UM Press launches groundbreaking series with Bard Graduate Center

by Heather Newman on June 17, 2010

The University of Michigan Press announced today that it has formed a partnership with the Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture, to produce a new series of books. The Bard Graduate Center Cultural Histories of the Material World Series will overcome the boundaries between academic disciplines and the boundaries between print and electronic media to tell the story of how human beings have shaped and interpreted the world around them.

“This is an important series, in an interdisciplinary area that has not received its publishing due, led by a board of outstanding scholars worldwide in a variety of fields,” said Phil Pochoda, director of the University of Michigan Press. “We are thrilled to be part of the exemplary research and the groundbreaking publishing practices that will define this project.”

The series will incorporate the perspectives of archaeology, anthropology, art and design history, economic and landscape history, the history of technology, and philosophy. It will marry the kind of careful attention to material culture once associated only with curators with the evolving cultural historical approaches to materiality across the range of the humanities and social sciences.

“This type of scholarly inquiry did not have an institutional home before the founding of the Bard Graduate Center,” said Peter N. Miller, Bard Graduate Center Dean. “And it did not have a publishing home before the launching of this series with the University of Michigan Press.”

The material in the series will not be limited to traditional print. Rather, it will include a variety of print and digital formats and offerings, ranging from traditional and short-run printing to a robust research Web site, interactive digital material, maps, image and document repositories, databases, discussion sites and stand alone digital monographs, all made widely available to assist scholars in experimenting with creating knowledge in whatever form they feel best enables them to discover and explore.


“In addressing the histories of objects—the ways in which they have been charged with meaning, assembled into larger collections, and interpreted as tokens of lost histories—the series will be able to draw upon the work of—among others—art historians, historians, literary scholars and historians of photography and related pursuits, all of whom see material objects as the largest and richest set of clues to the nature of past cultures,” said Anthony Grafton, American Historical Association President-Elect, Henry Putnam University Professor of History and chair of the Council of the Humanities at Princeton University, and Series External Board Member.

“At a time when the nature of scholarly research and publication in the humanities is increasingly troubled—by attacks on the utility of traditional monographs, published at vast expense to be bought and read by few—this series marks an informed and intelligent effort to create new forms of both collaborative and individual research projects and to use new technologies for the effective analysis and display of visual materials and other forms of data.

“CHMW, in short, is a distinctive enterprise of high quality, fiercely ambitious in scope and consistently innovative in style.”

The University of Michigan Press, in collaboration with the University of Michigan Library, is ideally positioned to offer such a broad variety of expression. Together, they are the publisher of the digitalculturebooks series, which promotes scholarship in new media both through free Web versions of books as well as traditional print runs. It is also a leader in digital publishing in general, offering free and paid digital access to more than a thousand titles in virtually every format now available.

The first two volumes in the series will be edited collections, helping to map the widely varied terrain of the fields and approaches to be included. They will be followed by monographs and other single-author scholarly works addressing specific topics within the broad spectrum of studying the material world.

About the University of Michigan Press

The University of Michigan Press is part of the University of Michigan Library and a unit of MPublishing, the primary academic publishing division of the University of Michigan. In operation for nearly 80 years, its mission is to use the best emerging digital technology to disseminate such information as freely and widely as possible while preserving the integrity of published scholarship. The Press publishes materials in a wide range of humanities and social science disciplines; produces educational texts for student audiences, with special emphasis on English language teaching; publishes information that advances public understanding of the many vexed political, social, and cultural issues faced by a global, multicultural society; and produces regional books that contribute to fiction and the arts, human history, natural history, and the changing environment of Michigan and the Great Lakes.

About the Bard Graduate Center

The Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture is a graduate institute affiliated with Bard College that opened in New York City in 1993. Today the BGC offers two programs of study: one leading to a master of arts degree and the other to a doctor of philosophy degree. Integrated into its program is an internationally-acclaimed Gallery developing exhibitions and bringing them in from elsewhere. BGC also sponors West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History, and Material Culture.

Bard Graduate Center Cultural Histories of the Material World Series

External Editorial Board:

Glenn Adamson, V&A Research Department, London
Brigitte Bedos?Rezak, History, NYU
Ann Blair, History, Harvard
Jonathan Bloom, Art History, Boston College
Philippe Bordes, INHA, Paris
Horst Bredekamp, Kunsthistorisches Seminar, Humboldt?Universität, Berlin
Bill Brown, English, University of Chicago
Craig Clunas, Art History, Oxford
Joseph Connors, Villa I Tatti/ Harvard
Nicola di Cosmo, School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study
Ronnie Ellenblum, Geography, Hebrew University
Ja? Elsner, Classics, Oxford
Juliet Fleming, English, NYU
Ivan Gaskell, Fogg Art Museum/ History, Harvard
Anthony Grafton, History, Princeton
David Hancock, History, University of Michigan
Robert E. Harrist, Jr., Art History, Columbia
Bernard Herman, History, University of North Carolina
Robert Hillenbrand, Art History, Edinburgh
Barbara Kirshenblatt?Gimblett, Performance Studies, NYU
Jill Kraye, Warburg Institute, University of London
Sabine MacCormack, History, Notre Dame University
Michael McCormick, History, Harvard
Lynn Meskell, Anthropology, Stanford
Daniel Miller, Anthropology, University College London
Ruth Phillips, Anthropology, Carleton University
Leah Price, English, Harvard University
Alain Schnapp, Archaeology, Université de Paris?IV
Elaine Sisman, Music, Columbia

About Peter Miller, Series Project Director:Peter N. Miller is Dean of the Bard Graduate Center. Supported by a grant from the NEH (1996–97 Fellowship for University Teachers), and a fellowship from the Wissenschaftskolleg (1997–98), he wrote Peiresc’s Europe: Learning and Virtue in the Seventeenth Century. This is the first scholarly monograph on Peiresc in any language and was awarded the Jacques Barzun Prize of the American Philosophical Society and the Concours des Antiquités de la France, 2e medaille, of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles?Lettres (both 2001). Supported by fellowships from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (1998–2003), the Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University (2003), the Max?Planck Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin (2003), and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (2003– 4), Miller prepared a series of detailed investigations of Peiresc’s oriental studies under the working project title of Peiresc’s Orient.

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