Our distributor, the Chicago Distribution Center, is closed due to COVID-19, but our website is open!

All e-book orders will be immediately filled. Print titles available now will be noted with a double asterisk (**) in the shopping cart.

Others will be backordered until our distributor reopens.

Journals will ship as scheduled until further notice.

Thank you for your support,

University of Illinois Press Staff

The Organization of American Historians Annual Conference may be canceled but you can still shop our virtual book fair! Use Promo Code CONF40 to get 40% off all history books on our website*.

Browse the various books on sale at the links below:

19th Century American History

20th Century American History

21st Century American History

Civil War History

American Colonial History

American Public History

British History

European History

French History

Immigration History

Intellectual History

Military History

State and Local History

World History

*Though our warehouse is closed, we’re still able to fill orders for most books from offsite locations. Books available now will be noted with a double asterisk (**) in the shopping cart. For more information see this post.

Jason G. Strange, author of Shelter from the Machine: Homesteaders in the Age of Capitalism, answers questions about his why he chose to write about homesteaders and influences from his favorite books.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

My educational background is unusual for a professor. At sixteen, bored in high school, I dropped out, then spent much of the next dozen years traveling and working. I biked across the western US and crewed on a sailboat and lived in tents and vans. I worked as a carpenter and a potter, as a barista and burger flipper, and in farm fields as a corn dettasseler and blueberry raker. I didn’t finish college until I was almost thirty. My family had more books than money and as a child I fell in love with reading, so during all this exploring I carried a backpack stuffed with books and journals. Once, in the corn fields of Iowa, my tent was caught in a flash flood and the only thing that kept it from floating away was the stack of worn paperbacks in the corner. That stack of books was my ivory tower, my university, my real alma mater.

In many of the places where I’ve worked and lived – from the hollers of Appalachia to the Yurok Reservation in Northern California – a love of reading is unusual. Not, of course, because people are dumb, but because poverty is created through systematic oppression and dispossession, including educational dispossession. We live in a society where the most affluent youth are offered high-quality schooling and the least affluent are not. And this has huge impacts: reading and writing aren’t just academic endeavors; they’re tools for both self and social transformation.

Shelter from the Machine is partly about this educational dispossession: how it’s created and sustained, how it impacts the people who experience it. But it’s also partly a response. Once I entered grad school, in my early thirties, I encountered all sorts of useful social theories and analyses. But I was shocked to find that these ideas were couched, on purpose, in language that made them inaccessible to the people most in need of them – not my comfortable colleagues at Berkeley, but my colleagues in the fields and factories. There are many books about them, but not enough books for them, and that’s what I wanted to write.

Q: Who were your biggest influences?

Completing my doctoral dissertation forced me to work through the emotional challenges of a book-length project: the suffocating perfectionism and the self-doubt and the fearful procrastination. As a result, when I started thinking about Shelter from the Machine, I knew I’d be able to write an entire book. Problem was, I didn’t know how to write a good book. How do you create, in nonfiction, a sense of mystery and suspense? How do you blend story and analysis so they reinforce each other? How do you keep it interesting and lively and fun to read? I didn’t know how to do these things.

Jason G. Strange is an assistant professor of general studies and peace and social justice studies at Berea College, and the chair of the Department of Peace and Social Justice Studies.

So I did what any tinkerer would do: I pulled a handful of my favorite books off the shelf and reverse-engineered them. The single most helpful book was The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, which is so well crafted that you don’t see the craft unless you force yourself to look. It’s one of those books that reads like a series of fascinating adventures, but along the way you realize you’re also imbibing a bunch of important scientific ideas. I counted and charted and noted and dissected, examining everything from scene-setting to dialogue to narrative voice. I did the same thing with two other popular science books, The Desert Smells Like Rain by Gary Paul Nabhan and The Song of the Dodo by David Quammen. These books cover different topics than Shelter from the Machine, but they all share the same underlying goal: to take important ideas from within the world of science and scholarship – ideas that we all need to be familiar with – and frame them as stories. Any time Shelter stumped me, I reached for books like these for guidance and inspiration.

Q: What is the most interesting discovery you made while researching and writing your book?

