Feature: Journal of Late Antique Religion and Culture volume 11 – Javier Martínez & Patricia González

The latest article from the Journal of Late Antique Religion and Culture (JLARC), entitled “Knowledge and specialised trades in the late antique West: medicine vs engineering”, was published on 8th January. Its authors Javier Martínez and Patricia González compare and contrast the trades of medicine and engineering in the Roman world, and provide a theory as to why the Romans’ medical skills were mostly passed on to later generations while their engineering skills were soon lost.

Read the whole article at: https://jlarc.cardiffuniversitypress.org/articles/abstract/10.18573/j.2017.10451/

The high degree of technical and scientific development accomplished in the Roman world is quite staggering. The construction of concrete vaults still standing today, and unsurpassed until the Modern period, is proof of their engineering skills. Similarly, Roman medics were capable of practising eye surgery and embryotomies on patients who survived such interventions. However, with the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West during the long fifth century and the emergence of Christianity, popular imagination sees these two sciences collapsing into the Dark Ages. While this is not absolutely true, it is not completely false either. In the Iberian and Gaulish examples we analyse in this paper, we want to put forward how engineering all but disappeared, while Roman medicine continued and was preserved through the Middle Ages and into modern times.
Complex techniques and specialised instruments, including vaulting and levelling, seem to have been lost in sixth- and seventh-century constructions. All new buildings are much simpler in design and techniques, even if built to large scale, because the problem was not the lack of skilled builders but the lack of trained engineers and architects who could do the necessary calculations. The specific example of aqueducts and their abandonment, and the way new churches were built, serve to illustrate this point. In medicine, however, there is a clear continuity of old Roman practices during late antiquity, partly promoted and protected by the Church. Only a few specific elements and tools seem to have been lost, while most generic and specialised sets of knowledge continued.
We propose that some of the reasons behind these diverting paths in the two sciences reside in the way these sets of specialised knowledge had been transmitted in the Roman world, underlining the weakness of Roman overspecialisation. Engineering was taught either through the army or through private apprenticeship systems, was limited almost entirely to men, and flourished during the periods of economic bonanza when large projects were carried out. The Roman elites would have a certain knowledge of construction and architecture basics as part of their cursus honorum, but this was never proper training – the engineer was not a socially privileged position. In this way, once the Empire collapsed, the army disbanded, and large building projects came to an end until the late sixth century. By then all chains of training in the West seem to have been terminally disrupted (as opposed to what happened in the Roman East). Medicine, on the other hand, was a very developed science, but it was not concentrated in a few hands. Army medics and surgeons existed, but they were not the only ones: municipal medics, trained slaves, herbalists, midwives, priests, even perfume makers, all shared fractions of the vast corpus of Roman medical science. It was accessible to men and women, and it was kept in high social esteem as well, so the transmission of medical knowledge was not as limited as engineering and not tied to the fate of the Empire.

JLARC

Feature: Welsh Economic Review volume 25

This most recent volume contains six interesting and diverse papers. 

The first paper, by Holtham and Huggins, explores the factors which are associated with regional economic development and prosperity, using data on over 450 regional economies from around the world. One result in particular is highlighted – that education expenditures are strongly associated with regional success.  For regions with relatively low gross value-added and productivity, the most important factor was found to be expenditure on primary and secondary education, while for higher prosperity regions, spending on higher education was found to be more important.

The paper by Henley and Lang explores the rise in self-employment in Wales, and considers whether this is related to growth in the so called ‘gig-economy’. The authors recognise that the emergence of internet platform-based businesses, such as Uber and Deliveroo, have resulted in pressure on some to work on an insecure self-employed basis. However they conclude that the gig-economy is only one part of a more complex story, and that self-employed business owners continue to form the majority of the self-employed, both across the UK and in Wales.

The experiences of people who participated in training programmes supported by the European Social Fund (ESF) in Wales are investigated in the paper by Davies et al. The training programmes are considered to have possibly succeeded less well in supporting some of the most vulnerable groups within the labour market, such as relatively young participants, with low levels of educational attainment. However, generally the ESF programmes are considered to have helped address some of the essential skills issues within the Welsh economy. 

The paper by Henderson reports on the initial findings from an ongoing research project to examine the economic impacts associated with business adoption and use of superfast broadband and enabled digital technologies. The findings to date indicate that firms using superfast broadband and digital technologies reported greater labour productivity and innovation rates.

