Troy R. Saxby: What’s in a Name? Pauli Murray’s Many Identities

Today we welcome a guest post from Troy R. Saxby, author of Pauli Murray: A Personal and Political Life, out now from UNC Press.

The Rev. Dr. Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray (1910–1985) was a trailblazing social activist, writer, lawyer, civil rights organizer, and campaigner for gender rights. In the 1930s and 1940s, she was active in radical left-wing political groups and helped innovate nonviolent protest strategies against segregation that would become iconic in later decades, and in the 1960s, she cofounded the National Organization for Women (NOW). In addition, Murray became the first African American to receive a Yale law doctorate and the first black woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest. Yet, behind her great public successes, Murray battled many personal demons, including bouts of poor physical and mental health, conflicts over her gender and sexual identities, family traumas, and financial difficulties. In this intimate biography, Troy Saxby provides the most comprehensive account of Murray’s inner life to date, revealing her struggles in poignant detail and deepening our understanding and admiration of her numerous achievements in the face of pronounced racism, homophobia, transphobia, and political persecution.

In this post, Saxby examines some of Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray’s many identities as well as the challenges that arise when labeling Murray’s selfhood in the present.

Pauli Murray is now available in hardcover and ebook editions.

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Michel Foucault famously declared, “Do not ask me who I am and do not ask me to remain the same: leave it to our bureaucrats and our police to see that our papers are in order.” Foucault was alluding to the inevitability that our identities are changeable, contextual, and subjective, and yet discourses of power seek to make them appear fixed, immutable, and objective. Our identities are rigorously policed in many ways, including by the state, social mores, and by the language that we use.

Foucault’s statement and others like it occupied my mind with growing regularity while I completed a biography of Pauli Murray. Murray lived a trailblazing life, making contributions to furthering civil and women’s rights, literature, and theology while she also grappled with the socially constructed categories of race, gender, and sexuality. Writing Murray’s biography requires placing oneself at the center of Foucault’s statement, caught between her multifaceted life that defied easy categorizations, and how to convey that to a readership using language that inevitably carries with it the heavy weights of history and power.

From her earliest life, Murray’s name itself signaled a shifting self-concept: Murray’s parents named her Anna, though her baptism certificate stated her name as Anni. Regardless, her family used her middle name, Pauline, often shortening it to the nickname Lenie. In early adulthood Murray began using the other half of her middle name, Pauli. On her college record she used a different name again, Agnes Murray, in honor of her deceased mother. The certificate from a marriage that lasted only a few weeks created yet another name, Anna Pauline Wynn. She also referred to herself as “the dude,” “the vagabond,” “Pete,” and once told police her name was “Oliver Fleming.” In later life, Murray’s academic achievements and religious vocation earned her the titles Doctor and Reverend.

Continue Reading Troy R. Saxby: What’s in a Name? Pauli Murray’s Many Identities

Amanda Brickell Bellows–Slavery: Past and Present

Today we welcome a guest post from Amanda Brickell Bellows, author of American Slavery and Russian Serfdom in the Post-Emancipation Imagination, out now from UNC Press.

The abolition of Russian serfdom in 1861 and American slavery in 1865 transformed both nations as Russian peasants and African Americans gained new rights as subjects and citizens. During the second half of the long nineteenth century, Americans and Russians responded to these societal transformations through a fascinating array of new cultural productions. Analyzing portrayals of African Americans and Russian serfs in oil paintings, advertisements, fiction, poetry, and ephemera housed in American and Russian archives, Amanda Brickell Bellows argues that these widely circulated depictions shaped collective memory of slavery and serfdom, affected the development of national consciousness, and influenced public opinion as peasants and freedpeople strove to exercise their newfound rights.

American Slavery and Russian Serfdom in the Post-Emancipation Imagination is available in paperback and ebook editions.

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Slavery: Past and Present

It is a tragic fact that slavery has long been a part of human civilization. Systems of bonded labor have existed in societies ranging from ancient Sumer to Rome and from medieval Europe to colonial America. Its forms have evolved over the centuries in response to changing political, economic, and social conditions. Across space and time, man has shown his willingness to dehumanize others for personal gain.

In 1755, the French scholar Louis de Jaucourt reflected on the presence of slavery in the past and in the present. Writing about slavery in Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie, he lamented that

“slavery was introduced by the law of the strongest, that law of war in offense of nature, and by ambition, thirst for conquest, love of      domination and apathy. To the shame of humanity, it has been accepted by almost all of the world’s peoples. Indeed, we could hardly cast our eyes on sacred History without discovering the horrors of servitude . . . . across the face of the world, in all times, places, and nations.”[1]

Continue Reading Amanda Brickell Bellows–Slavery: Past and Present

Zachery A. Fry: Union Soldiers and the Press in the Civil War

Today we welcome a guest post from Zachery A. Fry, author of A Republic in the Ranks: Loyalty and Dissent in the Army of the Potomacout now from UNC Press.

The Army of the Potomac was a hotbed of political activity during the Civil War. As a source of dissent widely understood as a frustration for Abraham Lincoln, its onetime commander, George B. McClellan, even secured the Democratic nomination for president in 1864. But in this comprehensive reassessment of the army’s politics, Zachery A. Fry argues that the war was an intense political education for its common soldiers. Fry examines several key crisis points to show how enlisted men developed political awareness that went beyond personal loyalties. By studying the struggle between Republicans and Democrats for political allegiance among the army’s rank and file, Fry reveals how captains, majors, and colonels spurred a pro-Republican political awakening among the enlisted men, culminating in the army’s resounding Republican voice in state and national elections in 1864.

A Republic in the Ranks is available in hardcover and ebook editions.

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Union Soldiers and the Press in the Civil War

The thought of American soldiers somehow being ineligible to vote is an alarming one. Yet during the Civil War, thousands of men had abdicated the franchise, their state legislatures insisted, by donning the blue Union uniform and marching beyond their home state’s borders to fight on southern battlefields. Not surprisingly, these soldiers fumed at the home front politicians who had deprived them of the vote and improvised with other ways to declare their politics. One of these substitute voting methods was writing opinion pieces for home front newspapers.

