Written by Kaylyn Ling, editorial, design, and production intern at the University Press of Florida
This past fall, I worked with a number of fascinating titles as an intern in the EDP department. I was constantly impressed by each author’s rich contributions to their field, as well as the insight and innovation of their editors and collaborators. I enjoyed reading about things I’d never thought of before, such as dog archaeology and the feminist side of modernism. Among the plethora of books that crossed my desk, there were a handful that were truly exceptional in evoking compassion, horror, humor, and more, making them exciting to read and a true pleasure to work with.
Digital Humanities in Latin America
Edited by Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste and Juan Carlos Rodríguez
This volume explores the digital humanities in Latin America, covering phenomena such as the digital humor linked to Ecuador’s Enchufe.tv web series, the cultural politics of blogging, and the inclusion of Afrolatin@ communities in online spaces. L’Hoeste and Rodríguez’s collection of essays and interviews critique the massive political, social, and cultural impacts of modernization on Latin America in a way that feels prescient and inventive.
I saw Digital Humanities in Latin America twice during its editorial process. I encountered it first while preparing its abstracts and keywords (As & Ks) document. As & Ks require combing through sections of a book to find main ideas and then editing chapter abstracts and keywords accordingly. Distilling an entire section of heavily researched content into 150 words or less seemed impossible sometimes, yet I enjoyed the challenge.
Around a month and a half after the As & Ks, Digital Humanities in Latin America came back to me for proofreading. I was thoroughly invested in the nearly 300-page manuscript. My favorite chapter, written by Berkeley professor Morgan Ames, discusses the successes, failures, and complications of the One Laptop per Child project in Paraguay. Ames’s writing is vivid and shockingly progressive. Other chapters in the volume are similarly keen, and the book as a whole gave me a new insight into the digital humanities.
In Tossed to the Wind, Orlando-based journalist María Padilla and former NYPD sergeant Nancy Rosado have put together a collection of intensely moving interviews that illustrate the tenacity and spirit of Hurricane Maria survivors. These oral histories compose a poignant picture of displaced Puerto Ricans clinging to life after moving to the States. The fifteen narratives capture families fighting for their futures amidst uncertainty, and sometimes even tragedy.
This project hit my desk in the later stages of its EDP rounds. I did a post-design check on the master copy, which consisted of checking footnotes and endnotes, reading for odd formatting errors, and filling in page numbers when necessary. As I read through the text during this post-design stage, I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the stories of people searching for faith and hope amidst dark, troubling times. Time and time again, I was struck by the strong pride and resilience of the boricua (Puerto Rican) people.
Pablo Escobar and Colombian Narcoculture
Aldona Bialowas Pobutsky
The term “narcoculture” describes the uncontrolled social, cultural, and physical territory of the drug trade in Latin/o America. In Pablo Escobar and Colombian Narcoculture, Oakland University professor Aldona Bialowas Pobutsky explores the dark and gritty influence of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, as well as the people and environments that shaped him.
I had the pleasure of proofreading this manuscript. While I was attending to misplaced commas and incorrect typesets, I found myself enraptured in the material. Pobutsky’s research is unabashedly bold and holistic in scope—there is no dark alleyway of narcoculture that she shies away from. The book is one of many fantastic volumes in Héctor Fernández L’Hoeste and Juan Carlos Rodríguez’s ongoing series Reframing Media, Technology, and Culture in Latin/o America. I personally can’t wait for this all-encompassing study of Escobar to be published and for others to learn about the violence, sensuality, and notoriety of his legacy.
Historical Archaeology and Indigenous Collaboration
Discovering Histories That Have Futures
D. Rae Gould, Holly Herbster, Heather Law Pezzarossi, and Stephen A. Mrozowski
Historical Archaeology and Indigenous Collaboration is an impressively detailed book about the Nipmuc people indigenous to North America. This book struck me as a strong addition to the already prolific collection of archaeology and anthropology books published by the press. It is a perfect representation of what the University Press of Florida specializes in. Moreover, having taken a class on Native American literature less than a year ago, the stories of Indigenous people have always been fascinating to me. The themes of this book resonated with many of the issues I had previously studied, but developed them further to address contemporary influences.
I worked with the printer’s proof for Historical Archaeology and Indigenous Collaboration, which meant I got to see the book very close to print. I checked over the cover and looked through the entire typeset manuscript, searching for wayward illustrations or glaring typos. It was rewarding to be able to see books so close to their final versions. It reminded me that all of the projects I had been working on would eventually see the finish line—they would be published, on shelves and in libraries, advancing knowledge bases across the world.
Kaylyn Ling is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Florida. She also serves as the current Editor-in-Chief of Sparks Magazine at UF and a 2020 Civic Scholar at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service.