E. Patrick Johnson: Black. Queer. Southern. Women.

Black. Queer. Southern. Women.: An Oral History by E. Patrick JohnsonToday we welcome a guest post from E. Patrick Johnson, author of Black. Queer. Southern. Women.:  An Oral History, just published by UNC Press.

Drawn from the life narratives of more than seventy African American queer women who were born, raised, and continue to reside in the American South, this book powerfully reveals the way these women experience and express racial, sexual, gender, and class identities–all linked by a place where such identities have generally placed them on the margins of society. Using methods of oral history and performance ethnography, E. Patrick Johnson’s work vividly enriches the historical record of racialized sexual minorities in the South and brings to light the realities of the region’s thriving black lesbian communities.

Black. Queer. Southern. Women. is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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One of the most important lessons I have learned in conducting oral histories is one instilled in me by my now deceased colleague, mentor, and friend, Dwight Conquergood, whose famous line still rings true today: “Opening and interpreting lives, is not the same as opening and closing books.” Indeed, when a scholar solicits a life history from someone—for academic or nonacademic purposes—they have a responsibility to acknowledge the extraordinary gift that they have been given. Trust is never a given and must always be earned. This is particularly true when there is a divide between the one who shares their story and the one who bears witness to it. As a male scholar on a quest to chronicle the lives of black southern women who love women, I was keenly aware of the tightrope I had to walk to represent these stories that would honor these women without making them too “precious.”

E. Patrick Johnson, Book Launch Event for Black.Queer.Southern.Women at Charis Books, Atlanta, GA

E. Patrick Johnson, Book Launch Event for Black.Queer.Southern.Women at Charis Books, Atlanta, GA

My “come to Jesus” moment happened at the book launch of Black. Queer. Southern. Women.:  An Oral History on Saturday, November 10 at Charis Books in Atlanta. Charis is one of the oldest feminist bookstores in the country and just happens to be the site of much black lesbian organizing in the South—where the likes of Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, and Pat Parker first read their work or were part of LGBTQ grassroots organizing. Six of the women I interviewed for the BQSW participated on a panel discussion about their experience of being interviewed for the book and about their lives in general. Aida Rentas, the octogenarian from Puerto Rico; Pat and Cherry Hussain, Mary Anne Adams, and Darlene Hudson from Atlanta; and, Michelle Wright from Winston Salem, NC, all had the audience of over one hundred people smashed in the tiny bookstore, spellbound as they, one by one, shared their stories about how, at first, they were suspicious of my motives for collecting their stories, to warming up to me, to being honored to be included in the book. For Cherry Hussain and Michelle Wright, in particular, this occasion proved very emotional, as they both recounted how important it was for them to share their stories of sexual abuse to the world with the hope that their stories might save lives.

Continue Reading E. Patrick Johnson: Black. Queer. Southern. Women.

Nina Silber: The Lost Cause in the New Deal Era

This War Ain't Over by Nina SilberToday we welcome a guest post from Nina Silber, author of This War Ain’t Over:  Fighting the Civil War in New Deal America, just published by UNC Press.

The New Deal era witnessed a surprising surge in popular engagement with the history and memory of the Civil War era. From the omnipresent book and film Gone with the Wind and the scores of popular theater productions to Aaron Copeland’s “A Lincoln Portrait,” it was hard to miss America’s fascination with the war in the 1930s and 1940s. Nina Silber deftly examines the often conflicting and politically contentious ways in which Americans remembered the Civil War era during the years of the Depression, the New Deal, and World War II. In doing so, she reveals how the debates and events of that earlier period resonated so profoundly with New Deal rhetoric about state power, emerging civil rights activism, labor organizing and trade unionism, and popular culture in wartime.

This War Ain’t Over is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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The Lost Cause in the New Deal Era

The Lost Cause, that fantastical story white Southerners have long told about their antebellum and Civil War past, has received more than its share of historical scrutiny.  What tends to get less notice is how the Lost Cause has adapted to suit different historical circumstances. During the 1930s and 40s, the Lost Cause morphed in noteworthy ways, especially as memory of the war became more untethered from first-person experiences and as new memory-makers felt less constraint about prodding the war’s memory into something that fit their present-day purposes.

During the 1930s, membership in the nation’s premier Lost Cause organization, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, declined significantly but the group still found ways to shift its influence to new and somewhat unexpected venues. Hollywood producers, for example, sometimes adopted the UDC’s stamp of approval to market films to audiences across the South. The organization also pursued partnerships with Roosevelt’s New Deal, including collaborations with the CCC and the WPA, which provided funding for UDC pet projects.  Additionally, UDC members got jobs as writers and state directors for the Federal Writers Project, giving Daughters positions as interviewers and editors in the ex-slave oral history project and a chance to inject their nostalgia for the kindly relations of slavery into an official historical record.  In 1936 the WPA’s Federal Theater Project staged its first production in New York’s Times Square with a play, fully vetted by the UDC, on the life and times of the Confederacy’s one and only president. Apparently not content with one Jefferson Davis play, the UDC also pitched a musical pageant on the Jefferson Davis National Highway for consideration by the Federal Theatre.

Continue Reading Nina Silber: The Lost Cause in the New Deal Era

It’s the Holiday Season 2018 — and time for the annual UNC Press Holiday Gift Books sale!

UNC Press Holiday Gift Books Sale

Our annual Holiday Gift Books sale is going on now!  You can save 40 percent on all UNC Press print books.  And, if your order totals $75 or more, the domestic shipping is free!

Save on great gift books for everyone on your list — cookbooks, illustrated books, guidebooks, ground-breaking (and award-winning) books in history, religion, etc — truly something for everyone.  Browse our site and find lots of great gifts (and even some for yourself, too).

Use promo code 01HOLIDAY at checkout to see your discount.  Order by December 7 for delivery before December 24th.

Here’s a small sample of what you’ll find — and happy holidays!  Click here to start shopping!

Campaign of Giants, The Battle for Petersburg, Volume 1Blackbeard's Sunken PrizeEdna LewisDistilling the South: A Guide to Southern Craft Liquors and the People Who Make Them by Kathleen Purvis Pie: A Savor the South Cookbook by Sara Foster River of Death--The Chickamauga Campaign: Volume 1: The Fall of Chattanooga Carolina Catch by Debbie MooseCity of a Million Dreams by Jason Berry Stone Free by Jas Obrecht

Samira K. Mehta: Beyond Chrismukkah

Beyond Chrismukkah: The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United StatesToday is the first day of Hanukkah, and we welcome a post from Samira K. Mehta, author of Beyond Chrismukkah:  The Christian-Jewish Interfaith Family in the United States, published by UNC Press.

The rate of interfaith marriage in the United States has risen so radically since the sixties that it is difficult to recall how taboo the practice once was. How is this development understood and regarded by Americans generally, and what does it tell us about the nation’s religious life? Drawing on ethnographic and historical sources, Samira K. Mehta provides a fascinating analysis of wives, husbands, children, and their extended families in interfaith homes; religious leaders; and the social and cultural milieu surrounding mixed marriages among Jews, Catholics, and Protestants.

