A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice: Relational Realism as an Alternative General Sociological Approach

A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice: Relational Realism as an Alternative General Sociological Approach

by Basem Adi

I am writing a series of blog posts that outline the contents and arguments presented in 'A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice'. In this entry, I provide a brief account of the second chapter, which covers the underlying epistemic and ontological claims that underpin a relational realist understanding of education.

There are key terms italicised in the article – to access definitions of these terms, please refer to the glossary of 'A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice'.

Relational realism as an alternative general sociological approach

As discussed in the previous article, lib/lab governance is underpinned by epistemic closure. Hence, it is essential to articulate a meta-theory that can conceptually maintain epistemic openness to the relationship between the observer and the observed in and with which they exist (Freire 1985: 54). The idea of an ontological starting point does not entail predefining the parameters of knowledge. Instead, articulating a general approach (a philosophical starting point) is a reasoned necessity. It is a reasoned necessity as all theories –acknowledged or not – must referentially detach when relating to a referent. An ontology of the world will impact the development of paradigms and research methodology. Thus, even theories that give up the idea of the subject as an entity distinct from the object rely on transcendental preliminaries through negation in which representations of the world are reduced to practical activity.

The main objection to philosophising meta-theories is that ontological presuppositions will restrict knowledge by setting the parameters on acts of knowing. However, this pre-definition of referential acts can be avoided if intransitivity is asserted between the act of knowing and referent within a general approach that affirms the relation as the first ontological principle. There is no positing of the parameters of knowledge beforehand, but the contingent world in and with which the observer and the observed exist mediates their relatedness. Nevertheless, the subject and object are considered determinants in a realist approach. Therefore, by considering the contingent dimension and relatively enduring realities of social ontology, relational realism does not fall into different reductionist fallacies that predefine the parameters of social reality by conflating to specific elements.

The epistemic quadrangle and judgemental rationality

As the relation is necessary for intelligible discourse, an epistemic framework is needed to articulate interchanges between the subject and object. The intransitivity between both means knowledge develops a posteriori at the level of active meditations and is open to revision. Judgemental rationality is a relationally reflexive process that constantly seeks to re-codify received mediations in their efficacy in generating transformational social realities. Hence, we have two triangles in this framework: the first triangle represents the process of judgemental rationality that reflexively monitors existing mediations; the second triangle represents the latent ontological reality of the observed. Between the upper and bottom triangles are existing socio-cultural mediations that consist of acts of knowing. These mediations consist of structures open to morphogenesis, regulating interactions between the observer and the observed. The structural order guides interactions, so participants reference the intransitivity of the bottom triangle (latent ontological reality) within the mediations existing in the domain of the actual. These interactions aim to generate potentially transformative structures and mechanisms (Donati 2021).

A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice: Relational Realism as an Alternative General Sociological Approach
Fig. 1 For relational sociology, critical realism is an approach that extends the epistemic triangle (commonly used in sociology: observer–culture-observed reality) to the epistemic quadrangle (observer–culture–observed reality–latent ontological reality) (Donati 2011: 100),

Sociology as a knowledge system

As stated above, a meta-theory with a pre-supposing ontological view exists in all theories. Sociology as a knowledge system, therefore, necessarily begins from a general meta-theoretical approach. Derived from a meta-theory, it is a general explanatory paradigm that explains the encountered object as a complex and changing reality (in the case of relational realism, it is the morphogenetic paradigm). The explanatory paradigm influences methodological considerations through research methods and techniques. Applying research methods results in single empirical theories based on the set research questions, i.e., why does Y happen or why has Y happened?

A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice: Relational Realism as an Alternative General Sociological Approach
Fig. 2 The components of sociology as a knowledge system (aimed at formulating a theory) built upon two axes, L-G and A-I (Donati 2011: 105).

Policy implications

A general understanding of social ontology underpins social policies. Acknowledging the irreducibility of human needs and nurturing these needs in the mediation between the upper and lower triangles means policies are emergent relational goods. These goods depend on the reflexivity of subjects and a structural order whose feedback mechanisms promote participative acts of knowing which responsibilise subjects for the outcomes of interactions (a positive understanding of freedom). Instead of operating backwards from the structural order – as is the case in lib/lab governance – the structure of the relation promotes associational arrangements in which the norms of relatedness are responsive to morphogenetic processes. Hence, as Freire (2000) observes, 'authority' must be "on the side of freedom, not against it" (Freire 2000: 80).

The interactive phase includes the judgemental rationality of the observer (personal and corporate) as they enter a relation with the observed – the resulting mediations are outcomes that fallibly reference the latent ontological reality of the epistemic quadrangle. In applying judgemental rationality, an explanatory paradigm is adopted that can account for the emergence of Y in a way that does not have predefined parameters of knowledge. Methodological considerations are practical tools in applying judgemental rationality and proposing re-articulations to the elements of the relation.

References:

Freire, P., & Macedo, D. (1995). A Dialogue: Culture, Language, and Race. Harvard Educational Review, 65(3), 377–403.

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the Oppressed (Third). Continuum.

Donati, P. (2011). Relational Sociology: A New Paradigm for the Social Sciences. Routledge.

Donati, P. (2021). Transcending Modernity with Relational Thinking (First). Routledge.

This is an Open Access title available to read and download for free or to purchase in all available print and ebook formats below.

A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice
This volume argues that relational realism can help us to make better educational policy that is more effective in practice. Basem Adi draws on critical realism to thoroughly re-examine fundamental assumptions about how government policymaking works, developing an ontological basis from which to exa…
A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice: Relational Realism as an Alternative General Sociological Approach

The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing

The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing

By Amy Koerber

The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing

Sometime in 2018, my coauthors and I began formulating a proposal to the National Science Foundation’s “Cultivating Cultures for Ethical STEM” program. We wanted to examine scholarly publishing, but it took us a while to arrive at “predatory publishing” as our focus. As a team, we represented a range of disciplines: communication studies, journalism, professional communication, and atmospheric science. Thus, we hardly spoke the same language when we discussed research methodologies, theories, and publishing expectations. However, we had all received e-mails inviting us to submit articles to journals with suspicious titles, sometimes far afield from our own discipline, and promising a rapid review and publishing turnaround.

Of course, such e-mails often include some suspicious features. For example, when they praise the recipient’s “expertise,” that is often an expertise far removed from the focus of the journal. And anyone who clicks on the link to the journal’s website may see additional clues, such as an advertised “impact factor” that cannot be verified through Clarivate’s Journal Citation Reports. Given the frequency with which such e-mail solicitations were arriving in our inboxes, we knew we had found our topic, and we were delighted to learn in July 2019 that our NSF proposal would be funded.

We initially focused on Beall’s list, including various efforts to replace it with a comparable list of suspicious journals, formerly known as journal “blacklists” but now more commonly referred to as “watchlists.” We also discovered a collection of an opposite kind of list, known as “whitelists” at the time, now more commonly referred to as “safelists.” Instead of identifying suspicious journals, these lists itemized journals that could be trusted. The outcome of these early inquiries was published in 2020 as an article in the Journal of Academic Librarianship.

Next, we began conducting interviews—a total of forty-eight interviews with scholarly publishing stakeholders across the globe. Although we had initially planned to travel and conduct these interviews in person, the pandemic hit in early 2020, so we quickly pivoted to Zoom. We were both vexed and intrigued to discover through our first several interviews that “predatory publishing” was not nearly as straightforward as we thought it would be. As these conversations unfolded, we discovered how deeply fraught is the term “predatory.” Whereas many stakeholders in the global scholarly publishing economy stand to gain from the ability to distinguish journals or publishers that are “predatory” from those that are not, we quickly learned that that such an identification was simply not possible.

As we suggest in the opening chapter of The Predatory Paradox, the term itself, “predatory publishing,” is the product of a desire to find simple solutions and understandings to what is inherently a complex problem. As we demonstrate throughout the book’s chapters, it is the same set of demands and changes that have led to many positive innovations in scholarly publishing that have also created a situation in which so-called predatory publishing has come to thrive. These demands and changes include an ever-increasing desire for rapid turnaround from submission to acceptance to publication as well as ever-increasing expectations for scholars across the globe to rapidly produce a high quantity of articles whose quality will be judged, in large part, by the quantity of citations they accrue. We use the phrase “predatory paradox” in the book to capture all the nuance and complexity of this situation.

