Women’s History Month: Spotlight on the Women of UCP

March 20, 2019
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Women’s History Month: Spotlight on the Women of UCP

To continue our celebration of Women's History Month this March, we want to introduce a few of the amazing young women working behind the scenes at UChicago Press. . . .

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Women’s History Month: Let’s Talk about Sexual Division of Labor

March 13, 2019
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Feminist linguist Deborah Cameron's new book isn't out until May, but we're giving you a sneak peek in celebration of Women's History Month. . . .

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Women’s History Month—Recommended Readings

March 8, 2019
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Women’s History Month—Recommended Readings

In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8) and Women’s History Month throughout March, we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite books by or about extraordinary women. This is just to get you started—there are many more great titles to be found throughout our latest catalog and subject lists. “Read with caution: midway through The Dead Ladies Project you’ll be wanting to pack a suitcase and give away your possessions. Crispin is funny, sexy, self-lacerating, and politically attuned, with unique slants on literary criticism, travel writing, and female journeys. No one crosses genres, borders, and proprieties with more panache.” —Laura Kipnis, author of Men: Notes from an Ongoing Investigation “Behind Nelson’s cool rhetoric lurks an exciting thinker . . . . Raising the question of toughness as a methodology and style is compelling and timely, especially at a time when women are both assuming more powerful roles in public life and having to fight against hostile stereotypes. Nelson is intellectually tough enough to take on these six case studies.”—Times Literary Supplement “Here, in taut, fascinating prose filled with quotes from writings of all sorts from the era, Mickenberg limns the many intrepid women who finagled their way into Russia, starting in the . . .

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International Women’s Day—Read an Excerpt of ‘The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service’

March 8, 2019
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International Women’s Day—Read an Excerpt of ‘The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service’

Before abortion’s legalization, most women with unwanted pregnancies were forced to turn to illegal, unregulated, and expensive abortionists. But in Chicago, those who could discover the organization code-named “Jane” found at least some level of protection and financial help. Laura Kaplan, who joined Jane in 1971, has pieced together the histories of those who broke the law in Hyde Park to help care for thousands of women in what they called the Abortion Counseling Service of Women’s Liberation. The women of Jane transformed an illegal procedure from a dangerous, sordid experience into one that was life-affirming and powerful. First published in 1995, Kaplan’s history of Jane remains relevant today—with abortion rights once again in the crosshairs in the United States, while draconian measures already make abortions functionally inaccessible to many. Read on for an excerpt from chapter two of the new publication of Kaplan’s groundbreaking text. Population control groups with an ominous eugenics slant joined the ranks of those lobbying for reform. They raised the specter of a dangerous global population explosion among the poor. In that view women were again, as in the medical model, the objects, not the subjects, of the abortion debate. Since their arguments supported the . . .

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Black History Month—Read an Excerpt of ‘Street Players: Black Pulp Fiction and the Making of a Literary Underground’

February 20, 2019
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The uncontested center of the black pulp fiction universe for more than four decades was the Los Angeles publisher Holloway House. From the late 1960s until it closed in 2008, Holloway House specialized in cheap paperbacks with page-turning narratives featuring black protagonists in crime stories, conspiracy thrillers, prison novels, and Westerns that gave readers an unfailing veneration of black masculinity. Zeroing in on Holloway House, Kinohi Nishikawa’s Street Players explores how this world of black pulp fiction was produced, received, and recreated over time and across different communities of readers. Read on for an excerpt from the introduction of this exciting new look into the history and influence of black pulp fiction.  Irvine Welsh’s life changed after he found a copy of Pimp: The Story of My Life in a “used bookshop in Soho,” in London’s West End. Besides the title, what caught his attention was the author’s name. “How could you not pick up a book called Pimp written by a guy named Iceberg Slim?”1 he mused. The book did not disappoint. Originally published in 1967, Pimp was a coming- of- age story unlike any he had read. Abandoned by his father as a baby and left to his own devices by his mother as a kid, Slim recounted a boyhood spent on the streets of Milwaukee and Chicago, . . .

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5 Questions for Eitan Y. Wilf, author of ‘Creativity on Demand’

February 20, 2019
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5 Questions for Eitan Y. Wilf, author of ‘Creativity on Demand’

In his new book—Creativity on Demand: The Dilemmas of Innovation in an Accelerated Age—cultural anthropologist Eitan Y. Wilf focuses his keen eye on innovation in modern business, revealing how our obsession with ceaseless creativity stems from the long-standing value of acceleration in capitalist society. A masterful look at the contradictions of our capitalist age, this book is a model for the anthropological study of our cultures of work. We sent Wilf a few questions recently to learn more about his motivations for writing the book, his recent reads, and his former life as a jazz trumpeter. What’s the best book you’ve read lately? I just finished reading George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London. His prose is marvelous and his descriptions of, as well as insights about, poverty are ethnographic in the best sense of the term. How did you wind up in this academic field, and what do you love about it? Before studying anthropology, I majored in jazz performance as a trumpeter. Jazz is one of my biggest passions. I enjoyed music school very much but I also missed having a stronger theoretical-discursive focus. For the same reason, although I seriously considered fields such as medicine, physics, and civil engineering, I eventually decided to go in . . .

