More Merry and Bright Holiday Gift Book Ideas

At UNC Press, thinking about which of our books might make great gifts is a happy year-round effort. Here’s a wrap-up-worthy roundup of some of our favorite titles for even the most difficult to buy for folks on your list.

Don’t forget, you can save 40% on all UNC Press print books and receive free shipping on orders of $75 or more. Simply enter code 01HOLIDAY at checkout on our website.

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For the pottery collector who loves to explore, cook, and entertain:

Kiln to Kitchen: Favorite Recipes from Beloved North Carolina Potters by Jean Anderson

Jean Anderson, a member of the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, and author of more than a dozen cookbooks, on her lifelong passion for North Carolina pottery and using it to cook and serve great food. Twenty-four gifted North Carolina potters and 76 favorite recipes are featured in the book illustrated with photographs by Lissa Gotwals.

 

 

For the history buff—budding or otherwise:

Civil War Places: Seeing the Conflict through the Eyes of Its Leading Historians edited by Gary W. Gallagher and J. Matthew Gallman with photographs by Will Gallagher

A beautifully illustrated collection of essays by some of the most esteemed historians of the Civil War on the places that they personally find most meaningful.

 

Continue Reading More Merry and Bright Holiday Gift Book Ideas

Staff Picks: A UNC Press Holiday Gift Guide

Books are Great GiftsToday, we’re pleased to share a selection of holiday gift recommendations from UNC Press staff members. To assemble this list, we asked the question, “What is your favorite UNC Press book to give as a gift?”

Right now, you can save 40% on all UNC Press print books and receive free shipping on orders of $75 or more. Simply enter code 01HOLIDAY at checkout on our website. You can also preorder forthcoming titles using this discount, and they will ship as soon as they become available.

Happy holidays and happy reading from all of us at UNC Press.

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Staff Picks: A UNC Press Holiday Gift Guide

 

Bourbon cover photoBourbon: a Savor the South cookbook by Kathleen Purvis

“The perfect gift for any southerner or anyone else who enjoys the South’s signature spirit.”

– Laura, Executive Assistant

 

 

 

Graubart: ChickenChicken: a Savor the South cookbook by Cynthia Graubart

“My daughter loves to eat chicken but needs tips on how to prepare it. She’s going to find a copy of Chicken in her stocking this year.”

– Adele, Director of Human Resources

 

 

 

Mothers and StrangersMothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood from the New South edited by Samia Serageldin and Lee Smith

“I would like to put in my recommendation for gifting Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood from the New South, edited by Samia Serageldin and Lee Smith, which I recommend for its variety of beautifully written and moving stories about many kinds of mothers. My own mother and aunt both loved it.”

– Michelle, Production Manager

 

 

Stitched from the Soul: Slave Quilts from the Antebellum South by Gladys-Marie Fry

“I’ve been thinking, this holiday season, about the late Gladys-Marie Fry. I first met her in 2002 when UNC Press published a new edition of her book Stitched from the Soul: Slave Quilts from the Antebellum South. It’s only now, in retrospect, that I see what a pioneer she was, in African American studies, in material culture studies, in curatorial and museum work, and very purely in being a person of color in the academy. Professor Fry was an important mentor to me, even—especially—when she became deeply obsessed about what title to give the major new book we were working on together, a book she was not able to complete before she passed away in 2015 at the age of eighty-four. Her writing is as spectacular as the quilts she collected by undertaking a national search, and I will be giving Stitched from the Soul to all who can take beauty and heartbreak in one fell swoop.”

– Elaine, Executive Editor

Continue Reading Staff Picks: A UNC Press Holiday Gift Guide

Author Interview: Jean Anderson on Kiln to Kitchen

In this Q&A, UNC Press Publicity Director Gina Mahalek talks with Jean Anderson, James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame member and author of Kiln to Kitchen: Favorite Recipes from Beloved North Carolina Potters, about her lifelong passion for pottery, her earliest influences, and her gift for harmonizing text and design.

Jean Anderson’s new cookbook deliciously brings together two of her lifelong passions—great food and North Carolina pottery. Fans of both will celebrate. While always meant for one another, pottery and cooking are enjoying a new romance—many potters have introduced designs, glazes, and techniques that make pottery more versatile, while others continue making the traditional pie plates, casseroles, jugs, and mugs that made this state’s pottery famous. Potters now routinely tuck recipes into everything from stoneware angel-food cake pans to salt-glazed bean pots, and Anderson has selected a treasury of favorite recipes contributed by the twenty-four gifted North Carolina potters featured in this book.

Kiln to Kitchen is now available in both print and ebook editions. If you’re in North Carolina, there will be books for sale, food samples, and a signing with Jean Anderson at the W. M. Hewitt Pottery Holiday Kiln Opening on Sunday, 12/8 at 2PM. Read more event details here.

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Author Q&A with Jean Anderson

Gina: What was the inspiration for Kiln to Kitchen?

Jean: My mother taught me to cook before I could read and couldn’t keep me out of the kitchen. She baked pies in Jugtown pie plates and bubbled stews in Jugtown casseroles. To show me how these pots were made as well as to pick up a few pieces, we’d pile into the old Ford on Saturdays and drive from Raleigh to Jugtown.

GM: Tell me about the organization for the book.

JA: There are three major pottery areas in North Carolina—Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill Triangle, Seagrove, and Mountains. So I featured eight of the best potters in each of these areas.

GM: How did you get such a good balance of sweet and savory recipes?

JA: I asked each potter to send me their favorite recipes—two to three savories (meat/fish/fowl/vegetables) and two to three desserts. That way I had a variety of choices from which to choose.

