Upcoming UNC Press Author Events

Tanya L. Roth
Her Cold War
January 20, 2022 | 7:00pm ET
National Museum of the United States Army (Virtual)

Warren Milteer Jr.
Beyond Slavery’s Shadow
January 20, 2022 | 7:00pm ET
Orange County Historical Museum (Hillsborough, NC; hybrid event)

Heather Berg
Porn Work
January 20, 2022 | 7:00pm ET
The Labor and Working-Class History Association (Virtual)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
January 20, 2022 | 7:00pm ET
Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South

Hannah Farber
Underwriters of the United States
January 22, 2022 | 6:00pm ET
Columbia Alumni Association: Hamilton Lecture and Dinner (Washington, DC)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
January 27, 2022 | 12:00pm ET
North Carolina Botanical Garden (Hybrid)

Robin Brooks
Class Interruptions
January 27, 2022
Carnegie Museum of Art (Virtual)

Robin Brooks
Class Interruptions
February 1, 2022 | 3:00pm ET
University of Pittsburgh Library (Virtual)

Bland Simpson
North Carolina
February 15, 2022 | 7:00pm ET
North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
February 17, 2022 | TBD
Durham Library Donor Event

Moderator Caroline Janney feat. Lorien Foote, Peter S. Carmichael, and Jonathan Jones
February 18 5:30pm – February 19 5:00pm ET
The American Civil War Museum 2022 Symposium: The Soldier’s Civil War (Richmond, VA)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
February 23, 2022 | 9:00am ET
Georgia Native Plant Society

Robin Brooks
Class Interruptions
February 24, 2022 | 12:00pm
Off the Shelf (Virtual)

Robin Brooks
Class Interruptions
February 25, 2022
National Council for Black Studies Conference (Virtual)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
March 9, 2022 | 7:00pm ET
Judy Goldman show at Charlotte Library (Virtual)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
March 12, 2022
Coastal Wildscapes Annual Symposium
(Richmond Hill, GA)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
March 20, 2022 | 11:00am ET
Virginia Festival of the Book (Ivy Creek Natural Area, Charlottesville, VA)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
April 20, 2022 | 9:30am ET
Arborvitae Garden Club Winston Salem
(Winston Salem, NC)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
April 28, 2022 | 11:00am ET
Blowing Rock Art and History Museum (Blowing Rock, NC)

Georgann Eubanks
Saving the Wild South
June 6, 2022 | 9:30am ET
Laurel Garden Club Highlands (Highlands, NC)

Robin Brooks
Class Interruptions
June 20, 2022
Working-Class Studies Association Conference (Virtual)

Dr. Melissa Fuster speaks with Dr. William Latimer for BronxNet’s Public Health America series

UNC Press author Dr. Melissa Fuster discusses her book Caribeños at the Table: How Migration, Health, and Race Intersect in New York City with Dr. William Latimer on BronxNet’s Public Health America series. She highlights the importance of social determinants of health among diverse communities in the city. Dr. Fuster also discusses her career trajectory, growing up in Puerto Rico and moving to the United States as a student.

Melissa Fuster thinks expansively about the multiple meanings of comida, food, from something as simple as a meal to something as complex as one’s identity. She listens intently to the voices of New York City residents with Cuban, Dominican, or Puerto Rican backgrounds, as well as to those of the nutritionists and health professionals who serve them. She argues with sensitivity that the migrants’ health depends not only on food culture but also on important structural factors that underlie their access to food, employment, and high-quality healthcare.

Melissa Fuster is associate professor of public health nutrition at Tulane University.

UNC Press Announces New Board Members and Leadership

The Board of Governors for the University of North Carolina System has elected two new members to the UNC Press Board of Governors.

Dr. Osamudia James, Professor of Law in the School of Law at UNC Chapel Hill, and Dr. Angela Miles, Associate Professor of Management and Chair of the Department of Business Administration at North Carolina Central University, were unanimously approved by the UNC System Board this week.

The Press’s board also elected new leadership. Dr. Lisa Levenstein, Professor of History and Director of the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, was elected board chair. Dr. Timothy J. Smith, Professor and Department Honors Director in Anthropology, and recent chair of that department at Appalachian State University, was elected vice chair.

“I am honored to be appointed chair of the board and look forward to welcoming our new members and celebrating the tremendous achievements of the Press on its 100th anniversary,” said Levenstein.


About UNC Press

The University of North Carolina Press, a nonprofit publisher of both scholarly and general-interest books and journals celebrating the centennial of its founding in 2022, operates simultaneously in a business environment and in the world of scholarship and ideas. The Press advances the University’s triple mission of teaching, research, and public service by publishing first-rate books and journals for students, scholars, and general readers. The Press has earned a distinguished reputation by publishing excellent work from the nation’s leading scholars, writers, and intellectuals and by presenting that work effectively to wide-ranging audiences.

Adrian Miller’s Top 5 Favorite UNC Press Books #UNCP100

In celebration of our centennial year, we’ve asked our authors to write some guest blog posts to help celebrate with us! We’re kicking off our centennial blog post series with a post from Adrian Miller, author of award-winning book Black Smoke: African Americans and the United States of Barbecue. In Black Smoke, Miller chronicles how Black barbecuers, pitmasters, and restauranteurs helped develop this cornerstone of American foodways and how they are coming into their own today. It’s a smoke-filled story of Black perseverance, culinary innovation, and entrepreneurship. Though often pushed to the margins, African Americans have enriched a barbecue culture that has come to be embraced by all. Miller celebrates and restores the faces and stories of the men and women who have influenced this American cuisine. This beautifully illustrated chronicle also features 22 barbecue recipes collected just for this book.

For a century, the University of North Carolina Press (“UNC Press”) set the standard for publishing books that deepen one’s understanding of the American South. The UNC Press catalogue is full of books that explore previously unresearched and lightly researched topics, and it gives voice to authors who have not been adequately represented in publishing. Given my passion for African American culinary traditions, I’ve naturally gravitated to the UNC Press books that focus on food. Here’s why the following, listed alphabetically, are my favorites.



While researching my own UNC Press book on the history of soul food, I discovered the stories of a few African Americans who cooked for U.S. presidents. Hercules, a longtime chef for George and Martha Washington, was one of those people. Unfortunately, so much of the available information on Hercules and other cooks was either scattershot or of dubious validity. This essay-laden cookbook brings much-needed, top-notch scholarship to a neglected aspect of culinary history. 



A cuisine is much more than its food. One needs to appreciate the cooks who prepare the food and the culture that surrounds it. Puckett’s book helped me investigate the folkloric aspects of soul food and sort out what African Americans culturally retained from West Africa and borrowed from European and indigenous cultures in the Americas. I hungered for this information as I was figuring out why southerners, Black and White, eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day.



North Carolina barbecue doesn’t get much love outside of the Carolinas, even though it’s one of the country’s oldest barbecue regions. The Reeds detailed study provides one of the best descriptions of barbecue’s early history by helpfully sorting out fact from fiction. The Reeds provocatively show the evolution of regional barbecue styles within North Carolina along with fun profiles of some of the state’s most interesting barbecue personalities.



Seafood is a vibrant aspect of African American cuisine, but few Black-authored seafood cookbooks exist. I was thrilled that Chef Ricky Moore birthed this book. I met Chef Moore several years ago under some interesting circumstances. I was in Raleigh, North Carolina, and the event finished early enough for me to think that I had a chance to make to Chef Moore’s food trailer in Durham. By the time I got there, Chef Moore had already sold out for the day. Remarkably, Chef Moore spent a considerable amount of time talking to me about the seafood industry and the philosophy behind what he does. I left that day with an empty stomach and a full heart and mind. I’m thrilled that, through this book, Chef Moore is sharing his gift with others.



