Douglas Flowe: The Conundrum of Writing About Race and Crime

Today we welcome a guest post from Douglas Flowe, author of Uncontrollable Blackness: African American Men and Criminality in Jim Crow New York, out now from UNC Press. In the wake of emancipation, black men in northern urban centers like New York faced economic isolation, marginalization, and racial violence. In response, some of those men… Continue Reading Douglas Flowe: The Conundrum of Writing About Race and Crime

Emily Contois: How I Wrote My First Academic Book

Today we welcome a guest post from Emily J. H. Contois, author of Diners, Dudes, and Diets: How Gender and Power Collide in Food Media and Culture, out now from UNC Press. The phrase “dude food” likely brings to mind a range of images: burgers stacked impossibly high with an assortment of toppings that were… Continue Reading Emily Contois: How I Wrote My First Academic Book

Author Interview: Jodi Eichler-Levine on Painted Pomegranates and Needlepoint Rabbis

In this Q&A, Jodi Eichler-Levine discusses her new book Painted Pomegranates and Needlepoint Rabbis: How Jews Craft Resilience and Create Community, out now from UNC Press. Exploring a contemporary Judaism rich with the textures of family, memory, and fellowship, Jodi Eichler-Levine takes readers inside a flourishing American Jewish crafting movement. As she traveled across the… Continue Reading Author Interview: Jodi Eichler-Levine on Painted Pomegranates and Needlepoint Rabbis

Troy R. Saxby: What’s in a Name? Pauli Murray’s Many Identities

Today we welcome a guest post from Troy R. Saxby, author of Pauli Murray: A Personal and Political Life, out now from UNC Press. The Rev. Dr. Anna Pauline “Pauli” Murray (1910–1985) was a trailblazing social activist, writer, lawyer, civil rights organizer, and campaigner for gender rights. In the 1930s and 1940s, she was active… Continue Reading Troy R. Saxby: What’s in a Name? Pauli Murray’s Many Identities

Douglas J. Flowe: “Uncontrollable Blackness” in Context

Today we welcome a guest post from Douglas J. Flowe, author of Uncontrollable Blackness: African American Men and Criminality in Jim Crow New York, out now from UNC Press. In the wake of emancipation, black men in northern urban centers like New York faced economic isolation, marginalization, and racial violence. In response, some of those men… Continue Reading Douglas J. Flowe: “Uncontrollable Blackness” in Context

Taylor Petrey: Are Mormons Feminists Now?

Today we welcome a guest post from Taylor G. Petrey, author of Tabernacles of Clay: Sexuality and Gender in Modern Mormonism, forthcoming from UNC Press. Taylor G. Petrey’s trenchant history takes a landmark step forward in documenting and theorizing about Latter-day Saints (LDS) teachings on gender, sexual difference, and marriage. Drawing on deep archival research,… Continue Reading Taylor Petrey: Are Mormons Feminists Now?

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

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

Rachel F. Seidman: On the Autumn Equinox, Why Today’s Feminists Give Me Hope

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, published today by UNC Press. 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.… Continue Reading Rachel F. Seidman: On the Autumn Equinox, Why Today’s Feminists Give Me Hope

Author Interview: A Conversation with Samia Serageldin and Lee Smith

Samia Serageldin and Lee Smith are the editors of a new collection of essays just published by UNC Press, Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood from the New South. In this anthology of creative nonfiction, twenty-eight writers set out to discover what they know, and don’t know, about the person they call Mother. Celebrated writers… Continue Reading Author Interview: A Conversation with Samia Serageldin and Lee Smith

Andrew Newman: Captivity Narratives and The Handmaid’s Tale, Part 2

Today we welcome the second of his two-part guest post from Andrew Newman, author of Allegories of Encounter:  Colonial Literacy and Indian Captivities, just published by UNC Press and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. Presenting an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to colonial America’s best-known literary genre, Andrew Newman analyzes depictions of reading,… Continue Reading Andrew Newman: Captivity Narratives and The Handmaid’s Tale, Part 2

Andrew Newman: Captivity Narratives and The Handmaid’s Tale, Part 1

Today we welcome the first of a two-part guest post from Andrew Newman, author of Allegories of Encounter:  Colonial Literacy and Indian Captivities, just published by UNC Press and the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture. Presenting an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to colonial America’s best-known literary genre, Andrew Newman analyzes depictions of reading,… Continue Reading Andrew Newman: Captivity Narratives and The Handmaid’s Tale, Part 1

Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

I remember with fondness, as do many of us who came of age in the 1990s, my neon pink and purple “caboodle.” For those of you unfamiliar with the form, it is a molded plastic container with a latched top that raises up to reveal a multitude of trays, containers, and mysteriously shaped indentations all intended to house cosmetics, hair products, and personal accessories. For my teenage self the caboodle was the ultimate symbol of femininity and the mysterious physical manipulations of skin and hair that being an adult woman required. My caboodle is long since gone, but I suspect its lingering memory shaped my interest in eighteenth-century cosmetics and the dressing furniture that housed them. Continue Reading Jennifer Van Horn: The Deceptive Caboodle

Benjamin René Jordan: “Are you a Boy Scout?” The Youth Historian’s Dilemma

“Are you a Boy Scout?” I am frequently asked this question at history conferences or during social conversations after stating that I study early American Boy Scouting. Perhaps it’s my short haircut, or my normative white guy appearance. The question may also stem from an (accurate) perception that many current and former Boy Scouts and adult leaders are enthusiastic readers and amateur producers of histories of the organization and their local councils, troops, and summer camps. Scout history associations, newsletters, websites, networks, and historical memorabilia swap meets facilitate the exchange and consumption of such histories and memories. Thus, conference audiences and other people I meet are often confused when I report that I was not a Boy Scout. They seem surprised that somebody would study a youth organization like Scouting if that person had not been a member. I suspect other historians who study youth organizations and summer camps get similar queries. Continue Reading Benjamin René Jordan: “Are you a Boy Scout?” The Youth Historian’s Dilemma

LaKisha Michelle Simmons: Landscapes, Memories, and History in Beyoncé’s Lemonade

Some writers have noted the presence of the “southern gothic” or the “southern porch” in Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s visceral visual album Lemonade. But the landscapes are unambiguously part of the geography of Louisiana; the visual album is haunting because of its specificity to place. Barely visible, in the discussion thus far, is the history of slavery—and its remnants—all over the landscape of the album. Continue Reading LaKisha Michelle Simmons: Landscapes, Memories, and History in Beyoncé’s Lemonade

Benjamin René Jordan: “Free-Range Kids” and the Problem of Children’s Citizenship

Fisher warned that allowing young men to “stumble into citizenship,” assuming it only begins at age twenty-one, leads them to believe that civic responsibility is primarily limited to voting or paying taxes: “A boy cannot live his boy life entirely separate from any sense of responsibility to society and then be expected as a man to live a full-orbed citizenship.” Fisher’s statement suggests that our current social and educational structure in which adolescents are isolated from broader community interactions, mature responsibilities, and opportunities for personal growth endangers the very foundation of America’s democratic society by restricting young people’s awareness of the broader community and experience of citizenship. Continue Reading Benjamin René Jordan: “Free-Range Kids” and the Problem of Children’s Citizenship

J. Samaine Lockwood: Nineteenth-Century New England’s Queer Thanksgivings

As we travel home this Thanksgiving, it is worth taking time to reflect on the various meanings of this holiday—personal, collective, regional, and national. A product of nineteenth-century sectional, socio-sexual, and imperialist imperatives, Thanksgiving is far from a physically satisfying celebration involving a return to an uncomplicated home. Continue Reading J. Samaine Lockwood: Nineteenth-Century New England’s Queer Thanksgivings

Interview: Tanisha C. Ford on Black Women, Style, and Politics in the 1960s and ’70s

Gina Mahalek: Very briefly, what is Liberated Threads about?

Tanisha C. Ford: Liberated Threads is about how everyday women turned getting dressed into a powerful political act that transformed the cultural and political landscape of the 1960s and 70s around the world. Often, when we study the social movements of the mid-twentieth century, we focus on policy issues, the fight to integrate public spaces, and big events, such as marches and protests. But, in Liberated Threads, I argue that we need to focus on everyday acts such as getting dressed in order to understand how everyday people engaged in movement politics. Most people were not involved in formal political organizing. They were not members of Black Freedom movement organizations. But, they were engaged in the fashion culture of the time. I wanted to explore the various ways that fashion and style connected people to the global movement for black freedom. Continue Reading Interview: Tanisha C. Ford on Black Women, Style, and Politics in the 1960s and ’70s

Corinne T. Field: Old Age was Once a Feminist Issue

Winning respect for female elders was an issue that cut across the color line separating black and white feminists in nineteenth-century America. The white transcendentalist Margaret Fuller urged women to cast aside their fear of becoming “old maids” and cultivate talents rather than youthful beauty. Sharing the same goal, the black abolitionist Frances Harper crafted poetry and fiction centered on a new type of heroine, one “not vainly striving to keep her appearance of girlishness,” who dedicated herself to growing old in the service of antislavery and women’s rights. Continue Reading Corinne T. Field: Old Age was Once a Feminist Issue

Excerpt: Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women, by Blain Roberts

On the whole, black southern women forged a more intimate—and more active—relationship with the burgeoning world of beauty than did white southern women. Continue Reading Excerpt: Pageants, Parlors, and Pretty Women, by Blain Roberts