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A Message to Our Authors, Readers, and Partners

During this unprecedented global crisis, we at UW Press share concern and solidarity with all affected. We realize that this is an incredibly challenging time for people around the world, and we are grateful for your continued engagement.

Although we are working remotely, the press is operational and open for business.

Our spring travel plans have changed as many academic conferences have been canceled. The press will no longer be attending the following meetings:

  • Association for Asian Studies (March 19–22)
  • American Society for Environmental History (March 25–29)
  • Organization for American Historians (April 2–5)
  • American Association of Geographers (April 6–10)
  • Association for Asian American Studies (April 9–11)
  • Society of Architectural Historians (April 29–May 3)
  • Native American and Indigenous Studies Association (May 7–9)
  • Berkshire Conference of Women, Genders, and Sexualities (the Big Berks) (May 28–31)

Our acquisitions editors have been transitioning their conference appointments to virtual meetings by phone and Zoom. We are eager to hear about new projects and welcome your proposals. You can find a list of our editors and their subject areas here.

In the coming weeks we will be highlighting book lists from the spring conferences we had planned to attend. Stay tuned for special announcements and promotions via our social media channels.

We and our authors look forward to launching the exciting new titles coming out this season. Our marketing team is developing creative ways to share our new books through online platforms and social media.

During these difficult times, we encourage you to support independent bookstores, many of which are offering online or curbside sales. Connect with independent bookstores here or here.

Additionally, UW Press is offering 40% off all books and free shipping through May 15. To take advantage of this offer, please use promo code WASH20 on our website or contact Hopkins Fulfillment Services (800-53705487 or hfscustserv@press.jhu.edu).

UW Press remains committed to scholarship and the publication of vital new work as a public good, and we ask that you continue to engage with us and share ideas. Thank you so much for your support.

 

Looking to the Past in an Uncertain Present: Paula Becker on Betty MacDonald’s “The Plague and I”

Like many people struggling to understand our present moment, and to prepare for what is coming, I’ve turned, this week, to books, to history.

Life can change quickly, both then and now. Take Mary McCarthy’s straightforward description of boarding a Minneapolis-bound train in Seattle with her parents and three younger brothers during the 1918 worldwide influenza pandemic: “Waving good-bye in the Seattle depot, we had not known that we carried the flu into our drawing rooms…but, one after another, we had been struck down as the train proceeded eastward” (Memories of a Catholic Girlhood). McCarthy’s parents died shortly after the stricken family was carried from the train. I’ve reread Katherine Anne Porter’s devastating “Pale Horse, Pale Rider.” This short story spells out the reality that while individuals may survive pandemics, these diseases irrevocably alter our society. I keep thinking of Margery Williams’ The Velveteen Rabbit, a children’s picture book, which matter-of-factly describes the burning of a little boy’s favorite toy due to its contamination during his confinement with scarlet fever.

More cheerfully, I’ve also turned, as I usually do sooner or later, to Betty MacDonald. Betty’s follow up to her worldwide best selling first autobiographical book, The Egg and I, was The Plague and I, a tartly poignant recounting of her battle with and recovery from tuberculosis in a pre-antibiotic-era King County, Washington sanatorium. When Betty was admitted to Firland (called The Pines in Plague), tuberculosis was endemic worldwide. Betty’s was one of nearly two thousand cases diagnosed in Seattle in 1938. Tuberculosis still strikes today.

Firland patients lived in almost complete isolation from society, and—as much as was possible in shared rooms—from one another. The cure was mainly resting, supine, without talking or even reading. Difficult as the experience was for her, Betty’s memoir crackles with her trademark humor: “Being sent to an institution, be it penal, mental or tuberculous, is no game of Parcheesi, and not knowing when, or if, you’ll get out doesn’t make it any easier. At least a criminal knows what his sentence is.”

