What are some upcoming trends for the next year?
I’ll go out on a limb and say books with a smart, secular perspective on religion and its impact on society (from a range of disciplines—sociology, history, political science). Also (as we quibble over “the America I remember”) smart reappraisals of public history—what it can teach us, what it should teach us, what it avoids teaching us. And the theories behind those choices.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
We have recently signed two new book series. One, History in the Headlines, will share top historians’ historical insights and context on contemporary issues. The second, Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, will unpack shared explicit and implicit assumptions about race and ethnicity. So, lucid, lively books that throw light on these topics are always welcome. In general, I seek good books in history, geography, American studies, and sociology.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Well, I don’t do unquestioning books about ghosts, spirituality, religion, or other superstitious beliefs. That said, there is no topic that I don’t ever want to see again, because new research and fresh insights are always emerging.
How do you work with self-published authors?
Not much, but we have had some success with acquiring rights to work that started life in the self-publishing realm. For example, Doug Hill’s Not So Fast: Thinking Twice About Technology.
What do you want to change about publishing?
As an editor of academic books for a nonprofit university press, I’d like to see more recognition for what we accomplish for our parent institutions as well as for critical thinking more broadly. I also try to encourage an emphasis on the power of ideas over the vagaries of the retail marketplace. But it is important to remember that the two are not mutually exclusive.
What’s unique about your corner of the publishing industry?
See above. University presses straddle the academic marketplace of ideas, humanities research, teaching, and service, all while subsidizing some portion of our budgets with sales to the commercial marketplace of books (to individuals, libraries, and retail outlets).
Anything else you’d like to add?
I have one of the best jobs in the world, publishing books that make a difference. This year, I am particularly proud of Confederate Statues and Memorialization (featuring the scholars W. Fitzhugh Brundage, Karen L. Cox, Gary W. Gallagher, and Nell Irvin Painter in conversation with the author and historian Catherine Clinton), our first book in the History in the Headlines series.Mick Gusinde-Duffy is executive editor for scholarly and digital publishing at the University of Georgia Press in Athens. He came to Georgia in 2012 from Temple University Press, where he was a senior acquisitions editor, acquiring work in history, sociology, urban studies, and more. All told, Mick has almost 30 years’ experience in academic, professional, and literary publishing, with positions at Westview Press, University of Utah Press, 29th Street Press (computer books), University of Virginia Press, and ZERO TO THREE Press (early childhood research). Beyond conventional book publishing, Mick was director of university press publisher relations during the startup years at netLibrary, an early e-book library aggregator. He was also the founding editor/manager of the University of Virginia Press’ Mellon-supported Electronic Imprint, now known as Rotunda.