Beyond Chrismukkah is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Beyond Chrismukkah

I was sitting in the kitchen with an interfaith couple. She is Mormon, he is Jewish. They were explaining their approach to their two traditions. Their children attend preschool at the JCC and Sunday School in the local Mormon ward. They have Shabbat dinner as a family, they go to synagogue as a family, and they go to Mormon worship services together. They also celebrate their holidays together. The Jewish spouse explained that he had an “allergy” to Christmas trees, particularly a tree in his own home. The tree was not of central importance to her—she was happy to avoid the commercialism of Christmas, and so they had no tree. She did, however, want the day to celebrate the promise in Christ’s birth, and so they had a crèche on their mantel throughout the holiday season.

Why could Jewish husband accept a nativity scene but found a Christmas tree to be an unacceptable Christian incursion into his home?

The Christmas tree, as it turns out, is a particularly fraught symbol for interfaith families—one that they have confronted year after year.

It is not just about the tree, of course.  Objections to interfaith marriage follow two main arguments.  Among Jews, a longstanding worry suspects that interfaith marriages will pull Jews, and their interfaith children, away from Judaism. The second, which applies beyond the Jews and Christians, objection stems from the belief that intermarriage undercuts marital happiness and leads to divorce.

The truth is more complicated–and more hopeful.  Instead of conflict, negotiating the Christmas tree can create something that benefits all families: an occasion to discuss what they really value.

Though the Christmas tree dilemma features Christians and Jews, the issue increasingly touches Americans of all traditions.  Since 2010, almost 40 percent of Americans have married across religious lines of some sort or another. These families have to decide how (or whether) to continue celebrating the holidays that each of them cherish, and which practices and traditions will have a place in their homes.

Continue Reading Samira K. Mehta: Beyond Chrismukkah

Michael E. Staub: Ghosts of Bell Curves Past

The Mismeasure of Minds by Michael E. StaubToday we welcome a guest post from Michael E. Staub, author of The Mismeasure of Minds:  Debating Race and Intelligence between Brown and The Bell Curve, just published by UNC Press.

The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision required desegregation of America’s schools, but it also set in motion an agonizing multi-decade debate over race, class, and IQ. In this innovative book, Michael E. Staub investigates neuropsychological studies published between Brown and the controversial 1994 book, The Bell Curve. In doing so, he illuminates how we came to view race and intelligence today.

The Mismeasure of Minds is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Ghosts of Bell Curves Past

It is an anniversary unlikely to prompt much celebration: The Bell Curve turns 25 in 2019. Published in the early autumn of 1994, and co-authored by psychologist Richard Herrnstein (who died the same month the book appeared) and political scientist Charles Murray, The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, swiftly took America by storm. The book – no light read by any stretch – leaped into the best-seller list, selling 400,000 copies in its first two months after publication. Just as significant was that the book received the sort of wall-to-wall coverage publicists only dream about, even as it provoked (also helpfully, at least for marketing) the most contentious of cultural controversies. Not since Daniel Moynihan published his report on the black family close to a generation earlier had the country seen such an embittered dispute over how and why poverty was so deeply racialized in America.

The Bell Curve is remembered – and reviled – for a key set of interwoven propositions: that intelligence tests provide an excellent means of cognitive assessment; that IQ tests are not biased against minorities; that differences in IQ do exist within racial or ethnic groups, but also that differences in IQ exist between racial and ethnic groups; that these group differences in intelligence were likely due far more to “genetics” and much less to “environment”; and that the average IQ for white people was 100, while the average IQ for African Americans was 85. The Bell Curve also – and just as perniciously – proposed that “racial differences in intelligence” had tremendous consequences for public policy. The book argued that it was an error to invest so heavily in compensatory educational programs for low-achieving students, since these students were unlikely to benefit meaningfully from these expenditures. It was not, Herrnstein and Murray maintained, that a high IQ guaranteed success in life, or that a low IQ preordained defeat. Rather it was that there existed a strong correlation between one’s IQ and one’s rung on the socioeconomic ladder. Therefore U.S. society had evolved, “naturally,” it might be said, into a hereditary meritocracy. According to The Bell Curve, policy makers and educational reformers had to come to grips with the consequences of this scientific truth.

Continue Reading Michael E. Staub: Ghosts of Bell Curves Past

Max Felker-Kantor: Resisting Police Power: The Roots of Anti-Police Abuse Movements in Los Angeles

Policing Los Angeles by Max Felker-Kantor Today we welcome a guest post from Max Felker-Kantor, author of Policing Los Angeles:  Race, Resistance, and the Rise of the LAPD, just published by UNC Press.

Felker-Kantor narrates the dynamic history of policing, anti-police abuse movements, race, and politics in Los Angeles from the 1965 Watts uprising to the 1992 Los Angeles rebellion. Using the explosions of two large-scale uprisings in Los Angeles as bookends, he highlights the racism at the heart of the city’s expansive police power through a range of previously unused and rare archival sources. His book is a gripping and timely account of the transformation in police power, the convergence of interests in support of law and order policies, and African American and Mexican American resistance to police violence after the Watts uprising.

Policing Los Angeles is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Resisting Police Power: The Roots of Anti-Police Abuse Movements in Los Angeles

In recent years, anti-police abuse activists have struggled to combat state-sanctioned police violence directed at communities of color. Through the use of social media and cellphone video recordings, activists, many associated with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, have shed light on the near-weekly episodes of police violence experienced by people of color. While contemporary anti-police abuse activism represents a new era of protest, these movements also reflect a long history of resistance to police abuse and demands for an end to racially disparate police practices in American cities.

In researching and writing Policing Los Angeles: Race, Resistance, and the Rise of the LAPD, I followed a rich history of activists and residents of color who routinely challenged the discriminatory practices of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) during the latter half of the twentieth century. Residents and activists of color in Los Angeles routinely demanded greater civilian oversight of the police in hopes of making the department more accountable to the people it served.

Sparked by an episode of police abuse, the 1965 Watts uprising confirmed the criticisms of the LAPD made by many African American and Mexican American activists throughout the post-war period. Residents and activists used the crisis of policing created by Watts to push for changes in how the LAPD policed communities of color. The uprising also mobilized a renewed anti-police abuse movement in Los Angeles. Through groups such as the Black Panthers and Brown Berets, African Americans and Mexican Americans organized not only to expose police violence but also an alternative vision of policing for their communities.

Continue Reading Max Felker-Kantor: Resisting Police Power: The Roots of Anti-Police Abuse Movements in Los Angeles

Nina Silber: ‘Slavery’ in Depression Era America

This War Ain't Over by Nina SilberToday we welcome a guest post from Nina Silber, author of This War Ain’t Over:  Fighting the Civil War in New Deal America, just published by UNC Press.