In so many ways, The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing is about things not unfolding as initially planned. Our plan for in-person interviews was thwarted by the pandemic. Our plan to help define the term “predatory” was thwarted by complex conversations that occurred during our interview research. Even our initial plan to develop a comprehensive web-based training program to be delivered to global audiences did not play out exactly as we had planned. Once we began learning about open access publishing and came across Open Book Publishers, it became clear that an open access book, with instructional materials and resources accompanying each chapter, was the more appropriate format to deliver such content.

Thus, we have certainly not answered all the questions we had at the outset of this project. However, we hope The Predatory Paradox will empower scholarly publishing stakeholders across the globe to engage with the array of problems we explore in the book, which are becoming increasingly complex as the scholarly world begins to grapple with new developments such as AI-generated text. We also hope that we have provided a set of tools that will enable readers to embrace the many paradoxes that infuse scholarly publishing today, as a means to individual success and to sustainability for the global publishing enterprise.

The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing is an Open Access title available below:

The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing
In today’s ‘publish or perish’ academic setting, the institutional prizing of quantity over quality has given rise to and perpetuated the dilemma of predatory publishing. Upon a close examination, however, the definition of ‘predatory’ itself becomes slippery, evading neat boxes or lists which might…
The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing

SO! Reads: “K for the Way”: DJ Rhetoric and Literacy for 21st Century Writing Studies

or, Last Summer a DJ Saved My Life

“Hip Hop does work that a lot of other things don’t do” Young Guru (viii).

The way that we imagine English Studies, specifically Composition and Rhetoric (Comp/Rhet), today needs a radical shift. Specifically, we need new techniques for Writing Studies pedagogy to reach students in a more meaningful and contemporary fashion.  Todd Craig’s “K for the Way:” DJ Rhetoric and Literacy for 21st Century Writing Studies (Utah State University Press, 2023) both documents the need for this shift and enacts it. Craig’s work enables us to recognize the pedagogical impact on writing that Hip Hop has had over the last 50 years—specifically how the DJ/deejay as twenty-first century new media reader and writer teaches students not just to think about sound, but to compose with it, too.

An Associate Professor of English at CUNY Graduate Center, Craig has little desire to shake the foundations of English Studies, but instead do what Hip Hop has always done—make a way where there is none. The point is to (re)imagine new ways of doing old things; in this case, of teaching and reaching students who arrive in First-Year Writing courses. “K for the Way” does more than demonstrate the ways in which the DJ is a twenty-first century pedagogical savant; it also teaches readers, using DJ Rhetoric and DJ Literacy, about the culture that makes them possible.

This summer, a DJ really did save my life: as someone who feels consistently overwhelmed by the vast nature of scholarly discourse, “K for the Way” gave me a chance to breathe, to identify with something that has been a part of me for the better part of my life, and to see myself in a conversation about a topic I am more than passionate about. For Craig, community, history, and culture are the core of his mission as a scholar, educator, and DJ.

Craig defines several new terms that bridge the worlds of Hip Hop and Composition and Rhetoric.  First, we have DJ Rhetoric, which can be understood as the modes, methodologies, and discursive elements of the DJ. For Craig, it “encompasses the quality of oral, written, and sonic language that displays and expresses sociocultural, historical, and musical meanings, attitudes, and sentiments” (23). Next, there is DJ Literacy, which is the “sonic and auditory practices of reading, writing, critically thinking, speaking, and communicating through and with the rhetoric of Hip Hop DJ culture” (23). These two definitions, operating in conjunction, situate the DJ as a kind of griot, a figure that Adam Banks invokes as a carrier of tradition, stories, and histories in Digital Griots: African American Rhetoric in a Multimedia Age (Studies in Writing and Rhetoric) (2011). The mission of the griot is to carry stories and translate them to various audiences while adhering to the rhetorical conventions and modes of whichever audience they find themselves before; similarly, the DJ is responsible for “communicating the pulse and the evolution of a culture that once sat as ‘underground’ but now has dramatically evolved to ‘mainstream’” (25). These definitions serve as guides for the reader as they are tethered to all of the concepts and (re)imagining happening throughout the book.

Craig is intimately close to the work he is doing. He lives and breathes Hip Hop; and what should a book about the Hip Hop DJ be if not written by someone who embodies the role, culture, and practice of DJing?   Craig  uses a  a research methodology known as hiphopography in which Hip Hop ways of being are central to studying it. Coined by James G. Spady, this term is defined as “a shared discourse with equanimity, not the usual hierarchical distancing techniques usually found in published and non-published (visual-TV) interviewers with rappers” (27). Craig states that hiphopography “allowed me to engage a variety of Hip Hop DJs while also maintaining my own shared values and sentiments around my love of Hip Hop culture and DJ practices” (28).  Hiphopography constructs a conversational, intimate space—touched by history, culture, and music—wherein the interviewer and interviewee can engage and produce meaningful data. This methodology—and Craig’s many interviews with DJs about their craft—becomes part of the text’s core as we begin to see how Craig’s two-pronged argument connects DJ Rhetoric and DJ Literacy to bring both life throughout the book.

If one understands the DJ as a twenty-first century rhetorician and compositionist and considers the ways in which the DJ is a cultural meaning-maker, sponsor, and master sampler, then one can clearly see the connections between the DJ, DJ culture, and Writing Studies in the contemporary moment. In the first part of his argument supporting the significance of DJ Rhetoric and Literacy in writing pedagogy Craig asserts that, “it is essential that the academy at large works to strengthen students’ undergraduate experiences by reinforcing their racial, ethnic, and cultural ties” (14). This perspective provides the foundation for the second part of his argument that “the DJ (and thus, Hip Hop DJ culture) is the epicenter of Hip Hop culture’s creation” (23). Taken together, these dynamic arguments make the claim that the DJ offers a powerful model of a new media reader, writer, and critic. Today, our students come to writing classrooms with a “vast array of cultural capital. . .in their philosophical and cultural backpacks” (107). If we, as writing teachers, want to honor that cultural capital and build with it, we should follow Craig’s lead and look toward the DJ for some pointers on how to expand students’ access to a language that represents them.

Readers will also see a developing research agenda in “K for the Way” that thinks toward changing the culture beyond the present, while acknowledging the groundwork laid for the current moment and building genealogically upon that foundation, just as DJs do with sampling. Craig best exemplifies this when he writes, “in order to fully engage in a conversation—whether intellectual, pedestrian or otherwise—that discusses what DJ Rhetoric might look like, one has to think about the cultural and textual lineage of sponsors and mentors” (51). This notion of textual lineage is borrowed from Alfred W. Tatum who explains the term as “Similar to lineages in genealogical studies” and continues to note that textual lineage is “made up of texts (both literary and nonliterary) that are instrumental in one’s human development because of the meaning and significance one has garnered from them” (Tatum, qtd. in Craig, 51). Craig builds upon Tatum’s idea by introducing sonic lineage, which follows the same logic as Tatum’s term, but through sound (51). What becomes apparent, is that the DJ, as a cultural sponsor, can deploy sonic lineage as a way of communicating history and culture to members within and outside of the Hip Hop community and, more specifically, DJ culture.

Chapter three, especially, works at the interdisciplinary junction of Sound Studies, Writing Studies, and Hip Hop studies to convey a clear critique of the dominant discourse surrounding plagiarism.  Craig is unsatisfied with the black-and-white conception of plagiarism as it presents itself in the academy. As a result, he moves to inquire “how we as practitioners [of teaching composition] approach citation methods and strategies within a twenty-first century landscape” (75). Craig promptly turns us toward the DJ’s conceptualization of sampling as a citation practice. Sampling in Hip Hop, as defined by Andrew Bartlett, “is not collaboration in any familiar sense of the term. It is a high-tech and highly selective archiving, bringing into dialogue by virtue of even the most slight representation” (77). The highly selective archiving, a.k.a crate diggin’, builds upon the idea of sonic lineage.

