GradelS15Jesse Jackson Jr. gained his Congressional seat by winning a special election to replace Rep. Mel Reynolds.

Reynolds resigned after being convicted of sexual misconduct. Jackson himself resigned as the Representative of the Second Congressional District of Illinois facing charges of fraud, conspiracy, making false statements, mail fraud, wire fraud, and criminal forfeiture. The details of these charges included his use of campaign funds to buy more than one cashmere cape.

According to one of  the Congressman’s former colleagues, Jackson is set to be released this week from a federal prison camp to serve the final months of his sentence in a Washington, D.C. halfway house.

In their book Corrupt Illinois, Thomas Gradel and Dick Simpson recount Jackson’s day before a U.S. District Court Judge:

“I am guilty, your honor,” Jackson said, entering his plea. “Sir, for years I lived off my campaign.  I used monies that should have been used for campaign purposes, and I used them for myself personally, to benefit me personally.” He also acknowledges the accuracy of the government’s twenty-two-page statement detailing his criminal behavior.

Jackson is just one of many politicians whose extravagant behavior has landed them in what is seemingly a revolving door at the big house reserved just for those who have held elected office in Illinois.

As the authors write, (citing another famous Illinoisian):

Like Bill Murray’s day in the movie Groundhog Day, it keeps happening again and again.


As a unit at a Very Large University, we here at UIP pay avid attention to the NCAA basketball tournaments, even though the Fighting Illini have of late fallen into a spell of (shall we say) hoops misfortune.

To keep living the tourney hype, the Press has put together a bracket of our own to parallel events on the hardwood. This Sweet Little Sixteen involves some of our boldest book covers squaring off in an aesthetic dogfight. No reflexive regional loyalties. No alums doing embarrassing things with foam. No sports radio screaming. It’s a pure competition that rewards beauty, the discerning eye, and the technical mastery of complex software.

Presenting the UIP Sweet Sixteen (click to enlarge):

bracket (3)

WeissMeredith L. Weiss and Michael J. Bosia, editors of Global Homophobia: States, Movements, and the Politics of Oppression, were awarded the Scholar Award by the LGBTQA Caucus of the International Studies Association.

The award was announced in February at the 56th annual convention of the International Studies Association in New Orleans.


SpaldingF14We are pleased to announce that Appalachian Dance: Creativity and Continuity in Six Communities by Susan Eike Spalding has been awarded the Weatherford Award in non-fiction by Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association. The award is given to books that “best illuminate the challenges, personalities, and unique qualities of the Appalachian South.” The Weatherford winners will discuss their books at the Appalachian Studies Association Conference on Saturday, March 28, 2015, at 4:00 in room 102 of the Roger-Stout building at East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee.

One award judge noted, “Appalachian Dance is not just for people interested in dance or in artistic expression. It speaks to a larger audience interested in the experiences of people in Appalachia—experiences conditioned by local and national changes in demographics, migration, economics, politics, social trends, and folk revivals. This volume describes the ebb and flow of community.”


GradelS15When Illinois Rep. Aaron Schock announced he’d be resigning from the U.S. Congress it was seen by many as yet another example of the state’s seamy political underbelly.

As detailed in Corrupt Illinois: Patronage, Cronyism and Criminality, Aaron Schock is not the first Illinois congressman to get into trouble for allegedly using campaign funds and/or taxapayers’ money for personal items. Illinois congressmen Jesse Jackson Jr., Dan Rostenkowski and Mel Reynolds were all convicted on public corruption charges.

As Corrupt Illinois co-author Dick Simpson notes in Crain’s Chicago Business, it doesn’t end there.

“Ten other Illinois congressmen over the past 30 years have been connected to shady dealings and unethical behavior,” Simpson writes. “What all of these wayward congressmen share is hubris and arrogance.”

Observers of Illinois politics can now add Schock’s phantom SUV mileage to a long list of other schemes detailed by Thomas Gradel and Dick Simpson in Corrupt Illinois which range from a creative stamps-for-cash exchange to old fashioned bank fraud.

The authors note that 1,913 government officials and their cronies were convicted in federal court of public corruption from 1976-2012.

Along with the rouges gallery, Simpson and Gradel shine a light on the environment that has made Illinois an incubator for political malfeasance. There are prescriptive measures the authors say can be taken to restore the system.

As Gradel writes, “It is time to cure the culture of corruption that produces Aaron Schocks.”

GrowS14Baseball on Trial by Nathaniel Grow is co-winner of the 2015 Larry Ritter Book Award from the Society of American Baseball Research.

The award recognizes the best new baseball book primarily set in the Deadball Era (1901-1919) published during the previous calendar year.

Baseball on Trial is awarded alongside Chuck Kimberly’s The Days of Wee Willie, Old Cy and Baseball War: Scenes from the Dawn of the Deadball Era, 1900-1903 (McFarland & Co). It is the first time in the history of the award that co-winners were named.

