Just published: The first book in a new open-access series, Studies in Latin America

Tropical TonguesThe University of North Carolina Press, the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the UNC University Libraries have just published the first title in their collaborative open-access series, Studies in Latin America.

Tropical Tongues: Language Ideologies, Endangerment, and Minority Languages in Belize by Jennifer Carolina Gómez Menjívar and William Noel Salmon is expected to be followed up by another monograph published this year. The new series will increase the availability of scholarly literature focused on the social sciences in Latin America and the Caribbean. As an open-access series, the books will be made available digitally to a wide audience, particularly for use in classroom settings.

The collaboration was announced in 2015 with a goal of two publications per year and is among the first open-access initiatives UNC Press has undertaken. The Studies in Latin America series publishes short monographs between 20,000 to 35,000-words from senior and junior scholars, covering subjects that include anthropology, geography, history, political science and sociology, with a focus on historical and contemporary Latin American and Caribbean issues.

The Institute for the Study of the Americas selects the works and conducts an internal and external peer review. UNC Press distributes the print edition, and the University Libraries hosts the open-access e-book editions in the Carolina Digital Repository. UNC Press and the University Libraries work together to disseminate information about the books.

Louis A. Pérez Jr., Institute for the Study of the Americas director and J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History at UNC-Chapel Hill, believes it is important to provide a large platform for a growing body of scholarly work in Latin American social sciences.

“This series and our collaboration with UNC Press and the University Libraries works to meet the needs of an expanding area of scholarship by providing a platform for high-level, peer reviewed research and literature on social science issues important to Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Pérez. “These open-access monographs provide a new and incredibly accessible resource for the dissemination of original research to a massive audience.”

The Studies in Latin America series was funded in part by a grant from the UNC College of Arts and Sciences.  You can read more about the series here.

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Nora Doyle: How Motherhood in America became White and Middle Class

Maternal Bodies by Nora DoyleToday, we welcome a guest post from Nora Doyle, author of Maternal Bodies:  Redefining Motherhood in Early America, publishing this month from UNC Press.

In Maternal Bodies, Nora Doyle shows that depictions of motherhood in American culture began to define the ideal mother by her emotional and spiritual roles rather than by her physical work as a mother. As a result of this new vision, lower-class women and non-white women came to be excluded from the identity of the good mother because American culture defined them in terms of their physical labor.

Maternal Bodies is now available in both print and ebook editions.

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How Motherhood in America became White and Middle Class

Women from all backgrounds and all walks of life in American society become mothers, yet the image of motherhood that predominates in American society today is deeply rooted in race- and class-specific identities. Doing a quick internet image search of “motherhood” or paying attention to television commercials for domestic products is instructive: nearly all of the many images that emerge are of a very particular kind of mother. She is almost uniformly white or light-skinned, young, attractive, healthy, and her clothing and surroundings (not to mention the time that she has to dedicate to her children) suggest a comfortable, or even affluent, economic status. Women of color, women with disabilities, older women, heavy women, sick women, poor women (the list could go on) are often absent from common cultural depictions of motherhood in magazines, advertisements, television, and other popular media. When did the popular American vision of motherhood become so narrowly defined?

The figure of the mother emerged as a mainstay of American popular culture in the nineteenth century. Thanks to advances in printing technology, by the 1830s publications such as magazines and books became both more abundant and cheaper than ever before. Moreover, for the first time much of this new print culture was directed at a specifically female audience. Women’s magazines became a new and booming sphere in American popular culture, and they provided an important venue for representations of motherhood. It was in this context that a very specific vision of motherhood emerged.

Continue Reading Nora Doyle: How Motherhood in America became White and Middle Class

Author Interview: A conversation with Lucy K. Bradley, co-editor of the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook

The North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook

Lucy K. Bradley discusses the publication of the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook with John McLeod, director of the Office of Scholarly Publishing Services at UNC Press. The book was published by the NC State Extension earlier in April, and is available now in both print and ebook editions.

The North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook was developed especially for Master Gardener volunteers and home gardeners and is a primary source for research-based information on gardening and landscaping successfully in North Carolina and the Southeast.

A fundamental reference for any seasoned gardener, it is also written to appeal to beginners just getting their hands dirty. It explains the “why and how” basics of gardening from soils and composting to vegetable gardening and wildlife management. Advice on garden design, preparation, and maintenance covers all types of plantings including lawns, ornamentals, fruits, trees, and containers.

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John McLeod: First of all—congratulations to you and Kathleen Moore on the publication! You mention in the book that the North Carolina Extensions Master Gardener sm Program was started in 1979 and now boasts over 4,500 Master Gardenersm volunteers in the state. Can you explain how this book evolved and how it fits into the state’s Master Gardener sm Program?