Soldier-correspondents were common in the Union Army of the Potomac, the main field army serving in the Virginia theater of the war. Often they were prewar writers, students, or clerks who knew how to turn a good phrase and keep the folks at home entertained. The writings of 1861 and 1862 show a focus on the drudgery of marching and the boredom of camp life punctuated by the occasional drama of the battlefield. Politics was not a main concern, even after Lincoln’s Democratic opponents made gains in the 1862 midterm elections. By March 1863, however, a full two years into the conflict, Union policy had shifted dramatically with the adoption of emancipation and conscription, giving rise to a vocal set of pro-peace “Copperhead” Democrats at home who assailed the Lincoln administration. In response, the army rallied to the newspaper opinion piece to channel a rhetoric of violence against peace agitators.

Continue Reading Zachery A. Fry: Union Soldiers and the Press in the Civil War

Siobhan Barco: New Talking Legal History Interview with Robert Chase

The final episode in the yearlong Talking Legal History podcast series featuring UNC Press is online. In this timely episode, I interview Robert Chase about his book We Are Not Slaves: State Violence, Coerced Labor, and Prisoners’ Rights in Postwar America (University of North Carolina Press, 2020). Our conversation underscores the important role academic presses play cultivating and disseminating the material Americans must draw from to solve today’s urgent issues. I’m eager to continue talking legal history with UNC Press authors in the years to come.

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2019-2020 UNC Press Podcast Series Episode List:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Talking Legal History Podcast Series was produced by Siobhan Barco with support from the Versatile Humanists at Duke program. Follow Siobhan on Twitter.

Brian P. Luskey: Mary Lincoln, Labor Broker

Today we welcome a guest post from Brian P. Luskey, author of Men is Cheap: Exposing the Frauds of Free Labor in Civil War America, out now from UNC Press.

When a Civil War substitute broker told business associates that “Men is cheep here to Day,” he exposed an unsettling contradiction at the heart of the Union’s war effort. Despite Northerners’ devotion to the principles of free labor, the war produced rampant speculation and coercive labor arrangements that many Americans labeled fraudulent. Men Is Cheap shows that in the process of winning the war, Northerners were forced to grapple with the frauds of free labor. Labor brokers, by helping to staff the Union military and Yankee households, did indispensable work that helped the Northern state and Northern employers emerge victorious. They also gave rise to an economic and political system that enriched the managerial class at the expense of laborers—a reality that resonates to this day.

Men is Cheap is now available in print and ebook editions.

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Mary Lincoln, Labor Broker

In May 1861, Mary Lincoln arrived in New York City’s retail district, ready to spend $20,000 of the American people’s money to refurbish the White House. She also sought credit in her husband’s name for personal items such as the “black point lace shawl” she bought at A. T. Stewart’s fashionable dry goods emporium for $650. Lincoln’s purchases for the White House, she reasoned, were necessary to upgrade the character of the president’s residence for foreign dignitaries and to foster pride in the Union during its time of crisis. Her personal purchases had national significance, too. Determined to overcome the disdain of elite politicians and their wives that she and her husband were uncultured westerners, Lincoln believed that refined appearance was an absolute necessity if the American people were to respect her. The Philadelphia Sunday Dispatch, in enumerating her purchases, condemned Lincoln for “expending thousands and thousands of dollars for articles of luxurious taste in the household way that it would be very preposterous for her to use out in her rural home in Illinois.” Ideas about consumption simply would not allow her to win favor. She was an unrefined rube who could not meet the expectations of the nation’s elite consumers. But her attempts to answer this criticism exposed her to the charge that her move to the nation’s capital gave her license to exchange small-town frugality for costly urban extravagance that was particularly inappropriate in a time of war when threats to the nation called for personal sacrifice.

Continue Reading Brian P. Luskey: Mary Lincoln, Labor Broker

April C. Smith: Discovering Science and Nature Through Outdoor Exploration

Today we welcome a guest post by April C. Smith and Sarah J. Carrier, editor and assistant editor of Thirty Great North Carolina Science Adventures: From Underground Wonderlands to Islands in the Sky and Everything in Between, out now from UNC Press.

North Carolina possesses an astonishingly rich array of natural wonders. Building on this abundance, April C. Smith passionately seeks to open the world of nature to everyone. Her popular science guidebook features thirty sites across North Carolina that are perfect for exploration and hands-on learning about the Earth and the environment. A stellar group of naturalists and educators narrate each adventure, explaining key scientific concepts by showing you exactly where and how to look. This guidebook is for anyone—teens, kids, families, hikers, teachers, students, and tourists alike—who loves to be outside while learning.

Thirty Great North Carolina Science Adventures is now available in paperback and ebook editions.

You can also check out a new series of videos related to the book on the UNC Press Youtube channel. April C. Smith explains what you can learn and do at Jockeys Ridge State Park and in the Sandhills of North Carolina.

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Discovering Science and Nature Through Outdoor Exploration

Recall, if you will, ten of the most memorable childhood experiences that made you who you are today. These could be experiences with others, or perhaps when you were alone. Can you recall a feeling of excitement, wonder, or awe from your experiences? Were they things that captured your imagination and made you want to dig a little deeper? Were they things that you wanted to share with your best friend, knowing that he or she would feel just as excited as you?

I have images of myself walking through cypress swamps, closely observing the cypress knees, noting the amount of water that they were standing in, and looking for snakes. I remember countless hours spent barefoot on oyster reefs in the inlet near my grandparent’s house. I remember my favorite place to camp on the river, and I remember shortly after learning to scuba dive, sitting on the bow of a friend’s boat on a calm summer day, looking out over the horizon when a giant manta ray breached the ocean’s surface. These are the moments that pull at a child’s heartstrings, and they are the ones that called me to be an environmental scientist.

When I asked my assistant editor, Sarah Carrier, to recall her early experiences of exploration, she described them to me this way:

As a child, I spent most of my free time exploring outdoors, wading in creeks and hiking in woods. Whether I examined the exoskeleton of a cicada, classified features of rocks, or compared the fluidity of streams with those in cirrus clouds, I began to learn about the patterns and beauty in nature. These experiences instilled in me a life-long love for both learning and for the outdoors.

Continue Reading April C. Smith: Discovering Science and Nature Through Outdoor Exploration

Claire Whitlinger–The Money in Memory: Commodifying Civil Rights Memory

Today we welcome a guest post from Claire Whitlinger, author of Between Remembrance and Repair: Commemorating Racial Violence in Philadelphia, Mississippi, out now from UNC Press.