Despite Firland’s rigid rules governing patient interaction, living in close quarters meant coming to know her roommates’ strengths and weaknesses. “From my stay at The Pines,” Betty MacDonald explained, “I learned that a stiff test for friendship is: ‘Would she be pleasant to have t.b. with?'” Of the many women Betty roomed with during her time at Firland, her favorite was a young Japanese-American woman named Kazuko Monica Itoi. Kazi appears in Plague under the pseudonym “Kimi.” “Unfortunately,” Betty added, “too many people, when you try separating them from their material possessions and any and all activity, turn out to be like cheap golf balls. You unwind and unwind but you never get to the pure rubber core because there isn’t any. When I started unwinding Kimi I found that under her beautiful covering she was mostly core.” This friendship endured through the two women’s recovery and hospital discharge, and Kazi’s internment in Minidoka War Relocation Camp during World War II. At the height of her own success, Betty encouraged Kazi (by then married and using the name Monica Sone) to write about her experiences. The result, Nisei Daughter, provides an understanding of yet another form of isolation.

Betty and Monica’s accounts of isolation were on my mind as I maintained my now-prescribed six feet of social distance from fellow neighbors circling the path atop the lidded-over Maple Leaf Reservoir in north Seattle. We ventured from our homes this sunny day, smiling encouragement to one another while shunning contact. Isolation is different now, softened somewhat by podcasts, audio books, and streaming video. We have our social media, alternately comforting or alarming, depending on who you follow. I try to apply Betty’s standard in making that choice: look for someone who is mostly core.

I’ve not been subject to true quarantine, as I will be if Covid-19 touches me directly. I can still walk the spookily empty streets and circle the track, all the while keeping my distance. I am living a little of what Betty learned during her quarantine: health is not a given. Friendship runs deep, even when friends have been moved down the hall or aren’t allowed to visit you. Community sustains, and it is up to us to find ours even when aspects of our lives are constrained. Life, all of it, needs to be noticed. It must be deeply noticed.


Paula Becker is the author of the biography Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I and the memoir A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction.

Roses from Kenya

Kenya supplies more than one third of the fresh-cut roses and other flowers sold annually in the European Union, and over half are grown near the shores of Lake Naivasha, a freshwater lake recognized as a wetland of international importance. In Roses from Kenya: Labor, Environment, and the Global Trade in Cut Flowers, Megan A. Styles tells the story of the journey roses take to be grown and harvested in Lake Naivasha, shipped to the European Union, and sold around the world.

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This infographic was created by Director of Marketing and Sales Julie Fergus, Marketing Assistant Audrey Truitt, and Design Fellow Camille Vance.

What to Know (And Ask) About COVID-19 With Dr. Christopher Sanford

Dr. Christopher Sanford, author of Staying Healthy Abroad, offers suggestions on how to stay informed and healthy amidst the spreading coronavirus (COVID-19).

The purpose of this article is educational. For medical advice for any health condition, please consult your physician. To learn more about COVID-19, check out the links that Dr. Sanford recommends at the bottom of the post.

There is currently so much news about coronavirus that it is difficult to step back from the deluge of information and determine what it means. Possibly the optimal stance is to realize two truths, simultaneously, which are admittedly at odds with each another.

On one hand, the outbreak is undeniably a big deal. It is rapidly spreading around the world. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, characterized the current status of COVID-19 as “uncharted territory.” The virus could indeed spread to every country on Earth, infecting millions, and killing a large number of people. Frustratingly, with all the authorities and institutions giving recommendations, there is inevitably conflicting advice given to the public. And the first several deaths from COVID-19 in the US occurred in Washington State.

On the other hand, this illness does not herald the end of the world. Most people—whether or not they get this illness—will do well. Below are some answers and tips to address the most common questions and concerns about COVID-19.

Coronavirus Q&A

Q: How should we react?

A: The benefits of closing schools and worksites is still being debated, but there are some best practices you can follow:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water.
  • Keep your distance from people who are ill.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.

            The same measures that ensure long-term good health will reduce your risk of acquiring this illness, and, should you acquire it, of faring poorly.

Q: How do I boost my immune system?

A: The whole notion of boosting one’s immune system by a short-term measure is a myth.

