UNC Press partners with NC LIVE for library ebook pilot program

nclive logoUNC Press is pleased to announce its partnership with NC LIVE, North Carolina’s statewide public and academic library consortium, as it experiments with new ebook purchasing and funding models that will give North Carolina library patrons unlimited access to more than 1000 ebook titles from North Carolina-based publishers.

In addition to UNC Press, the pilot program will feature works from Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (an imprint of Workman Books), Crossroad Press, Gryphon House, Ingalls Publishing Group, John F. Blair Publishing, McFarland, and Press 53.

UNC Press director John Sherer said, “From a publisher’s perspective, this project was a unique opportunity for us to share our ebook content with North Carolinians in a way that we hadn’t been able to in the past. We’re very excited to be a part of this important new initiative.”

Read the full press release from NC LIVE to learn more.

Excerpt: Baptized in PCBs, by Ellen Griffith Spears

Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American TownIn the mid-1990s, residents of Anniston, Alabama, began a legal fight against the agrochemical company Monsanto over the dumping of PCBs in the city’s historically African American and white working-class west side. Simultaneously, Anniston environmentalists sought to safely eliminate chemical weaponry that had been secretly stockpiled near the city during the Cold War. In Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town , Ellen Griffith Spears offers a compelling narrative of Anniston’s battles for environmental justice, exposing how systemic racial and class inequalities reinforced during the Jim Crow era played out in these intense contemporary social movements. Spears focuses attention on key figures who shaped Anniston—from Monsanto’s founders, to white and African American activists, to the ordinary Anniston residents whose lives and health were deeply affected by the town’s military-industrial history and legacy of racism.

In the following excerpt from the book (pp. 119–121), Spears explains how Monsanto’s political and economic power in Anniston protected it from deeper scrutiny in the 1960s.


In late May 1961, while Anniston’s attention was riveted on the aftermath of the [Freedom Riders] bus attack out on Birmingham Highway, thick sludge from Monsanto’s Anniston plant overwhelmed the local water department’s treatment station downstream in Oxford and, for three or four days, heavy concentrations of untreated industrial waste poured directly into Choccolocco Creek. When approached by a local reporter, Monsanto’s representative attributed the discharge to a temporary malfunction in the plant’s waste treatment center—implying it was an isolated incident, not an inherent aspect of production. At the same time, the company pled ignorance of hazards associated with its chemical waste. “We thought it was harmless, and we have no evidence to change that opinion at this stage,” claimed plant production manager Carl Edelblut soon after the incident.[1]

Within days, the Alabama Water Improvement Commission (AWIC), the State Department of Conservation, and the U.S. Public Health Service opened a joint investigation into “an apparently extensive fish kill in the lower reaches of Choccolocco Creek.” This investigation, however ineffectual, marked the first regulatory attention to stream pollution flowing from the Anniston plant. Upon completion of its investigation, AWIC, the agency charged with enforcing regulations against stream pollution in the state, offered a brief exculpatory statement. “We do not have any criticism to offer in any way concerning the manner in which the problem was handled,” Joe L. Crockett, of AWIC, told the Anniston Star.[2] Crockett would prove a valuable ally of Monsanto in coming years.

Even after the massive fish kill in 1961, toxic discharges received little notice in the local press. In general, the Star reported accidents but did not treat pollution as an ongoing threat. Offensive odors and periodic small explosions at the plant were regarded as nuisances, the necessary consequence of having a leading division of one of the world’s most successful chemical corporations next door. In the early 1960s, with local unemployment pegged at 8 percent, city leaders were loath to criticize the pillars of the region’s industrial base. Despite the expansion of the chemical, biological, and radiological warfare training center at Fort McClellan in 1960, the local economy sagged. Seeking federal designation as a “depressed area” in hopes of improving opportunities for local businesses to bid competitively for federal contracts, city leaders featured the Monsanto plant prominently. Even with the sluggish economy, Monsanto had increased production in Anniston by 50 percent in 1960, prompting an Anniston Star editorial that called the plant “one of our best industrial advertisements.”[3]
Continue reading ‘Excerpt: Baptized in PCBs, by Ellen Griffith Spears’ »

