#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.

Publishing is a collaboration, and we cannot do it without you.

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.

What’s coming?

In the coming months we’re looking forward to publishing books that unflinchingly confront the urgent issues of our time, including:

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.