For the DJ, the process of diggin’ through crates to find that right sound, that one joint that going to get the party jumpin’, is a key element in the practice of “text constructing” (79). The Hip Hop sample functions alongside an understanding, offered by Alasdair Pennycook, of “transgressive-versus-nontransgressive intertextuality,” which, for an academic audience, complicates the idea of plagiarism.. The DJ becomes a figure through which we can understand intertextuality, sampling becomes the practice through which we can see parallels to citation through text construction, and the mix is where we begin, with the help of Pennycook, to complicate notions of plagiarism.  In this chapter, readers are able to understand through sound.

Subsequently, Craig explores the concept of revision as it relates to the DJ’s ability to engage with an emcee on the point of “remix as revision” (107). Building from on Nancy Sommers’ article, “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers,” Craig lifts and examines four strategies of revision through the lens of the Hip Hop DJ: deletion, substitution, addition, and reordering (Sommers, qtd. in Craig, 107). These practices not only identify the Hip Hop DJ as a master of revision but also center the DJ, in the context of the writing classroom, as a key figure for understanding editorial practice. As teachers of writing—and especially for those of us who are deeply connected to Hip Hop culture—we have traditional scholars, such as Sommers, but we also have the DJ as cultural scholar, which offer new models with communicating and practicing the craft of writing in the twenty-first century.

Prof. Todd Craig, aka DJ T. O. Double D, in the Mix: Deejaying, Teaching, Writing, Making, Speaking, Listening (Source: Twitter, 11/7/2023)

Chapter Five, which is co-written by Craig and Carmen Kynard, centers on six women DJs: DJs Spinderella, Pam the Funkstress, Kuttin Kandi, Shorty Wop, Reborn, and Natasha Diggs to work toward developing a “Hip Hop Feminist Deejay Methodology” that positions women in Hip Hop culture as a key source of key knowledge production–as meaning-makers, theoreticians, storytellers–and as tastemakers in twenty-first century discourse about education, technologies, race, and gender.  This chapter is also apt representation of hiphopography at work, as both Craig and Kynard ground their position in the interviews of these six women deejays, “deliberately situating their stories first… as opposed to the usual academic expectation that a tedious delineation of methods and an extant literature review come before a discussion of the actual subjects” (123).

In part, this chapter focuses on the affordances and limitations—political, social, and economic—present in DJ culture, and the effects it has on these women DJs to make it do what it does. For example, the introduction of the digital software Serato has simultaneously made access to music easier, and complicated access to the cultural archive that made the music possible in the first place. Natasha Diggs, states, “While she values the ability to access mp3 files so readily, she argues a deejay’s research and craft suffer, because many times the mp3 files do not include information about an artist’s name, history, or band” (129).   Pam the Funkstress ties this sentiment up nicely when she argues, “There’s nothing like vinyl” (129).

The final chapter is fashioned like a Hip-Hop outro, with Craig leaving with a few parting ideas. Most important among them is his vision of “Comp 3.0,” a version of Comp/Rhet wherein “we have to push the scope of writing and rhetoric—with or without the field’s permission or acknowledgement” (171). For scholars of composition and rhetoric and writing teachers who ground part of their understanding of the field in Black Studies, Hip Hop, and the DJ, we gotta make it do what it do, regardless of who says what! Comp 3.0 does not seek approval or recognition from the powers that be; instead, it focuses on the new ways of thinking and writing, and of teaching, that we are able to conjure—with history, culture, and practice propelling us—when we invoke that which got us to the academy in the first place.

What is at stake, for those of us who engage Black Studies, Sonic Studies, Comp/Rhet, and Hip Hop Studies as critical points of departure for the teaching of writing, is that our presence—our being, methods, and our teaching—is crucial for developing a genealogy of scholars and world citizens who are aware of the myriad possibilities present in the twenty-first century.

Featured Image: Cover Art for “K for the Way”: DJ Rhetoric and Literacy for 21st Century Writing Studies by Cathey White

DeVaughn (Dev) Harris is a PhD student studying composition and rhetoric in NYC. His academic interests are mainly in writing studies and pedagogy, but those are often supported by other sub-interests in music, creative writing, African American studies, and philosophy. When not reading or writing, Dev enjoys making music wherever and however possible. He has published music before under the collective AbstraktFlowz. 

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The Sounds of Anti-Anti-Essentialism: Listening to Black Consciousness in the Classroom- Carter Mathes

Contra La Pared: Reggaetón and Dissonance in Naarm, Melbourne–Lucreccia Quintanilla

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Hôpitaux et santé publique face à la pandémie de Covid-19. Perspectives de santé mondiale

Sous la direction de Valéry Ridde, Lola Traverson, Kate Zinszer

Pour accéder au livre en version html, cliquez ici.
Pour télécharger le PDF, cliquez ici.

La santé mondiale n’est pas la santé des Autres, mais une analyse réflexive internationale dépassant les clivages géographiques et disciplinaires tout en se préoccupant des questions d’équité. Ce livre collectif, qui donne notamment la parole à de jeunes chercheur·se·s de différents pays et continents, propose des études originales sur la résilience des hôpitaux et de leurs personnels face à la pandémie de Covid-19 (Brésil, Canada, France, Japon, Mali, Sénégal), sur la prise en compte des inégalités dans la formulation et la mise en œuvre d’interventions de santé publique (Brésil, Canada, France, Mali) et sur la diffusion de l’information auprès des populations ainsi que leurs perceptions de la Covid-19 et des mesures préventives (Mali, Burkina Faso, Bénin, Sénégal). Tirer des leçons opérationnelles de la pandémie de Covid-19 est essentiel pour que les systèmes de santé soient mieux préparés aux crises multiples et permanentes qu’ils traversent. Notre souhait n’était pas uniquement de produire de nouvelles connaissances mais aussi de partager ces données pour soutenir les prises de décisions actuelles et futures. Utiliser la recherche pour concevoir des interventions et politiques publiques n’est pas encore un réflexe, mais nous espérons que cet ouvrage pourra contribuer à combler cette lacune.

ISBN pour l’impression : 978-2-925128-32-8

ISBN pour le PDF : 978-2-925128-33-5

DOI : 10.5281/zenodo.10149930

619 pages

Design de la couverture : Kate McDonnell, photo d’Omar Thiam, prise à Kaolack en 2021

Date de publication : novembre 2023

***

Table des matières

In memoriam

I. LES RÉPONSES DES HÔPITAUX ET DE LEURS PERSONNELS FACE À LA PANDÉMIE DE COVID-19

SECTION A : ÉTUDES DE CAS UNIQUES

SECTION B : ÉTUDES DE CAS COMPARATIVES

II. LA SANTÉ PUBLIQUE EN PÉRIODE DE PANDÉMIE DE COVID-19

SECTION A : LA PRISE EN COMPTE DES INÉGALITÉS DANS DES INTERVENTIONS DE SANTÉ PUBLIQUE

How can you read a novel in hundreds of translations? (and why would you want to?)

How can you read a novel in hundreds of translations? (and why would you want to?)

by Matthew Reynolds

Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has been translated hundreds of times – in fact, more than 600 times into at least 68 languages. So this novel, often thought of as a very English book, is in fact not that at all. Almost immediately after its publication it was being read, not only across Europe in Danish, Dutch, French, German and Russian translations, but also in Chile, Cuba and Bolivia, in a Spanish version that was serialised in newspapers. More recently Jane Eyre has had a vivid translation history in many Indian languages: Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Punjabi and Tamil. And there have been at least 38 translations into Persian, and more than a hundred into Chinese.

What can we do with this phenomenon? How can we set about understanding it? Could it be possible in some to way read all these translations? What would be the point?

The first step is to get away from that widely accepted idea of translations according to which they are simply not as good as their source text. On this view, what Charlotte Brontë wrote is what matters and the translations are just so many inadequate copies. In fact, translations are much more a matter of imaginative interpretation and recreation than this view assumes. Think of the many hundreds of Jane Eyre translations as being like the many thousands – or probably millions – of performances of Shakespeare plays. You wouldn’t refuse to go to a production of a play because it could never be as good as the printed text (which in Shakespeare’s case is variable and contested anyway). Obviously you accept that a performance can bring new interpretations and new insights. And it is easy to see that what a Shakespeare play means to people today has been affected by all the ways it has been interpreted. A production has the power to change what the play is.

