Press News

Celebrate Black History Month with New Books from UMass Press

 

UMass Press continues its proud tradition of offering strong and various titles in African American studies, literature, and history. Here are some of our newest books:

Black Bostonians and the Politics of Culture, 1920-1940 by Lorraine Elena Roses

9781625342423In the 1920s and 1930s Boston became a rich and distinctive site of African American artistic production, unfolding at the same time as the Harlem Renaissance. Lorraine Elena Roses employs archival sources and personal interviews to recover this artistic output.

An Abolitionist Abroad: Sarah Parker Remond in Cosmopolitan Europe by Sirpa Salenius

Sarah Parker Remond (1826–1894) left the free black community of Salem, Massachusetts, where she was born, to become one of the first women to travel on extensive lecture tours across the United Kingdom.

Measuring the Harlem Renaissance: The U.S. Census, African American Identity, and Literary Form by Michael Soto

Michael Soto examines how the U.S. Census placed persons of African descent within a rigid taxo9781625342508nomy of racial difference and thus defined a uniform African American identity in Harlem. Soto explores how black writers and intellectuals during the same period described a far more complex community of interracial social contact and intra-racial diversity.

The Harlem Renaissance and the Idea of a New Negro Reader by Shawn Anthony Christian

Many scholars have written about the white readers of the Harlem Renaissance, but during the period many black writers, publishers, and editors worked to foster a cadre of African American readers. Shawn Anthony Christian illustrates that the drive to develop and support black readers was central in the poetry, fiction, and drama of the era.

Forthcoming:

Remember Little Rock by Erin Krutko Devlin

In Remember Little Rock Erin Krutko Devlin explores public memories surrounding the iconic Arkansas school desegregation crisis of 1957 and shows how these memories were vigorously contested and sometimes deployed against the cause.9781625342683

Ragged Revolutionaries: The Lumpenproletariat and African American Marxism in Depression-Era Literature by Nathaniel Mills

 In Ragged Revolutionaries, Nathaniel Mills argues that the lumpenproletariat was central to an overlooked yet vibrant mode of African American Marxism formulated during the Great Depression by black writers on the Communist left, including Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, and Margaret Walker.

All Eyes Are Upon Us: Race and Politics from Boston to Brooklyn by Jason Sokol

 All Eyes Are Upon Us explores the history of racial struggles in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York from World War II to the present—struggles that involve warring traditions of welcoming inclusion and violent segregation.

 

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2016 Juniper Literary Prizes

In celebration of our forty-year commitment to contemporary letters, the University of Massachusetts Press—in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers—announces an expanded Juniper Prize initiative dedicated to bringing distinct, fresh voices to a wide audience.

The Juniper Literary Series will award two prizes each for poetry and for fiction. One prize will recognize a first publication. The second will be open to previously published poets and writers as well. Each of the four recipients will be awarded $1,000 and publication.

The Juniper Literary Series takes its name from Fort Juniper, the house that the poet Robert Francis (1901–1987) built by hand in the woods in western Massachusetts. When UMass Press launched the Juniper Prize for Poetry in 1975, we were one of the first university presses to publish contemporary poetry. We introduced the Juniper Prize for Fiction in 2004 to honor outstanding literary fiction.

Our prize-winning poets include Lucille Clifton, Lynda Hull, Richard Jackson, and Arthur Vogelsang. Our prize-winning fiction writers include Rod Val Moore, Andrew Malan Milward, Dwight Yates, and Lynn Lurie.

The Juniper Literary Series is open for submissions annually from August 1 through September 30. Poetry winners are selected by James Haug, James Tate, and Dara Wier.  Fiction submissions are juried by alternating UMass Amherst MFA professors.

The prizes will open for submissions August 1 to September 30, 2015. For submission information, please visit our website.

The sky is on fire with blue
And wind keeps ringing, ringing the fire bell.
—from “Cold” by Robert Francis

Looking at Atticus Finch through an Educator’s Eyes

The provocation of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman demands that scholars, readers, and fans reconsider Atticus Finch.

