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Fall #ReadUCP Book Club: Read an Excerpt from the novel “Papi”

September 5, 2019
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Fellow readers, we are excited to share that our Fall #ReadUCP Twitter Book Club pick is Papi, a novel by Rita Indiana and translated by Achy Obejas. Drawing on her memories of a childhood split between Santo Domingo and visits with her father amid the luxuries of the United States, Indiana mixes satire with a child’s imagination, horror with science fiction, in a swirling tale of a daughter’s love, the lure of crime and machismo, and the violence of the adult world. Expertly translated into English for the first time, Papi is furious, musical, and full of wit—a passionate, overwhelming, and very human explosion of artistic virtuosity. Chapter One Papi is like Jason, the guy from Friday the 13th. Or like Freddy Krueger. But more like Jason than Freddy Krueger. He shows up when you least expect him. Sometimes when I hear that scary music, I get really happy cuz I know he might be coming this way. That scary music is sometimes just Mami telling me Papi called and said he’s picking me up to take me to the beach or shopping. I pretend I don’t care, like I’m sure he’s not coming cuz you don’t get told ahead of . . .

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Doug Mitchell, 1943-2019

September 19, 2019
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Alan Thomas, Editorial Director of the Press, offers a tribute to Doug Mitchell. During forty-one years as an acquisitions editor at the University of Chicago Press, Doug Mitchell’s influence in sexuality studies and sociology rivaled that of the disciplines’ greatest scholars. A gifted jazz drummer, he compared the editor’s intuitive work of connecting authors and ideas to “playing a really good drum solo.” Doug died on 1 September 2019 in Chicago after a long illness, aged 76, only eight months after his retirement from the Press. He was educated at the University of Chicago in Ideas and Methods, an interdisciplinary program conceived by the philosopher Richard McKeon, whose work Doug later championed as an editor. It was a program, Doug said, “charged with locating the ways in which philosophic problems arise in fields other than philosophy—a good preparation for scholarly publishing.” He earned his A.B. degree from Chicago in 1965, continued for a time as a graduate student while also playing jazz, and took a job as an editor at the college division of Scott, Foresman, where he acquired textbooks in American and European history. Moving to the University of Chicago Press in 1977, Doug took charge of our history . . .

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Calling All Bostonians!

September 12, 2019
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This October, we are incredibly excited to be publishing the landmark volume, The Atlas of Boston History. Get a sneak peak at some of the fascinating maps and part of the preface, including detailed info on the book's content. . . .

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6 Questions with Mark Hineline, author of “Ground Truth: A Guide to Tracking Climate Change at Home”

September 9, 2019
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We know that the Earth’s climate is changing and that the magnitude of this change is colossal. At the same time, the world outside is still a natural world and one we can experience on a granular level every day. Ground Truth is a practical guide to living in this condition of changing nature, to paying attention instead of turning away. Ground Truth features detailed guidance for keeping records of the plants, animals, and seasonal changes that occur in our neighborhood. This practice is known as phenology—the study and timing of natural events—and these records can be put to practical use by scientists. We talked with author Mark L. Hineline about how he came to practice phenology, and why it’s more important now than ever. The media and scientists highlight increasing temperature when they talk about climate change, but you discount temperature and instead highlight phenology. What is phenology, and why do you think it is more important than temperature? Temperature, global temperature, is very important. But as people going about our daily business, we’re not equipped to make distinctions at the scale of a degree or two, or even five degrees. Humidity makes a difference in how we experience . . .

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Why the Sixties Won’t Go Away: Read an Excerpt from “The Art of the Return” by James Meyer

September 4, 2019
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More than any other decade, the sixties capture our collective cultural imagination, and in his new book, The Art of Return: The Sixties and Contemporary Culture, James Meyer turns to art criticism, theory, memoir, and fiction to examine the fascination with the long sixties and contemporary expressions of these cultural memories across the globe. In this excerpt, he offers a look at our continual fascination with the decade. Summer 1969. The summer to end all summers. On a steamy night in June the furious patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back during an abusive police raid, igniting the GLTBQ movement. That July Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin gathered lunar rocks as the world watched. August witnessed the Manson murders of Sharon Tate and four houseguests, and Leno and Rosemary LaBianca. Hundreds of thousands of young people gathered on a farm in upstate New York for the greatest rock concert of the age; Jimi Hendrix concluded Woodstock’s “Three Days of Music and Peace” with a heavy metal rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner,” a searing prosecution of the Vietnam War. By the end of the year, 48,736 US troops had given their lives in the Indochina theater. All this happened a . . .

