Composer, saxophonist, author and activist Fred Ho passed away over the weekend.

A foremost voice in the history of West Coast Asian American jazz, the East Coast avant-garde, and numerous anti-oppression movements, Ho spent his life redefining the relationship between art and politics.

Last year UIP published Yellow Power Yellow Soul, a collection that explores the life, work, and persona of the larger-than-life “Celestial Green Giant.” Fred Ho was involved with the book and was honored at a book event at The Museum of Chinese in America.

For the past few years Ho had been “at war” with colorectal cancer.  He was 56 years old.



Erica Lorraine Williams is an assistant professor of anthropology at Spelman College.  She answered some questions about her book Sex Tourism in Bahia: Ambiguous Entanglements.

Q: For your book research you attended meetings of the group “Aprosba” in Brazil. What is this group?

Erica Lorraine Williams: Aprosba was an organization founded by and for sex workers in Salvador in 1997. For over a decade, Aprosba did important work to improve the lives and working conditions of sex workers in Salvador. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, Aprosba raised awareness about safer sex practices, as well as the violence, stigma and discrimination that sex workers often faced. Aprosba held weekly meetings for sex workers where they distributed free condoms and had workshops on topics ranging from dental health, sexually transmitted infections, contraception, etc. The meetings also provided an important space for politicization, bonding, and the sharing of knowledge. Aprosba would also travel to different points of prostitution in the city to distribute educational materials. As I wrote in a column for the Society of Cultural Anthropology,  Aprosba has recently closed due to lack of funding.

Q: How is sex tourism linked to the economy of the Bahian capital city of Salvador?

Williams: Salvador, Bahia is very much dependent on tourism. Sex tourism is part and parcel of the tourism industry. It is woven into the fabric of cultural tourism. I interviewed numerous tour guides and cultural producers who had encounters with foreign tourists who expected romantic and sexual experiences as a part of their trip.

Q: Does the Bahian state encourage the characterization of the area as a “racial-sexual paradise” for means of tourism?

Williams: The Bahian state would never admit encouraging the characterization of Bahia as a “racial-sexual paradise,” but it does nonetheless by marketing Bahia as the “land of happiness,” with sexualized images of women and men of African descent. On a national level, there was a recent controversy when Adidas released two T-shirts for the World Cup with sexualized images of Brazilian women. One T-shirt had a heart that was also an upside down bunda (buttocks) in a Brazilian bikini, and the other had the caption “Looking to Score in Brazil” with a curvaceous, tan, woman in a tiny bikini. President Dilma Rousseff and Embratur were rightly outraged. As of Feb 25, Adidas agreed to pull the sexualized T-shirts. However, what this story leaves out is that Embratur, and other Brazilian tourist agencies have also played a role in perpetuating sexualized images of Brazilian women in tourist propaganda since the 1970s.

The Bahian state government utilizes an eroticized blackness and Afro-Brazilian culture to “sell” Bahia to foreign tourists. While governmental and civil society campaigns tend to define sex tourism as something that happens when the state turns away its watchful eye, my research suggests that something different is actually happening in Salvador. The eroticization and commodification of black culture and black bodies creates a situation where the tourist’s desires for “exotic culture” and erotic, hyper-sexualized black bodies are often inextricable. Thus, Salvador is characterized by both the lure of Afro-Brazilian cultural heritage as well as the possibilities of sex.

Q: Have you noticed any parallels between the sex trafficking industry in Bahia and in the United States?

Williams: I have noticed that for many people, when they hear the term “sex tourism,” they automatically think “sex trafficking.” However, I think it’s very important to distinguish between sex tourism and sex trafficking. They are not the same thing. The literature on sex trafficking suggests that women are forced, deceived or coerced into traveling abroad, and that once they arrive at their destinations, they must endure debt bondage, forced servitude, and slavery-like conditions (Global Alliance against Trafficking in Women 2000). This was not the case of the women I worked with in Salvador. They worked autonomously, were not controlled by pimps, and traveled freely. As Kamala Kempadoo argues in the context of the Caribbean, “the equation of trafficking with prostitution in the trafficking discourse renders sexual labor as coerced labor and, as such, misrepresents sexual agency” (2007: 83).

CHAME, the Humanitarian Center for the Support of Women, a local non-governmental organization based in Salvador, referred to sex tourism as a “gateway” or “tip of the iceberg” to trafficking. In other words, it could lead to trafficking if a Brazilian meets a foreigner who then invites her to go abroad, but it is not the same thing as trafficking. Brazilian sex worker rights activist Gabriela Leite, who passed away in October 2013, argued that the problem with confusing the concepts of trafficking with sex tourism is that now a woman who travels with her own money is automatically assumed to be a “victim of trafficking.”

