Job Posting at Broadview Press: Marketing Coordinator

Broadview Press seeks to fill a one-year parental leave contract to cover the position of Marketing Coordinator. The responsibilities include:

  • Creating and updating catalogues, flyers, e-newsletters, and other promotional materials
  • Maintaining and updating the press’s website
  • Updating ONIX and other metadata feeds
  • Editing and assembling custom coursepacks
  • Arranging promotion and review copies
  • Updating social media accounts
  • Chairing monthly marketing meetings and biannual sales conferences
  • Maintaining internal documents related to sales and marketing
  • Promoting Broadview titles via email
  • Fielding queries from academics and students relating to our products

We are looking for a candidate who is highly organized, has exceptional writing and communication skills, works well on teams, has strong attention to detail, is able to juggle many priorities, has strong computer skills, and will uphold Broadview’s reputation for excellent customer service.

The position is full-time for one year, beginning in early April 2015, and will be located in Guelph, Ontario.

A bachelor’s degree is a prerequisite; a master’s degree is likely to be an asset. Preference will be given to candidates with a concentration in English and/or Philosophy (Broadview’s publishing program focuses on those two disciplines). Experience in marketing is an asset.

Salary range: $35,000-$39,000 a year depending on qualifications and experience, plus benefits.

To apply please send a résumé and cover letter to Nora Ruddock at nruddock@broadviewpress.com. Applications will be accepted through March 6th, 2015. No phone calls or in-person visits, please.

Victims and Victimhood: Trudy Govier in Conversation

Victims and Victimhood

Broadview Press is proud to have recently published Victims and Victimhood by Trudy Govier, a careful examination of the concept of victimhood. Issues are explored with reference to a range of complex examples, including child victims of institutional abuse and the famed Rigoberta Menchú controversy. Further topics include the authority of personal experience, restorative justice, restitution, forgiveness, and closure.

In the following interview, Broadview Philosophy Editor Stephen Latta engages Govier in conversation about some of the key questions posed by her work.

SL: In the introduction to Victims and Victimhood you suggest that, while issues related to victims have been much discussed in other academic fields, they have been comparatively neglected in philosophy. What is unique about a philosophical approach to the discussion of victims, and why is it valuable?

TG: A philosophical approach is unique in the ways in which it explores definitions, assumptions, and value judgments. It has much to offer in thoroughly considering differing perspectives and the reasons for and against these. Furthermore, such an approach can relate the issues to broader theories in ethics, epistemology, and political philosophy. Two central issues in these areas are those of credibility (epistemology) and punishment (political philosophy).

SL: How do you see the philosophical discussion of victims connecting to the work of victim advocacy groups? Should they mutually inform one another?

TG: I think it would be helpful to connect these approaches, and I hope that people will do that to good effect, though in some respects advocacy work and philosophical analysis will obviously differ in their goals.

SL: There have been a number of high-profile news stories recently involving allegations of victimization; in such cases, the testimony of victims is sometimes contradicted by the testimony of alleged perpetrators, with no physical evidence available to corroborate either party’s claims. How should we balance the rights and interests of victims (or purported victims) against the rights and interests of those who are accused?

TG: It is a difficult problem, to be sure.  There are surely temptations in this context.  Given tendencies to dismiss or discredit victims, one might wish to give them full credit in a sort of compensation for benighted attitudes in the past.  Or, given the strong association between innocence and victimhood, one might presume greater credibility for persons claiming to be victims.  While these temptations are understandable, I think they should be resisted. They can be very distorting. Most importantly, they fail to take seriously the rights of accused perpetrators.  The rights of victims and those of accused perpetrators need somehow to be balanced in contexts where credibility is at issue.

SL: One of the more compelling examples you discuss in the book is child soldiers, who may seem to blur the line between victims and perpetrators. Are there cases in which one’s being a victim can excuse one from also being a perpetrator?

Estimates are that there are over 300,000 child soldiers in the world today.  Problems posed are those of  moral and legal responsibility, rehabilitation, and reintegration; these are huge. A child soldier who commits seriously brutal acts is a perpetrator as well as a victim, and this is one of the ethically and politically challenging aspects of the case. Child soldiers are perpetrators in the sense that they are agents who have committed brutal and inhumane acts. They are (typically) victims in the sense that they have become soldiers in coercive circumstances and are not fully responsible for their acts. The perpetrator/victim dichotomy does not serve us well in reflecting on these problems.