The New Deal era witnessed a surprising surge in popular engagement with the history and memory of the Civil War era. From the omnipresent book and film Gone with the Wind and the scores of popular theater productions to Aaron Copeland’s “A Lincoln Portrait,” it was hard to miss America’s fascination with the war in the 1930s and 1940s. Nina Silber deftly examines the often conflicting and politically contentious ways in which Americans remembered the Civil War era during the years of the Depression, the New Deal, and World War II. In doing so, she reveals how the debates and events of that earlier period resonated so profoundly with New Deal rhetoric about state power, emerging civil rights activism, labor organizing and trade unionism, and popular culture in wartime.

This War Ain’t Over is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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‘Slavery’ in Depression Era America

Despite its historical remoteness, the US Civil War continues to stand as a critical marker for Americans today. We see it in the red state/blue state maps that ominously bear the imprint of the Union and Confederate divide.  We hear it in the often garbled language of politicians reaching for role models from an earlier era.  And, of course, we are continually made aware of competing memories of the Civil War in persistent debates about Confederate monuments and the Confederate flag.

In the 1930s, the Civil War was also an ever-present touchstone, not so much in discussions about monuments or flags – neither of which received much attention in these years – but as a memory that seemed to shed light on the economic and political struggles of the Depression era and as a culturally vibrant reference point in film, fiction, theater, art, and music. In and around Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, the Civil War analogy was invoked with increasing frequency – with comparisons often made between the crises of the 1860s and the 1930s. “There had never been a time,” observed FDR’s advisor Rexford Tugwell regarding the Great Depression, “the Civil War alone excepted, when our institutions had been in such jeopardy.”  For Tugwell and Roosevelt, the Civil War analogy drove home a critical political point: the current crisis was not something individualized and private – a framework traditionally used for understanding economic calamity – but something national in scope that demanded the kind of active, government involvement used in wartime.  From this premise, it took only a short step to connect Lincoln, and his legacy, to FDR.  The hugely influential Lincoln biographer, Carl Sandburg, gave a subtle rendition of this argument, suggesting that the Civil War president came to office with “a sense of change, of some new deal.”  Democratic Representative Frank Dorsey of Pennsylvania was more explicit.  Noting Lincoln’s outrage over turning “precious human beings” into chattel, he hailed Honest Abe as “the new dealer of the late 1850s and the early 1860’s.”

As Dorsey’s reference suggests, one metaphor used often in these discussions was “slavery”.  Invoked repeatedly, perhaps no term was subject to as many meanings and distortions. During the 1930s it was possible to hear the word slavery used to describe: the exploitation suffered by white factory workers at the hands of profit-hungry owners; the misery experienced by southern farm laborers, white and black, post-Civil War; the subjugation of the entire South at the hands of Yankee exploiters; and, sometimes, the historical experience of black enslavement.  By the end of the 1930s, yet another definition was added: the oppression of those living under the rule of fascist (and sometimes communist) dictators.

Continue Reading Nina Silber: ‘Slavery’ in Depression Era America

It’s Thanksgiving Week — Today’s Recipe: Phoebe’s Sweet Potato Cream Pie from Sara Foster’s Pie: A Savor the South Cookbook (plus a bonus!)

As we enter into the final preparations for Thanksgiving, we’re highlighting delicious recipes from recent UNC Press cookbooks.  Each day this week, our authors bring you their best dishes to help make your holiday special and memorable.

(Plus, since you’re probably at wit’s end by now, we thought you could use a pick-me-up, so we’re offering a bonus recipe, just for the cook.)

Today, it’s —

Pie: A Savor the South Cookbook by Sara FosterPhoebe’s Sweet Potato Cream Pie from Sara Foster’s Pie: A Savor the South Cookbook

At Scratch bakery in Durham, North Carolina, Phoebe Lawless has been turning out pies since 2008. Starting as a one-woman operation at the Durham Farmers’ Market, she now has the bakery and a restaurant, where she whips up everything from Shaker lemon pie to sea salt chocolate crostatas on the sweet side. And on the savory side (my favorite), she makes pigs in a blanket, squash and apple crostatas, turnip and sausage empanadas, and many more flavorful pies, all driven by the seasons. If you’re looking for a good gluten-free crust for other pies, the crust in this recipe is a great option.

Makes one 9-inch pie / Serves 8–10

For the crust
1 1⁄2 cup rolled oats
1⁄4 cup sesame seeds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons (3⁄4 stick) unsalted butter, melted

For the caramel layer
1⁄2 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup water
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling
1 1⁄4 cups milk
1⁄2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄4 cup cornstarch
1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground ginger
1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup sweet potato purée (see Note)
4 tablespoons (1⁄2 stick) unsalted butter

For the topping
1 cup heavy cream
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar

For the crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°.

Combine the oats, sesame seeds, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to crush the oats. (Do not pulse to a fine dust; the crumbs will have small pieces remaining.)
Add the melted butter and pulse until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Press the mixture evenly on the bottom and up the sides of the pan to form the crust. Freeze or refrigerate for 30 minutes until firm.

Place the pie pan on a rimmed baking sheet on the center rack in the oven to bake just until golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

For the caramel layer:
Pour the cream into a heavy-bottomed, non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally, to warm the cream. Remove from the heat and set aside.

In a separate deep, heavy saucepan-bottomed, combine the sugar, water, and salt. Stir to mix and bring to a boil over medium heat. Continue to boil without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture is amber colored, 5–8 minutes.

Remove the caramel from the heat. Slowly add the cream, pouring it to the side of the pan; it will boil rapidly. When it stops boiling, whisk until smooth and allow to cool. Whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool. Once cooled to room temperature, spread in the bottom of the prepared crust and refrigerate until firm.

For the custard layer:
Place the milk in a heavy-bottomed, non-aluminum saucepan over medium heat. Add the vanilla bean and seeds and whisk to mix. To scald the milk, bring to just under a boil, whisking often. The milk will start to bubble around the edges and steam. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla bean.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, pepper, and salt and stir to mix. Add the eggs, egg yolks, and sweet potato purée and whisk until combined. Slowly add about 1 cup of the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly, to temper the eggs. Whisk the egg mixture back into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan and place back over medium-low heat. Continue to cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 3–4 minutes. You want to see a few bubbles begin to rise slowly from the bottom of the pan. Do not let the mixture come to a full boil or cook too long—you will overcook the eggs. The mixture is thick enough when the whisk leaves tracks as you stir. Remove from the heat to stop the cooking process and strain through a mesh strainer into a large bowl. Add the butter and whisk until melted. Place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the custard and set aside to cool slightly.

Once the filling has cooled to room temperature, spread it evenly over the caramel layer and refrigerate the pie until firm, at least 2 hours or overnight.

For the topping:
When ready to serve, place the heavy cream in a medium bowl and beat with an electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue to beat just to combine. Remove the pie from the refrigerator. Top with the whipped cream, slice, and serve cold or refrigerate until ready to serve.