Few places are more notorious for civil rights–era violence than Philadelphia, Mississippi, the site of the 1964 “Mississippi Burning” murders. Yet in a striking turn of events, Philadelphia has become a beacon in Mississippi’s racial reckoning in the decades since. Claire Whitlinger investigates how this community came to acknowledge its past, offering significant insight into the social impacts of commemoration. Whitlinger expands our understanding of how commemorations both emerge out of and catalyze associated memory movements.

Between Remembrance and Repair is now available in paperback and ebook editions.

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The Money in Memory: Commodifying Civil Rights Memory

Mississippi has become a tourist destination. Nearly sixty years after Jim Crow violence repelled residents and would-be visitors, the memory of the civil rights movement is drawing activists, students, and other interested citizens back to the state. In its first year, the recently-opened Mississippi Civil Rights Museum received over 250,000 visitors, far exceeding expectations.

This state-of-the-art museum, located in downtown Jackson, represents a notable change in the state’s cultural landscape. Once described by historian James Silver as the “closed society” for the state’s ill-treatment of outsiders and unwavering defense of race-based segregation, Mississippi now hosts dozens of civil rights monuments, celebrating the state’s pivotal role in the movement, including acts of racial terror that sparked the movement itself.

No community has been more central to this cultural transformation than Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Figure 1. State-sponsored historical marker in Neshoba County

Notorious as the site of the infamous 1964 “Mississippi Burning” murders where local Klansman conspired to kill civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, Philadelphia and its surrounding county (Neshoba) has long sustained a reputation as the worst of the worst in racial hatred for its white citizens’ silence, denial, and obstruction of justice surrounding the case—a reputation that endured long after the murders became memory.

Yet when I visited Mississippi for the first time in 2009, Philadelphia seemed to represent a touchstone for racial progress. Everywhere I went, people were talking about Philadelphia.

Continue Reading Claire Whitlinger–The Money in Memory: Commodifying Civil Rights Memory

Douglas J. Flowe: “Uncontrollable Blackness” in Context

Today we welcome a guest post from Douglas J. Flowe, author of Uncontrollable Blackness: African American Men and Criminality in Jim Crow New Yorkout now from UNC Press.

In the wake of emancipation, black men in northern urban centers like New York faced economic isolation, marginalization, and racial violence. In response, some of those men opted to participate in underground economies, to protect themselves when law enforcement failed to do so, and to exert control over public space through force. Douglas J. Flowe traces how public racial violence, segregation in housing and leisure, and criminal stigmatization in popular culture and media fostered a sense of distress, isolation, and nihilism that made crime and violence seem like viable recourses in the face of white supremacy. He examines self-defense against state violence, crimes committed within black social spaces and intimate relationships, and the contest of white and black masculinity.

In this post, Flowe introduces and contextualizes the historical study presented in Uncontrollable Blackness. The book is now available in hardcover and ebook formats.

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Uncontrollable Blackness in Context

In the summer of 1915 New York City police arrested Sonny Wilks in Midtown Manhattan and charged him with murder. As Wilks told the story, he recently had a falling out with his girlfriend, Ada Wright, and she returned to a former lover, Jasper Diamond. Because Diamond blamed Wilks for the lapse in his relationship with Wright, he confronted him on West 61st street on a warm summer evening and things became violent. “[Diamond] tried to shoot me about a girl, and I save myself by shooting him first,” Wilks later told police in a written statement.

Wilks was “idle” at the time of his arrest, he explained, having lost his job as a cigar maker, and he was away from his wife and child, trying to figure out how to make money to support them. In the photo of Wilks, on the cover of Uncontrollable Blackness, you can almost see the mixture of shock, anger, and fear he may have experienced in the moment of his arrest and booking. He had come to New York City from Honduras in 1900 and after fifteen years of working and surviving the crucible of Jim Crow, he was finally ensnared in the net of American law. The certainty that he would not see the streets, or his own family, in the context of freedom for quite some time, furrowed his brow. His bowtie sat crooked, likely because of being jostled by police when they dragged him away from the scene of the shooting. In the photo he was in a claustrophobic, smoky police stationhouse, deep within the notorious Tenderloin district; a precinct well-known for the chorus of cries to be heard from its windows as police applied the torturous “third degree” to those unlucky enough to see its innards. He was motionless for the instant of the photo, trying to follow the directions of the policemen surrounding him, and attempting to comprehend the profundity of his situation. And he had no way of knowing that in that moment he was not only looking at a camera controlled by a white officer in a dingy, musty room, but he was also staring more than 100 years into the future, on the cover of a book he would never get to read, but one that he would live every moment of. Wilks convinced a judge that he was in fact defending himself from Diamond during the conflict but he still received an indeterminate sentence of up to 16 years at Auburn Prison for first-degree manslaughter.

 Sonny Wilks’s inmate photo, Auburn Prison. Courtesy of New York State Archives.

 

Sonny Wilks’s story, and those of countless other men like him, provide an important opportunity to dissect the meaning of illegal, or criminalized, exploits of black men. Seizing this opportunity, Uncontrollable Blackness is not in any way meant to condemn their actions, nor is it meant to romanticize them. Whether petty crimes such as theft and vandalism, or heinous crimes like rape or murder, criminality can strike at the core of a community and rip the fabric of collective purpose. However, as a historian, I am primarily concerned with understanding the confluence of circumstances that placed Wilks on West 61st Street on that day that changed his life, the conditions that made his assailant approach him as he did, and those that made it so Wilks was armed with a gun and ready to use it, as he was. I am interested in the society they lived in, the ways that society had a part in their decision-making processes, and the crucibles uniquely customized for them. One of the greatest powers of the historian should be the ability to objectively observe and understand the past, and derive meaning that can contextualize the present; like comprehending the leaves of a tree by studying its roots, its seed, and the terra firma it is planted in. While judgement and bias might color all human perspectives, to some extent, historical study might provide a clear scope of an unseen past, and hold up a looking glass for us to observe ourselves. After all, our lives are intrinsically connected to what has come before us.

