By ucftlsv, on 24 September 2018
Today’s guest post is by Professor Laura Vaughan, author of Mapping Society (published today), editor of Suburban Urbanities, and Professor of Urban Form and Society at the prestigious Bartlett School of Architecture.
The inception of Mapping Society was over quarter of a century ago, whilst sitting in a seminar room at UCL while studying for my Master’s in Advanced Architectural Studies and seeing Charles Booth’s maps of poverty. The period of the early 1990s was a time when Bill Hillier, the founder of the field of space syntax, was developing his conception of the city as a ‘movement economy’. By identifying a phenomenon of ‘marginal separation by linear integration’, Hillier was using the historical map not only as a source of information on how cities worked in the past, but also as source of inspiration for building a broad theory of how cities work in general.
A few months after my first introduction to the Booth map I was browsing in the Hebrew and Jewish Studies section of UCL library and came across a fragile book from 1901, with an even more fragile map inside: the map of Jewish East London, 1899. Looking at the way the map, with its shadings of blue from light to dark, was used to accentuate the density of Jewish immigrant settlement in the area, immediately struck me as showing some fundamental spatial regularities beyond simply being a ghetto – as it was known then.
In fact, this book reflects two decades of enquiry into the spatial nature of society, with a specific focus on the detailed patterning of social patterns as these are laid out in historical maps. Going beyond placing the data on the map to a deeper analysis of the geographical patterning of the data allows the researcher to pose a variety of questions: regarding the spatial character of the urban setting, regarding whether social data of a single type have spatial characteristics in common, and – in general – to control for spatial effects when analysing social patterns.
For me, the Booth maps have become the quintessential starting point when exploring the relationship between the spatial organisation of cities and how societies take shape over time. This book does so by taking maps of social statistics and developing a close reading of the maps themselves as well as the context within which they were created. A side product of this inquiry has been the discovery of the extent to which social cartography is frequently used not only as a tool for communicating information on patterns of settlement, but also for other purposes: for propaganda, to collate evidence or to support scientific argumentation. The use of social maps as an analytical device is less prevalent and this book will show how a reading of the spatial patterns captured by such maps can reveal some fundamental rules about how cities work according to a specifically spatial logic of society.
Ultimately this book’s ambition is to demonstrate how an interdisciplinary reading of social maps can provide a richer understanding of how society and urban spatial systems interact with each other. Thus, phenomena such as segregation can only be fully understood once we take account of a wide variety of factors, including economic, political, social as well as spatial context – and all this in addition to the changes that cities and their inhabitants undergo over time.
By Alison Fox, on 12 September 2018
After a short Summer break, we have bumper crop of five titles to see us into the Autumn.
Mapping Society is a book we were excited about even before we saw the manuscript. Written by Professor Laura Vaughan (editor of Suburban Urbanities), Mapping Society traces the evolution of social cartography over the past two centuries and takes in everything from a rare map of yellow fever in eighteenth-century New York, to Charles Booth’s famous maps of poverty in nineteenth-century London, an Italian racial zoning map of early twentieth-century Asmara, to a map of wealth disparities in the banlieues of twenty-first-century Paris. The author examines maps of ethnic or religious difference, poverty, and health inequalities, demonstrating how they not only serve as historical records of social enquiry, but also constitute inscriptions of social patterns that have been etched deeply on the surface of cities.
The Impact of Migration on Poland asks how the international mobility of Polish citizens has intertwined with other influences to shape society, culture, politics and economics in contemporary Poland. Incredibly topical, this book will be important reading for anyone interested in the influence of migration on society, as well as students and scholars researching EU mobility, migration theory and methodology, and issues facing contemporary Europe.
Nanofibres in Drug Delivery aims to outline to new researchers in the field the utility of nanofibres in drug delivery, and to explain to them how to prepare fibres in the laboratory.
Finally, we have two additional titles in our urban studies list. The much-requested PDF version of Musical Cities publishes on 17th September, discussing why we should listen to urban rhythms in order to design more liveable and sustainable cities, before demonstrating how we can do so through various acoustic communication techniques.
