If Harold Arlen built a reputation for chronicling love on the rocks, Cole Porter gained lasting fame and the adulation of a grateful culture for his celebrations of successful romance. Oh, the man worked the cloudier side of the street, with “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye,” for instance, though if you’re in a position to say goodbye repeatedly the two of you must be doing something right. “Love for Sale” is no walk in the clouds and Porter built “Miss Otis Regrets” around a murder by a jilted lover.

Still, we venerate him more for asking us to use our mentality, for taking us on trips to the moon and for sharing the timeless advice to declaim a few lines from Othella. You could conduct a very long love affair, even a marriage, just quoting from him, and it would be years before you had to repeat yourself, which is more than must of us can say about our own relationships. That said, be careful about when you shout out, “You’re Ovaltine!”

randel et. alIn the new UIP book A Cole Porter Companion, a parade of performers and scholars offers essays on little-known aspects of the master tunesmith’s life and art. Here are Porter’s days as a Yale wunderkind and his nights as the exemplar of louche living; the triumph of Kiss Me Kate and shocking failure of You Never Know; and his spinning rhythmic genius and a turkey dinner into “You’re the Top” while cultural and economic forces take “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” in unforeseen directions. Other entries explore notes on ongoing Porter scholarship and delve into his formative works, performing career, and long-overlooked contributions to media as varied as film and ballet. Prepared with the cooperation of the Porter archives, A Cole Porter Companion is an invaluable guide for the fans and scholars of this beloved American genius.

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nadlerThe professional judgment of gatekeepers defined the American news agenda for decades.  Making the News Popular, now available from the University of Illinois Press, examines how subsequent events brought on a post-professional period that opened the door for imagining that consumer preferences should drive news production–and unleashed both crisis and opportunity on journalistic institutions.

Anthony Nadler charts a paradigm shift, from market research’s reach into the editorial suite in the 1970s through contemporary experiments in collaborative filtering and social news sites like Reddit and Digg. As Nadler shows, the transition was and is a rocky one. It also goes back much further than many experts suppose. Idealized visions of demand-driven news face obstacles with each iteration. Furthermore, the post-professional philosophy fails to recognize how organizations mobilize interest in news and public life.

Nadler argues that this civic function of news organizations has been neglected in debates on the future of journalism. Only with a critical grasp of news outlets’ role in stirring broad interest in democratic life, he says, might journalism’s digital crisis push us toward building a more robust and democratic news media.

Wide-ranging and original, Making the News Popular offers a critical examination of an important, and still evolving, media phenomenon.

On July 17, 1972, disaster struck in Oquawka, for on that day a bolt from dark skies struck down a 6,500-lb. elephant named Norma Jean.

The star of the Clark & Walters Circus, Norma Jean had journeyed to the little Mississippi River town as part of a showbiz institution that went back over fifty years. A roustabout named Possum Red cared for the elephant and was leading her away when the lightning bolt struck. Possum Red awakened on the ground thirty feet away, according to the stories.

Norma Jean did not survive. Neither did the Clark & Walters Circus. The circus business was a hard enough dollar, what with rising transport costs, and then the business lost its star.

You might wonder: just what do you do with a 6,500-lb. elephant carcass that’s laying there in your town? It sounds like Oquawkans wondered, too. Soon they laid the elephant to rest in a large grave where the pachyderm had died. But the memory lingered on. I think we would agree that any elephant struck by lightning in your town was destined to become a part of local history. Wade Meloan, a local pharmacist, often drove by the grave, then put up a marker commemorating the event. In time he raised enough money to purchase the a Norma Jean monument that, after some repairs, remains an Oquawka landmark.

yesilSome background on this weekend’s events from the new University of Illinois book Media in New Turkey: The Origins of an Authoritarian Neoliberal State, by Bilge Yesil.

While the Turkish model was drawing praise, the country was indeed experiencing serious democratic deficits, such as prosecution of activists and journalists and criminalization of dissent, and the so-called Turkish economic miracle was beginning to unravel. In 2012, the prison population had jumped to 132,000 (from 59,429 in 2002) including journalists, university students, and human rights activists. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, Turkey was the world leader in jailed journalists in 2012 and 2013, outpacing Iran and China. Hundreds of Kurdish human rights activists, local politicians, and journalists were held in pretrial detention based on charges of antistate activities. Courts were busy prosecuting dozens of individuals on charges of insulting state figures and offending the sensibilities of Muslims. Tens of thousands of websites were blocked for content that allegedly violated the principle of national unity and threatened family values. Dozens of prominent journalists were fired or resigned under the AKP government’s pressures.

As a matter of fact, the AKP’s authoritarian tendencies had been in the making for some time (not only in the media but in several other arenas), and its much-acclaimed democratic achievements (e.g., limiting the role of the military in politics, undertaking EU reforms, initiating the Kurdish peace process) were riddled with contradictions while hidden behind the veneer of the Turkish model. What the AKP had done since coming to power in 2002 was less about democratization and more about the reconsolidation of Turkey’s enduring authoritarian political culture, only this time mixed with the party’s particular brand of Islamism, nationalism, and neoliberalism.

bukowczykThe latest e-book in our trendsetting Common Threads seriesImmigrant Identity and the Politics of Citizenship draws on decades of scholarship to provide the context for current discussions about immigration, a topic of national importance and without a doubt one of the flash points of this year’s presidential election.