As such, Uncontrollable Blackness is an attempt to understand the societal, legal, economic, and gendered factors that may have made illegality attractive, necessary, or unavoidable for African American men in the early twentieth century, with an eye toward comprehending current issues of crime in black communities, and contextualizing continued police violence and mass incarceration. It comes to grips with how breaking the law can also be seen as resistance for those whom the legal process has turned against. It is meant to register the profound sense of dread one might feel when they realize societal inequalities tailormade for them are upheld by a body of laws that simultaneously restrict their options for recourse. How can anyone expect to address issues of crime and violence without seeking first to understand where they come from?

We can all understand Sonny Wilks because he is human, and the choices he made were set in a context that might force unwelcomed decisions for anyone who is navigating a crucible that threatens their livelihood, freedom, and life at every step. If he was telling the truth about defending himself, then he never actually broke the law, but lived the next six years of his life as prisoner number 34772 simply for trying to survive on the streets of his neighborhood. He was released for good behavior in the fall of 1921 but not before his wife passed away and he lost most of his connection with his child, who continued to live with Wilks’s aunt somewhere in New York. Ultimately, Wilks’s trials represent how the city itself got in the way of the lives black men tried to forge in the city. Whether by choice or by happenstance, they might find themselves compelled into violent situations, saddled with economic circumstances that made illegality alluring or vital, and entangled with the criminal justice system in ways that ravaged their lives. But, in the process, some used crime to gain distinct advantages. Uncontrollable Blackness tells these stories, finally, from their perspectives.

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Photo by Sean Garcia

Douglas J. Flowe is assistant professor of history at Washington University in St. Louis. Follow him on Twitter.

Michael E. Woods: Remembering the Davis-Douglas Debates

Today we welcome a guest post from Michael E. Woods, author of Arguing Until Doomsday: Stephen Douglas, Jefferson Davis, and the Struggle for American Democracy, out now from UNC Press.

As the sectional crisis gripped the United States, the rancor increasingly spread to the halls of Congress. Preston Brooks’s frenzied assault on Charles Sumner was perhaps the most notorious evidence of the dangerous divide between proslavery Democrats and the new antislavery Republican Party. But as disunion loomed, rifts within the majority Democratic Party were every bit as consequential. And nowhere was the fracture more apparent than in the raging debates between Illinois’s Stephen Douglas and Mississippi’s Jefferson Davis. As leaders of the Democrats’ northern and southern factions before the Civil War, their passionate conflict of words and ideas has been overshadowed by their opposition to Abraham Lincoln. But here, weaving together biography and political history, Michael E. Woods restores Davis and Douglas’s fatefully entwined lives and careers to the center of the Civil War era.

In this post, Woods writes about the significance of the May 1860 clash between Democratic senators Jefferson Davis and Stephen A. Douglas.

Arguing Until Doomsday is now available in hardcover and ebook editions.

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Remembering the Davis-Douglas Debates

After nearly half a century, C.S. Wooten vividly recalled one of antebellum America’s most momentous political debates. In a long article penned for a local newspaper, the North Carolinian described the “two great combatants” whose rhetorical duel had captivated their badly divided country. One was “short and fat,” but also “active, quick, sprightly in his movements, and a man of wonderful magnetism” whose oratorical prowess “could fascinate men and hold them under his magic spell.” The other was tall, lean, and projected “a stateliness and majesty of bearing, a loftiness of dignity, a certain hauteur of spirit that indicated a man accustomed to authority.” Erupting just months before the pivotal 1860 presidential election, these skilled debaters’ noisy clash over slavery’s westward expansion riled up northerners and southerners alike. As an eighteen-year-old, Wooten was too young to vote in that contest, but he recognized the massive stakes involved in what he called “The Davis-Douglas Debate.”[1]

Modern Americans are far more familiar with the 1858 debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, and historians have profitably compared and contrasted the lives of Lincoln and Jefferson Davis, the executives who squared off in the Civil War. But Wooten’s article reminds us of what antebellum Americans understood quite clearly: the May 1860 clash between Senator Douglas of Illinois and Senator Davis of Mississippi was profoundly important and ominously divisive. Northerners and southerners followed the Congressional slugfest with rapt attention and responded with their own fiery rhetoric. A Georgian cheered on Davis and accused Douglas of making a “declaration of war against the South,” while from Maine came praise for Douglas’s “last great effort” which had “almost annihilated the Mississippian.”[2] Journalist Murat Halstead, who was scrambling from one city to the next to cover the ongoing presidential nominating conventions, stopped in Washington to watch part of the Davis-Douglas showdown, a highly anticipated event that filled the Senate galleries with eager spectators. And whether they watched in person or followed the debates through the newspapers, onlookers recognized the gravity of the rhetorical duel between two of the country’s most powerful senators. The debate portended both a rupture in their Democratic Party and trouble for the Union. As Davis himself predicted in early 1860, “a division of the Democracy must be the forerunner of a division of the States.”[3]

Continue Reading Michael E. Woods: Remembering the Davis-Douglas Debates

Jack Reid: Hitchhiking and Kinship Practices in the Navajo Nation

Today we welcome a guest post from Jack Reid, author of Roadside Americans: The Rise and Fall of Hitchhiking in a Changing Nation, out now from UNC Press.

Between the Great Depression and the mid-1970s, hitchhikers were a common sight for motorists, as American service members, students, and adventurers sought out the romance of the road in droves. Beats, hippies, feminists, and civil rights and antiwar activists saw “thumb tripping” as a vehicle for liberation, living out the counterculture’s rejection of traditional values. Yet, by the time Ronald Reagan, a former hitchhiker himself, was in the White House, the youthful faces on the road chasing the ghost of Jack Kerouac were largely gone—along with sympathetic portrayals of the practice in state legislatures and the media. In Roadside Americans, Jack Reid traces the rise and fall of hitchhiking, offering vivid accounts of life on the road and how the act of soliciting rides from strangers, and the attitude toward hitchhikers in American society, evolved over time in synch with broader economic, political, and cultural shifts. In doing so, Reid offers insight into significant changes in the United States amid the decline of liberalism and the rise of the Reagan Era.

In this post, author Jack Reid explores the practice of hitchhiking among people of the Navajo Nation.

Roadside Americans is now available in hardcover and ebook editions.

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Hitchhiking and Kinship Practices in the Navajo Nation

Within mainstream American culture, hitchhiking is often considered an abandoned past time.  Once common between the Great Depression and the mid-1970s—when many saw it as a thrifty and at times romanticized form of spontaneous transit—the practice eventually lost favor.  To this day most Americans associate ride solicitation with sensational crime stories.  Despite this national trend, however, the practice is more common among indigenous societies, particularly along the desert highways and sweeping vistas of the Navajo Nation.