This is the book that launched my food writing career. I had just finished a stint in the Clinton White House, and I was trying to get back to Colorado to jumpstart my political career. Unfortunately, the job market was slow at the time, so I was unemployed and staying in Washington, D.C. much longer than I thought, and watching a lot of daytime television. In the depth of my depravity, I said to myself “I should read something.” I went to a local bookstore and made a beeline to the cookbook section because I’d always loved to cook. I spied this book on the shelves and was instantly intrigued. I had never seen a culinary history book. Egerton impressed me with the way he put southern food and recipes in historical and social context. Early in this book, Egerton wrote: “But the comprehensive history of black achievement in American cookery still waits to be written.” That’s the sentence that changed my life, and propelled me to write a soul food history.

Adrian Miller is a certified Kansas City Barbecue Society judge and recipient of a James Beard Foundation Book Award for Soul Food: The Surprising Story of an American CuisineOne Plate at a Time. A consultant on Netflix’s Chef’s Table BBQ, Miller’s most recent book is The President’s Kitchen Cabinet: The Story of the African Americans Who Have Fed Our First Families, from the Washingtons to the Obamas

On the Occasion of Our Centennial Year, We Present the New UNC Press Colophon

From Merriam-Webster:

Colophon: noun
col·​o·​phon | \ ˈkä-lə-fən , -ˌfän \
Definition of colophon:
1: an inscription at the end of a book or manuscript usually with facts about its production
2: an identifying mark used by a printer or a publisher

The University of North Carolina Press is thrilled to share our new colophon design (otherwise known as: logo), created by Art Director Lindsay Starr. Thank you, Lindsay, for creating an elegant, sleek, clean, and beautiful new logo that coincides with our 100th anniversary, as we embark on the second century of our publishing!

“Inspired by the towering pine trees that dominate the Chapel Hill campus and environment, the design of UNC Press’s new logo evokes the feeling of looking through a forested landscape. The tall, narrow dark brown “NC” at the center supports a bright green form that melds an open book with the letter “UP” and a bookmark pointing south.”—Lindsay Starr on what inspired her design.

This new identification and branding mark will start appearing today on our website and social media channels, and will further emerge throughout 2022 in our marketing, as well as on all future books published by UNC Press.

Pop over to view our Spring 2022 frontlist catalog online to see an incomplete selection of logos from our past one hundred years of publishing.

O. N. Pruitt’s Possum Town: Listening To Pictures

The following is an excerpt from Berkley Hudson’s O. N. Pruitt’s Possum Town: Photographing Trouble and Resilience in the American South.

Photographer O. N. Pruitt (1891–1967) was for some forty years the de facto documentarian of Lowndes County, Mississippi, and its county seat, Columbus–known to locals as “Possum Town.” His body of work recalls many FSA photographers, but Pruitt was not an outsider with an agenda; he was a community member with intimate knowledge of the town and its residents. He photographed his fellow white citizens and Black ones as well, in circumstances ranging from the mundane to the horrific: family picnics, parades, river baptisms, carnivals, fires, funerals, two of Mississippi’s last public and legal executions by hanging, and a lynching. From formal portraits to candid images of events in the moment, Pruitt’s documentary of a specific yet representative southern town offers viewers today an invitation to meditate on the interrelations of photography, community, race, and historical memory.

Columbus native Berkley Hudson was photographed by Pruitt, and for more than three decades he has considered and curated Pruitt’s expansive archive, both as a scholar of media and visual journalism and as a community member. This stunning book presents Pruitt’s photography as never before, combining more than 190 images with a biographical introduction and Hudson’s short essays and reflective captions on subjects such as religion, ethnic identity, the ordinary graces of everyday life, and the exercise of brutal power.

Happy Book Birthday to O. N. Pruitt’s Possum Town: Photographing Trouble and Resilience in the American South, officially on sale today! Visit our Hot Off The Press: January 2022 post to see the other books we’re publishing this month.

In the Mississippi house of my boyhood, a red brick, three-bedroom place on South Fourth Street in Columbus, framed photographs lined the walls of a long hallway.

Here were pictures of family gatherings of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays, many taken at my grandmother’s house. She lived around the corner in a rambling, two-story Victorian filled with Pekingese and antiques. At that house, a man named Mr. Pruitt would come to make pictures that ended up in our hallway. Anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five of us would arrange ourselves in rows: cousins, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, and above all, the matriarch who paid for the picture, Lillian Pearl Walker Fraser, my grandmother, an eccentric woman called Gaddy—short for Gad-about, because she loved to drive her baby blue Lincoln Continental.

Pruitt was the picture man for our family and town in northeast Mississippi. To paraphrase poet Williams Carlos Williams’s description of photographs by Walker Evans, Pruitt’s photographic eye was straightforward and puritanical. He photographed the Sanitary Laundry and Dry Cleaning, run by my maternal grandparents (“When clothes are dirty, dial Six-Thirty”). He photographed my father’s Main Street Service Station (“Don’t Cuss. Call Russ”), with its separate “Clean Restrooms Inside” for “gentlemen,” “ladies,” and “colored.”

Outside the station, he would make pictures of my daddy and the men who worked with him. Among them were two Black men, George Aaron, known as Bobby Sox, and John Henry. Today, at that same spot where they pumped gas and washed cars stands the Tennessee Williams Welcome Center. It is a Gothic Victorian, two-story house that once was the rectory of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. In 1911, Thomas Lanier Williams, who would become a Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright, was born in Columbus and lived in the rectory. How that house came to be moved from St. Paul’s around the block is a story for another day. But in 1952, when Tennessee Williams returned to visit Columbus, Pruitt did photograph him.

I do not attribute this to Pruitt, but in high school I became a photographer and writer for, then editor of, my school newspaper. In the early 1970s, as a student journalist at the University of Mississippi and then at Columbia University, I became interested in Pruitt’s photographs. I was making lots of pictures, sometimes with photographers Birney Imes and Mark Gooch, two boyhood friends. I even photographed at the Lowndes County jail—still segregated by race in 1972 when I wrote a college magazine story about the “Groundhog Hotel,” so-called because prisoners could dig out and escape.

As part of visual excursions with my friends, we visited photographer Calvin Shanks, a beanpole of a white man with curly brown hair and a cigar often in the side of his mouth. Shanks had been Pruitt’s assistant until 1960, when Pruitt retired and Shanks bought the business, located up one flight of creaky wooden stairs at number 413 ½ Main Street. One day Shanks showed us the trove of negatives taken over four decades by Pruitt. The negatives smelled to high heaven, but we realized that these were the pictures of our childhood, families, friends, and neighbors—white and Black in black and white.

We asked Shanks if he would sell the negatives to us. He said he wanted to hold onto them, for now.

Years passed. Shanks died in 1981. Eventually, Shanks’s family sold most of the photographic equipment and negatives to Bill Frates, a photographic hobbyist who admired Pruitt’s pictures of trains. For a few years, Frates maintained the collection in his Main Street store, where he and his mother sold everything from refrigerators and stoves to shotguns, fishing rods, and knitting supplies. But, like Shanks, he never found time to deal with the voluminous set of pasteboard boxes and wooden crates chock-full of smelly negatives. Eventually, in 1987, Frates agreed to sell us the negatives; we bought a remaining few from the Shanks family. By then, two other Columbus boyhood friends, Jim Carnes and David Gooch, joined our project.

Twenty-five years later, with the vagaries of weather and time taking a toll on the negatives, we decided that the best home for the collection would be Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a foremost repository of items from the American South. We then estimated the number of negatives: 48,726 from Shanks and nearly double that from Pruitt, 88,657, including close to 2,000 glass plates, from bygone era of photography greater than film.

Berkley Hudson is emeritus associate professor of media history at the Missouri School of Journalism of the University of Missouri.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Recommended Reading List

True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.

