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Women’s History Month Part I: Women in Asia

March is Women’s History Month, which means throughout the month HEB will highlight premiere titles in Women’s Studies that can be found in our collection. If you would like a Women’s Studies specific title list from HEB, please email Chris Plattsmier. Also, don’t forget you can recommend a title for inclusion in the HEB collection on our title recommendation page.

HEB’s first spotlight celebrating Women’s History Month is on Women in Asia. HEB proudly works with scholars from the Association for Asian Studies, American Historical Association, and others to curate a list of titles in Asian Studies focusing on an array of subjects and geographic regions. Each title below earned an award or prize for its contribution to its respective field.

Click the link or cover to be taken to the main title page.

Passionate Enlightenment: Women in Tantric Buddhism

by Miranda Shaw, Princeton University Press (1994)

Winner of the James Henry Breasted Prize (AHA)

Included in the ATLA Special Series in the HEB Collection

“A groundbreaking work that calls for a serious rethinking of the scholarly discourse on the role of women and the feminine in Tantric traditions in South Asia”— Excerpt from a review by Dr. Liz Wilson, Miami University. Appeared in History of Religions, Vol 36, No. 1 (Aug., 1996), pp.60-64

“Readers within Buddhist studies will find a wealth of previously untranslated verses written by female Tantric adepts, along with the Tibetan originals printed in the endnotes, as well as valuable reinterpretation of the place of women in the Tantric tradition. Although specialists may find suspect the unambiguously positive portrayal of women in Tantric Buddhism, Shaw’s argument should stimulate more fruitful discussion about the position of women throughout Buddhist history, as well as discussion about our own academic representation of this position. For those readers outside of Buddhist studies, Passionate Enlightenment is a lively, accessible study of an often confusing and forbidding tradition, a study that should spur further cross-disciplinary discussion about the representation and role of women in religion.”— Excerpt from a review by Dr. Jacob N. Kinnard, Iliff School of Theology. Appeared in The Journal of Religion, Vol. 75, No. 3 (Jul., 1995), pp.455-457




Reproducing Women: Medicine, Metaphor, and Childbirth in Late Imperial China

by Yi-Li Wu, University of California Press (2010)

Winner of the Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize (HSS)

“In this well-written and extensively researched work on traditional medicine in late imperial China, Wu examines how medical literature in the Ming and Qing dynasties considered fertility, pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period, collectively referred to as juke, or medicine for women. Wu presents important findings that contradict earlier interpretations of traditional Chinese medicine.” — Excerpt from a review by Dr. Tina Phillips Johnson, Saint Vincent College. Appeared in The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Vol. 42, No. 2 (Autumn 2011), pp.330-331

“In this wonderfully rich and sophisticated study, vividly illustrated with case histories, Yi-Li Wu explains how and in what context theories and practices of “medicine for women” [fuke] evolved between about 1600 and 1900. Wu draws a fascinating and convincingly complex picture of how late imperial medical specialists thought and reasoned about reproductive processes as well as individual cases.”  — Excerpt from a review by Dr. Francesca Bray, University of Edinburgh. Appeared in Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol. 46, No. 1, (Fall 2012), pp.155-157



The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China’s Collective Past

by Gail Hershatter, University of California Press (2011)

Winner of the John Kelly Memorial Prize (AHA)

“Reading this book is an eye-opening experience even for a Chinese Reader. As Hershatter notes, her research group is a doubly marginalised group that has been invisible and unheard for a long time.” — Excerpt from a review by Dr. Wu Weiyi. Appeared in China Perspectives, No. 4 (96), (2013), pp.78-79

“The Gender of Memory is a work of outstanding scholarship and significance. Hershatter examines life in rural Shaanxi through the memories of elderly women regarding the years immediately preceding and following the formation of the People’s Republic of China. e transformations that took place in rural China during the 1940s and 1950s affected women’s lives in startling and dramatic ways. We read of the women’s experience of the tumult of war, their negotiations of old and new marriage customs, their pride and anxiety in assuming public positions of community authority, their hope and despair in land reform and collectivization and their desperation in times of famine, loss and poverty. Hershatter’s research narrates the rich diversity of individual women’s lives with sensitivity and respect, within a fully contextualized, rigorously documented scholarly history.”— Excerpt from a review by Dr. Louise Edwards, The University of Hong Kong. Appeared in The China Journal, No. 69 (January 2013), pp.227-229


The Talented Women of the Zhang Family

by Susan Mann, University of California Press (2007)

Winner of the John K. Fairbank Prize (AHA)