SL: In Canada, the recent Victims Bill of Rights has been promoted by the federal government as an effort to “stand up for victims of crime and give them a more effective voice in the criminal justice and corrections system.” Do you believe that victims should have a central role in the criminal justice system?

TG: Victims deserve respect; they deserve to be heard; they deserve prompt and relevant information about their case; they deserve reparation and compensation. There are aspects of suffering that are unique to victims. Only the victim of a heinous act knows what it is like to experience it.  Having a central role in policy and sentencing is another matter, however.  There are important reasons not to give victims this role.  One is that their experiential knowledge of suffering does not amount to knowledge about sentencing and policy and does not provide it.  Another is that giving a central role to victims through impact statements unintentionally privileges ‘respectable’ and articulate victims, producing imbalances in the administration of justice.

SL: You’ve published on many other topics in social philosophy, including reconciliation, forgiveness, and terrorism. How do you see Victims and Victimhood connecting to those topics?

TG: I have long been interested in issues of peace and reconciliation. To some theorists and practitioners, victims have been of interest primarily for their potential forgiveness, resulting in lack of attention to their serious needs. Victims’ efforts for reparation or compensation may be resisted or ignored, to their lasting detriment. These tendencies were apparent even in the well-regarded Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. There, victims deserved better.  However, it is important also to recognize that victim advocacy groups can pose challenges to peace settlements. Individuals or groups may seize, righteously and even competitively, on the victim role.  Exploiting presumptions about innocence and victimhood, they may insist on their victimhood with no recognition of their actual or possible status as perpetrators.  Exaggerated deference to victims may result in simplistic judgments concerning the blameworthiness of those identified as perpetrators.

Happy New Year from Broadview Press: Forthcoming Spring Titles

Red Badge of Courage

Happy New Year! As we enter the coldest months of the year, it is cheering to look forward to new spring titles…

Forthcoming Broadview Editions bring us narratives of endurance, exploration, and adventure, including the vivid depiction of a soldier’s experience of war in Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, the building of a socialist community in antebellum Massachusetts in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Blithedale Romance, and the transatlantic capers of Daniel Defoe’s Colonel Jack. This list also delves into the complex world of the human mind reflecting upon itself, from the medieval meditative tradition in the prayers and stories of The Miracles of the Virgin and The Wooing of Our Lord, to modern psychological explorations, such as Oscar Wilde’s fierce, rebellious exploration of desire in Salome and the nightmare scenes of Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis. Editions of works by Elizabeth Oakes Smith, Robert Louis Stevenson, William Godwin, and John Locke further enrich this season’s offerings.

In English Studies, Broadview continues to expand our list of introductory handbooks that teach clear thinking and writing, from an accessible general handbook, Academic Writing Now, to more specialized introductions: How to Read (and Write About) Poetry and Writing for Today’s Healthcare Audiences. The compact and lucid Literary Theory and Criticism: An Introduction will be much appreciated by any new readers of theory.

Our new Philosophy books take on questions that are being keenly debated in the media and in the classroom. Victims and Victimhood considers how we characterize and respond to victims; Philosophizing about Sex explores the complexity behind even our simplest questions about sexuality; and the perennial question of ‘what it means to be happy’ is analyzed by two companion volumes, Happy Lives, Good Lives and Theories of Happiness: An Anthology.

This spring, Broadview’s frontlist offers diverse avenues from which to consider some of our most pressing questions—whether they were posed in the distant past or in the present day. These are books that continue our commitment to publish works that challenge, delight, and surprise.