Of course, translations are in some ways different from theatrical productions: they don’t happen on a stage. But what they have in common is that they are not mere copies of the source text: they re-make it, using a different medium (different language) for a new audience in different cultural circumstances. As they do so, they find new possibilities of meaning and draw out fresh interpretations. Just like an adaptation of Shakespeare (or of Jane Austen, for that matter) they keep the work alive. And obviously they are not any the less interesting and important simply because they are in languages other than English: in fact, the reverse is true.

Reading these translations, we can trace the effects of cultural difference, in how translators adapt the novel to new circumstances (for instance, creating anti-régime suggestions in Franco’s Spain). We also observe the ever-growing and changing imaginative life of the novel, conceived as a world work – that is, a work made up of the text that Brontë wrote and all the translations together.

So, that is the ‘why’; but what of the ‘how’? Clearly, the world work that is Jane Eyre can only be read collaboratively, so I have co-written Prismatic Jane Eyre: Close-Reading a World Novel Across Languages with twenty other scholars (Andrés Claro, Annmarie Drury, Mary Frank, Paola Gaudio, Rebecca Ruth Gould, Jernej Habjan, Yunte Huang, Abhishek Jain, Eugenia Kelbert, Ulrich Timme Kragh, Ida Klitgård, Madli Kütt, Ana Teresa Marques dos Santos, Cláudia Pazos-Alonso, Eleni Philippou, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, Léa Rychen, Céline Sabiron and Kayvan Tahmasebian.)

Even they cannot read all the translations – and you would probably not have the time to read about them – so we have been selective. The process of deciding what to focus on was collaborative too: we recognised that our writing was itself a kind of translation, with each participant bringing their own perspective to our shared material and framing it in their own way. Though encyclopaedic in its range, the book does not have the homogeneity and closure of an encyclopaedia: it is, rather, an environment to explore, with a succession of chapters written by me offering overarching orientations, while essays by the co-authors zoom in on particular contexts, languages and issues.

Key to this open and dynamic conception of the book is the inclusion of interactive digital media which the pioneering flexibility of Open Book Publishers has made possible. You can investigate where and when the translations have been published via a suite of interactive maps created by Giovanni Pietro Vitali, and – if you wish – you can watch interesting moments in multiple translations unfolding as animations on your screen, as well as laid out synoptically on the page. Printing the scripts of many of the languages was a challenge too, as publishing software has a Eurocentric bias which Open Book has worked hard to overcome. Prismatic Jane Eyre is experimental in concept, method, and form, and it offers a landscape of fascinating imaginative transformations for you to explore. Begin here.

Senyawa: Compound Lyricism

Senyawa: Compound Lyricism Translation of lyrics from experimental Indonesian band Senyawa Senyawa, the experimental Indonesian band formed by Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryadi, does not sound like anyone else… the combination of Wukir’s handmade instruments and Rully’s other-worldly vocals, channeling Javanese melodies with the intensity of punk and metal, with an avant-garde / DIY approach to constant experimentation and boundary … Continue reading →

Misunderstandings

Misunderstandings

By Shauna Hagan

Have you ever wondered why conversations go wrong? Why your attempt at communication missed its intended target? Is it even possible to measure and calculate the success rate of a conversation? Economists like Georg Weizsacker believe that this is very possible. As a behavioural economist, his research interests include game theory, decision theory and applied microeconomics, which in turn has led to him using game theory to explore why people misunderstand each other. Georg explores this concept in his upcoming title Misunderstandings: False Beliefs in Communication; published and made accessible to scholars everywhere by Open Book Publishers.

What is Game Theory?

Both decision theory and game theory concern the reasoning process underlying people’s choices, that is, how their desires, beliefs, and other attitudes combine in a way that make people choose one option over another. (Stockholm University, 2023). Game theory focuses on the interactions between different decision makers as they try to make the best decision based on their beliefs about what others will choose (Stockholm University, 2023). You could apply this theory when having a conversation with someone. According to Georg Weizsacker, during a conversation, you will consider three things about the speaker as they talk: their actions, their type and their understanding of the state of the world. These three things will also influence how you respond to their statement, and, if both speaker and listener are considered to be rational decision makers in line with game theory, you will both consider how your respective understanding of the other person’s type and knowledge of the state of the world, impacts your chosen actions. Actions include spoken statements and any action that may occur after the conversation has taken place. A person’s type refers to their personality, their disposition at the time of conversation and their personal preferences. It is also likely that each person knows different things about the state of the world and through this conversation they may exchange information with each other, that contributes to or alters each person’s respective perceptions on the state of the world.

Are our beliefs distorted?

Georg Weizsacker would like to encourage further research into false beliefs within communication and how they lead to misunderstandings between people. He offers the reader 18 questions to consider when measuring and predicting the success rate of a single-step conversation between two people. It is important to note that it is difficult to predict the outcome of a conversation using mathematical models when the conversation is complex, involving multiple people and steps. Therefore, to keep things clear and scientific, Georg has allowed for some variables to remain constant. For example, only single-step conversations are studied, the book assumes that each person knows their own type and the uncertainty about other people’s types is assumed to be statistically independent of the uncertainty about the state of the world (Georg Weizsacker).

The book aims to answer this research question: “What are the beliefs that would justify leading the conversation in the way that people lead it?” Georg Weizsacker measures whether or not these beliefs are true or false and encourages the reader to think about how their false beliefs concerning another person’s actions, type or state of the world can lead to misunderstandings in conversation with them. Essentially, the 18 questions posed within the main body of the text, explore whether our beliefs about these uncertain aspects (action, type or state of the world) are distorted (Georg Weizsacker). If they are distorted, then our communication attempt may fail or not reach its intended target.

Do we need target practice?

Georg presents his readers with three colour-coded case studies that represent three single-step conversations between two individuals, or interlocutors, as he calls them. In each conversation, the speaker wants the listener to do something but the listener rejects it because there are misunderstandings made on the part of the speaker towards the listener. Georg describes a misunderstanding as ‘a belief that misses its target’. (Georg Weizsacker).

Each case study explores a misunderstanding in detail, with reference to the extant literature on game theory and how it can be used to understand decision making. First, we have Rachel (a senior researcher) who asks her boss to fund a new research centre but is turned down by him. Second, Dimitri (an office worker) who doesn’t realise that his colleague Agniezka is considering switching teams because their product design proposal has been rejected, despite high hopes and invested effort on her part. Finally, we have Steve (a young child) who asks Ralph (the school bully) to play with him and gets pushed instead because Ralph is a troubled boy who struggles to process and regulate his emotions in a healthy way.

Should I read this book?

If you would like to learn more about misunderstandings and how we can better communicate with each other, then this book is for you. You do not need a strong background in Microeconomics to appreciate this book; however, this knowledge will be helpful when considering the mathematical models used by Georg Weizsacker for conversation pattern identification and prediction. Otherwise, if you are a keen economist and enjoy game theory and discussions surrounding decision making practices and how they can contribute to effective human interaction, this book will be a great read or asset to use when designing a seminar for university students or as a source to cite within your own academic research, if applicable. I, for one, did enjoy the theoretical discussion and the applied case studies. It is an interesting idea to ponder over and apply within the context of my own conversations with people, particularly if I want something from them! I don’t want to miss my target if I can help it, but this book definitely offers valuable insight into how communication issues can be solved going forward.

Sources

Stockholm University - Decision Theory and Game Theory

https://www.su.se/english/research/research-subjects/philosophy-practical/decision-theory-and-game-theory

Georg Weizsacker - Misunderstandings: False Beliefs in Communication

Misunderstandings: False Beliefs in Communication
What do we expect when we say something to someone, and what do they expect when they hear it? When is a conversation successful? The book considers a wide set of two-person conversations, and a bit of game theory, to show how conversational statements and their interpretations are governed by belie…
Misunderstandings

Open Book Publishers – Autumn Newsletter – November 2023

Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023
Vincent van Gogh - De oogst. Public Domain.
Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Welcome to our Autumn Newsletter!  

