Tuesday, May 29, 2012

New KP Release: The Essentials of Economic Sustainability By John Ikerd

This is an exciting week for Kumarian Press as we welcome a new book into our family entitled The Essentials of Economic Sustainability by John Ikerd. Ikerd has written for KP in the past, with his first book Sustainble Capitalism.

In his new book, Ikerd addresses the basic principles and concepts essential to economic sustainability. Some of these concepts are capitalist, some are socialistic, and others are general principles validated by philosophy or common sense. What results is a synthesis: something that is neither capitalist nor socialist but fundamentally different; it is sustainable.

Readers of any political and ideological persuasion will find this brief book engaging, informative, optimistic and refreshing.

About the author:

John Ikerd spent the first half of his thirty-year academic career as a traditional free-market, neoclassical economist. He served on the faculties of four major state universities during his career: North Carolina State University, Oklahoma State University, the University of Georgia, and the University of Missouri. Growing concerns for the lack of ecological, social, and economic sustainability of American agriculture during the 1980s led to broader concerns for the lack of sustainability for American society in general. As an economist, Dr. Ikerd eventually came to understand that growing threats to ecological and social sustainability are rooted in the neoclassical paradigm of economic development, which is inherently extractive and exploitative, and thus, is not sustainable. Dr. Ikerd spent the last half of his academic career and much of his time since retirement developing and testing the concepts and principles of an alternative development paradigm, the economics of sustainability, which are elucidated in this book.     

If interested in receiving a review copy of either title, please contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern at: Jennifer@styluspub.com.

Monday, May 21, 2012

KP Author Jo Bailey Sets the Record Straight About Orphan Care

The journey for the collection and publication of Orphan Care: A Comparative View has been incredibly long, yet fruitful.

In 2006, I attended the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) Conference in Munich and presented my research on international adoption and the effects of institutional care on children. At the conference, I attended roundtables and met professionals and scholars from around the world. I was surprised to find so many people studying the same issues I was interested in, surprised mostly because their research never surfaced in my searches of the literature. This was especially noteworthy to me because, as I state in the Introduction, the English language social work literature purported a global perspective. From my new perspective, this “global” vision had a strongly western view. I left the conference with a new directive, to somehow connect with scholars in other countries to gather their insights about children without parental care.

But, finding contributors was difficult. For the next five years, I contacted (or attempted to contact) close to 60 researchers. Some didn’t respond to my email, countless others connected me to someone they thought may be interested, which sometimes bore results and other times did not. Some accepted the invitation to collaborate but could not follow through because of personal or professional reasons. For those who signed on to the project, it was not easy. I imposed rather rigid criteria for acceptance in terms of content and format (that is, certain issues had to be addressed).

Over time, all of the submissions underwent a number of revisions. In the end, we had ten authors who found a way to complete their chapters in time and in accordance with guidelines constructed to allow true comparisons to be made between countries. I am especially indebted to these authors. From the far reaches of the world, they responded to a plea from a person unknown to them. And over the several years of preparing this collection, each of them met my numerous, and often urgent, requests for information with punctuality and poise. And, they are generous. All of the authors immediately agreed with the proposal that instead of any of us earning money from the book, we find a global organization that helps orphaned and vulnerable children. Because of its solid reputation, worldwide reach, and mission of connecting children to communities, we agreed that any royalties from the book would go to SOS Children’s Villages International. This project has also enriched me personally, deepening my global connections in ways that I didn’t foresee.

In 2008, with support from the University of Houston-Downtown, I traveled to Brazil and was fortunate to meet with Christiane and LĂșcia, and we co-presented some of our initial results at the IFSW Conference there. Then, LĂșcia’s university, Espirito Santo Federal University, sponsored a trip for her to come to Houston in 2011. Local Rotarians, Dr. Ed and Robin Charlesworth, graciously provided her with housing and transportation while in Houston. On her visit, she lectured, to the delight of our students, in our social work classes at the University of Houston-Downtown and toured social service agencies, such as Neighborhood Centers, Inc. Harutai and I got to meet when she and her husband came to Dallas. I was attending the National Association of Social Workers/Texas conference and they were visiting their daughter and son-in-law. Victoria Schmidt and I have also continued working together. We are currently working on a paper about child welfare in the Czech Republic, where she now lives and works, and hope to expand our analysis to other countries. And, finally, several of us, Victoria, Rodreck, and I, plan to attend the joint IASSW/IFSW/ICSW Conference in Stockholm in the summer of 2012 to present our findings and experiences in writing the book. My experience with Kumarian Press has been equally propitious. As the manuscript was close to completion, I pursued its publication. I was told by a couple of presses that the work was too narrow in focus for them.

