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I love APSA in Chicago in the summer

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By Cherie Hackelberg


Without a doubt, attending society conferences is one of my favorite job responsibilities as a Marketing Manager for the Academic and Trade books division at Oxford. I typically spend the majority of my days marketing our books from my desk: emailing and phoning authors, creating spreadsheets, analyzing spreadsheets, scouring news sites and social media looking for new ways to reach our audience, and making numerous, numerous trips to the mailroom to send books out for review. But working an exhibit allows me to step away from my computer screen for a few days and engage on a much more personal level with our authors, our readers, and our books.

Setup is always pretty hectic: the morning dash from the airport straight to the booth, the pallet breakdown, the many hikes to the FedEx office to pick up our newest books hot off the press, the organizing, the re-organizing. But once the boxes are unpacked, the OUP banner hung, the monitor display set up, I can step back and see the scope of our publishing program as a whole — from our award-winning books painstakingly categorized, to our suite of online products rotating on the screen, to our abundant collection of journals. The breadth of our list, the level of scholarship, and the achievements of our authors astounds me and, though my job is gratifying on a daily basis, I know that my career path is chosen well as I feel so rewarded to be a part of this process.

Once those exhibit hall doors open, it’s still, well, hectic. But in between the order taking, straightening, and restocking, I get to reconnect with authors whom I’ve met at previous conferences, and meet many others for the first time. Here are just a few of our authors who visited us:



In between those author meets, order taking, and more restocking and straightening, I also get to engage with our readers: what are they browsing, what are they excited about? Well, attendees were very excited about our list, overall, and these meeting best-sellers, in particular: Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Blyth; Practical Authority: Agency and Institutional Change in Brazilian Water Politics by Rebecca Neaera Abers and Margaret E. Keck; The Hybrid Media System: Politics and Power by Andrew Chadwick; More Women Can Run: Gender and Pathways to the State Legislatures by Susan J. Carroll and Kira Sanbonmatsu.

I must admit that I’m partial toward to our award-winning authors and products—it is, after all, my job as a marketer and a representative of Oxford representative to be so. But our authors make my job pretty easy. Here’s a list of this year’s APSA award-winners:

  1. 2013 Robert L. Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder Best Book Award—APSA International History and Politics Organized Section
    Reconstructing the Cold War: The Early Years, 1945-1958 by Ted Hopf
  2. 2013 Best Book Award—APSA Information Technology and Politics Section
    The Move On Effect: The Unexpected Transformation of American Political Advocacy by David Karpf
  3. 2013 Leon Epstein Outstanding Book Award—APSA Political Organizations and Parties Section
    Political Parties, Business Groups, and Corruption in Developing Countries by Vineeta Yadav
  4. 2013 Alan Rosenthal Prize—APSA Legislative Studies Organized Section
    The Diversity Paradox: Political Parties, Legislatures, and the Organizational Foundations of Representation in America by Kristin Kanthak and George A. Krause
  5. 2013 Best Book Award—APSA Human Rights Section
    The Political Economy of Violence against Women by Jacqui True


Another reason why I love working conferences? I am bitten by the travel bug. I’ve been to Chicago a couple of times before during wintertime for other meetings and, admittedly, the windy city was not on my top five favorites in the US…until this summer at APSA. Strolling around at the end of each day, I was able to soak in the Chicago sunshine and incredible architecture. Prior to the conference, we asked some of our Chicago-native authors for some recommended things to do and see in Chicago. Alas, I did not get to see and do all of those things because I was rather busy selling books (and, recalling the lines of eager book-buyers at our booth, it did feel like every one of APSA’s 6,000 attendees came by to take advantage of our last-day 50% off sale!), but I did get to hear some great tunes at the Jazz Festival in Millennium Park (thanks for the tip, Cathy Cohen!), and strolled by some incredible art installations along the way. I hope other attendees got to see some Chicago sights in between sessions and buying books! APSA-goers, I look forward to seeing you next year in D.C.

Cherie Hackelberg is a Marketing Manager for social sciences books at Oxford University Press in New York.

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