In this edition, we've got a treasure trove of updates, insights, and exciting plans to share with you. Get ready to dive into the world of knowledge, innovation, and our upcoming releases. Here's a sneak peek of what's inside:

Announcements

  • Our Prize-winning title
  • Celebrating 15 Years of Knowledge, Innovation, and Open Access!
  • Open Access Books Network
  • Call for Proposals: Experimental Book Pilot Projects
  • Open Access Week 2023: Embracing 'Community over Commercialization'

Books, Resources and Reviews

  • Featured Book
  • New Open Access Publications
  • Forthcoming Open Access Publications
  • New Blogs and Resources
  • Call for Proposals
  • Latest Reviews

Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Winner of Best History in the category Best Historical Research in Classical Music in the 2023 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence

Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Delighted to announce that Massimo Zicari's remarkable work, The Voice of the Century, has won Best History in the category Best Historical Research in Classical Music in the 2023 Association for Recorded Sound Collections Awards for Excellence!

Initiated in 1991, the ARSC Awards for Excellence acknowledge authors of books, articles, or recording liner notes that showcase the finest contemporary achievements in recorded sound research. Through these awards, ARSC acknowledges the significant contributions of these individuals, seeks to inspire others to uphold similar high standards, and endeavors to boost the readership of their exceptional work.


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Celebrating 15 Years of Knowledge, Innovation, and Open Access!

Fifteen years ago, our journey began with a vision for knowledge, innovation, and the fundamental belief in the power of open access. Today, we celebrate this remarkable milestone and express our heartfelt gratitude to each one of you who has been a part of this incredible journey.

Thank you for your unwavering support, enthusiasm, and commitment to advancing scholarship. It's your passion for open access that has driven us to make knowledge more accessible and fostered innovation in ways we couldn't have imagined.

As we commemorate this significant anniversary, we're excited to share a special blog post marking this momentous occasion. 15 Years of Open Book Publishers: An Interview with Alessandra Tosi and Rupert Gatti is now live on our website. Dive into this exclusive interview, exploring the journey, challenges, and aspirations of our founders as they reflect on the past 15 years and the future of open access.

Join us in celebrating this milestone by reading the insightful interview that encapsulates the essence of our journey.

Here's to the next chapter, where our collective efforts will forge a path toward a more knowledgeable and inclusive world.


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Open Access Books Network: What they learned from their survey and how they're planning to respond!

Over the summer, the OABN initiated its (not a) survey to gain deeper insights into the OABN community.


The survey was launched because, during the three years of running the OABN, the community has expanded, prompting them to understand: Who are the current members, what their expectations are from the network, and how they could contribute to it. Through the two blog posts below they explore:

a) What they found out, and
b) What they're doing in response.


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: EXPERIMENTAL BOOK PILOT PROJECTS

Copim is delighted to announce support and funding for three experimental book publishing pilots. These book pilot projects will be developed with Open Book Future’s Experimental Publishing Group, supported by Coventry University, and will be overseen by the Open Book Collective. They are inviting individuals and project teams to submit proposals for experimental, long-form scholarly book projects.

Visit the open call to find out more https://copim.pubpub.org/pub/expub-pilot-call/

Deadline for applications: 22 November 2023


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Open Access Week 2023: Embracing 'Community over Commercialization'

Reflecting on the recently concluded Open Access Week, we celebrated the theme "Community over Commercialization." This pivotal focus prompted insightful discussions about approaches to open scholarship that prioritize the best interests of the public and the academic community.

Throughout the week, engaging conversations revolved around the consequences of prioritizing commercial interests over those of the research community. Participants explored thought-provoking questions, considering the impact of profit-centric models on knowledge production and the balance between personal data use and academic freedom. The discussions also contemplated whether commercialization could truly serve the public interest and sought alternative, community-driven infrastructure such as preprint servers, repositories, and open publishing platforms to better serve the research community and the public.
As a contributor to this year's Open Access Week, Open Book Publishers released a series of blog posts and author interviews that delved into the theme of 'Community over Commercialization'. These discussions underlined our commitment to representing this theme and advancing the cause of open access in scholarly publishing. See below:

[blog] Decorative Art Without Barriers: William Moorcroft's Pottery Explored via Open Access Publishing by Jonathan Mallinson

[blog] Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: The Heart of Open Access by James Hutson

[video] Open Access Week 2023 - A conversation with authors John W. Wilson, Richard B. Primack and Eric Nana    

[thread] Author's Lee Haring's thoughts on'Community over Commercialization'

Though Open Access Week has concluded, the conversations and initiatives surrounding 'Community over Commercialization' continue to be relevant and essential throughout the year.

For a deeper understanding of the International Open Access Week, you can explore past events and discussions at openaccessweek.org. To revisit the shared insights and conversations, check out the official hashtag #OAWeek on Twitter.


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Featured Book: Now in OA!

Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Shépa: The Tibetan Oral Tradition in Choné by Bendi Tso, Marnyi Gyatso, Naljor Tsering and Mark Turin acting as Trustees for the Members of the Choné Tibetan Community

Shépa: ‘explanation’ or ‘elucidation’ in Tibetan.
A form of oral poetry sung antiphonally in a question-and-answer style.

This book contains a unique collection of Tibetan oral narrations and songs known as Shépa, as these have been performed, recorded and shared between generations of Choné Tibetans from Amdo living in the eastern Tibetan Plateau. Presented in trilingual format — in Tibetan, Chinese and English — the book reflects a sustained collaboration with and between members of the local community, including narrators, monks, and scholars, calling attention to the diversity inherent in all oral traditions, and the mutability of Shépa in particular.

From creation myths to Bon and Buddhist cosmologies and even wedding songs, Shépa engages with and draws on elements of religious traditions, historical legacies and deep-seated cultural memories within Choné and Tibet, revealing the multi-layered conceptualization of the Tibetan physical world and the resilience of Tibetan communities within it. This vital and unique collection, part of the World Oral Literature Series, situates Shépa in its ethnographic context, offering insights into the preservation and revitalization of intangible cultural heritage in the context of cultural Tibet, Indigenous studies and beyond.

Scholars and students in the fields of anthropology, linguistics, ethnic and minority relations, critical Indigenous studies, Tibetan studies, Himalayan studies, Asian studies and the broader study of China will find much to reward them in this book, as will all readers interested in the documentation and preservation of endangered oral traditions, intangible cultural heritage, performance and textuality, and Tibetan literature and religions.


Endorsements


This trilingual publication is a remarkable accomplishment and a landmark publication in Tibetan studies, making research findings accessible to the community for whom Shepa is a living practice. This is a welcome first publication on the tradition of Shepa as it exists in Chone, in the Amdo region of Eastern Tibet. The collaborative team have contextualized Shepa oration as part of Tibet's rich tradition of oral narratives, and have meticulously transcribed the oral narrations that existed in the memories of the older generation. They provide readers with faithful translations, and preserve the joyous mode of storytelling that fills the grassland.

Tsering Shakya
Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Religion and Contemporary Society in Asia at the Institute for Asian Research, School of Public Policy and Global Affairs, University of British Columbia.

This book is a massive achievement, and the product of a considerable amount of painstaking work. The trilingual edition of Shépa provides a unique insight into an important regional tradition, and the first opportunity for Anglophone audiences to approach this tradition. Rich introductory material also helps to set these materials in the complex cultural tapestry of the eastern Tibetan Plateau through describing how their present form is influenced by local religious and cultural history, Tibetan language verbal art, and with the People’s Republic of China’s heritage regime. More broadly, the study of Tibetan oral traditions and vernacular cultures (and of Choné) are woefully underrepresented in English-language Tibetological research, and this makes a unique contribution to the broader field. It is a valuable and original contribution that only this research team could produce.

Timothy Thurston
Associate Professor in the Study of Contemporary China, University of Leeds

Shépa: The Tibetan Oral Tradition in Choné is a remarkable achievement on many fronts. The book contributes a landmark study of Shépa as embodying a wide-ranging set of discursive forms [and] likewise presents a nuanced reflection on the relationships between poetry, narrative, and performativity, as well as the oral and literary practices of knowledge production more broadly. The book stands as one of the most detailed records to date of a singular expression of Tibetan oral performance that thrives as a contemporary practice even as it is rooted in a religious and cultural history extending back to the earliest periods of Tibetan civilization. Finally, this work serves as a model of collaborative and interdisciplinary scholarship [and] will make an impactful and lasting contribution to our understanding of Shépa and to Tibetan oral traditions more broadly.

