Why Indonesia’s Muslim preachers are doing so well

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Cornell University Press has just published Hearing Allah’s Call: Preaching and performance in Indonesian Islam. Anthropologist Birgit Braeuchler interviewed the author, Julian Millie, of Monash University, about his new book.

Birgit Braeuchler: Your preparation for this book included fourteen months listening to Islamic sermons in West Java. I imagine there must be many preachers there, simply because there are so many Muslims in that part of Indonesia—about forty million in a province not much bigger than the island of Hawaii. But let me ask . . . the title of your book emphasizes performance. Why is that concept such a big part of this project?

Julian Millie: I work with colleagues at the State Islamic University in Bandung. A couple of years ago, students in the Islamic predication program helped us do a survey about the features that made preaching successful amongst West Javanese audiences. They went to their home villages, and came back with their reports. According to almost all of these surveys, a sermon was successful if the preacher was able to hold the audience’s attention for its duration . . . In other words, the students regarded a captivating sermon as a successful one. Continue reading “Why Indonesia’s Muslim preachers are doing so well”

Why Indonesia’s Muslim preachers are doing so well

The Bell Tolls for Ringling

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Ringling Bros. circus performer Gleice Gillet on the lead elephant

By Steve Zeitlin, author of The Poetry of Everyday Life

This past spring I bought two tickets to the last show of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, scheduled for May 21, 2017, in Uniondale, New York. The iconic three-ring circus, mother of all American circuses, was closing its doors after 146 years. At the time, my friend the circus historian Richard Flint was busy researching a book commissioned by Ringling Bros. to commemorate the history of the famed circus for its 150th anniversary in 2021. Ringling didn’t make it that far. 

“People call it the Greatest Show on Earth,” Richard told me, “but it literally was the greatest show on Earth.” A large, profitable circus, Ringling was able to deliver grandeur no other show could match. Not just horses, acrobats, and clowns. Not only numerous elephants, but lavish costumes, state-of-the-art lighting, three rings, five weeks of rehearsals, Broadway choreographers to help train a bevy of showgirls and clowns, original music composed annually for each season. As Richard’s friend said to him, “Ringling’s demise is something like the Catholic Church shutting down.” Continue reading “The Bell Tolls for Ringling”

The Bell Tolls for Ringling

Doc Martyn’s Sage Marketing: Cover Copy

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In real estate, as we all know, it’s location, location, location. In the book world that location is the cover of the book and the websites on which the book is featured. In both cases, the prime real estate is where you find the descriptive copy for the book, in all its facets and aspects.

In design, use of space is crucial. It’s all about how you provide the information/content/user experience. What makes a design work is how accessible it is for its purpose. In the case of books, that design aspect applies particularly to how accessible the descriptive content is on the cover.

In politics, delivery of message is key. How a politician says what he or she wants his or her constituents to know, maybe perhaps even more than what is said, determines how well the message is received. In books, how we describe what’s in a book is tied closely to what we write, but delivery of that message is crucial. Continue reading “Doc Martyn’s Sage Marketing: Cover Copy”

Doc Martyn’s Sage Marketing: Cover Copy

Outbox: Smart Books

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Top L to R: Unbuttoning America by Ardis Cameron, The Borscht Belt by Marisa Scheinfeld. Bottom L to R: Where the River Burned by David and Richard Stradling, The Angola Horror by Charity Vogel, Under the Surface by Tom Wilber

By Michael J. McGandy

A couple of months ago I was recording a segment for “1869: The Cornell University Press Podcast” and our marketing director, Martyn Beeny, asked me what I meant when I talked about “smart books.” I had used the term in association with the sort of titles I wanted to acquire for our new regional trade imprint, Three Hills. “Smart” sounded like a good word, even a smart word, but what did I mean by it?

I paused, and audibly gulped. (You can listen here; the gulp comes at 2:06.) While I pulled myself together and said something about books that were “well-researched,” “informed,” “fair,” and “searching”—all good words, too—the truth was that I was not sure what I meant when I used the term “smart.” I felt that I knew what a smart book was but, when asked by Martyn, I realized I did not have a handle on what was obviously an intuitive feel for the sort of title I wanted to sign for the imprint.

