University Press Week: A Total 158 Campus Publishing Companies

In News by Porter Anderson

The 11th iteration of University Press Week highlights ‘pressing social conversations’ and ‘vital scholarship,’ among other things.

At Havel and Mason Halls, University of Michigan. Image – Getty iStockphoto: BS Pollard

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Publishing Some 12,000 Titles Annually
Yes, there’s such a thing as University Press Week, and the iteration opening today (November 14) to run through Friday is the 11th annual edition.

The theme is “Next Up,” and the Association of University Presses‘ (AUPresses) idea is to emphasize “the future of university presses and the many ways they are evolving.”

While the messaging behind the program is upbeat, as these things always are, of course, organizers do include a line about how university presses, like so many of their sister companies in the wider world of the book business, are facing “great challenges” that include “technological advances, supply chain issues and materials shortages, [and] politically motivated objections to certain ideas or books.”

There’s some anticipation referred to in media messaging about a return to in-person programming in various events, of course, but there’s also a sensible online “gallery and reading list” again this time, which showcases “top books, series, journals, open-access works, and other efforts that look toward new horizons of scholarship and publishing.”

One of the best things this catalogue does—housed as it is at Scribd—is bring to light not only scholarly works such as Black Matrilineage, Photography, and Representation from Leuven University Press, but also fiction published by university houses.

University presses publish some 12,000 books annually, according to the association, “as well as more than 1,500 journals and numerous innovative digital works.” The membership of the umbrella organization, the Association of University Presses. As many as 158 companies belong to AUPresses, and 20 percent of them are based outside the United States.

Charles Watkinson

AUPresses president and University of Michigan Press director Charles Watkinson gets off a comment on consolidation in the trade, in offering a prepared quote, saying, “Part of the joy of University Press Week is celebrating the ‘bibliodiversity’ of university press publishing It’s exciting to be able to highlight independent bookstores that share our community-centered values.

“As commercial publishers continue to consolidate, nonprofit university presses celebrate the diversity of thought and identity that is so core to democracy and debate.”

University Press Week 2022 Themes

Themes of the week said by organizers to be central this year include:

  • “Pressing social conversations that are shaping our shared future,” such as:
    • Viral Justice: How to Grow the World We Want by Ruha Benjamin (Princeton University Press)
    • When Freedom Speaks: The Boundaries and the Boundlessness of Our First Amendment Right by Lynn Greenky (Brandeis University Press)
    •  An Inconvenient Apocalypse: Environmental Collapse, Climate Crisis, and the Fate of Humanity by Wes Jackson and Robert Jensen (University of Notre Dame Press)
    • On Target: Gun Culture, Storytelling, and the NRA by Noah S. Schwartz (University of Toronto Press)
  • “Emerging areas of vital scholarship” like critical disaster studies (University of Pennsylvania Press) and Bosnian studies (University of Missouri Press)
  • “Biographical and autobiographical stories that illuminate our shared humanity,” such as:
    • I Spoke to You with Silence: Essays from Queer Mormons of Marginalized Genders edited by Kerry Spencer Pray and Jenn Lee Smith (University of Utah Press)
    • The Black Lives series (Yale University Press) 
    • Indigenous Women and Street Gangs: Survivance Narratives by Amber, Bev, Chantel, Jazmyne, Faith, Jorgina and Robert Henry (University of Alberta Press)
    • The Biographix series about comics artists (University Press of Mississippi)
  • “The ways that myriad experiences enrich culture and the arts,” such as:
    • Black Matrilineage, Photography, and Representation edited by Lesly Deschler Canossi and Zoraida Lopez-Diago (Leuven University Press)
    • War and Homecoming: Veteran Identity and the Post 9/11 Generation by Travis L. Martin (University Press of Kentucky)
    • Latinx Poetics: Essays on the Art of Poetry edited by Ruben Quesada (University of New Mexico Press)
    • A Drum in One Hand, A Sockeye in the Other: Stories of Indigenous Food Sovereignty from the Northwest Coast by Charlotte Coté (University of Washington Press)
    • Queer Voices in Hip Hop by Lauron J. Kehrer (University of Michigan Press)

Peter Berkery

Peter Berkery, executive director of AUPresses, is quoted, saying, “University presses remain devoted to the core mission of introducing new ideas and authors to readers everywhere.

“‘Next Up’ expresses our excitement at what the future may hold, and how our member presses will evolve and improve the ways we are able to deliver books, journals, and more to readers in the years to come.”

More from Publishing Perspectives on the Association of University Presses is here.

More on the still-ongoing coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.