Cities Made of Boundaries presents the theoretical foundation and concepts for a new social scientific urban morphological mapping method, Boundary Line Type (BLT) Mapping. Its vantage is a plea to establish a frame of reference for radically comparative urban studies positioned between geography and archaeology. Based in multidisciplinary social and spatial theory, a critical realist understanding of the boundaries that compose built space is operationalised by a mapping practice utilising Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
By Alison Fox, on 24 August 2018
Join UCL Press and Professor Laura Vaughan to celebrate the publication of her book Mapping Society: The Spatial Dimensions of Social Cartography.
Date: 2nd October 2018
Location: Room 6.02, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL, 22 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AJ
From a rare map of yellow fever in eighteenth-century New York, to Charles Booth’s famous maps of poverty in nineteenth-century London, an Italian racial zoning map of early twentieth-century Asmara, to a map of wealth disparities in the banlieues of twenty-first-century Paris, Mapping Society traces the evolution of social cartography over the past two centuries. In her richly illustrated book, Laura Vaughan examines maps of ethnic or religious difference, poverty, and health inequalities, demonstrating how they not only serve as historical records of social enquiry, but also constitute inscriptions of social patterns that have been etched deeply on the surface of cities.
Laura will discuss the lessons that can be drawn from the social-spatial patterns of cities, followed by drinks and the opportunity to purchase print copies of the book, additionally available to download free.
If you have any access requirements please let us know, send an email using the subject line ACCESS to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3108 7337
By Alison Fox, on 10 July 2018
The launch will feature the editors Alan Strathern (Oxford University) and Zoltán Biedermann (University College London), in conversation with Jagath Weerasinghe (Post Graduate Institute of Archaeology) and Anne Blackburn (Cornell University). The event will be chaired by the AISLS President, Sharika Thiranagama (Stanford University), and will take place on July 11, 2018, from 4 to 6 pm, at the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, 8 Kynsey Terrace, Colombo 8.
Please RSVP to email@example.com.
By Alison Fox, on 2 July 2018
This month we have two new open access books that will transport you to far-away places: Sri Lanka and Estonia.
On July 2nd, we bring you The Politics and Poetics of Authenticity: A Cultural Genealogy of Sinhala Nationalism, Harshana Rambukwella’s fascinating exploration of the role of cultural authenticity in the making of nations. Placing authenticity at the heart of Sinhala nationalism in late nineteenth and twentieth-century Sri Lanka, this book argues that the passion for the ‘real’ or the ‘authentic’ has played a significant role in shaping nationalist thinking and argues for an empathetic yet critical engagement with the idea of authenticity.
July 5th brings the fascinating Remains of the Soviet Past in Estonia: An Anthropology of Forgetting, Repair and Urban Traces, the second book in the acclaimed FRINGE series. Written by Francisco Martínez, it’s a fascinating ‘transdisciplinary ethnography of post-socialist material culture and social change in Estonia’ that looks at a number of sites of interest to explore the vanquishing of the Soviet legacy in Estonia.
A fascinating read for anyone who’s ever wondered about the impact that the past has on the present.
By Alison Fox, on 28 June 2018
Today’s guest post is by Nick Piercey, author of Four Histories about Early Dutch Football 1910–1920: Constructing Discourses , Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Sport History in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and an Honorary Research Associate in UCL’s Department of Dutch in the UCL School of European Languages, Culture & Society.
In September 2016, my first book Four Histories about Early Dutch Football 1910–1920: Constructing Discourses was published by UCL Press and 3 years after the first books were published I am delighted that my work is a very small part of the nearly 1,000,000 UCL Press downloads from around the world. I am equally delighted that I have been given the opportunity to briefly reflect on my experiences of publishing with UCL Press with these milestones in view. As the figure suggests, the first 3 years have met with great success and to have such a large number of downloads is testament to the great work the team at UCL Press have put in. Indeed, my abiding memories of the process of publishing a book (if I ignore the sudden insecurities and panic over where to put commas) is the support given by each member of the team from proposal to publication. As a first-time author, the process of publishing research was initially daunting, however, at each stage of the process, members of the UCL Press team were on hand to ensure that mini-panics and concerns did not erupt into a full-blown crisis. It seems fitting to me that I should finally get the chance to thank Chris, Alison and Jaimee by name for their help in a way that I could not do in my book (I blame the publishing deadline!)