Continue Reading Author Interview: Jean Anderson on Kiln to Kitchen

Jennifer Brulé: My Time on Food Network’s #UltimateThanksgivingChallenge

The New Vegetarian South by Jennifer BruleToday, we welcome a guest post from Jennifer Brulé, chef and author of Learn to Cook 25 Southern Classics 3 Ways: Traditional, Contemporary, International, as well as The New Vegetarian South: 105 Inspired Dishes for Everyone.

Earlier this month, we were pleased to cheer Jenny on as she competed on Season 2 of Food Network’s Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge, in which five chefs from around the country put their spin on Thanksgiving dishes and competed for first place and a $25,000 grand prize. Here, she reflects on the experience of meeting her fellow chefs and competing on the show.

Both of Jennifer Brulé’s cookbooks are available from UNC Press in print and ebook editions. Use code 01HOLIDAY on our website to receive 40% off and free shipping on orders of $75 or more.

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My Time on Food Network’s Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge

My flight landed on time at LAX. It was early August and although Los Angeles was hot, it (thankfully) lacked the humidity for which southern summers are known. The air felt lighter against my skin.

I was in L.A. to tape a Food Network holiday series, Ultimate Thanksgiving Challenge. Five other chefs and I were recruited from around the country to compete against one and other. That was all I knew, all any of us knew—we were there to compete. What the challenges would be, how they would stump us, remained a mystery.

I rolled my tight shoulders and circled my stiff neck as I waited for the network shuttle that was going to take me to the hotel. It arrived quickly; I exchanged pleasantries with the driver and hopped in the passenger seat beside her. “Just picking up one more competitor,” the driver told me. I felt my shoulders tense a bit.

Continue Reading Jennifer Brulé: My Time on Food Network’s #UltimateThanksgivingChallenge

Catherine O. Jacquet: College Students Today Continuing a Long Tradition of Antirape Activism

Today we welcome a guest post from Catherine O. Jacquet, author of The Injustices of Rape: How Activists Responded to Sexual Violence, 1950-1980, out now from UNC Press.

From 1950 to 1980, activists in the black freedom and women’s liberation movements mounted significant campaigns in response to the injustices of rape. These activists challenged the dominant legal and social discourses of the day and redefined the political agenda on sexual violence for over three decades. In The Injustices of Rape, Catherine O. Jacquet is the first to examine these two movement responses together, explaining when and why they were in conflict, when and why they converged, and how activists both upheld and challenged them.

The Injustices of Rape is now available in print and ebook editions.

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College Students Today Continuing a Long Tradition of Antirape Activism

On November 21, 2019, a group of six students marched into the classroom of University of Texas-Austin philosophy professor Sahorta Sarkar to protest both his sexual harassment of students and the university’s inadequate response to his behavior. “We’re here to tell you that sexual predators and abusers must be held accountable,” one of the protestors declared. The bold action of these students serves as the latest in a long tradition of resistance by activists who have stood up and spoken out in support of victims of gender-based harassment and violence. As I was reading the news coverage of the protest at UT-Austin, I was reminded of feminist antirape activists in the 1970s (many of whom were on college campuses) who took matters into their own hands and demanded that institutions—particularly the law and medicine—dramatically alter their response to rape and rape victims. These feminist activists organized a nationwide antirape movement—a movement which continues to this day and is visible through grassroots campaigns like SlutWalk, End Rape on Campus, #MeToo, and protests like those of the students at UT-Austin.

Continue Reading Catherine O. Jacquet: College Students Today Continuing a Long Tradition of Antirape Activism

Silvan Niedermeier: “All These Scars, There and There.” Fighting Forced Confessions in the Pre-1954 South

Today we welcome a guest post from Silvan Niedermeier, author of The Color of the Third Degree: Racism, Police Torture, and Civil Rights in the American South, 1930–1955, out now from UNC Press.

Available for the first time in English, The Color of the Third Degree uncovers the still-hidden history of police torture in the Jim Crow South. Based on a wide array of previously neglected archival sources, Silvan Niedermeier argues that as public lynching decreased, less visible practices of racial subjugation and repression became central to southern white supremacy. In an effort to deter unruly white mobs, as well as oppress black communities, white southern law officers violently extorted confessions and testimony from black suspects and defendants in jail cells and police stations to secure speedy convictions. In response, black citizens and the NAACP fought to expose these brutal practices through individual action, local organizing, and litigation. In spite of these efforts, police torture remained a widespread, powerful form of racial control and suppression well into the late twentieth century.

Translated by Paul Allen Cohen, The Color of the Third Degree is now available in print and ebook editions.

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“All These Scars, There and There.” Fighting Forced Confessions in the Pre-1954 South

Why did the gruesome practice of lynching African Americans decline in the American South of the 1920s and 1930s? Most importantly, because southern states began to enforce their monopoly of force. Seeing lynching as more and more harmful to the image of the New South, Southern politicians urged law officers to protect black suspects from lynch mobs. Meanwhile, Jessie Daniel Ames’ Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching called for white women to dissuade their husbands from taking part in lynchings and pressed sheriffs to prevent such acts. Yet, there was another, related reason for the decline of lynchings: Sheriffs and police officers substituted whites’ desire for retribution by violently forcing black suspects into confessions. Archival records of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) indicate that law officers were most apt to force confession from black suspects who were accused of the murder or rape of white persons. Southern judges regularly approved such questionable confessions as evidence and thus expedited the conviction and execution of the defendants. The decline in lynchings had a dark underside.

Continue Reading Silvan Niedermeier: “All These Scars, There and There.” Fighting Forced Confessions in the Pre-1954 South

Céline Carayon: Legible Signs and Symbolic Violence: Communicating Nonverbally, Then and Now

Today we welcome a guest post from Céline Carayon, author of Eloquence Embodied: Nonverbal Communication among French and Indigenous Peoples in the Americas, out now from UNC Press and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture.