A lot of work in publishing is, in fact, done by feel and intuition. That is part of the peril and fun of what we acquisitions editors do when we make judgments about quality and determine what we want to publish. Yet my failure to be articulate on this topic bothered me, and so I thought more on it. I use the term most often when I am talking about my trade and academic-trade titles—books that are meant to appeal to broader audiences—and that sense of readership plays into the concept of smart that, after some reflection, I struck upon. Continue reading “Outbox: Smart Books”

Outbox: Smart Books

Police/Worlds: Studies in Security, Crime, and Governance

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Indio Police Building (Indio, Calif.), 1958 © J. Paul Getty Trust, Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles (2004.R.10). Photo by Julius Schulman.

Police/Worlds: Studies in Security, Crime, and Governance is a new series forthcoming from Cornell University Press. It will be edited by anthropologists Ilana Feldman, Will Garriott, Kevin Karpiak, and Sameena Mulla. Download the flyer for more information.

Sage House: We’re very happy to launch the new monograph series, Police/Worlds: Studies in Security, Crime, and Governance here at Cornell University Press.  To begin, tell me about Police/Worlds. What does the title mean? What is the series focus and what makes it different from other series?

Sameena Mulla: We’re glad you asked, because we chose the title Police/Worlds to invite that question. You see two very recognizable terms, “Police,” and “Worlds,” with some punctuation between them; their relationship is not exactly clear, and that’s what we hope to explore in the series. We want to publish books that explore policing in many different contexts. That means not just traditional organizational settings—

Kevin Karpiak: What’s sometimes glossed as “Policing as the men in blue.”

SM: —but also in policing more broadly, as a set of everyday practices. Thinking of the many worlds of policing suggests different geographic, historic, and also cultural contexts.

Will Garriott: For the past few years, a group of us have been working on issues of police and policing in anthropology. For example, the blog Anthropoliteia has been a central place to develop the anthropological focus on policing. And this has put us in conversation with scholars of police in neighboring disciplines. It’s provided us with a particular perspective on issues such as crime, security, and governance. We’ve found this to be a very productive space. We hope the series will reflect this. Continue reading “Police/Worlds: Studies in Security, Crime, and Governance”

Police/Worlds: Studies in Security, Crime, and Governance

Washington Plan Threatens Our Water

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By Karen Schneller-McDonald

Plans afoot in Washington threaten water protection. Recently the Trump administration rescinded the Stream Protection Rule, which protected water quality at mountaintop removal mining sites. Now the President has directed the EPA to review the Clean Water Rule for conflicts with his economic growth agenda, and has begun a two-part plan to rescind the Rule and change the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” in the Clean Water Act.

WHAT’S THE CLEAN WATER RULE?
The Rule is the product of four years of EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers peer-reviewed hydrological studies, interagency reviews, economic analyses and input from a variety of public and private organizations. It updates the federal Clean Water Act by clarifying the definition of “Waters of the U.S.” which determines what water resources qualify for protection under the Act. This was done to address regulatory confusion resulting from several court cases.


One in three Americans gets their drinking water from a source that wouldn’t qualify for protection under proposed changes in the definition of “Waters of the U.S.”


WHAT’S AT STAKE?
The Clean Water Rule clarified the definition while effectively protecting the quality and supply of our water. However, the current administration prefers a much narrower definition that would protect fewer wetlands and streams; up to 60% of our water Continue reading “Washington Plan Threatens Our Water”

Washington Plan Threatens Our Water

Adventures in #Acquisitioning: AAUP 2017

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Austin via South Congress, complete with guitar-playing cowboy (right)

By Bethany Wasik

Two months ago, for the second consecutive year, I represented Cornell University Press at the AAUP Annual Meeting. The discussion panels, networking opportunities, and ambient air temperatures in Austin, TX, were extremely positive experiences.

First, who am I and why did I trek all the way to Austin?