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The University of Chicago Press to participate in Andrew W. Mellon Foundation–supported diversity program

January 24, 2019
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The University of Chicago Press to participate in Andrew W. Mellon Foundation–supported diversity program

The University of Chicago Press is proud to announce that it will participate in a program supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation designed to diversify academic publishing by offering apprenticeships in acquisitions departments. A four-year, $1,205,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will provide for three annual cycles of editorial fellows at six university presses: the University of Chicago Press, the MIT Press, Cornell University Press, the Ohio State University Press, University of Washington Press, and Northwestern University Press. This new grant builds on the success of the initial 2016 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which funded the first cross-press initiative of its kind in the United States to address the marked lack of diversity in the academic publishing industry. Graduates of the first fellowship program hold professional positions at university presses across the country, including at Columbia University Press, the MIT Press, University of Virginia Press, the Ohio State University Press, and the University of Washington Press. Additionally, for the four participating presses, the initial grant expanded applicant pools, improved outreach to underrepresented communities, created more equitable preliminary screening practices in hiring, and enabled dedicated attention to diversity, equity, and inclusion overall. The 2016 grant . . .

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Is this really higher education’s golden age—or is it just a gold-plated age?

January 18, 2019
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Is this really higher education’s golden age—or is it just a gold-plated age?

Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education featured a piece by Steven Brint arguing that we are in a golden age for higher education. Herb Childress, the author of our forthcoming book The Adjunct Underclass: How America’s Colleges Betrayed Their Faculty, Their Students, and Their Mission, respectfully disagrees. We invited him to lay out his differences with Brint in the essay below.    A particularly vexing form of disagreement arises when multiple observers see the same phenomena, but their vantage points lead them to describe them differently from each other.  This is the position I find myself in after reading Steven Brint’s nicely researched, factually accurate article “Is This Higher Education’s Golden Age?” (Chronicle Review, January 11, 2019). I take no issue at all with what he says, but the things he sees aren’t the same thing I see, because we’re standing in different places. In overview, Brint’s article makes three basic claims. First, the enterprise of higher education is larger than it has ever been, when measured across a broad array of financial and participatory indices. Second, the rapidly increasing cost of the product hasn’t kept an increasing proportion of Americans from buying it (and in the case of graduate degrees, . . .

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5 Questions for Alexander L. Fattal, author of ‘Guerrilla Marketing’

January 15, 2019
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5 Questions for Alexander L. Fattal, author of ‘Guerrilla Marketing’

In his new book—Guerrilla Marketing: Counterinsurgency and Capitalism in Colombia—Alexander L. Fattal takes a detailed look at the Colombian government’s efforts to transform Marxist guerrilla fighters in the FARC into consumer citizens. In doing so, he illuminates a larger phenomenon: the convergence of marketing and militarism in the twenty-first century. A recent New Yorker review called Guerrilla Marketing “A sobering book on how armies burnish their brands. . . a detailed, eye-opening investigation.” We sent Fattal a few questions to learn more about his research for the book, his recent reads, and his motivations to delve into this topic. What’s the best book you’ve read lately? The best, hmm, I’ll pick two Chicago titles. Not because this is the UCP blog, really. W. J. T. Mitchell’s Cloning Terror: The War of Images, 9/11 to the Present and Susie Linfield’s The Cruel Radiance: Photography and Political Violence. Clearly I have a thing for smart, reasonably polemical books about the representation of political conflict. How did you wind up in this academic field, and what do you love about it? I became an anthropologist because I loved fieldwork. It’s trite but true. What I love about academia is the relative autonomy. Right now I’m finishing . . .

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We’re doing it all wrong. (When it comes to teaching history, that is.)

January 10, 2019
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We’re doing it all wrong. (When it comes to teaching history, that is.)

“Back in my day, teenagers and college students knew stuff. Now they just look things up on their phones.” Well . . . maybe? As Sam Wineburg has learned through extensive study of how we teach history and whether it works, we’ve always been bad at teaching history. And there really wasn’t ever a “golden age of fact retention.” So maybe we should just give up on drilling facts into kids and let their surfing fingers lead them to the knowledge they need, when they need it? Well, that’s a problem, too, Wineburg shows in his book Why Learn History (When It’s Already on Your Phone). The solution to our historically ineffective methods of teaching history (rote memorization among them) isn’t to stop teaching history: it’s to teach it better, using the knowledge we’ve gained through studies of what actually works. And a big part of that is figuring out how to give students the knowledge and critical thinking skills they’ll need to navigate a world of often suspect online information. Only by combining the two–giving students a sense of what history is and why it matters while also showing them how to use online news and sources with an effective amount . . .

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