Taking a fresh look at the first two centuries of French colonialism in the Americas, this book answers the long-standing question of how and how well Indigenous Americans and the Europeans who arrived on their shores communicated with each other. French explorers and colonists in the sixteenth century noticed that Indigenous peoples from Brazil to Canada used signs to communicate. The French, in response, quickly embraced the nonverbal as a means to overcome cultural and language barriers. Céline Carayon’s close examination of their accounts enables her to recover these sophisticated Native practices of embodied expressions.

Eloquence Embodied is now available in print and ebook editions.

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Legible Signs and Symbolic Violence: Communicating Nonverbally, Then and Now

On July 26th, 2019, a federal judge in Kentucky dismissed the $250 million defamation lawsuit filed by Nicholas Sandmann against the Washington Post.[1] The lawsuit targeted the newspaper’s coverage of a tense encounter between Sandmann and a Native American (Omaha) elder, Nathan Phillips, at the March for Life in Washington D.C. last January, as it appeared in a viral video that sparked outrage on social and national media. The dismissal of the lawsuit validates the Washington Post’s statement that its journalists had “sought to report fairly and accurately the facts that could be established from available evidence,” but it does little to end the controversy. Despite the availability of several pieces of footage and interviews with the participants, determining “what really happened” is proving hard to do. That is because conflicting interpretations of the event essentially hinge on the fluid meaning of nonverbal signals. It is not the visual evidence itself (Sandmann’s smirk, his stillness and closeness to Phillips, his MAGA hat, the cheers and laughter of his peers, Phillips’ drumming and impassible expression) that are subject to debate, so much as the participants’ intent and the possible multiplicity of meaning these signals can hold. Sandmann, for instance, suggested that he misunderstood Phillips’ drumming and that his smile was an attempt at defusing tension. Reciprocally, Phillips felt confident that the Covington Catholic School students were hostile, which is why he continued to sing the American Indian Movement anthem to appease the crowd. In short, either the confrontation was caused by misunderstandings of nonverbal signals, or these signals were rather legible symptoms of underlying strains. The main question, then, is one that has long occupied Western thinkers: Can one confidently deduce another’s true intentions from exclusively physical, or nonverbal, cues?

Continue Reading Céline Carayon: Legible Signs and Symbolic Violence: Communicating Nonverbally, Then and Now

Author Interview: Cynthia Kierner on Inventing Disaster

Inventing DisasterIn this Q&A, Cynthia Kierner discusses her book Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood, out now from UNC Press.

When hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and other disasters strike, we count our losses, search for causes, commiserate with victims, and initiate relief efforts. Amply illustrated and expansively researched, Inventing Disaster explains the origins and development of this predictable, even ritualized, culture of calamity over three centuries, exploring its roots in the revolutions in science, information, and emotion that were part of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and America.

Inventing Disaster is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Q: What inspired you to pursue this book on disasters? 

A: The book begins in Jamestown in 1607 and ends, more or less, with the Johnstown flood of 1889. Oddly, the event that inspired it was Superstorm Sandy, which devastated the Jersey Shore (and New York City) in 2012. Because I grew up going to the shore, and still go there every summer, I found the news coverage of Sandy and the disaster relief efforts after the storm absolutely fascinating. I also noticed that the sorts of stories told about disaster victims and survivors—and the people who helped (or sometimes did not help) them—were pretty much the same as after other recent disasters. This led me to wonder about the origins of this way of responding to disasters—or what I call a culture of disaster.

Q: What is a “culture of disaster?”

A: A predictable, almost ritualized, series of responses to a calamity that causes death and destruction for a community or communities. Any culture of disaster is a product of its time and place. In other words, understandings of disasters and responses to them were different in, say, seventeenth-century England and nineteenth-century China—different from each other and from what we do in twenty-first-century America.

In the modern U.S., when disaster strikes, the media quickly provides basic information to people outside the affected area. Soon, these brief quantitative reports of losses of lives and property are supplemented by moving human-interest stories. Meanwhile, government and humanitarian groups arrive at the site of the disaster to provide relief and maintain order. Once the immediate crisis has passed—or has at least passed out of the public’s consciousness—the more affluent survivors file their insurance claims, while the authorities consider regulations or other initiatives that might prevent future disasters or limit their effects. However, they typically reject proposed regulations or initiatives as too expensive or inconvenient. Then, another disaster comes along, and the entire process begins all over.

Continue Reading Author Interview: Cynthia Kierner on Inventing Disaster

Interview with William P. Hustwit about Integration Now: Alexander v. Holmes and the End of Jim Crow Education

The third episode in the Talking Legal History podcast’s series featuring UNC Press is live! You can listen to the episode here. This episode arrives with the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Alexander v. Holmes. Half a century after the decision, it is helpful to reflect and talk with William P. Hustwit, through a conversation about his book Integration Now: Alexander v. Holmes and the End of Jim Crow Education, about the history underlying the reform of Jim Crow education and where we are today.

For updates on new episodes in this series, keep your eye on the UNC Press Blog and follow @SiobhanBarco on Twitter.

Cynthia A. Kierner: Women and Children First?

Inventing DisasterToday we welcome a guest post from Cynthia A. Kierner, author of Inventing Disaster: The Culture of Calamity from the Jamestown Colony to the Johnstown Flood, published this month by UNC Press.

When hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and other disasters strike, we count our losses, search for causes, commiserate with victims, and initiate relief efforts. Amply illustrated and expansively researched, Inventing Disaster explains the origins and development of this predictable, even ritualized, culture of calamity over three centuries, exploring its roots in the revolutions in science, information, and emotion that were part of the Age of Enlightenment in Europe and America.

Inventing Disaster is available now in both print and ebook editions.

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Women and Children First?

In September 1854, the S.S. Arctic collided with another ship, exploded, caught fire, and ultimately sank off the coast of Newfoundland. More than 300 people died in this steamboat disaster, which was one of many that took the lives of thousands of nineteenth-century Americans.