Although most Navajo do not rely on hitchhiking, the practice is nevertheless a regular feature of day-to-day life.  The reservation’s leading news source, the Navajo Times, for instance, periodically runs articles in an ongoing series called “The Hitchhiker Diaries,” which highlight compelling human interest stories as told by individuals picked up by one of the paper’s journalists.  Likewise, hitchhikers are a common motif in the work of Shonto Begay, a well-known Navajo artist.  Whether a painting of a young man thumbing to nearby Flagstaff, Arizona, or a collection of individuals telling stories in a truck bed barreling down the highway, Begay’s work situates hitchhiking as a meaningful part of Navajo mobility. All this begs the question, why is hitchhiking still viable when it has largely disappeared elsewhere in the United States?

Continue Reading Jack Reid: Hitchhiking and Kinship Practices in the Navajo Nation

Thomas J. Brown: Rumors of War in Richmond

Today we welcome a guest post from Thomas J. Brown, author of Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America, out now from UNC Press.

This sweeping new assessment of Civil War monuments unveiled in the United States between the 1860s and 1930s argues that they were pivotal to a national embrace of military values. Americans’ wariness of standing armies limited construction of war memorials in the early republic, Thomas J. Brown explains, and continued to influence commemoration after the Civil War. Brown shows that distrust of standing armies gave way to broader enthusiasm for soldiers in the Gilded Age. Some important projects challenged the trend, but many Civil War monuments proposed new norms of discipline and vigor that lifted veterans to a favored political status and modeled racial and class hierarchies. A half century of Civil War commemoration reshaped remembrance of the American Revolution and guided American responses to World War I.

Civil War Monuments and the Militarization of America is now available in print and ebook formats. The book has recently been named the winner of the 2020 Tom Watson Book Award by the Society of Civil War Historians.

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Rumors of War in Richmond

Recently announced plans to remove memorials on Monument Avenue in Richmond mark a climax in the critique of Confederate monuments that gained traction after the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012 and accelerated after the Charleston massacre of 2015 and Charlottesville bloodshed of 2017. Ironically, this event comes shortly after a well-publicized attempt to leverage rather than clear the Confederate landscape of Richmond, the December 2019 installation of Kehinde Wiley’s equestrian statue Rumors of War. Wiley’s work reanimates as it mocks the equestrian statues on nearby Monument Avenue, particularly the statue of J. E. B. Stuart on which Wiley based his composition. Rumors of War certainly draws meaning from its location, but it is also the capstone of a series on which the artist has been engaged since an early stage of his meteoric career, long before Confederate monuments stirred wide controversy. The overall project suggests important aspects of its extension to Richmond.

Kehinde Wiley’s Rumors of War in Richmond (2019). Steve Helber / AP

Continue Reading Thomas J. Brown: Rumors of War in Richmond

Extending the open-to-read book collection at JSTOR

In the closing weeks of March UNC Press was approached by a number of online platforms who host digital versions of our academic books. Because of the abrupt transition students and scholars were making to online learning and research, these platforms requested we permit unlimited, free access to our books through the end of June. While we rely on the revenue these channels provide to support our authors and staff, it was clear we needed to open our books. A crisis is precisely when it’s more important than ever to show your values. Limiting access would have been completely contrary to our mission of disseminating scholarship as broadly as possible.

At the same time, budgeting for the coming year has been a sobering process. We are predicting a six-figure deficit meaning we will be forced to make a number of difficult choices in the coming months. So, when JSTOR approached us again last week asking us to extend the unlimited, free access through the end of August, we had to view that through the hard reality of this looming concern. But JSTOR told us something else when they made this new request. They said use of our books had increased 75% during the past months. We have agreed to this extension.

We are facing unprecedented economic challenges at the same moment that our books are being discovered, read, and cited more than ever. Many of our recent titles on race and social justice are becoming cornerstones in the urgent conversations our country is having. There will be a time in the near future for us to make the case for financial support for the Press, but for now we encourage everyone to explore our books in hopes you see the value of the scholarship we so proudly publish.

John Sherer
Spangler Family Director, UNC Press

Association of University Presses Releases Equity and Anti-Racism Statement

Today our trade group, the Association of University Presses, released a statement on Equity and Anti-Racism. We proudly support this statement.

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June 2, 2020 (New York, NY; Washington, DC)—The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) holds among our core values diversity and inclusion. As an organization and as a community, we mourn the lost lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many others, stolen by the systemic racism at work in the US. We condemn police brutality and other forms of socially sanctioned racist violence. And we stand in solidarity with all who continue to seek justice, to imagine equity, and to enact a different world.

Many of our member presses put the values of diversity and inclusion into the world in a tangible way, playing major roles over the last few decades in amplifying the voices of scholars who originated African American Studies, Native Studies, and LGBTQ studies, among other groundbreaking fields. These works are readily available to provide insights and are frequently cited as resources in response to police brutality or white supremacist violence.

But we have only to look to evidence such as that found in the Lee & Low Diversity Baseline Survey, indicating in 2019 that our ranks are 76% white, to know that holding a value is not sufficient. Every day our professional community—just as our personal communities—must work towards equity, towards inclusion, and towards justice.

Today we issue the AUPresses Statement on Equity and Anti-Racism, declaring that upholding these core values requires “introspection, honesty, and reform of our current practices, the interests they serve, and the people and perspectives they exclude.” Drafted by our Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, taken through a rigorous review process by our Equity, Justice, and Inclusion (EJI) Committee, and approved by the AUPresses Board of Directors, this statement points a way forward:

“Only with systems of accountability in place to protect and lift up those who have been historically harmed and silenced by our collective inaction will we succeed in dismantling the white supremacist structure upon which so many of our presses and parent institutions were built. How to support these efforts sustainably across the industry must be considered a priority for the Association, its members, and its executive board as well as the main focus of the Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Committee.”

We acknowledge with gratitude the volunteer efforts of our EJI Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, and Gender, Equity, and Cultures of Respect Task Force in calling us to this work. Download a PDF of the Statement on Equity and Anti-Racism.