The scale and characteristics of tourism foreign direct investment (FDI) in Wales are examined in the paper by Xu. Tourism was estimated to account for around 3.4% of total direct Welsh GVA in 2013, with 86,500 full-time equivalent jobs estimated to be in tourism industries. UK and overseas-owned tourism businesses were found to supply just over half of all tourism services and products in Wales, with these tourism businesses also having levels of productivity compared with domestically-owned businesses.

The final article in this volume is by Daglish et al.  This paper examines election issues, political party performance and geography. The authors discuss three factors that were important in influencing voting behaviour, and in shaping the result of the 2015 general election: perceived relative importance of election issues, expected performance of parties on each election issue, and the trade-off between election issues. The authors suggest that the Liberal Democrats lost significant vote share because of voters’ perceptions of their performance on the contemporary election issues.

This volume is freely available online at https://wer.cardiffuniversitypress.org/14/volume/25/issue/0/

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Cardiff University Press’ Review of 2017

As we begin 2018, we’ve been looking back at our activities over the last 12 months. It was certainly an eventful year for us! Here are some highlights:

  • In January, we focussed our attention on our mission to support the professionalisation of students. Harriet Gordon and Evelina Kazakevičiūtė, who are both studying for their PhDs at Cardiff University, were welcomed onto the Press Editorial Board as our first ever Student Representatives.  We also conducted an informal survey among our editorial teams to find out more about aspects of student engagement in our publications. At the end of the month, our newest student-led journal was launched – The British Student Doctor.
  • In March, we received final confirmation that funding had been approved to establish monograph printing. We spent the next few months assessing suppliers against our needs.
  • In April, the journal Asian Literature and Translation was relaunched as a Cardiff University Press title. Three days later we accepted two new titles for publication: the Journal of Corpora and Discourse Studies and our first series of working papers, the Design Research Working Paper Series.  As a result, all three Cardiff University Colleges were represented in our publications portfolio for the very first time.
  • In May, we held our fascinating and very enjoyable Publications Showcase and first Editors’ Forum, bringing together representatives from all of our editorial teams in one place.
  • In June, we had another journal relaunch, with the first issue of Romantic Textualities to be published by the Press.
  • In July, we signed our Partner Press contract with Ubiquity Press.
  • In October, our portfolio of publications and our website were successfully transferred over to the Ubiquity Press hosting platform. We also launched this blog!
  • In December, we accepted a second working paper series for publication, Attic Inscriptions in UK Collections. We were also pleased to welcome a new member to our Editorial Board: Dr Dylan Foster Evans, Head of the School of Welsh here at Cardiff University.

2018 is undoubtedly going to be just as busy, with lots of new things happening. We’ll keep you informed on this blog site!

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Season’s Greetings from our blog family

If you’re following this blog, you may be interested to know that it has some close relatives! Three of the Cardiff University Press journals have their own blog sites, which are run by members of their editorial teams. There is also the Cardiff University Open Access team blog, which is very relevant to us as an Open Access publisher.

https://www.bsdj.org.uk/blog
“The Editor’s Blog” of The British Student Doctor Journal was created in September 2016.  It discusses ethical matters relating to medicine and publishing, and provides fascinating insights from the editors and section editors on how the journal is run.

https://mastudiesrn.wordpress.com/
This is the blog of the Martial Arts Studies Research Network, where the idea of our Martial Arts Studies journal was first conceived. It highlights new academic publications on martial arts, and provides detailed information on the Network’s popular annual conference and other activities.

http://www.romtext.org.uk/blog/
The Romantic Textualities blog is the longest-standing member of our family, having been set up in March 2013. A wide variety of Romantic literature topics (and bloggers) are represented, often with in-depth discussions taking place over a series of posts.

https://cardiffunioa.wordpress.com/
The Cardiff University Open Access blog was launched in International Open Access week 2017. Maintained by the University Library Service’s Open Access Team, the blog provides useful advice and news about Open Access, both at Cardiff University and externally.

Why not follow one or more of our blog family members, to keep yourself up to date with the latest developments in their areas of interest? Happy reading!

The Cardiff University Press team wishes you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

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Discovering more Open Access resources

At Cardiff University Press we’ve always been proud of our status as a 100% Open Access (OA) publisher, providing free and unrestricted access to our publications for anyone with an internet connection. But we’re just a small part of the OA revolution: there’s a huge range of other academic content openly available, with countless new publications being added every day.  Here are some ideas for other OA collections you may like to explore, put together in a neat guide by our colleagues in the University’s Open Access team.