Lucy K. Bradley, co-editor of the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook

Lucy K. Bradley, co-editor of the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook

Lucy Bradley: The book began as a new edition of the NC Extension Master Gardenersm (NC EMG) program training text. The previous version was a loose leaf binder with black and white text and line drawings that had not been updated for twenty years. Our first goals were to update and expand the content; add color images; and make it available online as a searchable tool. Since our IT department was not prepared to manage password access for 4,500 volunteers we decided to make it available to the public. We changed the name to the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook to reflect its wider distribution and to protect the NC EMG brand. In its new form, in addition to being the primary text for the NC EMGV program, it will be used in a variety of other programs including school, professional, and prison training programs. The online version was created to automatically resize to fit phone, tablet and computer screens and is great for quickly finding answers to specific questions, however, it is not as beautiful, or user-friendly for reading entire chapters at a time. Our next step was to convert the online document in to a hardback book. Graphic designer John Buettner was the mastermind behind the transformation. The final step was creating a digital copy of the print version of the book which retains the beauty of the hardback book, but has the easy search features and portability that come with being digital. So the handbook is available in three different formats to meet the varied needs of our clients.

Continue Reading Author Interview: A conversation with Lucy K. Bradley, co-editor of the North Carolina Extension Gardener Handbook

Michael Hopping: Mycophagy

A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the CarolinasToday we welcome a guest post from Michael Hopping, who along with Alan E. Bessette and Arleen R. Bessette, is co-author of A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas:  A Southern Gateways Guide, just published by UNC Press.

Mushrooms in the wild present an enticing challenge: some are delicious, others are deadly, and still others take on almost unbelievable forms. A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas introduces 650 mushrooms found in the Carolinas–more than 50 of them appearing in a field guide for the first time–using clear language and color photographs to reveal their unique features.

A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Mycophagy

Are you a mycophagist? Never fear, it’s not a practice too shameful to admit in church. The Greek prefix “myco” refers to fungi or mushrooms; “phagy” means to eat. Most people have at least tried Agaricus bisporus, the Button/Cremini/Portobello. If your mushroom eating extends to Shiitakes or other commercially available species, you’re aware that their flavor profiles are different. Has that revelation tempted you to regard a wild mushroom with lustful eyes and wonder, Can I eat it?

In mushrooming lore the edibility question has what amounts to a patron saint. Captain Charles McIlvaine survived his service in the Civil War (Union) and had the further distinction of dying in old age from causes other than his obsession for testing the edibility of “toadstools.” ’Ole Ironguts, as he was also known, tried several hundred species and poisoned himself more than a few times along the way. His book became a classic. The Preface to One Thousand American Fungi opens with memorable lines:

A score of years ago (1880-1885) I was living in the mountains of West Virginia. While riding on horseback through the dense forests of that great unfenced state, I saw on every side luxuriant growths of fungi, so inviting in color, cleanliness and flesh that it occurred to me they ought to be eaten.

McIlvaine says his flash of inspiration was born of a monotonous diet—bacon and potatoes—and a magazine article entitled, “Toadstool Eating.” Soon disappointed by the sparseness of the mycological literature, he resolved to address that shortcoming through personal experiment. If today’s wild mushroom eater knows more about what she’s doing, it is partly because she stands on the hunched shoulders of this iconic wretch.

Continue Reading Michael Hopping: Mycophagy

Venus Bivar: Romanticising the French Countryside

Organic Resistance by Venus BivarToday we welcome a guest post from Venus Bivar, author of Organic Resistance:  The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France.

France is often held up as a bastion of gastronomic refinement and as a model of artisanal agriculture and husbandry. But French farming is not at all what it seems. Countering the standard stories of gastronomy, tourism, and leisure associated with the French countryside, Venus Bivar portrays French farmers as hard-nosed businessmen preoccupied with global trade and mass production. With a twin focus on both the rise of big agriculture and the organic movement, Bivar examines the tumult of postwar rural France, a place fiercely engaged with crucial national and global developments.

Organic Resistance is now available in both print and ebook editions.

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Romanticising the French Countryside

In 1984, Pierre Nora published the first volume of his Les lieux de mémoire [Sites of Memory], the first step in the creation of a compendium of sites and events that were central to French collective memory and identity. Nora was trying to overcome what he perceived to be the loss of identity and living memory that industrial modernity had occasioned. The catalogue of sites included buildings like the Pantheon and the cathedral at Reims, books like the Larousse encyclopedic dictionary and the standard textbook for French primary education. It also included an entry on the land (la terre).

While Nora’s intent was directed at the resuscitation and reanimation of history, the treatment of rural France in his anthology was marked as much by mystical longing as it was by critical reflection. In this sense, it was entirely in keeping with the broader nostalgia for rural life that had begun to invade urban France in the 1970s. In his entry, geographer Armand Frémont freely drew on romantic notions about the French countryside: “The land is not only the most expansive and ubiquitous of our lieux de mémoire [sites of memory]. It is also the most profound. The land embodies all of the values of a peasant civilization whose roots plunge millions of years deep and continue to survive beneath the contemporary landscape…. France distinguishes itself from the other great peasant civilizations in that it attributes to the land more wealth and more virtue than is attributed to it elsewhere in Europe, or even the rest of the world.”[1]

Drawing on the nostalgia that followed in the wake of postwar economic modernization, Frémont presented the rural landscape as an aspect of French identity that was on the verge of being lost, that resided firmly in the past. It was not presented as a living, dynamic, or productive entity. Purposefully pushing the actual practice of modern agriculture aside, relegating its existence to the margins in order to maintain the poetry of the landscape, Frémont perpetuated the idyllic image of the French countryside as a static realm that both existed outside of time and recorded its passing. Frémont’s interpretation of the landscape and of the civilization that it represented was emblematic of the general longing for rural life that developed in urban France over the course of the 1970s and 80s.