NOTE:  To make the sweet potato puree, preheat the oven to 400°. Wrap 1 large sweet potato in foil and bake for 50–60 minutes until very soft to the touch. Remove the foil; when cool enough to handle, slip the skin off. Place the sweet potato in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and puree until smooth. One medium-large to large sweet potato makes about 1 cup of puree.

From Pie:  A Savor the South Cookbook,
Copyright © 2018 Sara Foster

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Sara Foster is the owner of Foster’s Market in Durham, North Carolina, and the author of five cookbooks.  Visit her website here.


And now, for your bonus, here’s a recipe for —

Distilling the South: A Guide to Southern Craft Liquors and the People Who Make Them by Kathleen PurvisPitcher of Rum Punch from Distilling the South by Kathleen Purvis

From Regina and Doug Charboneau of Charboneau Distillery and Kings Tavern, Natchez, Mississippi.

Makes 6 to 8 servings, depending on size

1 1/2 cups gold rum, such as Charboneau
1/2 cup frozen limeade concentrate
1/4 cup frozen orange juice concentrate
4 cups pineapple juice
1/4 cup grenadine
3 cups water
Lime slices (garnish)

Combine all the ingredients in a pitcher. Stir well. Serve over ice with a lime twist.

From Distilling the South:  A Guide to Southern Craft Liquors and the People Who Make Them by Kathleen Purvis
Copyright © 2018 Kathleen Purvis

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Kathleen Purvis is an award-winning food writer, food editor for the Charlotte Observer, and the author of two cookbooks, Bourbon and Pecans.

It’s Thanksgiving Week — Today’s Recipe: Hot Pecan Country Ham Spread from Southern Snacks by Perre Coleman Magness

As we enter into the final preparations for Thanksgiving, we’re highlighting delicious recipes from recent UNC Press cookbooks.  Each day this week, our authors bring you their best dishes to help make your holiday special and memorable.

Today, it’s —

Southern Snacks by Perre Coleman MagnessHot Pecan Country Ham Spread

This recipe is born from others — I have seen recipes in a slew of community cookbooks for hot pecan dip, and the good southern pecan lover in me has always been intrigued. But those recipes call for dried beef, which I have never used and am not sure you can still buy. It finally occurred to me to give it a try with a southern cooking staple, country ham. The result is creamy and salty and crunchy and downright delicious. This is one of those dishes that make people crowd around the buffet table.

Makes about 3 cups

6 ounces center-cut country ham slices, roughly torn
3 green onions, white and light green parts, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 cup chopped pecans

Place the country ham, green onions, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until everything is chopped to a rough purée. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the cream cheese, sour cream, and pepper and blend until smooth. Scrape the mixture into a 1-quart baking dish, smoothing the top.

Melt the butter in a small skillet and add the Worcestershire. Stir in the pecans and cook until the pecans are toasted and smell nice and nutty, about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Leave the pecans to cool, then sprinkle over the top of the spread. Lightly press the pecans into the surface to adhere. The dip can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days at this point.

When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 350° and cook the dip until warmed through and lightly bubbling. Serve with hearty crackers.

From Southern Snacks:  77 Recipes for Small Bites with Big Flavors by Perre Coleman Magness
Copyright © 2018 Perre Coleman Magness

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Perre Coleman Magness is the author of Pimento Cheese: The Cookbook and The Southern Sympathy Cookbook. You can follow her on Twitter.

It’s Thanksgiving Week — Today’s Recipe: Cornbread, Sage, and “Sausage” Dressing, from The New Vegetarian South by Jennifer Brulé

As we enter into the final preparations for Thanksgiving, we’re highlighting delicious recipes from recent UNC Press cookbooks.  Each day this week, our authors bring you their best dishes to help make your holiday special and memorable.

Today, it’s —

The New Vegetarian South by Jennifer BruleCornbread, Sage, and “Sausage” Dressing, from The New Vegetarian South by Jennifer Brulé

I should have named this “triple corn dressing” because corn is used in three ways: cornbread, corn kernels, and corncob broth. Vegetarian sausage replaces pork sausage, and lots of freshly chopped herbs add more layers of flavor. Keep in mind that cornbread dressing is slightly crumbly, just like cornbread, but I think that makes the dish seem lighter.

Makes 8 servings

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 recipe Cornbread, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 7–8 cups)
1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2–3 celery stalks, trimmed and chopped (about 1 cup)
1 cup corn kernels (from 2 ears fresh corn)
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
8 ounces vegetarian breakfast sausage patties (such as Morning Star Farms, Quorn, or Gimme Lean), thawed and crumbled
2 cups Corncob and Leek Broth
2 large eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Grease a 6- to 8-quart baking dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside.

Spray a rimmed baking tray with nonstick cooking spray and lay in the cornbread cubes. Bake until just dried out, but not colored, about 10 minutes.

While the cornbread cubes are baking, sauté the onions, celery, and corn with 1 tablespoon of the butter in a sauté pan, set over medium heat, for about 5 minutes, until the onions are translucent and soft. Season with the salt.

Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter.

Pour the baked cornbread cubes into a large mixing bowl, then pour the hot onions, celery, and corn, fresh herbs, and crumbled sausage over the top and gently toss to mix.

Pour the broth, melted butter, and beaten eggs over the top and mix gently. Pile the dressing into a prepared baking dish, cover with aluminum foil or a lid, and bake, covered, for 45 minutes.

Serve warm.

From The New Vegetarian South:  105 Inspired Dishes for Everyone by Jennifer Brulé
Copyright © 2018 The University of North Carolina Press

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Jennifer Brulé is the executive chef and owner of the flexitarian restaurant Davidson Ice House, in Davidson, North Carolina. She is also the author of author of Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways.  For more, follow her on Twitter, on Instagram, or visit her website.

Bruce B. Lawrence: Celebrating the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks Book Series at UNC Press

Today we welcome a guest post from Bruce B. Lawrence, who is co editor, with Carl W. Ernst, of the Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks series at UNC Press.  This year marks the Fifteenth Anniversary of the series.  You can find out more about the series and its books here.

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Celebrating the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks Book Series at UNC Press

When Carl Ernst and I were attending a major conference in Kyoto in spring 2017, several Japanese scholars also participating in that conference asked us about the Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks series (ICMN) at UNC Press. Carl and I explained a bit about the genesis, scope, and goal of ICMN, but we quickly realized that we had just scratched the surface of what could and should be said about this innovative initiative from UNC Press. We later found a more adequate response: we sent each of the universities with which our Japanese hosts were affiliated a full set of all the volumes published to date. Last year there were twenty volumes, now (in late fall 2018) there are twenty-two, with another two imminent, and others on the way.

I hope that this blogpost, which helps to celebrate ICMN’s fifteenth anniversary this year, will provide an interesting read about the series that consistently brings Carl and me—and, we hope, those in the fields of Islamic studies, religious studies, Asian studies, world history, art history, and many other areas as well as types of readers—deep satisfaction and much food for thought.