The Arctic was a special case, though, because all of the women and children aboard the ship died horrifically—devoured by raging flames or churning seas—while a significant number of the male passengers and crewmembers survived.  Many Americans found the contrast with the wreck of the British steamboat Birkenhead, two years earlier, especially galling.  Of the 650 people aboard the Birkenhead, only 192 survived, but nearly all of the women and children were saved.

The comparison made Americans—and especially American men—look bad, to say the least. One widely circulating press account of the Arctic disaster condemned the “unmanly spectacle” of so many “robust cowards . . . treacherously deserting feeble and delicate women, and shutting their ears to cries from little children” as they fled the scene in their ship’s lifeboats. This scene, and the values it represented, differed dramatically—and distressingly—from that of the “heroic band” of British men aboard the Birkenhead, who stoically sacrificed their own lives as the women and children were saved. Were American men heartless cowards, unwilling or unable to replicate the heroics of their lionhearted British counterparts?

Continue Reading Cynthia A. Kierner: Women and Children First?

Author Interview: Shalom Goldman on How the Arts Shaped American Passions about Israel

In this Q&A, Shalom Goldman discusses his new book, Starstruck in the Promised Land: How the Arts Shaped American Passions about Israel, out now from UNC Press.

From the days of steamship travel to Palestine to today’s evangelical Christian tours of Jesus’s birthplace, the relationship between the United States and the Holy Land has become one of the world’s most consequential international alliances. While the political side of U.S.-Israeli relations has long played out on the world stage, the relationship, as Shalom Goldman shows in this illuminating cultural history, has also played out on actual stages. Telling the stories of the American superstars of pop and high culture who journeyed to Israel to perform, lecture, and rivet fans, Goldman chronicles how the creative class has both expressed and influenced the American relationship with Israel.

Starstruck in the Promised Land is now available in print and ebook editions.

For readers in the NYC area, Shalom Goldman will give a book talk at the 92nd Street Y this Friday, November 15, at 12PM. Reserve tickets here.

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Q: How is the relationship between Israel and America unusual or remarkable?

A: The relationship between Britain and the United States in the first part of the twentieth century was the previous “special relationship” in U.S. history. That was a partnership between two world powers, though one, the U.S., was growing more powerful at the time, and the other, the United Kingdom, was growing less powerful. The U.S.’s special relationship with Israel, first articulated by John F. Kennedy in the 1960s, was highly unusual in that at that time Israel was a small nation with very limited resources, power, and influence. The reasons that this odd international partnership developed to where it is today are varied and complex. My argument in Starstruck in the Promised Land is that cultural forces, particularly the performing arts, are a large—and previously undiscussed—part of the American-Israeli story.

Q: How many years back does this connection go?

A: The connection was forged in 1948 when President Truman granted recognition to the State of Israel within minutes of its declaration of statehood. But in many senses the connection is even older than that. With the establishment of the Zionist movement in the last years of the nineteenth century, many influential American Protestant clergymen, and many members of Congress and business leaders—again, most of them from the then-dominant Protestant elites—expressed support for the Zionist idea.

Continue Reading Author Interview: Shalom Goldman on How the Arts Shaped American Passions about Israel

Author Interview: Lana Dee Povitz on Stirrings: How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice

In this Q&A, Siobhan Barco (@SiobhanBarco) speaks with author Lana Dee Povitz about her new book Stirrings: How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice, out this week from UNC Press.

In the last three decades of the twentieth century, government cutbacks, stagnating wages, AIDS, and gentrification pushed ever more people into poverty, and hunger reached levels unseen since the Depression. In response, New Yorkers set the stage for a nationwide food justice movement. Whether organizing school lunch campaigns, establishing food co-ops, or lobbying city officials, citizen-activists made food a political issue, uniting communities across lines of difference. The charismatic, usually female leaders of these efforts were often products of earlier movements: American communism, civil rights activism, feminism, even Eastern mysticism. Situating food justice within these rich lineages, Lana Dee Povitz demonstrates how grassroots activism continued to thrive, even as it was transformed by unrelenting erosion of the country’s already fragile social safety net.

We are happy to include this Q&A in the 2019 University Press Week Read. Think. Act. blog tour under today’s theme, “How to build community.” We hope that Dr. Povitz’s research on community-based efforts for food justice in New York City can not only provide a window into history but also a blueprint for grassroots activists today. To read blog posts from other university presses on the subject of building community, click here.

Finally, if you’re in the New York City area, you can hear Lana Dee Povitz discuss her work at Book Culture on Columbus tonight, 11/7 at 7PM. She will be in conversation with Monica White, author of Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement, and Justice, Power, and Politics book series editor Rhonda Y. Williams. More information here.

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A Conversation with Lana Dee Povitz

Q: What kinds of power does food hold as an organizing tool?

A: Food has the capacity to bring people together across lines of difference. It is immediately intelligible because everyone eats (although of course not everyone has the same relationship to food and eating). Its accessibility makes it relatively easy to get people to care about it. Efforts to democratize the food system are a way of giving people a say over something that affects them multiple times a day, and it draws the participation of people who might not ordinarily think of themselves as “political” or “activists.”  You don’t have to be “political” to care about hunger; you just have to know or imagine what it feels like not to have food on the table.

“Food activism” is broad, so depending on what issues motivate you, there are different paths to action. Maybe you worry about the safety of the food you eat, and from there begin to think about the health of the workers who produced it. Maybe you want to try to prevent impending environmental collapse. Maybe you want to achieve racial justice. Whatever the issue, you find that if you frame it through food, people are readily interested.

