In Our Orbit: Author Voices On Air and Online

A quick roundup of some highlights from the week, featuring UNC Press authors online and on the air.

Edward J. Blum (co-author of The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America) marks the 50th anniversary of the Ku Klux Klan bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham that killed four little girls in 1963. He writes over at Religion Dispatches:

Three weeks ago, we were celebrating the March on Washington; we were watching and listening to King as we do each January on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holiday created in the conservative era of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. This year was precious, for it marked the fiftieth anniversary and we commemorated the day with another march, televised like the one in 1963. But on this occasion we discussed and judged it in Twitter feeds, Facebook accounts, and on a host of 24 hour news programs.

How do we balance King’s dream with [bombing victim Denise McNair’s father, Robert] McNair’s nightmare in our supposedly post-racial and now-digital age? We still live in a country of freedom dreams and violent nightmares.

The nation has a black president and the outpouring of joy in 2008 was hard to quantify, but young black men are still murdered and imprisoned in epic numbers. We have rising integration in schools and businesses, but Christian churches lag behind tremendously—and often fuel the fires of other racial conflicts and controversies.

And as we go, the digital and media realms allow for increased chatter about all of it, leaving some of us to wonder if the democratic cacophony actually encourages hate.

Read the full post, “The Birmingham Church Bombing: How Will We Remember?”

Glenn Eskew (author of But for Birmingham: The Local and National Movements in the Civil Rights Struggle) joined the conversation about the anniversary on WUNC’s radio program “The State of Things,” where you can listen to the podcast of the discussion.


Hester Blum (author of The View from the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives) offers advice for academics on the job market in an article at Inside Higher Ed:

My father is a salesman: not of products, but of selves. He spent his career as a headhunter or recruiter in the computer industry in New York, and in retirement he founded a nonprofit that provides free job counseling and interviewing strategies to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. I can say with no small confidence that anyone who has ever talked with Carl J. about interviewing or self-presentation—and followed his advice—has secured a job. His interviewing and professional counsel works in academe, too. Here are some lessons I’ve learned from my dad about how to interview for and land a job, adapted for higher education. My examples come mostly from humanities fields, but should be broadly applicable.

Read the full post, “Show Them Who You Are.”


Sandra A. Gutierrez (author of Latin American Street Food: The Best Flavors of Markets, Beaches, and Roadside Stands from Mexico to Argentina) participated in a Twitter chat this week with @FoodCulturist (Nicole A. Taylor). A little snippet:

See the Storified version of their full #latinstreetfood conversation.


Blain Roberts (author of Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women: Race and Beauty in the Twentieth-Century South [forthcoming Spring 2014]), contributes to the New York Times’ Room for Debate forum about the Miss America Pageant. Roberts cites the 1968 feminist protests against the pageant, writing:

The protesters also argued that the contest rewarded women who were unintelligent, inarticulate and apolitical. Recently, however, winners and contestants have attended Ivy League universities, earned professional degrees and run for Congress.

Nevertheless, the feminists’ most incisive critique—that beauty contests exploit women, sexualize their bodies and encourage conformity to “ludicrous” beauty standards—still resonates today. After all, the point of returning the pageant to Atlantic City is to have bikini-wearing beauties market the city as a vacation destination—the very purpose for which the pageant was originally founded.

Read her full post, “Still Sending the Wrong Message.”