Our inaugural EJI Community Read is another piece of this witness and work, and many member presses are organizing their staffs to read these essential selections: White Fragility by Robin D’Angelo (Beacon, 2018) and Invisible People by Alex Tizon (Temple, 2019). Our community’s full list of nominations for the Community Read project provides a wider lens through which to understand current events across the US as people protest and seek to right the wrongs of systematic racism and the long injustices of white supremacy.

As a community of publishers we are called to discuss and absorb what these authors have to say and to act on our colleagues’ specific recommendations—such as explicitly anti-racist training for managers, amelioration of the no- and low-wage entry points to our industry, and new recruitment and promotion strategies—with a goal of making equity a lived experience.

George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Michael Brown. The devastating list goes on and on. Yes, say their names. Yes, do the reading. But we must also live and work as though we have listened.

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UNC Press Signs Anne C. Bailey, Randall Balmer, and Anthea D. Butler to Ferris & Ferris Books Imprint

UNC Press announced today the signing of three important additions to its new Marcie Cohen Ferris and William R. Ferris Imprint for high-profile, general interest books about the American South.

Executive editor Debbie Gershenowitz bought world rights from Faith Childs at Faith Childs Literary Agency to historian and contributor to the New York Times’ 1619 Project Anne C. Bailey’s follow up to her 2017 book, The Weeping Time. In the new work, to be published in fall 2023, Bailey is continuing and expanding her research into how descendants of the enslaved people sold at the largest slave auction in U.S. history have experienced processes of trauma, memory, and redemption, while applying a wider lens to the topic.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to work again with Anne Bailey, a gifted historian and eloquent storyteller. Anne’s tireless detective work in tracing the descendants of the African slave trade and allowing them to honor their ancestors via their own traumas, memories, commemorations, and activism offers lessons to all of us on finding resilience and empowerment in the face of oppression and tragedy,” Gershenowitz said.

Executive editor Elaine Maisner bought world rights from Carol Mann at the Carol Mann Agency to Randall Balmer’s To Everything a Season: How Team Sports Became America’s New Religion, to be published in 2022.  A leading historian of American religion, Balmer became addicted to sports radio—and was inspired to look deeply into North American history to figure out why team sports invoke such peculiarly devotional passions among sports fans.

“This book will bring together both of Randall Balmer’s passions, and with publication arriving around the time that spectator sports will likely roar back after the COVID-19 crisis, Balmer will be proven to be astonishingly astute,” Maisner said.

Maisner also bought world rights to historian and popular opinion writer Anthea D. Butler’s hard-hitting, clear-eyed, and unsettling chronicle of the racism that has consistently operated through the course of American history at the core of conservative white evangelical politics. It continues to fester today in an evangelical blind spot. The book, titled White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, is scheduled to be published in Spring 2021.

“Anthea Butler brings her vibrant and ultimately compassionate voice to the tough story chronicled in White Evangelical Racism: how America’s racial history underlies the connection between religion and electoral politics today. This is a reality that bears on every American, no matter one’s religion or ethos, so we’d better open our eyes to it,” Maisner said.

The Marcie Cohen Ferris and William R. Ferris Imprint is supported by a multimillion-dollar endowment created in honor of the Ferrises at the Press. Its inaugural volume, Grace Elizabeth Hale’s Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture, was published in March 2020, and other authors under contract include Karen Cox, Adrian Miller, and a major new multi-authored history of the South edited by W. Fitzhugh Brundage.

The Press intends to publish two to three books annually under the Ferris & Ferris Books imprint.

Founded in 1922, UNC Press is the oldest university press in the South and one of the oldest in the United States. It is an affiliate of the University of North Carolina System.

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Noeleen McIlvenna: The Long History of Public Protest

Today we welcome a guest post from Noeleen McIlvenna, author of Early American Rebels: Pursuing Democracy from Maryland to Carolina, 1640–1700, out now from UNC Press.

During the half century after 1650 that saw the gradual imposition of a slave society in England’s North American colonies, poor white settlers in the Chesapeake sought a republic of equals. Demanding a say in their own destinies, rebels moved around the region looking for a place to build a democratic political system. This book crosses colonial boundaries to show how Ingle’s Rebellion, Fendall’s Rebellion, Bacon’s Rebellion, Culpeper’s Rebellion, Parson Waugh’s Tumult, and the colonial Glorious Revolution were episodes in a single struggle because they were organized by one connected group of people.

Early American Rebels is now available in print and ebook editions.

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We live in a time of renewed public protest here in the United States: Black Lives Matter rallies, the Women’s March on Washington, Families Belong Together demonstrations, Puerto Rican resistance. Such scenes provoke memories of the 1960s, when the marches of the Civil Rights Movement changed the nation. But Civil Rights was not the first major American social movement. Suffragists organized mass demonstrations one hundred years ago. And we can keep going back. The Lowell Mill workers ‘paraded’ about low wages in the 1830s. Stamp Act ‘rioters’ carefully organized public protest in the 1760s. Truth is, Americans have been protesting against state and corporate power at least since the 1600s.

We don’t know too much about political dissent within Native American communities in North America in the era before European colonization. There was active warfare between societies and tribute owed to powerful chiefs. But internal dissent did not require mass mobilization. Societies without courts and police operated on very democratic principles. Leaders had to build consensus, because there was little obedience to power within a tribe.

European and African arrivals, however, have been protesting since they got off the boats. The Stono Rebellion of 1739 saw enslaved Kongolese lead a liberty march south from the Charleston area, gathering more people as they moved towards the border with Spanish Florida.

Continue Reading Noeleen McIlvenna: The Long History of Public Protest

Allison Margaret Bigelow: Mining Language and Political Discourse

Today we welcome a guest post from Allison Margaret Bigelow, author of Mining Language: Racial Thinking, Indigenous Knowledge, and Colonial Metallurgy in the Early Modern Iberian World, out now from the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and UNC Press.

Mineral wealth from the Americas underwrote and undergirded European colonization of the New World; American gold and silver enriched Spain, funded the slave trade, and spurred Spain’s northern European competitors to become Atlantic powers. Building upon works that have narrated this global history of American mining in economic and labor terms, Mining Language is the first book-length study of the technical and scientific vocabularies that miners developed in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as they engaged with metallic materials. This language-centric focus enables Allison Bigelow to document the crucial intellectual contributions Indigenous and African miners made to the very engine of European colonialism.

