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New Jefferson Papers documents in Founding Era collection

Thanks to the ongoing “Early Access” transcription program at Documents Compass, we are adding over 16,000 new documents from the Papers of Thomas J

Pressure Points

It's been way too long since we have run a piece by Mr. and Mrs. Dog author Donald McCaig. Many of you have read his series of posts about a little sheepdog named Fly (including this one...and this one). In this latest piece, human understanding runs up against dog understanding. Guess who's smarter.

At the first Sturgis National Finals SDT trial hosts had decorated the field in a patriotic motif. The fetch, drive, and crossdrive panels were vivid red, white, and blue. Which created a problem for the sheep. Put yourself in their wool: here they'd been living quiet sheepy lives on some butte somewhere, been snatched up, loaded into large aluminum trailers (from which no sheep had ever returned), and plopped down in unfamiliar pens (“Where are we, Martha!!!”), until they and three others were taken by a mounted cowboy and a couple dogs and spotted for an unknown dog to suddenly appear and take AWAY!

A Seaweed Thanksgiving

Before you say no thanks, just know that this exotic approach to Thanksgiving is being proposed by Jeffrey Greene, who has already introduced us to the elusive pied de cheval oyster and foraging in the Carpathians. The man knows his food. Like those earlier pieces, this one grew out of research for his next book, on wild edibles.

While Henry James observed famously in a letter that “it’s a complex fate, being an American,” and James Baldwin struggled to define what being American even means, I rarely ponder quandaries of national identity, even living here in France.  However, it’s a complex fate for anyone to explain the codified American phenomenon called Thanksgiving. My mother, in her eighties, assiduously observes American Thanksgiving, though she lives in a remote canal village in Burgundy and is obliged to make a special order for a whole turkey, usually available in France only at Christmas.

McDowell on NBC

Deborah McDowell, director of the Carter G. Woodson Institute, talked to our local NBC affiliate about her new book, The Punitive Turn: New Approaches to Race and Incarceration. Drawing its content from a conference hosted at the University of Virginia in 2009, the book not only addresses prison growth and its consequences, but also presents statistics that force us to wonder who benefits when so many people are behind bars.

The River of Change

As part of this year's University Press Week, we are proud to join 36 other university presses in a blog tour that will touch on some of the most pressing issues in our industry. Blogging along with us today are Harvard University PressStanford University Press, the University of Texas Press, Duke University Press,  Temple University Press, and the University of Minnesota Press. A schedule for the entire week is here. Today's theme is the future of scholarly publishing, so we turned to Holly Shulman, who served as editor of The Dolley Madison Digital Edition, the first publication under our electronic imprint, and coeditor of Rotunda's latest title, People of the Founding Era.

When The Skies Looked Dark

This week Iran sat down with representatives from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany—as part of the P5+1 meeting—to discuss plans to scale back its nuclear program. It is hoped that the talks result not only in a plan acceptable to all parties but a new openness in communication between Iran and the world. So far the signs have been positive. R. K. Ramazani, renowned Iran scholar and author of Independence without Freedom: Iran's Foreign Policy, already contributed some thoughts on new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, and now he looks more closely at Iran's relations with the United States.

Brunsman Appearance

Denver Brunsman, author of The Evil Necessity: British Naval Impressment in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World, will be appearing at the Detroit Historical Society on October 17 to discuss and sign copies of the book. Complete information on the event can be found here.

Artistic Ambassadors Excerpt Online

The Journal of Transnational American Studies regularly posts excerpts from books they feel their readers should know about, and currently on their site they are offering a chapter from Brian Russell Roberts's

Chaffin on Douglass

Historian Tom Chaffin has contributed a piece to the New York Times' "Disunion" Blog on the Confederate raider, Shenandoah. Readers interested in further writing by Chaffin will want to check out his previous "Disunion" post, on abolitionist Frederick Douglass, which may be read here. They will also be happy to hear that next year we will be publishing Chaffin's latest book, Giant's Causeway: Frederick Douglass's Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary. The book chronicles Douglass's historic lecture tour of Ireland, England, and Scotland. Please sign up for our newsletter to be notified when this book is released.

Spaar Recognized by Jefferson Scholars

Lisa Russ Spaar is one of nine UVa faculty recognized for their "exceptional commitment to teaching." Spaar, who also received the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Faculty Prize, is Professor of Creative Writing and Director of the Poetry Writing Program at UVa and the editor of All That Mighty Heart: London Poems