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Talking political science with Assistant Editorial Director Charles Myers

August 28, 2020
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Acquiring Editor Chuck Myers

Alas, as in so many other ways, these are not normal times. The APSA will be virtual, as will our booth. But we didn’t want you all to miss getting to hobnob with Chuck, so our Marketing Director, Levi Stahl, conducted the following brief interview with him. Enjoy the interview, and then click through to our Virtual APSA to get the latest, best books in the field for 40% off with free shipping. And we’ll look forward to seeing you in person at next year’s APSA! You’ve been acquiring books in political science for . . . let’s just say that a goodly number of presidential administrations have come and gone and you’ve still had your shoulder to the wheel. But that doesn’t mean that everybody knows your background. Can you give us a rundown of your publishing career and how you ended up here at Chicago? I’ve had a couple of different careers including time in Washington working in the Senate and in the Justice Department in what now seems like a different country. I’ve been interested in politics since I was a child and used to go with my mother, who was our local judge of elections, to . . .

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Talking sociology with Executive Editor Elizabeth Branch Dyson

July 30, 2020
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Talking sociology with Executive Editor Elizabeth Branch Dyson

The pandemic-driven shift of the American Sociological Association’s annual conference from in-person to online means we’re going to miss out on a lot of things we associate with conferences. Drinking weak coffee from paper cups, sitting on the floor at the back of a too-crowded panel, wandering the book exhibit (and awkwardly bumping into the same person at three or four booths in a row). Most of all, though, we’ll miss the chance to simply meet up and talk–to catch up on what everyone has been doing, been reading, been excited about. To fill that gap, our marketing director, Levi Stahl, sat down for a virtual conversation with Elizabeth Branch Dyson, Executive Editor for sociology. 1. We both started at the University of Chicago Press in 1999-2000–I think I have maybe six months on you? And, like me, you’ve worked in a number of areas at the Press. Can you tell us quickly about your path to being Executive Editor acquiring in sociology? That’s right! After a few years teaching middle school—a job with a guaranteed belly laugh a day—I started at the Press August 31, 2000, the day before my COBRA insurance was due to run out. My foot-in-the-door . . .

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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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Five Questions with Joseph Calamia, Senior Editor for Science

May 5, 2020
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Joseph Calamia recently joined the Press as senior editor in the Books Division, acquiring new titles in the physical sciences, mathematics, oceanography, and digital studies. Joe came to us from Yale University Press, where he spent ten years, most recently, as senior editor for science and technology. We’ve been excited to welcome him not only to the Press but to Chicago, and by way of introduction, we put together some questions about his interests. What are you looking for in a book, and what kind of project gets you excited? Editors are excitable—I want to get excited. But, when pursuing a book for publication, I must answer two questions. First, what’s new? Second, who will read this? The first question considers originality; the second, audience. I should say that my answer to this question is not original. When reading a proposal, I hear these questions in my head. At commissioning meetings, I hear them from colleagues. I should also say that the two questions are connected. One of the many great things about working at a university press is the encouragement to create a program that includes books for different audiences, including popular, course, and academic readers. For public-facing or . . .

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Price V. Fishback on Werner Troesken’s “The Pox of Liberty” and Our Current Tradeoffs between Quarantines and Economic Freedom

April 21, 2020
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Economist and Press author Price V. Fishback shared with us recently his thoughts on a previous Press book that speaks to our current situation and looks at the political and economic history of how the US government has responded to other pandemics. The current crisis has brought into focus the tradeoffs between quarantines and economic freedom.  For an excellent book about the history of these tradeoffs in the United States, read Werner Troesken’s The Pox of Liberty:  How the Constitution Left Americans Rich, Free, and Prone to Infection (University of Chicago Press, 2015). Werner traces the history of how governments at all levels of the American federal system dealt with three deadly and recurring diseases:  smallpox, yellow fever, and typhoid. All of the issues the world is facing today to avoid horrid deaths are discussed in Werner’s book:  inadequate testing, the absence of vaccines, attempts to develop vaccines, tradeoffs between economic losses and quarantines, the uncertainties that the disease might return in the future, and inadequate medical facilities.  The situations developed in the nineteenth-century societies when there were much higher death rates, lower incomes, and at best rudimentary medical care.  In his preface, Werner says that he started out trying to . . .