Martin Luther King Jr., Stride Toward Freedom

Today marks the 36th annual observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. First observed in 1986, Martin Luther King Jr. Day serves as a celebration of the life of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Well known for his nonviolent approach (that actually changed in his later speeches), King is seen worldwide as a beacon of equality and justice. Below we’ve prepared a brief reading list touching on how today’s observance was established and some key moments in King’s journey to equality for all.



Living the Dream tells the history behind the establishment of Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the battle over King’s legacy that continued through the decades that followed. Creating the first national holiday to honor an African American was a formidable achievement and an act of resistance against conservative and segregationist opposition. 

Congressional efforts to commemorate King began shortly after his assassination. The ensuing political battles slowed the progress of granting him a namesake holiday and crucially defined how his legacy would be received. Though Coretta Scott King’s mission to honor her husband’s commitment to nonviolence was upheld, conservative politicians sought to use the holiday to advance a whitewashed, nationalistic, and even reactionary vision of King’s life and thought. This book reveals the lengths that activists had to go to elevate an African American man to the pantheon of national heroes, how conservatives took advantage of the commemoration to bend the arc of King’s legacy toward something he never would have expected, and how grassroots causes, unions, and antiwar demonstrators continued to try to claim this sanctified day as their own.



Birmingham served as the stage for some of the most dramatic and important moments in the history of the civil rights struggle. In this vivid narrative account, Glenn Eskew traces the evolution of nonviolent protest in the city, focusing particularly on the sometimes problematic intersection of the local and national movements. 

Eskew describes the changing face of Birmingham’s civil rights campaign, from the politics of accommodation practiced by the city’s black bourgeoisie in the 1950s to local pastor Fred L. Shuttlesworth’s groundbreaking use of nonviolent direct action to challenge segregation during the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

In 1963, the national movement, in the person of Martin Luther King Jr., turned to Birmingham. The national uproar that followed on Police Commissioner Bull Connor’s use of dogs and fire hoses against the demonstrators provided the impetus behind passage of the watershed Civil Rights Act of 1964.



The Montgomery bus boycott was a formative moment in twentieth-century history: a harbinger of the African American freedom movement, a springboard for the leadership of Martin Luther King Jr., and a crucial step in the struggle to realize the American dream of liberty and equality for all. In Daybreak of Freedom, Stewart Burns presents a groundbreaking documentary history of the boycott. Using an extraordinary array of more than one hundred original documents, he crafts a compelling and comprehensive account of this celebrated year-long protest of racial segregation. 

Daybreak of Freedom reverberates with the voices of those closest to the bus boycott, ranging from King and his inner circle, to Jo Ann Robinson and other women leaders who started the protest, to the maids, cooks, and other ‘foot soldiers’ who carried out the struggle. With a deft narrative hand and editorial touch, Burns weaves their testimony into a riveting story that shows how events in Montgomery pushed the entire nation to keep faith with its stated principles.

The Second Century of UNC Press

The Spring of 2022 marks the 100th anniversary of UNC Press. When the Press was founded as an independent not-for-profit—by faculty and staff at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—it was a pivotal event in the intellectual history of the South.  Prior to this, there was no secular publishing in the South. It was a visionary act, defying decades of prejudices against the region. When this Press published books by southern scholars about life in the South, it did so because no one else would. UNC Press published books about Appalachia, and folkways, and indigenous peoples, and food studies, and race because few others thought these were topics worthy of publication. 

The University of North Carolina Record, November 1925, containing the Certificate of Incorporation of the University of North Carolina Press

These founders should be credited with having the vision to create a publishing house that was affiliated with, and yet maintained clear independence from, the university. They recognized that publishers can be true to their mission but also have the courage and freedom to scrutinize and challenge hierarchies of authority. 

In our Second Century, we continue to embrace the idea that we exist to discover and amplify voices and perspectives that have been under-served by publishing. In our first hundred years, we showed the nation what it meant to live and thrive in the American South. In our Second Century, we will build on that base, revealing through our publications how the South is an evolving concept. The state of North Carolina and the South writ large are infused daily with global influences. And in turn, the globe is learning more and more about the work being done and the lives being lived in the South. UNC Press is a key participant in shaping that engagement.  

We look forward to spending this year celebrating our past and sharing our plans for the future. As publishers, we normally stay behind-the-scenes in order to build pathways connecting writers to readers. This year, we’ll ask your indulgence as we shine the spotlight a bit on ourselves.  

John Sherer 

Spangler Family Director 

North Carolina In The Connected Age: The Creation of the Connected Age

The following is an excerpt from Michael L. Walden’s North Carolina In The Connected Age: Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalizing Economy. At a time when North Carolina’s population is exploding and its economy is shifting profoundly, one of the state’s leading economists applies the tools of his trade to chronicle these changes and to inform North Carolinians in easy-to-understand terms what to expect in the future. 

Today we are living in a technologically connected age that has completely transformed the North Carolina economy, Walden explains. Once driven by tobacco, textiles, and furniture, the North Carolina economy now thrives on technology, pharmaceuticals, finance, food processing, and the manufacture of vehicle parts. While the state as a whole has benefited from these dramatic transformations, some population groups and regions have not experienced consistent economic growth. Walden identifies education as the key factor; a skilled, college-educated work force, he argues, is now a region’s most prized commodity.

Walden’s North Carolina In The Connected Age was featured recently on our National Technology Day reading list.

As in all states, the economy in North Carolina is influenced by events at the national level. Indeed, because the U.S. economy is so highly integrated in national markets, much of North Carolina’s change and development are linked to national trends. For example, national economic expansions and recessions are echoed at the state level by similar booms and busts. In addition, national technological, demographic, and production changes are mirrored at the state level.

This chapter sets the national context for North Carolina’s economy by tracing the nation’s economic development since 1970. This analysis serves as the basis for evaluating North Carolina’s economic progress in chapter 2.

The Connected Age: Shrinking Space and Time

Although three and a half decades constitutes but the blink of an eye in recorded history, life changed more dramatically between 1970 and 2005 than was the case in some earlier centuries. Like never before, people, countries, and economies became interrelated and interconnected. Technology overcame distance and culture. Communicating halfway around the world became just as easy as talking to a next-door neighbor. Products and labor increasingly flowed to markets without regard to international boundaries. The world became linked digitally, globally, and competitively. The Connected Age arrived.

Since most change occurs with a degree of gradualism over time, many living through the Connected Age did not comprehend the massive changes it brought. Yet the cumulative impacts on life, work, and spending are eye-catching when some key indicators are compared for 1970 and the early 2000s.

In 1970:

  • cell phones, the Internet, and personal computers did not exist
  • GM, Ford, and Chrysler dominated U.S. auto sales
  • only one in twelve women had a college degree, and jobs held by women paid less than half as much as jobs held by men
  • fewer than half of married women worked for pay
  • one of every four workers had a factory job
  • the average household had 3.15 persons
  • households spent almost twice as much on food eaten at home as on food at restaurants
  • households spent more on food than on transportation
  • the average size of a new home was fifteen hundred square feet, and the average household owned 1.7 vehicles
  • 639 airline miles were flown for every person in the country
  • African Americans were the largest minority

In the early 2000s:

  • the majority of households have cell phones and personal computers, and one-third of households are connected to the Internet
  • the Toyota Camry is the best-selling sedan
  • one in four women has a college degree, and jobs held by females pay 68 percent as much as jobs held by men
  • more than half of married women work for pay
  • one of every ten workers has a factory job
  • the average household has 2.57 persons
  • households spend half again as much on food eaten at home as on food at restaurants
  • households spend more on transportation than on food
  • the average size of a new home is 2,330 square feet, and the average household owns 2.1 vehicles
  • 2,254 airline miles are flown annually for every person in the country
  • Hispanics are the largest minority

These numbers demonstrate some key trends in the Connected Age. We bought and used new technology, we spent more on travel and traveled more by air, we bought more foreign-made products, women became more educated and worked for better pay outside the home, households became smaller, factory work declined, we ate out more, we bought bigger homes and more vehicles and relied less on doing things ourselves, and our population became more diverse. The following sections provide details on how the nation’s work, life, people, technology, and government changed during the Connected Age.