  1. [1] “The Nature of the Poison,” in LKB Produkter, “Poison: KLB Helps to Make a Safer World,” press release, January 10, 1967, Owens Archive; Jim Lowrey, “U.S., State Are Investigating Choccolocco Creek Fish Deaths,” Anniston Star, May 20, 1961.
  2. [2] Jim Lowrey, “U.S., State Are Investigating Choccolocco Creek Fish Deaths,” Anniston Star, May 20, 1961.
  3. [3] “Monsanto Expanding,” Anniston Star, January 19, 1961; “Calhoun and Anniston: Depressed Area Designation Seen,” Anniston Star, February 2, 1961; “Monsanto Moves Up,” Anniston Star, February 25, 1961; Monsanto Chemical Company, Monsanto Annual Report 1960, 10; “Monsanto Optimistic Despite National Economy: Present Level to Stay Here,” Anniston Star, March 21, 1961.

Interview: Shabana Mir on College Experiences of Muslim American Women

Shabana Mir, author of Muslim American Women on Campus: Undergraduate Social Life and Identity, discusses the everyday lives of these women on campus and the challenges and choices they face.

Muslim American Women on Campus: Undergraduate Social Life and Identity, by Shabana MirQ: Your book focuses on women on two Washington, D.C., college campuses—Georgetown and George Washington University (GWU). Why did you choose these colleges, and do you think they are representative of average American college campuses?

A: Research is a messy endeavor. Like all human activity, research is shaped and colored by circumstances and context. It’s rare that researchers choose sites purely based on how representative they are of the populations or phenomena under study. Feasibility is a primary factor in site selection. Georgetown and GWU together offered me somewhat similar (yet different) research environments that were rich in potential for in-depth study of Muslim Americans’ post–9/11 identities in the United States. But they also offered me geographic locations that were relatively accessible by subway and bus—I had no car—and they were close enough to each other that I could spend time at each during the course of a single day. I could focus my physical and intellectual energies on ethnographic fieldwork. I was interested in the culture of the metropolitan university, which each of these universities offered but in a peculiarly distinct manner. Many Muslim American Georgetown students socialized with their counterparts at GWU and vice versa, and students at each school had some things to say about the other campus. Of course I could have selected a single campus, or a private and a public university, but the choice of two roughly similar institutions that had key differences in their religious-secular and cultural orientations, and that tended to enroll students of roughly similar class background, allowed for some fascinating comparative work. I enjoyed the research process immensely.

Q: Did you find that most of your subjects made a conscious choice to be “Muslim American” women?

A: Recently, I took (and passed) my citizenship test, and the interviewer asked me if I had a middle name. When I said no, she asked if I wanted to change my name. Hmm, I thought, am I supposed to, to become an American? For many Americans, including those born and raised here, there’s an assumption that they must prove just how American they are. My research participants felt that way much of the time, but those who practiced certain kinds of behaviors—drinking, dating, dressing in mainstream Western fashion—felt the pressure less. Diya was relatively indistinguishable from her White American friends in terms of lifestyle, but then she came under question for just how Muslim she was. If she didn’t wear hijab, was she a nominal Muslim? Amber, a hijabi, was on the other hand perpetually being required to speak up for Muslims in classroom discussions on Islam and terrorism, or Islam and gender. Almost all of my research participants felt that because of the pervasive nature of Muslim stereotypes, they were always or often having to prove that they were really American, normal, empowered, peaceful Muslims.

Q: Did the women in your book have a hard time combining their “Muslim” and “American” identities? Did they have to resolve conflicts between the two?