Amherst College professor Austin Sarat, editor of Reimagining To Kill a Mockingbird: Family, Community, and the Possibility of Equal Justice under Law, said he welcomes the new Atticus as “a kind of wake-up call that the struggle for rights is two steps forward, one step back. And it’s a struggle that requires collective action, not just individual, idealized heroes.”

In the collection Reimagining To Kill a Mockingbird,  Sarat and co-editor Martha Umphrey, also an Amherst College professor, gather essays that explore Lee’s classic through the interdisciplinary prism of law and humanities scholarship. Using both the film and novel, they see Atticus’s defense of Tom Robinson as a linchpin moment in the nation’s narrative of racial progress. They see the story as profoundly pedagogical, one that strives to teach us ways of overcoming prejudice and to live with one another in a better and more just world.

Anticipating the contradictions and complications made evident in Go Set a Watchman, the essays in Reimagining To Kill a Mockingbird trouble the mythology of the story and its hero. They pose provocative contemporary theoretical and interpretive questions: How does one come to belong to, even to be recognized as “human,” within this community? How should we understand the sacrifices characters make and are asked to make in the name of justice and comprehend their failures in achieving it?

Please see our website for more information on the book: https://www.umass.edu/umpress/title/reimagining-kill-mockingbird

 

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New Books: May 2015

This month, UMass Press releases titles in American Studies and British/European Studies.

9781625341440On the Cusp by Daniel Horowitz: Part personal memoir, part collective biography, and part cultural history, Horowitz’s newest book reconstructs the undergraduate career of Yale College’s class of 1960 and follows them into the next decade. He begins by looking at curricular and extracurricular life on the all-male campus, then ranges beyond the confines of Yale to larger contexts, including the local drama      urban renewal, the lingering shadow of McCarthyism, and decolonization movements around the world. He ponders the role of the university in protecting the prerogatives of class while fostering social mobility, and examines the growing significance of race and gender in American politics and culture, spurred by a convergence of the personal and the political. Consistent with much of Horowitz’s previously published scholarship on postwar America, this work further exposes the undercurrent of discontent and dissent that ran just beneath the surface of the so-called Cold War consensus.

On the Cusp is a book of many pleasures. Horowitz writes about his college years with both the memoirist’s attention to color and detail, and the historian’s attention to scale . . . a valuable retrospective and reappraisal for those who remember these years; it will be an education in itself to those who do not.” – Matthew Frye Jacobson, William Robertson Coe Professor of American Studies and history, Yale University

For more information on the works of Daniel Horowitz, click here

9781625341662Forms of Association by Paul Yachnin and Marlene Eberhart: In today’s connected and interactive world, it is hard to imagine a time when cultural and intellectual interests did not lead people to associate with others who shared similar views and preoccupations. In this volume of essays, fifteen scholars explore how these kinds of relationships began to transform early modern European culture. Forms of Association grows out of the “Making Publics: Media, Markets, and Association in Early Modern Europe” (MaPs) project, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. This scholarly initiative convened an interdisciplinary research team to consider how “publics” developed in Europe from 1500 to 1700. This collaborative study provided a dynamic way of understanding the political dimensions of artistic and intellectual works and open the way toward a new history of early modernity. This collection represents the issues and questions coming out of the MaPs project, and how Renaissance scholarship could be advanced by projects like this one.

“With the overall high quality of the essays, the significant voices that are addressing the issues, and the direction forward that it suggests for work in the early modern period, this is an excellent collection and a valuable publication for scholars.” – Shannon Miller, San Jose State University

For more titles on British and European history, please visit our subject listings.

9781625341433Storytelling and Science by David K. Hecht: No single figure embodies Cold War science more than renowned physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The “Father of the Atomic Bomb” has drawn Americans to the story of the Manhattan Project he helped lead, and the riveting McCarthy politics that caught him in its crosshairs. Journalists and politicians, writers and artists have told Oppenheimer’s story in many different ways since he first gained notoriety in 1945. In Storytelling and Science, Hecht examines why they did so, and what they hoped to achieve through their stories. In these different renditions, Oppenheimer was alternately portrayed as hero and villain. Yet beneath the varying details of these stories, Hecht discerns important patterns in the ways that scientists shape popular understandings – and misunderstandings – of science.

