#VirtualAHA: Meet the Acquisitions Editors
Today we welcome a guest post from members of the UNC Press acquisitions editorial team to accompany our 2021 virtual exhibit for the American Historical Association (AHA).
Keep reading to see how our editors approach their work with historian authors, and to learn about new and forthcoming history titles from UNC Press.
Especially in these turbulent times, we are sorry not to be able to gather in person with our many friends and colleagues who were scheduled to meet in Seattle at the 2021 American Historical Association meeting. But as we gather virtually in this new year and envision the role history plays in creating the present and future we wish to see, the history acquisitions team at UNC Press is eager to speak about our enduring commitment to the field and the sense of purpose we bring to our publishing work.
Who are we? Debbie Gershenowitz, Elaine Maisner, Brandon Proia, Mark Simpson-Vos, and Andrew Winters acquire books in history at UNC Press. While we hail from different backgrounds, places, and experiences, we share a deep love of history and a faith in its power as an agent of change. For us, history is continually open to reconsideration as sources are uncovered, reinterpreted, and recast. As we publish works that engage this process, we seek to challenge calcified assumptions and unearth new insights into the events and dynamics that shape our world to this day. We are dedicated to publishing books that expose, confront, and revise past injustices, that unearth tools and insights that can inform the struggles of today, and that fearlessly take on “hard history” from the bottom up.
Who are you? Our authors are our collaborators in the process of creating and disseminating world-shaking ideas. We rely on you to hold us accountable in upholding the highest editorial standards, including the facilitation of rigorous and balanced peer review, the nurturing and framing of ideas, and performing developmental work that ensures accessibility to designated readers. Finally, our authors are also our teachers who provide us with new knowledge and encourage us to question old assumptions.
How do we work? Publishing is a collaboration, and we cannot do it without you. Through a shared faith in the power of narrative storytelling, the potential of a finely-tuned argument, and the solid evidentiary foundation of a wide and diverse array of archives, we work with authors at every stage of the conceptualization, writing, review, and publishing process to fulfill the full potential of the printed word. As your partners, our goal is to help you create, write, and teach history in your strongest voice. As editors we seek to operate with candor and transparency, serving as your advocate at all stages of the publication process, from proposal submission to well after the book has made its way into bookstores. And as publishers, we will work to connect your ideas with the diverse potential audiences you dream of engaging.
For us, signing a contract is only just the beginning of a relationship that we hope will extend beyond the writing, production, and publication of your book. Instead, we seek to undertake a larger mission to invest in the power of history, those who write it, and those who most need to draw insight and direction from its lessons as they shape our future.
In the coming months we’re looking forward to publishing books that unflinchingly confront the urgent issues of our time, including:
- Karen Cox’s No Common Ground: Confederate Monuments and the Ongoing Fight for Racial Justice traces how today’s disputes about Confederate monument removal have deeper roots in the Black Freedom Struggle;
- Jessica Ordaz’s The Shadow of El Centro: A History of Migrant Incarceration and Solidarity tells an essential story of immigrant detention and detainee resistance;
- Finis Dunaway’s Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice reveals the tactics and coalition-building that protected the Arctic Refuge from oil extraction, just as it comes under new threat in the waning days of the Trump administration;
- John Bodnar’s Divided by Terror: American Patriotism after 9/11 roots today’s polarized state of patriotism in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on U.S. soil twenty years ago;
- Susan Pearson’s Registering Birth: Population and Personhood in U.S. History traces how and why the government-issued birth certificate came to possess the power to determine who is and isn’t a citizen;
- P. Gabrielle Forman, Jim Casey, and Sarah Lynn Patterson’s anthology The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century reveals the political thought, organizing, and activism of the forebears of today’s Black Lives Matter movement;
- Anthea Butler’s White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America traces through more than 150 years how evangelical anti-Blackness has played a provocative role in fracturing the electorate;
- Benjamin Cowan’s Moral Majorities Across the Americas reveals how Brazilian and U.S. activists collaboratively fashioned the Christian right flourishing today across the western hemisphere;
- Kelly Hammond’s China’s Muslims and Japan’s Empire: Centering Islam in World War II chronicles the extravagant enticements, shadowy intrigue, and diplomatic conspiracies that underlie contemporary struggles around minority rights and human dignity;
- Susan Burch’s Committed draws on Indigenous history, disability history, and the history of memory to reconstruct the difficult story of Canton Indian Asylum and those who were confined there; and
- Crystal Lynn Webster’s Beyond the Boundaries of Childhood uses innovative archival research to uncover the lives and agency of Black children in the antebellum north.
Each of these books has something vital to say, not just to the discipline, but to this moment. Please see www.uncpress.org or follow UNC Press on Twitter for new and forthcoming releases.
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