Cover for TRUZZI: Syrian and Lebanese Patricios in Sao Paulo: From the Levant to Brazil. Click for larger imageWe are pleased to announce that Syrian and Lebanese Patrícios in São Paulo: From the Levant to Brazil by Oswaldo Truzzi and translated by Ramon J. Stern has won the Evelyn Shakir Non-Fiction Award from the Arab American National Museum. The Arab American Book Awards is a literary program created to honor books written by and about Arab Americans in order to generate greater awareness of Arab American scholarship.

Congrats, Oswaldo and Ramon!


The University of Illinois Press is pleased to announce that Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago by David Whiteis with photos by Peter M. Hurley has been selected as a grant recipient of the Judith McCulloh Endowment for American Music. This endowed internal Press fund created in 2017 honors the legacy of Judith McCulloh, long-time University of Illinois Press editor. Judy’s academic passions and keen eye as an editor put Illinois on the map as the leading publisher in the field with the cornerstone series Music in American Life. Blues Legacy, which places the Chicago blues artists within the ongoing social and cultural reality their work reflects and helps create, exemplifies the spirit of this Fund.

To find out more, go to:


Vincent L. Stephens is the director of the Popel Shaw Center for Race & Ethnicity and a contributing faculty member in music at Dickinson College. He is a coeditor of Post Racial America? An Interdisciplinary Study. He recently shared his thoughts on his book, Rocking the Closet: How Little Richard, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, and Johnny Mathis Queered Pop Music.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

As a scholar of Post-World War Two U.S. popular culture I find the ways Liberace, Little Richard, Johnny Mathis, and Johnnie Ray navigated the conformity of the 1950s fascinating. When you examine their careers and the cultural responses to their work you must expand your understanding of masculine possibilities during years before the sexual revolution and LGBTQ political movement.

Q: Who were your biggest influences?

Christopher Nealon and Jennifer Love’s reconsiderations of gay visibility and issues of pride and shame shapes my thinking for this project. As did the queer musicology scholarship of Philip Brett, Nadine Hubbs, and Judith Peraino. More broadly, I appreciate the non-fiction writing of James Baldwin, Joan Didion, Kiese Laymon, Ruth Reichl, Jesmyn Ward, and Ellen Willis, and the work of great novelists such as Paul Beatty, Percival Everett, Don Lee, Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Celeste Ng, and Philip Roth.

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

The fact that black male artists, regardless of sexual orientation, had to “queer” themselves to gain acceptance. Notably, they had to carefully manage their projection of sexuality in the 1950s to avoid appearing too “aggressive” or too “soft.” In the 1950s black men were newly visible and always conscious of the images they projected in popular media.

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

I hope readers see how audiences of the 1950s were fascinated by and often protective of non-conformists in popular music despite the politics of the time. Similarly, I want readers to realize how ambiguity served as a useful resource for the artists I study. Ambiguity, ambivalence, and uncertainty, characterize queer life in a way that complicates issues of pride and visibility.

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

Popular music is a fertile site for understanding U.S. identity. What we listen to, who we listen to, and the way music moves us, speaks greatly to our desires, needs, and values. Studying these elements is incredibly illuminating.

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

I love reading memoirs, literary fiction, graphic novels, and essays. Recent favorites include Kiese Laymon’s Heavy, Joseph Vogel’s James Baldwin and the 1980s, and John A. Farell’s Richard Nixon. I enjoy watching independent films, such as “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and “The Farewell”, and innovative TV programs, such as “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” “Ramy,” and “Jane the Virgin.” Musically, vocal jazz, saudade, electric and country blues, R&;B, and snappy pop-rock (e.g., Marshall Crenshaw, The Cars, Marti Jones) are staples.

The International Day of the Girl Child brings global attention to the experiences of girls worldwide. As many activists and organizations work to help imp rove the lives of girls by advocating for equal access to education, protection from violence, and to overcoming other forms of inequity and oppression, scholars, too, are exploring many interdisciplinary topics through the lens of girlhood. Girlhood Studies is a growing body of scholarly investigation that centers the lived realities and concerns of girls and experiences of girlhood.

As a way to celebrate the International Day of the Girl as well as Girlhood Studies, we have curated a Girlhood Syllabus, which brings together University of Illinois Press publications that contribute to this body of work. All the titles assembled here are UIP publications, or reviews of them, and we hope scholars, readers, and other publishers will offer their own contributions to help make this list an expansive, inclusive, dynamic, and helpful resource.  Please use the hashtags #GirlhoodSyllabus and #ReadUPforGirls and reply to any of our Girlhood Syllabus tweets or tag your favorite Girlhood Studies resource on Twitter to add to the conversation!

For easier reading and as a handy resource, we have included the UIP publications as a PDF that you can download and share. The International Day of the Girl Child is October 11.