Undeterred, I kept searching for the right outlet and eventually found Kumarian Press. Because KP’s focus is on issues of development, the fit was perfect. The editor, Jim Lance, expressed enthusiastic interest from the start. And, he and others at the press, namely Alex Hartnett, worked diligently to produce a scholarly work that would appeal not only to academics but to practitioners and policymakers alike. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results. We accomplished precisely what I set out to achieve. That is, we not only produced what I hope to be a valuable report on some of the world’s most vulnerable children, but we also created a platform for a number of incredible scholars, most of whom have years of practice, research, and leadership experience, to reach a western audience.

Orphan Care is available to purchase through the Kumarian Press website. For more information on ordering and/or reviewing this publication, please contact Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern at Jennifer@styluspub.com.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Young Afghan Bride Tortured, Raped Tells Her Story

"When they put electric shocks on my feet, I felt like I was going to die at that moment."

Sahar Gul, now 15-years-old stood in court last week and listened to the sentence of three of her in-laws who were charged with torture, abuse and human rights violations.

Gul told the court her story of how she was married off at the young age of 13 to a man in the Afghan Army. After numerous rapes, and unsuccessful attempts to impregnate her, Gul's in-laws hid her away in a basement for months as punishment for failing to meet her obligations as a woman.

Gul described the abuse endured upon her as her in-laws tortured her as she went to the bathroom, struck her skin with hot pokers, ripped out her hair and tore out her finger nails. The plan was to force her into prostitution (see Hollow Bodies and Reluctant Bedfellows for more on this issue). They barely fed her, too.

"When they put electric shocks on my feet, I felt like I was going to die at that moment. I screamed and that's how our neighbors realized there was something happening. For one day and night I was unconscious, feeling dead."

Her relatives received sentences of 10 years each, her husband is on the run and fears that he will come after her. She worries that he will find her and kill her, as they are still married. Gul feels it may be time to leave Afghanistan and study abroad. She has dreams of becoming a doctor or a prosecutor.
Gul's case highlights the struggles that women face in the Middle East. With a future rule of the Taliban back in the realm of possibilities, more than 86% of Afghan women fear living in the country under these circumstances.

Under Taliban rule until 2001, women were not allowed to leave their homes alone without a male relative alongside, nor were they allowed to attend school or hold employment. If they went outside of their homes alone, the women faced public lashings.  

In case that wasn't bad enough, because of recent events, the Afghan government may be withdrawing support for women's human rights, as they continue peace talks with the Taliban.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kumarian Press Announces Launch of E-books


May 9, 2012 -- Kumarian Press has recently released e-books as an option for book buyers who are looking for a light-weight, easy-to-access solution to reading our publications.

All Kumarian Press e-books are compatible to use through all e-reader platforms. Not only is KP selling through resellers, but also offering direct sales off the main web site.They are available to view and purchase on our website through this link. Interested customers may also purchase these books through customer service at (703) 661-1501.

Contact Kumarian Press Marketing Associate Jennifer Kern for more information on obtaining e-books for personal use, book reviews and/or course adoption. E-mail: Jennifer@styluspub.com , phone: (703) 996-1022.

About Kumarian Press:

Kumarian Press was founded in 1977. We pioneered publishing in the people-centered approach to development, but our range of topics has expanded over the years to include issues such as peace, gender, governance and human rights. Our founding mission of raising awareness of global connections remains strong.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Floods Move in on Afghanistan and Nepal

Just two days after Nepal was hit by an unexpected flood, a flash flood in Afghanistan left many pleading for help after homes and lives unraveled.

Going back to last Saturday in Nepal, at least eight bodies were found and pronounced dead near Pokhara, and at least three Ukrainians were among the many still missing. The flood was believed to have been triggered by an avalanche in the mountains or a glacial lake outburst.

Today in Afghanistan, at least 26 are confirmed dead from a flood that hit after more than eight hours of heavy rainfall since Sunday with more than 100 persons still missing. Several districts were hit by the flood, and a search team is in effect.

The need for aid has been called on by both regions urgining people around to help in the rescue efforts and food relief. Mark Schuller, Pablo Morales and contributors discuss the importance of aid in Tectonic Shifts: Haiti Since the Earthquake. This book shows how a poor country with onset problems has responded to the "help" from aid workers, as well as to the government's response after the 2010 earthquake. (The findings are appalling and will inspire you to do more.)

So, what happens when natural disasters hit in areas that have had ongoing economic, political and social problems long before the floods? Kumarian Press author Jennifer Hyndman attemps to answer this question through case studies on natural disasters including the 2004 tsunami in her book Dual Disasters.