Category Archives: General

In memory of Sacvan Bercovitch

Posted by Ann Donahue, Publisher

In memory of the eminent scholar Sacvan Bercovitch, his friend and colleague Professor Nan Goodman at the University of Colorado offers this memoriam:

On December 9, 2014, the great Sacvan Bercovitch passed away.  Professor Bercovitch or Saki, as he was known to friends and colleagues, was a brilliant scholar of early American literature and culture. His work on Puritan rhetoric, most significantly, the jeremiad—a long complaint that simultaneously castigates and inspires its audience—has become the symbol of a strain of American literature that continues into our own day.  In addition to his work on the Puritans, Professor Bercovitch produced many works of lasting significance on nineteenth-century American authors, including Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne.  His intellectual generosity knew no bounds, and essays demonstrating his influence on American literary scholarship by his many grateful readers, students, and colleagues can be found in Ashgate’s 2011 volume, The Turn Around Religion: Literature, Culture, and the Work of Sacvan Bercovitch. Saki’s unusual view of American literature was born in part of his having grown up as a Canadian Jew.  As an outsider—a status he always cherished–he could see more clearly than most what the “myth of America,” as he called it, was all about.  Friends and colleagues mourn the loss not only of a critical genius, but of a kind and compassionate man.

Helping to support Project Luangwa in Zambia

Eleanor HillThe Estelle Trust is a small charitable fund which works with others on schemes to improve education, health and governance in Africa and runs a small number of its own projects in Zambia. Ashgate donates a proportion of its profits to the Trust each year, and Ashgate staff members are also involved in supporting the Estelle Trust through various fund raising activities. Recently, Eleanor Hill, Ashgate’s e-books Administrator, went one step further. She spent a week with Project Luangwa in Zambia, helping them with database design for their child sponsorship and building project management. This is her account of her visit.

The Estelle Trust has close links with Project Luangwa in Zambia. The Trust funded the building of a library for Mfuwe Secondary School which is now built and stocked with books but not yet open pending the cataloguing of the books by a volunteer. Karen and Dave (who run Project Luangwa) are particularly delighted to be seeing this volunteer again as they know him, and know that he will do a thorough and accurate job! He will also be doing some training of both staff and students before the official opening of the library.

Mfuwe Secondary School Library

Mfuwe Secondary School Library

The purpose of my visit was to analyse and design a couple of databases to help with the administration of the Project. One will help Karen with the Sponsorship records, currently held in 134 separate spreadsheets and the other will help Dave administer his building projects and allow him to produce more accurate estimates for each new school block or teachers house they build. Having succeeded in producing the designs I will now have plenty to occupy my evenings and weekends turning the designs into working databases.

Mfuwe baboon

I had been told to expect views of wildlife across the lagoon outside the office window but hadn’t expected the wildlife to be quite so up close and personal!

I couldn’t be more impressed with the work that Karen and Dave do in providing educational opportunities for orphans in rural Zambia. AIDS is not the only killer out there and there are huge numbers of orphans who would have no hope of an education if it weren’t for the work they do. And, as if poverty were not enough of a handicap, the girls have to overcome even more obstacles to get the chance to achieve their potential, which is where the Mfuwe Secondary School Girls’ club comes into its own.  This is a wonderful group of girls all from problem backgrounds, who are determined to improve their lot. I attended their weekly meeting where they had a guest speaker – the delightfully down to earth, unshockable and entertaining local western doctor whose brief was to answer any questions the girls wanted to ask – Karen and I both learned things there too. At the end of the meeting there was great excitement as Karen had some T shirts and knickers to hand out to the girls – see below:

Mfuwe Secondary School Girls' Club

Mfuwe Secondary School Girls’ Club

If you want to find out more about the sort of lives and problems the girls can look forward to in this area do take a look at the following link

If anyone is interested in making a donation to the very worthwhile work that Karen and Dave are doing in Zambia, you can find more information here:

Not an Email Subscriber? You Should Be.

For a long time now, Ashgate has sent monthly email updates featuring the newest books paired with “also of interest” titles. Though this has always provided recipients with information about the latest and greatest of Ashgate, we felt the routine update could be bigger and better. We especially wanted to provide something of value to those receiving our regular notifications.

Starting in January, we said goodbye to our traditional monthly update and made way for the new and improved exclusive email subscriber offers.What does this mean? It means our updates now include exclusive rewards and offers open only to our email recipients as a thank you for being loyal subscribers.

“What sorts of offers can subscribers expect to receive?” you might ask. The answer: amazing discounts, access to free content, conference sneak peeks, and more. Plus, you still get all the scoop on every new book published in your subject area and never miss a new release!

So, if you’re not currently an email subscriber, you should be.

Don’t miss out on another single offer. Sign up now and become an email subscriber—the best way to get more bang for your books!

Visit to sign up and we will do the rest.

How to Work with a Scholarly Press – announcing the return of our blog series!