Mining Language is featured in our #LASA2020 virtual exhibit. It is now available in print and ebook formats.

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About once every four years, as presidential elections ramp up here in the US, we hear a lot about miners. Despite the substantial policy differences between candidates like Donald Trump and Joe Biden, they tend to invoke a similar image of miners and mining technologies. Mr. Trump, sometimes donning a hard hat, often expresses solidarity with coal miners and their families, declaring, as he did in Toledo, Ohio, on January 9, 2020, “we are putting our miners back to work. Dig we must. Dig we must.”[1] Mr. Biden, expressing the same concern for employment prospects, does not claim that jobs in the industry are returning. Instead, he argues that miners could be retrained in computer science. As he put it, “Anybody who can go down 300-3,000 feet in a mine sure as hell can learn how to program as well.”[2]

These descriptions overlook the highly mechanized nature of modern mining. Mr. Trump holds an imaginary shovel in his hand, gesturing to nineteenth- and early-twentieth century methods of extraction, rather than contemporary technologies using draglines, large-scale trucks, and automatic conveyers.[3] Mr. Biden suggests that miners’ bravery will allow them to transition into new industries, seeming to overlook the knowledge required to operate high-tech equipment.

Continue Reading Allison Margaret Bigelow: Mining Language and Political Discourse

New Talking Legal History Interviews with Sophie White and Maddalena Marinari

Two new episodes of the Talking Legal History podcast series featuring UNC Press are online! You can listen to episode 17 with Sophie White here and episode 18 with Maddalena Marinari here.

The February episode features Siobhan talking with Sophie White about her book Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (UNC Press, 2019). White is Associate Professor of American Studies and Concurrent Associate Professor in the Departments of Africana Studies, History, and Gender Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She is an historian of early America with an interdisciplinary focus on cultural encounters between Europeans, Africans and Native Americans, and a commitment to Atlantic and global research perspectives.

The March episode features Siobhan talking with Maddalena Marinari about her book, Unwanted: Italian and Jewish Mobilization against Restrictive Immigration Laws, 1882–1965 (UNC Press, 2020). Marinari is Assistant Professor in History; Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies; and Peace Studies at Gustavus Adolphus College. She has published extensively on immigration restriction and immigrant mobilization.

The series is produced by Siobhan M. M. Barco, J.D. with support from the Versatile Humanists at Duke program. For updates on the series keep your eye on the UNC Press Blog and follow @SiobhanBarco on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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News from UNC Press: Retirement of Executive Editor Chuck Grench

Chuck Grench

In spring 2000, UNC Press marked the beginning of the new millennium by welcoming Chuck Grench as our new senior editor for history. Chuck was already well known to many in the university press community, having spent 25 years in the business before leaving Yale University Press for the warmer climes of North Carolina. But over the last 20 years, he has built many new relationships, not only in Chapel Hill but throughout the world of scholarly publishing. Whether you’ve broken bread with him, kibitzed at a conference booth, or merely seen him across the exhibit hall scrambling on top of a table to help hang our banner and posters, chances are you’ve found him as we have known hima nimble and curious thinker, a builder of lasting partnerships, a consummate professional, a cherished colleague.

So with a mix of admiration, gratitude, celebration, and a hint of sadness, we are sharing the news that Chuck Grench will retire from UNC Press on April 30, 2020. Though Chuck’s plans have been in the works since early in the new year, we had originally hoped to mark the announcement at the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians, which had been slated to meet in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. Though the coronavirus pandemic had other plans, we want to share the news with our community of authors, colleagues, and friends so that you can share your well wishes during this time.

Over the last two decades, most recently as executive editor, Chuck has helped catalyze many changes that have shaped UNC Press into the publisher it is today. On arriving from New Haven, he quickly built on the existing strengths of our list, acquiring prizewinning books in African American history and southern history while pushing into new areas such as western history, Latino and Chicano history, borderlands history, and more. He joined the Press very soon after the launch of our John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture (co-edited by Patricia Sullivan and Waldo Martin) and was integral to its growth and development. He later initiated the creation of the David J. Weber Series in the New Borderlands History (co-edited by Andrew Graybill and Ben Johnson) and helped the Press forge a vital new relationship around the series with the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University. Chuck also built a distinguished list in Cold War-era and diplomatic history (particularly via the New Cold War History series, edited by Odd Arne Westad), acquired valuable projects for the Press’s Civil War-era and women’s history lists, and curated a fascinating cluster of books on the history and practice of craft in America. He has especially cherished his role as the Press’s primary liaison to the books publishing program of the Omohundro Institute for Early American History and Culture. Books by Chuck’s authors have earned virtually every major prize given for work in the field of U.S. history, and the work he has edited will continue to shape the field for years to come.

It would be easy to continue listing Chuck’s accomplishments, particularly if we include his many successful years at Yale. But those of you who know and love Chuck will appreciate that the most important thing is not what he did but how he did it. Chuck’s integrity, collegiality, tireless advocacy for his authors, and unfailing good spirit have been his calling card for nearly half a century. And that’s what those of us who have been honored to work with him will remember the longest.

Please join all of us at UNC Press as we honor Chuck as he nears the end of a terrific career and wish him well on all his next endeavors.

Mark Simpson-Vos
Wyndham Editorial Director, UNC Press

Chuck among his colleagues on our Acquisitions Editorial team. (front row, left to right) Brandon Proia, Cate Hodorowicz, Chuck Grench, Dominique Moore (back row, left to right) Mark Simpson-Vos, Lucas Church, Andrew Winters, Elaine Maisner, Dylan White, Debbie Gershenowitz.

 

Chuck on banner duty at a recent UNC Press conference exhibit. Photo by B. Proia.

 

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If you’d like to send a short video or written message to Chuck on his retirement, please DM us on Twitter or send an email to afaison@uncpress.org, and we’ll be sure to pass it along.

Cooperation and the Creation of a National Emergency Library

In the context of the unprecedented challenges associated with the spread of COVID-19, many of you will have read about an effort from the Internet Archive (IA) to launch a “National Emergency Library” (NEL). Essentially, the NEL was an effort to create unlimited access to digital editions of books in their collection. At a time when physical libraries were closing, this ambitious effort to open up content that had been previously limited or subject to paywalls was both praised and criticized.

