Author: umpstudent

New Books: April 2015

This month, UMass Press releases the first book-length history of the 1984 Winter Olympic Games:

9781625341655The Sarajevo Olympics: A History of the 1984 Winter Games by Jason Vuic: To most, the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia seemed a success. This unlikely candidate city hosted an international sports competition at the highest level, housing and feeding hundreds of athletes and thousands of tourists while broadcasting a positive image of socialist Yugoslavia to the world. As an independent scholar of Balkan and Eastern European history, Vuic helps readers fully see these historic Winter Olympics in context with the area’s history. He retraces the history of the Olympic movement as he analyzes the inner workings of the International Olympic Committee during the troubled 1970s and 1980s, and places the 1984 Winter Games in the context of Cold War geopolitics.

“The lively writing of Jason Vuic re-lights the torch for all of us in a colorful remembrance of the best and the worst of what the Olympics can be.” – Marty Dobrow, author Knocking on Heaven’s Door: Six Minor Leagues in Search of the Baseball Dream

For more information on this title, click here.


Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month, a time during which we recognize and pay tribute to the generations of women whose efforts have truly impacted today’s society. We would like to recognize some of our recent titles celebrating women’s history and feminism in national and transnational contexts.

In recent years, scholars from a variety of disciplines have turned their attention to food to gain a better understanding of history, culture, economics and society. This stimulating collection, From Betty Crocker to Feminist Food Studies, contributes to the emerging genre by investigating the important connections between food studies and women’s studies. In particular, contributors note the ways in which gender, race, ethnicity, class, colonialism, and capitalism have both shaped and been shaped by the production of food. One section explores how women have held families together by keeping them nourished, from the routines of an early nineteenth-century New Englander to the plight of women who endured the siege of Leningrad. Another section documents acts of female resistance within the contexts of national or ethnic oppression, and how food has served as a means to assert independence and personal identity.

As first complete modern edition of “The Female Marine” and Related Works, retells a fictional cross-dressing trilogy originally published between 1815 and 1818. An enormously popular narrative for New England readers, the story recounts the adventures of a young woman from rural Massachusetts who is seduced by a false-hearted lover, flees to Boston, and is entrapped in a brothel. She eventually escapes by disguising herself as a man and serves with distinction on board the U.S. frigate Constitution during the War of 1812. Cohen situates the famous story in literary and historical contexts, providing a unique portrayal of prostitution and interracial city life in early nineteenth-century America.

In One Colonial Woman’s World, Michelle Marchetti Coughlin reconstructs the life of Mehetabel Chandler Coit (1673-1758), the author of the earliest surviving diary by an American woman. A native of Roxbury Massachusetts, who later moved to Connecticut, Coit began her diary at the age of fifteen and kept it intermittently until she was well into her seventies. Coit’s long life covered an eventful period in American history, and this book explores the numerous – and sometimes surprising – ways in which her personal history was linked to broader social and political developments. It also provides insight into the lives of countless other colonial American women whose history remains largely untold.

Competing understandings of womanhood have led to two schools of thought in modern feminism: one of male-female equality that strives for rights in social and political spheres, and one of gender difference that analyzes and reevaluates solely the concept of womanhood. What are the sociocultural foundations of these seemingly opposing gender constructs and why has the American feminist movement failed to articulate an ideology that encompasses both? Debra Gold Hansen’s Strained Sisterhood explores the origins of the equality-versus-difference debate by examining the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society, which disbanded in 1840 over this very issue. Through her findings, she concludes that many of the issues that estranged female abolitionists in antebellum Boston continue to divide women today, testifying not the strength of the bonds between women but to the fragility of those ties.

In From the Dance Hall to Facebook, author Shayla Thiel-Stern takes a close look at several historical snapshots, including working-class girls in dance halls of the early 1900s; girls’ track and field teams in the 1920s to 1940s; Elvis Presley fans in the mid-1950s; punk rockers in the late 1970s and early 1980s; and girls using the Internet in the early twenty-first century. In each case, issues of gender, socioeconomic status, and race are explored within their historical context. the book argues that by marginalizing and stereotyping teen girls over the past century, mass media have perpetuated a pattern of gendered crisis that ultimately limits the cultural and political power of the young women it covers.


And coming out in July 2015, Audre Lorde’s Transnational Legacies recognizes the influential and insightful activist’s impact beyond the United States. Most scholars have situated Lorde’s work within the context of the women’s, gay and lesbian, and black civil rights movements within the United States. However, Lorde forged coalitions with women in Europe, the Caribbean, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Africa, and twenty years after her passing, these alliances remain largely undocumented and unexplored. This book, edited by Stella Bolaki and Sabine Broeck, is the first to thoroughly investigate Lorde’s influence beyond the United States. The volume brings together scholarly essays, interviews, unpublished speeches, and personal reflections of key figures to assess the reception, translation, and circulation of Lorde’s writing and activism within different communities, audiences, and circles.