I knew, early in my research, that contemporary homesteading and back-to-the-land movements were a rich topic. I also knew, in an abstract way, that things are deeply interconnected; that this laptop I’m typing on, for example, is connected to global history in a myriad of complicated ways. But the process of researching and writing about back-to-the-landers just kept revealing more interconnection. We could go visit a remote cabin at the back end of some off-road Kentucky holler, and it would seem, at first glance, like a place isolated and disconnected from society. And yet, understanding that cabin requires dealing with a huge range of social issues, from the history of colonization to the rise of capitalism and industry; from the distribution of education and literacy to the impacts of mainstream jobs upon those who work them. I love seeing those interconnections between seemingly disparate things. Whatever you’re interested in, whatever you want to work on – it’s right there. Beside you. Always.

Q: What do you like to read/watch/or listen to for fun?

My first love as a reader was science fiction and fantasy. I spent half my childhood and adolescence orbiting distant moons or wandering ancient forests that whispered with magic. In my twenties and thirties, I switched to reading nonfiction – pretty much anything on any topic, as long as it was well written. I learned so much from all this non-fiction reading that it changed my life, over and over. As I’ve gotten older, however, I’ve started reading science fiction and fantasy again. Simply put, the two most powerful things books can convey are stories and ideas, and I’m increasingly fascinated by how to combine those into one seamless whole. My current writing project reflects my history as a reader: I’m working on a science-fiction novel that draws upon, among other things, scholarly research into non-violence as a tool for social change.

We are pleased to announce Sophonisba Breckinridge: Championing Women’s Activism in Modern America by Anya Jabour has won an Illinois State Historical Society Award.

The Illinois State Historical Society Awards are given for titles that has furthered the collection, preservation, and/or interpretation of an aspect of Illinois history.

Congratulations Anya Jabour!

Amanda Frisken, author of Graphic News: How Sensational Images Transformed Nineteenth-Century Journalism answers questions about her inspiration for writing , sensational journalism, and what she hopes readers will take away from her book.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

In researching my book about Victoria Woodhull, I uncovered a trove of images from weekly illustrated sporting newspapers that became central to my analysis. I found that illustrated daily and weekly newspapers had a significant impact on political culture in the post-Civil War years. Woodhull was a media event in her own right, but she also used the media – weekly, daily newspapers, and her own press – to influence public opinion. News images, I came to understand, empowered a variety of political players to communicate – and challenge – messages in the public sphere. Major media events of the last few decades of the nineteenth century fueled the rise of sensationalism in weekly and then daily newspapers. And sensational illustrations, intentionally or not, manipulated the way people perceived those events.

Q: Who were your biggest influences?

Only a few scholars have explored the cultural meanings of inexpensive, ephemeral news images in any depth. The most important influence on my thinking was probably Joshua Brown, whose Beyond the Lines examines illustrations in weekly newspapers as communicators of complex visual messages. John Coward’s Indians Illustrated,John Tchen’s New York Before Chinatown, and Rebecca Zurier’s Picturing the City were also influential. Several studies of photography have shaped how I think about representations of violence in particular, among them Dora Apel’s and Shawn Michelle Smith’s Lynching Photographs and Ken Gonzales-Day’s Lynching in the West. But there are too many others to name!

Q: What is the most interesting discovery you made while researching and writing your book?

Amanda Frisken is a professor of American Studies at SUNY College at Old Westbury.

I was fascinated to discover that early, primitive daily news images in the 1880s, which at first I barely noticed, played a vital cultural role. In contrast to weekly illustrations, which conveyed lively narratives, daily news image seemed flat, simplistic, and unimportant, and it was hard to imagine that they had much power to influence anybody’s perception of the news. In researching the chapter on the Ghost Dance, however, I found a tiny image of Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill Cody being used to illustrate a story about the dance. Both men were famous, deeply connected with the celebrity industry as well as the mythology of the Wild West, and the image conveyed meanings to contemporaries that are nearly invisible to readers today. Neither man was central to the Ghost Dance, but when the New York World published their familiar faces it recast the story within an established narrative of European colonization and indigenous resistance. It didn’t matter that the image didn’t match the reality of what was happening in the Plains West – what mattered was that it told a story readers readily understood.

Q: What myths do you hope your book will dispel or what do you hope your book will help readers unlearn?

