Al-Diwan Roundup: News and Analysis from Publishing and Academia

Posted on October 10, 2017 by Tadween Editors | 0 comments

Al-Diwan brings you the latest news and analysis from the publishing and academic worlds that relate to pedagogy and knowledge production. 


First Year of Jhalak Prize paints a grim picture of diversity in publishing
By Sunny Singh (Media Diversified) 

The Jhalak Prize was established to honor UK-based writers of color across genres. 2017 was the award’s inaugural year with over 100 submissions. Reviewers noticed a trend in the submissions; it seemed as though “writers of color are primarily granted space for writing ‘their’ experience.” Content-wise, the submissions overwhelmingly were related to the writer’s background, and while these works are important, it begs important questions on “the production and reproduction of knowledge.”

Authors Withdraw from Festival at Odds with Museum over Seuss Mural
By Alex Green (Publishers Weekly) 

The racism seen in Dr. Suess books has been a recent topic of conversation in Massachusetts, especially after Melania Trump was reprimanded for not recognizing the stereotypes portrayed in the illustrations. Most recently, three children’s authors pulled their appearances at the Springfield Children’s Literature Festival because the host venue did not address complaints over a racist mural, which was pulled from a Dr. Seuss book, that the location contracted earlier in 2017.

‘I Didn’t Believe It’: Responses to Kazuo Ishiguro’s Win of the Nobel Prize
By Porter Anderson (Publishing Perspectives)

After Bob Dylan’s selection as the Nobel Prize for Literature last year, Kazuo Ishiguro’s win has been received in an overall positive manner. Some claim that Ishiguro’s selection is a signal that “the Nobel is casting off its elitist reputation.”

Publishers seek removal of millions of papers from ResearchGate
By David Matthews (Times Higher Education)

Five publishers have united to challenge ResearchGate, demanding that the site remove papers and articles that violate copyright laws. A similar situation arose in 2013 between Elsevier, a publisher, and Academia.edu. However, Elsevier contacted the researchers with take-down notices when they uploaded copyright material. Now, the publishers are working with the platform rather than the users themselves.



Supreme Court to Hear Anti-Union Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 Case
By Aaron Nisenson (Academe Blog)

Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 is a case where anti-union forces are attempting to have
fair-share fees ruled unconstitutional for public-sector employees.” Fair-share fees are charged to non-union members who benefit from union negotiating, and the Supreme Court has historically upheld them. However, the recent changes in the Supreme Court means that a reevaluation of this issue could result in these fair-share fees being found unconstitutional for the public sector.

The Life-Shaping Power of Higher Education
By Marvin Krislov (Inside Higher Ed)

Marvin Krislov, the current president of Pace University, looks back at the changes higher education has gone through over the past ten years and notices one glaring aspect that has stayed the same: “the value of a college education and its ability to transform students’ lives.”

I can’t get a full-time academic contract. So what’s holding me back?
By Anonymous (The Guardian)

Looking beyond the role of gender in academic employment discrimination, the author also takes into ageism and classism into account. The expectation to go from one prestigious institution to another requires a certain level of wealth – wealth this author did not have. The structural changes needed to resolve these issues in academia may come too late, though, for this academic who is ready to leave academia all together.

The Push for College Endowment Reform
By Anne Kim (The Atlantic)

There is currently  bipartisan frustration over university endowments, with universities allocating more of their endowments towards the growth of their funds rather than investing larger amounts of money in their students via tuition assistance.

To Be Black at Robert E. Lee High School
By Tasneem Raja (The New Yorker)

In Tyler, Texas, parents continue a half-century old fight over Robert E. Lee High School. The theme of history rang through many comments made during a school board meeting. Those who want to keep the name, say changing the name would erase an important party of Tyler’s history; those supporting a name change recall when Emmett J. Scott High School was destroyed, effectively erasing the legacy the all-black school had in producing “generations of Tyler’s black lawyers, doctors, and civic leaders” during segregation.

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