Interview with Susan Ferber--June 3, 2014
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Susan Ferber is the executive editor for American and world history at Oxford University Press (USA). Among her editorial procurements are books that have won the Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize, and five have become national best sellers. In addition to teaching at the book workshop of the Columbia Publishing Course and giving regular lectures on academic publishing, she has also written thought pieces for a variety of publications, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, Passport, Perspectives on History and The Digital Digest. The interview was conducted in New York on June 3, 2014.
Ferber talked about her path to becoming a university press editor ( 1:00), her mentor at OUP, Thomas Lebien (5:20), how one learns to edit (6:00), her own editorial style (14:40), changes in the content and quantity of book publishing after 9/11 (24:00), how historiography in World and American history have changed (or not) over the 17 years she has been working in academic publishing (28:35), what Ferber she would make academic historians do if she had absolute power over them (37:00), fluffy bunnies and cotton candy versus war and genocide--what they do to a person (43:30), the invisibility of the editor (50:30), how the university press publishing world has changed (57:00), whether university presses can move scholarship out of ruts (1:13:10), what she would like her legacy to look like (1:35:30), aspects of her job that are typically misunderstood (1:39:20), and the relationship between review venues and university presses (1:45:00).