Andrew Quintman
Associate Professor, Department of Religion and the College of East Asian Studies, Wesleyan University

This Open Access title is available to read and download for free as well as to purchase in paperback and hardback at https://www.openbookpublishers.com/books/10.11647/obp.0312


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

New Open Access Publications


These past months we have released 12 new Open Access titles:

The Linguistic Classification of the Reading Traditions of Biblical Hebrew: A Phyla-and-Waves Model by Benjamin Paul Kantor
In recent decades, the field of Biblical Hebrew philology and linguistics has been witness to a growing interest in the diverse traditions of Biblical Hebrew. Indeed, while there is a tendency for many students and scholars to conceive of Biblical Hebrew as equivalent with the Tiberian pointing of the Leningrad Codex as it appears in Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS), there are many other important reading traditions attested throughout history.


William Moorcroft, Potter: Individuality by Design by Jonathan Mallinson

William Moorcroft (1872-1945) was one of the most celebrated potters of the early twentieth century. His career extended from the Arts and Crafts movement of the late Victorian age to the Austerity aesthetics of the Second World War. Rejecting mass production and patronised by Royalty, Moorcroft’s work was a synthesis of studio and factory, art and industry. He considered it his vocation to create an everyday art, both functional and decorative, affordable by more than a privileged few: ‘If only the people in the world would concentrate upon making all things beautiful, and if all people concentrated on developing the arts of Peace, what a world it might be,’ he wrote in a letter to his daughter in 1930.


Cheap Print and Street Literature of the Long Eighteenth Century edited by David Atkinson and Steve Roud

This deeply researched collection offers a comprehensive introduction to the eighteenth-century trade in street literature – ballads, chapbooks, and popular prints – in England and Scotland. Offering detailed studies of a selection of the printers, types of publication, and places of publication that constituted the cheap and popular print trade during the period, these essays delve into ballads, slip songs, story books, pictures, and more to push back against neat divisions between low and high culture, or popular and high literature.

Ethics of Socially Disruptive Technologies: An Introduction edited by Ibo van de Poel, Lily Eva Frank, Julia Hermann, Jeroen Hopster, Dominic Lenzi, Sven Nyholm, Behnam Taebi and Elena Ziliotti

Technologies shape who we are, how we organize our societies and how we relate to nature. For example, social media challenges democracy; artificial intelligence raises the question of what is unique to humans; and the possibility to create artificial wombs may affect notions of motherhood and birth. Some have suggested that we address global warming by engineering the climate, but how does this impact our responsibility to future generations and our relation to nature? This book shows how technologies can be socially and conceptually disruptive and investigates how to come to terms with this disruptive potential.

Toevallige ontmoetingen: Bio-ethiek voor een gehavende planeet by Kristien Hens

In dit rigoureuze en noodzakelijke boek brengt Kristien Hens bio-ethiek en filosofie van de biologie bij elkaar, met het argument dat het ethisch noodzakelijk is om in het wetenschappelijk onderzoek een plaatsje vrij te houden voor de filosofen. Hun rol is behalve ethisch ook conceptueel: zij kunnen de kwaliteit en de coherentie van het wetenschappelijk onderzoek verbeteren door erop toe te zien dat specifieke concepten op een consistente en doordachte manier worden gebruik binnen interdisciplinaire projecten. Hens argumenteert dat toeval en onzekerheid een centrale rol spelen in de bio-ethiek, maar dat die in een spanningsrelatie kunnen raken met de pogingen om bepaalde theorieën ingang te doen vinden als wetenschappelijke kennis: bij het beschrijven van organismen en praktijken creëren we op een bepaalde manier de wereld. Hens stelt dat dit noodzakelijk een ethische activiteit betreft.

Linguistic Theory and the Biblical Text edited by William A. Ross and Elizabeth Robar

This volume is the result of the 2021 session of the Linguistics and the Biblical Text research group of the Institute for Biblical Research, which addresses the history, relevance, and prospects of broad theoretical linguistic frameworks in the field of biblical studies. Cognitive Linguistics, Functional Grammar, generative linguistics, historical linguistics, complexity theory, and computational analysis are each allotted a chapter, outlining the key theoretical commitments of each approach, their major concepts and/or methods, and their important contributions to contemporary study of the biblical text.

After the Miners’ Strike: A39 and Cornish Political Theatre versus Thatcher’s Britain: Volume 1 by Paul Farmer

In this rich memoir, the first of two volumes, Paul Farmer traces the story of A39, the Cornish political theatre group he co-founded and ran from the mid-1980s to the early 1990s. Farmer offers a unique insight into A39’s creation, operation, and artistic practice during a period of convulsive political and social change.


Shépa: The Tibetan Oral Tradition in Choné by Bendi Tso, Marnyi Gyatso, Naljor Tsering and Mark Turin acting as Trustees for the Members of the Choné Tibetan Community

Transparent Minds in Science Fiction: An Introduction to Alien, AI and Post-Human Consciousness by Paul Matthews

Transparent Minds explores the intersection between neuroscience and science fiction stories. Paul Matthews expertly analyses the narratives of humans and nonhumans from Mary Shelley to Kazuo Ishiguro across 200 years of the genre. In doing so he gives lucid insight into the meaning of existence and self-awareness. Rigorously researched and highly accessible, Matthews argues that psycho-emotional science fiction writers both imitate and inform alien and post-human consciousnesses through exploratory narratives and metaphor.

The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing by Amy Koerber, Jesse C. Starkey, Karin Ardon-Dryer, R. Glenn Cummins, Lyombe Eko and Kerk F. Kee

In today’s ‘publish or perish’ academic setting, the institutional prizing of quantity over quality has given rise to and perpetuated the dilemma of predatory publishing. Upon a close examination, however, the definition of ‘predatory’ itself becomes slippery, evading neat boxes or lists which might seek to easily define and guard against it. This volume serves to foreground a nuanced representation of this multifaceted issue. In such a rapidly evolving landscape, this book becomes a field guide to its historical, political, and economic aspects, presenting thoughtful interviews, legal analysis and original research. Case studies from both European-American and non-European-American stakeholders emphasize the worldwide nature of the challenge faced by researchers of all levels.


Higher Education for Good: Teaching and Learning Futures edited by Laura Czerniewicz and Catherine Cronin


After decades of turbulence and acute crises in recent years, how can we build a better future for Higher Education? Thoughtfully edited by Laura Czerniewicz and Catherine Cronin, this rich and diverse collection by academics and professionals from across 17 countries and many disciplines offers a variety of answers to this question. It addresses the need to set new values for universities, trapped today in narratives dominated by financial incentives and performance indicators, and examines those “wicked” problems which need multiple solutions, resolutions, experiments, and imaginaries.


Misunderstandings: False Beliefs in Communication by Georg Weizsäcker

What do we expect when we say something to someone, and what do they expect when they hear it? When is a conversation successful? The book considers a wide set of two-person conversations, and a bit of game theory, to show how conversational statements and their interpretations are governed by beliefs. Thinking about beliefs is suitable for communication analysis because beliefs are well-defined and measurable, allowing to differentiate between successful understandings and their less successful counterparts: misunderstandings.

As always, these titles are freely available to read and download at www.openbookpublishers.com.


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Forthcoming Open Access Publications

Health Care in the Information Society: Volume 1 - From Adventure of Ideas to Anarchy of Transition and Health Care in the Information Society: Volume 2- From Anarchy of Transition to Programme for Reform by David Ingram

In this fascinating book David Ingram traces the history of information technology and health informatics from its pioneers in the middle of the twentieth century to its latest developments.

Genetic Inroads into the Art of James Joyce by Hans Walter Gabler
This book is a treasure trove comprising core writings from Hans Walter Gabler‘s seminal work on James Joyce, spanning fifty years from the analysis of composition he undertook towards a critical text of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, through the Critical and Synoptic Edition of Ulysses, to Gabler‘s latest essays on (appropriately enough) Joyce’s sustained artistic innovation.

Modelling Between Digital and Humanities: Thinking in Practice by Arianna Ciula, Øyvind Eide, Cristina Marras and Patrick Sahle

This volume presents an exploration of Digital Humanities (DH), a field focused on the reciprocal transformation of digital technologies and humanities scholarship. Central to DH research is the practice of modelling, which involves translating intricate knowledge systems into computational models. This book addresses a fundamental query: How can an effective language be developed to conceptualize and guide modelling in DH?