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“Poetry Month Will Come a Little Late This Year”: Charles Bernstein on That April Ritual

April 13, 2020
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Nearly two decades ago, poet Charles Bernstein offered a contrarian and spirited take on the April ritual of poetry month, “Against National Poetry Month as Such.” Curious whether he still shares the same opinion, we reached out to Bernstein for his current perspective, which we’re excited to share here as “Poetry Month Will Come a Little Late This Year.” Poetry’s freedom, which to say poetry’s essential contribution to American culture, is grounded in its aversion of conformity and in its resistance to the restrictions of market-driven popularity. Indeed, contemporary American poetry thrives through its small scale and radical differences of form. There is no one sort of American poetry and certainly no right sort—this is what makes aesthetic invention so necessary. Free verse is not a type of non-metrical poetry but an imperative to liberate verse from the constraints of obligatory convention and regulation. In that sense, free verse is an aspiration and its stuttering breathlessness is a mark of its impossibility. I want not just a politics of identity but an aesthetics of identity. While some may choose the straight path of self-righteousness, do not give up hope that they will return to the crooked roads that have no . . .

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Chicago Distribution Center Temporarily Closed

March 21, 2020
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In response to the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order and with the greatest concern for the health and welfare of our staff and the greater community, we have decided to temporarily close the Chicago Distribution Center (CDC) effective Monday, March 23. The CDC will remain closed for the duration that the Stay-at-Home order is in effect, until April 7 or longer if required.  Though print book orders for our titles are delayed, all e-books published by the University of Chicago Press are available and on sale at 30% off using code EBOOK30 at checkout through our website.  In the last two weeks, many members of the Press staff have worked to ensure that parts of our business can continue unimpeded in case of a shutdown, including increased use of print-on-demand resources and increased availability of e-books. We are also considering relationships with other suppliers that would allow a portion of orders to be filled if they cannot be filled at the CDC. We will continue to work on all of these efforts.  Meanwhile, we recognize that this has been a challenging time for many in the publishing industry, including our partners at many booksellers around the country. You can still continue to order our books and those of our distributed client publishers directly from many independent bookstores through their websites and indiebound.org as well as through major online retailers.  . . .

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Thank You to the Phenomenal Women Who Continue to Inspire Us

March 19, 2020
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Thank You to the Phenomenal Women Who Continue to Inspire Us

In honor of Women’s History Month, we want to celebrate the power of women helping women and the incredible community that results when we support and mentor each other along the way. We invited several recent authors to share their stories and to offer thanks to the phenomenal women who have been inspirations and friends in their careers. Thank you to all of the awesome women in publishing and academia who have paved the way. We don’t say thanks nearly enough for the work you do for all of us. . . .

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Expanded E-Book Access and Virtual Bookfairs

March 18, 2020
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As many of us transition to a remote teaching and working environment in response to COVID-19, we are trying to respond as quickly as possible to ensure that you continue to have access to the books that you need. We are a community of readers, and books should be one thing we can all rely on in this unprecedented time of uncertainty. We’re working with many partners in e-book delivery to ensure that students have access to coursebooks. Many providers are also offering free access for online learning for qualifying schools during the pandemic. Your institution may qualify. Here is a current list of our partner initiatives, which we will continue to update: Expanded access to e-books for course use ProQuest (library): Immediate upgrades for all purchased e-books at a library to unlimited concurrent multi-user status through mid-June. VitalSource (e-textbook): Free access to e-books for students who are finishing the semester at verified 2-4yr schools that have moved to online courses through May 25th. RedShelf (e-textbook): Free access to e-books for students who are finishing the semester at schools that have moved to online courses through May 25th. UPSO (library): Gratis trial access to all of UPSO + all Oxford platforms . . .

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Read an Excerpt from “The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in Seventies America” by Daniel Belgrad

December 12, 2019
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Read an Excerpt from “The Culture of Feedback: Ecological Thinking in Seventies America” by Daniel Belgrad

National Horse Day (#NationalDayoftheHorse) is December 13th. And in honor of this equestrian holiday, we’d like to share an excerpt from The Culture of Feedback by Daniel Belgrad focusing on human-animal relationships, particularly those between horses and their humans. The book digs deep into a dazzling variety of left-of-center experiences and attitudes and looks anew at the wild side of the 1970s. In doing so, Belgrad tells the story of a generation of Americans who were struck by a newfound interest in—and respect for—plants, animals, indigenous populations, and the very sounds around them.  In conjunction with the growing impact of ecological thinking and its emphasis on empathy, the Seventies witnessed a new focus on the affective quality of human-animal interactions. Acknowledging the emotional lives of animals demanded moving beyond behaviorist approaches to animal behavior, which remained rooted in the dualism of mind and matter that characterized Enlightenment science. This led to a particular excitement about exploring new forms of human relationship with horses, as these were animals that were known to resist behavioral conditioning. Due to its reliance on empathy and physicality, the new ideal for interacting with animals was often described in ecological texts as a kind of dance. The . . .

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