A: My participants knew that observers and others thought that their “Muslim” and “American” identities were in perpetual conflict. None of them said that they experienced this conflict. Where they saw conflict was in the way others saw what it means to be “American” and “Muslim.” In other words, if you think an “American” young person is a White, Christian person who drinks at college then, yes, there is conflict between being “American” and an observant Muslim. There are certainly plenty of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Christians who do not participate in hedonistic youth culture, and plenty who do. When we assume that an “American” and/or a “Muslim” has an “essence” that is religious or irreligious, liberal or conservative, etc., that is when we engage with the problem of conflict between these incommensurable identities. Intisar (a Somali-American student), for instance, is personally comfortable with praying in the prayer-room as well as attending a dance show; Teresa, a White convert, is comfortable with being an observant Muslim as well as smoking; but neither of them is comfortable being seen doing these “conflicting” things. The problem is not in being this complicated person. The problem is that the observer just can’t take it all in. These real, complicated, mixed people simply do not compute.

Q: What makes the situation of being a young Muslim woman in America distinct from that of a young Muslim man? Continue reading ‘Interview: Shabana Mir on College Experiences of Muslim American Women’ »

Great Fall Books at Spring Sale Prices

Our great spring sale is drawing to a close in just a matter of days. You can save 40% on ALL our books until June 30. If you haven’t done your shopping yet, now’s the time.

Some extra good news? Our Fall 2014 books are all live on our website, and even though they haven’t been published yet, you can pre-order them at the sale price now, and we’ll ship the books as soon as they become available. You can’t beat that!

What’s coming along in the fall? Follow a trans-Atlantic journey of traditional music with Fiona Ritchie and Doug Orr. Explore genealogy with Henry Louis Gates Jr. Learn the hidden history of U.S.–Cuban diplomatic relations with William Leogrande and Peter Kornbluh. Tickle your palate with histories of alcohol from Rod Phillips and southern food from Marcie Cohen Ferris. All this and more, coming up this fall.

Take a look at our interactive catalog for the full rundown. Use discount code 01DAH40 at checkout on our website to save 40%! Plus, spend $75 or more, and shipping is FREE.

Longleaf Services Selects Ingram for Content Logistics


Ingram Content Group Inc. and Longleaf Services, Inc. today announced a third-party logistics agreement that combines Longleaf’s expertise in distributing and selling scholarly content with Ingram’s inventory management, logistics, and print and digital content solutions.

“With the enormous change we are experiencing in the industry, working with Ingram will allow Longleaf to provide a fully integrated suite of print and digital services, in addition to the superior customer service and back-office activities we’ve been providing to better serve our current and future client publishers,” said Robbie Dircks, President of Longleaf Services and Associate Director and Chief Financial Officer, University of North Carolina Press.

The University of North Carolina Press launched Longleaf Services in 2006. Longleaf Services was established to provide cost-effective customer service, order processing, collection management, warehousing, and fulfillment to university presses and non-profit publishers.

“Our work with Ingram is a key step in realigning our business to address the changing needs of scholarly publishers,” said John Sherer, Director of the University of North Carolina Press. “Ingram’s comprehensive third-party logistics will be a strong base upon which Longleaf will develop an expanded set of publishing services geared toward university presses.”

With a fourth quarter 2014 transition, Ingram will manage warehousing, fulfillment, print-on-demand, and e-book content management solutions for Longleaf Services clients and future distributed clients.

MaryKatherine Callaway, Director of LSU Press, and a Longleaf client publisher since January 2008, said, “Longleaf’s collaboration with Ingram will give us the tools to manage print and digital distribution from a single source, giving us more time to focus on our content and its discoverability.”

As the need to distribute content in its many forms worldwide has become increasingly important, publishers and service providers are exploring new ways to operate and shift investments once used for the cost of warehousing and logistics.

“Longleaf Services, a respected and forward-looking book industry provider, recognizes that the future of publishing requires adapting the business model,” said Mark Ouimet, Vice President and General Manager, Ingram Publisher Services. “We are pleased that they have chosen Ingram solutions to grow their business and enhance the services they provide to their important academic clients.”