If the number of twenty-four is remarkable, still more remarkable is the genesis of this series, its ongoing management, and its continued success. Elaine Maisner, UNC Press executive editor and ICMN series sponsoring editor, is the best taskmaster–at once friendly, efficient, and patient. What you’d hope for in an editor. But Elaine was also the progenitor of the ICMN series. It was Elaine who prompted Carl and me to think about this series well before 9/11, and certainly after. It was a time when public attention and academic discourse regarding Islam became both more intense and more fractious. Could it be an opportune moment to launch a series that looked at Muslim networks across space and time? Could it also reckon with the elements–economic and social, religious and political, at home and abroad–that characterize Islamic civilization as part of the newly networked world ushered in by the new millennium but even more by what Manuel Castells labelled the Information Age?

Elaine–and UNC Press–answered YES  to all these queries, and such was her energy and determination that Carl and I signed on, intending to do no more than eavesdrop on Elaine’s efforts as in-house editor, helping her to forge ahead with a high profile list of contributors to this new series.

How wrong we were! Elaine quickly enlisted us to provide names, to propose titles, to pursue leads, to make hard decisions, and, above all, to engage our colleagues and also students to rethink with us what are the missing perspectives, and what might be useful books, on Islamic civilization and Muslim networks.

Continue Reading Bruce B. Lawrence: Celebrating the Fifteenth Anniversary of the Islamic Civilization and Muslim Networks Book Series at UNC Press

Scott L. Matthews: The Most Documented Region

Capturing the South by Scott L. MatthewsToday we welcome a guest post from Scott L. Matthews, author of Capturing the South:  Imagining America’s Most Documented Region, just published by UNC Press.

In this expansive history of documentary work in the South during the twentieth-century, Matthews examines the motivations and methodologies of several pivotal documentarians, including sociologist Howard Odum, photographers Jack Delano and Danny Lyon, and music ethnographer John Cohen. Their work salvaged and celebrated folk cultures threatened by modernization or strived to reveal and reform problems linked to the region’s racial caste system and exploitative agricultural economy.

Capturing the South is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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The Most Documented Region

The American South continues to possess the documentary imagination. It lures and inspires photographers, filmmakers, folklorists, and ethnographers as much today as it did during the twentieth century when Walker Evans, James Agee, Margaret Bourke-White, Zora Neale Hurston, Alan Lomax and many others created iconic images, descriptions, and recordings of the region and its people. In the 1940s, sociologists began calling the South America’s “best” and “most documented region” and, unsurprisingly, some scholars think those superlatives still apply. While writing Capturing the South, I tried to keep up with the rush of new field recording collections, films, and photography and travel books that carry on the region’s documentary tradition today. In the work I’ve explored, I’ve been struck by the persistence of subjects and settings (rural cultures and poverty) that dominated twentieth-century documentaries but also the insistence of young documentarians to shatter calcified representations of the region.

RaMell Ross’s heralded 2018 documentary film, Hale County This Morning This Evening, provides a compelling example of this tension. Unfortunately for Ross, his film’s setting and title make comparisons with the work of photographer William Christenberry and, especially, James Agee, Walker Evans and their collaborative book from 1941, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, inevitable. As I explain in Chapter Five of Capturing the South, the work of those documentarians, and the flood of follow-up studies and rephotography projects it inspired, transformed Hale County into a hallowed American place, a mecca for writers, photographers, and filmmakers enthralled by the incantatory power of Agee’s prose and the lyricism of Evans and Christenberry’s photographs. Their portrayal of Hale County, however, evoked the aesthetics of the white rural poor and vernacular architecture; the area’s black people, nearly two-thirds of the county’s population, loomed mostly beyond the margins and borders of their work.

Continue Reading Scott L. Matthews: The Most Documented Region

In Memory of Dale Volberg Reed

Reed, Reed, and McKinney

John Shelton Reed, Dale Volberg Reed and William McKinney, authors of Holy Smoke

In memory of Dale Volberg Reed, who passed away in October, we are reprinting this 2008 interview with her and her co-authors of Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, John Shelton Reed and William McKinney.

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Q: How did two Tennesseans (John and Dale) and a South Carolinian (William) get the nerve to write a book about North Carolina barbecue? What qualifies you to write on the topic?

Dale: Well, John and I are originally from just over the line in Tennessee and we’ve lived in North Carolina since 1969—and I was at Duke before that. But you’re right: we’re not Tar Heels born and Tar Heels bred. As we say in the introduction to the book, we’re converts to North Carolina barbecue, but like many converts we can be more Catholic than the Pope. Because we didn’t grow up with it, we don’t take North Carolina barbecue for granted.

John: We also argue—I don’t know how successfully—that our origins give us some measure of impartiality in the Eastern Piedmont, tomato vs. no-tomato, whole-hog vs. shoulder wars. It’s not our heritage that’s at stake.

William: On the South Carolina front, I’ll freely admit to being fond of mustard-based barbecue—really fond of it. But the intensity of interest in barbecue and respect for it that you find in North Carolina doesn’t exist where I come from. Good barbecue places in South Carolina will carry Eastern-style sauce, but North Carolina shops don’t need mustard-based sauce. In fact, it would be weird if you found it in a North Carolina barbecue joint.

Holy Smoke: The Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue, by John Shelton Reed and Dale Volberg ReedQ: How is Holy Smoke organized?

John: You could call it Trinitarian. The first part is history (starting with the Iliad—no kidding) and what you might call “lore.” We talk about the role of barbecue and barbecues in the life of the state, and the rise of barbecue restaurants in the twentieth century. The second part of the book tells how to cook barbecue at home, and gives the history of the canonical side dishes—slaw, cornbread, Brunswick stew, and other things you’ll find on the menus of North Carolina barbecue places. (We’ve got some good recipes, too.) The last third or so is made up of interviews William did with a dozen or so representative “barbecue men” (and one woman—Debbie Bridges, from Shelby). These are folks who cook barbecue for a living, and they talk about their craft, and their businesses, and their lives. We conclude with a sort of coda about the future of North Carolina barbecue, why it may be an endangered cuisine, and why that matters.

Q: How did this project come to be?

Dale: John and I have admired and cooked from a book called Legends of Texas Barbecue by Robb Walsh ever since we came across it. We were talking one day with David Perry [then editor-in-chief at UNC Press] and found out that he liked it, too. Someone—we don’t remember who—said, “You know, there really needs to be a book like that about North Carolina barbecue.” John and I looked at each other and knew what our next book was going to be. We wrote a proposal for David and the Press bought it.

John: It turned out that we’d been getting ready to write this book for a long time, without knowing it. We’d been eating barbecue all over the state—and, for that matter, out-of-state, from San Francisco to London—for decades. We’d studied Bob Garner’s and Jim Early’s books on North Carolina barbecue—in fact, we had them in our car, and had done things like driving from Chapel Hill to Goldsboro for lunch. I’d been a judge at the Memphis in May barbecue competition and had written about that. I’d spoken about the cultural importance of barbecue at a meeting of the Southern Foodways Alliance, and I’d written a few magazine columns on the subject. We knew enough to know that it would take a whole encyclopedia to deal with barbecue in general, but that it might be barely possible to write a single book about North Carolina. We knew that William had already done those interviews, as a project for the SFA, so we asked him if he’d join us.