It’s been axiomatic in media history that sensational journalism became a force in U.S. popular culture only during the lead-up to the Spanish-American war, in 1897-1898. That’s when the term “yellow journalism” emerged as a critique of the new style. Those years were critically important for the rise of sensational journalism – and illustrations did play a key role in that rise. But the cases I explore in Graphic News reveal a much longer and more complicated trajectory. Sensational media tools evolved over decades, from the penny press in the 1830s, through the rise of illustrated weeklies around mid-19th Century, to the explosion of sensational dailies in the 1880s. Decades of experimentation and reaction made sensational illustrations a force to be reckoned with, but they had largely been treated as a curiosity within the history of journalism. Meanwhile, paradigms established in the first illustrated dailies continue to shape how we produce and interpret the news today.

Q: What is the most important idea you hope readers will take away from your book?

We’re accustomed to living in an image-saturated environment today, and we flatter ourselves that we’re shrewd enough to notice how visual coverage shapes our understanding of current events. The more I came to see individual images in daily newspapers – portraits, landscapes, re-enactments masquerading as eye-witness documentation – as conveyors of rich narratives all by themselves, the more I appreciated the power of seemingly innocuous images to distort news stories. Sensational news images are not a new phenomenon – they pre-date and established parameters for photojournalism – and they are anything but neutral. News illustrations influenced events in real time as people experienced and then reacted to what they saw. They shaped history, in other words; they still do. My hope is that readers will take away an awareness of persisting strategies developed by editors and artists, in the early years of illustrated daily news production, to sell news media. Ideally, it will alert readers to our continued susceptibility to sensational imagery.

Q: What do you like to read/watch/or listen to for fun?

These days, I read (and re-read) a lot of speculative fiction literature. Two of my favorite go-to authors are Ursula K. LeGuin and Octavia Butler. Apart from the fact that both are brilliant writers and story-tellers, I love the passion, creativity, and playfulness they poured into their art. Today more than ever, I’m just grateful to them for transporting me into other worlds.

Please read the latest update from 3.30.20 here: https://www.press.uillinois.edu/wordpress/update-our-website-is-open/

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the State of Illinois will be under a shelter-in-place order beginning Saturday, March 21, 2020.  Until the order is lifted, our distributor, the Chicago Distribution Center (CDC), will be unable to pack and ship books from its warehouse.  Therefore, print books ordered from our website will not be shipped until after CDC reopens.  

In the interim, we encourage you to order our print books from your local independent bookseller’s website or other online retailers.

Note: E-book purchases from our website will be immediately filled.

Thank you for your understanding and support of the University of Illinois Press.  We will alert you when CDC is able to resume operations.

Be well,

University of Illinois Press staff

We are pleased to announce All Our Trials: Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence by Emily L. Thuma is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards.

Now in its 32nd year, the Lambda Literary Award is the most prestigious LGBTQ book prize in the world. With over 1,000 submissions, it is a significant achievement to be named a finalist.

Winners will be announced online in June by Lambda Literary. (Originally, the winners were to be announced at the NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts ceremony hosted by Saturday Night Live’s Bowen Yang in New York City on June 8, 2020.)

Congratulations Emily!

Hello Friends,

Due to the impact of COVID-19, we want to provide an update on planned activity at University of Illinois Press (UIP) over the coming weeks.

As of Monday morning, our HR department directed UIP staff to work remotely until at least the end of March. We are not physically in the office, but the behind-the scenes publishing process continues.

As of today, the Chicago Distribution Center continues to ship our books from its warehouse. We will send an alert if that situation changes.

Many of the conferences we attend have been canceled and individual author events have been affected as well. We continue to update our online calendar, but it’s always recommended to call ahead.

Because of the canceled conferences, we’re currently offering a Virtual Book Fair on our website. Use Promo Code CONF40 to get 40% off all books.

We plan to operate as normally as possible through this turbulent time, including the fulfillment of exam copy requests and sending digital review copies. 

We appreciate your dedication to University of Illinois Press and hope to be of continuous service to you in the months ahead.

Be well,
University of Illinois Press staff

Please read the March 20, 2020 update regarding orders from our website here: https://www.press.uillinois.edu/wordpress/update-regarding-orders-from-our-website/

Kimberly Hannon Teal is an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Arkansas. Her research addresses contemporary jazz, and she is interested in how live performance contexts contribute to musical experiences and meaning. She recently spoke to us about her article, “Mary Lou Williams as an Apology” from Jazz and Culture.

