A Conversation with Joo Ok Kim: On the Korean War and the Global Gothic of U.S. Empire

In the Fall 2016 issue of south: a scholarly journal, Joo Ok Kim published a piece entitled, “Declining Misery: Rural Florida’s Hmong and Korean Farmers.” She is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and Latino/a Studies at the University of Kansas. Her work has appeared in the Journal of Asian American Studies and Verge: Studies… Continue Reading A Conversation with Joo Ok Kim: On the Korean War and the Global Gothic of U.S. Empire

Author Interview: Adam Gussow, Beyond the Crossroads

  Today, UNC Press Publicity Director Gina Mahalek talks with Adam Gussow, author of Beyond the Crossroads: The Devil and the Blues Tradition, about Sterling Magee, the blues tradition and folklore in the American South, and more. You can also read Adam’s Book Notes post over at the Largehearted Boy blog, where he also shares a… Continue Reading Author Interview: Adam Gussow, Beyond the Crossroads

Author Interview: Emily Herring Wilson, The Three Graces of Val-Kill

Gina Mahalek talks to Emily Herring Wilson, author of The Three Graces of Val-Kill: Eleanor Roosevelt, Marion Dickerman, and Nancy Cook in the Place They Made Their Own. # # # Q: How did you discover this story? A: I wanted to understand Eleanor Roosevelt as a woman making her own private life—after a troubled marriage… Continue Reading Author Interview: Emily Herring Wilson, The Three Graces of Val-Kill

Author Interview: Karen L. Cox, Goat Castle

“From the time I learned about Goat Castle and the real-life characters that inhabited it, I could see it as a film. Every person I’ve ever talked to about this book project has said, without fail, ‘This needs to be a movie.’” Continue Reading Author Interview: Karen L. Cox, Goat Castle

Interview: Eric Muller Gives Voice to Injustice with Scapegoat Cities Podcast

On the 75th anniversary of the opening of the Japanese American internment camps, Eric L. Muller, editor of Colors of Confinement: Rare Kodachrome Photographs of Japanese American Incarceration in World War II, talks to UNC Press Publicity Director Gina Mahalek about his related podcast, Scapegoat Cities, launching on September 6, 2017. Read on for a chance to win a copy of Colors of Confinement! Continue Reading Interview: Eric Muller Gives Voice to Injustice with Scapegoat Cities Podcast

Interview: Judy Kutulas on the “Me Decade” and Man Buns

Judy Kutulas, author of After Aquarius Dawned: How the Revolutions of the Sixties Became the Popular Culture of the Seventies, talks to UNC Press Publicity Director Gina Mahalek about making sense of the “me decade” and whether man buns are here to stay.  Continue Reading Interview: Judy Kutulas on the “Me Decade” and Man Buns

Interview: Brian Tochterman on the “Summer of Hell”

Where the dying city is most critical, however, is how New York is becoming a victim of its own success. Hyper-gentrification and the polarization of wealth within the landscape, particularly in respect to housing, make it extremely difficult for long-term residents to find housing upon displacement or shifting rents, not to mention to allow space for the intrepid migrants with a dream who reinvigorate the city and keep it fresh, as E.B. White wrote seventy years ago. Everyday it seems—highlighted in the work of local bloggers like Jeremiah Moss—there are stories about some neighborhood institution vanishing due to exorbitant rent increases, which in the long-term will destroy opportunities for independent small business development. This was where I see fears about the dying city, and, from my personal perspective, it’s a very convincing argument. Continue Reading Interview: Brian Tochterman on the “Summer of Hell”

Interview: Sandra Gutierrez on The New Southern-Latino Table

Author Sandra Gutierrez talks with publicist Catherine Cheney about her award-winning book, The New Southern-Latino Table: Recipes That Bring Together the Bold and Beloved Flavors of Latin America and the American South. Continue Reading Interview: Sandra Gutierrez on The New Southern-Latino Table

Interview: Jennifer Ritterhouse on Jonathan Daniels’s Travels in 1930s America

The heart of his own book about his trip was his conversations with the people he met, and a lot of the appeal for me in following him on his journey was to see and hear from them, too, in all of their variety. Continue Reading Interview: Jennifer Ritterhouse on Jonathan Daniels’s Travels in 1930s America

Interview: Dr. Peggy Valentine on the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity

Q: How do you see the journal advancing research and teaching at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU)?

