University Press Week – Mapping Our Influence

One of the most significant aspects of any university press is the impact it has on the world around us. State university presses shine a bright light on their regional community; prestigious disciplinary lists reach out to scholars across the globe as both authors and readers; and institutional collaborations, translations, prizes, and events can carry the name of a university and its press almost anywhere. We often don’t talk enough about this impact, but now we have a new way to help show it.

The University Press Week Mapping Project provides a tool to show visually what we mean by a university press having value to its community, the academy, society, and the world. Using Google Maps and a custom iconographic key, the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) encouraged members to develop maps that visually demonstrate their place—their many places—in the world.

View “Mapping Our Influence”:

View UH Press’ Influence Map, which highlights titles, authors, and affiliates from our Summer 2012-Spring 2013 list:

For more information on University Press Week, visit

University Press Week Blog Tour – Day 2

University Press Week Blog Tour 2012
Day 2 of the University Press Week Blog Tour continues with MIT Press, University of California Press, Wilfrid Laurier Press, University Press of Florida, and

University of Hawai‘i Press

We are pleased to have UH Press author and editorial board member Barbara Watson Andaya blogging for us as part of the University Press Week blog tour. Dr. Andaya is professor of Asian studies at the University of Hawai‘i.  


Why University Presses Matter

In today’s world, where so much information comes to us in short visual or audio fragments, and where thoughtful and sustained comment is a rarity, academic publications remain a unique repository of knowledge. As flag bearers for their institutions, university presses remain a visible demonstration of the role of tertiary education in extending the global boundaries of knowledge. In this context it is difficult to overestimate the contribution they have made in the past—and will continue to make in the future. The reading public, and sometimes university administrators themselves, do not realize that most academic books would not be accepted by commercial houses because the financial returns would be considered insufficient. The specialist critiques; the careful revisions; the editorial suggestions; the careful choice of illustrations, charts, maps; the professional copy editing; the compilation of indexes—all demand an expenditure of time and resources that can only be found in the university press environment.

The feeling of achievement felt by any author when he or she sees the fruit of many years of effort in a tangible form is a direct result of this commitment to excellence. Though electronic communication has revolutionized the ways in which we communicate and has opened amazing doorways to intellectual exchanges, nothing has yet replaced the deep satisfaction of actually holding a completed book in one’s hands. But this is far from being simply a self-satisfying endeavor, for the academic monographs on the shelves of popular booksellers represent not merely outreach to the general public, but tangible affirmation of the mission of universities themselves.

The support given by university presses to scholarly conversations is especially pertinent to my own field, Southeast Asian studies, a region that covers eleven countries but which has been overshadowed by its Asian neighbors, notably China, Japan and India. University of Hawai‘i Press has a established a formidable reputation as the publisher of choice for books on Southeast Asia, which cover a vast range of subjects from the use of rattans in Borneo to experiences of Thai soldiers who fought in the Vietnam War.

What is important about these books is that they are not just addressing an specialist audience for English speakers; a number have been developed for classroom use and are thus an important tool for introducing students and the general public to this important but little understood region of the world. Perhaps even more significantly, through collaboration with other presses, notably the National University of Singapore Press, books published by UH Press are available in the region. At the same time, this co-operation with Southeast Asian academic publishers provides a conduit through which publications by local scholars can reach a wider international readership. In a relatively new field like Southeast Asian studies, the ability to collaborate and share knowledge is especially meaningful when so many local historians do not have the resources or opportunities to work in overseas archives and libraries.

In a wider framework of academia more generally, it is this legacy of global communication that university presses seek to support. Although the twenty-first century has brought many challenges to scholarly publishing, the resilience demonstrated so often in the past gives confidence that they will be able to meet these challenges with assurance. There can be no doubt that we will all be the beneficiaries.

University Press Week – Message from President Jimmy Carter

University Press Week Blog Tour 2012In June 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter proclaimed “University Press Week” to mark the centennial of university press publishing in the United States. This year, he sends this special comment on university presses to mark our first annual celebration of University Press Week as an ongoing event.

On University Presses and University Press Week 2012

When as president I proclaimed a “University Press Week” in 1978, I did so to honor the important role of university presses in advancing and preserving knowledge. Since then my personal appreciation and understanding of university presses has deepened. I have been proud to have a number of books of mine published by the University of Arkansas Press and to have contributed to other university press publications. University press books about my life and administration have impressed me with their scholarship. I am glad that “University Press Week” will again be celebrated. The special character and contribution of university presses should be better known and better supported.

—Jimmy Carter, July 16, 2012
Visit The Carter Center

For more information on University Press Week, visit

University Press Week Blog Tour – Day 1

University Press Week Blog Tour 2012
Throughout the week, press blogs will host special posts by authors, book review editors, publishers, and others about the value of university presses. Day 1 of the University Press Week Blog Tour kicks off with Harvard University Press, Duke University Press, Stanford University Press, University of Georgia Press, and University of Missouri Press.

University of Hawai‘i Press’ entry, “Why University Presses Matter,” contributed by Barbara Watson Andaya, will be featured on Tour Day 2, Tuesday, November 13, 8:00 am (EDT).

For more information on University Press Week, visit

Celebrate University Press Week: November 11-17

University Press Week 2012
Starting next week, University of Hawai‘i Press will join the other 132 member presses of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) in celebrating the First Annual University Press Week, November 11-17.

In 1978 President Jimmy Carter proclaimed University Press Week “in recognition of the impact, both here and abroad, of American university presses on culture and scholarship.” AAUP and university presses everywhere will be marking the event with:

A special message from President Jimmy Carter

Testimonials from writers, thinkers, and public figures—including Jay Parini, Senator Sherrod Brown, and Secretary Robert Gates, among others—as to the value of university presses in their lives and communities.

Fine Print* (*and digital!): An online gallery of the work of AAUP member presses. Each member publisher selected a title that exemplifies what they do, and the resulting list is truly astounding. From seminal books such as Frederic Jameson’s Postmodernism to leading journals such as the Journal of Experimental Medicine, from the pathbreaking online scholarly community of CogNet to the touchstone reference work of the Chicago Manual of Style, the depth and breadth of our community is ready to be explored. **UH Press’ recently published Kalaupapa: A Collective Memory will be featured.

Press Influence Maps: The regional importance and global reach of AAUP member presses is often talked about. Using Google Maps, presses have created visual statements that illustrate their impact on the world around them. **View UH Press’ Influence Map, which highlights titles, authors, and affiliates from our Summer 2012-Spring 2013 list:

University Press Blog Tour: Throughout the week, press blogs will host special posts by authors, book review editors, publishers, and others about the value of university presses. Harvard University Press kicks off the tour on Monday, November 12, and it continues coast-to-coast with stops in Canada and Hawai‘i before ending on Friday, November 16, at Oregon State University Press. **The tour comes to UH Press’ blog on Tuesday, November 13, with a post by UH Press author and editorial board member Barbara Watson Andaya. View a complete University Press Week blog tour schedule here.

For more information on these and other events, visit
Check our blog next week for daily posts and links to all of the above.