Q: How has the reception of your book been so far?

Williams: I have been absolutely thrilled at the reception so far! When the book was first released in November, I had a book signing and reception at the National Women’s Studies Association conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. I had another book signing at the American Anthropological Association Meetings in Chicago a few weeks later. I have given talks about the book at Davidson College, Bennett College, UNC Chapel Hill, Duke University, and of course my home institution, Spelman College. I have also been invited to Skype classes who have read my book at University of South Florida, University of California, Riverside, University of Pittsburgh, Wellesley College, and Spelman College. I have also been interviewed for the podcasts, The Critical Lede, and Left of Black.

Donald G. Godfrey is a broadcast educator, professional broadcaster, and historian. Godfrey is also a past president of the national Broadcast Education Association (BEA), a former editor of the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media, and served as president of the National Council of Communication Associations (CCA). His new book C. Francis Jenkins: Pioneer of Film and Television profiles one of America’s greatest independent inventors.

Q: What film and television products of today can be traced back to the inventions of C. Francis Jenkins?

Donald Godfrey: Jenkins was an important inventor in two major industries — film and television. And we must remember that seldom is a ‘product’ of today the result of a singular inventor. With that in mind Jenkins contributed significantly.

In film Jenkins created and sold his controversial Phantoscope projector, which lead to today’s large-screen movies. His projector, which he perfected with Thomas Armat, transformed the film industry from the nickelodeon to the large screen.

Jenkins created equipment for independent film makers such as Burton Holmes, Siegmund Lubin, Herber J. Miles and Carl Laemmle. These film independents were a force in the organization of today’s industry structure and Jenkins supported their film making. Continue reading

The Journals Department is excited to add conference registrations to the list of services it offers to its society and association clients.

Press staff members Cheryl Jestis and Paul Arroyo handled the registration desk for the annual meeting of the Appalachian Studies Association in late March. Attendees, many of whom were not pre-registered, were able to register on-site for not only the conference, but meal and activity options as well. Cheryl and Paul reported that while traffic was occasionally heavy, all attendees were registered and processed quickly and efficiently.

Whereas the Journals Department’s services have largely focused on journal publication, conference registration services are a way for the Press to raise additional revenue while at the same time providing a valuable service to its clients.

“The Journals Department is very pleased to be able to provide this new service for our partners,” said Clydette Wantland, Journals Manager. “We are looking forward to offering conference services to more of our clients in the near future”.

On Friday, March 14, 2014, Koritha Mitchell, author of  Living with Lynching:  African American Lynching Plays, Performance, and Citizenship, 1890-1930, spoke at the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library of Congress.

At the event Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee presented the author with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition.

The program, which was presented by the Library’s Humanities and Social Sciences Division, ran on C-SPAN2′s BookTV Sunday, March 30th.


Cover for chung: In Pursuit of Gold: Chinese American Miners and Merchants in the American West. Click for larger imageFor the month of April we have lowered the e-book list price of five Asian American Experience titles in the University of Illinois Press catalog to $2.99.

In Pursuit of Gold: Chinese American Miners and Merchants in the American West by Sue Fawn Chung
Both a history of an overlooked community and a well-rounded reassessment of prevailing assumptions about Chinese immigrants in the American West, In Pursuit of Gold brings to life in rich detail the world of turn-of-the-century mining towns in the Northwest. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for BUCKLEY: Yellow Power, Yellow Soul: The Radical Art of Fred Ho. Click for larger imageYellow Power, Yellow Soul: The Radical Art of Fred Ho Edited by Roger N. Buckley and Tamara Roberts
Saxophonist Fred Ho is an unabashedly revolutionary artist who offers up music that is illuminating, daring, informative, scholarly, ambitious, brashly confident and vigorous, meticulous, extravagant, and emotionally sweeping. A foremost voice in the history of West Coast Asian American jazz, the East Coast avant-garde, and numerous antioppression movements, Ho has spent his life redefining the relationship between art and politics. In this book, scholars, artists, and friends give their unique takes on Ho’s career, articulating his artistic contributions, their joint projects, and personal stories. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for DAVÉ: Indian Accents: Brown Voice and Racial Performance in American Television and Film. Click for larger imageIndian Accents: Brown Voice and Racial Performance in American Television and Film by Shilpa S. Davé
Amid immigrant narratives of assimilation, Indian Accents focuses on the representations and stereotypes of South Asian characters in American film and television. Exploring key examples in popular culture ranging from Peter Sellers’s portrayal of Hrundi Bakshi in the 1968 film The Party to contemporary representations such as Apu from The Simpsons and characters in Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, Shilpa S. Davé develops the ideas of “accent,” “brownface,” and “brown voice” as new ways to explore the racialization of South Asians beyond visual appearance. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for FUENTECILLA: Fighting from a Distance: How Filipino Exiles Helped Topple a Dictator. Click for larger imageFighting from a Distance: How Filipino Exiles Helped Topple a Dictator by Jose V. Fuentecilla
During February 1986, a grassroots revolution overthrew the fourteen-year dictatorship of former president Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines. In this book, Jose V. Fuentecilla describes how Filipino exiles and immigrants in the United States played a crucial role in this victory, acting as the overseas arm of the opposition that helped return their country to democracy. A member of one of the major U.S.-based anti-Marcos movements, Fuentecilla tells the story of how small groups of Filipino exiles overcame fear, apathy, and personal differences to form opposition organizations after Marcos’s imposition of martial law, and learned to lobby the U.S. government during the Cold War. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Cover for robinson: Pacific Citizens: Larry and Guyo Tajiri and Japanese American Journalism in the World War II Era. Click for larger imagePacific Citizens: Larry and Guyo Tajiri and Japanese American Journalism in the World War II Era Edited, with an Introduction and Notes, by Greg Robinson
Offering a window into a critical era in Japanese American life, Pacific Citizens collects key writings of Larry S. Tajiri, a multitalented journalist, essayist, and popular culture maven. He and his wife, Guyo, who worked by his side, became leading figures in Nisei political life as the central purveyors of news for and about Japanese Americans during World War II, both those confined in government camps and others outside. The Tajiris made the community newspaper the Pacific Citizen a forum for liberal and progressive views on politics, civil rights, and democracy, insightfully addressing issues of assimilation, multiracialism, and U.S. foreign relations. Buy the Kindle version here. Buy the Kobo version here. Buy the Google Play version here. Buy the Nook version here.