Finally, food is tangible. When you offer it to people, you have the potential to make a connection. When a volunteer brought a gourmet meal to someone dying of AIDS—a person who had perhaps been shunned by their family, fired from their job, and scorned by society—it resonated on an extremely deep level. Or take a young mother, a recent immigrant from Puerto Rico, who speaks little English and has little formal education. When a meeting is held at her children’s school about test scores, she might not feel comfortable participating. But if the meeting is about what her children should be served at lunch–suddenly, she’s emboldened to speak up. These are just two examples of how food can be a way of forging connections that might otherwise not be made.

Q: Can you give us a brief overview of the four community-based efforts your work examines?

Shopping Coop members waiting in line. Courtesy of the Park Slope Food Coop.

A: Sure. First, I explore United Bronx Parents, a grassroots anti-poverty organization founded in the mid-1960s by a group of Puerto Rican and African American mothers. United Bronx Parents are best known for trying to end the racist inequality of NYC schools, but they also initiated the city’s first sustained grassroots campaign to reform school lunch! Second, I look at the Park Slope Food Coop, a worker-member food cooperative founded in 1973, which is today the largest in the country. The founders were ten friends who came out of the white New Left. Many had organized against the Vietnam War, and they were interested in figuring out a way to obtain high quality, organic, and natural food at low cost, which they were very successful in doing.

Next is the whimsically named God’s Love We Deliver. This organization was founded 1985 at the height of the AIDS epidemic in NYC. Founded by two women with no ties to the AIDS community but who were devotees of a spiritual guru from India, they started an organization that brought delicious gourmet meals to homebound people with AIDS at a time when the larger public treated them as pariahs. Finally, I tell the story of Community Food Resource Center, which was founded in 1980 as a response to the election of Ronald Reagan. Unusually, CFRC combined advocacy work with direct service provision—getting actual food and other services directly to hungry and poor people. So, on the one hand, they fought to expand the use of federal entitlement programs like school breakfast and food stamps. And, at the same time, they responded to rising levels of poverty by starting New York’s first food bank (today the largest in the country) and an innovative soup kitchen that also connected people with social benefits like welfare and legal services.

Continue Reading Author Interview: Lana Dee Povitz on Stirrings: How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice

Alex Dika Seggerman: A New Modernism for a New America

Today we welcome a guest post from Alex Dika Seggerman, author of Modernism on the Nile: Art in Egypt Between the Islamic and the Contemporary, out now from UNC Press.

Analyzing the modernist art movement that arose in Cairo and Alexandria from the late nineteenth century through the 1960s, Alex Dika Seggerman reveals how the visual arts were part of a multifaceted transnational modernism. While the work of diverse, major Egyptian artists during this era may have appeared to be secular, she argues, it reflected the subtle but essential inflection of Islam, as a faith, history, and lived experience, in the overarching development of Middle Eastern modernity.

We’ve chosen to publish this blog post as part of the AUPresses University Press Week blog tour, under today’s theme of “How to be a better (global) citizen.” In this post, Alex Dika Seggerman considers how a global perspective and the concept of “constellational modernism” might help to dismantle the white, male-centric canonical narrative of modernism in art history.

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A New Modernism for a New America

Last fall, I began teaching at Rutgers University-Newark. A public institution that serves mostly commuter students from Northern New Jersey, the school is ranked the one of the United States’ most diverse university campuses. My students arrive in class knowing little about art history, as it is not commonly integrated into public high school curricula. Moreover, often as first-generation Americans or first-time college students, my students are not tied to the “Western Canon” of art history. In this way, they are unlike the students I taught at Yale University and Smith College, who often had already been to major European museums, like the Uffizi in Florence, the Louvre in Paris or the Tate Modern in London.

It has been invigorating to teach the Rutgers students precisely because they do not carry preconceived notions about European superiority in art history.

MoMA90 attendees with Jackson Pollock, One: Number 31, 1950, 1950 (left) and Alice Neel Georgie Arce, 1953 (right)

Last semester, I taught “Global Modern Art,” in which we studied Katsushika Hokusai (Japan), Mahmoud Mukhtar (Egypt), Wifredo Lam (Cuba), Frida Kahlo (Mexico), and Amrita Sher Gil (India) alongside new interpretations of Edouard Manet (France), Pablo Picasso (Spain), and Jackson Pollock (USA). We discussed how works by Mukhtar, Lam, and Kahlo visualized artists’ nationalities as well as issues facing their communities, particularly through referencing indigenous cultural forms. I asked them to look again at the work of Jackson Pollock’s No. 31 from the Museum of Modern Art. Even though the mainstream understanding of Pollock focuses on the formal “genius” of Abstract Expressionism, I asked them if they thought Pollock too reflected on the current issues facing America. A Latinx student in a bright pink shirt raised his hand, and said: “The painting has a mixture of black, brown, and white paint. Maybe that symbolizes the different races in America – sometimes it’s violent and chaotic, but we are all here mixed up together for better or worse.” Even though I have been looking at Pollock’s paintings for over two decades, this interpretation never crossed my mind. This perspective, which acknowledges the profound diversity, and violence, of the United States and its history, represents the future of the field of art history.

Continue Reading Alex Dika Seggerman: A New Modernism for a New America

Author Interview: Jeremy Zallen on American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865

In this Q&A, UNC Press graduate student intern Eric Bontempo (@ebontemp) talks with author Jeremy Zallen about his new book American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865out this month from UNC Press.

From whale oil to kerosene, from the colonial period to the end of the U.S. Civil War, modern, industrial lights brought wonderful improvements and incredible wealth to some. But for most workers, free and unfree, human and nonhuman, these lights were catastrophes. This book tells their stories. The surprisingly violent struggle to produce, control, and consume the changing means of illumination over the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries transformed slavery, industrial capitalism, and urban families in profound, often hidden ways. Only by taking the lives of whalers and enslaved turpentine makers, match-manufacturing children and coal miners, night-working seamstresses and the streetlamp-lit poor—those American lucifers—as seriously as those of inventors and businessmen can the full significance of the revolution of artificial light be understood.