“An original contribution to its field that opens the way to similar studies of the public images of other scientists and their science.” – David C. Cassidy, author of J. Robert Oppenheimer and the American Century

For more titles in American Studies, review this list.

9781625341358Dickens and Massachusetts by Diana C. Archibald and Joel J. Brattin: Charles Dickens traveled to North America twice, in 1842 and twenty-five years later in 1867-68, and on both trips Massachusetts was part of his itinerary. Massachusetts was the one state that met and even exceeded Dickens’s expectations for “the republic of [his] imagination.” This volume provides insight from leading scholars who have begun to reassess the significance of Massachusetts in the author’s life and work. The collection begins with a broad biographical and historical overview, enhanced by images to tell the story of Dickens’s relationship with the vibrant cultural and intellectual life of Massachusetts. The second section includes essays that consider the importance of Dickens’s many connections to the commonwealth.

“This book fills an important gap in our understanding of Dickens’s first trip to America. Authored by some of the most highly respected scholars in Dickens studies and including thorough and authoritative research, this volume makes a timely and original contribution.” – Nancy Aycock Metz, author of The Companion to Martin Chuzzlewit

For more titles on British and European Literature, review this subject list.

9781625341570Making the Desert Modern by Chad H. Parker: In 1933, American oilmen, representing what later became the Arabian American Oil Company (Aramco), signed a concession agreement with the Saudi Arabian king granting the company sole proprietorship over the oil reserves in the country’s largest province. Aramco built the infrastructure necessary to extract oil and also carved an American suburb out of the Arabian desert, with all the air-conditioned comforts of Western modern life. At the same time, executives cultivated powerful relationships with Saudi government officials and, to the annoyance of U.S. officials, even served the monarchy in diplomatic disputes. Before long, the company became the principal American diplomatic, political, and cultural agent in the country, a role it would continue to play until 1973, when the Saudi government took over its operations. In this book, Chad H. Parker tells Aramco’s story, showing how an American company seeking resources and profits not only contributed to Saudi “nation building” but helped define U.S. foreign policy during the early Cold War.

“A valuable case study of ‘private diplomacy,’ Making the Desert Modern will serve as a model for a growing number of scholars in diplomatic history who are turning their attention to the roots of economic globalization and the interplay between corporations and states in an international context.” – Christian G. Appy, author of American Reckoning: The Vietnam War and Our National Identity

For more books in the Culture, Politics and the Cold War series, visit our website.

2015 Juniper Prize Winners

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The University of Massachusetts Press, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers, is pleased to announce this year’s Juniper Prize winners. For detailed information, view this press release.

Hasanthika Sirisena is the winner of the 2015 Juniper Prize for Fiction with her short story collection The Other One, to be published by UMass Press in 2016. Her stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Epoch, Story Quarterly, Narrative, and other magazines. Her work has been anthologized in Best New American Voices and Best American Short Stories (2011, 2012). Sirisena has received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo, and, in 2008, received a Rona Jaffe Writers Award. She is currently an associate fiction editor for West Branch literary magazine and teaches creative writing at the City College of New York.

Mark Wagenaar is winner of the 2015 Juniper Prize for Poetry with his collection The Body Distances (A Hundred Blackbirds Rising), to be published by UMass Press in 2016. He is also the 2014 winner of the Pinch Poetry Award, the New Letters Poetry Prize, and the Mary C. Mohr Poetry Prize, as well as the 2013 winner of the James Wright Poetry Prize, the Poetry International Prize, and the Yellowwood Poetry Prize. Wagenaar recently served as the University of Mississippi’s 2014 Summer Poet in Residence. His debut manuscript, Voodoo Inverso, was the 2012 winner of the Felix Pollak Prize from the University of Wisconsin Press. His poems have been accepted or published by the New Yorker, 32 Poems, Field, Image, Subtropics, Ninth Letter, Washington Square, Shenandoah, and the Missouri Review. He and his wife, the poet Chelsea Wagenaar, are doctoral fellows at the University of North Texas in Denton, and are expecting their first child, Eloise Virginia, in July.

We wish to express our thanks to all of the writers who participated in this year’s Juniper Prize competition. 

 

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.

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.

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.