Wednesday, November 13, 2013

University Press Week: Guest Blogger Nik Heynen

As part of the blog tour celebrating University Press Week, today's post highlights a subject area for which our press is known. Due to the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series collaboration, UGA Press continues to excel in the field of geography. Books such as Julian Brash's BLOOMBERG'S NEW YORK and Andy Merrifield's THE POLITICS OF THE ENCOUNTER have become popular books for both scholarly and trade audiences.

Today's post is by guest blogger Nik Heynen. Heynen is professor of geography at the University of Georgia and series co-editor for the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series.. He has coedited three books: NEOLIBERAL ENVIRONMENTS: FALSE PROMISES AND UNNATURAL CONSEQUENCES; GLOBALIZATION’S CONTRADICTIONS: GEOGRAPHIES OF DISCIPLINE, DESTRUCTION & TRANSFORMATION; and IN THE NATURE OF CITIES: URBAN POLITICAL ECOLOGY AND THE POLITICS OF URBAN METABOLISM. Heynen's current book project is a study of the politicization of anti-hunger programs, with a particular focus on the Black Panthers.

In 2007 Neil Smith, Derek Krissoff and Nik Heynen sat down at the San Francisco AAG to discuss the idea of essentially re-creating a book series at the University of Georgia Press that Neil had initially created at Temple University Press (with Peter Wissoker). For a host of reasons, Neil's Place, Culture, and Politics series only produced two (very good) books including George Henderson's California and the Fictions of Capital and Katharyne Mitchell's Crossing the Neoliberal Line Pacific Rim Migration and the Metropolis before it prematurely shut down. 
Melissa Wright (a Professor in Penn State’s Department of Geography), Andy Herod and Nik Heynen (both Professors in Geography at the University of Georgia), with Derek Krissoff, got the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series off the ground at UGA Press later that year. In 2011, Deb Cowen (Professor at the University of Geography at the University of Toronto) replaced Andy as one of the series co-editors. More recently, Derek went off to be the Editor-in-Chief of the University of Nebraska Press, and the GOJST series has been lucky to start working with the UGA Press' new Editor in Chief, Mick Gusinde-Duffy. 
Based on the goals of the Neil Smith Temple series, with a few tweaks, the Geographies of Justice and Social Transformation series is devoted to books that engage the importance of space for questions of social and political change. This focus necessarily covers a broad range of subject matter, including international political economy, urban studies, gender, race, sexuality, and poverty and inequality. While the series is interdisciplinary, its primary emphasis is on critical human geography. 
We have worked hard to publish in the series that are designed to inform both intellectuals of broad stripes and as well as those engaged in political processes of different kinds, from policy makers to grassroots activists. As series editors, we are interested in producing books that live on in academic offices and classrooms around the world, but also take on life in political chambers, organizing halls, and the streets where both space and politics are produced. 
Nineteen books later, with a large number more either under contract or at various stages of review or publication, many people tell us they think the series is doing very well. We agree. 
While ultimately it is the quality of the books that make a book series, much of the early success of the series has resulted from the commitment and support of our inaugural editorial advisory board. The members of that board include: Sharad Chari (University of Witwatersand); Bradon Ellem (University of Sydney), Gillian Hart (University of California, Berkeley), Andy Herod (University of Georgia), Jennifer Hyndman (York University), Larry Knopp (University of Washington, Tacoma), Heidi Nast (Depaul University), Jamie Peck (University of British Columbia), Frances Fox Piven (City University of New York), Laura Pulido (University of Southern California), Paul Routledge (Leeds University), Bobby Wilson (University of Alabama). 
We are very grateful for all of their guidance and the solidarity they brought to this endeavor. As they say, "we couldn't have done this without you". As these things go however, we recently decided it is was time to refresh the board as we move into the next phase of the series, so we were recently very pleased to announce the second generation of the GOJST board, which includes: Mathew Coleman (Ohio State University), Sapana Doshi (University of Arizona), Zeynep Gambetti (Boğaziçi University), Geoff Mann (Simon Fraser University), James McCarthy (Clark University), Beverly Mullings (Queen's University), Harvey Neo (National University of Singapore), Geraldine Pratt (University of British Columbia), Ananya Roy (University of California, Berkeley), Michael Watts, (University of California, Berkeley), Ruth Wilson Gilmore (CUNY Graduate Center), Jamie Winders (Syracuse University), Brenda S.A. Yeoh (National University of Singapore). 
One of the members of the initial editorial board who we did not yet thank is Neil Smith, who served until he passed away on September 29th, 2012. As we recognized the first anniversary of Neil's passing, we at the series started working to launch a Neil Smith Book Prize in recognition of his inspiration, and the other many forms of help he offered getting the series up and going. We hope the Neil Smith Book Prize will not only honor Neil, but also serve to keep the series growing with the highest caliber scholarship possible. Stay tuned to learn more about efforts to help us establish the book prize in Neil's name when we launch our fund raising drive in the coming months.
Next stop on the blog tour: the University of Pennsylvania Press, where Penn Press acquisitions editors discuss the foundations and future of some of the press's key subject areas. A complete blog tour schedule is available here.