Continue Reading In Memory of Dale Volberg Reed

Max Felker-Kantor: Police Power, Race, and Reform in Urban America: Lessons from L.A.

Policing Los Angeles by Max Felker-KantorToday we welcome a guest post from Max Felker-Kantor, author of Policing Los Angeles:  Race, Resistance, and the Rise of the LAPD, just published by UNC Press.

Felker-Kantor narrates the dynamic history of policing, anti-police abuse movements, race, and politics in Los Angeles from the 1965 Watts uprising to the 1992 Los Angeles rebellion. Using the explosions of two large-scale uprisings in Los Angeles as bookends, he highlights the racism at the heart of the city’s expansive police power through a range of previously unused and rare archival sources. His book is a gripping and timely account of the transformation in police power, the convergence of interests in support of law and order policies, and African American and Mexican American resistance to police violence after the Watts uprising.

Policing Los Angeles is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Police Power, Race, and Reform in Urban America: Lessons from L.A.

Repeated instances of police abuse and killings of people of color in cities across the country have led to calls for reform to make the police more accountable and transparent to the people they are supposed to serve. While activists have been central to making demands for changes to the nature of American policing, perhaps the biggest recent call for reform among politicians came from former president Barack Obama’s Task Force on Twenty-First Century Policing. The Task Force called for reforms to increase public trust in the police ranging from diversifying departments to establishing community-based policing to the use of officer body cameras. Recognizing the need for greater transparency and accountability is an important first step on the long road to police reform.

Some departments have taken seriously the need to reconcile the history of racially disparate policing with communities of color, to recognize the role of the police in maintaining racial hierarchies, and to acknowledge the need for fundamental changes in American policing. Yet, in many cities proposed reforms do little to question the fundamental authority of the police to enforce social order or to retain discretionary authority to decide what types of behavior or actions constitute a threat. In other words, most reforms take police power for granted and do little to question the underlying power of the police. Police departments also maintain deep-rooted resistance to reform or civilian oversight, leaving the police to police themselves.

Indeed, the broad support of the police largely remains common sense among policymakers of all political stripes. Such broad political support for the police is by no means new. As I show in Policing Los Angeles: Race Resistance, and the Rise of the LAPD, well-intentioned reforms rarely resulted in fundamental change to the structure of the LAPD, to the expansive police power in urban politics, or to greater police accountability and transparency.

Continue Reading Max Felker-Kantor: Police Power, Race, and Reform in Urban America: Lessons from L.A.

Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow: Black Holes in Ancient Space

The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy: Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems by Ann Olga Koloski-OstrowToday, we welcome a guest post from Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, author of The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy: Toilets, Sewers, and Water Systems just published in paperback by UNC Press.

The Romans developed sophisticated systems of urban infrastructure, including aqueducts for moving water from one place to another, sewers for removing dirty water from baths and for runoff from walkways and roads, and public and private multi-seat latrines and single toilets. Through the archaeological record, graffiti, and sanitation-related paintings, and literature, Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow explores this little-known world of bathrooms and sewers, offering unique insights into Roman sanitation, engineering, urban planning and development, hygiene, and public health. Focusing on the cities of Pompeii, Herculaneum, Ostia, and Rome, Koloski-Ostrow’s work challenges common perceptions of Romans’ social customs, beliefs about health, tolerance for filth in their cities, and attitudes towards privacy. In charting the complex history of sanitary customs from the late republic to the early empire, Koloski-Ostrow reveals the origins of waste removal technologies and their implications for urban health, past and present.

The Archaeology of Sanitation in Roman Italy is available in both print and ebook editions.

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Black Holes in Ancient Space:  Roman Sanitation from the Sources

In San Francisco in January 2016 (I had just won the Archaeological Institute of America’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching), I spoke about two unusual “teachers” in my life who inspired me and who helped direct my research interests into the world of ancient Roman sanitation, sewers, toilets, and water systems. These were two dead uncles–both of them immigrants to the U.S.A. from Russia in the early twentieth century.

My Uncle Ted was a plumber in the Boston area, before he died in 1981. When I was a little girl growing up in western Massachusetts (on a farm with a three-seater outhouse), I loved to visit Uncle Ted and go with him underneath the great Victorian houses of Boston where he spent hours on his back in dark, spider-filled spaces, as he fixed copper pipes, or in splendid bathrooms, where he plunged clogged toilets and removed lion-legged bathtubs during renovations. I never tired of the artifacts we collected together—all related to cleanliness, water, and sanitation.

My other dear Uncle Nick, who died in 1991, was a garbage collector in New York City. I often joined him too as he picked up both construction debris from the freight elevators six stories below Rockefeller Center and broken toys discarded from Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. Together we found treasures sliding down the garbage shoots—teddy bears only slightly soiled, fire trucks only partially damaged, and porcelain dolls with lopsided bouffant hair—and we brought them to the less fortunate children we knew in the Berkshires. Uncle Nick taught me about the underbelly of New York City, the tunnels and byways of urban infrastructure, and about the locations of all the dumps and land fills from Staten Island to Long Island. I learned that human garbage has many stories to tell, and I wanted to write some of those stories.

So, these two uncles were my main “muses” to a professional life as a classicist, archaeologist, and professor bound to questions about ancient Roman daily life and sanitation. I explored the evidence for sewers, toilets, and baths in both text and archaeological remains and asked what they had to do with sanitation?

Continue Reading Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow: Black Holes in Ancient Space

Lynn Dumenil: Remembering American Women in World War I

The Second Line of Defense: American Women and World War I by Lynn DumenilThis Sunday, November 11th, will be the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, and we welcome a guest post from Lynn Dumenil, author of The Second Line of Defense:  American Women and World War I, soon to be published in paperback by UNC Press.

In tracing the rise of the modern idea of the American “new woman,” Dumenil examines World War I’s surprising impact on women and, in turn, women’s impact on the war. Telling the stories of a diverse group of women, including African Americans, dissidents, pacifists, reformers, and industrial workers, Dumenil analyzes both the roadblocks and opportunities they faced. She richly explores the ways in which women helped the United States mobilize for the largest military endeavor in the nation’s history.

The Second Line of Defense is available in both print and ebook editions.

Lynn Dumenil will speak at the Greensboro History Museum on November 8th at 7 p.m. For details, visit: http://greensborohistory.org/event/her-great-war-women-wwi

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The Armistice at 100:  Remembering American Women in World War I

If World War II is the “good war,” then I propose we call World War I the “forgotten war.”  Forgotten at least in popular memory.  The 100th anniversary of the U.S. entrance into the Great War (April 1917) came and went with little media attention and the anniversary of the Armistice (11-11-18) may well be equally slighted.  Yet the WWI era is a rich field for scholars seeking to explore the dramatic changes taking place in early 20th century America.  This is particularly true for the history of American women.  Indeed, contemporaries during the war — who were witnesses to extraordinary media attention to women taking on men’s roles, wearing uniforms, serving abroad as aids to the military, and marching boldly in patriotic parades – were convinced that the war was creating a “new woman.”

