Subjects

Read an Excerpt from “Crusade for Justice” by Ida B. Wells, Born on This Day in 1862

July 16, 2020
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Read an Excerpt from “Crusade for Justice” by Ida B. Wells, Born on This Day in 1862

Today marks the 158th birthday of journalist, activist, and civil rights icon Ida B. Wells-Barnett, born into slavery in Missouri on July 16, 1862. Wells, posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize earlier this year for her “outstanding and courageous reporting on the horrific and vicious violence against African Americans during the era of lynching,” left a legacy that endures today alongside the continued fight for racial justice. Nearly a century after her death, her work, rather than echoing the past, holds a mirror to contemporary society. She continues to teach us about the hard work of social change and the long road that still lies ahead. As Eve L. Ewing writes in the foreword: “Generations after the passing of Ida B. Wells, her battle continues. We still fight in defense of Black people’s basic humanity, our right to a fair application of the laws of the land, and our right to not be brutally murdered in public. In light of this continued struggle, maybe we don’t need more moving oratory or another inspirational fable about mythological people. Maybe we just need the whole truth.” Today, in celebration of her birthday, we offer “The Tide of Hatred,” an excerpt from Crusade for . . .

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Remembering Cosmas Magaya (1953–2020)

July 15, 2020
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The Press was sad to learn of the passing of Chicago author and master musician Cosmas Magaya this week of COVID-19. Below, ethnomusicologist Paul F. Berliner offers a remembrance of his coauthor, longtime collaborator, and friend. On July 10th, 2020, coronavirus took the life of one of the world’s great musicians, mentors, and cultural ambassadors, Zimbabwean mbira master Cosmas Magaya. In North America, Europe, and Africa where he performed, he was universally loved by his following not only for his inspired virtuosity and expressivity, but for his generosity of spirit. A virtuoso from an early age, Cosmas was a key player in the renowned mbira ensemble, Mhuri yekwaRwizi, led by singer Hakurotwi Mude. He performed both for Shona religious ceremonies and for the concert stage. Initially sponsored to the USA by the Kutsinhira Cultural Arts Center (Eugene, OR) in the 1990s, Cosmas subsequently traveled widely and regularly to perform and teach. Countless students and musicians had the privilege of learning from him in university classrooms, at mbira camps and workshops, and in private lessons. His talents were first showcased internationally in the 1970s on the recordings The Soul of Mbira and Shona Mbira Music, and subsequently, on the independently produced . . .

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Can We Fill Our Empty Streets?: Brian Ladd on the Role of Streets in City Life

July 9, 2020
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Can We Fill Our Empty Streets?: Brian Ladd on the Role of Streets in City Life

With social distancing protocols in place and many businesses temporarily closed, the current pandemic has drastically changed the public lives of our cities. Eerie videos of cities like New York show a world with fewer cars, cyclists, and pedestrians, while many of us wonder how and when public interactions might resume. Brian Ladd, author of The Streets of Europe, considers not only our current state of lockdown, but also the history and future of city streets, looking at the ways they have changed from pedestrian hubs to high-speed thoroughfares and how we might reconsider their role in city life. In our coronavirus quarantines, many of us miss not only particular people, but also people in general. Pictures of empty streets remind us that we cannot, like the French poet Charles Baudelaire, “melt into the crowd” to “take a bath of multitude” with its “feverish ecstasies.” Will our current feelings of deprivation renew an enthusiasm for the daily throng? Only if we don’t succumb to fear of city life. This pandemic does make it easy to believe that the proximity of other people is primarily a threat. When will it be safe to gather in public again? Never, say pundits who . . .

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What Does Patriotism Mean in America Today?

July 2, 2020
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July 4th generally conjures images of barbeques, fireworks, and large, billowing flags. But due to large protests against police brutality, concerns of COVID, and an upcoming election that symbolizes both fear and hope for many, the holiday this year looks very different. This Independence Day, instead of a celebration of patriotism, we wanted to dedicate some time to reflecting on it. We invited three of our political science authors to answer the following questions: What does patriotism mean in America today? Given that definition, should Americans be patriotic today? Below are their thoughtful responses. LaFleur Stephens-Dougan author of Race to the Bottom: How Racial Appeals Work in American Politics Reflecting on what patriotism means to me so close to the celebration of our nation’s Independence Day is a weighty endeavor.  In my opinion, patriotism in the United States is fraught with contradiction, especially for Black Americans. Black Americans have made countless contributions to the United States, a country they love, but are still engaged in a centuries-old struggle for economic, political, and social equality.  As the child of Black immigrants, who came to this country voluntarily, I am acutely aware of the sacrifices that African Americans have made on behalf . . .

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An Armchair Traveler’s Reading List

June 30, 2020
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“What did you do on your summer vacation?” For many of us this pandemic year, the answer is going to be: not much. But even if we can’t take the long-distance holiday our wanderlust desires, there’s nothing stopping our imaginations from roaming. To aid you on your journey, we’ve compiled a selection of travel writing from around the globe that can transport you from India to Dollywood to the Hebrides and back again to your own armchair. Bon voyage! Isolarian: A Different Oxford Journey by James Attlee “Attlee grabs our hand and drags us down Cowley Road in Oxford, determined to prove that it is not a stuffy, medieval, Masterpiece Theatre town. All the messy glories of Cowley Road—pubs and porn shops alike—come to life in this work, which becomes a meditation on home and the nature of pilgrimage.” National Geographic Traveler The Appian Way: Ghost Road, Queen of Roads by Robert A. Kaster “A wonderful preface for any traveler planning an outdoorsy day in Rome or, especially, a trip through southern Italy. Kaster’s enthusiasm for the road and the people (past and present) who populate it is contagious.” Library Journal Volcanoes and Wine: From Pompeii to Napa by Charles Frankel . . .