Kirsten Lodge’s New Translation of Notes from the Underground

Notes from the UndergroundKirsten Lodge’s new translation of Notes from the Underground has been receiving high commendation from academics and readers alike. The following review by Jefferson Gatrall at Montclair State University praises both Lodge’s translation and her contextual materials for students:

Kirsten Lodge has performed an invaluable service for modern readers with her new translation of Dostoevsky’s Notes from the Underground. This classic novel has long been notorious for its nameless hero, an “Underground Man” whose psychological complexities and philosophical provocations remain as revolutionary now as they once were for Dostoevsky’s contemporaries. Lodge manages to capture the full range of the Underground Man’s unpredictable rhetoric through subtle style choices of her own. For the extended monologue in Part I, she keeps intact the Underground Man’s long, winding sentences in all their cynical and seductive lucidity. By contrast, Lodge peppers the dialogs in Part II—in a restaurant, in a brothel, etc.—with cutting and even vulgar language taken from contemporary American vernacular. Dostoevsky prided himself on his mastery of Russian slang. Lodge not only remains true to the letter and spirit of the original through her well-timed use of such words as “bitch” or “morons”; following in Dostoevsky’s footsteps, she also pushes the boundaries of good taste in a way likely to startle readers. The Underground Man, an intellectual recluse, admits that he can sound “bookish”; but he is also an angry college grad working in a dead-end job. Lodge’s translation preserves both the rigor and the venom of his hard-hitting paradoxes.

Teachers in particular will find highly useful the historical documents that Lodge includes with her translation, from excerpts of works by Dostoevsky’s literary rivals to photographs of the “Crystal Palace”—a cutting-edge London pavilion that provoked the horror of the novelist and Underground Man alike. Dostoevsky wrote his novel in part as an urgent intervention at a very specific moment in prerevolutionary Russian history. For teachers and students, Lodge surrounds the novel with a wealth of fascinating materials for understanding what was at stake for Dostoevsky and his political opponents. Lodge’s introduction is especially noteworthy, as it provides what may well be the most clearheaded summary of the novel and its polemics as exists in print. Yet beyond this historical context, Dostoevsky also wrote the Notes from the Underground as a literary experiment, one in which he stretched the conventions of the novel to their breaking point so as to engage the present in as direct a manner as possible. Here Lodge’s translation admirably succeeds in conveying all the energy and urgency of the original for a new generation of readers. From his first word to the last, she lets the Underground Man speak for himself.

-Jefferson Gatrall, Montclair State University

For more information about the edition, please click here.

Victor Ramraj (1941-2014)

Concert of Voices 2e

It is with great sorrow that we at Broadview heard news of the death of Victor Ramraj, editor of our esteemed Concert of Voices anthology. An internationally-recognized scholar at the University of Calgary, Victor was a distinguished expert in postcolonial studies and Canadian literature. He was the author of several books, dozens of articles, and works of creative writing. Concert of Voices, the anthology of world writing in English that he edited for Broadview, has been highly-regarded by students and teachers alike since its first publication in 1995; it exemplifies Victor’s expertise and his dedication to sharing that knowledge and passion with students.

Victor was always a great supporter of the press, and served on our editorial board for many years in the 1990s. In that capacity (as in so many others over the years), he displayed good judgement, infectious enthusiasm, and a warm spirit of humanity.

Victor will be sadly missed by us at Broadview, and by the academic and literary communities to which he contributed so much.

The Rules of the Game

An Excerpt from The Grasshopper, Third Edition, by Bernard Suits

grasshopper

In this passage, the Grasshopper explores the possibility of playing a game without any rules.

Ivan and Abdul [I began] had been officers of general rank before each was retired and ‘elevated’ to the post of ambassador in the backwater capital of Rien-à-faire. Both had established brilliant military careers in the service of homelands which had frequently been at war with one another, and Ivan and Abdul had in fact been opposite numbers in many engagements. So the two warriors were overjoyed at the opportunity their appointments afforded them for going over all of their old campaigns together. But after a few months, when they had reviewed all the victories and defeats from every possible angle and refought all the old battles under every conceivable modification of logistics and tactics, they grew weary of their reminiscences and sought other diversions.

Sport seemed an obvious pastime for a couple of shelved warriors to take up, since sport seemed to them to be a kind of substitute, or polite, kind of warfare. It soon became evident to them, however, that sports were like warfare in only the most superficial respects. Specifically, they found that sports were hedged round with the most outrageously arbitrary restrictions. In golf, for example, you were expected to use a golf club to get your ball out of a sand trap even when your opponent could not see what you were doing. And in tennis, you were expected to call a ball foul or fair honestly even when your opponent was not in a position to check your call. Chess was no better, since surreptitiously to alter the location of pieces on the board – obviously an effective tactic – was ruled out.