Continue Reading Venus Bivar: Romanticising the French Countryside

Southeastern Geographer: Celebrating Black Geographies

AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April 2018The American Association of Geographers (AAG) annual meeting is being held April 10-14 in New Orleans, and one of the featured themes this year is Black Geographies.

To celebrate the AAG being held in the South, the editors of Southeastern Geographer have curated two special issues from previously published articles — “Black Geographies” and “Geographies of Louisiana.”

Our friends at Project MUSE are hosting these as free issues through the month of May.

Black Geographies: http://muse.jhu.edu/issue/38075

Geographies of Louisiana: http://muse.jhu.edu/issue/38074

Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers: http://sedaag.org/

For more information about Southeastern Geographer, click here.

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Nora Doyle: Breastfeeding and American Culture: Idealizing Maternal Virtue in the Eighteenth Century and Today

Maternal Bodies by Nora DoyleToday, we welcome a guest post from Nora Doyle, author of Maternal Bodies:  Redefining Motherhood in Early America, publishing this month from UNC Press.

In Maternal Bodies, Nora Doyle shows that depictions of motherhood in American culture began to define the ideal mother by her emotional and spiritual roles rather than by her physical work as a mother. As a result of this new vision, lower-class women and non-white women came to be excluded from the identity of the good mother because American culture defined them in terms of their physical labor.

Maternal Bodies is now available in both print and ebook editions.

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Breastfeeding and American Culture: Idealizing Maternal Virtue in the Eighteenth Century and Today

“Breast is best” has become a common mantra among parents and medical professionals in America today. A quick internet search or a cursory glance at popular parenting magazines reveals that breastfeeding is much discussed and much celebrated. Some discussions focus on medical benefits, telling women that breastfeeding will improve the health of their children and enhance their own physical well-being; others promise psychological and emotional benefits stemming from the act of nursing. Glossy photos of radiant breastfeeding mothers suggest to readers that nursing fosters maternal joy, while articles about celebrity mothers tout the experience as one of ultimate fulfillment. Maternal virtue and satisfaction, these sources imply, revolve around the lactating breast.

This cultural interest in breastfeeding that has emerged in the last several decades is in fact nothing new in American history. Beginning in the second half of the eighteenth century American mothers became increasingly exposed to medical and cultural discussions that presented breastfeeding as their highest duty and their greatest pleasure. Just like today, women could peruse a number of magazines and advice manuals intended to help them be better mothers, and breastfeeding often took center stage in these publications.

Continue Reading Nora Doyle: Breastfeeding and American Culture: Idealizing Maternal Virtue in the Eighteenth Century and Today

Author Interview: A Conversation with John T. Hill about Edna Lewis

Edna LewisAcclaimed photographer and designer John T. Hill talks with UNC Press Publicity Director Gina Mahalek about one of his most celebrated subjects, Edna Lewis. Hill’s photographs of Lewis, who was often heralded as the “Grand Dame” of southern cooking, are included in Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original. Many more will be exhibited—some for the first time—at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C. from April 7th to May 7th.

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Gina Mahalek: When did you meet Edna Lewis?

John T. Hill: I met Edna Lewis in early 1971 when I was asked to make a portrait for the cover of her first cookbook, The Edna Lewis Cookbook.

GM: What was she like as a subject?

JTH: In spite of a natural shyness, Edna’s body language and soft voice projected a confidence and composure that could not be denied.

GM:  If you had a to sum up her presence in a single phrase, how would you describe her?

Garden behind Ellerslie Plantation, Lahore, Virginia, 1975, © John T. Hill

Garden behind Ellerslie Plantation, Lahore, Virginia, 1975, © John T. Hill

JTH:  As foretold by her middle name, Regina, she possessed a truly royal presence.

GM: Over what period of time did you take these photographs?

JTH: From 1971 to around 1986 I attempted to capture on film something of her warmth and her wit.

GM: Where were the photos taken?

JTH:  In the kitchen of Evangeline Peterson Rugoff; in my 14th Street studio in New York City; Condé Nast studios in New York City; Edna’s birthplace in Unionville, Orange County Virginia; Horseradish Grill in Atlanta; Dean & DeLuca; and Central Park in New York City.

GM: Tell us about some of the places that these photos have appeared.

JTH: On jackets of Edna’s first three books, plus jackets for 2nd printings, Sphere Magazine, Kinfolk Magazine, and various other magazine publications. One was used to create a U.S. postage stamp.

GM: How well did you know Edna Lewis? Do you have a favorite anecdote about her?

JTH: It was my good fortune, and my family’s, to know her as a friend. We were invited to many opening nights at numerous restaurants where she was a guest chef. We picnicked together in Central Park. A favorite anecdote might be the day she was leaving for Atlanta to support Scott Peacock in producing a banquet for the governor of Georgia.  She came to my studio in New York which was less than fifty yards from David Bouley’s celebrated restaurant. When we arrived without notice David Bouley immediately came out to greet Edna and give her a tour of his kitchen, which was followed by Edna’s habit of a small glass of bourbon before every meal, when possible. After she and I finished lunch she took the train to Atlanta and never returned to New York.