“If Mann’s were purely a work of creative historical recreation, this might be more of a problem, but it is much more than that. For, while the heart of the book is indeed the recreation of the intimate lives of these women, Mann by no means abandons her role as historian. Again taking her inspiration from Sima Qian, each of her “scenes” is followed by a section entitled “The historian says…” in which she stands apart from the portrait or scene just depicted, and carefully contextualizes it. These sections, and especially the chapter-long epilogue also entitled “The historian says,” are packed with information and insights of a rather different kind, insights that will no doubt inspire further discussion among scholars and students alike.” — Excerpt from a review by Dr. Beata Grant, Washington University in St. Louis. Appeared in T’oung Pao, Vol. 95, Fasc. 4/5 (2009), pp.440-444

“Serious scholars will enjoy this book both for the story and for the manner of its telling. The more casual the reader the more she may want to focus on the most fictionalized sections. She can rest assured that they are well within the realm of what might have been. At the same time specialists in both women’s history and in late imperial China will learn new ways of understanding traditional Chinese women in the era before modernization took hold.” — Excerpt from a review by Dr. Ellen Widmer, Wellesley College. Appeared in The Women’s Review of Books, Vol. 25, No. 5 (Sep. – Oct., 2008), pp.23-24


Reaction: AAP/PSP Conference 2018

A few weeks ago, I attended the Association of American Publishers’ Professional and Scholarly Publishing (PSP) Annual Conference in Washington D.C. Besides being personally excited for the scheduled program, I wanted to see what I would walk away feeling HEB as an organization gained from attending the event considering we are new(ish) members to PSP and never attended any previous annual conferences. Long story short, I enjoyed the sessions and look forward to HEB participating in the conference in the future.

Below are a few takeaways from individual sessions and themes I noticed in the conference. If you are interested in learning more about AAP or PSP, visit

First thing that caught my eye was the overwhelmingly STEM-leaning audience and speaker schedule.

At first, per usual, I had a chip on my shoulder feeling as if HEB’s humanities-publishing peers were underrepresented. However, a presentation that was superficially directed towards a STEM audience, “A Tale of Two Continents – Open Access in Europe and the US” triggered some “big picture” connections in my own head to the current environment of OA publishing in the humanities¹.

A lot of attention during the plenary session gravitated towards government and institutional attitudes towards OA  and the respective impact on implementation of an OA strategy for publishers. Any scholarly publisher appreciates the difficulty of incorporating new workflows and business models in the structure of an university or other nonprofit press, where resources and manpower are limited.

The scholarly and ethical commitments to OA are often easier for publishers in the humanities to grasp than the financial and organizational costs. There are more incentives to publish open access in the STEM marketplace right now—whether it be mandates from governments, funding availability for processing fees, the disciplinary importance of publishing in high-impact journals (compared to the monograph market in the humanities), and public resistance to high-priced STEM journals.

What business and practical incentives humanities publishers can offer in an open access program will be critical to higher OA adoption rates by scholarly publishers.

Open publishing platforms and services such as the Social Science Research Network,, and the Open Humanities Press are all products or projects that are good examples for humanities publishers to examine while thinking about incentives of incorporating OA offerings².

Archiving and journals have traditionally been considered the two vehicles for open access in the humanities (Suber, “Promoting Open Access in the Humanities”)³. Projects such as the Open Library of Humanities, the Humanities Open Book Program⁴, and TOME (Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem) are all expanding the dichotomy mentioned above, providing more flexibility in delivery and funding for humanities publishers or scholars. As innovative and worthwhile as these projects are, it occurred to me during the plenary session that there is an unspoken advantage in humanities publishing being “behind” OA STEM offerings: publishers and scholars in the humanities can inform their decisions to participate in OA scholarly communication by evaluating the efficacy, scalability, and collaborative potential of OA initiatives in the STEM world. Collaboration between traditional scholarly publishing (mainly UPs) and institutional libraries seems to be the natural next step in the OA environment for humanities publishers.

The session most closely aligning to HEB’s goals and challenges occurred on the second day of the conference. The theme“What Can Small and Non-Profit Publishers Do to Stay Competitive?”,  sparked some thoughts related to HEB’s own day-to-day concerns as a small, non-profit organization.

Collaboration is key: HEB has partnered with the University of Michigan Library since our conception. By joining forces with an institution with critical experience (from both a research library and publisher perspective), stakes/interests aligned with HEB’s, and their own network of scholarly communication professionals HEB can from time-to-time tap into when appropriate, HEB has been able to maintain a stable product offering for our users—even arguably too stable and not flexible enough to innovate!