For more books on women’s studies, review the subject heading on our website.


Emily Esten is an editorial Intern at UMass Press. She is a junior History/Digital Humanities major at UMass Amherst. 

Throwback Look: Culture, Politics and the Cold War Series

One of the best-known series produced by the University of Massachusetts Press, Culture, Politics, and the Cold War reexamines the Cold War as a distinct historical epoch, considering culture as inherently political and political struggles as culturally constructed. Established in 1998 with series editor Christian G. Appy and joined by Edwin A. Martini as co-editor in 2014, UMass Press showcases the emerging scholarship regarding the political and cultural discussions of this fascinating period in U.S. history.

In proposing this series to UMass Press, series editor Christian G. Appy recognized a growing trend of among Cold War historians. Looking beyond the traditional diplomatic and military interpretations, cultural historians had begun a rich exploration of the political and historical significance of particular cultural forms and expressions. Early publications in this series, such as James T. Fisher’s Dr. America and Christian G. Appy’s Cold War Constructions expand the definition of culture for the series by  incorporating “ways of life.” In Dr. America (1998)Fisher presents the biography of “jungle doctor” Tom Dooley, the famous physician during Vietnam,  in context with the broad range of developments in postwar U.S. culture – from the “Americanization” of Catholicism to the rise of mass media. In Cold War Constructions (2000), Appy’s collection of essays highlights the shaping of Cold War policy and policymakers by cultural values and assumptions. Stepping away from the idea of studying politics and culture, this volume was distinctly an investigation of political culture.

As the series evolved, several authors took an interest into the Cold War’s transformation of individual and collective identities. In particular, Tony Shaw’s Hollywood’s Cold War  (2007) looks at America’s self-image through the Hollywood’s role as a propaganda machine. In his analysis of declassified government documents, studio archives, and filmmakers’ private papers, Shaw reveals the criticual dual role of Hollwood: portraying communism as the greatest threat the country had ever faced, and selling the liberal-capitalist ideas of America. The book argues that movies were at the center of the Cold War’s battle for hearts and minds, and in doing so, created an entirely new understanding of American film.

A similar discussion takes place in Lee Bernstein’s The Greatest Menace: Organized Crime in Cold War America (2009). In its reinterpretation of citizenship and “Americanism,” The Greatest Menace points to the forging of a Cold War consensus that allowed the popular image of the sinister gangster to persist. His broad range of evidence, from government records to pulp novels, takes note of the deep social and political anxieties that plagued the American people across shifting lines of race, class, and ethnicity.

To date, the series is composed over thirty volumes, with at least one addition coming out this year. Chad Parker’s upcoming Making the Desert Modern: Americans, Arabs, and Oil on the Saudi Frontier, 1933-1973 (May 2015) tells the story of the Arabian American Oil Company’s contribution to defining U.S. foreign policy during the early Cold War. The emergence of the term “modernization” was a key component of post-World War II American foreign policy, and the company quickly became the principal American diplomatic agent in Saudi Arabia for four decades. As a valuable case study of ‘private diplomacy,’ series editor Christian G. Appy commented that Making the Desert Modern “will serve as a model for … scholars in diplomatic history who are turning their attention to … economic globalization and the interplay between corporations and states in an international context.”

We know that the Culture, Politics, and the Cold War series will continue to be one of the key components of the UMass Press catalog.


 Emily Esten is an editorial intern at UMass Press. She is a junior History/Digital Humanities major at UMass Amherst. 


New Books: March 2015

This month, UMass Press is pleased to release the publications of the 2014 winners of the Juniper Prize for Poetry and the Juniper Prize for Fiction:

9781625341488Violin Playing Herself in a Mirror by David Kutz-Marks: With rhetorical estrangements that recall John Ashberry, and rhythms and ambitions that recall Wallace Stevens and Walt Whitman, the voice in these poems is nonetheless distinct, aware that its own time is finite – “a minor catarrh/after which the throat clears and it’s nighttime again” – but striving with each movement for the sublime. The poems challenge our identities, our thoughts, and our quarrels with each other as they dart back and forth between interior spaces and real human relationships.

“We tend to turn to poetry –as poetry itself turns – to honor, investigate, propose, court, grieve, and speculate, and all these things happen with purpose in Violin Playing Herself in a Mirror. With this book Kutz-Marks amplifies what might have been and what might be.” – Dara Wier, author of Hat on a Pond

For more information on this title, click here.