GM: There will be an exhibition of your photos of Edna Lewis at Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, N.C. beginning in April, 2018, presented by Ann Stewart Fine Art. How many photos will be included in the show?

JTH: Approximately twenty-five, some never before seen.

GM: What can you tell us about the technical specs for these photos?

JTH: Cameras and techniques varied widely from 35mm black and white and color as well as mid-format and 4×5 color transparencies.

GM: Are prints of these photos available for purchase?

JTH: Select Images will be available through Ann Stewart Fine Art of Chapel Hill.

Button for Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American OriginalGM: In addition to the publication of Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, Edna Lewis has also been featured, as you noted, on a U.S. stamp and a “Top Chef” tribute to her in January of 2017 made her cookbook number 5 on the Amazon cookbook bestseller list. Why do you think her star continues to rise?

JTH: Edna’s career and her life are a fascinating story. Her beauty and her grace and her talent as a chef have made her an iconic figure. It is a pleasure to see that she continues to receive appreciation as a chef and as an inspiration.

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Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original is available now in both print and ebook editions.

You can read an earlier blog post about Edna Lewis and the book, here.

Michael Hopping: Seeing Fungi

A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the CarolinasToday we welcome a guest post from Michael Hopping, who along with Alan E. Bessette and Arleen R. Bessette, is co-author of A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas:  A Southern Gateways Guide, just published by UNC Press.

Mushrooms in the wild present an enticing challenge: some are delicious, others are deadly, and still others take on almost unbelievable forms. A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas introduces 650 mushrooms found in the Carolinas–more than 50 of them appearing in a field guide for the first time–using clear language and color photographs to reveal their unique features.

A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Seeing Fungi

The things I grew up knowing about fungi wouldn’t crowd a postcard. Yeast is an ingredient of various foodstuffs. Don’t eat toadstools or moldy leftovers. Medical school added factoids about fungal disease and the origin of antibiotics. Mushrooms seldom registered in my consciousness. I overlooked them at every opportunity and developed the common malady of functional mushroom blindness.

Then one April afternoon a neighbor and I took a walk in the woods. I saw leaf litter underfoot. She saw morels. Soon I was seeing them too. Wild culinary delicacies, right here, right now, free for the picking. What else had I been missing? I resolved to pay attention and find out. Mushrooms started to appear in a variety of shapes, colors, and forms that amazed me seven years ago and still does today. It’s a delight that the Bessettes and I hope to convey with A Field Guide to Mushrooms of the Carolinas.

Science is undergoing its own mycological awakening. Until the 1970s fungi were understood as nonconformist plants. Robert Whittaker’s heretical suggestion to the contrary was validated by the rise of molecular mycology. Fungi deserved a taxonomic kingdom of their own. It also became apparent that visible characteristics long used to infer relationships between species could be misleading. Berkeley’s Polypore, which appears as a cabbage-sized rosette at the foot of an oak tree, has the standard issue polypore fertile surface: tubes and pores. But genetic studies revealed it to be a member of the Russulales, an “anything goes” order far removed from most of its supposed relatives.

Continue Reading Michael Hopping: Seeing Fungi

Book Giveaway: Enter to win a selection of new UNC Press books in African-American History!

Enter to win this set of new UNC Press books!

UNC Press is raffling off a selection of our newest books in African American History.

To enter, simply follow us on Twitter (@uncpressblog), re-Tweet this contest, or send us your email address.

The winner will be selected randomly from all entries received.  Winner will be selected at the Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting in Sacramento — April 14, 2018, at the UNC Press booth.

The collection of books includes:

Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era by Ashley D. Farmer

Frederick Douglass: America’s Prophet by D.H. Dilbeck

Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital by Chris Myers Asch and Derek Musgrove

May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem by Imani Perry

Radical Intellect: Liberator Magazine and Black Activism in the 1960s by Christopher M. Tinson

Click here for more info and to enter!

Good luck!

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Pamela Grundy: Resegregation: Where Do We Go from Here?

Today we highlight a post written by Pamela Grundy, author of Color and Character:  West Charlotte High and the American Struggle over Educational Equality, published last fall by UNC Press.  Her post is in response to a recent Newsweek feature story on the state of school segregation in America today.

Pamela Grundy: Color and CharacterDrawing on nearly two decades of interviews with students, educators, and alumni, Pamela Grundy uses the history of a community’s beloved school to tell a broader American story of education, community, democracy, and race—all while raising questions about present-day strategies for school reform. At a time when race and inequality dominate national debates, the story of West Charlotte High School illuminates the possibilities and challenges of using racial and economic desegregation to foster educational equality. West Charlotte opened in 1938 as a segregated school that embodied the aspirations of the growing African American population of Charlotte, North Carolina. In the 1970s, when Charlotte began court-ordered busing, black and white families made West Charlotte the celebrated flagship of the most integrated major school system in the nation. But as the twentieth century neared its close and a new court order eliminated race-based busing, Charlotte schools resegregated along lines of class as well as race. West Charlotte became the city’s poorest, lowest-performing high school—a striking reminder of the people and places that Charlotte’s rapid growth had left behind. While dedicated teachers continue to educate children, the school’s challenges underscore the painful consequences of resegregation.