Production: Shifts and Shakes

Americans produced more during the Connected Age. The national output of goods and services increased 138 percent, rising from $5.2 trillion in 1970 to $12.4 trillion in 2005 (both values in real, or inflation-adjusted, 2005 dollars). This was an annual average growth rate of 2.5 percent, only slightly lower than the post-World War II growth rate.

Of course, a share of the economic growth resulted from the fact that more people lived and worked in the country. The nation’s population jumped from 205 million to 295 million over the thirty-five-year period. Therefore, it is perhaps more revealing to examine changes in production per person. Here the news is also impressive. Goods and services production per person grew from $25,380 to $41,959 (constant dollars), a 1.5 percent average annual increase.

Although the national economy indeed expanded during the Connected Age, it did not do so in a consistent, straight-line way. A business cycle was evident, signifying an irregular but recurring pattern of growth followed by recession. Recessionary periods occurred six times in the Connected Age: December 1969–November 1970, November 1973–March 1975, January 1980–July 1980, July 1981–November 1982, July 1990–March 1991, and March 2001–November 2001. As measured by the percentage decline in production, the recessions of 1974–75 and 1981–82 were the most severe, while those of 1969–70 and 2001 were the mildest.

Even though national production increased, substantial variation occurred in the growth rates in specific economic sectors (figure 1-1). Growth was strongest in wholesale and retail trade, transportation/communications/public utilities (TCPU), agriculture, services, and finances and was weakest in manufacturing, construction, and government. As a result, the composition of the national economic pie changed. The goods-producing sector (manufacturing, construction, and agriculture) decreased from one-third of spending in the economy in the 1970s to less than one-fifth in the 2000s, while the service-producing sector (wholesale and retail trade, finances, TCPU, and services) correspondingly increased. And while a decline occurred in manufacturing’s relative economic importance, total manufacturing output still increased (the growth rate for manufacturing is positive in figure 1-1). A marked shift also took place within manufacturing, with production moving to durable goods such as industrial machinery and electrical equipment and away from nondurable products such as apparel and printing.

Figure 1–1. U.S. output growth rate by sector, 1977–2005.
DATA SOURCE: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, “Gross Domestic Product by State.”

Michael L. Walden is William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and extension economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University. He is author of seven books, including Smart Economics: Commonsense Answers to Fifty Questions about Government, Business, and Households. He also produces a daily radio program and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column. 

Hot Off The Press: January 2022

We’re publishing some great books this month! Read below to learn more about these exceptional titles.

Don’t forget, our Holiday Sale is going on until January 31st. You can save 40% on ALL UNC Press print books and if your order totals $75 or more, the shipping is FREE! Enter code 01HOLIDAY at checkout to receive the discount.




Over the past twenty years, DNA ancestry testing has morphed from a niche market into a booming international industry that encourages members of the public to answer difficult questions about their identity by looking to the genome. At a time of intensified interest in issues of race and racism, the burgeoning influence of corporations like AncestryDNA and 23andMe has sparked debates about the commodification of identity, the antiracist potential of genetic science, and the promises and pitfalls of using DNA as a source of “objective” knowledge about the past.

This book engages these debates by looking at the ways genomic ancestry testing has been used in Brazil and the United States to address the histories and legacies of slavery, from personal genealogical projects to collective racial politics.

Engaging, intriguing, and beautifully written, this book will be of major interest to specialists and to other readers in the social sciences and humanities. It gives profound and cutting-edge insights into the impact of genomic technologies on people’s ideas about human diversity, identity, and history.

Peter Wade, author of Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom: Genomics, Multiculturalism, and Race in Latin America

Available for Pre-Order:



Journalists began to call the Korean War “the Forgotten War” even before it ended. Without a doubt, the most neglected story of this already neglected war is that of African Americans who served just two years after Harry S. Truman ordered the desegregation of the military. Twice Forgotten draws on oral histories of Black Korean War veterans to recover the story of their contributions to the fight, the reality that the military desegregated in fits and starts, and how veterans’ service fits into the long history of the Black freedom struggle. 

This collection of seventy oral histories, drawn from across the country, features interviews conducted by the author and his colleagues for their American Radio Works documentary, Korea: The Unfinished War, which examines the conflict as experienced by the approximately 600,000 Black men and women who served.

In this exceptionally researched volume, Cline shows that the act of desegregating was far more complicated than expected…Readers will appreciate the wide variety of voices represented, including various military branches as well as officers and enlisted men and women from different regions of the United States…This is an essential, insightful read on an often-overlooked subject, for those interested in military history and African American history.

Starred Review, Library Journal



Photographer O. N. Pruitt (1891–1967) was for some forty years the de facto documentarian of Lowndes County, Mississippi, and its county seat, Columbus–known to locals as “Possum Town.” His body of work recalls many FSA photographers, but Pruitt was not an outsider with an agenda; he was a community member with intimate knowledge of the town and its residents. He photographed his fellow white citizens and Black ones as well, in circumstances ranging from the mundane to the horrific: family picnics, parades, river baptisms, carnivals, fires, funerals, two of Mississippi’s last public and legal executions by hanging, and a lynching. From formal portraits to candid images of events in the moment, Pruitt’s documentary of a specific yet representative southern town offers viewers today an invitation to meditate on the interrelations of photography, community, race, and historical memory.

Columbus native Berkley Hudson was photographed by Pruitt, and for more than three decades he has considered and curated Pruitt’s expansive archive, both as a scholar of media and visual journalism and as a community member.

A captivating visual narrative blending the use of photography and memory. Through O. N. Pruitt’s archive, Hudson reveals the story of a complicated southern town and creates an insightful vision of the South moving from disenfranchisement to empowerment.

Deborah Willis, author of The Black Civil War Soldier: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship

AUPresses Receives NEH Grant to Study Impact of Open Access on Print Sales

The Association of University Presses (AUPresses) has been awarded a Level I Digital Humanities Advancement Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to study the effect of open digital editions on the sales of print monographs. The grant will support a study led by John Sherer, director of the University of North Carolina Press and chair of the AUPresses Open Access (OA) Committee, and Erich Van Rijn, associate director at the University of California Press, an AUPresses representative on the Toward an Open Monograph Ecosystem Advisory Board, and chair of the 2019-2021 AUPresses OA Task Force.

The project seeks to understand empirically whether the availability of OA editions of scholarly books has a quantifiable effect on the sales performance of print editions. While many university presses have pursued experiments with OA publishing, sustainable financing of high-quality, rigorous scholarly publishing operations is a significant concern. The study will look at both OA and traditionally published titles across multiple disciplines from many presses. Findings from the study will be shared publicly in support of scholarly publishers, peer institutions, and associations devoted to humanities scholarship.

The Association thanks the NEH for its support of this important and timely investigation.

“We have long assumed that OA will erode print revenues, but there is a growing body of evidence suggesting that increased digital accessibility can potentially expand print markets for specialized monographs,” said Sherer. “Regardless of whether we find that sales increase or decrease, quantifying the impact of OA will be the starting point for new conversations about how to fund OA monographs.”

“In recent surveys, over half of all AUPresses respondents have indicated that they had published OA book content or opened access to previously published material,” said van Rijn. “This research project will allow us to aggregate and analyze the financial impact of a meaningful segment of this OA activity and provide real data to help guide presses’ strategies and advance equitable access to scholarship.”

The AUPresses OA Committee will advise on the survey questions and data targets for the project. AUPresses Director of Research and Communications Brenna McLaughlin will support the study from the Association’s central office, and the grant investigators will work with Ithaka S+R analysts Laura Brown and Roger Schonfeld to interpret collected data and present a robust and evidence-based report.

