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Sri Lanka? A book on Sri Lankan history?

By Alison Fox, on 12 June 2018

Today’s guest post is by Zoltán Biedermann, editor of Sri Lanka at the Crossroads of History and Senior Lecturer and Head of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at UCL.

and is part of a special series to celebrate UCL Press reaching one million downloads.

Sri Lanka? A book on Sri Lankan history? How many copies would that ever sell? I imagine that’s what people thought when I first spoke about the idea of publishing a collection of articles on Sri Lankan history – not the kind of British imperial, post-1800, or even post-colonial material that tends to find an audience in UK academia, but pre-modern themes, medieval, even ancient, history. My co-editor (Alan Strathern from Oxford) and I felt hapless.

We obviously thought that a big university press would be great, but we also realized how that might produce a rather pricey book that one of our main target audiences – students and academics in Sri Lanka – would never be able to afford. The kind of book that typically sells about 100-200 copies worldwide over a period of five years. We had both been there before with earlier projects. And then UCL Press appeared.

First we thought: how odd, a new press we had never heard of before. Someone told us that it existed a long time ago, and was just being resuscitated – not the most appealing narrative. Someone else told us not to bother, since new presses appear all the time, and producing books with them often results in failure. I still thought to myself: what harm can it do to contact the colleagues?

Lara Speicher came over for a chat, and suddenly I felt this might be going somewhere. Lara was calm but encouraging, professional but also warm and ready to embrace our quirky idea. Over at Oxford, Alan said why not… and so we began to move forward, slowly at first, as our authors were still finishing their contributions… and then more swiftly, as the UCL Press team read the material, sent it out for reviews, drafted a contract, held our hands as we did some more editing, and finally sent the manuscript into production. The copyediting was swift and professional. The designers did a great job not just with our numerous images, but also with difficult diacritics used to render South Asian scripts into our own. I cannot quite remember the exact timeline – I think that’s the kind of thing one tends to forget – but I do have a distinct recollection of that magic moment in 2017: when I suddenly held a beautiful paper copy of our volume in my hands and was able to see the same thing as a PDF online. The rest is history, as they say.

In less than a year, we have had over 5,000 downloads worldwide. Colleagues and students in Sri Lanka, who could never have afforded the book has it been printed by a traditional UK university press, have had instant free access to it even in remote locations. We have held two launch events here in London and are having another one in Colombo in July 2018. It’s been a long journey with a very happy ending – and who knows how many more people we will reach over the next few years?

Download Sri Lanka at the Crossroads of History free here.

Book Launch Event: Feminism and the Politics of Childhood

By Alison Fox, on 15 January 2018

Date: Wednesday 7th March 2018
Time: 18:00 – 20:00
Location: IAS Common Ground, Wilkins Building, UCL

To celebrate the launch of Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes?, we invite colleagues, friends and contributors to join us at the Institute of Advanced Studies on 7 March 2018 at 6pm. As well a brief overview of the book and an opportunity to hear from contributors, there will be wine and nibbles to enjoy.

Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? edited by Rachel Rosen and Katherine Twamley, is a collection of 18 chapters which together offer an innovative and critical exploration of perceived commonalities and conflicts between women and children and, more broadly, intersections and antagonisms between various forms of feminism and the politics of childhood. This unique collection brings into dialogue authors from a wide variety of geographical contexts, academic disciplines, activist organisations, and theoretical perspectives. Together the contributions offer new ways to conceptualise relations between women and children and to address injustices faced by both groups.

An open access edition of the book will be available to download free from UCL Press. Find out more at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/ucl-press/browse-books/feminism-and-the-politics-of-childhood

Praise for Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes?

“This book is genuinely ground-breaking.” Val Gillies, University of Westminster

“Feminism and the Politics of Childhood: Friends or Foes? asks an impossible question, and then casts prismatic light on all corners of its impossibility.” Cindi Katz, CUNY

“This provocative and stimulating publication comes not a day too soon.” Gerison Lansdown, Child to Child

“A smart, innovative, and provocative book.” Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

“This volume raises and addresses issues so pressing that it is surprising they are not already at the heart of scholarship.” Ann Phoenix, UCL

Join Why We Post for an Online Book Launch

By Alison Fox, on 22 August 2016

We are delighted to invite you to join Professor Daniel Miller (UCL Anthropology), Xinyuan Wang (UCL Anthropology) and Tom McDonald (HKU Sociology) for a live and interactive discussion about UCL’s groundbreaking Why We Post project. The discussion will take place on Tuesday 13th September 2016 at 3pm BST/ 10am EDT / 7am PDT / 10pm HKT.

Register today: http://bit.ly/2b1mVuA

Streamed on Youtube, and hosted by HKU Sociology, this exciting discussion will mark the launch of two brand new Open Access volumes Social Media in Industrial China (UCL Press) and Social Media in Rural China (UCL Press), which detail the key findings of the Chinese section of the UCL Why We Post project.

Put your own questions to the authors, and hear them discuss their experiences of conducting ethnographic fieldwork on social media use in China, writing their books, and how the unique case of China has implications for understanding social media use around the world.

Register today: http://bit.ly/2b1mVuA