reference Library.

    Whether you are reading any of these titles out of interest (and maybe even indulging your nostalgia of a childhood dream) or as a way to support your research and work, I hope they will be invaluable learning resources for you, too.

    To continue on the final day of the University Press Week Blog Tour, check out posts by these other fine university presses:

    Johns Hopkins University Press
    Blog: https://www.press.jhu.edu/news/blog
    Twitter: @JHUPress

    Princeton University Press
    Blog: http://blog.press.princeton.edu/
    Twitter: @PrincetonUPress

    Rutgers University Press
    Blog: https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/category/news/
    Twitter: @RutgersUPress

    University of Colorado Press
    Blog: https://upcolorado.com/about-us/blog
    Twitter: @UPColorado

    Columbia University Press
    Blog: cupblog.org
    Twitter: @ColumbiaUP

    University of Georgia Press
    Blog: www.ugapress.wordpress.com
    Twitter: @UGAPress

  • Adventures in Blogging: Bringing Anthropology to the World

    For World Anthropology Day, we asked Paul Stoller to share his thoughts on the urgent need for a more public anthropology, as well as his ideas about blogging as one particular way to reach that public. Paul’s forthcoming book, Adventures in Blogging: Public Anthropology and Popular Media, will be available in April. Read an advance excerpt here

    We live in troubled times. In North America there is a wholesale assault on science, which, following longstanding practices, produces “inconvenient truths.” These truths stand in stark contrast to “alternative facts,” a patchwork of “big lies” that create a tapestry of untruth on media and social media. Taken together, these untruths have created an alternative universe of meaning. In this alternative universe, up is down, fiction becomes fact, and the truth, the ultimate objective of science, no longer matters. We are fast entering a seemingly limitless Orwellian space in which conspiracy theories are used in the blunt exercise of power that trumps the quest for truth and wisdom—the foundation of scholarship in the world.

    You can’t fight big lies with small truths.

    In this distressed environment, it is time for scholars, guardians of inconvenient truths, to meet their fundamental obligation: to produce knowledge that makes life a little bit better for us all. Although the pursuit of wisdom has long been the central obligation of scholars, we now live in a different climate than in years past. Most anthropological insights, for example, have been conveyed by way of scholarly essays and/or monographs. These texts have usually adhered to a strict set of rules. In science you are expected to present your findings and analysis in the bloodless prose of plain style. In so doing, we have let the power of our findings and our analyses—the facts, if you will—speak for themselves in an abstract and inaccessible language. For some time now, the persistent presence of deadly academic prose has meant that the public has little, if any, knowledge of our rigorously derived insights—insights that are important in the contemporary battle for truth.

    How many people, for example, know about important anthropological insights regarding climate change, racism, the re-emergence of Social Darwinism, the nature of religion and belief systems, the linguistics and cognitive science of propaganda, or the courage and resilience of peoples from what the American President has referred to as “shithole” countries?

    Not many!

    It’s true that anthropologists are waking up to the political and epistemological realities of a socially mediated world. An ever-increasing number of anthropologists now convey their slowly developed insights in documentary film, in drama, in poetry, in museums, and in media installations—all accessible ways to spread anthropological insights about a wide range of issues of social, economic, and political importance.

    I am one of many anthropologists who have felt the need to go public. In 2010, I realized that very few people had read what I had laboriously written in a narrative style designed for a broad audience. Despite my best efforts I understood that fewer and fewer people had the inclination to read anthropological works, including, of course, my own books and articles. I didn’t think it wise to abandon my professional writing, but felt compelled to blog anthropology by transforming complex ideas into simply stated and crisply written posts of 750 to 850 words.

    Could I do it?

    At first it was difficult to simplify tried and true academic prose, but after some false starts I found my blog rhythm and moved forward.

    I pitched an idea to HuffPost.

    They signed me up.

    I’ve been blogging anthropology ever since. In eight years of HuffPost blogging, some of my posts have spread far and wide in the blogosphere where readers liked, favorited, shared, and re-tweeted them. In some cases, 50,000 to 75,000 people would read my posts, meaning that the blogs had informed them of anthropological insights about US politics, the practice of social science, trends toward corporatization in higher education, critiques of shallow media representations, and narratives about the texture of human wellbeing.

    These days there are increasing numbers of scholars who are blogging anthropology. Most of them write skillfully about more or less anthropological subjects—especially emerging topics in archaeology and biological anthropology. In my blogs, by contrast, I have tried to bring anthropological insights to newsworthy events—the Presidential campaigns of 2012 and 2016, the dysfunction of the US Congress, the anti-intellectual war on science and social science, climate change, superstorms, and social dislocation. In the blogs, I make sure to highlight examples of apt anthropological concepts and demonstrate the wisdom non-western knowledge.

    I wrote Adventures in Blogging to show—rather than tell—anthropologists how they can use the medium as a powerful tool for mass education, a platform that connects disparate audiences. In this way, the book underscores how blogging anthropology increases cross-cultural understanding in a globally inter-connected world.

    Blogging anthropology is a different way of sharing anthropological knowledge.

    In today’s world, it’s a difference that makes a difference.

    Paul Stoller is Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University. He has published 14 books, including ethnographies, biographies, memoirs, and novels, and is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Robert B. Textor Award for Excellence in Anthropology. In 2013, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden presented him the Anders Retzius Gold Medal in Anthropology. In 2015, the American Anthropological Association awarded him the Anthropology in Media Award. He lectures and conducts writing workshops in the United States and Europe.

    This piece is cross-posted on our Teaching Culture blog.

2 Item(s)