A: An important goal of any institution of higher learning is to advance the body of knowledge through research and scholarship. Given its important mission as a Historically Black College and University, WSSU was founded on principles of social justice, and promotes equity intentionally and comprehensively. A journal that addresses the need for a more diverse health professions workforce, therefore is consistent with the university’s mission. This journal has provided an opportunity for faculty to serve as peer reviewers and on publish their research that undergo the peer review process like any other submitted manuscripts. The journal has also provided an opportunity for graduate students to gain experience in working with authors from around the nation, to market the journal to potential subscribers, and to solicit articles for publication. Continue Reading Interview: Dr. Peggy Valentine on the Journal of Best Practices in Health Professions Diversity

Interview: Adrian Miller on The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

These chefs were simultaneously culinary artists, family confidantes and civil rights advocates. The most important contribution aside from their food is that they gave our presidents a window on black life that they would not otherwise have had. Only a handful of presidents chose to open that window, but it was there nonetheless. Continue Reading Interview: Adrian Miller on The President’s Kitchen Cabinet

Video: Randy Johnson on the best ways to explore Grandfather Mountain

Randy Johnson, author of Grandfather Mountain: The History and Guide to an Appalachian Icon, suggests the best ways to explore the mountain in this interview with Carolina Today. Continue Reading Video: Randy Johnson on the best ways to explore Grandfather Mountain

Interview: John W. Troutman on Kīkā Kila

Gina Mahalek: What is Kīkā Kila? What does it sound like?

John W. Troutman: Kīkā Kila is a Hawaiian expression for describing both a type of guitar and a technique for playing it. The instrument, also known as a “steel guitar,” a “lap steel,” a “dobro,” or a “Hawaiian guitar,” among other names and associations, developed in the Islands in the 1880s and 1890s. Players would physically modify a “standard” guitar, add steel strings to it, and fabricate finger picks and a steel bar, about 3” in length (the instrument is named after this bar). After creating new, open tunings for the guitar, players would place the guitar in their laps, pluck the strings with finger picks on one hand, and then, with their other hand, slide the steel bar along the strings, located high above the fretboard. The technique created an entirely new sound for the guitar, one that better mimicked both the gentle rising and falling of a somber human voice as well as the melodic acrobatics that Hawaiian falsetto singers were becoming known for at the time. Hawaiians soon began creating all sorts of other sound effects on the steel guitar, and very quickly, it became the most important accompanying (as well as lead melodic) instrument in Hawaiian music. Continue Reading Interview: John W. Troutman on Kīkā Kila

Interview: Charles O. Pilkey and Orrin H. Pilkey on Lessons from the Sand

Q: Who is the primary audience for this book?

Charles Pilkey: The book is intended for families with kids up to middle school age. We hope parents will do the activities together with their children.

Orrin Pilkey: We also think that the activities herein are a goldmine for high school students doing science projects. The activities could give older kids a start, and they can follow up and proceed into the wild blue yonder as far as their imagination will carry them. Continue Reading Interview: Charles O. Pilkey and Orrin H. Pilkey on Lessons from the Sand

Interview: Kenneth Robert Janken on The Wilmington Ten

Hannah Lohr-Pearson: Who are the Wilmington Ten and why are they important?