The University of Illinois is pleased to announce that Gamelan Girls: Gender, Childhood, and Politics in Balinese Music Ensembles by Sonja Downing has been selected as one of the two first recipients of a grant from the Bruno Nettl Endowment for Ethnomusicology. Thisinternal fund helps ensure the publication of diverse research in musicology and honors internationally renowned musicologist Bruno Nettl, professor emeritus of musicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-founder of the Society for Ethnomusicology. Gamelan Girls, an ethnographic study of girls’ and mixed-gender ensembles that shows how girls and young women assert their agency within the gamelan learning process to challenge entrenched notions of performance and gender, exemplifies the spirit of the endowment.


To find out more, go to:


This fall we have two new books on the Chicago Blues scene that celebrate the city’s incredible musicians and their legacy. Celebrate with us and check out our books on Chicago Blues and some interesting articles in American Music.

Blues Legacy: Tradition and Innovation in Chicago

David Whiteis

Photographs by Peter M. Hurley

In a follow up to his 2006 book Chicago Blues, David Whiteis delves into how the current and upcoming Chicago blues generations carry on the blues legacy. Drawing on in-person interviews, Whiteis places the artists within the ongoing social and cultural reality their work reflects and helps create. Beginning with James Cotton, Eddie Shaw, and other bequeathers, he moves through an all-star council of elders like Otis Rush and Buddy Guy and on to inheritors and today’s heirs apparent like Ronnie Baker Brooks, Shemekia Copeland, and Nellie “Tiger” Travis.


Chicago Blues: Portraits and Stories

David Whiteis

Through revealing portraits of selected local artists and slice-of-life vignettes drawn from the city’s pubs and lounges, Chicago Blues encapsulates the sound and spirit of the blues as it is lived today. As a committed participant in the Chicago blues scene for more than a quarter century, David Whiteis draws on years of his observations and extensive interviews to paint a full picture of the Chicago blues world, both on and off the stage.




Blues Before Sunrise: The Radio Interviews

Steve Cushing

This collection assembles the best interviews from Steve Cushing’s long-running radio program Blues Before Sunrise, the nationally syndicated, award-winning program focusing on vintage blues and R&B. As both an observer and performer, Cushing has been involved with the blues scene in Chicago for decades. His candid, colorful interviews with prominent blues players, producers, and deejays reveal the behind-the-scenes world of the formative years of recorded blues.



Blues Before Sunrise 2: Interviews from the Chicago Scene

Steve Cushing

In this new collection of interviews, Steve Cushing once again invites readers into the vaults of Blues Before Sunrise. Icons from Memphis Minnie to the Gay Sisters stand alongside figures like schoolteacher Flossie Franklin, who helped Leroy Carr pen some of his most famous tunes; saxman Abb Locke and his buddy Two-Gun Pete, a Chicago cop notorious for killing people in the line of duty; and Scotty “The Dancing Tailor” Piper, a font of knowledge on the black entertainment scene of his day.

Available November 2019


Waiting for Buddy Guy: Chicago Blues at the Crossroads

Alan Harper

Harper’s eloquent memoir conjures the smoky redoubts of men like harmonica virtuoso Big Walter Horton and pianist Sunnyland Slim. Venturing from stageside to kitchen tables to the shotgun seat of a 1973 Eldorado, Harper listens to performers and others recollect memories of triumphs earned and chances forever lost. Harper also chronicles a time of change, as an up-tempo, whites-friendly blues eclipsed what had come before, and old Southern-born black players held court one last time before an all-conquering generation of young guitar aces took center stage.


Blues All Day Long: The Jimmy Rodgers Story

Wayne Everett Goins

Goins mines seventy-five hours of interviews with Rogers’s family, collaborators, and peers to follow a life spent in the blues. Goins’s account takes Rogers from recording Chess classics to playing Chicago clubs to a late-in-life renaissance that included new music, entry into the Blues Hall of Fame, and high-profile tours with Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones. Informed and definitive, Blues All Day Long fills a gap in twentieth-century music history with the story of one of the blues’ eminent figures and one of the genre’s seminal bands.


BluesSpeak: The Best of the Original Chicago Blues Annual

Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr.

This incomparable anthology collects articles, interviews, fiction, and poetry from the Original Chicago Blues Annual, one of music history’s most significant periodical blues publications. Founded and operated from 1989 to 1995 by African American musician and entrepreneur Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr., OCBA gave voice to the blues community and often frankly addressed contentious issues within the blues such as race, identity, prejudice, wealth, gender, and inequity.


Give ‘Em Soul, Richard!: Race, Radio, and Rhythm and Blues in Chicago

Richard E. Stamz with Patrick A. Roberts

As either observer or participant, radio deejay and political activist Richard E. Stamz witnessed every significant period in the history of blues and jazz in the last century. From performing first-hand as a minstrel in the 1920s to broadcasting Negro League baseball games in a converted 1934 Chrysler to breaking into Chicago radio and activist politics and hosting his own television variety show, the remarkable story of his life also is a window into milestones of African American history throughout the twentieth century.