9781625341372Desert sonorous by Sean Bernard: Undercover space aliens share an RV outside Tucson. A high school girl tries to make sense of the shooting of Gabby Giffords. Basketball fans stalk their team’s head coach. A young couple falls in and out of love over the course of several lifetimes. And teenage cross-country athletes run on and on through these ten stories set amid the strange desert landscapes of the American southwest. Desert sonorous is a unique and energetic debut collection, blending realism with flashes of experimentation. Contemporary issues – immigration, drought, shootings – hover above a cast of memorable characters in search of life’s deeper meanings. As they struggle along, comic and resigned, intelligent and quiet, sad and frustrated, their strivings resound because their lives are in so many ways our own.

“This collection works by stealth, like alien lights sweeping over a desert plain. Should we celebrate Bernard as our newest bard of the desert? Yes, as surely as America is on a remote 24/7 hum, throbbing alongside its desert highways.” – Edie Meidav, Juniper Prize for Fiction judge and author of Lola, California

For more information on this title, click here.

For more information about the Juniper Prize Program, please visit our website. The 2015 winners for the Juniper prizes will be announced next month.

Black History Month: Celebration of the Black Arts Movement

Calling all black people

Calling all black people, man woman child

Wherever you are, calling you, urgent, come in

Black people, come in, wherever you are, urgent, calling you, calling all black people

Calling all black people, come in, black people, come on in.

– SOS, Amiri Baraka

As we reflect upon African-American history and culture during Black History Month, we turn our attention this year to the Black Arts Movement (BAM). The “sister” or aesthetic counterpart of the Black Power Movement, BAM prioritized the need for personal and social transformation of their voices through political, cultural and artistic expression.  Fueled by the explicit critiques of Western inequality made by Malcolm X and John Coltrane’s dismantling of Western music, artists and activists came forth to create politically engaged work that rejected traditional endeavors and explored the African-American experience.

During the 1960s and 70s, BAM’s widespread influence served as a powerful force in supporting the Black Power and Black Liberation Movements.  Though broad in scope, the basic credo of BAM was 1) to create a true “Afro American Art,” 2) to create a mass art, and 3) to create a revolutionary art. As writer and influential leader in the movement Amiri Baraka described, “it was clear there was a torrent of inspiration that lifted the Black artist communities across the country.” Formally beginning with the creation of the Black Arts Repertory Theatre/School (BARTS) in New York City, artists and intellectuals met to teach and present their work.  While the theater lasted for only a year, similar organizations and theatres formed across the country in a revolutionary fashion, all calling for a cultural nationalism. This new form of Black empowerment graced the stage in forms of dance troupes and performance art; it called out for writers and spurred the growth of magazine and journal publications such as Ebony and Jet; it thrived on college campuses among Black intellectuals. This was a revolutionary display of expression that united the consciousness of African-Americans, recognizing and celebrating Black voices.

Because of its grassroots outreach to a massive audience, many scholars regard the legacy of BAM to be one of the most influential arts movements in the country’s history. It dramatically altered public funding for arts programs, challenged boundaries of “high art” and pop culture, and served as a catalyst for similar movements in Asian-American and Native American communities. And as BAM is crucial to understanding modern African-American and American literary history, many works by today’s artists and performers – including Toni Morrison, Samuel L. Jackson, and August Wilson – are influenced by the ideas of BAM.

9781625340306SOS – Calling All Black People: a Black Arts Movement Reader, edited by UMass professors John H. Bracey, Jr. and James Smethurst and poet/professor emeritus of Temple University Sonia Sanchez, is a collection of key writings from the Black Arts Movement. With over fifty contributors in five genres, this anthology includes works of fiction, poetry, and drama in addition to critical writings on issues of politics, aesthetics, and gender. Topics range from the legacy of Malcolm X and the impact of John Coltrane’s jazz to the tenets of the Black Panther Party and the music of Motown. Essence Magazine’s Patrick Henry Bass called it a “tour-de-force collection of the greatest writers and thinkers . . . during one of the most electrifying periods in American arts and letters.” For more information on the book, please visit our website.

In March, UMass Press will be hosting two events related to the publication of SOS – Calling All Black People:

March 2, 2015: Presentation at the Augusta Savage Gallery

March 30, 2015: Reading by the editors at 4 P.M., Bernie Dallas Room, Goodell Building


Emily Esten is an editorial Intern at UMass Press. She is a junior History/Digital Humanities major at UMass Amherst. 

2015 NCPH Book Awards

All of us at UMass Press would like to congratulate authors Andrea Burns and Susan Reynolds Williams on their respective awards from the National Council of Public History (NCPH), as announced last month.