Beyond the personal support the team offers before, during and after publication, I believe that UCL Press’s new model of Open Access Publication is something that all academics should welcome. Looking back on a blog I wrote in 2016, I remain as convinced now as I was then that UCL Press’s commitment to freely accessible, innovative, world-leading publications is something that will revolutionise academic publishing. Hopefully more universities and presses will see the benefit of making new knowledge available to all and providing young scholars with a path to publication. From a personal perspective, the opportunity to publish my work in both Open Access and low-cost hard copies has allowed my ideas to spread much further and faster than they would have done with a traditional academic publishing model. In a time when academic quality is often measured by metrics and statistics, being able to demonstrate that my work has been viewed around the world in sizable numbers is a significant advantage. As more universities and funding bodies require research to appear in an Open Access format, to have a book published by UCL Press that fulfils these requirements is also enormously beneficial (having a ‘free book’ is also a pretty useful thing at conferences too!)
It is, I think, not often that such ambitious projects can provide both practical results and remain focused on providing a personal service, which can ensure that new research and researchers find their voice. I hope that I can be part of this in the future and contribute towards the next 1,000,000 downloads.
Nick Piercey is a Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Sport History in the Department of Exercise and Sports Science at Manchester Metropolitan University and an Honorary Research Associate in UCL’s Department of Dutch in the UCL School of European Languages, Culture & Society.
By Alison Fox, on 15 June 2018
June brings adventuring archaeologists, cattle herders and a fascinating look into the British Library’s collection of Canadian photography.
Knowledge Sovereignty Among African Cattle Herders (20th June) argues that indigenous knowledge can be viewed as a stand-alone science, and that a community’s rights over ownership should be defended by government officials, development planners and policy makers, making the case for a celebration of the knowledge sovereignty of pastoralist communities. It’s a fascinating argument, informed by Zeremariam Fre’s experiences as the founding director and former head of regional NGO, the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa (PENHA).
Amara Thornton’s Archaeologists in Print (25th June) has received one of the best endorsements we’ve ever read. Dr Samantha Rayner, Dirctor of the UCL Centre for Publishing said:
‘This beautifully written book will be valued by all kinds of readers: you don’t need to be an archaeologist to enjoy the contents, which take you through different publishing histories of archaeological texts and the authors who wrote them. From the productive partnership of travel guide with archaeological interest, to the women who feature so often in the history of archaeological publishing, via closer analysis of the impact of John Murray, Macmillan and Co, and Penguin, this volume excavates layers of fascinating facts that reveal much of the wider culture of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The prose is clear and the stories compulsive: Thornton brings to life a cast of people whose passion for their profession lives again in these pages.
Warning: the final chapter, on Archaeological Fictions, will fill your to-be-read list with stacks of new titles to investigate! This is a highly readable, accessible exploration into the dynamic relationships between academic authors, publishers, and readers. It is, in addition, an exemplar of how academic research can attract a wide general readership, as well as a more specialised one: a stellar combination of rigorous scholarship with lucid, pacy prose. Highly recommended!’
Finally, Canada in the Frame (18 June) explores a wonderful photographic collection held at the British Library that offers a unique view of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Canada. The collection, which contains in excess of 4,500 images, taken between 1895 and 1923, covers a dynamic period in Canada’s national history and provides a variety of views of its landscapes, developing urban areas and peoples.
Written by Philip Hatfield, Head of the Eccles Centre for American Studies and former Curator for Canadian and Caribbean Collections at the British Library , the book asks key questions about what it shows contemporary viewers of Canada and its photographic history, and about the peculiar view these photographs offer of a former part of the British Empire in a post-colonial age, viewed from the old ‘Heart of Empire’. Case studies are included on subjects such as urban centres, railroads and migration, which analyse the complex ways in which photographers approached their subjects, in the context of the relationship between Canada, the British Empire and photography.
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.
By Alison Fox, on 5 June 2018
Today’s guest post is by Ilan Kelman, from UCL’s Institute for Global Health and Institute for Risk & Disaster Reduction, editor of Arcticness: Power and Voice from the North, and is part of a special series to celebrate UCL Press reaching one million downloads.
Are the days over of roaming the dusty library shelves for sombre articles by world-renowned-but-never-seen scientific figures? Now, you can sit over ten kilometres up on an intercontinental flight downloading PDFs. Or seek the face of a prominent name through an image search or watching them lecture online.
No more must you queue at conferences to harangue them. On the same flight, or from your phone at home, drop them an email or social media message and skype across time zones.
Then, login to google docs from different hemispheres to co-author in real-time. Or use track changes and comments to edit with colleagues whom you have never met or spoken to.