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Bethany Wasik

I have been an acquisitions assistant at Cornell University Press for approximately two years, recently making the transition to assistant editor. I landed here after receiving a Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics studying beetle horn development from Indiana University and completing two postdoctoral appointments researching butterfly wing patterning at Yale and Cornell Universities (true story). As my second postdoctoral appointment came to an end, I realized my passion was with editing and publishing rather than bench work. I had the experience to justify such a switch, having published my research in several academic journals (still ongoing!), edited and peer reviewed manuscripts on a regular basis, helped students and lab mates with their writing, and composed grants for my own funding. Thus, unbeknownst to me, I was already performing some tasks of an academic editor even before walking through the Cornell University Press lobby. Continue reading “Adventures in #Acquisitioning: AAUP 2017”

Adventures in #Acquisitioning: AAUP 2017

Patrice McMahon gives us the lowdown on NGOs on the latest episode of 1869, the Cornell University Press podcast

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In episode 14, Patrice McMahon, associate professor of political science at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, talks about the role of NGOs in post-conflict peacebuilding. She gives us the history of NGOs as an international force, explains the role they played in the Balkans after the conflict there, and indicates how NGOs have had to professionalize and globalize since then in order to remain relevant.

You can subscribe to 1869 on iTunes and SoundCloud.

And, for easy access, here’s the full list of episodes so far:

Episode 1: Peter Conners talks Dead Heads and the 40th anniversary of the (probably) greatest Grateful Dead concert ever
Episode 2: Glenn Altschuler looks at the history of Cornell University
Episode 3: Suzanne Gordon dives into the issues surrounding veterans’ health care
Episode 4: Gordon Lafer warns us about the power of corporate lobbying
Episode 5: Keith Bildstein waxes lyrical on the beauty of birds of prey
Episode 6: Rosemary Sekora discusses BookExpo and BookCon
Episode 7: Michael McGandy launches Three Hills, our new trade imprint
Episode 8: Jim Lance explains what he wants to acquire and why
Episode 9: Alan Bernstein goes to Hell (well, he gives us some context and history, anyway)
Episode 10: Greg Britton and Zach Gresham reveal what really happened at AAUP17
Episode 11: Sean Malloy breaks down the Black Panthers as an international force
Episode 12: Julia Azari provides the background on presidential mandates
Episode 13: Brandon Keim gets anthropomorphic on us
Episiode 14: Patrice McMahon shows how NGOs got to be so important

If there’s someone you’d like to listen to on an episode let us know by emailing Martyn Beeny or tweeting at the Press.

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Learn more:
The NGO Game: Post-Conflict Peacebuilding in the Balkans and Beyond
by Patrice C. McMahon
$24.95 paperback

Patrice McMahon gives us the lowdown on NGOs on the latest episode of 1869, the Cornell University Press podcast

Help Save the Bees

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Photo by Muhammad Mahdi Karim

There was finally some good news this week about the plight of the honeybees. After more than a decade of alarming declines in bee populations across the United States, a new study released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers new hope for honeybees. While the central culprit behind the mysterious deaths of bees (classified as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD) is yet to be determined, the study found that the number of U.S. honeybees has increased since 2016, and the number of deaths due to CCD decreased by over 25 percent in the same time period.

However, the good news came with some bad. Continue reading “Help Save the Bees”

Help Save the Bees

Consulting Hafez on the Trump Administration

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Sahar Muradi

By Steve Zeitlin, author of The Poetry of Everyday Life

In a bedroom she shared with her three siblings in Elmhurst, Queens, 9-year-old Sahar Muradi snuggled up to her mom.  Sensing her daughter’s pensive mood, her mother asked, “Is there something on your mind?” Then her mom reached for the magical red book. Sahar remembers, “I can picture it—the book was leather-bound, frayed from overuse. It was small and fit perfectly into my little hands.” This was Hafez’s Divan, the collected works of a revered fourteenth-century poet from Iran, where great poets are considered seers. Hafez’s sobriquet or nickname is lesān-al-ḡayb, or The Tongue of the Unseen. Continue reading “Consulting Hafez on the Trump Administration”

Consulting Hafez on the Trump Administration