“The collective work of university presses to publish and distribute monographs is one of the cornerstones of the creation and advancement of scholarship in the humanities and qualitative social sciences,” said AUPresses executive director Peter Berkery. “Figuring out how to publish open access—in sustainable, rigorous ways—could have a transformational impact not only on the future of monograph publishing, but also on the accessibility of humanities scholarship writ large.”

The Association’s guiding statement on Open Access 

Chronicling Stankonia: The Mountaintop Ain’t Flat

To celebrate Regina Bradley’s Chronicling Stankonia being featured on Blackfeminisms.com’s Academic Books by and About Black Women – 2021 Edition list, we’ve decided to share an excerpt from the book. This vibrant book pulses with the beats of a new American South, probing the ways music, literature, and film have remixed southern identities for a post–civil rights generation. For scholar and critic Regina N. Bradley, Outkast’s work is the touchstone, a blend of funk, gospel, and hip-hop developed in conjunction with the work of other culture creators—including T.I., Kiese Laymon, and Jesmyn Ward. This work, Bradley argues, helps define new cultural possibilities for black southerners who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s and have used hip-hop culture to buffer themselves from the historical narratives and expectations of the civil rights era. André 3000, Big Boi, and a wider community of creators emerge as founding theoreticians of the hip-hop South, framing a larger question of how the region fits into not only hip-hop culture but also contemporary American society as a whole.

Chronicling Stankonia reflects the ways that culture, race, and southernness intersect in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. 

I first fell in love with OutKast at the age of fourteen in the summer of 1998, right before my freshman year of high school. I had recently moved to live with my grandparents and father in Albany, Georgia, a small city in the southwest corner of the state. Albany was much slower-paced than my previous residence in northern Virginia, but I wasn’t completely unfamiliar with it. I knew that my name was not Regina but “Mr. (or Mrs.) Barnett’s granddaughter,” that attending my church, Hines Memorial CME (Christian Methodist Episcopal), on Sunday meant staying for Sunday school and regular service, and that Albany’s heat was wet, held on tight like my favorite aunties, and didn’t understand personal boundaries. I transferred to Southside Middle School in the spring, and people did not let me forget that. I had the allure of the “new girl” working in my favor, but I was treading water trying to find somewhere to fit in when everyone was already situated and looking forward to high school. Further, I was a bit apprehensive about letting my guard down: I was mercilessly bullied at my former school and suffered terribly low self-esteem, while working through heavy anxiety and the guilt of leaving my younger brother and sister behind with their dad in Virginia. My schoolmates laughed at my accent and fast enunciation and laughed harder when I tried to dance, equally jerky and quick with my body at the end-of-year dance. Girls chuckled and dudes raised their eyebrows in amusement while dancing behind the popular girls who “danced right.” A girlfriend pulled me aside and told me matter-of-factly, “Chile, you wound up. You talk too fast! You dance too fast! You listen too fast! You just too wound up.” I learned quickly how to slow it down: “Shorty” was “Shawty.” “Girl” was “guh.” “Back” was “bike.” And, in addition to being my folks’ granddaughter, I was described as “that tall, smart, high yellow guh” and later, “Gina Mae.” Gina Mae happened by accident, starting as a joke meant to tone down my northeasternness and officially dub me a southern girl. “We gone get you right, Gina Mae,” my new classmates said, often with a wink and a drawn-out laugh. Their intention wasn’t mean or ill-spirited, which I had accepted as the norm in my previous middle school. I grew to love my nickname and eventually let my guard down.

Upon letting my guard down I quickly realized that I was transitioning into the South through two sets of experiences: my own southernness and that of my grandparents, which was centered on growing up in the Jim Crow South. My grandmother Sara and my grandfather Eugene were among the first black educators to integrate the Dougherty County School System. My grandmother’s ministry was to be ladylike, and her sharp eye for detail about how I presented myself was no doubt rooted not only in her own affinity for beauty but also in retaliation that might arise if black children didn’t reflect a “proper” upbringing. My grandfather was more about the business of being successful—education was the heralded portal to success for my young black self. He warned me about falling short of my potential and how I was “too smart and too pretty” not to do well in school. “Your job is them books,” he scolded with a smile. My grandparents translated their understandings of southernness into their own unique love languages that were grounded in their upbringing in northeast Georgia and southwest Georgia, respectively. Their weariness of white folks, strong advocacy of education and academic excellence, and hyperfocus on developing and sustaining my respectability framed my daily interactions with my friends and classmates. However, a point of departure from my folks’ influence on how I viewed the South was hip-hop.

In the mornings before school started, we were corralled into the school gym. A country fried cacophony of laughter, yelling, cursing, and freestyling pulled me in. My squad and I sat in the top right section of the bleachers where the people-watching was best. Some of the kids stomped their feet as they rapped or argued about lyrics to a song by OutKast, Goodie Mob, or somebody on the seemingly infinite list of artists on No Limit Records. Other students rapped their own bars, quickly moving their arms, pointing at themselves and whomever they were battling, and smacking their hands on their chests. On the gym floor, folks played basketball if the gym monitors were feeling particularly gracious while the less-than-spectacular hoopsters stayed on the sidelines and gave commentary on the game.

It was equally loud after school because Monroe Comprehensive High School was next door and the sound of subwoofers thrumming in old-school Chevy Caprices, beat-up pickups, and crappy Toyotas rolling quickly over cracked cement speed bumps in the school parking lot crashed through the verbal warnings and stares of teachers not to venture over to the “high school side.” I made mental notes of the rapper folks continuously in my ear: OutKast, Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Goodie Mob, and bass artists like DJ Smurf, DJ Kizzy Rock, and Uncle Luke.

Radio mixtapes were still an art and a currency in 1998. I meticulously listened to the radio, careful to avoid recording commercials and to leave just enough quiet space to move from track to track. Among my favorite tracks was Goodie Mob’s “Black Ice.” Besides the bass kick, high electric-guitar notes, and organ reminding me of a gospel song, the swishing sound reminded me of the cicadas that sung from the treetops outside of my folks’ house. We lived in the country, outside of Albany’s city limits. The cicadas would sing loud enough that at moments they harmonized with the swishing on the “Black Ice” track. Additionally, “Black Ice” was the first time I took a hard listen to OutKast: the swagger of Antwan “Big Boi” Patton and André “3000” Benjamin’s effortless yet layered cadence jumped from the track. I fell in love with their voices because they melted and eased into my ear like the voices of my classmates.

However, it wasn’t until marching-band camp at my school Westover High that I truly became “OutKasted.” While marching band didn’t pan out—I ended up being a solid equipment manager for the season—my interaction with Rodney, a senior and one of the trumpet section leaders, jumpstarted my love for OutKast. During a lunch break, I found Rodney cross-legged and silently tapping his fingers against his leg and trumpet. He nodded spontaneously and scribbled on a sprawl of papers in front of him. When I got closer, I heard a soft hum that he emphasized at the end by poking the pencil in the air in front of him:

Ba da bump bump buh!

Ba da bump bump buh!

Ba da bump bump bump bum buh!

“Hi, Rodney!” I squealed with a bit too much enthusiasm. He didn’t raise his head from what he was doing.

“Oh. Hi.”

“What you doing?”

“Transcribing this song for the stands.” Stand music was the popular music played by the band and heard on the radio between plays and after the band’s formal show at football games. Rodney goes back to humming.

“What song is that?”


I muster up enough courage to ask him one more question. “Who’s it by?”

Rodney looked up with an annoyed expression on his face. I couldn’t tell if it was because I was bothering him while he was transcribing or because I was a freshman.


“That’s tight!” I squeaked. Rodney didn’t respond. The silence was my cue to get gone.