American Lucifers is now available in print and ebook editions.

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Eric: Why did you title your book American Lucifers?

Jeremy: “Lucifer” means “bringer of light” and my book is about the working people who produced and consumed (burned) illuminants in North America from 1750-1865. Lucifer is also, of course, the name of the angel before he fell and became Satan, so a sense of ominous tragedy was also something that interested me for the title. Third, the friction matches that revolutionized people’s relationship to fire during this period were most commonly called “lucifer matches.”       

EB: How did you become interested in this topic?

JZ: When I began my research I knew I wanted to write about a topic that combined the histories of labor, capitalism, energy, and environmental history, and that combined analysis of both production and consumption. At first, I thought I’d write about electricity, but when I started exploring what came before, I realized the far more interesting story was the industrialization of light between the birth of the American whaling/whale oil industry in the 1750s and the dramatic changes wrought by the Civil War. The more I followed the free and unfree workers around the world risking their lives to make light in America, the more I realized that what has usually been told as a history of uncomplicated progress was, at its core, a story of shocking exploitation and struggle.

Continue Reading Author Interview: Jeremy Zallen on American Lucifers: The Dark History of Artificial Light, 1750-1865

Author Interview: Daniel S. Pierce on Why North Carolina Needs a Moonshine Hall of Fame (and Shame)

Today we’re pleased to share Part Two of our Q&A with Daniel S. Pierce, author of Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World. Check out Part One here.

From the late nineteenth century well into the 1960s, North Carolina boasted some of the nation’s most restrictive laws on alcohol production and sale. For much of this era, it was also the nation’s leading producer of bootleg liquor. Over the years, written accounts, popular songs, and Hollywood movies have turned the state’s moonshiners, fast cars, and frustrated Feds into legends. But in Tar Heel Lightnin’, Daniel S. Pierce tells the real history of moonshine in North Carolina as never before. This well-illustrated, entertaining book introduces a surprisingly varied cast of characters who operated secret stills and ran liquor from the swamps of the Tidewater to Piedmont forests and mountain coves.

Tar Heel Lightnin’ is now available in print and ebook editions.

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Q: Tar Heel Lightnin’ is packed with fascinating sidebars profiling your candidates for a strictly hypothetical “North Carolina Moonshine Hall of Fame (and Shame).” How did you choose the members for this list?

A: Some were easy choices, like Junior Johnson or Popcorn Sutton, and anyone who was profiled in a national publication or media outlet qualified. Others, like Amos Owens or Alvin Sawyer, were/are well known in the state. I did want the Hall of Fame to reflect both the geographic and demographic spread of moonshiners, however, so that meant some of the folks would not be that well known. Few people have recognized how important women, African Americans, and Native Americans were in the illegal liquor business and most of those folks operated in relative obscurity. They just did not fit the stereotype that the press wanted. Given that, I chose some folks, such as Rhoda Lowry and Howard “Reno” Creech, as exemplars of large groups of people. And while they don’t have the big reputations of the Juniors and Popcorns, they are just as important to the story.

Q: Were there any other criteria?  

A: I included those individuals who had significant regional, national, and even international reputations. “King of the Moonshiners” Lewis Redmond was profiled in the New York Times and was the subject of two dime novels, a play, several documentaries, and numerous books; Percy Flowers was profiled in the Saturday Evening Post; Tom Wolfe wrote a famous article on Junior Johnson in Esquire; Quill Rose was featured in a couple of books that were nationally distributed including Horace Kephart’s Our Southern Highlanders; Jerry Rushing served as the model for Bo Duke of the Dukes of Hazzard; and Popcorn Sutton and Jim Tom Hedrick have been constants on national cable TV over the last several years.

Others were well known within the state, at least for a short period. Betty Sims received a good bit of notoriety in her day, particularly in the Charlotte Observer; Amos Owens was so well known in North Carolina that some folks sold thousands of “Amos Owens cherry trees” across the state; Alvin Sawyer was profiled in Our State magazine and numerous newspapers; and the Burgess brothers were well known in the state due to their highly publicized trials and their involvement in NASCAR as track owners. Other folks made it into the Hall of Fame as exemplars of important groups involved in the moonshine business, often under-represented in the literature. Rhoda Lowry, Howard Creech, and Ada Thompson aren’t very well known, but well represent the roles women, African Americans, and Native Americans played in making the state the “moonshine capital of the world.”

Continue Reading Author Interview: Daniel S. Pierce on Why North Carolina Needs a Moonshine Hall of Fame (and Shame)

Brianna Theobald: A Birth in the Water Protector Camps

Today we welcome a guest post from Brianna Theobald, author of Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century, published last week by UNC Press.

This pathbreaking book documents the transformation of reproductive practices and politics on Indian reservations from the late nineteenth century to the present, integrating a localized history of childbearing, motherhood, and activism on the Crow Reservation in Montana with an analysis of trends affecting Indigenous women more broadly. As Brianna Theobald illustrates, the federal government and local authorities have long sought to control Indigenous families and women’s reproduction, using tactics such as coercive sterilization and removal of Indigenous children into the white foster care system. But Theobald examines women’s resistance, showing how they have worked within families, tribal networks, and activist groups to confront these issues.

Part of our Critical Indigeneities series, Reproduction on the Reservation is now available in both paperback and ebook editions.

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A Birth in the Water Protector Camps

Thousands of Native peoples—and non-Native supporters—journeyed to North Dakota in 2016 to join the Standing Rock Sioux Nation in its protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Zintkala Maypiya Wi Blackowl (Lakota), a resident of Oregon, traveled to Standing Rock with her family that September. The following month, Blackowl gave birth to her sixth child in a tepee alongside the Cannonball River. The Lakota mother chose not to deliver in the nearest Indian Health Service hospital and instead gave birth alone, although Native midwives were nearby. Blackowl understood the birth of her daughter to be connected to the larger political struggle she and others waged at Standing Rock. The decisions she made regarding the birth—where, how, and with whom she delivered—were deliberate acts of resistance.