Many of the dramatic developments of the war, in fact, proved short lived.  This is especially the case for women who took on men’s jobs often at men’s wages.  In the workplace, the most significant long-term impact of war on women was their increased participation in clerical work, which became even more “feminized” — and devalued — in the post war years.   But in other ways the war helped to accelerate more far reaching changes.  In 1914, the suffrage movement had already seen success in fourteen states, but the war offered suffragists associated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association a way to bolster their claim for full citizenship by demonstrating women’s patriotic service on the homefront (in food conservation, fundraising drives, and defense industry work, for example) and abroad as nurses, telephone operators, and social workers.  At the same time, women in the National Woman’s Party picketed the White House with signs linking their call for the vote to the war for democracy abroad and branding the President “Kaiser” Wilson.  Both groups undoubtedly contributed to Wilson’s eventual support for the 19th Amendment, which in turn started the move toward Congressional approval.

Continue Reading Lynn Dumenil: Remembering American Women in World War I

Mary-Elizabeth B. Murphy: In Politics to Stay

Jim Crow CapitalToday is Election Day, and we welcome a guest post from Mary-Elizabeth B. Murphy, author of Jim Crow Capital:  Women and Black Freedom Struggles in Washington, D.C., 1920–1945, just published by UNC Press.

In her new book, Murphy tells the story of how African American women in D.C. transformed civil rights politics in their freedom struggles between 1920 and 1945. Even though no resident of the nation’s capital could vote, black women seized on their conspicuous location to testify in Congress, lobby politicians, and stage protests to secure racial justice, both in Washington and across the nation. Women crafted a broad vision of citizenship rights that put economic justice, physical safety, and legal equality at the forefront of their political campaigns. Black women’s civil rights tactics and victories in Washington, D.C., shaped the national postwar black freedom struggle in ways that still resonate today.

Jim Crow Capital is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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In Politics to Stay:  The View from History

The right to vote is about political power, and for much of United States history, this privilege was denied to most black women.  In theory, the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 promised to enfranchise all women.  In practice, it was not enforced in the South, as polling places in states, such as Georgia, and North Carolina, practiced similar disfranchisement policies on black women that they had perfected on black men.[i]  Despite the partial victory of the Nineteenth Amendment, black women nonetheless seized on the language of women’s right to vote as they formed partisan organizations, lobbied for the passage of the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, and weighed in on Supreme Court nominations.[ii]  In 1924, black clubwomen formed the National League of Republican Colored Women, an explicitly partisan organization, and rallied under the slogan, “We Are In Politics to Stay, and We Shall be a Stay in Politics.”  Through this message, black women not only declared their presence in politics, but also, their determination to influence political matters.

White supremacists took note, sounding alarm about the visibility of black women serving in political positions to arouse fears about black voting, and thus, black political power.  In the winter of 1928, the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing about restoring voting rights in the nation’s capital.  Grover W. Ayers, a white resident of Washington, D.C., warned the committee about black women’s growing influence in politics.  “There is now a negro woman who is a member of the State legislature in West Virginia,” he stated, referencing Minnie Buckingham Harper, who had recently taken over her late husband’s seat.  Even more chilling, he told the committee that, “since there are a greater number of negro women in the District of Columbia than there are negro men, it would only be right that there should be a negro woman elected to the United States Senate every once in a while.”  He cautioned that a black woman senator “could attend the White House receptions and things of that kind.”[iii]

Continue Reading Mary-Elizabeth B. Murphy: In Politics to Stay

Benjamin T. Smith: Fake News, Chinese Boxes, and the Mexican Art of Manipulating the Press

The Mexican Press and Civil Society, 1940–1976: Stories from the Newsroom, Stories from the Street by Benjamin T. SmithToday we welcome a guest post from Benjamin T. Smith, author of The Mexican Press and Civil Society, 1940–1976:  Stories from the Newsroom, Stories from the Street, just published by UNC Press.

Mexico today is one of the most dangerous places in the world to report the news, and Mexicans have taken to the street to defend freedom of expression. As Benjamin T. Smith demonstrates in this history of the press and civil society, the cycle of violent repression and protest over journalism is nothing new. He traces it back to the growth in newspaper production and reading publics between 1940 and 1976, when a national thirst for tabloids, crime sheets, and magazines reached far beyond the middle class.

The Mexican Press and Civil Society, 1940–1976 is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Fake News, Chinese Boxes, and the Mexican Art of Manipulating the Press

Over the past few years, United States citizens have become increasingly aware of how governments, organizations and corporations deliberately use disinformation and lies to disguise the truth and bend the public will. Such practices have undermined trust in the mainstream media. For many, they are the most overt threat to the future of democracy. Fake news, in short, has become big news.

A similar crisis of confidence has been also been happening south of the border. Over the past decade, Mexicans have become more and more conscious of the ways in which shadowy forces, including but not limited to the state, manipulate the mass media. The 2012 Televisa scandal, the firing of Carmen Aristegui and the frequent homicides of regional journalists have all pointed to diversity of strategies employed to limit the public sphere. Neoliberal democracy promised a more open and more responsible press, but in its place seems to have created a media industry even more dependent on the alliances linking political parties, commercial interests, and organized crime.

In 2014, the director, Luis Estrada, mocked this collision of modern publicists, traditional PRI corruption, and drug traffickers in his satire, La Dictadura Perfecta. In the film, the TV executives met with PRI functionaries to suppress footage of a governor receiving several suitcases full of cash from the known drug trafficker. To do so, they employed a “Chinese box”. The phrase is a literary device used to denote a story within a story. But here, it was used to describe a fabricated news story – fake news in contemporary parlance – which could be repeatedly expanded to fill the news cycle and obscure negative press. In the film, Estrada had his executives stage a simulated kidnapping to avert public attention from government corruption.

Continue Reading Benjamin T. Smith: Fake News, Chinese Boxes, and the Mexican Art of Manipulating the Press

Georgann Eubanks: The Imperfect Persimmon

The Month of Their Ripening by Georgann EubanksToday we welcome a guest post by Georgann Eubanks, author of The Month of Their Ripening:  North Carolina Heritage Foods through the Year, published this fall by UNC Press.

Telling the stories of twelve North Carolina heritage foods, each matched to the month of its peak readiness for eating, The Month of Their Ripening takes readers on a flavorful journey across the state. Georgann Eubanks begins in January with the most ephemeral of southern ingredients—snow—to witness Tar Heels making ice cream. In March, she takes a midnight canoe ride on the Trent River in search of shad, a bony fish with a savory history. In November, she visits a Chatham County sawmill where the possums are always first into the persimmon trees.