Prismatic Jane Eyre: Close-Reading a World Novel Across Languages by Matthew Reynolds et al

Jane Eyre, written by Charlotte Brontë and first published in 1847, has been translated more than five hundred times into over sixty languages. Prismatic Jane Eyre argues that we should see these many re-writings, not as simple replications of the novel, but as a release of its multiple interpretative possibilities: in other words, as a prism.

To find out more about this and other forthcoming titles visit: https://www.openbookpublishers.com/forthcoming


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Blogs

Joys and sorrows of the noble art of academic writing - a survival manual by Maria Teresa Renzi Sepe

William Moorcroft, potter: Individuality by design by Jonathan Mallinson

A Relational Realist Vision for Education Policy and Practice: The Functionalist Symbolic Reference of UK Governance Models by Basem Adi

Diachronic variation in the Omani Arabic vernacular of the al-‘Awabi district. From Carl Reinhardt (1894) to the present day by Roberta Morano

On 'William Moorcroft, Potter: Individuality by Design by Alex Carabine

Changing the conversation around Existential Risk' by Dr SJ Beard

A39 Theatre Group and the fight not to be where we have come to be by Paul Farmer

Inversión pública en pos de una transición verde by Adolfo Maza

The Predatory Paradox: misinformation, fake news and clickbait in academic publishing by Anja Pritchard

Resources

[substack] Researching Misunderstandings


[video] Online Book Launch: 'William Moorcroft, Potter: Individuality by Design'

[video] Paul Farmer - After the Miners’ Strike: A39 and Cornish Political Theatre versus Thatcher’s Britain    

[podcast] Mihnea Tanasescu on the Need for 'Ecocene Politics'


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Call for Proposals

We have various Open Access series all of which are open for proposals, so feel free to get in touch if you or someone you know is interested in submitting a proposal!

Global Communications

Global Communications is a book series that looks beyond national borders to examine current transformations in public communication, journalism and media. Special focus is given on regions other than Western Europe and North America, which have received the bulk of scholarly attention until now.

St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture

St Andrews Studies in French History and Culture, a successful series published by the Centre for French History and Culture at the University of St Andrews since 2010 and now in collaboration with Open Book Publishers, aims to enhance scholarly understanding of the historical culture of the French-speaking world. This series covers the full span of historical themes relating to France: from political history, through military/naval, diplomatic, religious, social, financial, cultural and intellectual history, art and architectural history, to literary culture.

Studies on Mathematics Education and Society

This book series publishes high-quality monographs, edited volumes, handbooks and formally innovative books which explore the relationships between mathematics education and society. The series advances scholarship in mathematics education by bringing multiple disciplinary perspectives to the study of contemporary predicaments of the cultural, social, political, economic and ethical contexts of mathematics education in a range of different contexts around the globe.

The Global Qur'an

The Global Qur’an is a new book series that looks at Muslim engagement with the Qur’an in a global perspective. Scholars interested in publishing work in this series and submitting their monographs and/or edited collections should contact the General Editor, Johanna Pink. If you wish to submit a contribution, please read and download the submission guidelines here.

The Medieval Text Consortium Series

The Series is created by an association of leading scholars aimed at making works of medieval philosophy available to a wider audience. The Series' goal is to publish peer-reviewed texts across all of Western thought between antiquity and modernity, both in their original languages and in English translation. Find out more here.

Applied Theatre Praxis

This series publishes works of practitioner-researchers who use their rehearsal rooms as "labs”; spaces in which theories are generated and experimented with before being implemented in vulnerable contexts. Find out more here.

Digital Humanities

Overseen by an international board of experts, our Digital Humanities Series: Knowledge, Thought and Practice is dedicated to the exploration of these changes by scholars across disciplines. Books in this Series present cutting-edge research that investigate the links between the digital and other disciplines paving the ways for further investigations and applications that take advantage of new digital media to present knowledge in new ways. Proposals in any area of the Digital Humanities are invited. We welcome proposals for new books in this series. Please do not hesitate to contact us (a.tosi@openbookpublishers.com) if you would like to discuss a publishing proposal and ways we might work together to best realise it.


Open Book Publishers - Autumn Newsletter - November 2023

Latest Reviews

Dire Straits-Education Reforms: Ideology, Vested Interests and Evidence by Montserrat Gomendio and José Ignacio Wert

From my own experience as an educational scholar in Malaysia, I suspect that many of the book’s insights will resonate with, as well as challenge and surprise interested readers. The book is an engaging read, achieving that oft-elusive balance between (academic) rigour and accessibility. [...] I felt that I benefited most from Chapter 3, on the governance of education systems, where the authors’ close analysis of governance arrangements—the distribution of power and responsibilities between levels of government, financial incentives, etc.—was eye-opening and incisive. In particular, I appreciated the authors’ nuanced intervention in the centralising vs. decentralising education debate, which will no doubt be of interest to many. [...] Chapter 6 then allows the reader to view the task of reform through the prism of front-line policymaking. While framed as the authors’ personal anecdote, this chapter nonetheless vividly illustrates the complex interplay between politics and policy, including the roles of political parties, the media and PISA. It is a sobering account of the political realities of education reform, conflicts of (vested) interests, and the questionable role of non-state actors like PISA.[...] Dire Straits deserves a wide readership, particularly with educationists outside academia, and is essential reading for university courses in comparative education and education policy.

Ngee Derk Tiong
Educational Review, 2023. doi:10.1080/00131911.2023.2252704

It seeks to offer the means to overcome the ideological schism and escape the trap which education systems seem to fall into. The authors strongly advocate for sparing educational policies the ideological disputes, eliminating obstacles on the way to evidence-based education reforms. More importantly, they strive to assess how robust policy recommendations are, so they can be used as evidence-based references for any reforms. The strength of their discourse lies in the extensive descriptions and explanations of what, how, and why educational policies and reforms succeed or fail. The comparative examination of specific cases of countries to illustrate dire-straits education reforms and how international surveys are used to direct these reforms is based on a detailed approach, supported by rich and interesting arguments, with clear and straightforward viewpoints and stances. As suggested by the meaningfully loaded title, the discussion and analysis untangle the complex relationships between numerous influential factors which significantly impact education.
Diana Aboulebde
Educational Research and Evaluation: An International Journal on Theory and Practice, 2023. doi:10.1080/13803611.2023.2261907


The Diaries of Anthony Hewitson, Provincial Journalist, Volume 1 by Andrew Hobbs

Personal diaries can provide valuable insights into many topics of interest to urban historians, and the diaries transcribed in this volume are no exception […] Hobbs has written a useful introduction to the life and work of Hewitson and the team have also assembled a full bibliography of his work, a family tree, a list of the books read by Hewitson, a glossary of technical and dialect terms and an explanatory list of all the people mentioned in the diary. The volume is very carefully referenced and provides a scholarly introduction to the writings of Hewitson […] Hobbs argues persuasively that what is distinctive and important about these diaries is that they provide a detailed picture of the work of a prolific journalist working in a Lancashire town in the second half of the nineteenth century, where he saw and reported on numerous aspects of urban politics, religion and everyday life […] the transcription and publication of these diaries is a valuable contribution to the history of journalism, and provides useful commentary on some of the urban areas of north-west England in the second half of the nineteenth century.

Colin PooleyUrban History, vol. 50, no. 3, 2023. doi:10.1017/S0963926823000226

The Predatory Paradox: misinformation, fake news and clickbait in academic publishing

The Predatory Paradox: misinformation, fake news and clickbait in academic publishing

By Anja Pritchard

In today’s media climate of fake news and clickbait, we are all well aware of the dangers of false information. This begs the question—why? Why do people publish information they don’t know is accurate? This problem besets academic publishing too. A collaboration between five writers, Amy Koerber, Jesse C. Starkey, Karin Ardon-Dryer, Lyombe Eko, and Kerk F. Kee, this book works to establish the motives behind predatory publishing—in which academic research is published without having been satisfactorily peer-reviewed, often in return for a fee—and explores the resultant implications of the practice. In academic life, one of the many challenges that may face scholars is how they get their work published. The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing is designed as an advisory guide for ‘researchers, academic administrators, publishing professionals and other stakeholders’ to equip readers with the knowledge and ideas necessary to be both ethical and successful in the world of scholarly communication.

