University Presses are Surprising!

UPW-Logo-2015Welcome to Day 2 of the University Press Week blog tour. The theme of this year’s University Press Week is Surprising! The Association of American University Presses features a gallery that highlights some of the most surprising books and projects presses have published. From jokes to Bigfoot, basketball to Nobel Prize winners, university presses publish it all.

978-0-8223-4687-6_prOur own contribution to the Surprising! gallery is S. Ann Dunham’s Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia. President Barack Obama has a surprising background for an American politician: Kenyan father and American anthropologist mother, S. Ann Dunham. When Duke University Press was approached to publish Dunham’s 1992 dissertation, shaped into a book by her adviser and a colleague at the University of Hawaii, there was skepticism that it was a worthwhile project. But when we sent it out for peer review, we were surprised that the work was considered to be an important contribution to economic anthropology. And when we published the book, it received a surprising amount of media coverage, including the New York Times, the London Times, NPR, and the Jakarta Times. It also received positive reviews in important scholarly journals. And it even sold a surprising number of copies for a 440-page ethnography of Indonesian metalworkers. Dunham’s daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who wrote a foreword for the book, was  thrilled that the book sustains Dunham’s legacy, and (though he’s a little bit harder to correspond with) we hope President Obama is too.

Now we invite you to head out onto the blog tour. Today’s theme is The Future of Scholarly Publishing. Begin at University of Indiana Press to read Director Gary Dunham’s thoughts. Then go to Oxford University Press where their Editorial Director Sophie Goldsworthy shares her thoughts on broad trends in scholarly publishing. George Mason University Press features a post by Mason Publishing on a global survey of digital tools use in scholarly communication and research workflows. University of Colorado Press reflects on their fiftieth year and speculates about their future. University Press of Kansas Director Chuck Myers writes their post for today and UNC Press features a post by their director John Sherer. West Virginia University Press will offer reflections on the value of acquisitions work and the meaning of curating/gatekeeping in the digital era. And Johns Hopkins University Press has a post by their Editorial Director Greg Britton. Enjoy, and check back here tomorrow for more great posts.

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