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University Presses Support and Celebrate Diverse Voices

Association of University Presses to Host University Press Week November 13-17

New York, NY, and Washington, DC—In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to end affirmative action in college admissions, along with an escalation in censorship of the books and ideas explored in K-12 classrooms and on college campuses, many in higher education are wondering what the future will hold for the make-up of their undergraduate as well as graduate student cohorts. Who will become our next scholars, researchers, professors, and thought leaders? How will today’s politically motivated decisions and actions change whose voices are being heard and whose research will advance human knowledge in the future?

In the current climate, the work of university presses in ensuring diversity—of authors, ideas, business models, and more—has taken on new urgency.

That’s why this year, the members of the Association of University Presses (AUPresses), an organization of 160 mission-driven publishers in the United States, Canada, and around the world, have chosen #SpeakUP as the theme for University Press Week, happening November 13 to 17, to celebrate university press work that amplifies thought-provoking concepts, new points of view, and ideas that advocate for social change.

This event, now in its 12th year, will show the many ways in which university presses are speaking up by highlighting prominent works published by university presses in a reading list and online gallery, featuring a selection of blog entries from a wide range of university presses, and presenting author events at bookstores in New York, Seattle, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco (with more dates and cities to be announced in the coming weeks). Full information here: https://upweek.up.hcommons.org/celebrate/up-week-2023/

But university presses aren’t paying lip service to diversity during University Press Week. Over the past few years, university presses have made concerted efforts to help scholars from diverse and underrepresented groups get published, which not only helps advance individual careers, but also broadens the scope of ideas that all can explore:

  • For example, the University of California Press, MIT Press, Princeton University Press, and the University of North Carolina Press have all established grant programs to advise and support diverse new authors—including women, trans and gender-expansive individuals, BIPOC, and first-generation scholars—in researching, writing, and publishing their work.
  • Other presses, such as the University of Illinois Press and the University of Notre Dame Press, regularly present free publishing seminars for graduate students, faculty members, and other prospective authors on their campuses, demystifying how to turn a dissertation into a book or how to propose an article or manuscript for publication.
  • Earlier this year, the AUPresses Faculty Outreach Committee sponsored a webinar for graduate student members of the Latin American Studies Association, building on a long history of university press staffers presenting publishing sessions at scholarly conferences.

“One of the things that makes university presses so valuable is that we are dedicated to publishing books that give voice to the serious scholarship and ideas that shape conversations around the world,” says Jane Bunker, director of Cornell University Press and President of the Association of University Presses. “Our community’s commitment to publishing works by authors from a wide variety of backgrounds ensures that diverse ideas become part of the conversation.”

To schedule an interview with Jane Bunker or for more information, please contact Lauren Carrane at 954-554-0336 or Lauren@sharppencilmarketing.com.

Early media coverage: “University Presses Hold the Line as Book Bans Soar,” Cambridge Day, September 5, 2023.

About the Association of University Presses

AUPresses is an organization of 160 international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, the Association of University Presses advances the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds intellectual freedom, integrity, stewardship, and equity and inclusion as core values. AUPresses members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.

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מיר פֿירן אַריבער די עיקרדיקע ראָלע פֿון אַ גלאָבאַלער געמיינשאַפֿט פֿון פֿאַרלעגערס, װאָס זייער מיסיע איז פֿאַרזיכערן אַקאַדעמישע אויסגעצייכנקייט און קולטוװירן דאָס װיסן. 

— AUPresses Mission Statement in Yiddish