Today, the University Press Blog Tour kicks off at University of Chicago Press where Scott Esposito, editor of the online journal Quarterly Conversation, riffs on one essential Chicago text that has been particularly influential on Esposito’s own work: Modernist Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent by Wayne C. Booth. This exercise could be repeated a hundred times at each university press — the reality is we publish important books that change the way people think about their own work and the world. The Chicago blog sums it up saying, ” we couldn’t think of a better reason for why university presses matter than their continued commitment to foster thinkers like Booth and to take pride in watching their ideas blossom for another generation.”
The tour continues at the University of Illinois Press Blog where Stephen Wade argues that the hallmark of University Press publishing is a “commitment to humane scholarship: to publish learned books that neither hide behind grad school theory nor deaden themselves with verbal opacity. Instead, they seek works whose authors are willing, in the words of former University of Illinois Press editor Judith McCulloh, to ‘write for the world.'”
Onward to University of Nebraska Press where the manager of regional imprint Bison Books explains why university presses matter to their regions. University Presses can take on local authors, histories, cookbooks, you name it, because we are dedicated to serving the various communities in which we operate. Princeton University Press doesn’t dip into regional publishing (as in NJ, East Coast) but we do publish regional books — particularly field guides and natural history books — for countless countries and locales around the world. In doing so, we are also giving a “voice” to these places, as Tom Swanson so eloquently describes.
Syracuse University Press signs off for the day with longtime author and former series editor Laurence M. Hauptman’s thoughts on why University Presses matter. The three main reasons he describes are:
First, university presses generally work closer and spend more time collaborating with authors, especially new ones to the field, performing more of an educational role by teaching scholars the ropes of the publishing process.
Secondly, university presses are incubators for new ideas and directions in scholarship.
Finally, university presses have in-house expertise and draw from their location on campuses of higher learning.
The University Press Blog Tour continues tomorrow, including our own contribution of a Q&A with Labyrinth Books co-owner Dorothea von Moltke. Check out the complete schedule here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/111775029/University-Press-Week-blog-tour-schedule