Nathaniel Grow is an assistant professor of legal studies at the University of Georgia’s Terry College of Business. He answered some questions about his new book Baseball on Trial: The Origin of Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption.

Q: Why do you think so many other commentators have failed to place the U.S. Supreme Court’s Federal Baseball decision in its appropriate historical context?

Nathaniel Grow: I think there are a couple reasons.  First, the Court interprets the phrase “interstate commerce” differently today than it did in 1922, defining the term much more broadly now than it did back then (today, almost any business activity qualifies as interstate commerce). So legal commentators trained in recent decades will naturally find it difficult to understand how the Court could have concluded that Major League Baseball (MLB) wasn’t engaged in interstate commerce in 1922—and thus wasn’t subject to the Sherman Antitrust Act—when the Court would clearly reach a different result today. Continue reading

Anna Howard Shaw was a suffrage leader, an ordained minister, a physician and “an outrageous woman for her generation.”

Trisha Franzen, a professor of women’s and gender studies at Albion College and the author Anna Howard Shaw: The Work of Woman Suffrage, profiles the subject of this new biography in a new video.

Albion College: Who Is Anna Howard Shaw? from Albion College on Vimeo.


June 1, 2014, is the next application deadline for the NWSA/University of Illinois Press First Book Prize.

From the NWSA press release:
The National Women’s Studies Association and the University of Illinois Press are pleased to announce a competition for the best dissertation or first book manuscript by a single author in the field of women’s and gender studies. Applicants must be National Women’s Studies Association members.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Activism
  • Coloniality, postcoloniality and neo-imperialism
  • Cultural production (media, film, music, literature)
  • Feminist knowledge production
  • Feminist pedagogy
  • Feminist politics
  • Feminist science and environmental studies
  • Feminist theory
  • Gender and disability
  • Gender and globalization
  • Gender and labor practices
  • Gender and militarism
  • Gender and queer sexuality
  • Gender and violence
  • Gendered experiences of people of color
  • Girls studies
  • Global and transnational feminisms
  • Institutions and public policies
  • Intersectionality
  • Theories and practices of coalition
  • Transgender studies
  • Women of color feminisms

If a winner of the competition is selected, he or she will receive a publication contract with the University of Illinois Press.


Previous winners include Erica Lorraine Williams’ Sex Tourism in Bahia: Ambiguous Entanglements (published 2013), Sophie Richter-Devroe’s manuscript How Women Do Politics: Peacebuilding, Resistance, and Survival in Palestine, and Christina Holmes’ Ecological Borderlands: Decolonizing Body, Nature, and Spirit in Chicana Feminist Praxis.

Cheryl Janifer LaRoche is a lecturer in American studies at the University of Maryland. She answered some questions about her book Free Black Communities and the Underground Railroad: The Geography of Resistance.

Q: You write that the Underground Railroad is a “well known but poorly understood icon of American lore.” Why do you think the national perception is so muddled and the contributions of free Black communities, Black Churches and fraternal societies are left out of the story?