Read on JSTOR from American Music, edited by Gayle Sherwood Magee

New Orleans Rhythm and Blues, African American Tourism, and the Selling of a Progressive South

By Christopher Cody

How Blue Can You Get? “It’s Tight Like That” and the Hokum Blues

By Roberta Freund Schwartz


July saw the passing of Winton U. Solberg, professor emeritus of history at UIUC and author of multiple books published by UI Press. Wint’s books, all published with the UI Press, include two volumes on the history of the University of Illinois from its beginning to 1904, a book on Illinois’s College of Medicine from 1880 to 1920, and a volume on the creation of the Big Ten athletic conference. He was writing and researching until his last years, and he occupied a study in the University of Illinois Main Library, where for more than 50 years he worked assiduously, many days a week, until he was 96. He is pictured here at the 2017 ceremony where he received the UI’s Chancellor’s Medallion, the University’s highest honor.

Wint’s book Arctic Mirage: The 1913-1920 Expedition in Search of Crocker Land is currently in press at MacFarland Publishers. Wint’s final project, a biography of Edmund J. James, first president of the University of Illinois, is in preparation for UIP with the help of Wint’s friend, colleague, and early graduate student, David Hoeveler. The Press will be represented at an event October 4, at 3:00 at Levis Faculty Center, celebrating Wint’s legacy and contributions to UIP, the UIUC Department of History, and University Archives.


Photo by L. Brian Stauffer.

Giveaway alert! We’re offering a free ebook copy of  Sex Workers, Psychics and Numbers Runners: Black Women in New York City’s Underground Economy by LaShawn Harris during October. During the 20th century, a diverse group of African American women carved out a unique niche for themselves in New York’s informal economy. Harris argues that the underground economy catalyzed working-class black women’s creation of the employment opportunities, occupational identities, and survival strategies that provided them with financial stability and a sense of labor autonomy and mobility. At the same time, urban black women strove for economic and social prospects and pleasures, and in the process experienced the conspicuous and hidden dangers associated with newfound labor opportunities.

Sign up here to get your free copy. Offer ends at the end of the month, so don’t miss out!


The University of Illinois Press is pleased to announce that Dirty Jokes and Bawdy Songs: The Uncensored Life of Gershon Legman by Susan G. Davis is the recipient of a grant from the L. J. and Mary C. Skaggs Folklore Fund. This internal press fund, first established in 1995, supports publication of diverse folklore titles that explore cultures from across the United States and around the world. Dirty Jokes and Bawdy Songs, the story of Gershon Legman’s singular, disreputable resume that made him a counter-cultural touchstone during his forty-year exile in France, exemplifies the spirit of this fund.


To find out more, go to:



This year marks the 15th anniversary of the Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest Series. This series documents the histories, challenges, and contributions of Latinos to Chicago and the Midwest. It promotes an understanding of regional and historical differences in Latino communities and of the ways in which Latinos in Chicago and throughout the Midwest construct their own sense of Latinidad and cultural difference. It offers new conceptual frameworks for the study of interlatino dynamics in this understudied region as well as comparative studies with other regions in the United States and in transnational relations with Latin America. Longtime series editor Frances R. Aparicio was recently joined by Omar Valerio-Jiménez, and Sujey Vega.  Dawn Durante, Senior Acquisitions Editor, is the acquiring editor. Aparico’s forthcoming book Negotiating Latinidad: Intralatina/o Lives in Chicago is the latest book in the series.

Aparicio said about the anniversary:

“In 2019, the Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest book series celebrates its fifteenth year in existence. I want to acknowledge and thank the support of the University of Illinois Press in making this series a reality. Having published thirteen titles since our inception in 2004, the series has become an important institutional space for scholarly contributions that focus on Latinx communities in our region. Our growth would not have been possible without the original support of former U of I Press editor-in-chief Joan Catapano, who believed in the project, and the serious commitment, energy, and work of the current acquisitions editor, Dawn Durante, as well as all the staff and personnel in the Press. Under the leadership of our two new co-editors, Sujey Vega and Omar Valerio-Jiménez, and all the authors who trusted our leadership and published with us, the series continues to be more visibleas it legitimates the centrality of the Midwest in understanding the experiences of Latinx communities in the United States. After a dynamic and diverse collection of titles—history, anthropology, memoir, cultural studies, and visual arts, among others—I envision many more years of growth!”
—Frances R. Aparicio, series editor Professor Emerita, Northwestern University

If you’re on the UIUC campus, please join us for a celebration of the series at La Casa Cultural Latina on September 26 at 3-4:30pm. José Ángel N. will read from his book Illegal: Reflections of an Undocumented Immigrant, which was recently translated into Spanish. Refreshments will be served. Stay tuned for events on the Springfield and Chicago campuses to celebrate this important series!


Browse all the titles in the series here.