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This post is written by Purdue University Press Director Justin Race. It is part of the blog tour hosted by the Association of University Presses in celebration of University Press week. To see the rest of the posts in the tour, click here

The theme of University Press Week this year is “Read. Think. Act.”. It was chosen to emphasize the role that scholarly publishers can play in moving national and international conversations forward on critical and complex issues. The theme of today’s blog tour is “How to Be a Better (Global) Citizen”.

 


Looking Back and Looking Forward; Thinking Local and Thinking Global

 

The cover of the book Eva and OttoA week shy of my one-year anniversary with Purdue University Press, it’s a natural time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we hope to go in the future. Every Press comes with its unique legacy. In our case, several premier series that have been leaders in their fields for years, such as New Directions in the Human-Animal Bond and Central European Studies. We have a rich history of publishing Holocaust memoirs—horrific in circumstance, but uplifting that these individuals survived, triumphed, and were able to tell their stories. Books like Eva and Otto are all the more important given so many people did not survive and were effectively silenced.

The cover of the book Ever TrueOur Founders Series has been chronicling the history of Purdue for decades, ensuring that with each graduating class and retiring faculty and staff member, a record persists of what Purdue meant at given points in its 150-year history. We were honored to release two titles this past year celebrating Purdue’s sesquicentennial: Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University and Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life. And finally, our Aeronautics and Astronautics Series, which just released Dear Neil: Letters to the First Man from All Mankind—a book that is both local and global. Armstrong went to Purdue before he went to the moon. He walked across campus before he leapt on behalf of all people.

Book cover of A History of YugoslaviaThat’s both a lot to stand on and a lot to live up to—more than 700 books published over 59 years. Next year we turn 60, and we’ll be adding 30 more titles to that total. A university press is your next-door neighbor and your pen pal on the other side of the globe. To browse our website is to see a history of Purdue next to a history of Yugoslavia. Though speaking to different audiences, what unites our titles is the time, energy, and rigor that go into all our books, which are meant to make an impact today and remain relevant for years to come.

Cover of Dear Neil ArmstrongBooks do many things, but for university presses in particular they inform. They educate. They shed light on a sliver of history or a place you’ve never visited or a person you’ve never met. They introduce ideas you may have never considered or challenge you to reexamine your thinking on a topic you believed you knew well. Ideally study leads to reflection, which leads to understanding. And from understanding it’s a small leap to empathy. The world is a smaller, more interconnected place than it’s ever been. We have no choice but to speak to one another. Books ensure we listen and truly hear one another instead of talking past or yelling at one another. That’s the value of a university press. To be a part of that is what I’m celebrating as my first year comes to a close. To grow and add to it is what I’m looking forward to as my second year begins.

 


 

Other posts on today’s University Press Week blog tour:

University of Florida Press: Carl Lindskoog, author of Detain and Punish: Haitian Refugees and the Rise of the World’s Largest Immigration Detention System, provides a list of actions individuals can take if they are concerned about the detention crisis at the US border.

University of Virginia Press: Excerpt from Amitai Etzioni’s latest book, Reclaiming Democracy, in which he explains how recent global threats to democracy demand the response of a social movement on the scale of the civil rights or environmental movements. Etzioni lays out the requirements and opportunities to achieve such a movement.

Georgetown University Press: A post highlighting ways to be a better global citizen in the context of the global refugee crisis according to David Hollenbach’s Humanity in Crisis: Ethical and Religious Response to Refugees.

University of Wisconsin Press: Focuses on book and journal readings that highlight scholars who are engaging with concepts of global citizenship and influencing public policy to improve global situations.

University of Minnesota Press: Ian G. R. Shaw previews his manifesto for building a future beyond late-stage capitalism, drawing up alternate ways to “make a living” beyond what we’re conditioned for.

University of Nebraska Press: Guest post from Robin Hemley, author of Borderline Citizen, on what it means to be a transnational citizen.

University of Toronto Press: An exclusive excerpt from one of the first two books in our New Jewish Press imprint: The Conflict over the Conflict: The Israel/Palestine Campus Debate by Kenneth S. Stern. As the director of the Bard Center for the Study of Hate, Stern offers some brilliant advice on how we can all think rationally and compassionately in order to be better global citizens.

Vanderbilt University Press: A post looking at ways to practice active citizenship, with an excerpt from Awakening Democracy through Public Work by Harry C. Boyte.

University of North Carolina Press: Alex Dika Seggerman, author of Modernism on the Nile, on how art historians can use a global perspective to rethink the underlying narratives of modernism.