Interview with KU author Kristin V. Monroe


Knowledge Unlatched asked authors who took part in the KU Round 2 Collection about their experiences of Open Access and the KU approach.  

Here is an interview with Kristin V. Monroe, author of The Insecure City: Space, Power, and Mobility in Beirut (Rutgers University Press)

Kristin Monroe photo[1] copy

What were your hopes for your book, and do you think Open Access has played a role in achieving them?

In my field (cultural anthropology), it is common to hear scholars describe their books as being ones that undergraduate students can read, understand, and learn from. But as I began my teaching career, I found very few ethnographic texts that were accessible to the students I teach in my mid-level and even upper level undergraduate classes. My aim was to write a book that could reach a broad audience of students not only in the U.S. but around the globe. I think that Open Access will have a very significant role to play in making this aim achievable. I’m also very pleased that my book will be part of the endeavor to democratize knowledge - Open Access is an important part of this. I’m also excited about the possibilities for Open Access to internationalize my book – by bringing it to scholars and students outside of the U.S.

Do you think that making your book available on an OA licence has increased its reach and impact? – Have you seen any concrete indications of this?

My book was only recently published, a few months ago, but already I received notice that it was selected as a “Book of the Day” by, a program of the Free Ebook Foundation that supports sustainable funding and distribution for Creative Commons and other freely licensed books. This was very gratifying!

I’m also very pleased that my book will be part of the endeavor to democratize knowledge – Open Access is an important part of this.
How have you been promoting your OA book?

Mainly through colleagues at other institutions who might adopt the book for their courses. Also through contacts in the Middle East where I just returned from doing research this summer.

Has your opinion about OA in general changed since your book was published through the Knowledge Unlatched collection? If so, how?

So far, my opinion has not changed, I am very committed to Open Access projects.

What do your friends/colleagues think about your decision to allow your book to be made available for free under a CC licence? Has their opinion changed following publication through Knowledge Unlatched?

So far, I’ve only heard very positive and supportive comments and remarks about my decision to make my book available for free under a CC license.

33Any other comments?

Happy to be part of Knowledge Unlatched!


Kristin V. Monroe is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

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