One of the foundational points of the book is the term ‘predatory publishing’. The exact meaning of this term has been debated since its conception, however in 2019, a Nature paper reported that after a dedicated discussion between leading scholars and publishers from ten countries, a definition was finally determined. It states that:

Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices. (Grudniewicz et al, 2019)

The book considers not only how predatory publishing may occur, but the long-term repercussions of the practice. For example, it delves into the longevity of hoax articles, in that they can be presented as true by a predatory publisher and can enter the research ecosystem, being cited long after the hoax has been uncovered. In turn, this exemplifies how such articles can reveal weaknesses in the system of scholarly publishing itself.

From these dilemmas, academics have created new ways to prove the legitimacy of their work, in the hope that readers will be able to use such tools to ensure that these articles can be trusted. One way in which these systems could be improved—as suggested by the book—is by increasing the transparency of such procedures. The idea here is that with greater ‘openness’ there will be fewer chances for predatory publishing to take advantage of a lack of information, such as hidden datasets or reviewer reports, to peddle their misinformation. With greater transparency, readers can check supposed ‘facts’ for themselves, confirming the conclusions presented in a text.

The authors also consider how scholars can take certain matters into their own hands—by teaching the dangers and hallmarks of predatory publishing, and therefore raising awareness, we can prepare people to avoid misinformation and inaccuracy in their research. There are limitations to this approach, however, due to the pace of change in academic publishing. While experienced scholars have always taught the next generation, these new challenges are some that senior academics have often not faced before. The scholars of today, young and old, must recognise that the environment of scholarly research is fluid and ever-changing if they hope to traverse it with any chance of success.

In addition, we must consider how universities are responding to this threat. Without a doubt, universities have recognised concerns around this subject, yet evaluation of the training provided to respond raises the question of whether this is enough. To identify gaps in teaching, this book argues that we must consider resources that are available to researchers and appraise whether these resources are sufficient to support scholars in their pursuit of knowledge.

The authors of this book have stated their aims for the publication:

we hope to leave readers with a set of tools and knowledge that makes them prepared to succeed in the game of scholarly publishing and to mentor those who come after them to be similarly prepared and equipped. (Grudniewicz, 2023)

Overall, as the book argues, the fact is that predatory publishing is made up of numerous grey areas and individuals have to be responsible when navigating these; it cannot be defined with stark lines drawn between texts and their commissioners to identify those who are indeed predatory and those who, most certainly, are not. There are numerous challenges surrounding the confirmation of quality in scholarly publishing, but perhaps the only true way to determine whether a publisher or article can be considered predatory is to assess numerous aspects of the research, not just how texts are written. Not only that, but we must consider that the incentives driving research assessment are also those that drive the demand for predatory publishing.

A doctor of medicine and a scholar of literature must both be held to the same standard in any publication–their ideas must be well-defined, their methods clearly documented, and their research conducted fairly. This book is informative and instructive in many ways, reinforcing the foundations of good research and building on their appearance in contemporary scholarly publishing. Anyone in academia would find this text a valuable resource for their own research and exploration of the world of scholarly publishing.

This is an Open Access title available to read and download for free or to purchase in all available print and ebook formats below.

The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing
In today’s ‘publish or perish’ academic setting, the institutional prizing of quantity over quality has given rise to and perpetuated the dilemma of predatory publishing. Upon a close examination, however, the definition of ‘predatory’ itself becomes slippery, evading neat boxes or lists which might…
The Predatory Paradox: misinformation, fake news and clickbait in academic publishing

Bibliography

Grudniewicz, A., Moher, D., Cobey, K.D., Bryson, G.L., Cukier, S., Allen, K., Ardern, C., Balcom, L., Barros, T., Berger, M., Ciro, J.B., Cugusi, L., Donaldson, M.R., Egger, M., Graham, I.D., Hodgkinson, M., Khan, K.M., Mabizela, M., Manca, A. and Milzow, K. (2019). ‘Predatory journals: no definition, no defence’, Nature, 576.7786: pp.210–212. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-03759-y

Koerber, A., Starkey, J.-C., Ardon-Dryer, K., Eko, L. and Kee, F.-K. (2023) The Predatory Paradox: Ethics, Politics, and Practices in Contemporary Scholarly Publishing. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers.

Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: The Heart of Open Access

Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: The Heart of Open Access

by James Hutson

In an era where the democratization of knowledge is more crucial (and accessible) than ever, the paradigm of Open Access publishing emerges as a cornerstone. At its core, Open Access is about dismantling barriers—be they financial, geographic, or institutional—that hinder the free exchange of scholarly insights. Open Book Publishers, being at the vanguard of this movement, champions a model where collaboration and community involvement aren't mere byproducts, but are fundamental ethos. This International Open Access Week, we delve into the collaborative nature of open access publishing, underscoring how community engagement and knowledge sharing are instrumental in advancing research.

The scholarly landscape has long been shackled by traditional hierarchical structures which, while fostering a culture of exclusivity, have often stifled the free flow of ideas. The emblematic case of teaching versus research institutions delineates this dichotomy. One of my recent articles highlights this need and presents a model to address the bulwark of traditional academic research and publishing. The Role of Collaborative Authorship in Decentered Research Innovation illuminates the prevalent structures within these institutions either promote a culture of teaching and learning with a focus on student engagement, or a culture of scholarship with faculty members delving into research while graduate students shoulder the teaching responsibilities. However, this bifurcation inadvertently erects barriers to holistic academic evolution.

Instead, I argue for a decentered collaborative research model which, if adopted, promises to blur the rigid lines between teaching and research institutions. By promoting a culture of disciplined-based pedagogic research, research-led-teaching, teaching-led-research, and inquiry-based learning, this model envisions a symbiotic ecosystem where teaching, learning, and research are intertwined, each enriching the other. It is a clarion call for a systemic reconfiguration that fosters not just interdisciplinary, but interdepartmental and interinstitutional synergies, thereby accelerating the culture of research and scholarship even in primarily undergraduate teaching institutions.

The essence of Open Access dovetails with this vision. It is about engendering a culture of collaborative authorship and open discourse which transcends the traditional institutional silos. It’s about creating avenues for shared resources, collective problem-solving, and communal knowledge building. This collaborative ethos doesn’t just enrich the academic community, but has a rippling effect on the broader societal matrix, by hastening the pace at which innovative solutions to real-world problems are conceived and disseminated.

However, the road to a fully collaborative and open access scholarly ecosystem isn’t without its challenges. For Open Access to flourish and scale, it’s imperative that funding support for researchers is envisaged as a public good. This necessitates a shift in policy frameworks and a reimagining of funding structures to catalyze the rapid and efficient sharing of ideas when they are most pertinent.Furthermore, the collaborative nature of Open Access extends beyond just the academia. It’s about forging partnerships with the wider community, engaging with diverse stakeholders, and creating a robust support infrastructure that facilitates not just the production but the dissemination and utilization of knowledge.

As we celebrate International Open Access Week, it's an opportune moment to reflect on how far we’ve come and the journey that lies ahead. Open Book Publishers, along with the wider Open Access community, is committed to nurturing a collaborative, inclusive, and open knowledge ecosystem. The quintessence of Open Access is not just about access to knowledge, but about fostering a culture of shared inquiry, collective endeavour, and communal growth. Through fostering a collaborative culture, underpinned by open access principles, we are not just accelerating academic innovation, but are taking strides towards a more informed, equitable, and enlightened society.

James Hutson is the author of Gallucci's Commentary on Dürer’s 'Four Books on Human Proportion': Renaissance Proportion Theory, an Open Access title available to read and download for free below

Gallucci’s Commentary on Dürer’s ‘Four Books on Human Proportion’: Renaissance Proportion Theory
This translation is the first to make these original contributions by Gallucci accessible to an English-speaking audience. Gallucci’s contributions illuminate the significance of symmetry and proportion in the contemporary education of the early modern era, informing our understanding of the intelle…
Collaboration and Knowledge Sharing: The Heart of Open Access