Choice Outstanding Academic Title awards for 2014

Posted by Emily Ferro, Marketing Coordinator

Ashgate is thrilled to announce that Choice has honored three Ashgate books by naming them Outstanding Academic Titles for 2014. The recognized titles are Decolonizing Social Work; Ageing, Ritual and Social Change: Comparing the secular and religious in Eastern and Western Europe; and The Ashgate Research Companion to the Thirty Years’ War. Books recognized by Choice display ‘excellence in presentation and scholarship’ and provide content of significance in their field of study. Out of the thousands of titles reviewed by Choice in 2014, only 10% were celebrated as Outstanding Academic Titles.

Decolonizing social workDecolonizing Social Work by Mel Gray, John Coates, Michael Yellow Bird, and Tiani Hetherington features articles written by Indigenous and non-Indigenous social work scholars examining local cultures, beliefs, values, and practices as central to decolonization. Choice notes that the volume is “a sturdy reminder of the vast social justice work still to do in the world.” Through careful amalgamation of the work of the essayists, Gray, Coates, Yellow Bird, and Hetherington interrogate trends, issues, and debates in Indigenous social work theory, practice methods, and education models. Choice compliments the book’s readability and its glossary, and highly recommends it to all academics, libraries, and practitioners.

Ageing ritual and social changeAgeing, Ritual and Social Change by Peter Coleman, Daniela Koleva, and Joanna Bornat explores European changes in religious and secular beliefs and practices related to life passages. “The editors and contributors deserve appreciation for undertaking this challenging comparative project,” writes Choice, calling the collection “A significant multidisciplinary contribution to the literature on aging, religion/ritual, comparative oral history, and social change.” Drawing on fascinating oral histories of older people’s memories in both Eastern and Western Europe, this book presents illuminating views on peoples’ quests for existential meaning in later life. Choice highly recommends Ageing, Ritual and Social Change for upper-division undergraduates and up.

Ashgate research companion to the thirty years warThe final book named an Outstanding Academic Title of 2014 is The Ashgate Research Companion to the Thirty Years’ War by Olaf Asbach and Peter Schröder. A comprehensive and authoritative overview of research on one of the most destructive conflicts in European history, Choice notes that this book “will serve for some time as an essential starting point for research on the origins, conduct, and legacies of the wars and the peace.” By combining the work of key international scholars, this research companion explores the complexities of the conflict using an innovative comparative approach. Choice deems this book “Essential,” recommending it to all upper-division undergraduates and up.

Congratulations to all of the honorees.

For a listing of all of our recent prizewinners, visit www.ashgate.com/prizewinners.  

J. A. Szirmai

The staff at Ashgate who worked with J. A. Szirmai, author of The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding (1999), were sad to hear that he died on the 2nd December 2014 at the age of 89.

Professor Szirmai spent twenty years in medical research and became a Professor of Medicine before making a name for himself as a professional bookbinder (some of his work can be seen here) and eventually turning to scholarship in the history of binding techniques.

His name has become virtually synonymous with his great reference work The Archaeology of Medieval Bookbinding, which covers the evolution of binding from the introduction of the codex two thousand years ago to the close of the Middle Ages. The many kind words from reviewers across the globe – a small selection of which can be read below – are testament to Szirmai’s great and lasting impact on the scholarly world.

‘All book historians owe Dr Szirmai an enormous debt of gratitude for having written it.’    The Library

‘A book literally without peer’    Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America

‘Szirmai deserves our indebtedness for a magisterial work which constitutes a milestone in the field of the archaeology of the book, qualifying the author as the first true archaeologist of the binding structure.’    CAB Newsletter

‘Reading it, and then trying to describe it to another person is like trying to describe the Grand Canyon to someone who has never seen it: in the end, you can only say, “You had to be there to understand.”’    Abbey Newsletter

‘The most important single contribution to the history of bookbinding to appear for many decades’    Guild of Booksellers Newsletter

Our sincere condolences to his wife, Mia, and to his family, friends, and those that have been influenced by his extraordinary scholarship.

Call for papers, AHA 2016 – Women & Diplomatic Culture in Early Modernity

Posted by Erika Gaffney, Publishing Manager

Call for papers, AHA 2016 – Women & Diplomatic Culture in Early Modernity (Organizers:  Silvia Z. Mitchell & Erika Gaffney)

Abstracts are invited for papers about “Women & Diplomatic Culture in Early Modernity,” for a possible SSEMW Co-Sponsored Session at the American Historical Association’s annual meeting in Atlanta, January 2016.

We seek papers from a range of disciplines — including, but not limited to, history, art history, literary studies, court studies, and historical geography — which address the nexus between early modern women and diplomacy in any geographical region or culture, during the time period c. 1400-1700.  Papers might focus on:

  • Women as diplomats
  • Wives of diplomats, as effecting or affected by diplomatic culture
  • Servants, landladies, courtesans, or other roles women may take in the context of a diplomatic entourage
  • Dynastic diplomatic cultures
  • Women and gift-giving practices
  • Female diplomatic networks (royal and aristocratic marriages, letter writing, gift exchanges, diplomatic visits)
  • Female diplomatic spaces: courts, households, convents
  • Fashion and diplomacy

Abstracts (up to 300 words) for papers 20 minutes in length should be submitted by January 13, 2015, by email, to Silvia Mitchell (mitch131@purdue.edu) and Erika Gaffney (egaffney@ashgate.com).

Art critic Brian Sewell praises Ashgate publications in the London Evening Standard

Posted by Beth Whalley, Marketing Executive

Art critic Brian Sewell recently identified a selection of his favourite art books for an article in the London Evening Standard. Among them were two Ashgate publications: The Ashgate Research Companion to Giorgio Vasari, and The Borghese Collections and the Display of Art in the Age of the Grand Tour.