9781625340344From Storefront to Monument: Tracing the Public History of the Black Museum Movement by Andrea Burns is the winner of the 2015 National Council of Public History Book Award. The NCPH Book Award recognizes outstanding scholarship that addresses the theory and/or practice of or is the product of public history work. Published by UMass Press in October 2013, this book focuses on the founding of four groundbreaking museums: the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago (1961); the International Afro-American Museum in Detroit (1965); the Anacostia Neighborhood Museum in Washington, D.C. (1967); and the African American Museum of Philadelphia (1976). Burns focuses on the ties of these museums to the Black Power Movement and the efforts to bring African American history and culture into the museum environment.  For more information about this title, click here.

9781558499874Alice Morse Earle and the Domestic History of Early America
by Susan Reynolds Williams was recognized with an honorable mention. Published by UMass Press in January 2013, this biography of Alice Morse Earle, a prolific and influential Progressive Era scholar of American history, provides us with new insights into Earle’s process and her significance to popular history. For more information about Alice Morse Earle, check out our website.

You can celebrate with UMass Press at NCPH Annual Meeting Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, from April 15 –18.

New Books: February 2015

Newest releases for our design and literature lists at UMass Press

9781625341228Isaiah Rogers by James F. O’Gorman: When architect Isaiah Rogers died in 1869, the Cincinnati Daily Times noted that “in his profession he was, perhaps, better known than any other person in this country.” Yet until now there has been no study that fully examines his remarkable, influential, and instructive career. Rogers designed buildings from Maine to Georgia and from Boston to Chicago to New Orleans, supervising their construction while traveling widely to procure materials and workmen for the job. He finished his career as Architect of the Treasury Department during the Civil War. In this richly illustrated volume, James F. O’Gorman offers a deft portrait of an energetic practitioner at a key time in architectural history, the period before the founding of the American Institute of Architects in 1857.

“This is a substantial book by a major scholar, and it is original, splendidly written and interpreted, and filled with the kind of rich specific detail that will make it a valuable reference to which historians will turn again and again. It is a significant contribution to the scholarship of American culture.” – Michael L. Lewis, author of American Art & Architecture

For more books on architecture, click here.


9781625341129A Kiss from Thermopylae by James R. Guthrie: Born into a family of attorneys, Dickinson absorbed law at home. She employed legal terms and concepts regularly in her writings, and her metaphors grounded in law derive much of their expressive power from a comparatively sophisticated lay knowledge of the various legal and political issues that were roiling nineteenth-century America. This book reveals a new dimension of Dickinson’s writing and thinking, indicating that she was familiar with the legal community’s idiomatic language, actively engaged with contemporary political and ethical questions, and skilled at deploying a poetic register ranging from high romanticism to low humor.

A Kiss from Thermopylae established beyond doubt the importance of legal reasoning to Dickinson’s poetry, and it also contributes importantly to the value of the ‘law and literature’ subdiscipline.” – Gary Stonum, author of The Dickinson Sublime

For more books about the life and works of Emily Dickinson, click here.


9781625341143Transatlantic Romanticism by Andrew Hemingway and Alan Wallach: That the Romantic movement was an international phenomenon is a commonplace, yet to date, historical study of the movement has tended to focus primarily on its national manifestations. This volume offers a new perspective. In thirteen chapters devoted to artists and writers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, leading scholars of the period examine the international exchanges that were crucial for the rise of Romanticism in England and the United States.

“A cogent and stimulating series of reflections on Anglo-American art and literature associated with the broad cultural category of Romanticism.” – Brian Lukacher, author of Joseph Gandy: Architectural Visionary in Georgian England

For more books of literary criticism, click here.

First Post!

cropped-blog_temp-logo-e1427903620543.jpgAbout the Press

Founded in 1963, the University of Massachusetts Press is the -publishing arm of the University of Massachusetts. Its mission is to publish first-rate books, edit them carefully, design them well, and market them vigorously. In doing so, it supports and enhances the University’s role as a major research institution. The Press focuses primarily on books in the field of American studies broadly defined—books that explore the history, politics, literature, culture, and environment of the United States—as well as works with a transnational perspective. Since its inception, the Press has sold more than 2,000,000 volumes. Today the Press has over 1,000 titles in print.


About the Blog

The UMass Press blog is a project undertaken by Press interns to share information about new books and Press news or events with our readership. We hope to engage general readers and scholars alike in the presentation of new research and publications. In addition, this blog serves as a forum for our authors to discuss issues related to their scholarship. Views expressed by guest contributors to the blog do not necessarily represent those of University of Massachusetts Amherst or the Press, and all guest contributions are denoted by a byline and an author bio.