In the spring of 2017 when Tammy Kernodle, author of an excellent biography of Mary Lou Williams, contacted me about the possibility of contributing to a conference panel on the pianist and composer, Williams had most recently been on my mind through her appearance on the blog of another pianist I have written about, Ethan Iverson. Iverson has been one of my favorite jazz players and writers since I first encountered the music of his trio The Bad Plus in the early 2000s. The impressive body of writing he has amassed on his blog, Do the Math, is consistently thought-provoking and rich in musical detail. Indeed, reading Iverson’s writing in part inspired my choice to focus on contemporary jazz as a PhD student, and interviewing him for my dissertation at the Village Vanguard in New York was a highlight of my grad school experience. Some of the most interesting material on Iverson’s blog comes in the form of interviews he conducts with other jazz musicians. In 2017, however, the jazz internet was in an uproar over some of the content of one of Iverson’s interviews, pointing to sexist comments made by pianist Robert Glasper and calling out Iverson for a failure to censor or censure. After my own twenty years as a woman immersed in jazz culture, it wasn’t the nature of Iverson and Glasper’s conversation that surprised me—I had heard plenty of similar comments firsthand and had learned on my first paying gig as a sixteen-year-old trumpet player that navigating gender stereotypes and harassment was more the rule than the exception. I was struck instead by the heated reaction to the Iverson-Glasper interview that led Iverson to respond by posting celebratory writing about Mary Lou Williams. In the years following the explosion of #MeToo in the fall of 2017, the jazz community has seen its own uptick in discussions of sexism and gender equity on many fronts, including those described in the article and the formation of the New York-based Women in Jazz Organization among other activist groups—and Iverson’s collection of fascinating interviews, once void of women, now includes conversations with Cécile McLorin Salvant, Miranda Cuckson, Joanne Brackeen, and Carla Bley.

Corrine T. Field is an associate professor in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality at the University of Virginia and the Mellon-Schlesinger Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. LaKisha Michelle Simmons is an assistant professor of history and women’s studies at University of Michigan. In honor of Women’s History Month, they recently spoke to us about their special issue of Women, Gender, and Families of Color, “Black Girlhood and Kinship.”

What does it mean to see the world from black girls’ standpoint?

In our special issue “Black Girlhood and Kinship” in the journal Women, Gender, and Families of Color, we focus on the subject of kinship and black girls in a diasporic framework.  By drawing attention to how coming of age is a relational process, contributors reveal how girls seek both interdependence and independence in relation with others. The girls presented in these articles navigate conflicting loyalties and multiple obligations.  They demand protection and assert their autonomy. They seek love and rebel against authority. Through their words and actions, we can come to understand how girls create their own kin networks for their own purposes even as they answer to adult demands.

We know that adults often underestimate black girls, and that black girls face intertwined forces of sexism and racism in their daily lives.  But, we wanted to ask: What modes of analysis help scholars better understand black girls’ sense of self and the ways in which they navigate the world around them? 

To center black girls’ worldview, one must write and research from a decolonial and black feminist perspective. Traditionally, scholarship on black youth has started with the assumption that black youth are “endangered,” or their families are “disorganized,” or black teen girls turn into unwed mothers.  But in this special issue, the articles shift the debate. Instead, they focus on how black girls (re)made (and continue to remake) families when they are left alone, how black girls focus on being daughters as a way to assert a full personhood, how black girls search for love and protection, and how they find ways to find privacy in a world that might surveil them.  Following Saidiya Hartman’s call in her recent study of young black women’s intimate lives in turn-of-the-century American cities, we must recognize the “revolutionary ideals that animated ordinary lives” and contend with the many ways in which black girls “were radical thinkers who tirelessly imagined other ways to live and never failed to consider how the world might be otherwise” (Hartman 2019, xv).  Contributors to this special issue find such “beautiful experiments” playing out in a wide variety of historical contexts, each with their own particular constraints and possibilities.  Together, the articles off an opportunity to consider the kinship strategies of black girls across time and space, with essays focused on liberated girls in post-emancipation Senegal, orphans at the Howard School in Brooklyn in the 1910s, mixed-race girls in post-War Germany, contemporary black girls as producers of digital culture, and autoethnography and memoir as sites for theorizing girlhood and kinship. By presenting this new research, we hope to prompt further inquiry as to what families look like from the perspective of black girls.