This post first appeared on the author’s blogsite.  Here’s a short excerpt from the post:

Resegregation: Where Do We Go from Here?

Late in August, 2002, North Carolina researcher Jack Boger stood before a gathering of colleagues and described the “perfect storm” gathering above southern schools – a convergence of racial resegregation, high-stakes testing, and inadequate funding that was poised to blast away the hard-won gains in educational equality made after the region was forced to abandon its system of separate and decidedly unequal schools.

A generation of schoolchildren later, the wreckage that storm produced lies bare for all to see, chronicled in painful detail in articles such as this week’s Newsweek cover story: “School Segregation in America is as Bad Today as it Was in the 1960s.”

Newsweek singled out Charlotte, North Carolina as a dramatic example of resegregation’s ills, documenting the gaps between the system’s wealthy, predominantly white schools and its low-income, predominantly black and brown schools. Stark inequalities in teacher experience, staff stability, advanced classes, and extracurricular offerings all underscored the persisting truth that separate will never be equal.

Not, of course, that we here in Charlotte didn’t already know. The story has unfolded right beneath our eyes.

You can read the post in its entirety here.

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Historian, author, and activist Pamela Grundy lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she pursues a variety of writing, teaching, and museum projects. Her previous books include the award-winning Learning to Win: Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina.  Learn more at her website.

Author Interview: A Conversation with Sara B. Franklin, editor of Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original

Edna LewisToday UNC Press publicity director Gina Mahalek chats with Sara B. Franklin, editor of Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original, just published by UNC Press.

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Gina Mahalek: Edna Lewis can be said to be having something of “a moment.” Why this resurgence of interest in her, and why now?

Sara B. Franklin: That’s a really complicated question, and there are so many ways to answer it. As a food writer, I’ve noticed that we, as a culture, are in a moment of demanding deep storytelling and history behind our food. The prominence of the farm-to-table movement, shows like Chef’s Table, the rate at which food memoirs and blogs continue to churn out material… Lewis speaks to all of that. Her writing is so free of the hang-ups of today’s food culture. It’s political without being self-conscious or catering to the media. That’s so rare in today’s food culture, and I think readers and home cooks find Lewis refreshing for that reason.

People have also realized that the American South was really the last region to remain rural in character and agricultural in its economy, and so it’s natural to look to Southern voices for recipes and stories that connect American food to that particular way of life, that feel “authentically” American, although I hesitate to use that word because it’s so loaded. There’s been a lot written about this recently. But, in recent years, the people who have been responsible for, and have made a name for themselves, telling those Southern stories, have mostly been white male chefs (though certain women chefs—Vivian Howard is a prime example—have also entered prominently into the conversation). And the reality is it was women—and black women in particular—who crafted the cuisines of the South, blending African, indigenous and European techniques and ingredients together to make something terrifically unique and special.

I also think, more generally, we’ve become very interested in diversifying the voices in arts and culture—the Hamilton phenomenon is probably the best example of this. The question keeps coming up—how can we tell American stories through different lenses and, in some cases, truer lenses? Lewis is riding that wave. With all that’s happened in the U.S. and internationally in recent years—the senseless violence, the incredibly persistent racism and bigotry—I believe the call for diversity is genuine. The flip side of all this, though, is that we need to be careful that we’re not merely tokenizing certain people and their voices, be they women, religious, ethnic or racial minorities.

Continue Reading Author Interview: A Conversation with Sara B. Franklin, editor of Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original

Venus Bivar: The Racist Origins of Organic Farming

Organic Resistance by Venus BivarToday we welcome a guest post from Venus Bivar, author of Organic Resistance:  The Struggle over Industrial Farming in Postwar France, publishing this month from UNC Press.

France is often held up as a bastion of gastronomic refinement and as a model of artisanal agriculture and husbandry. But French farming is not at all what it seems. Countering the standard stories of gastronomy, tourism, and leisure associated with the French countryside, Venus Bivar portrays French farmers as hard-nosed businessmen preoccupied with global trade and mass production. With a twin focus on both the rise of big agriculture and the organic movement, Bivar examines the tumult of postwar rural France, a place fiercely engaged with crucial national and global developments.

Organic Resistance is now available in both print and ebook editions.

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The Racist Origins of Organic Farming

The first French men to organise themselves in opposition to industrial farming, and they were indeed all men, included a neo-fascist, a handful of eugenicists, and several anti-Semites. The will to produce healthy food that was free of chemical residues stemmed from the desire to return the French race to its natural position of superiority. Pure food would build pure French bodies.

The racial politics of the organic model have in recent years come under scrutiny.[1] Scholars and critics alike have argued that organic consumption goes hand in hand with white privilege. The average Whole-Foods shopper or farmers-market enthusiast tends to be white. In short, it takes money to be a foodie, and in the United States, wealth is a function of race.

With my own work, I make an important contribution to this discussion by highlighting how race fits into the conversation from a different perspective. Organic farming in France in the 1950s was not white, at least not entirely, because of class reasons. It was white because its practitioners were proponents of eugenics who believed in the purity and the superiority of the French race. This is of course a different genealogy of racism. But just as class was not unimportant in the early years of organic farming, the language of purity remains central to organic discourse in the twenty-first century.