As the speakers listed the different vendors, publishers, libraries, etc. that each of their respective organization collaborates with, the con of collaboration became readily apparent to me. It also helped that my phone was vibrating like crazy with an influx of emails from partners HEB collaborates with (coming full circle here!)

Collaboration helps put your product in front new eyes, cuts cost of in-house technology development, and fosters relationships critical to the overall health of a scholarly publishing environment. However, collaborations also can stretch your workforce and “brand” thin. For small, nonprofit operations where every minute of an employee’s time is crucial, having to continually adjust (almost improvise) workflows, maintaining constant contact with vendors to whom work must be outsourced to, and balancing the commercial interests of partners with the nonprofit mission of your organization are delicate exercises.

Playing your cards close to the vest: Where small, nonprofit publishers are at a disadvantage compared to the large commercial publishers is obvious—resources, resources, and more resources. However, a thought shared by one of the speakers who was from a publisher for a scholarly society (albeit in a STEM field) struck a chord with me. She emphasized the importance of holding and fostering relationships with the scholars that are members of her respective organization. As a part of the American Council of Learned Societies, HEB has the benefit of tapping into the knowledge, experiences, and scholarly community fostered by ACLS.

Since these relationships are the primary reasons for the outstanding quality of our collection and the driving force behind our curatorial process, HEB has been historically risk-adverse in communicating and offering new services for ACLS members. Future considerations for HEB may involve ways to more actively receive and incorporate feedback from ACLS scholars, and expand this feedback from just title recommendations/review to topics around usability, discoverability, access, etc.

  1. Further reading: “Panel 819. The New Open-Access Environment: Innovation in Research, Editing, and Publishing”, Special Panel at the Modern Languages Association, Austin, TX, Sunday 10th January 2016:
  2. Further reading on HEB’s relationship with “Tech Talk: Tool“, by Christopher Plattsmier.
  3. From Peter Suber’s expanded writings, originally for an oral presentation at the American Philological Association Annual Conference on January 3, 2004 (
  4. HEB participated in the NEH Humanities Open Book Program. Learn more.

African American Representation in Film and Media

With the timely release of Black Panther this weekend during Black History Month, many are celebrating and reflecting on what representation in film and media means to African Americans. As Carvell Wallace wrote in a recent New York Times Magazine piece, “We have for centuries sought to either find or create a promised land where we would be untroubled by the criminal horrors of our American existence.”¹

To facilitate conversations on the history of representation in media for African Americans, and to gain a better understanding of the need for more African American representation in film, check out the Humanities E-Book titles below. These title span a range of topics, from the portrayal of African American urban experiences in film, a review of black film criticism, and the recent history of African American representation on television.

  1. (Wallace, Carvell. “Why ‘Black Panther’ Is a Defining Moment for Black America.” New York Times Magazine, 12 Feb. 2018,

Black African Cinema

by Nwachukwu Frank Ukadike, University of California Press

Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity

by Jacqueline Najuma Stewart, University of California Press

Redefining Black Film

by Mark Reid, University of California Press

Star Trek and History: Race-ing Toward a White Future

by Daniel Bernardi, Rutgers University Press

Laughing Mad: The Black Comic Persona in Post-Soul America

by Bambi Haggins, Rutgers University Press

Fire and Desire: Mixed-Race Movies in the Silent Era

by Jane Gaines, University of Chicago Press

Timeline of the Atlantic Slave Trade

America’s reckoning with its history of slavery has accelerated in recent months following Charlottesville, Civil War monument debates, and the general tension in race relations the United States is experiencing. In timely fashion, the last known slave ship was purportedly been discovered last week in Alabama, sparking interest in the Atlantic slave trade. The slave trade is often glossed over in Black History Month in favor of subjects such as the Civil Rights movement, Jim Crow, etc., (understandably so), however few topics can paint a more vivid picture of the global socio-economic and human impact slavery created.

Below, we have included links to titles related to the Atlantic slave trade in our collection, within a timeline¹ for context. Though the timeline only provides brief snapshots and events of the 19th century slave trade—a time when nations began to push for the abolition of slavery in earnest—these titles in our collection provide in-depth, scholarly analysis of this time in America’s history.

For an in-depth look of the slave trade before the 19th century, we suggest these two titles: The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census by Philip D. Curtin (University of Wisconsin Press) and The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas by David Eltis (Cambridge University Press).


1800 The United States begins to penalize Americas who serve voluntarily on slave ships trading between two foreign countries.

1803 Denmark bans slave trade.

1807 Britain bans the Atlantic slave trade and the United States passes legislation to ban the slave trade to begin the following year.