At our presses we had already agreed to allow open digital access to our scholarly collections. At UNC Press, we opened our book collections in platforms like Project MUSEBooks at JSTOR, Ebsco, and ProQuest. Duke University Press offered free platform access to digital collections of books and journals to requesting libraries through June 30, 2020. Over 200 libraries have taken Duke up on this offer. Duke University Press opened up content to the public in several timely syllabi, including Navigating the Threat of Pandemic and Care in Uncertain Times. These arrangements had been made through dialog and discussion with those vendors who sought our perspective and permission.

The NEL was different in that the IA acted unilaterally and blurred legal arguments with extra-legal (read: emergency) justifications. This ignored the agency that authors and publishers legally and conventionally exercise. And as our colleague Karin Wulf from the Omohundro Institute wrote, it ignored the systems that invest in the production of these books.

After IA acted unilaterally in creating the National Emergency Library, we criticized the effort and presses began the process of withdrawing titles. However, after a conference call with the leadership of the IA and many university press directors, we realized our two presses shared many of the same goals of the NEL, but we simply disagreed with the process by which the main goal was being achieved.

After this conference call, we subsequently opened a separate line of communication with the IA and we’re pleased to announce that within a few days, we created a one-page Statement of Cooperation to allow our university press titles to participate in the NEL. The key features of this statement were:

  • Flipping the NEL from an opt-out to an opt-in arrangement where the Press provided affirmation and permission for titles to be included;
  • It gave the Press agency to determine when the “emergency” would be over (June 30);
  • It committed the IA to perform prompt take-downs (upon our individual author requests);
  • It ensured the sharing of usage data while protecting the privacy of patrons.

UNC Press and Duke University Press authors who do not want to have their books included in the NEL can write directly to info@archive.org with the subject line “National Emergency Library Removal Request.” Or they can reach out to us, and we’ll pass that communication to the IA.

We have shared the boilerplate language of the Statement of Cooperation with other university presses, but there remains significant (and justifiable) mistrust within our community for the Internet Archive. That mistrust exists among many publishers beyond university presses and precedes the NEL. There couldn’t be a worse time to be arguing about something like this. Possibly the most important part of the joint statement is the last line: “The Parties commit to a sustained, good-faith dialog about a long-term model for including the Press’s titles in the Internet Archive.” We have every confidence that we will make that happen.

John Sherer
Spangler Family Director, UNC Press
John.sherer@uncpress.org

Dean Smith
Director, Duke University Press
Dean.j.smith@duke.edu


Statement of Cooperation

The spread of COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on scholarly communications. The entire creation and distribution chain for books (including authors, publishers, wholesalers, libraries, bookstores, students, teachers, and readers) has been upended. We agree that in this extraordinary moment, an unprecedented level of cooperation is required to address this crisis in order to meet the dire needs of readers—especially students and other readers who are at risk for losing access to their traditional sources of books.

The Press and the Internet Archive share a collective mission to distribute books and published materials as broadly and fairly as possible, while not adversely jeopardizing the ability of the Press and its authors to continue to produce such materials. During the spread of COVID-19, the Press and the Internet Archive have been contacted by countless teachers and students requesting access to materials, indicating a heightened and urgent demand.

Therefore, the Press agrees to allow the Internet Archive to temporarily remove the waitlist restrictions on its titles in the National Emergency Library through June 30. Within two weeks prior to that date, the Parties agree to consider an extension of this temporary lending policy. The Internet Archive agrees to promptly remove titles published by the Press where the author or the Press has requested an exemption from the temporary policy.

The Internet Archive commits to sharing usage data to the Press and helping the Press determine whether books not already in the Internet Archive could potentially be added to the policy.

The Parties stipulate that nothing in this Statement of Cooperation shall be deemed a precedent or construed as support, acknowledgment or agreement to any legal position about the long-term presence of the Press’s books in the Internet Archive, including in Controlled Digital Lending.

The Parties commit to a sustained, good-faith dialog about a long-term model for including the Press’s titles in the Internet Archive.

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Jeffrey Alan Erbig Jr. : Indigenous Rights in “A Country Without Indians”

Today we welcome a guest post from Jeffrey Erbig, author of Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met: Border Making in Eighteenth-Century South America, out now from UNC Press.

During the late eighteenth century, Portugal and Spain sent joint mapping expeditions to draw a nearly 10,000-mile border between Brazil and Spanish South America. These boundary commissions were the largest ever sent to the Americas and coincided with broader imperial reforms enacted throughout the hemisphere. Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met considers what these efforts meant to Indigenous peoples whose lands the border crossed. Moving beyond common frameworks that assess mapped borders strictly via colonial law or Native sovereignty, it examines the interplay between imperial and Indigenous spatial imaginaries. What results is an intricate spatial history of border making in southeastern South America (present-day Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay) with global implications.

Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met is now available in print and ebook formats.

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Indigenous Rights in “A Country Without Indians”

Uruguay is often considered one of the most progressive countries in Latin America. Whether for its generous welfare state, strong labor unions, the decriminalization of abortion, marriage equality laws, the legalization of recreational cannabis, or otherwise, the country has stood out in the region. Yet Uruguay is one of the only countries in Latin America to not ratify the International Labor Organization’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention 169 (Map 1). This 1989 convention is the only legally binding international document regarding Indigenous peoples’ rights, including the right to self-determination, and is a forerunner to the United Nations’ 2007 Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Map 1. Convention 169 Signatories in Latin America. Source: www.ilo.org

Uruguay’s opposition to signing this convention derives from a national imaginary that simultaneously denies and appropriates indigeneity. Since the nineteenth century, political leaders and academics alike have cultivated the notion that Uruguay is a country without Indians (“un país sin indios), instead emphasizing European immigration as its population’s defining characteristic. Meanwhile, they considered Charrúas – the principal Indigenous nation in and around Uruguay – to have been prehistoric forebears of Uruguayan national spirit, no longer around but living in everyone. This sentiment is ubiquitous yet perhaps most visible internationally in the use of the concept “garra charrúa” to refer to the tenacity of Uruguay’s national soccer team and players abroad. The logic is thus that if there are no more Charrúas or if everyone is Charrúa then there is no need to officially recognize Charrúa rights.

Continue Reading Jeffrey Alan Erbig Jr. : Indigenous Rights in “A Country Without Indians”