But since they could find nothing better to do to occupy their time, they continued to play these games, although – as the diplomatic colony to its delight soon became aware – with a difference. Whenever the rules could be broken without detection or retribution, they were broken. Although this approach was ultimately doomed to failure, it worked very well for a time, and a number of breathtaking refinements were added to most of the conventional games. Thus to golf was added, among other things, the use of self-propelling radar-controlled golf balls, and to chess the use of hallucinogenic drugs as an offensive weapon. On the tennis courts Abdul achieved a much admired coup by hiring two men to raise and lower the net at appropriate times, until this was countered by Ivan’s introduction of the net-piercing tennis ball. Things reached their fated conclusion in a climactic chess match.

In preparing themselves for the contest both contestants had countered the possible use of drugs by taking suitable antidotes, and each was determined to keep a very keen eye upon the other throughout the match. The first game proceeded normally for six moves. Then Ivan made the move which was the beginning of the end. Utterly ignoring the rules governing movement of the pieces, he illegally moved his queen to a square which put Abdul in check. The fascinated audience waited breathlessly for Abdul’s response to this outrage. It was not slow in coming. He simply removed Ivan’s queen from the board and put it in his pocket. Ivan in turn was quick to respond. In a trice he had nimbly rearranged the pieces on the board so that Abdul’s king was in checkmate, crying, ‘I’ve won!’

‘Wrong, my friend,’ screamed Abdul, and gathering up all of the pieces except his king, he flung them to the floor.

‘Abdul, you can’t do that,’ said Ivan in outraged tones. ‘I won the game the moment you were in checkmate.’

‘So you say,’ responded Abdul, ‘but you were obviously mistaken, for there stands my king, quite free to move.’

Ivan had not, of course, expected such a transparent tactic to succeed with the wily Abdul. It had merely been a diversionary move so that he could, while his opponent was momentarily distracted, secure Abdul’s king to the board with the quick-drying glue he had all along held ready in his hand beneath the table. Then, of course, before you could say ‘scimitar,’ Abdul snatched a bottle of solvent from his tunic and freed his king. Ivan’s hand immediately shot out towards the king, but Abdul grabbed his wrist in time to forestall the assault. For a full minute they were locked in a frozen tableau of force and counterforce (evoking spirited applause from the audience), before they broke apart, leapt from their chairs, and began to circle each other warily. Then they joined battled in what was to become a truly mythic contest, for

They fought all that night

Neath the pale yellow light,

And the din it was heard from afar.

Huge multitudes came,

So great was the fame

Of Abdul and Ivan Skavar.

Broadview Junior Essay Award Winner

pride and prejudice

Broadview is proud to support and recognize outstanding student writing. We are happy to announce that Kiera Keglowitsch, a first-year student at the university of Alberta, has won the Broadview Junior Award for an Essay in Prose. Please click here to read Kiera`s essay on love in Pride and Prejudice.

The essay was selected by a panel of three professors at the University of Alberta: Don Perkins, Sylvia Brown and Chri Bracken.

Arguing with People

Arguing with People

ARGUING WITH PEOPLE

In the following interview, Michael Gilbert talks arguments with Stephen Latta, Broadview’s Philosophy Editor. Gilbert’s new book draws together insights from Argumentation Theory and our experience of everyday arguing to challenge and deepen how we approach critical thinking.

SL: What is Argumentation Theory?

MG: Argumentation Theory is an area of study that draws upon philosophy, social psychology, communication theory, rhetoric, linguistics, and discourse analysis. Its roots lie in the 1950s, but it really came into its own in the 1970s. Scholars in all these disciplines came to realize that their interest in interpersonal disagreement intersected in many ways, and that by looking across disciplines we would come to understand interpersonal argument in a deeper and more realistic way. Today in numerous journals and conferences we share interdisciplinary approaches and thereby enlarge our stock of tools for understanding everyday argumentation.