1819 The United States and Spain renew commercial agreements in the Adams-Onis Treaty. Congress stiffens laws against U.S. participation in the slave trade. Britain patrols West African coast for illegal slave ships.

Map showing the results of the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819.

Map showing the results of the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819².

1820 The United States declares slave trading an act of piracy, punishable by the death penalty. The U.S. Navy attempts to regulate the slave trade on the West African coast but the attempt ends after four years, after which the U.S. recalls the navy ships.

1824 Great Britain and the United States negotiate a treaty recognizing the slave trade as piracy and agree to work together to suppress it. But the U.S. Senate undercuts the treaty’s force in a series of amendments and Britain refuses to sign.

1825 The Supreme Court hears the case of the Antelope— a slave ship seized by the U.S.—and issues a unanimous opinion declaring the slave trade a violation of natural law. But 39 of the original 281 slaves are returned to ship’s owners.

1833 Britain passes the Abolition of Slavery Act, emancipating slaves in the British West Indies to begin August of the following year.

1836 Portugal bans the slave trade.

1860s Though the Atlantic slave trade was abolished over a 30-year period ending with Portugal’s 1836 ban on slave trading, legal abolition did not end the still profitable trade. It continued illegally well into the 19th century. The Clotilda, the last known slave ship, sneaked slaves into Mobile, Alabama in the summer of 1860.

Video Courtesy of

Taking a hard look at America’s history with slavery helps provide context to a lot of the issues around race the United States is dealing with right now. Learning about it is difficult and painful but it is incredibly necessary and cannot be glossed over. Black History Month is a great platform to expand your understanding of African American History outside what is usually taught in classrooms.


  1. See “Timeline of Atlantic Slave Trade” (ABC News 2017) for complete timeline.
  2. File:Adams onis map.png“, created by Citynoise, Wikipedia Commons. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 Generic license.

ALA Midwinter 2018 Agenda

Countdown to ALA Midwinter 2018








HEB’s own Lee Walton and Clare Doyle will be attending the ALA Midwinter Meeting and Exhibitions in Denver next week. Stop by Booth 2216 to chat!


Showcase to the market the Fulcrum platform, under development by HEB’s partners in the University of Michigan Library.

  • Two titles recently launched on the platform and showcase different aspects of what makes Fulcrum a platform humanities scholars and librarians will love. First, Show Sold Separately: Promos, Spoilers, and Other Media Paratexts (NYU Press, 2010), by Jonathon Gray, is now openly available to read on the Fulcrum’s EPUB reader.  This title provides a strong example of scholarship enriched by digital media and is easy to read and cite across devices.
  • Second, The University of Michigan Press recently launched supplemental materials for Selma and the Liuzzo Murder Trials: The First Modern Civil Rights Convictions (University of Michigan Press, 2018), by James P. Turner. The materials are presented in an easy-to-navigate manner and hold functionality like keyword search and PDF downloads.
  • Read more about Fulcrum at or on HEB’s page following the progress of the platform!

Provide updates on HEB’s Round 15 of titles, to be launched in August 2018 on Fulcrum (See us coming full circle here?)

  • HEB is currently expanding the current Special Series: Fordham University Press Special Series (made up of two separate series in Philosophy), ATLA Special Series, and ACLS Fellows’ Publications.
  • Publishers who have contributed to the current round of titles include the University of Texas Press, McGill-Queen’s University Press, Fordham University Press, The University of Alabama Press, The University Press of Colorado, and the University of Wisconsin Press. Plenty more are on the way!
  • Subject areas HEB is targeting include Women’s Studies, Hip Hop Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Latin American Studies, Military Studies, and Indigenous Peoples Studies. We take pride in taking feedback from librarians and faculty in curating our collection, and some areas we are targeting this round are representative of trends identified by librarians and scholars in our previous collection development survey.

Listening to Librarians

  • One of the best parts of shows like ALA Midwinter is connecting and listening to librarians. HEB is interested in hearing what librarians have to say about issues such as fair use, interlibrary loan, electronic humanities collection needs, and new organizational/budget structures impacting how librarians purchase.
  • If you have something to say that you want an audience larger than just HEB to hear, submit a proposal to HEB for our blog or newsletter!


  • Stuff We All Get (SWAG) is always fun, whether it be pens, notepads, stickers, or chocolate! HEB will have plenty of stuff to fill up your tote bag, so stop by Booth 2216.
  • We will also be giving away a librarian survival kit, complete with military grade flashlights, spam, a bottle of wine, and an Amazon Kindle Gift Card.

See you at ALA Midwinter in Denver!