I would have other daily encounters with OutKast in high school, such as through my friend Brandon, a then aspiring emcee, who would blend and riff his own rhymes with OutKast’s music. For example, while the rest of the class found Brandon’s sudden use of André’s ending bars from Cool Breeze’s song “Watch for the Hook” an amusing start to the beginning of the final Spanish exam, our teacher did not, and chided us in English and Spanish. OutKast, along with an army of southern artists behind them, introduced me to the post–civil rights era South. And, above all else, that contemporary southern culturescape was distinctively and intentionally grounded in hip-hop.

Regina N. Bradley is an alumna Nasir Jones Hiphop Fellow at Harvard University and an assistant professor of English and African diaspora studies at Kennesaw State University. 

Creating Consumers: Envisioning the Rational Consumer, 1900–1920

The following is an excerpt from Carolyn M. Goldstein’s Creating Consumers: Home Economists in Twentieth-Century America. Home economics emerged at the turn of the twentieth century as a movement to train women to be more efficient household managers. At the same moment, American families began to consume many more goods and services than they produced. To guide women in this transition, professional home economists had two major goals: to teach women to assume their new roles as modern consumers and to communicate homemakers’ needs to manufacturers and political leaders. Carolyn M. Goldstein charts the development of the profession from its origins as an educational movement to its identity as a source of consumer expertise in the interwar period to its virtual disappearance by the 1970s.

Goldstein’s Creating Consumers was featured recently on our National Technology Day reading list.

“The consumer who desires to be economical,” Teachers College professor Mary Schenck Woolman and Ellen Beers McGowan advised in Textiles: A Handbook for the Student and the Consumer, a textbook they coauthored in 1913, “should not make a practice of wandering about the shops to get ideas, for in that way her desires increase and are apt to become confused in her mind with her needs.” A mother should consider her family’s needs from all angles “before she does any shopping at all.” She should obtain samples of materials and take them home for testing before purchasing them. Only the most informed shoppers should shop for bargains, as “the thoughtless shopper is apt to buy more than she needs.” Building on the efforts of Ellen Swallow Richards and other first-generation home economists, who in the 1890s founded their educational movement around principles of wise consumption, Woolman and McGowan’s book taught women to be careful consumers of fabrics and ready-made garments. In the first two decades of the twentieth century, home economists developed dozens of textbooks like these, as well as courses and academic programs, to teach female students to appreciate their economic power and use it responsibly.

Because home economics emerged at a moment when women’s work in the home was changing from making things to buying them, many women in the field, including Mary Schenck Woolman, began their careers emphasizing household production and gradually shifted to a focus on consumption. Woolman entered home economics with an interest in vocational education and manual work, devoting her early years as a teacher to providing working-class women with skills for their roles as factory workers or domestic servants. Born in 1860, she received a diploma from Teachers College in 1895 and a B.S. degree in 1897. As a member of the Teachers College faculty beginning in 1892, Woolman taught household arts, sewing, and domestic science and introduced the study of textiles in the school’s Department of Domestic Arts. In 1902, she helped organize the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, an institution that taught sewing and clothing construction as part of an industrial education program to prepare girls for work in the garment trades.

In 1910, when the trade school was absorbed into the city’s public school system, Woolman returned to Teachers College’s newly reorganized School of Household Arts. As a textile professor and director of the Domestic Arts Department, she developed courses for the school’s growing body of middle-class students, instructing would-be homemakers and teachers in how to make purchasing decisions about ready-to-wear garments and household furnishings. The school’s uniquely outfitted textile laboratory enabled students to conduct “chemical and microscopic studies of textile fibers and fabrics” and to carry out experimental work in dyeing. Two years later, Woolman moved to Boston to become the acting head of the Home Economics Department at Simmons College and president of the Women’s Educational and Industrial Union, an organization devoted to assisting women workers throughout the city. During World War I, Woolman put all of her teachings into action in her capacity as textile specialist for Massachusetts under the War Emergency Fund of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Although most home economists spent the war years promoting food conservation on behalf of the U.S. Food Administration (USFA), Woolman organized a Clothing Information Bureau to encourage homemakers to consider the “economic, social, and industrial connections” involved in choices about textiles and clothing. From a temporary structure located on Boston Common, Woolman worked to “increase intelligence” in the making of new clothing and the renovating of old garments, by emphasizing the selection of textiles and clothing, “clothing economy,” and more “efficient” and “healthful” manners of dress. Woolman’s Clothing Information Bureau was devoted to “training” the consumer to make “intelligent” choices in the selection of clothing based on such criteria as health and thrift. The ideal trained consumer’s civic duty, according to Woolman, was not only to be knowledgeable about the goods she purchased but also to live on a budget and within her family’s means.

Woolman’s notion of the trained consumer who had a thorough understanding of both commercial goods and the priorities of her family’s budget typified home economists’ educational initiatives launched between 1900 and 1920. Like many women in the field, Woolman shifted to a new focus. By 1920, she was directing her energies toward educating middle-class women in university programs about their identity as consumers, reflecting the changing thrust of home economics toward the education of the “rational consumer.” In the course of these two decades, Woolman and her home economics colleagues transformed a series of disparate ideas and exponents, college programs, and publications into a full-fledged academic discipline and national community of practitioners. Through the formation of a professional association, the development of educational programs for disseminating their messages, and the application of their expertise to domestic food conservation during World War I, these early home economists placed themselves at the center of public discussions about the meaning of consumption in twentieth-century American culture and framed these discussions in terms that compelled would-be modern homemakers to interact with a new group of women experts.

Carolyn M. Goldstein is Public History and Community Archives Program Manager at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She is also the author of Do It Yourself: Home Improvement in Twentieth-Century America

Historian and Author Martha Jones joins our Gender & American Culture series as Co-Editor

UNC Press is thrilled to announce that the esteemed historian Martha Jones has agreed to serve as co-editor of the Press’s longstanding series, Gender and American Culture. Martha Jones is Society of Black Alumni Presidential Professor, Professor of History, and Professor at the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University. A legal and cultural historian whose work focuses on the experiences of Black Americans, Jones has also consistently centered the histories of gender and sexualities in her research and writing. Among her many contributions to the field, she is immediate past president of the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women, Genders, and Sexualities. 

As series co-editor, Jones will join Mary Kelley, Ruth Bordin Collegiate Professor of History, American Culture, and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan. Kelley has been involved with the series in advisory capacity since its inception, and she became co-editor in 2007. As series co-editor, Kelley has helped shepherd dozens of books into print, including recent award-winning titles such as Feminism for the Americas: The Making of an International Civil Rights Movementby Katherine Marino (2020); and Veil and Vow: Marriage Matters in Contemporary African American Culture, by Aneeka Ayanna Henderson. Kelley’s pathbreaking books include Learning to Stand and Speak: Women, Education, and Public Life, published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture in association with UNC Press. Kelley is currently working on “Converse of the Pen: Reading and Writing from the American Revolution to the Civil War,” a book that explores the relationship between the common practice of reading and writing and the formation of discursive communities ranging from radical politics to cultural refinement to evangelical moral reform.

Jones joins Kelley as the sixth scholar to serve as editor of Gender and American Culture, following series editors emerita Thadious M. Davis, Linda K. Kerber, Nell Irvin Painter, and Annette Kolodny. Guided by feminist perspectives, the series examines the social construction and influence of gender and sexuality within the full range of American cultures. The series presents outstanding scholarship from all areas of American studies–including history, literature, religion, folklore, ethnography, and the visual arts–that investigates in a thoroughly contextualized and lively fashion the ways in which gender works with and against markers of difference such as race, class, ethnicity, and region.

Jones’s most recent book is Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All (2020), winner of the Los Angeles Times book prize in history and selected as one of Time’s100 must-read books for 2020.  Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America(2018), was winner of the Organization of American Historians Liberty Legacy Award (best book in civil rights history), the American Historical Association Littleton-Griswold Prize (best book in American legal history), the American Society for Legal History John Phillip Reid book award (best book in Anglo-American legal history) and the Baltimore City Historical Society Scholars honor for 2020. Jones is also author of All Bound Up Together: The Woman Question in African American Public Culture 1830-1900 (2007) and a coeditor of Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women (2015), both published by UNC Press, together with many articles and essay.  