Posted by Alyssa Berthiaume, Marketing Coordinator, and Whitney Feininger, Assistant Editor

We are happy to announce the return of a special feature on our blog:

“How to Work with a Scholarly Press”

You may have noted that in the last year we have occasionally featured posts specific to working with an academic publisher. These posts have examined topics like submitting a proposal, the importance of word count, preparing the final manuscript, and attending conferences.

This year we are moving from the occasional post to an actual blog series, continuing to cover a variety of practical topics—both general and specific— across all aspects of publishing with advice from our commissioning, desk-editorial, and marketing staff as well as from our authors and series editors. Our hope is to educate authors on practical issues with working with a press and to empower them to deliver better and more complete proposals and manuscripts. In general, we aim to address two new topics per quarter—the first two to appear online before the end of March.

You will be able to find these posts (new and old) under the category “Author Advice.” We will also be announcing the appearance of new posts through status updates on Facebook and Twitter, so be sure to friend and follow us on those sites.

If there are any particular topics you would like to see reviewed, please let us know by leaving a comment.

Ashgate out and about

The next few weeks will be busy ones for us, as we attend a number of conferences. We’ll have books on display, and commissioning editors in attendance at many of these, so it’s a good opportunity to take a closer look at some of our new books, or to talk to us about possible book proposals. Maybe we will see you at one of these events?

RGS-IBG conference
28-30 August 2013, London (Valerie Rose, Katy Crossan and Fiona Dunford in attendance for Ashgate)

European Sociological Association
28-31 August 2013, Turin (Neil Jordan and Claire Jarvis)

British Association for Victorian Studies
29-31 August 2013, London (Hattie Wilson)

American Political Science Association
29 August -1 September 2013, Chicago (Robert Sorsby and Elizabeth Sutton)

University Association for Contemporary European Studies
2-4 September 2013, Leeds (Michael Drapper)

British Association for the Study of Religion
3-6 September 2013, Liverpool Hope (Sarah Lloyd)

European Society of Criminology
4-7 September 2013, Budapest (Alison Kirk)

European Network for Social Policy
5-7 September 2013, Poznan (Claire Jarvis)

7th ECPR General Conference
4-7 September 2013, Pessac (Rob Sorsby)

The Military Orders: Culture and Conflict
5-8 September 2013, London (John Smedley)

Eighth Biennial International Conference on Music since 1900
12-15 September 2013, Liverpool (Heidi Bishop and Emma Gallon)

Centre for the History of Retailing and Distribution
13-15 September 2013, Leeds (Emily Yates)

8th Pan-European Conference on International Relations – SGIR
18-21 September 2013, Warsaw (Kirstin Howgate)

Royal Musical Association Annual Conference
19-21 September 2013, London (Emma Gallon, Laura Macy and Heidi Bishop)

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
30 September-4 October 2013, San Diego (Guy Loft and Leigh Norwich)

Our website always has an up to date list of conferences we’ll be attending

Find out more about submitting a book proposal

Ashgate staff help to keep Vermont green and clean

Green Up Day SethA team from Ashgate’s Vermont office valiantly participated in Green Up Day (a statewide clean-up) earlier this month. Green Up Day takes place every year on the first Saturday in May, and is organised by Green Up Vermont.

In the photos here they can be seen ‘greening-up’ Burlington bikepath, which is a recreational path for biking and running that goes along Lake Champlain.

Green Up Day team shot

The LSE Review of books – real time reviews

Posted by Brenda Sharp, Assistant Editor

The London School of Economics (LSE) Review of Books was launched in April 2012 in a move to reduce the time delay in getting social science books reviewed, with free access for all being of note. The key feature of the LSE Review of Books is the publishing of daily reviews of academic books across the social sciences. Patrick Dunleavy, the General Editor of the LSE Review of Books, is clear that this ‘real time review’ of books provides numerous benefits to publishers, authors, and universities in facilitating the ability to engage with a wider audience, not only within academia but in all areas of civil society.  Patrick’s ultimate aim is for publishers to provide a digital version of the text in advance of publication in order for the review to be published on the same day as the book.

LSEFollowing on from the success of the initiative the LSE Review of Books Awards event was held on Thursday 16th May in the Shaw Library situated in the Old Building at the LSE.  The Awards were a thank you to the many reviewers who have written for the Review of Books, and also provided an arena for the many people present to talk about books and publishing and to enjoy the delicious lunch provided by the University.  There were around fifty people in attendance including publishers, academics, and reviewers and, after a short speech by criminal law expert Professor Nicola Lacey from the University of Oxford, the Awards Ceremony was underway.

Each award was sponsored by a publisher and included Princeton University Press, Palgrave MacMillan, Routledge, and Polity Press.  The Ashgate Prize for Most-Read Review in Architecture and Urban Studies was won by Ben Campkin for his review of ‘City, Street and Citizen’ by Suzanne Hall published by Routledge.  Speaking to Suzanne, she was immensely pleased to have a review of her book published so quickly in an accessible and free format.  As we are very aware reviews of academic books are often sited within journals which, in most cases, require payment and may be published many months after publication.  The future for academic publishing in this digital age is certainly a challenge but it may just be that real time reviews support academic publishers to exchange knowledge and scholarship for the twenty first century.