Although many aspects of Blackowl’s childbearing experience are unusual, including her desire to birth alone, she is part of a small but visible movement of Native women who are questioning or challenging Western models of medicalized birthing. Blackowl had also been born at home, however, which reminds us that these developments are not entirely new. Taking a longer view, contemporary movements to transform Native pregnancy and childbirth can in fact be viewed as a continuation of a movement that began in the 1970s.

Continue Reading Brianna Theobald: A Birth in the Water Protector Camps

Author Interview: Daniel S. Pierce on Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World

In this Q&A, Daniel S. Pierce, author of Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the Worldsits down with director of publicity Gina Mahalek to discuss the business of moonshine in North Carolina.

From the late nineteenth century well into the 1960s, North Carolina boasted some of the nation’s most restrictive laws on alcohol production and sale. For much of this era, it was also the nation’s leading producer of bootleg liquor. Over the years, written accounts, popular songs, and Hollywood movies have turned the state’s moonshiners, fast cars, and frustrated Feds into legends. But in Tar Heel Lightnin’, Daniel S. Pierce tells the real history of moonshine in North Carolina as never before. This well-illustrated, entertaining book introduces a surprisingly varied cast of characters who operated secret stills and ran liquor from the swamps of the Tidewater to Piedmont forests and mountain coves.

Tar Heel Lightnin’ is now available in print and ebook editions.

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Q: Why is moonshine worthy of serious study?

A: Producing corn liquor has been an important North Carolina industry since the Colonial Period and that did not change when the federal excise tax made much of that production illegal. It’s impossible to say how much illegal liquor was (and is) produced in the state, but from the statistics and anecdotal evidence we have, illegal liquor was one of North Carolina’s most important and lucrative products from the 1860s to the 1960s. In addition to its economic impact, the moonshine business also shaped North Carolina’s cultural and social life in many ways. Finally, moonshine was important in every section of North Carolina and in every social and ethnic/racial demographic.

Q: When did moonshine become linked to North Carolina and its citizens?

A: Beginning in the late 1860s when the federal government started cracking down on liquor producers who did not pay the new federal excise tax. In the 1870s and 80s, Western North Carolina was a major focus of revenue agents in the so-called “Moonshine Wars” and became nationally known as one of the major producers of illegal liquor through intensive and sensationalized coverage in the press (including such major papers as The New York Times), in fictionalized “local color” magazine articles and novels, and even in dime novels. From this point on, North Carolina and moonshine became inextricably linked. The state’s equally (and paradoxically) strong attachment to prohibition only increased the market for moonshine in the state and kept the state in the forefront of illegal liquor production nationally through the 1960s.

Continue Reading Author Interview: Daniel S. Pierce on Tar Heel Lightnin’: How Secret Stills and Fast Cars Made North Carolina the Moonshine Capital of the World

Rachel F. Seidman: Voices from Speaking of Feminism

Today we welcome a guest post from Rachel F. Seidman, author of Speaking of Feminism: Today’s Activists on the Past, Present, and Future of the U.S. Women’s Movement.

From the Women’s Marches to the #MeToo movement, it is clear that feminist activism is still alive and well in the twenty-first century. But how does a new generation of activists understand the work of the movement today? How are their strategies and goals unfolding? What worries feminist leaders most, and what are their hopes for the future? In Speaking of Feminism, Rachel F. Seidman presents insights from twenty-five feminist activists from around the United States, ranging in age from twenty to fifty. Allowing their voices to take center stage through the use of in-depth oral history interviews, Seidman places their narratives in historical context and argues that they help explain how recent new forms of activism developed and flourished so quickly.

Speaking of Feminism is available now in both paperback and ebook editions.

A schedule of Rachel F. Seidman’s author events this fall can be found on our website.

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A book based on oral histories has a conundrum at its heart:  while the printed stories are powerful, they can’t convey all that comes across in the spoken word.  Listening to people is the only way to tap into all the richness of these personal histories.  You can hear things that don’t come across in transcriptions: regional accents; voices trembling with emotion; words speeding up with excitement or slowing down in anger; long pauses when someone is hesitating about whether or not to share something; knuckles rapping on a table for emphasis.  I believe the variety of voices and perspectives presented in Speaking of Feminism is one of the book’s strengths; by hearing those voices you get a new level of understanding of the individuals who contributed their stories to this mosaic of the women’s movement today.

In the following short audio excerpts from the interviews on which my book is based, several feminist activists share their thoughts on one of the major themes of the book: the impact of social media and how it has affected the movement for both positively and negatively.  I hope the short clips will give you a sense of these activists’ unique voices and the power of their insights and stories.  In addition to reading the book, you can visit https://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/project/collection/sohp/, where you can find both the audio and the transcripts of the full interviews.

Rebecca Traister is a nationally known journalist and author, who has written about politics and culture from a feminist perspective for many magazines, newspapers and websites including New York, The New Republic, Salon, The NationThe New York ObserverThe New York Times, and The Washington Post. Her newest book is Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. In this audio clip,  you can hear her adding emphasis to her words by drumming her hand on the table.  She’s talking here about the rise of social media and how it democratized whose voices can get heard.  She notes, though, that differences in goals between journalists and activists led to some of the tension and anger in ‘online feminism.’

 

Continue Reading Rachel F. Seidman: Voices from Speaking of Feminism

Here Come the OA History Monographs

Today we welcome an update from John Sherer on the Sustainable History Monograph Pilot. This Mellon-funded pilot is being led by UNC Press, utilizing its shared platform at Longleaf Services.