SL: In the introduction to your book, you indicate that knowledge of recent advances in Argumentation Theory can be of use to “the many people whose occupations and interests involve them in argumentation on a daily basis.” Can you give an example of how such knowledge may be useful in an everyday context?

MG: We engage in arguments all the time. Some are important and loom large, while others are virtually trivial. Once you commit to an argument you need to understand its dynamics, its importance to you, and its importance to your argument partner. If you become aware of the goals involved in a dispute, pay attention to the personalities, and take into account the context and relationships involved, a difficult argument can become a simple and straightforward one. Whether it’s in business or at home, there’s always a lot in play. While knowing about argument is important, it is not the same as knowing how to argue, and that knowledge is vital in everyday contexts.

SL: Students of philosophy are often taught that arguments are good or bad independent of context or method of presentation. Do you believe that this view is mistaken?

MG: Most university students take a course in Critical Thinking or Critical Reasoning, and those are important courses. They teach argument structure, relations between premises and conclusions, and the importance of relevance and evidence. However, in real arguments that take place in the office, boardroom or kitchen, there is much more going on. Who you are arguing with, why you are arguing, where you are arguing—these are all factors ignored by the traditional structural approach, yet they can often be the most crucial. For example, I would even go so far as to state that it is not always a good idea to point out your partner’s argument mistake, be it a logical error or the commission of a fallacy. Sure, recognizing it is important, but how that knowledge is used is something else entirely.

SL: You note that we most often argue with our “familiars” (friends, family, and others with whom we are in regular contact). But some people hold that it is best to avoid arguments with friends and family whenever possible. Do you think this is good advice, or is there something valuable or important about engaging in arguments with familiars?

MG: The first questions any arguer should ask are these: Should I enter into this argument? What’s in it for me, and what’s in it for my partner? Sometimes the outcome is not all that important, and you may choose to ignore the statement or attitude and move on. At other times, the belief or values being expressed are something you care about and want to try and change. So sometimes there is something very valuable in arguing with friends and family, at other times it’s just not worth the effort, and in still others the emotional costs may be too high. You need to remember too that when we argue with familiars, we know a lot about them, and they about us. It is also important to keep in mind that many arguments do not take place in a set time and place. They frequently boil up and simmer down, and they can take weeks or months to resolve themselves. So avoiding arguments is relative to time and place as well as to the person with whom you are arguing.

SL: In some ways, academic writing seems designed to strip away the direct, interpersonal elements of conversational argument – threads of discussion in academic journals often take years or even decades to play out, and scholarly reviewers are typically blind to the identity of authors. Do you think this is in any way a hindrance to progress in scholarly arguments?

MG: This is a difficult question for me to answer, if for no other reason than I have been trained in this approach and it is deeply instilled in me. I certainly wouldn’t want academic journals to become like so many Internet bulletin boards, loaded with personal attacks and diatribes. On the other hand, I do try personally to make my academic writing a bit contextually rich, and do not pretend I am writing in a vacuum. The other consideration is that the counterpoints to the aridity of journal writing are the conferences we all attend. The interactions there are where the context, personalities, and interpersonal elements come into play. Sometimes minds even change!

SL: You have published other books on argument. How do you see Arguing with People fitting in with those?

MG: The first book I ever published on argumentation was in 1979 and is How to win an Argument, now in a 3rd edition. That book was very introductory and focused primarily on the topics popular in Critical Thinking. The new edition contains more modern material but it is still a popular introduction to Critical Reasoning. Later, in 1997 I published Coalescent Argumentation, which is a more scholarly work (i.e., harder) that introduces many of the concepts I developed in my research over time. Arguing with People, on the other hand, takes much of the more scholarly material and makes it available and understandable to the lay reader or college student. In this way I hope to make the general public aware of the breadth of research going on in Argumentation Theory.

Michael A. Gilbert is Professor of Philosophy at York University.

The New Yorker talks Amazon

“Amazon has successfully fostered the idea that a book is a thing of minimal value—it’s a widget.” – Dennis Johnson

George Packer presented an interesting, in-depth look at books in the era of Amazon in the February 17th installment of The New Yorker, urging readers to consider this important question: Amazon may be good for customers, but is it good for books? Read the full article here.