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Read an Excerpt from “The Importance of Being Urban” by David A. Gamson

August 19, 2019
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Read an Excerpt from “The Importance of Being Urban” by David A. Gamson

Summer days are slipping away and back-to-school season is upon us. With that in mind, we’ve put together this short excerpt from David A. Gamson’s The Importance of Being Urban: Designing the Progressive School District, 1890-1940. The book focuses on four western school systems—in Denver, Oakland, Portland, and Seattle—and their efforts to reconfigure public education. In an era of accelerated immigration, shifting economic foundations, and widespread municipal shake-ups, reformers argued that the urban school district could provide the broad blend of social, cultural, and educational services needed to prepare students for twentieth-century life. These school districts were a crucial force not only in orchestrating educational change but in delivering on the promise of democracy. The anomalous expansion of cities, no matter how celebrated by urban boosters, nevertheless troubled educators who worried about the unique hazards that the urban environment posed to growing children. The agrarian traditions that had once anchored country life had already begun to slip away, sparking anxiety among many late nineteenth-century educators, who feared the negative consequences that might befall pupils who were reared away from the natural world. For their part, university-based researchers called for investigations into the impact that urban influences had on the mental . . .

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Read an Excerpt from “An Alfred Russel Wallace Companion”

August 13, 2019
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Although Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) was one of the most famous scientists in the world at the time of his death at the age of ninety, today he is known to many as a kind of “almost-Darwin,” a secondary figure relegated to the footnotes of Darwin’s prodigious insights. But this diminution could hardly be less justified. Research into the life of this brilliant naturalist and social critic continues to produce new insights into his significance to history and his role in helping to shape modern thought. Wallace declared his eight years of exploration in Southeast Asia to be “the central and controlling incident” of his life. As 2019 marks one hundred and fifty years since the publication of The Malay Archipelago, Wallace’s canonical work chronicling his epic voyage, read on for an excerpt from the editors’ introduction to An Alfred Russel Wallace Companion—a collaborative, interdisciplinary new book that celebrates Wallace’s remarkable life and diverse scholarly accomplishments. Although Wallace’s four years in the Amazon Valley had convinced him he was on the right track as regards a causal relationship between geography and evolution, his thoughts on the mechanism of transmutation had actually not advanced much, nor did he now have collections . . .

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Remembering David Bevington

August 9, 2019
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On August 2, the Press lost a dear friend and author, David Bevington (1931–2019). David was not only a preeminent Shakespeare scholar at the University of Chicago and the author of such books as This Wide and Universal Theater: Shakespeare in Performance, Then and Now, but he, along with his wife Peggy, was a generous supporter of the Press and its authors through the Bevington Fund. In memory of David, Press Editorial Director Alan Thomas offered this tribute. David Bevington’s influence as an editor and interpreter of medieval and Renaissance literature is plain to see: his Bantam paperback editions of Shakespeare’s plays are classroom favorites, and several of his scholarly books have become critical classics. But the fond reminiscences that filled social media after David’s death highlighted a different theme: his extraordinary generosity toward younger scholars. He continued to attend conferences and campus talks well past his retirement, following the work of the latest generation and dispensing encouragement. In 2006, David and his wife Peggy, who for three decades had been a teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, offered the University of Chicago Press a $100,000 gift to support the publication of authors’ first books. David recalled that . . .

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Reflections on “Young Men and Fire” by James Kincaid

August 2, 2019
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August 5, 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the Mann Gulch tragedy, when a crew of fifteen of the US Forest Service’s elite airborne firefighters, the Smokejumpers, stepped into the sky above a remote forest fire in the Montana wilderness. Two hours after their jump, all but three of the men were dead or mortally burned. Haunted by these deaths for forty years, Norman Maclean put together the scattered pieces of the Mann Gulch tragedy in his Young Men and Fire, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. In honor of the anniversary, we invited James Kincaid, who reviewed Young Men and Fire for the New York Times Book Review when it was first published, to offer his reflections on the book and its enduring significance. My first encounter with Mann Gulch came when my raucous, unpredictable editor at the New York Times Book Review called:  “Kincaid, got the best thing in years.  Homeric, positively Homeric.  I’ll send it on if you think you’re up for it.  I know you’re not up for it, but you probably think different.” I don’t know if I thought different, but within a few days, I was there, in my head . . .

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Remembering Vivian Paley (1929–2019)

July 31, 2019
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Vivian Gussin Paley worked for nearly forty years as a preschool and kindergarten teacher and was a dear friend to the Press. Her books about young children include The Boy on the Beach, Boys and Girls, and A Child’s Work. We were sad to learn of her passing this week, and we would like to share this obituary provided by her family. About Vivian Paley Vivian Paley was a keen observer of young children who defined a key tenet of how children should negotiate relationships at the Laboratory Schools and on the playground in general: You can’t say you can’t play. Ms. Paley, who spent most of her nearly four decades teaching at Lab, wrote a dozen books about children based on her experiences in the classroom. Paley was Lab’s most prominent example of Lab teachers who contribute to academic scholarship in the area of education.  Ms. Paley was recognized for her work with a 1989 MacArthur Fellowship from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The award recognizes outstanding people from a variety of fields for their creativity. In Ms. Paley’s case, the prize recognized her special contributions to education, which included developing a “story playing” technique that . . .

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