Continue Reading Venus Bivar: The Racist Origins of Organic Farming

Women’s History Month: A fond remembrance of Gerda Lerner (1921-2013)

Gerda Lerner, Ron Maner, and Kate Torrey, at UNC Press, 2009

Gerda Lerner (L), Ron Maner (former UNC Press Managing Editor), and Kate Douglas Torrey (former UNC Press director) at UNC Press, 2009

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we at UNC Press offer up this appreciation of the life and work of Gerda Lerner, one of the founders of Women’s History Month.  This post appeared on the UNC Press blog back in April 2010, in anticipation of her 90th birthday.

Read the original post here.

You can see from the many comments how beloved she was, and we at UNC Press continue her legacy by keeping in print her three books with us:

The Majority Finds Its Past:  Placing Women in History

The Grimké Sisters from South Carolina:  Pioneers for Women’s Rights and Abolition

Living with History / Making Social Change

We’re featuring Women’s History Month on the UNC Press website.  For more great Women’s History books, visit our category page.  And, during our American History promotion, you can get 40 percent discount, and free shipping for orders over $75.  Just use promo code 01DAH40 at checkout.

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Millington W. Bergeson-Lockwood: How a Monument to the Boston Massacre Was and Can Be So Much More

Race Over Party by Millington W. Bergeson-LockwoodToday, as we prepare for St. Patrick’s Day, we welcome a guest post from Millington W. Bergeson-Lockwood, author of Race Over Party:  Black Politics and Partisanship in Late Nineteenth-Century Boston, publishing in May from UNC Press.  Bergeson-Lockwood discusses the creation of the monument to Crispus Attucks and the Boston Massacre, a unique moment of Black and Irish alliance in 1880s Boston.

In late nineteenth-century Boston, battles over black party loyalty were fights over the place of African Americans in the post–Civil War nation. In his fresh in-depth study of black partisanship and politics, Millington W. Bergeson-Lockwood demonstrates that party politics became the terrain upon which black Bostonians tested the promise of equality in America’s democracy. Most African Americans remained loyal Republicans, but Race Over Party highlights the actions and aspirations of a cadre of those who argued that the GOP took black votes for granted and offered little meaningful reward for black support. These activists branded themselves “independents,” forging new alliances and advocating support of whichever candidate would support black freedom regardless of party.

Race Over Party can be pre-ordered here.

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Race and Remembering: How a Monument to the Boston Massacre Was and Can Be So Much More

This March, as every year, Bostonians and visitors will gather near the Old State House to view a reenactment and remember the events during the Boston Massacre. They will recall that on March 5th, 1770 British soldiers murdered five colonists, including Crispus Attucks, a man of African and Native American descent, and Irish sailor Patrick Carr. Some may even visit the memorial to these victims on the south-eastern side of the Boston Common off Tremont Street. Though passersby may stop and consider the surface meaning of this landmark, where black and Irish blood mixed in rebellion to British tyranny at a crucial moment, they will likely leave unaware that the monument itself was the result of a remarkable effort of interracial cooperation and solidarity.

Indeed, it was only through Irish and black Bostonian unity that this monument was ultimately constructed. Celebrating its 130th anniversary this year, this landmark stands as a symbol not only of shared revolutionary sacrifice, but of a period in Boston’s history when African and Irish-descended residents united in a coalition seeking to transcend racial division and transform, not just the city’s memorial landscape, but the political conditions of both groups.

“Crispus Attucks Statue. Boston Common.”

“Crispus Attucks Statue. Boston Common.” (Photograph, 1888, Boston Pictorial Archive, Print Division, Courtesy of the Trustees of the Boston Public Library)

During the 1880s, Boston’s Irish and African American communities drew from their shared histories of oppression and marginalization to make common political cause. Black Bostonians campaigned and voted for the city’s first Irish born mayor, Hugh O’Brien. In doing so, these so-called “colored O’Brienites” supported not only an Irishman, but a Democrat at a time when most African Americans continued to vote for the Republican Party. They drew parallels between the plight of African Americans and that of the Irish within the British Empire. These black Bostonians courted the support of Irish nationalists and forcefully advocated the Irish cause. In a prominent display of sympathy they organized a public benefit for Irish nationalist Charles Parnell’s home rule movement. O’Brien appointed black men to city positions and he joined other Irish leaders in publically calling for an end to black oppression.

“For Ireland’s Cause,” Boston Advocate, March 13, 1886. (Courtesy of Boston Public Library)

“For Ireland’s Cause,” Boston Advocate, March 13, 1886. (Courtesy of Boston Public Library)

The most enduring symbol of this cooperation would be the monument to Crispus Attucks and the other victims of the Boston Massacre. Advocates for such a commemoration had been working since before the 1880s, but their efforts met little success until O’Brien’s election. Irish city councilman Thomas Keenan joined with his black colleague Andrew Lattimore to galvanize Irish support for the memorial. “I desire to speak of the Irishman who stood by his friend Attucks when he went down,” Keenan told the city council, “but we make no social distinction with reference to honoring Crispus Attucks. . . .Of all the Bostonians who have honored Boston in the last century, no man stands higher than Crispus Attucks, although his skin is not the color of mine.” Some of Boston’s non-Irish white leaders opposed the monument, including members of the Massachusetts Historical Society who denounced any celebration of hooligans and ruffians who provoked British violence. Nevertheless, Keenan and Lattimore prevailed, and on the bright and chilly morning of November 14, 1888 a crowd gathered on the common and in Faneuil Hall to celebrate the monument’s unveiling. “I rejoice,” Mayor O’Brien declared to the crowd, “that after a lapse of more than one hundred years the erection of the Attucks monument . . . ratifies the words of that declaration, that all men are free and equal, without regard to color, creed, or nationality.”