Jones and Kelley are currently helping UNC Press expand the Gender and American Culture series editorial board and plan an expansion of its list in the field of gender and sexuality studies.  As the Press marks its 100th anniversary in 2022, these developments promise to confirm the centrality of scholarship on gender and sexuality to the Press’s publishing program.

“We are unbelievably fortunate to have a public scholar of Martha Jones’s caliber joining the extraordinary Mary Kelley in helping us shape our book list,” said Mark Simpson-Vos, Wyndham Robertson Editorial Director and acquiring editor for the series. “Martha and Mary are wonderful colleagues and creative co-thinkers whose long association with UNC Press is an honor and joy. Their shared commitment to scholarly rigor and fostering books with meaningful impact make them ideal partners.”

For more information about the Gender and American Culture series, including guidelines for proposal and manuscript submissions, visit www.uncpress.org.  

“Private Profits and Public Affairs”, The Omohundro Institute’s Conversation with Authors Hannah Farber and Michael Zakim

Watch below as Hannah Farber, author of Underwriters of the United States: How Insurance Shaped the American Founding, and author Michael Zakim speak with the Omohundro Institute for one of their latest author conversations. Unassuming but formidable, American maritime insurers used their position at the pinnacle of global trade to shape the new nation. The international information they gathered and the capital they generated enabled them to play central roles in state building and economic development. During the Revolution, they helped the U.S. negotiate foreign loans, sell state debts, and establish a single national bank. Afterward, they increased their influence by lending money to the federal government and to its citizens. Even as federal and state governments began to encroach on their domain, maritime insurers adapted, preserving their autonomy and authority through extensive involvement in the formation of commercial law. Leveraging their claims to unmatched expertise, they operated free from government interference while simultaneously embedding themselves into the nation’s institutional fabric. By the early nineteenth century, insurers were no longer just risk assessors. They were nation builders and market makers. 

Deeply and imaginatively researched, Underwriters of the United States uses marine insurers to reveal a startlingly original story of risk, money, and power in the founding era.

 Visit this link to see some of the books published through UNC Press’s partnership with the Omohundro Institute.

Hannah Farber is assistant professor of history at Columbia University. 

National Technology Day: Recommended Reading List

January 6th marks National Technology Day. Technology has been a huge stepping stone in the advancement of so many cultures. From the technology we use in our everyday lives to NASA’s own technology used for space exploration, it’s always been closely connected to the overall progress of America.

In celebration of National Technology Day, we’re sharing a recommended reading list of books we’ve published surrounding the topic of technology and how it has impacted different communitites.



Walden’s book has arrived on the scene at the perfect time. The challenges facing North Carolina are staggering, and decision makers at every level are searching for solid information. Walden gives us a no-frills, precise account of North Carolina’s economic transformation since the 1970s, the current economic forces driving the economy, and the impact these forces are having on North Carolina’s people and places. North Carolina in the Connected Age is a must-read book for everyone who cares about this state’s economic future–especially those who want to do something about it.

Billy Ray Hall, President, North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center



More than half of the 116 research parks now operating in the United States were established during the 1980s, with the aim of boosting regional economic growth. But until now no one has systematically analyzed whether research parks do in fact generate new businesses and jobs. Using their own surveys of all existing parks and case studies of three of the most successful–Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, Stanford Research Park in California, and the University of Utah Research Park–Michael Luger and Harvey Goldstein examine the economic impact of such facilities.

As the name suggests, a research park is typically meant to provide a spacious setting where basic and applied technological research can be quietly pursued. Because of the experience of a few older and prominent research parks, new parks are expected to generate economic growth for their regions. New or old, most parks have close ties to universities, which join in such ventures to enhance their capabilities as centers of research, provide outlets for entrepreneurial faculty members, and increase job opportunities for graduate students.



Published by the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press

Thanks to the masterful editorial hand of his student, Judith McGaw, Brooke Hindle’s original essay (reprinted herein) from his 1966 volume Technology in Early America is extended and deepened by nine new monographic contributions and an updated bibliographic essay. By probing the quotidian as well as the exceptional aspects of making and doing things in early America, these essays take us into new terrain and remind us in no uncertain terms that technology encompasses a good deal more than tools and machines. In urging us to set aside our preconceptions and recognize the richness, diversity, and complexity of technology in early America, they speak eloquently to the need for new scholarship and, indeed, a new way of thinking about a critical period of American history. . . . A fitting tribute to Brooke Hindle’s scholarship and influence on the field of the history of technology.

Merritt Roe Smith, Massachusetts Institute of Technology



Gary R. Bunt is a twenty-year pioneer in the study of cyber-Islamic environments (CIEs). In his new book, Bunt explores the diverse and surprising ways digital technology is shaping how Muslims across vast territories relate to religious authorities in fulfilling spiritual, mystical, and legalistic agendas. From social networks to websites, essential elements of religious practices and authority now have representation online. Muslims, embracing the immediacy and general accessibility of the internet, are increasingly turning to cyberspace for advice and answers to important religious questions. Online environments often challenge traditional models of authority, however. One result is the rise of digitally literate religious scholars and authorities whose influence and impact go beyond traditional boundaries of imams, mullahs, and shaikhs.



A perceptive analysis of the nurse/technology relationship, exposing the gendered assumptions underlying nurses’ work with machines and equipment. . . . This book should be read by historians of technology and medical and nursing historians. [It] offers a distinctive context of contemporary health care and covers women–nurses–who receive little attention, despite their status as one of the largest groups of women workers.

American Historical Review



Now thoroughly updated and revised—with a new chapter on the Dreamer movement and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA)—this book offers North Carolinians a better understanding of their Latino neighbors, illuminating rather than enflaming debates on immigration. In the midst of a tumultuous political environment, North Carolina continues to feature significant in-migration of Mexicans and Latin Americans from both outside and inside the United States. Drawing on the voices of migrants as well as North Carolinians from communities affected by migration, Hannah Gill explains how larger social forces are causing demographic shifts, how the state is facing the challenges and opportunities presented by these changes, and how migrants experience the economic and social realities of their lives.



A rich and complex study. It casts new and revealing light on the cultural transformations of the early 20th century. By focusing on the tensions between authenticity and imitation within artistic forms, Orvell provides a new and challenging context for understanding figures too easily subject to formulaic interpretation.

The New Republic



Home economics emerged at the turn of the twentieth century as a movement to train women to be more efficient household managers. At the same moment, American families began to consume many more goods and services than they produced. To guide women in this transition, professional home economists had two major goals: to teach women to assume their new roles as modern consumers and to communicate homemakers’ needs to manufacturers and political leaders. Carolyn M. Goldstein charts the development of the profession from its origins as an educational movement to its identity as a source of consumer expertise in the interwar period to its virtual disappearance by the 1970s.

2022 Modern Language Association Annual Meeting

We hope you’ll visit our Modern Language Association virtual booth to browse our new and recent titles and connect with editor Lucas Church.

“Hopefully, this will be the last year we can’t meet in-person, but I want to welcome proposal from all writers who are working at the intersection of Black and literary studies. American studies-inflected methodologies are also welcome, as well as works with a theoretical bent. I work with authors from all backgrounds—adjuncts, assistant professors, and above—and look forward to seeing your work! A proposal is enough to start our conversation, so don’t hesitate to reach out. Looking forward to seeing you all again in-person in 2023!”

– Lucas Church, Senior Editor

Congratulations Allison Margaret Bigelow! Mining Language won the 2020 Modern Language Association Prize for a First Book.

To browse these titles and more, please be sure to visit our Modern Language Association virtual booth. Use promo code 01DAH40 at checkout to receive a 40% discount. And if your order totals over $75, domestic U.S. shipping is FREE.