ARC to Giorgio VasariOf the former, Sewell writes that it is “a collection of deeply scholarly essays on a key figure in Renaissance studies and his legacy as art historian, artist and academician – the coal face of art history.” The volume, published to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Vasari’s birth, brings together studies of Vasari’s life and works by the world’s foremost experts as well as up-and-coming scholars in order to provide a comprehensive assessment on the current state of Vasari scholarship.

The latter, published in 2008, is praised for discussing “the impact of the most important private collection in Rome in the age of the Grand Tour, in the setting of then contemporary art.” Identified as “essential reading” by caa.reviews and a “meticulous account” by the Times Literary Supplement, the book provides a comprehensive study of the late-eighteenth-century redecoration of the exhibition spaces at the Borghese palace and villa in Rome and the reinstallation of the family’s art collection.The Borghese Collections

Sewell rounds off his account: ‘everyone interested in art scholarship should keep an eye on Ashgate publications.’ Start browsing at www.ashgate.com/art, where you can download our 2015 catalogue, access information on our latest publications, read about the list, and more.

We’re offering blog readers a 25% discount on the two titles name-checked in Sewell’s Evening Standard article. All you have to do is enter the discount code LES2014 at the checkout when ordering on the Ashgate website (expires 31st January 2015).

How to Work with a Scholarly Press – At a Conference, Reprise

Originally posted in March 2013 by Whitney Feininger; revised and reposted by Erika Gaffney

In the run-up to a bloc of important annual conferences of academic organizations, we thought it would be helpful to author-scholars for us to reprise an earlier post, with advice on the ins and outs of interacting with publishing representatives as scholarly meetings.

Ashgate attends a number of academic conferences per year. You can see the list of attended conferences and which Ashgate staff member will be attending here. At each conference we’ll have a number of our new books in subject area on display and representatives from our marketing and commissioning staffing the booth.

Please be aware that conferences can get quite busy for an acquisitions editor, and the editor may not be available for “drop by” meetings on site.  If you have a proposal for a book that you wish to discuss with an Ashgate editor, your best bet is to make an appointment with the commissioning editor in advance of the meeting.  A list of names and email addresses for Ashgate’s acquisitions staff can be found here: http://www.ashgate.com/contact

Dos and Don’ts

  • If possible, locate the booth ahead of time. Our booth number and location should be printed in the conference materials.
  • Have your “elevator pitch” – a brief description of your book project – ready
  • Don’t give your commissioning editor a lot of documents.  Do give the commissioning editor one of your business cards and make sure to take one of the editor’s.
  • If you can miss a session, try to meet with the editor then. Coffee breaks tend to be a very busy time at the book exhibit. Please understand that the editor will probably need to stay at or near the booth, especially when they are the only press representative staffing the booth.
  • Do follow up with your commissioning editor, via email, with your proposal documents or just to say hello. If a lot of time passes between the conference and submitting your proposal, mention that you spoke at the conference.
  • Do stop by and greet the staff. If a commissioning editor is not attending a conference, take a moment speak with the marketing staff. They can answer questions about Ashgate and can put you in touch with the proper commissioning editor.  And make sure to take a look at the newest books in your field!

Book launch at the Frick Collection for British Models of Art Collecting and the American Response

Posted by Luana Life, Marketing Executive

Join Inge Reist, editor of British Models of Art Collecting and the American Response: Reflections Across the Pond for a book launch at The Frick Collection (1 East 70th Street, NYC), Wednesday, December 17 at 4.30pm. She will present a brief overview of the book, and will be joined by Ashgate series editor Michael Yonin, who will discuss The Histories of Material Culture and Collecting, 1700–1950.  Signed copies will be available for purchase.

British models of art collecting and the american responseThis collection of fourteen essays by distinguished art and cultural historians examine points of similarity and difference in British and American art collecting. Half the essays examine the trends that dominated the British art collecting scene of the nineteenth century. Others focus on American collectors, using biographical sketches and case studies to demonstrate how collectors in the United States embellished the British model to develop their own, often philanthropic approach to art collecting.

Learn more about British Models of Art Collecting and the American Response

Remembering the Cultural Geographies of a Childhood Home

Posted by Fiona Dunford, Marketing Executive

Remembering the cultural geographies of a childhood homeRemembering the Cultural Geographies of a Childhood Home

‘A kaleidoscopic view of the 1970s in which the places, experiences, beliefs and reveries of a childhood in South Wales and the books, comics, television programmes, films and popular pursuits of the period constantly shift to create new and provocative perceptions of the cultural fabric and transformations of that difficult decade’   Mike Pearson, Aberystwyth University, UK

Peter Hughes Jachimiak,  author of  Remembering the Cultural Geographies of a Childhood Home talks about his own upbringing and early influences in a recent interview with the Daily Wales.

The book is, “about how all of us remember our childhood selves, and how we, as children, engage with the places and spaces of childhood. That is, our home, the immediate neighbourhood outside, the wider world beyond, and how both media and cultural texts of the time reflect all of that.” Peter’s childhood home was Ivy Cottage, Skewen, in the Neath of the 1970s and the book is fundamentally autobiographical: ‘‘Me, as an adult and a father, and my bringing up of our lovely little daughter, Mille, aged 4. For I wrote my book as I watched her grow from a baby to a toddler, to that of being a beautiful little girl. And, that’s a wonderful thing – to be able to write about one’s own childhood as you bring someone into this world.’’   The Daily Wales

To read the full interview including the author describing his political roots and passion for music follow the link here

The author, Peter Hughes Jachimiak, who is senior lecturer in Media & Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Creative Industries, University of South Wales has also produced a very entertaining podcast in which many of the themes and issues addressed in his book are explored. You can follow the link here