Cheryl LaRoche: Well, think of it as a perfect storm. Several factors converge leading to the lack of understanding of the contributions and involvement of free Blacks and their organizations in the Underground Railroad. If you rely on standard research strategies you are going to miss much of the story of African American involvement in the Underground Railroad. The organization and activism of free blacks and those who escaped from slavery had to be very secretive since kidnapping and re-enslavement were constant threats and slavery loomed as a very real possibility even for those who had been born free. The story of Solomon Northrup in Twelve Years a Slave is a perfect example. Add to this the fact that those who wrote about the Underground Railroad did so from their own vantage point, often years after the fact, and generally did not have access to, or even know to look for, the stories of black communities, their  churches and fraternal societies. Black church histories began mentioning their active role in the Underground Railroad many, many years after the fact.  So we end up with the most common and accessible stories repeated over and over until they became part of American lore.

Q: How does archaeology play a critical role in learning about the Underground Railroad?

LaRoche: Archaeology adds another piece to this complex puzzle. As we bring fresh ideas and a new understanding to the geography of the Underground Railroad, the tools that archaeologists use such as surveying, mapping, historical documentation, ethnography all can have a major impact on the discovery of previously unknown sites before a shovel ever goes into the ground. Once we first identify and then locate a community, archaeologists using excavation techniques can give us some idea of the layout and where and how particular families might have lived. Depending on the conditions and the state of preservation, we could possibly learn about what people were growing in their gardens and farms, what they were eating and the material conditions of their lives. And of course, if people think they have tunnels or other underground features we are right for looking more deeply into those controversial questions.

Q: What are the different components of the geography of resistance and how was the land “used in support of freedom?”

LaRoche: Well, I spend an entire chapter laying out the different components of the geography of resistance because it is not just one or two things. Briefly, I would say that the quality of the land where these black settlements can be found, its desirability, or lack of desirability, is probably the key indicator of where African Americans settled in the pre-Civil War period. Add to that the locations of prominent abolitionist centers and their proximity to free black communities, and you can begin to predict where to look for black settlements in relationship to the Underground Railroad. But there is another aspect to the geography of resistance—one that involves the use of the land while freedom seekers are moving through the landscape and physically escaping slavery. River banks, iron furnaces, hollowed trees and caves all become part of the landscape of escape that supported freedom. The heavens too, primarily the North Star figure into that geography of resistance.

Q: Why did you chose to focus on the geographical elements of the Underground Railroad?

LaRoche: Well, I am an archaeologist, after all. But also, if you think about it, the Underground Railroad is a land based operation so focusing on the landscape makes sense. Those escaping slavery had to physically move through the various geographies that I discuss in the book. Whether they were moving from one location to another or finding sanctuary in a community or home, it all had a geographic position. So it seems natural to study the Underground Railroad from that vantage point. It adds an immediacy to the topic. We get to move through the land with those who are escaping slavery and be with them as they get lost or try to navigate their way out of slavery through unknown territory. You can almost feel the freezing river or experience the anxiety that physical obstacles provoked. I think you get a much better understanding of what it really took to escape when you study the geography of the Underground Railroad.

Q: Why were the AME, Baptist Churches, Prince Hall Masons and Quakers so crucial to the Underground Railroad?

LaRoche: These were among the activist organizations involved in the Underground Railroad. While anti-slavery societies often receive the attention of historians and researchers, the churches and fraternal societies were the community action arm where the work was taking place on the ground. All of these are community organizations. People came together to form churches; they had to gather for fraternal meetings so a seamless, logical structure that had nothing to do with escape from slavery was already in place. These denominations, institutions and organizations generally had buildings associated with them, all of this made them useful for the work of the Underground Railroad while not arousing too much suspicion. Repeatedly, the most successful escapes and the most successful operators relied on an air of normalcy combined with astuteness, respectability, piousness and trust as they subverted the slaveholding system.

Q: What role did Black activism in the form of slave narratives, speeches and newspapers etc. have in the Underground Railroad and publicizing methods of escape?

LaRoche: Always, there was a tension between telling too much and not saying enough. Slave narratives and newspapers alerted the public to both the hardships and the dramatic role that the Underground Railroad was playing in helping escapees come out of slavery. At the same time, the methods of escape and those involved also had to be protected. Those who had the ear of the public spoke out against slavery and in some instances people like Jermain Loguen openly taunted slaveholders by describing their work on the Underground Railroad. Most activists were far more vocal about the fact of escape rather than the methods of escape.  We are still figuring out those methods and that has been one of the most intriguing aspects of the stories in the book. As I say in the book, they did such a good job that 200 years later we are still trying to figure out exactly how it all operated. And it is the work of free blacks and black communities that has been the most important contribution to the new story of the Underground Railroad. This is the new narrative landscape of the Underground Railroad for the 21st century.