With only three staff housed in a shared office on the 6th floor of Yuchengco, the DLSU Publishing House has been producing remarkable output ever since its operation began last May 2012, publishing books by internationally acclaimed literary critics, scholars and professors from recognized universities such as Harvard, Princeton, and Chicago. But what exactly is the DLSU Publishing House for?
With the goal set by President Br. Ricky Laguda, FSC “to make the international community recognize our institutional identity and worth, as a center with sterling accomplishments on the areas of knowledge production and dissemination,” the DLSU Publishing House has been operating consistent with the University’s internationalization agenda.
In its initial stage, the DLSU Publishing House places heavier value on “quality income” rather than “quantity income”. When asked if Laguda is expecting the publishing house to generate more monetary income, he expresses that considering income under purely monetary terms is an oversimplification of the Publishing house’s financial aspect, especially for a University whose objective is to educate the students.
“As the etymology of the word (education) implies, the University is dedicated to lead out, and educere, the potentials of our learners”, adds Laguda.
David Bayot, the Executive Director of the DLSU Publishing House, agrees with Laguda and says, “My immediate goal for the publishing house is to continue to build the reputation of DLSU as a serious center of intellectual production and dissemination.”
Relationships with foreign publishers
Last July 2013, the biggest University Press in the United States, University of Chicago Press, whose reputation is on par with Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford University, sent a formal request to DLSU Publishing House asking a permission to reprint a book DLSU Publishing House published few months ago.
The now-licensed book entitled “Poetics in a New Key: Interviews and Essays,” is a set of conversations with Marjorie Perloff, one of the biggest names in international literary circles. The book is the first scholarly book in the Philippines to ever have been licensed with the University of Chicago Press. Following the examination process of the University of Chicago Press, the book is scheduled to be reprinted and distributed next September 2014.
Though this is the only book for which the University of Chicago Press requested a license, Bayot is optimistic that this will invite other University press institutes to follow suit.“I am optimistic because we have licensed with University of Chicago Press, and the fact it finds a DLSU book good enough to reprint says a lot [about the quality of the book]. It shall be a very good context for other international University Presses to tie up with DLSU”, shares Bayot. Aside from Marjorie Perloff, on board the DLSU Publishing House vessel are internationally acclaimed literary critics and scholars, as well as endowed professors from top universities in the world such as Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, and Chicago, as well as those at Swansea, York and Cardiff.
These include influential figures in contemporary cultural studies such as Catherine Belsey, cultural materialist Jonathan Dollimore, deconstruction experts Derek Attridge and Christopher
Norris, as well as the first Poet Laureate of the Museum of Modern Art, Kenneth Goldsmith.
Pulitzer prize-winning Harvard professor and father of new Historicism Stephen Greenblatt, Avalon Foundation University Professor of the Humanites at Princeton University Susan Stewart, and David Bevington, esteemed Shakespearean scholar and Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago Phyllis Fay Horton will soon be on board the DLSU Publishing House with their own works.
“With these world-renowned scholars and authors joining our publishing vessel,” says Bayot, “we are sending a clear message to the world: that DLSU is an institution where world-class intellectual exchanges are taking place.”
Aside from working with literary giants, the DLSU Publishing House has also partnered both national and international organizations such as the Asia-Europe Foundation, the National Research Council of the Philippines, Springer, and the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences in Rome.
One of the signature projects of the publishing house is “Critics in Conversation”, an interview series with numerous critics around the world discussing their special fields in literature. First to be published was Catherine Belsey, with other critics to follow in later sessions in the series.
Ming-Qian Ma, Associate Professor at the State University of New York in Buffalo, shares, “I am very impressed with the project… as I remember, there is only one similar series but its focus was on poets. I have no doubt that this series on critics would be received enthusiastically.”
When asked why the publishing house highlights in publishing international authors, Bayot clarifies that a bigger percentage of the Publishing House’s endorsed works includes Filipino authors.
Just last November 26, it launched a book featuring interior design concepts by Wili Fernandez, a renowned interior designer both here and abroad.
Though Bayot is conscious of the DLSU Publishing House’s identity as being a Philippine university press, he wishes to avoid the reductionist thinking that a Philippine university press should only publish Filipino authors.
Aside from this, Bayot believes that the DLSU Publishing House initially gaining the trust and acknowledgment of the international academic community will be beneficial for future Filipino authors who wish to publish their work in DLSU.
“The same way I know the books of unknown authors (to my knowledge) are good as long as they are published in University of Chicago Press” says Bayot in an interview.
In addition to the multiple literary books it has published, it is coordinating with College of Computer Studies (CCS) and with Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE) on works pertaining to information technology and refrigeration and air-conditioning technology, respectively.
Some of the books by DLSU Publishing House are also available on Amazon.com. As of press time, “Catherine Belsey: In Conversation”, edited by David Bayot and “The Cardinal’s Dog and Other Poems” by Christopher Norris are available, with other books to follow.