This political alignment would not last and future generations would struggle to fulfill the optimism of those who gathered on the Boston Common that cold November morning. As highlighted by the Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team this past December, a very real and persistent racism and racial inequality limits economic and political opportunity for people of color in Boston today. Images of race relations in the city are often reduced to such indelible images as “The Soiling of Old Glory,” in which a black attorney was assaulted by a white student with the American flag during a violent protest against bussing in the 1970s, or the more recent incidents of racial slurs hurled at black athletes during Boston sporting events.

Remembering the events of 130 years ago does not gloss over this painful reality, but it offers a touchstone to a past that cannot be reduced to perpetual conflict or division. The Boston Massacre memorial embeds more than just a memory of shared revolutionary struggle, but a moment of political challenge as well, hidden in plain sight, when black and Irish Bostonians came together to celebrate their important contributions to the history of the city and nation and seek together a positive future.

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Millington W. Bergeson-Lockwood is a historian of race, law, and politics in the nineteenth century.

 

 

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Excerpt: Print News and Raise Hell: The Unknown Early Origins of Basketball at Carolina

Print News and Raise Hell by Kenneth Joel ZogryYesterday was Selection Sunday, which officially kicks off March Madness.  Today, we feature an excerpt from Kenneth Joel Zogry’s Print News and Raise Hell:  The Daily Tar Heel and the Evolution of a Modern University, on the early origins of basketball at UNC.

For over 125 years, the Daily Tar Heel has chronicled life at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and at times pushed and prodded the university community on issues of local, state, and national significance. Thousands of students have served on its staff, many of whom have gone on to prominent careers in journalism and other influential fields. Print News and Raise Hell engagingly narrates the story of the newspaper’s development and the contributions of many of the people associated with it.

Print News and Raise Hell is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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The Unknown Early Origins of Basketball at Carolina

Despite numerous books on the history of basketball at UNC, the true early origins of the game on campus have remained shrouded in mystery. The origins of basketball at Carolina may actually date back to 1896—and, more significantly, the concept was likely brought to campus by someone who learned the game from its creator, James Naismith.   On April 25, 1896, a small article in The Tar Heel reported that a Mr. H. E. Mechling had been hired as the university’s physical instructor and noted that Mechling came to UNC from the School for Christian Workers in Springfield, Massachusetts (at this time, the campus YMCA oversaw all sports activites at UNC).  A subsequent article stated that Mechling was a graduate of that school and had served there for three years as the assistant physical instructor.  That puts Mechling at the school in 1891, the year Naismith first mounted two peach baskets on poles—without holes, as early on players had to retrieve the balls from the baskets—and invented basketball.  In 1941, on the fiftieth anniversary of the game, a newspaper in Louisville, Kentucky, ran an interview with the elderly Mechling (who had moved there after leaving UNC in 1898), in which he reminisced about being on Naismith’s first basketball team.  No records survive that verify Mechling’s story about being on the first team, but certainly he learned the sport directly from Naismith.  At Carolina, Mechling served not only as physical instructor but was a medical student and captain of the medical and pharmaceutical student’s intramural football team.

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American History Sale 2018 — Save 40 percent on all UNC Press books!

UNC-Press-American-History-Sale-landing

We are extremely excited about our new American History books, and as a gift to you, we’ve put them all on sale!  To see our full selection of books in American History, visit the sale page on the UNC Press website. Use discount code 01DAH40 at checkout to see your discount, and if your order total is $75 or more, we’ll ship it for free!

Oh, and by the way . . . you can use the promo code 01DAH40 to save on ANY UNC Press print book, in any subject!

Here’s a small sample of our newest American History titles.

Visit the sale page for the full list.

Happy shopping!

Campaign of Giants, The Battle for Petersburg, Volume 1From Petersburg to Appomattox by Caroline E. JanneyMay We Forever Stand by Imani Perry Frederick Douglass by D.H. Dilbeck Cuban Revolution in America Edna Lewis Black Firefighters and the FDNY The F Street Mess by Alice Elizabeth Malavasic Jessica Ziparo, This Grand Experiment Rymsza-Pawlowska, History Comes Alive Goat Castle: A True Story of Murder, Race, and the Gothic South, by Karen L. CoxRemaking Black Power by Ashley D. Farmer

John Sherer: The 2017 UNC Press Annual Report

UNC Press Annual Report 2017

Click the image to read the 2017 UNC Press Annual Report

The 2017 UNC Press Annual Report

In its more than nine and a half decades of existence, the University of North Carolina Press has never created a comprehensive annual report. We have steadily published seasonal catalogs and more recently, a donor report recognizing their invaluable support for the Press. These records have created a collective archive of our publishing outputs. So why do we need something more now?