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As we enter the second year of our three-year pilot, the pace is quickening.

shmp Logo

The Sustainable History Monograph Pilot (SHMP) is a Mellon-funded initiative to publish open digital editions of high-quality books from university presses in the field of history. Unlike other Open Access (OA) pilots, SHMP transforms the publishing process and outputs, while focusing on a single academic discipline. Led by the University of North Carolina Press and utilizing its subsidiary, Longleaf Services, we are aiming to publish at least 75, and potentially as many as 125, monographs during the period.

In August of 2018, we convened a working group in Chapel Hill, NC, to help plan the phasing of the pilot. Made up of presses, librarians, and platform providers, we confirmed the proposed timeline and discussed some of the open questions, including:

  • How much of a subsidy should a press receive for the cost of acquiring? Answer: $7,000.
  • What is the optimal lag time between the digital publication date and the availability of a print version? Answer: 90 days.
  • Should the pilot have a branded name? Answer: Yes, the Sustainable History Monograph Pilot.
  • To what degree would marketing the collection of titles be beneficial versus putting the burden of marketing exclusively on the presses? Answer: There was consensus that while the primary burden of marketing individual titles always lies with the originating press, there would be benefits to marketing the “collection” especially at history conferences.
  • Should Longleaf or the individual presses distribute content and metadata files? Short answer: Longleaf; long answer: it’s complicated—see more on this below.
  • What type of usage metrics should be provided to authors, presses, and institutions? Answer: Unclear and a topic of much discussion among other grant-funded working groups.

Following that session, we put out a call to members of the Association of University Presses for participation and crafted a memorandum of understanding to confirm their commitment. As of this writing, we’ve had 23 presses commit, representing a broad cross-section of the university press world.

PARTICIPATING PRESSES

University of British Columbia Press
Cambridge University Press
University Press of Colorado
Cornell University Press
Duke University Press
Fordham University Press
University of Georgia Press
University of Hawaii Press
Indiana University Press
Kent State University Press
Liverpool University Press
Louisiana State University Press
Manchester University Press
University of Michigan Press
University Press of Mississippi
University of Nebraska Press
University of New Mexico Press
University of North Carolina Press
(and The Omohundro Institute)
University of Oklahoma Press
Oxford University Press
University of Rochester Press
University of South Carolina Press
University of Virginia Press
University of Washington Press

Overlapping with that signup period, we began stitching together our workflow, developing our internal forms (such as manuscript appraisal and transmittal forms, “the case for authors” form; subsidy request forms; memos on how to secure DOIs, ORCIDS, and CC licenses for our presses) and putting in place the tools we will be using during the grant.

But we’re still wrestling with real challenges.

Our OA platform partners want Longleaf to distribute publishers’ metadata to them, but OA metadata poses an unusual set of challenges. Most publishers’ content management systems don’t have all of the fields required for OA distribution (including things like chapter-level metadata, DOIs, ORCIDs, CC licenses). Metadata tends to be distributed seasonally (twice a year) but we need to push out metadata on a rolling basis as new books are ready. Wholesaler intermediaries play a valuable role in the distribution of digital content, but when sales commissions models are upended by zero-cost products, how do presses step in and try and perform those tasks?

We’ve also experienced some pushback from authors about participating in the pilot. Or more precisely, several prospective authors (especially those who are tenure-track) have said they would like to participate, but when they’ve asked among their peer historians, the advice has sometimes been to select a more traditional publishing option. We are collecting data on why authors agree or refuse to include their project in the program and this, fortunately, is a minority position.

And we have only begun to take on the challenges of how to measure OA usage. This is a major topic and we will dedicate a future blog post to it.

But in the meantime, it’s been incredibly satisfying to watch our first books emerge from our process. These books are high-quality history monographs published by some of the world’s finest university presses—and they’ll be available immediately to readers around the globe.

Brianna Theobald: The History-Making Work of Native Nurses

On this Indigenous Peoples’ Day we welcome a guest post from Brianna Theobald, author of Reproduction on the Reservation: Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Colonialism in the Long Twentieth Century, published this month by UNC Press.

This pathbreaking book documents the transformation of reproductive practices and politics on Indian reservations from the late nineteenth century to the present, integrating a localized history of childbearing, motherhood, and activism on the Crow Reservation in Montana with an analysis of trends affecting Indigenous women more broadly. As Brianna Theobald illustrates, the federal government and local authorities have long sought to control Indigenous families and women’s reproduction, using tactics such as coercive sterilization and removal of Indigenous children into the white foster care system. But Theobald examines women’s resistance, showing how they have worked within families, tribal networks, and activist groups to confront these issues.

Part of our Critical Indigeneities series, Reproduction on the Reservation is now available in both paperback and ebook editions.

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The History-Making Work of Native American Nurses

When I began researching the history of pregnancy and childbirth on Indian reservations, Native American nurses were not on my radar. Years later, I have concluded that these women—for most of the twentieth century, nurses on reservations were almost entirely women—were key historical figures in the evolution of Native women’s reproductive experiences over the course of the twentieth century. Through their presence and their labor, Native nurses helped shape patients’ experiences of government hospitals. They served as cultural mediators and often as patient advocates and watchdogs. At key moments in Native American history, their status as “insiders” within the federal medical apparatus spurred Native nurses to activism.

Throughout the nineteenth century, Native women as well as men played important roles as healers in Native communities. A woman, particularly an older woman, might have been regarded as having particular knowledge regarding plant-based medicines, for example, and women performed vital work as midwives, a role that often extended beyond assistance during childbirth. As the federal government implemented its assimilation agenda in the last decades of the century, however, policymakers and local authorities viewed health and medicine as a crucial site for transformation. The Bureau of Indian Affairs criminalized the work of male healers and disparaged Native women’s healing knowledge.

Continue Reading Brianna Theobald: The History-Making Work of Native Nurses