Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dispatch from Grenada

The following is a guest post from Vijay Shah, our new acquisitions editor. Vijay's very first assignment, before ever stepping foot in his new office in Jackson, was to represent the Press at the Caribbean Studies Association Meeting in Grand Anse Beach in Grenada. Below, he writes about the unique experience. 
Last week I began my new position of acquisitions editor with UPM. How do you like my new office? Actually, I was attending the Caribbean Studies Association Conference in Grenada!
I had never traveled to the Caribbean, nor had the Press appeared at the conference before, so we were new to most of the attendees. But many of them, impressed with our books, seemed glad to find us there. After all, Mississippi, located right on the Gulf, remains part of the Caribbean!
The view from Vijay's
new office

I was in Grenada as part of a broader effort called Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World, a book series that publishes top-notch first books in folklore studies. Funded by a generous grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the series is a collaborative venture of the University of Illinois Press, the University Press of Mississippi, and the University of Wisconsin Press, in conjunction with the American Folklore Society.
Mainly, we were promoting our recent book The Jumbies’ Playing Ground: Old World Influences on Afro-Creole Masquerades in the Eastern Caribbean, part of the Folklore Studies in a Multicultural World series mentioned above. As another highlight, a policeman, with a large baton, wanted one of our books on revolutionary Marxist C.L.R. James!

In addition to our Caribbean Studies Series editor Anton Allahar, I met with a dozen more scholars. Overall, I sought out new projects that fit with our strengths in popular culture, music, African diaspora, among others. I also attended a super panel on Indo-Caribbean feminism, a topic of much interest to me.
All in all, it felt like a grand tropical beginning to my work at UPM. Scholarship and the beach makes for quite a cocktail!

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