About Longleaf Services

Longleaf Services, Inc. is the not-for-profit fulfillment affiliate of the University of North Carolina Press. The company was formed in 2006 to provide a cost-effective customer service and fulfillment solution for university presses and not-for-profit academic publishers. Longleaf currently provides services for Louisiana State University Press, Rutgers University Press, Syracuse University Press, University of Nebraska Press, University of North Carolina Press, and University of the West Indies Press. Learn more about Longleaf Services at www.longleafservices.org.

About Ingram 

Ingram Content Group Inc. is a subsidiary of Nashville-based Ingram Industries Inc. The company got its start in 1964 as a textbook depository and has since grown and transformed into a comprehensive publishing industry services company that offers numerous solutions, including physical book distribution, print-on-demand and digital services. Committed to the success of its partners, Ingram works closely with publishers, retailers, libraries and schools around the world to provide them with the right products and services to help them succeed in the dynamic and increasingly complex world of content publishing. Ingram’s operating units are Ingram Book Company, Lightning Source Inc., Vital Source Technologies, Inc., Ingram Periodicals Inc., Ingram International Inc., Ingram Library Services Inc., Spring Arbor Distributors Inc., Ingram Publisher Services Inc., Tennessee Book Company LLC, Coutts Information Services, and ICG Ventures Inc. Learn more about Ingram Content Group at www.ingramcontent.com.


New Open-Access Short Works from UNC Press and the Institute for the Study of the Americas

UNC Press

The University of North Carolina Press and the Institute for the Study of the Americas (ISA) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill announce a new joint initiative in open-access scholarly publishing.

Studies in Latin America (SLA) is a new series of short works to be published by ISA and distributed by UNC Press in digital open-access as well as in print and e-book formats.

Louis A. Pérez Jr., Director, Institute for the Study of the Americas, and J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History at UNC Chapel Hill, stated, “The Studies in Latin America series is designed to meet the emerging needs of a rapidly expanding body of social science scholarship on Latin America. The idea is to provide a new venue to disseminate original research in the form of short works of approximately 20,000 up to 35,000 words in length, and thereby offer scholars an opportunity to contemplate a new genre of scholarship coupled with an effective publishing outlet not previously available. The peer-reviewed short works open-access series promises to provide scholars with a vast readership and at the same time offer highly usable classroom texts.”

The Studies in Latin America series will promote new scholarship on Latin America and the Caribbean focusing on the social sciences—principally anthropology, geography, history, political science, and sociology—and featuring diverse methodological approaches and perspectives on vital issues concerning Latin America and the Caribbean, past and present.

The Spangler Family Director at UNC Press, John Sherer, hailed the new initiative as groundbreaking. “This series, which involves a three-way partnership between the Press, ISA, and the UNC Libraries, will be our first open-access initiative. It utilizes our new digital-first workflow to efficiently publish these shorter works, while maintaining the high level of quality and broad scope of dissemination traditionally associated with UNC Press books.”

Open-access content for Studies in Latin America will be hosted on the UNC Chapel Hill Libraries website.

“I am excited about this new venture in open-access publishing,” said Sarah C. Michalak, Associate Provost and University Librarian at UNC Chapel Hill. “The UNC Libraries and the UNC Press have worked together on several scholarly publishing projects aimed at making high-quality academic content broadly available. Studies in Latin America is a creative idea that will successfully advance that important work.”

The series will launch in 2015 with an anticipated two distributed works per year.

Studies in Latin America welcomes English-language manuscripts by senior scholars as well as by junior scholars. Submissions will undergo a formal peer-review process as part of the publication decision. The Institute for the Study of the Americas and UNC Press anticipate a wide distribution of the scholarship included in Studies in Latin America by taking advantage of the digital publishing environment.

Visit the UNC Press website for more information.

Jason McGraw on Colombia’s Rural Revolts

On Sunday, June 15, Colombians will head to the polls for a runoff in the presidential election. Jason McGraw, author of The Work of Recognition: Caribbean Colombia and the Postemancipation Struggle for Citizenship (forthcoming August 2014), recently wrote about what’s at stake for agrarian, indigenous, and Afro-descended communities with this election.