The robustness of your immune system is tied to your overall, head-to-toe health. Hence, the same measures that are linked to cardiac health, brain health, cancer risk reduction, and longevity also are linked to immune function:

  • Maintain a normal body weight
  • Exercise regularly
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables, low in red meat
  • Drink moderately or not at all
  • See a medical provider regularly for routine screening—blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

There’s no shortcut.

Q: Should I avoid international travel?

A: Given the rapidly evolving nature of this pandemic, it is impossible to make a blanket recommendation regarding travel, and risk factors for acquiring this illness are still being determined. Each potential destination must be individually assessed with the latest information. The elderly, and those with chronic medical conditions are at elevated risk of severe illness.

Current destinations with heightened risk of community spread of coronavirus: China, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.

For some of these destinations, the US State Department gives more granular guidance. Regarding Italy, for example, the current travel advisory for the country as a whole is Travel Advisory Level 3: Reconsider travel. However, for Lombardy and Veneto (two of the twenty administrative regions of Italy), the Advisory Level is 4—Do not travel—due to both high levels of community transmission and imposition of local quarantine procedures.

Q: Where can I find reliable information on this pandemic?

A: The WHO is calling the current overabundance of information, online and elsewhere—of markedly variable reliability—an “infodemic.” Three solid, evidence-based sources are:

  1. CDC. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Summary.
  2. AAFP. American Academy of Family Physicians, Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). Information to educate your patients and prepare your practice teams.
  3. WHO. World Health Organization. Rolling updates on Coronavirus disease.

Bottom line: COVID-19 is a huge and significant pandemic. No one knows how many people it will affect. But most people will do well. I’ve seen both Shaun of the Dead and World War Z so I know the zombie apocalypse is coming. But this isn’t it.


Christopher Sanford, MD, MPH is associate professor in the Departments of Family Medicine and Global Health at the University of Washington, and a family medicine physician who specializes in tropical medicine and travelers’ health. His research interests include medical education in low-resource settings and health risks of urban centers in low-income nations.

2019–2020 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship

The University of Washington Press (job number 176703), University of Chicago Press (JR07717), Cornell University Press (job number WDR-00022497), MIT Press (job number 18525), Northwestern University Press (job number 38451) and Ohio State University Press (Jobs) are now accepting applications for the 2019–2020 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program. The program seeks to increase diversity in scholarly publishing by providing fourteen-month fellowships in the acquisitions departments of the six university presses with the support of the Association of University Presses and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Search committees will begin reviewing applications after March 15, 2020. Selected fellows will be notified by April 15, 2020, to begin the fourteen-month fellowship on June 1, 2020.

FY20 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship_Page_1FY20 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship_Page_2

Marilyn Trueblood

Members of the UW Press community will be saddened to learn of the death of Marilyn Trueblood, who retired from the press in 2013. Marilyn passed away on January 25 after a brief battle with leukemia.

Over nearly four decades at UWP, Marilyn advanced through several editorial roles to become managing editor. Her training as an anthropologist, commitment to social justice, and broad interest in the arts and humanities informed both her intellectual engagement with the many books she handled and her personal relations with authors. Marilyn always did the right thing—whether it was going the extra mile to polish a manuscript, helping a colleague, or supporting a humanitarian cause. Her warmth and generosity inspired camaraderie across departments, and she was beloved by authors, with many of whom she maintained lifelong friendships. Marilyn’s grace, kindness, and spirit will be fondly remembered by all who knew her.

A Seattle Times obituary provides details about Marilyn’s rich and productive life. She is survived by her husband, former UWP director Pat Soden.

Marilyn Trueblood

 

Our 2019 holiday sale! Take 40% off

University of Washington Press books make great gifts! (And there is no shame in buying a book as a gift for yourself, either.)

Order online at www.uwapress.uw.edu and enter promo code WHOL19 to save 40% on all press titles.* Receive free shipping on orders over $75.00. Discounts valid through the end of the year.

*offer excludes titles from our publishing partners

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