The Month of Their Ripening is available in both print and ebook editions.

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The Imperfect Persimmon

Native persimmons (Diospyros virginiana) are ripening across North Carolina right now. Best not to pick them but to spread a bedsheet under the tree and shake the limbs. Those that drop are likely ripe. The fruit will look bruised and roughed up–the more so the better.

A bowl of ripe persimmons

A bowl of ripe persimmons

It’s a common misconception to assume that these trees need a good frost for the fruit to ripen. The timing depends much more on the site, sun, and moisture during the season, I’m told by Gene Stafford, host of the upcoming Colfax Persimmon Festival to be held on Saturday, November 3rd at the historic Stafford Farm on the west side of Greensboro. Details on the 11th annual event are available at: colfaxpersimmonfest.com. Stafford says this year’s crop, which he harvests from a number of sites in the area, is very good.

Florida foodie and forager Richard Campbell explains the value of this underappreciated fruit: “The American persimmon is a relic of our horticultural past that has thrived on its imperfections. They provide context to our lives and are a constant in a world of change and uncertainty.”

Indeed, and persimmons are the subject of chapter 11 (November) in my new book, The Month of Their Ripening: North Carolina Heritage Foods Through the Year. The name persimmon is an anglicized version of the Algonquin word for these small, sweet orbs that once provided a welcome source of nourishment as winter threatened the indigenous people of our region. They prized persimmon pulp for making breads, soups, and beverages. African Americans and European settlers later came to use them to create puddings, cakes, and dried fruit leather in the days of subsistence farming.

Continue Reading Georgann Eubanks: The Imperfect Persimmon

#HistoryMatters: A roundup of UNC Press authors on Reconstruction and the 14th Amendment

2018 is the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. This sweeping amendment was among the great accomplishments under Reconstruction; together with the 13th Amendment ending slavery and the 15th Amendment granting people of color and former slaves the right to vote, the 14th Amendment is foundational for the civil liberties and civil rights enjoyed by U.S. citizens today. It swept away the 3/5ths compromise that defined the enslaved as less than full people, enshrined due process rights, and guaranteed equal protection under the law. And in its power-packed first sentence, it offered a clear definition of who qualified as a citizen: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside.”

Current events have thrust the 14th Amendment and the meaning of “birthright citizenship” into the spotlight, and the public is once more engaged in a discussion about the meaning of the amendment, both at the time of its ratification and as it has been interpreted through 150 years of case law. Below are some books by UNC Press authors that speak to these questions. Many of them are actively engaged in this discussion on social media—look for their current insights online.


Erik Mathisen (@DrEMathisen), The Loyal Republic: Traitors, Slaves, and the Remaking of Citizenship in Civil War America — This new book addresses head on how Americans struggled to define what it meant to be a citizen of the United States, at a moment of fracture in the republic’s history. As Erik Mathisen demonstrates, prior to the Civil War, American national citizenship amounted to little more than a vague bundle of rights. But during the conflict, citizenship was transformed. Ideas about loyalty emerged as a key to citizenship, and this change presented opportunities and profound challenges aplenty. Confederate citizens would be forced to explain away their act of treason, while African Americans would use their wartime loyalty to the Union as leverage to secure the status of citizens during Reconstruction.

Gregory P. Downs and Kate Masur (@katemasur), The World the Civil War Made — At the close of the Civil War, it was clear that a military conflict begun in South Carolina and fought largely east of the Mississippi River had changed the politics, policy, and daily life of the entire nation. In an expansive reimagining of post–Civil War America, the essays in this volume explore these profound changes. The editors are leading historians of Reconstruction and have been active in national efforts to commemorate its accomplishments. We also recommend Kate Masur’s earlier book, An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C.; and Downs’s earlier book,  Declarations of Dependence: The Long Reconstruction of Popular Politics in the South, 1861-1908

Martha S. Jones (@marthasjones_), All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture, 1830-1900 and Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women.  Jones’s new book, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (Cambridge University Press), is a timely and definitive history of the 14th Amendment’s opening clause and its implications. Her earlier work, published by UNC Press, reflects Jones’s longstanding interest in the intersection of race, gender, and citizenship.

Stephen Kantrowitz (@skantrow), Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy – A compelling read on the backlash to the 14th Amendment. Through the life of Benjamin R.Tillman (1847-1918), South Carolina’s notorious agrarian rebel, this book traces white male supremacy from plantation slavery to the age of Jim Crow. As an anti-Reconstruction guerrilla, governor, and U.S. senator, he offered a vision of reform that was proudly white supremacist. This book argues that Tillman’s white supremacy was a political program and social argument whose legacies continue to shape American life.

Corinne T. Field, The Struggle for Equal Adulthood: Gender, Race, Age, and the Fight for Citizenship in Antebellum America — In the fight for equality, early feminists often cited the infantilization of women and men of color as a method used to keep them out of power. Field argues that attaining adulthood–and the associated political rights, economic opportunities, and sexual power that come with it–became a common goal for both white and African American feminists between the American Revolution and the Civil War. The idea that black men and all women were more like children than adult white men proved difficult to overcome, however, and continued to serve as a foundation for racial and sexual inequality for generations.

Barbara Krauthamer (@profbk), Black Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South — From the late eighteenth century through the end of the Civil War, Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians bought, sold, and owned Africans and African Americans as slaves, a fact that persisted after the tribes’ removal from the Deep South to Indian Territory. Through the end of the nineteenth century, ongoing conflicts among Choctaw, Chickasaw, and U.S. lawmakers left untold numbers of former slaves and their descendants in the two Indian nations without citizenship in either the Indian nations or the United States. In this groundbreaking study, Barbara Krauthamer rewrites the history of southern slavery, emancipation, race, and citizenship to reveal the centrality of Native American slaveholders and the black people they enslaved.

Hannah Rosen, Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South — Traditional definitions of race were radically disrupted after emancipation, when citizenship was granted to all persons born in the United States and suffrage was extended to all men.  Rosen persuasively argues that in this critical moment of Reconstruction, contests over the future meaning of race were often fought on the terrain of gender. She analyzes rape testimonies and debates over interracial marriage. By connecting histories of rape and discourses of “social equality” with struggles over citizenship, she shows how gendered violence and gendered rhetorics of race together produced a climate of terror for black men and women seeking to exercise their new rights as citizens.

And, our friends at the Journal of the Civil War Era‘s Muster blog, put together a lively roundtable discussion of the 14th Amendment on its anniversary.

#BirthrightCitizenship; #HistoryMatters; #ReadUP

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The Loyal RepublicThe World the Civil War MadeBlack Slaves, Indian Masters: Slavery, Emancipation, and Citizenship in the Native American South, by Barbara Krauthamer

The Struggle for Equal AdulthoodBen Tillman and the Reconstruction of White SupremacyTerror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Postemancipation South

For a fuller listing of UNC Press books on history and memory, visit our website.