The scope of what we do today is broader than it’s ever been. In addition to the publication of more than 100 new books and 11 journals in 2017, there’s a remarkably diverse set of publishing activities under way here. At the Press, we’ve dramatically expanded the definition of what it means to be a university-based press in the twenty-first century. This report is an attempt to capture that richness and share it with you.

I want to introduce the report by offering a summary of how I see things from the director’s desk. Despite persistent challenges in the publishing and academic landscapes, the Press is being truly opportunistic and ambitious. After several years of volatility, our sales patterns are stabilizing and improving, which is allowing us to better forecast results and plan investments. Our list of books remains as strong as ever. But at the same time, we’re expanding our publishing activities to broaden impact and to diversify our revenue models. We’re collaborating with other presses to leverage the economies of scale that are so essential in modern publishing. And we’re focused on new digital workflows and formats to help our authors find their readers.

Books Published and Promoted in 2017

Under the UNC Press imprint, we published 118 new books in 2017 (see page 12), the highest annual total in our history. We received more than fifty awards (see page 24), which means that more than half of our new academic books are winning awards. Most prestigiously, the Press won its third Bancroft Prize in eleven years—a feat unmatched by any other trade or university press. These awards are a testament to the cutting-edge quality of our books, as well as to the extraordinary care the Press takes to copyedit, design, and market them.

As part of an ongoing effort to improve the ways in which we connect writers with readers, the marketing department revamped our website this past year. The department has also undertaken a number of initiatives such as using social sharing, the creation of online forums to host conversations with our authors, more investments in the digital discoverability of our books, and an expansion of our reach and impact with traditional book review and media platforms.

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Jerry Gershenhorn: Louis Austin–A Courageous Voice for Black Freedom in North Carolina

Louis Austin and the Carolina Times by Jerry Gershenhorn Today we welcome a guest post from Jerry Gershenhorn, author of Louis Austin and the Carolina Times:  A Life in the Long Black Freedom Struggle, just published by UNC Press.

Louis Austin (1898–1971) came of age at the nadir of the Jim Crow era and became a transformative leader of the long black freedom struggle in North Carolina. From 1927 to 1971, he published and edited the Carolina Times, the preeminent black newspaper in the state. He used the power of the press to voice the anger of black Carolinians, and to turn that anger into action in a forty-year crusade for freedom. In this biography, Jerry Gershenhorn chronicles Austin’s career as a journalist and activist, highlighting his work during the Great Depression, World War II, and the postwar civil rights movement. In examining Austin’s life, Gershenhorn is able to tell the story of the long black freedom struggle in North Carolina from a new vantage point, shedding new light on the vitality of black protest and the black press in the twentieth century.

Louis Austin and the Carolina Times is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Louis Austin: A Courageous Voice for Black Freedom in North Carolina

As we near the end of the second decade of the twenty-first century, black American activists are fighting for racial justice in the nation’s political, economic, educational, and justice systems. Meanwhile, the enemies of racial equality pursue policies to suppress the black vote, incarcerate more African Americans, and continue policies that disproportionately impoverish African Americans. Furthermore, powerful government officials attack the media in a transparent attempt to weaken the ability of the media to tell the truth about policies that would perpetuate inequality in America.

These are not new issues. During the early and middle decades of the twentieth century, black activists engaged in a long freedom struggle against a broad range of racial injustices, some that were not so different from today’s.  In North Carolina, a key leader who challenged white supremacy emerged in 1927, when Louis Austin purchased the Carolina Times, Durham’s black news weekly, and transformed the paper in to a trumpet for justice. In doing so, he provided a voice for the black community, during a time when white newspapers regularly ignored or demonized black people in their pages. An extraordinarily outspoken and dynamic leader, Austin fearlessly attacked anyone, including prominent blacks and whites, who stood in the way of freedom, equality, and opportunity for all people. He exemplified the Carolina Times’s motto, “The Truth Unbridled.”

During the 1930s, Austin initiated a new strategy in the black freedom struggle, as he employed legal tactics to challenge segregation and counseled African Americans to leave the Republican Party for the Democratic Party to increase black political influence in the one-party state. Austin led voter registration drives, campaigned for public office, pursued integration of higher education in the courts, lobbied for equal pay for black teachers and equal funding for black schools, demanded equal economic opportunity for African Americans, and denounced police brutality. In 1933, Austin, black attorneys Conrad Pearson and Cecil McCoy, and a young man who hoped to become a pharmacist, Thomas Raymond Hocutt, filed the first lawsuit to integrate higher education in the South, when they sued the University of North Carolina. Although the case was unsuccessful in the short run, it was an important start to the two-decade legal struggle that achieved success in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), the landmark Supreme Court case that overturned legal segregation of southern public schools.  In 1934, Austin was elected justice of the peace as a Democrat in 1934, a victory that was hailed by the Pittsburgh Courier as the beginning of the New Deal in the South. The following year, Austin co-founded the Durham Committee on Negro Affairs (DCNA), which promoted black political participation and worked to improve black life in Durham.

Continue Reading Jerry Gershenhorn: Louis Austin–A Courageous Voice for Black Freedom in North Carolina