New Editorial Roles for Mark Simpson-Vos and Debbie Gershenowitz

As UNC Press launches its new acquisitions strategy in its centennial year, effective April 1, 2022, two senior members of the Press’s editorial team are taking on new roles to align oversight of key lists with the Press’s strategic priorities.

Editorial Director Mark Simpson-Vos will substantially shift his focus, taking over responsibility for the Press’s prestigious list of general-interest and scholarly work in religious studies. The Press’s religious studies program was established by executive editor Elaine Maisner, who retires March 31, 2022. This broad, interdisciplinary list features work by religious studies scholars, historians, ethnographers, and more. Recent and forthcoming general-interest titles include Anthea Butler’s White Evangelical Racism (2021, Ferris & Ferris Books) and Randall Balmer’s Passion Plays: How Religion Shaped Sports in North America (Fall 2022, Ferris & Ferris Books). For scholarly and crossover audiences, the Press’s “Islamic Civilizations and Muslim Networks” series has been at the forefront of publishing serious and scholarly nonfiction on the expansive Muslim world, and its “Where Religion Lives” series is a home for pathbreaking ethnographic work in the field.

“Over the last two decades, under Elaine Maisner’s guidance, UNC Press has become a destination publisher for the best work in religious studies,” said Simpson-Vos. “The vitality and diversity of the field has long excited me, and I’m honored to work with our fantastic network of authors and advisors as we strive to continue publishing books that help define the field and shape public understanding of religion and religious life around the world. I look forward to hearing from agents with promising projects that fit our strengths, and to connecting with a new community when I attend the American Academy of Religion meeting this fall.”

Simpson-Vos will continue to acquire selectively in other fields, with a focus on trade and crossover books.

Meanwhile, executive editor Debbie Gershenowitz is also broadening her acquisitions focus to include Latin American and Caribbean history, complementing her broad interests in US and transnational history. This change reflects a homecoming of sorts for Gershenowitz, who brings longstanding familiarity with the field from her previous editorial roles at New York University Press and Cambridge University Press, where she acquired a number of prize-winning books and series. Going forward, this shift will bring an expanded hemispheric focus to her acquisitions in topics such as histories of the African diaspora; histories of enslavement, abolition, and freedom; histories of the Americas in global context; Latinx history; histories of women, genders, and sexualities; legal history; military history; and borderlands histories.

“I’m honored to pick up the baton from Elaine and expand on the acclaimed Latin American and Caribbean history list she built at UNC Press,” said Gershenowitz. “This new remit will allow me to curate a truly hemispheric list that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the Americas and their linked histories with the rest of the world. I’m eager to reconnect with old authors and friends and meet new ones at LASA, SHAFR, and other places where historians of the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean gather.”

To learn more about UNC Press’s editorial program and the acquisitions interests of its editors, visit