It's the last day of our University Press Week blog tour. We end the tour on the theme of the global reach of university presses. Sponsoring editor Rebecca Tolen blogs for us today on our new Framing the Global project. The tour also stops at Columbia University Press, Georgetown University Press, Johns Hopkins University Press, New York University Press, Princeton University Press, the University of Wisconsin Press, and Yale University Press.
Globalization has remade our world and our lives are intimately connected to distant places and to people whom we will never meet. But even as we're living these connections, it's hard for any of us to get our minds around what that means. Many people, inside and outside the academy, are interested in understanding what it really means to say that we're living in a global age, and global connections are clearly going to impact education, business, and politics more and more. In response to this need for a better understanding of globalization, we have launched an initiative called Framing the Global.
Framing the Global is a joint project of Indiana University Press and IU's Center for the Study of Global Change, funded by a multi-year, $755,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant was awarded as part of Mellon's Universities and Their Presses program, which aims to integrate university presses more fully into the intellectual life of their campuses while also exploring new forms of scholarly communication. The timing of this initiative has been fortuitous, since it coincides with several important currents on campus, such as the creation of the Office of Scholarly Publishing and the establishment of the School of Global and International Studies.
The more immediate goals of Framing the Global are to advance global studies as a field of study by helping to develop new paradigms and research methodologies, and to disseminate this work through books and other publications. Global studies is an emerging interdisciplinary field made up of scholars with backgrounds in the social sciences, humanities, and area studies. Although there are a number of cross-cutting questions and themes that have helped define the field, there has not been a common approach or language shared by scholars from different disciplines, and there is no consensus about how one actually goes about studying the global. Participating in this project puts IUP at the cutting edge of defining this field.
The main elements of the project are a working group of sixteen fellows; four visiting scholars who each spent about a week in residence on campus over the past two years; a conference that was held on campus in September; and the Global Research Studies book series, in which all the work of the fellows, visiting scholars, and other scholars will be published by IUP. The fellows were chosen through a competitive process that took into account the interest and quality of applicants' work as authors as well as scholars. Some of the fellows are faculty members at IU and others are from around the US and in the UK, Europe, and Australia. The group meets virtually once a month to discuss the fellows' books and research projects, and to discuss concepts and issues in studying the global.
The first book coming out of the project, Framing the Global: Entry Points for Research, will be published next spring. The book is organized around key concepts or "entry points" that the fellows have found useful in studying particular problems. What sets this volume apart from other books on global studies is the fact that the entry points that are discussed have developed in the course of each fellow's research and engagement with particular contexts and issues. The key concepts were not chosen because they represent influential theorists or issues we felt obligated to address, but because they illuminate important aspects of the global for the researchers.
The topics the fellows have been researching are diverse and very timely. One project deals with the migration of workers from Mexico and Togo to a small meatpacking town in Illinois and how that has changed the town. Another asks whether consumer movements promoting fair trade and sustainability have led to international standards that actually improve conditions in industries such as apparel, electronics, food, and lumber. Another project focuses on media in China and how public art installations have been used to promote an image of Shanghai as a 21st-century media capital. A study by two historians looks at how the year 1968 came to be understood as a global event through the lens of photojournalism of the time.
The books are not going to be typical scholarly monographs. Our goal is to break the mold of the typical monograph in some way--in writing style or content, or both. Everything about this project exemplifies the strengths of university presses as publishers that create a space for innovation and collaboration in scholarship. It also continues IUP's long history of publishing on international, transnational, and global themes, and our commitment to communicating new scholarship to the public.
Visit the Framing the Global website for more information.