Kenneth Robert Janken: The Wilmington Ten were Ben Chavis, Reginald Epps, Jerry Jacobs, James McKoy, Wayne Moore, Marvin Patrick, Ann Shepard, Connie Tindall, Willie Earl Vereen, and Joe Wright. They were nine black men in their teens and early twenties, many of them still in high school, and a white woman in her thirties, who participated in conflict and protests over the desegregation of the public schools in Wilmington, North Carolina, and were punished with the full force of the law for standing against discrimination. The case of the Wilmington Ten amounts to one of the most egregious instances of injustice and political repression from the post-World War II black freedom struggle. It took legions of people working over the course of the 1970s to right the wrong. Like the political killings of George Jackson and Fred Hampton, the legal frame-up of Angela Davis, and the suppression of the Attica Prison rebellion, the Wilmington Ten was a high-profile attempt by federal and North Carolina authorities to stanch the increasingly radical African American freedom movement. The facts of the callous, corrupt, and abusive prosecution of the Wilmington Ten have lost none of their power to shock more than forty years after the fact, even given today’s epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct. Less understood, but just as important, the efforts to free the Wilmington Ten helped define an important moment in African American politics, in which an increasingly variegated movement coordinated its efforts under the leadership of a vital radical Left. Continue Reading Interview: Kenneth Robert Janken on The Wilmington Ten

Interview: Patricia Appelbaum on St. Francis of America

I started out thinking that the garden statue was kind of a cliché. Imagine just going out and buying a mass-produced plastic image and thinking there is something special about it! Commercial statuary seemed to trivialize Francis’s meaning, to make him less challenging. Instead of a figure who calls for drastic change, radical poverty, and absolute devotion—a saint who was active in the wider world—our vision is limited to a pretty statue and birdbath on our private property. But I came to change my views. There’s a real spiritual side to this, and also a cultural critique. Continue Reading Interview: Patricia Appelbaum on St. Francis of America

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

Interview: Sherie M. Randolph on Black Feminist Radical Florynce “Flo” Kennedy

Taylor Humin: This is the first full-length work written about Flo Kennedy; meanwhile, Gloria Steinem, her contemporary and fellow activist, is a household name. Why isn’t Kennedy better known?

Sherie M. Randolph: Despite Kennedy’s willingness to seek the media’s spotlight, the media often ignored her leadership in the women’s movement. She was black and middle-aged, and her image did not fit neatly with the media’s fascination with the “young,” “hip” new women’s movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The media had a bias toward stereotypically attractive women (read white and young) and often preferred to center or elevate in the press those women who fit this category (Gloria Steinem and Ti-Grace Atkinson, for example).

Often the media coverage of Kennedy’s actions did not mention that she was even a member (or an early or founding member) of organizations such as NOW or that she was a feminist. Instead, Kennedy was often portrayed as an organizer who was working alongside NOW or other feminist groups, but not as a leader of these organizations and actions. Some scholars have repeated this bias by ignoring or under-analyzing black feminism and Flo Kennedy.

Kennedy was well known to most radical activists during the 1960s and 1970s because she was a lawyer, fundraiser, and very skilled at drawing media attention to her causes. As a media-savvy activist, she was skillful in gaining the media’s attention for her actions; which ranged from pee-ins to protest Harvard Law School’s lack of bathroom facilities for women to marches down Fifth Avenue to protest the assassination of Martin Luther King. She relied on street theater to draw the notice of the media (and therefore advertisers, etc.) and potential organizers. Yet, until my book, history has forgotten her. Continue Reading Interview: Sherie M. Randolph on Black Feminist Radical Florynce “Flo” Kennedy

Interview: Cecelia Tichi on Jack London’s Fight for a Better America

Gina Mahalek: Jack London is well known for his adventure novels, like The Call of the Wild. But apart from tales such as the one about a dog in the Yukon, who was he? And why does he matter today?
Cecelia Tichi: Jack London (1876-1916) was the most popular U.S. writer of the early 20th century, the first to earn $1 million. In a career spanning twenty years, he published fifty books, hundreds of short stories, and numerous essays. His books sold well internationally and have been translated into several languages. He continues to be one of the most famous and esteemed writers in the world—arguably better known and respected abroad than here in the United States. Continue Reading Interview: Cecelia Tichi on Jack London’s Fight for a Better America