Do have a browse through what these sites have to offer! Worldwide access to high-quality information, at no cost, available 24/7 – what’s not to love?

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Our ethical publishing guidelines

As part of Cardiff University Press’ partnership with Ubiquity Press, we’ve adopted the guidelines of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).

COPE was established in 1997 by a small group of journal editors in the UK, but now has over 12,000 members worldwide from all academic fields. Membership is open to editors of academic journals and others interested in publication ethics.

COPE advises publishers like ourselves, as well as the editors of individual journals and series, on a variety of ethical matters relating to publication. Its ethical publishing guidelines ensure a high standard of integrity, accountability and transparency in any publication activities, particularly with regard to the peer review process. Other ethical issues include plagiarism, copyright, or commercial use of content.

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Student volunteering opportunities – your chance to work with the Press

Are you a Cardiff University student who’s interested in working with us? We’re always on the lookout for enthusiastic students who can make a difference to what we do. In fact, you can see on our website that Cardiff University Press aims to support the professionalisation of Cardiff University students by connecting them to our editorial teams who can offer work experience.

Student working

In other words, we give students the chance to work alongside some of our editors to create and publish academic outputs, so that they can learn transferable skills and improve their employability for their future careers. If you have an ambition to work in academia and/or in publishing, this is a great place to start acquiring the necessary knowledge. You can plan the work around your studies, and in most cases it can be done remotely, without the need to stay on campus. 

Here are some of the ways that students can get involved:

  • Copy editing or proof reading of newly-submitted papers
  • Editing/co-editing student-led journals
  • Writing and submitting book reviews and conference reviews for publication
  • Writing and submitting papers for publication
  • Helping to design and lay out new journal issues and working papers
  • Maintaining web pages on external sites of our publications
  • Uploading back issues to the official Cardiff University Press website, as needed
  • Using social media to promote and raise awareness of our publications
  • Contributing guest posts for this blog
  • Serving as student representatives on the individual editorial panels of our publications
  • Serving as student representatives on our Editorial Board

Interested? Watch this space! As we have recently had a lot of applications from students wanting to volunteer for the Press we are currently not taking any further details, but we may call on you again in the future! Thank you so much for your interest!

Feature: Martial Arts Studies no. 4 – Prof Lauren Miller Griffith

In the second of our two posts showcasing articles from issue 4 of Martial Arts Studies, Lauren Miller Griffith’s article “Virtually legitimate: using disembodied media to position oneself in an embodied community” examines how comments posted on YouTube training videos are providing encouragement for new practitioners of the Brazilian martial art of capoeira.

Read the whole article at: https://mas.cardiffuniversitypress.org/articles/abstract/10.18573/j.2017.10185/

““Quebra, moça,” the master said to me as he shook me by the shoulders. Break, girl. I was too closed, too cold, and had the habitus of a ballerina rather than a capoeirista. Training in Brazil, I could see and feel how each of our bodies were being remade according to the demands of this martial art, which demands walking a careful line between using proper form and cultivating a unique personal aesthetic. I was in Brazil for academic research on how non-Brazilians gain legitimacy within local capoeira academies, and about half of the class comprised foreigners. For them, it wasn’t just face-to-face instruction that they deemed necessary for success in the genre, it was face-to-face instruction in the homeland of capoeira. But not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to do this. Although capoeira has become more common throughout the world, there are still places where aspiring students may not be able to find a teacher. And for some students who do live nearby an instructor, the potential embarrassment of trying something new in front of other people can be a barrier to participation. For both of these groups, the Internet can be a useful resource.

Because my teacher in Brazil repeatedly told us that doing capoeira properly required sentimento (feeling), which is something you can’t learn from books or videos, I expected to find that the comment sections of YouTube videos on capoeira would be full of exhortations to find a ‘real’ teacher or take a ‘real’ class. Instead, using textual analysis of comments that had been left on tutorial videos, I uncovered an interesting pattern. Aspiring or novice capoeiristas would express vulnerability regarding their ability to do a move or play capoeira at all. This was often met with a hostile or homophobic comment from someone else, who did not appear to be a capoeirista. When this happened, another commenter would identify him or herself as a community insider, diffuse the ‘trolling,’ and encourage the original poster by telling him/her that anyone can do capoeira if they work hard enough. Rather than being disparaged as an inferior learning tool, online resources are being used by some capoeiristas as a way of inviting newcomers and geographically isolated students into the embodied community.”