2022 American Historical Association Annual Meeting

Due to continued concerns surrounding travel and the coronavirus, UNC Press has decided to no longer exhibit in-person at AHA 2022. While we are disappointed to miss this opportunity to see you all at our booth, we hope you’ll take the time to visit our virtual booth. And we hope to see you at AHA 2023!

At our virtual booth you can browse our titles on display, learn more about some of our great series, and connect with editors Mark Simpson-Vos, Debbie Gershenowitz, Elaine Maisner, Brandon Proia, and Andrew Winters.

The Women’s Fight by Thavolia Glymph won the 2021 Albert J. Beveridge Award and the 2021 Joan Kelly Memorial Prize.

Uncontrollable Blackness by Douglas J. Flowe won the 2021 Littleton-Griswold Prize.

Mining Language by Allison Margaret Bigelow won the 2021 James A. Rawley Prize.

Also, be sure to check out our publishing partners, the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

To browse these titles and more, please be sure to visit our American Historical Association virtual booth. Use promo code 01DAH40 at checkout to receive a 40% discount. And if your order totals over $75, domestic U.S. shipping is FREE.

On the Occasion of Our Centennial Year, Happy New Year!

2022 marks the year of our centennial—100 years since our founding in 1922, in which we’ve constantly grown and evolved as an organization with our publishing! 

Follow us throughout the coming year for a cornucopia of centennial-themed content that will include guest blog posts from current and previously published authors, as well as friends of the press; reflections from our staff past and present; special events notifications; and, coming soon: the unveiling of a new UNC Press logo/colophon. Stay updated via our blogsocial media, and website for further information on how we’ll be celebrating the anniversary of our founding as the first university press in the Southern United States, and our establishment as one of the world’s preeminent university presses.

To all of our authors, readers, donors, current as well as former staff members, and general supporters near and far, THANK YOU—crossing this milestone wouldn’t be possible without you! 

“A Nation of Descendants”, A conversation between author Francesca Morgan and Matt Rutherford for Newberry Library

Earlier this month, Newberry Library hosted a virtual “Meet the Author” event with Francesca Morgan, author of A Nation of Descendants: Politics and the Practice of Genealogy in U.S. History. Morgan spoke about her book with Newberry Curator of Genealogy Matt Rutherford. From family trees written in early American bibles to birther conspiracy theories, genealogy has always mattered in the United States, whether for taking stock of kin when organizing a family reunion or drawing on membership—by blood or other means—to claim rights to land, inheritances, and more. And since the advent of DNA kits that purportedly trace genealogical relations through genetics, millions of people have used them to learn about their medical histories, biological parentage, and ethnic background. 

A Nation of Descendants traces Americans’ fascination with tracking family lineage through three centuries. Francesca Morgan examines how specific groups throughout history grappled with finding and recording their forebears, focusing on Anglo-American white, Mormon, African American, Jewish, and Native American people. 

Francesca Morgan is associate professor of history at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago and author of Women and Patriotism in Jim Crow America

Steel Closets: Setting The Scene

The following is an excerpt from Anne Balay’s Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers. Even as substantial legal and social victories are being celebrated within the gay rights movement, much of working-class America still exists outside the current narratives of gay liberation. In Steel Closets, Anne Balay draws on oral history interviews with forty gay, lesbian, and transgender steelworkers, mostly living in northwestern Indiana, to give voice to this previously silent and invisible population. She presents powerful stories of the intersections of work, class, gender, and sexual identity in the dangerous industrial setting of the steel mill. The voices and stories captured by Balay–by turns alarming, heroic, funny, and devastating–challenge contemporary understandings of what it means to be queer and shed light on the incredible homophobia and violence faced by many: nearly all of Balay’s narrators remain closeted at work, and many have experienced harassment, violence, or rape. 

Through the powerful voices of queer steelworkers themselves, Steel Closets provides rich insight into an understudied part of the LGBT population, contributing to a growing body of scholarship that aims to reveal and analyze a broader range of gay life in America.

Balay’s Steel Closets: Voices of Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender Steelworkers was featured recently on our Universal Human Rights Month reading list.

During the twenty-first century, tolerance for and even acceptance of gay and lesbian people has increased. President Barack Obama’s public support for gay marriage preceding his reelection in 2012 and the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling in 2013 are prominent markers of this shift. Yet this change is not consistent or universal. Anti-trans violence is still common, and queer teens are bullied to death regularly. And most of the GLBT steelworkers I interviewed do not feel safe enough to come out at work, fearing rejection, violence, and dismissal, among other consequences. Their stories back up these fears. This chapter explores what it is about steel mills—the work, the location, the people, the history—that makes them so inhospitable to queers, even as the culture in which they are set becomes more accepting. Our sense of what it means to be queer remains incomplete until we understand and include these people and their experiences.

The mills are huge, physically remote structures, covering many acres. They are frightening, mysterious, beautiful anachronisms. A powerful, almost prehistoric magic adheres to them, like a fine gray dust. And it adheres to steelworkers as well.

A Century of Steel

The first mills to come to Northwest Indiana were Inland Steel in East Chicago (1901) and United States Steel (USX) in Gary (1906). Both plants were built on largely unsettled land, situated near Lake Michigan and thus convenient to barge and rail transport of raw materials from the Mesabi Iron Range in Minnesota and from Canada, and both towns were built for the workers who arrived to construct and then work in the mills. Youngstown Sheet and Tube was founded in 1923, right across from Inland. The Bethlehem Plant in Burns Harbor (1964) and National Steel in Portage (1960) were the last basic steel mills built in the area. All these mills are now owned by ArcelorMittal (an international conglomerate) except Gary Works, which is still owned by U.S. Steel.

Excavation for open hearth, U.S. Steel, Gary, 1906. Courtesy of the Calumet Regional Archives.

What a basic steel mill does is both simple and hugely complicated, largely due to issues of scale. Steel has two main ingredients: iron ore and carbon, which often comes in the form of a by-product of coal called coke. The goal is to heat the iron ore enough to get impurities out of it and to make possible its chemical bond with carbon. This then becomes iron. Next, the resulting molten metal must be combined with other agents (lime, for example) and poured into billets or else continuously cast into finished product. Early on (since the late 1800s) this heating was done through the Bessemer process. The large, curling black smokestacks visible in most steel mills persist from this time, though they are no longer in use. Open-hearth furnaces, blast furnaces, and the Bessemer process were how steel was made in the basic steel mills in and around Gary until late in the twentieth century. Gradually, after that, each plant switched over to the currently used basic oxygen furnaces (BOFs). While the Bessemer process blows air through iron to purify it, which takes about twelve hours per (large) batch, BOFs blow just oxygen through the iron, which takes a fraction of the time (as little as forty minutes). Additionally, BOFs require much less labor, so as they became standard, each mill’s worker pool could become correspondingly smaller without reducing output.

The steelworkers I interviewed believe that the mills in Northwest Indiana waited too long to make this modernizing switch, thus lessening their competitiveness with foreign-made steel. Indeed, open-hearth furnaces were still being built in the region long after they were no longer state-of-the-art. Further, continuous casting was slow to catch on in area mills, though it is now standard. In continuous casting, steel is produced, refined, and poured as part of one, uninterrupted process, rather than being cast into billets and then remelted to be rolled or pressed later.

What remains constant in the basic steel process is this: iron ore is delivered, heated to very high temperatures, then combined with carbon and other chemicals as needed; slag (impurities resulting from this process) is poured off, and the steel is poured, rolled, cut, coated, and otherwise prepared for market; it is then labeled and stored until it gets shipped, either by rail or truck. The slag must be disposed of somehow, often in slag heaps on mill property.

Anne Balay is winner of the Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Award. She is an Independent Scholar living in Saint Louis and is the author of Semi Queer