McGraw begins:

Juan Valdez is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore. Or at least, this is the case for his real-life Colombian counterparts. Under threat from death squads, criminal gangs, and U.S.-imposed free trade, rural communities across Colombia have again erupted in rebellion. On April 28th, coffee farmers, potato growers, and other peasant groups launched a paro agrario (agricultural strike). Tens of thousands of peasant demonstrators have blocked highways, staged daily rallies in cities and towns, and chained themselves in front of the national Congress in Bogotá. University students, schoolteachers, and truck drivers have joined in with solidarity strikes. Popular violence and state repression have been acute, with hundreds of protestors and police injured or killed and travel advisories issued for the affected areas.

The peasant movement’s main strike demands revolve around issues of economic security. Protestors have proposed new state subsidies for food crops, a refinancing of household debt, and the opening of new lines of interest-free credit. These demands come as peasant producers respond to new threats from neoliberal market reforms, including the U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement that went into force in 2012. The more immediate cause of the April strike stems from the failure of the administration of Juan Manuel Santos to follow through on promises it made to end the agrarian strike of 2013. After more than two weeks of escalating protest, President Santos, who is currently seeking reelection, signed a new accord on May 13th with strike organizers in southwestern Huila. While the agreement brings a formal end to pickets in the region at the center of the strike, small producers in other parts of Colombia and workers in other industries have vowed to continue their protests.

McGraw goes on to explain how these recent protests have engaged an unprecedented multiracial coalition of allies across the country. Read the full article, “Why Colombian Peasants Are Again in Revolt — And What’s Different this Time”, at the History News Network.

Jason McGraw is associate professor of history at Indiana University. Follow him on Twitter @JasonPMcGraw to stay up to date.

The William R. Ferris Reader: An Omnibus E-book

Southern Cultures logo

Congratulations to Southern Cultures on its 20th year!

UNC’s Center for the Study of the American South founded Southern Cultures in 1993, and UNC Press has published the peer-reviewed quarterly for the Center since 1996. The only publication on the South dedicated to reaching academic and lay readers, Southern Cultures features essays, interviews, fiction, photography, poetry, and more.

The William R. Ferris Reader, Omnibus E-book: Collected Essays from Southern Cultures, 1995-2013We celebrate Southern Cultures’ 20th anniversary with a special omnibus ebook, The William R. Ferris Reader. Collected here for the first time are all 20 of Bill Ferris’s essays and interviews as they have appeared in the journal’s pages between 1995 and 2013, as well as an introduction to the collection by Ferris.

From folk humor to moon pies to Faulkner, Welty, Walker, and so much more, we are delighted to share this special collection of a favored friend, mentor, and colleague.

From the introduction:

As Southern Cultures celebrates its twentieth year, I proudly celebrate that they have published twenty of my articles. Those articles foreshadowed and helped me develop my two most recent books, Give My Poor Heart Ease: Voices of the Mississippi Blues and The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists, both published by UNC Press, where Southern Cultures and my work have found a happy home.

On a personal level, I have shared many wonderful conversations with editors Ayse Erginer, Dave Shaw, and Emily Wallace as they prepared each issue of Southern Cultures. I love to read the impressive outline of future issues on the whiteboard on their wall. That outline reflects their deep knowledge of the American South, and readers impatiently await their special issues on music, food, and photography. Standing in their modest office reminds me of the view from the helm of the Delta Queen when it plied the waters of the Mississippi River though the limitless expanse of water and land. Readers of Southern Cultures experience a similar thrill each time they open an issue and read its engaging, and always thought-provoking, essays about the American South.

This tidy file of Ferris’s great work is downloadable via Amazon, Apple, and Kobo for just $9.99.

Interview: Mario T. Garcia on The Latino Generation

Mario Garcia

Mario Garcia (photo by Tony J. Mastres)

In the following interview, Mario T. García, author of The Latino Generation: Voices of the New America, talks about why we should listen to the voices of this new Latino generation and what they have to say.

Q: “Latino” is a widely used and oftentimes misused term. How would you define Latino?

