The Heritage Book Project: Selected Politics Books to Stand the Test of Time

In this contribution to the University Press Week Blog Tour (November 12-17), Harriet Kim provides a selection of interesting politics titles that she recently brought back into print as part of UTP's Heritage Book Project. For today's theme of #TurnItUP: Politics, Harriet provides some useful historical perspective. 

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.

With all the different titles that have gone through the Heritage Book Project process, working on this series has been a unique learning process for me. As I try to put into words the scope of the Heritage Book Project, I reflect about what it means to bring back books that matter. Many of the books themselves are old (again, some are as old as 1928!) and/or the subject matter studies a time period that feels removed or irrelevant to us today. However, it is notable that some of the titles feel like they could have been written in today’s political climate, which tells me how necessary it is to learn from what has happened in the past to inform us of what is happening now and of how to move forward.

If you are interested in reading some politics books that seem to stand the test of time, here is a round-up of titles that might be of interest:

Is God a Racist?: The Right Wing in Canada (1989), by Stanley Barrett, examines the rise of right-wing extremism in Canada.

Who Owns Domestic Abuse?: The Local Politics of a Social Problem (2000), by Ruth M. Mann, “is a case study of community activism around domestic violence against women and children in a small-town Southern Ontario municipality… and is relevant to social theory and social policy.”

Not This Time: Canadians, Public Policy, and the Marijuana Question, 1961-1975 (2006),
by Marcel Martel, “explores recreational use of marijuana in the 1960s and its emergence as a topic of social debate.”

In Saturday's Child: Memoirs of Canada's First Female Cabinet Minister (1995), Ellen Louks Fairclough, the first woman in Canada to become a federal cabinet minister, tells her story.

Canadian Family Policies: Cross-National Comparisons (1995), by Maureen Baker, explores Canada’s family policies in an international context.

The Quest for Justice: Aboriginal Peoples and Aboriginal Rights (1985), edited by Menno Boldt and J. Anthony Long, is a “collection of many voices from representatives of the aboriginal people’s organizations, of governments, and of a variety of academic disciplines. The issues of aboriginal rights and of what these rights mean in terms of land and sovereignty has become increasingly important on the Canadian political agenda.”

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 subject to continuously changing and improving scanning and printing technology. More importantly, it has been an effort supported by many people at University of Toronto Press, University of Toronto libraries, and the Toronto Reference Library.

Politics can be a challenging conversation to broach and it can be hard to know where to start. Thoughtful and interesting books can be a start to engage in conversations with peers, academics, librarians, and many others. I hope these heritage titles will be a helpful resource for you, too.

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

University of Chicago Press
Blog: http://pressblog.uchicago.edu
Twitter: @UChicagoPress

Georgetown University Press
Blog: georgetownuniversitypress.tumblr.com
Twitter: @GUPress

Teachers College Press
Blog: https://www.tcpress.com/blog/
Twitter: @TCPress

University of Wisconsin Press
Blog: https://uwpress.wisc.edu/blog/
Twitter: @UWiscPress

University of Virginia Press
Blog: https://www.upress.virginia.edu/blog
Twitter: @uvapress

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

UBC Press
Blog: ubcpress.ca/news
Twitter: @UBCPress

LSU Press
Blog: https://blog.lsupress.org/
Twitter: @lsupress

University Press of Kansas
Blog: kansaspress.ku.edu/
Twitter: @Kansas_Press

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