MAS

Feature: Martial Arts Studies no. 4 – Prof Douglas Wile

Occasionally on this blog, we’ll be showcasing some of the fascinating articles we publish, by providing summaries written for the general public.

Here’s the first of two posts relating to issue 4 of our journal Martial Arts Studies. Written by Professor Douglas Wile, the article “Fighting words: four new document finds reignite old debates in taijiquan history” describes how recent discoveries of historical documents relating to taijiquan (tai chi) could influence the long-standing academic and political debates concerning the origins of this Chinese martial art.

Read the whole article at: https://mas.cardiffuniversitypress.org/articles/abstract/10.18573/j.2017.10184/

 

“For the millions of ordinary Chinese who stream into China’s parks and public squares every morning at sunrise, taijiquan [tai chi] is an essential health practice and social ritual. For Chinese intellectuals, the art is an iconic intangible cultural heritage and a flashpoint between traditionalists and modernists in the century-old culture war for the soul of China, that plays out in the midst of a national identity crisis. The key bone of contention is the origins of the art, with traditionalists tracing the creation to Zhang Sanfeng, a mythological Daoist immortal, and modernizers focusing on Chen Wangting, a seventeenth-century local militia leader in Chen Village, Henan Province. The latter version, first advanced by pioneering martial arts historian Tang Hao, has received official state endorsement. The two camps are divided over interpretation of a slim body of highly inconclusive evidence preserved in the style lineages of the Chen, Yang, Wu (Yuxiang), Wu (Jianquan), and Sun families.

The new document finds, consisting of form manuals, theoretical texts and genealogies, discovered by the Li family of Tang Village, the Wang family of Wangbao Village, the Liu family of Zhaobao Town, and the Wang family of Shanxi, would be the earliest versions of the “classics” by two centuries, shift the birthplace from the Wudang Temple or Chen Village to the Thousand Year Temple, and introduce a whole new cast of characters as creators. If authentic, the documents not only force a revision of history, but strengthen the hands of traditionalists, who take comfort in the Daoist connections, and support modernizers in the confirmation of a role for Chen Wangting. With various “birthplaces” vying for market share in the Chinese domestic, and increasingly globalized, martial arts marketplace, new documents are used to buttress claims of authenticity on the basis of antiquity and originality, while in academic circles, scholars use the new evidence to challenge party line orthodoxy and press demands for academic freedom.”

MAS

Feature: JOMEC Journal no. 11 – “Diaspora beyond nationalism”

This is the first in a series of posts designed to introduce you to some of the journals and series we publish.

Read on for an introduction to JOMEC Journal no. 11, a special issue entitled “Diaspora Beyond Nationalism”, which was published in July 2017. This piece is written by Dr Idil Osman, guest editor of the special issue. You can find the issue at https://jomec.cardiffuniversitypress.org/15/volume/0/issue/11/

Population movements across borders are not a new phenomenon. But in the 21st century we have seen a significant shift in scope of international migration and rapid advancement of transportation and communication, making today’s world far more interconnected. Movements of such scale are bound to have substantial political, economic and social consequences.

Globalisation has also facilitated the rapid increase in transnationally available alternative media, which is supported by the advancement of a globally connected technological infrastructure.

The potential of alternative media was brought home in the first half of 2011, when revolutionary uprisings swept North Africa and the Middle East, which quickly came to be known as the Arab Spring. These uprisings saw the exits of two heads of states, Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia, and a political shake-up across the Arab inhabited lands. The Arab Spring is an indication of the palpable role social and new media can play in mobilising for political and social change. The Internet, along with mobile phones and digital video, enables people to organise politics in ways that overcome limits of time, space, identity and ideology, resulting in the expansion and coordination of activities that are unlikely to occur using other means.

This special issue addresses and engages these matters with articles that capture them from wide perspectives. It has been developed from a selection of exemplary papers that emerged from the Diaspora Beyond Nationalism conference, held in September 2015 at Cardiff University’s School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies. The issue also includes exceptional papers that were submitted after the conference took place. The papers showcase exciting and original scholarship from across a range of academic disciplines and theoretical perspectives, sharing concerns about the social, cultural and political significance of migration and diaspora communities in a range of national and transnational contexts. Their common thread is the notion of shifting identities, their flexibility in realignment and reconstruction amidst changing tides, means and circumstances, which expand far beyond notions of national identities.

We hope you enjoy reading the papers as much as we have enjoyed putting them together in this topical issue.