A: Latino is a generic term to include all people of Latin American extraction in the United States. This includes Mexicans, Central Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, etc.

Q: Why is it important for all types of Americans to gain a deeper understanding of Latinos?

A: Latinos now are the largest “race” minority in the country, some 55 million, or 16% of the population. By 2050 one out of every three Americans will be Latino. All Americans are being affected and will be affected by this demographic change, whether in school, at work, in neighborhoods, politics, the media, culture, sports. It is important that we understand Latinos and their background and history in the United States to avoid stereotypes and ethnic tensions. Knowing the long and rich history of Latinos in the country and their contributions to it by their work and military service, for example, will hopefully dissipate fears and hysteria about “strangers” and “illegal aliens.”

Q: What is the Latino Generation?

A: The Latino Generation is composed of the children of the so-called “New Immigrants,” principally from Mexico and Central America, that arrived beginning in the 1970s and 1980s. The Latino Generation is composed of second-generation Latinos. Ethnically and culturally they are in greater physical or technological connection with different Latino groups and hence relate better to the term “Latino.” They are also a generation that has grown up under intense anti-immigrant nativism that they have had to react to and that has affected their ethnic identity.

Q: The testimonios that make up The Latino Generation come from interviews you conducted with thirteen Latino college students, all children of immigrants. While gathering these testimonios was there any facet of them, unique or universal, that stood out to you? Continue reading ‘Interview: Mario T. Garcia on The Latino Generation’ »

William A. Blair on the Consequences of Silence during the Civil War

With Malice Towards Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era by William A. Blair

In a guest post over at UNC Press Civil War 150, William A. Blair, author of With Malice toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era, discusses how those who didn’t openly support the Union and Lincoln’s administration risked being arrested on suspicion of treason during the Civil War.

Americans have a high regard for free speech, but should we have the same concern for the protection of silence? Should saying nothing or doing nothing open one to military arrest? What if a president has gone on record as advocating such a policy? This may sound like a ridiculous proposition, given our system of rights embedded in the Constitution. But it is not a hypothetical statement: this scenario faced northerners, border-state loyalists, and especially Confederates in occupied zones during the U.S. Civil War. Saying nothing and doing nothing did bring the U.S. Army to one’s door.

The Reverend K. J. Stewart received a lesson about the problem of silence in a civil war. On February 9, 1862, soldiers dragged this minister of St. Paul’s Church from the pulpit during worship service in Alexandria, Virginia. The reason? He had refused to say the prayer to the president. Soldiers from the 8th Illinois Cavalry, directed by a State Department detective, literally dragged the preacher from the church. He had to be pried from his grasp on the chancel rail. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and Stewart was released fairly quickly.

The most startling statement about silence and arrests came from none other than President Abraham Lincoln. In June 1863, he responded to criticism of military arrests by a group of Democrats from New York in a letter whose lead signatory was Erastus Corning. It was one of less than a handful of public letters that he issued during the conflict and was designed to rationalize the arrest of Clement Vallandigham, former congressman and gubernatorial candidate from Ohio. The politician had delivered a speech that challenged an order by Major General Ambrose Burnside prohibiting criticism of the administration. Vallandigham was arrested, tried by a military commission, and banished from the Union, creating outrage among many Democrats, including the group from New York.

Often missed by historians—but not by Mark E. Neely Jr.—was that a portion of Lincoln’s defense in what became known as the Corning Letter justified arrests that were preventative. In other words, Lincoln condoned imprisoning people before they had done anything wrong. He added that doing nothing could earn a visit from the military. “The man who stands by and says nothing, when the peril of his government is discussed, can not be misunderstood. If not hindered, he is sure to help the enemy.” The president added that, similarly, waffling statements suggested an underlying disloyalty that should be nipped. “Much more, if he talks ambiguously—talks for his country with ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’ and ‘ands.’” Lincoln ended this segment of the letter with a better known statement: “I shall be blamed for having made too few arrests rather than too many.”

Visit UNC Press Civil War 150 to read the full post, “When Silence Wasn’t Golden.”