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#SciComm: Suggested Readings for Effective Communication

June 23, 2020
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Summer is upon us, and as cities, states, and nations begin to open up following months of pandemic lockdown, we remain uncertain about what the future holds. The need for clear, informed, and effective communication of science information to the general public has never been greater. For all the scicommers of the world, we’ve put together a #SciComm toolkit of books, many of which appear in our series of Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing. To all the science journalists, writers, video and radio producers, and public information officers: we thank you for your work and hope these suggested readings are of some help! The Chicago Guide to Communicating Science: Second Edition Scott L. Montgomery Writing Science in Plain English Anne E. Greene Houston, We Have a Narrative: Why Science Needs Story Randy Olson Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, Eighth Edition Council of Science Editors Also available as Scientific Style and Format Online Ethics and Practice in Science Communication Edited by Susanna Priest, Jean Goodwin, and Michael F. Dahlstrom Handbook for Science Public Information Officers W. Matthew Shipman The Chicago Guide to Writing about Numbers, Second Edition Jane E. Miller The Chicago . . .

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Recommended Readings for Garden Season

June 18, 2020
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The warmth of the summer sun beckons new life out from the dirt and into our hearts. Summer gardening is an avid pastime for many, but now with the current restrictions and precautions, more people than ever are dedicating time and space to their gardens. Whether you have a green thumb and a full backyard or are just beginning with a modest kitchen window planter, this reading list is sure to dig up information and inspiration for your gardening pursuits. Discoveries in the Garden, by James B. Nardi  “Nardi’s wonderful new book is a must for anyone who wants to be an informed observer of and participant in the life of their garden. From the architecture of plant tissue to the magic shop of plant chemistry, Nardi shows how plants have evolved strategies to help them thrive and offers simple experiments allowing readers to ask them questions. I will never look at the brilliant colors of fall leaves or sniff the fragrance my tomato plants leave on my hands without thanking him for this book.” Kristin Ohlson, author of The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet Darwin’s Most Wonderful . . .

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Five Questions with Eve L. Ewing

June 15, 2020
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Five Questions with Eve L. Ewing

As a book marketer at a university press, one of the things you’re always looking for is a work of strong scholarship that also can connect with ordinary readers and issues that matter in their lives. In the past few years, one of the best examples we’ve had of that is sociologist Eve L. Ewing’s Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side. Published in 2018 to broad acclaim—Ta-Nehisi Coates called it “an important addition to any conversation about the future of public schools,” Publishers Weekly called it “essential,” NPR named it one of the best books of the year, and Diane Ravitch called it “the best book about education this year”—the book struck a chord with scholars and activists alike. Earlier this spring, it was published in paperback, and Chicago also released another project that Ewing had a hand in: a new edition of Ida B. Wells’s classic memoir, Crusade for Justice, with a foreword by Ewing. Those of you who know Ewing from her Twitter feed know, however, that no matter how many projects you name, she’s always up to something more—and that could be anything from publishing poetry to writing comic books. We . . .

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Read an Excerpt from “Plague Years: A Doctor’s Journey Through the AIDS Crisis”

June 11, 2020
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Plague Years is an unprecedented first-person account of the AIDS epidemic. Physician Ross Slotten provides an intimate yet comprehensive view of the disease’s spread alongside heartfelt portraits of his patients and his own conflicted feelings as a medical professional, drawn from more than thirty years of personal notebooks. In telling the story of someone who was as much a potential patient as a doctor, Plague Years sheds light on the darkest hours in the history of the LGBT community in ways that no previous medical memoir has. His moving memoir ensures that these dark hours will not be forgotten, and in honor of Pride Month, we’re sharing an excerpt from the opening chapter. In the beginning Tom and I weren’t the only AIDS doctors in town. There were a handful of others, like the two Davids at Illinois Masonic Hospital, Bernie B. at Rush, Tom C. at Northwestern, Michael B. at Weiss Hospital, and a few others who didn’t survive the early days of the epidemic. As gay men, we felt that it was our duty to serve the gay community, which bore the brunt—and continues to bear the brunt—of the AIDS crisis, not only in Chicago but elsewhere in the United States, . . .

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Everybody at a Time like This Should Keep Animals: Read an Excerpt from “The Great Cat and Dog Massacre”

June 9, 2020
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During these strange quarantine months, many of us have been seeking comfort in our animal friends, who have been our companions in isolation and our sense of hope and distraction. In this excerpt from The Great Cat and Dog Massacre: The Real Story of World War II’s Unknown Tragedy, Hilda Kean looks at a time during the War when we similarly marveled at our pets’ remove from the larger events of the world. In a letter penned in March 1940, the English author, journalist, and criminologist Fryniwyd Tennyson Jesse attempted to explain the mood of wartime London to American friends by incorporating her two cats into the narrative: I watch with a sense of relaxation and pleasure because they know nothing about war. I think everybody at a time like this should keep animals, just as royalties and dictators should always keep animals. For animals know nothing of politics, nothing of royalty, nothing of war unless, poor creatures, they also, knowing not why, are wounded and killed. By situating animals as apart from (human) politics, albeit included in the suffering of war that embraced animal and human alike, Tennyson Jesse suggested that animals conveyed a particular quality needed . . .

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