Baseball on Trial is the first comprehensive account of the 1922 Supreme Court decision that gave rise to professional baseball’s antitrust exemption also won an honor for legal history. Baseball on Trial was awarded the David J. Langum Sr. Prize by the Langum Charitable Trust, 2014.




bolshevikDear Bolshevik,
With spring nearly here, I am suddenly facing the prospect that I will, in fact, graduate from college and have to find a job. I have spent the last four years earning a liberal arts degree and, as I hate the smell of coffee, hope to find a position in one of the few other fields that may value my skills: academic publishing. While confident I can handle the theories and grand ideas you people talk about all day, I’m a little worried about what I’d wear to work. Have yoga pants become acceptable yet? Or should I hit the thrift store and hope an eccentric banker dumped his wardrobe there before trekking into the Himalayas to find him/herself? Signed, Pretty Fly for a Wide Tie

Fly: Thank you for writing. Take comfort, comrade. The world of academic publishing for the most part operates under the “Business Casual” dress code, albeit one that regrettably hasn’t expanded to admit yoga pants. By and large, academic publishing—like academia at large—bears some responsibility for the depletion of the worldwide khaki supply, and you won’t go wrong peddling sweaters or charming socks to the staff, either. You can get away Continue reading

lewisA few months ago, a friend and I discussed one of those pop culture questions that go just right with a pint of beer. Which living celebrity has been famous for the longest period of time?

We quickly altered the rules to celebrities who have actually achieved something other than being born; this caveat eliminated royalty (Queen Elizabeth II, known around the world since her childhood in the 1920s-30s) and the children of now-deceased celebrities (for instance Isabella Rossellini, famous long before she became a model-actress thanks to her mother being Ingrid Bergman).

Mickey Rooney, long the hands-down reigning champ, had already died by the time of our conversation. The best we could do initially for a date-to-beat was 1949, when Kirk Douglas made the film Champion and received a nomination for Best Actor. Hockey icon Gordie Howe then trumped Douglas, as in 1948 Mr. Hockey began to make waves for the Detroit Red Wings. Baseball star Yogi Berra, though debuting a year earlier, really gained fame as an All-Star catcher in ’48. Continue reading

June 1, 2015, 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 and a $1,000 advance.

The 2014 winner of the Book Prize was Ethel Tungohan, the Grant Notley Postdoctoral Research Fellow in political science at the University of Alberta. Tungoham won for her project, “Migrant Care Worker Activism in Canada.”

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.

parry-gilesSome would say Hillary Clinton makes news. But in the national mind it sometimes seems that Hillary Clinton is news, its very personification, an irresistible-to-media hybrid of politico, symbol, and celebrity sentenced to have every action scrutinized and elaborated upon to a degree virtually unheard-of for a sitting politician, let alone one who, like Clinton, currently lacks a job.

Has it always been thus? In Hillary Clinton in the News, Shawn J. Parry-Giles ventures into  the past to reveal that, oh yeah, it’s always been thus. Since Clinton first acquired a national profile in 1992, the media has cast her in roles with enough variety to challenge Meryl Streep: surrogate campaigner, legislative advocate, financial investor, international emissary, scorned wife, senator, political candidate, Secretary of State, and (at present) presumptive presidential candidate. Whatever your thoughts on what’s happening with this email business, the unbridled amount of coverage is nothing new. Nor is the fact that questions surrounding authenticity and gender unleash a certain kind of frenzy in those providing the coverage:

Members of the press could hardly stand the anticipation of getting Hillary Clinton into the political arena. The excitement ultimately produced some rather bizarre metaphors. Chris Bury from Nightline used “catnip” references to mark the buildup to a Clinton-Giuliani race: “a matchup between Mrs. Clinton and New York Mayor Giuliani is pure catnip for politicians and pundits desperate for a post-impeachment fix.” Resorting to salivation language, Chris Wallace of ABC’s Nightline noted that the New York press was “already salivating over the prospect” of a Clinton campaign. Also staying with a food motif, James Carville, appearing on NBC Nightly News, talked of how the New York press was “licking their chops” for such a dream campaign. The most hyperbolic reference came in the form of a sexualized (and masculine) metaphor used by Jack Newfield of the New York Post, when he suggested on Nightline that Clinton’s entrance into the Senate race “would be Viagra for the media.”

These linguistic references associated with an impending campaign of a political woman ranged from insatiable sensations of hunger and pharmaceutically induced sexual arousal to plant-induced stimulations in cats. These metaphors alone showed the confusion journalists faced in comprehending Clinton’s senatorial run. The reference to Viagra in particular reinforced the ongoing masculinization and sexualization of the political sphere for women.