The inaugural book in ASP's new Evolution, Cognition, and the Arts series, American Classics: Evolutionary Perspectives examines selected works in the American literary tradition from an evolutionary perspective. Using an interdisciplinary framework to pose new questions about long admired, much discussed texts, the collection as a whole provides an introduction to Darwinian literary critical methodology. Individual essays feature a variety of figures—Benjamin Franklin to Billy Collins—targeting fitness-related issues ranging from sexual strategies and parental investment to cheating and deception. Attention is paid to the physical and social environments in which fictional characters are placed, including the influence of cultural–historical conditions on resource acquisition, status-building, competition, and reciprocity. Discussion throughout the volume makes connections to existing secondary comment, suggesting how Darwinian scrutiny can generate unexpected insights into long familiar works.Read More
In Jeffrey S. Gurock's new book, Conversations with Colleagues: On Becoming an American Jewish Historian, sixteen senior scholars of American Jewish history—among the men and women whose work and advocacy have moved their discipline into the mainstream of academia—converse on the intellectual and personal roads they have traveled in becoming leaders in their areas of expertise. Through their thoughtful and candid recollections of the challenges they faced in becoming accepted academics, they retell the story of how the study of the Jews and Judaism in the United States rose from being long dismissed as an amateurish enterprise not worthy of serious consideration in the world of ideas to its position today as a respected field in communication with all humanities scholars. They also imagine and chart the direction the writing on American Jews will take in the coming era.Read More
Warsaw is My Country: The Story of Krystyna Bierzynska, 1928-1945 by Beth Holmgren tells the story of Krystyna Bierzyńska, an acculturated Polish Jew, from her birth in Warsaw in 1928 up to the war’s end in May 1945, when she was reunited with her brother, Dolek, an officer in the Polish II Corps. Bierzyńska not only survived the Holocaust due in large part to the extraordinary efforts of her parents, blood relatives, and surrogate Christian family, but also served as a 16-year-old orderly in the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. Hers is a Warsaw story, a biography that demonstrates how, in urban interwar Poland, the lives of liberal educated Catholics and acculturated, unconverted Jews significantly overlapped. Co-creating the culture and developing the economy and industries of independent Poland, acculturated Jews at last dared to believe that they qualified as Polish citizens and patriots. Bierzyńska’s story details her experience of two very different Warsaws: a cosmopolitan oasis of high culture, modern amenities, and tolerance, and an occupied capital intoxicated and united by conspiracy, where the residents joined together to overthrow a common enemy.Read More
Our newest interview is with Gabriel Laufer, author of A Survivor’s Duty: Surviving the Holocaust and Fighting for Israel — A Story of Father and Son.
The Holocaust and the birth and growth of Israel are strikingly different Jewish historical events. Yet they are related, just like the author, Gabriel Laufer and his father. With only a few hints in hand, Laufer researched the details of his father’s Holocaust survival in the Hungarian forced labor battalions near Stalingrad, as a slave building German bunkers for weapon factories, and later, his escape from Stalinist Hungary. In this book, Laufer shares the gripping stories of his father’s experiences juxtaposed with his own as an Israeli Defense Force officer in the Six Days War and the three wars that followed. Laufer leads the reader through his family’s personal history and its place in some of the momentous events of the twentieth century.Read More
Our newest author interview is with Vera Schwarcz, author of In the Crook of the Rock: Jewish Refuge in a World Gone Mad — The Chaya Leah Walkin Story.
Focusing upon the life of Chaya Walkin—one little girl from a distinguished Torah lineage in Poland—this book illustrates the inner resources of the refugee community that made possible survival with dignity. Based on a wide variety of sources and languages, this book is crafted around the voice of a child who was five years old when she was forced to flee her home in Poland and start the terrifying journey to Vilna, Kobe, and Shanghai. The Song of Songs is used to provide an unexpected and poetic angle of vision upon strategies for creating meaning in times of historical trauma.Read More
We recently spoke with Sean Martin about his book For the Good of the Nation: Institutions for Jewish Children in Interwar Poland, a collection of documents on CENTOS, the Central Union of Associations for Jewish Orphan Care. CENTOS saught to provide care for the tens of thousands of Jewish children orphaned during World War I and in the subsequent years of conflict. Read on for more information from editor and translator Sean Martin.Read More
Academic Studies Press is delighted to present this interview—our first in a series—with Mark Andryczyk, editor of The White Chalk of Days: The Contemporary Ukrainian Literature Series Anthology.
The White Chalk of Days presents translations of literary works by Ukrainian authors that imaginatively engage pivotal issues in today’s Ukraine and express its tribulations and jubilations. Featuring poetry, fiction, and essays by fifteen Ukrainian writers, the anthology offers English-language readers a wide array of the most beguiling literature written in Ukraine in the past fifty years.Read More