Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Reimagining the Academic Book Launch

April 24, 2023

Erica Durante recently launched her book Cloud People at Brown.

The publication Inside Higher Ed, focusing on college and university topics, recently published a piece by Dorothy Harrell Brown Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans Christopher Schaberg titled "Reimagining the Academic Book Launch." Its focus is the book launch recently held by CLACS for Director of the Undergraduate Program in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Visiting Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies Erica Durante's book Air Travel Fiction and Film: Cloud People, part of Palgrave’s series Studies in Mobilities, Literature, and Culture. Durante published in 2020, but launched it just this month due to the pandemic.

Schaberg, who was invited to share his reflections on the book alongside Stuart Burrows, Associate Professor of English at Brown University; Aníbal González, Professor of Spanish at Yale University; and Felipe Martínez Pinzón, Professor of Hispanic Studies at Brown University, describes the innovative elements of the book launch that made it more than just another academic exercise: 

"The whole event was not only fun and refreshing, but it also really got me thinking about how we might take more creative risks like this when we organize our academic book launches. Yes, our topics may sometimes be abstruse or labored over for five or 10 years before appearing in print. The process of researching, then writing and publishing a book can be lonely and existential. But there’s no reason to assume that wider audiences may not become intrigued—may not learn something from our work. What Durante’s book launch showed was that by adding some playful beats and unexpected twists to a book launch, you can end up with a bigger and more engaged audience—people, and not just academics, who will remember your book, recommend it to someone beyond the event, and maybe even take away new ideas to put into daily practice." 

CLACS congratulates Professor Durante for the long-awaited launch of her book and welcomes our community members to view the photos taken by Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs staff member Azurae Cruz and read Professor Schaberg's reflections on our most recent book launch. We look forward to highlighting the work of other CLACS affiliated faculty members in the months and years to come, including the April 25 launch of Caribbean Integration: Uncertainty in a Time of Global Fragmentation featuring CLACS Director Patsy Lewis on April 25, 2023.

Have you missed a CLACS event? Check out our event archive, which includes videos of past CLACS book launches including the book launch for After the Postcolonial Caribbean: Memory, Imagination, Hope by Brian Meeks.