Academic publishing is changing. New media and new ways of accessing media permeate science. With publishers, we can and should explore what could work or fall flat–while never diminishing world-renowned, cutting-edge, innovative science.
UCL Press already pursues personalisable and interactive PDFs. Images have long been part of manuscripts. Electronic publishing permits audio clips, videos, spreadsheets, GIS files, and other formats as embedded or supplementary material.
Patents and legislation are publication formats which academics can write and which are effectively peer-reviewed. Fine and performing arts accept non-written forms for academic credit, whether a composition, a performance, a painting, or a sculpture.
All disciplines should adopt similar approaches and beyond. Rather than being within, or supplemental to, a publication, different forms and formats could be the peer-reviewed academic publication.
A five-minute video of original choreography could express the islandness and urbanity of London or Bangkok as island cities. A dynamic holograph could illustrate decision-making under climate change. A computer programme could provide an online display which automatically collects, processes, and analyses real-time air pollution data.
Any such submission would have to be rigorously peer reviewed, as with papers, chapters, and books. The review process might require as much creativity and open-mindedness as the piece under review.
Other options require careful thought and implementation. Could material submitted for peer review, and peer-review processes, be crowdsourced with anyone contributing, as with wikis? Determining authorship could be challenging, but perhaps no more so than a paper for which the list of 5,154 authors is longer than the manuscript.
With a New Zealand river being granted some legal rights similar to human beings, could environmental features or processes be scientific co-authors? Isaac Asimov’s fiction writings set the stage for robots and other machines to be considered as peer-reviewed outputs and/or authors on them.
Nothing here mean eschewing the lengthy, erudite article or book with humdrum section headings. Nothing here means dismantling libraries or recycling the paper-based journals. It simply means different approaches, forms, and formats complementing and supplementing, not displacing, long-accepted scientific publication outputs.
We must continue standard approaches. We must also embrace and create futures of academic publishing without compromising scientific quality.
We can be creative, innovative, modern, and engaging without losing the positive aspects of what we have. All futures bring forward needed elements of the past.
By Alison Fox, on 31 May 2018
Today’s guest post is by Benjamin Martill and Uta Staiger, editors of Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe, and is part of a special series to celebrate UCL Press reaching one million downloads.
We started working on Brexit and Beyond in early 2017 when we realised there was a distinct gap in the market when it came to easily accessible yet scholarly works on Brexit. Full-length academic articles were often too lengthy and discipline-specific to appeal to the average reader. In any case, they take a rather long time to reach the market, such that by then the real world often has moved on. Nowhere more so than with Brexit! By contrast, the readily availabile opinion pieces and op-eds through which much of the ‘here and now’ of the Brexit debate took place lacked the rigour of academic works.
So we resolved to create a volume of short, accessible pieces on Brexit which would appeal to a general audience, while being informed by their authors’ long-standing scholarship. UCL Press embraced the idea with enthusiasm.
We also wanted to work with UCL Press because of the benefits of the open access model. Given the acrimony surrounding Britain’s changing relationship to Europe, we felt it was particularly important to bring rigorous discussion of the topic out of the academic ivory tower. To freely provide a volume with some of the biggest names in their field to students and interested citizens alike was, we believed, the easiest – and most direct – way to achieve this. The Brexit vote highlighted a yawning gap between academic debates and the concerns of many British citizens. Meanwhile, the social media ‘echo chambers’ have contributed to divided conversations and the polarisation of viewpoints. Breaking through these divisions and starting a shared conversation on the future of Europe was our aim with this volume.
UCL Press supported our book every step of the way. We had frequent meetings to discuss content, production and marketing, benefitting from the input of all the team members. The book itself came out in January and has been downloaded over 10,000 times in the past three months. What has been most heartening, though, is how pleased readers themselves have been about receiving their ‘free book’. One individual who approached us at our launch event in Brussels couldn’t believe – his words – that such a high quality product would be available for anyone to download. And, more pleasing still, he had sent copies to his friends and family. The hope is that, as more and more people engage with our contributors’ arguments, a greater number of citizens – of the UK and the EU – are brought into the detailed discussions we should be having after the referendum. Only in this way can we attempt to further the democratisation of knowledge. For facilitating these conversations – more and more every day – we are very grateful to the team at UCL Press.
Brexit and Beyond: Rethinking the Futures of Europe can be downloaded for free here.