Editor John Bukowczyk curates fourteen articles that explore the challenges of the myriad divisions and hierarchies that immigrants to the United States must navigate and the cultural and political atmospheres they encounter. The book includes a substantial introduction from the editor that highlights the themes linking each chapter.

Topics cover an enormous ranges of groups, ideas, and theoretical approaches. Articles examine: the fraught relationships between Native Americans and immigrants; foreign policy and immigration control in New York state through 1882; American immigration policy regarding the disabled in the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century; the British Caribbean experience in the mid-1920s; race, nationality, and the so-called “New Immigrant” working class; how race and nation get constructed on the U.S.-Mexico border; ethnic and religious tolerance in the World War II era; love, family, and non-whiteness in California between 1925 and 1950; the wide-ranging impact of the 1965 Immigration Act; and the ways Cuba’s gay exile community mediated Cold War foreign policy and U.S. citizenship. The complete Table of Contents is here.

ConnellS16Frank Zeidler transformed Milwaukee during his three terms as mayor of the Wisconsin city.

However, the kind of change that Zeidler, a member of the Socialist Party of America, brought to Milwaukee was not well met by everyone. Mid-century conservatives were unhappy with the New Deal policies that had taken hold in Milwaukee. Those conservatives saw the progressive policies as the source of the nation’s undoing.

In Conservative Counterrevolution: Challenging Liberalism in 1950s Milwaukee, Tula A. Connell writes about the battles between Zeidler and the business and political forces that challenged his initiatives in public housing, integration, and other areas.

On April 10th, 2016, Connell delivered the Frank P. Zeidler Memorial Lecture at the Milwaukee Public Library’s Centennial Hall. During the lecture she discussed the anti-progressives whom opposed Zeidler such as William Grede who believed government overreach was a problem.

“To Grede and other conservatives like him,” Connell said. “The biggest threat to the United States was socialism from within, not communism from without.”

In the video below, you can view Connell’s talk and also see a panel discussion with the author, Mike Nichols and State Representative Fred Kessler, moderated by Joanne Williams.

Answers below.

1. The 1994 Illini defense boasted one of the most talented linebacker corps in Big Ten history. Dana Howard won the Butkus Award, teammate Kevin Hardy would earn it the next year, and sackmaster Simeon Rice continued his assault on the record books. Which fourth linebacker made up the faculty of Linebacker U. that season?

2. A number of ghosts purportedly haunt campus, with Chief Illiniwek himself manifesting from time to time at the YMCA. The most persistent specter story involves a female spirit roaming the English Building, the restless victim of which misfortune in the early 1900s?

3. An immigrant from war-torn China, Ven Te Chow edited The Handbook of Applied Hydrology, a volume that featured 45 specialist contributors. Chow’s volume became a standard text around the world and brought generations of experts to which C-U landmark?





1. Future eight-year NFL veteran John Holocek

2. She drowned in the building’s swimming pool when it was a dormitory for women

3. Boneyard Creek, where Chow made many of his pioneering hydrological observations

To commemorate Bastille Day, the University of Illinois Press celebrates its backlist of books on France and the French.

jordanLe Jazz: Jazz and French Cultural Identity, by Matthew F. Jordan
Matthew F. Jordan deftly blends textual analysis, critical theory, and cultural history in a wide-ranging and highly readable account of how jazz progressed from a foreign cultural innovation met with resistance by French traditionalists to a naturalized component of the country’s identity. Jordan draws on sources including ephemeral critical writing in the press and twentieth-century French literature to trace the country’s reception of jazz, from the Cakewalk dance craze and the music’s significance as a harbinger of cultural recovery after World War II to its place within French ethnography and cultural hybridity.

Countering the histories of jazz’s celebratory reception in France, Jordan delves into the reluctance of many French citizens to accept jazz with the same enthusiasm as the liberal humanists and cosmopolitan crowds of the 1930s. Jordan argues that some listeners and critics perceived jazz as a threat to traditional French culture, and only as France modernized its identity did jazz become compatible with notions of Frenchness. Le Jazz speaks to the power of enlivened debate about popular culture, art, and expression as the means for constructing a vibrant cultural identity, revealing crucial keys to understanding how the French have come to see themselves in the postwar world.

schehrFrench Gay Modernism, by Lawrence R. Schehr
The first four decades of the twentieth century saw male homosexuality appear in French literature with increasing frequency and boldness. Departing from earlier, more muted presentations, André Gide, Marcel Proust, Jean Cocteau, René Crevel, Francis Carco, and a host of less-famous writers, all created overtly gay characters are gave them increasingly numerous and significant roles. Far from being simply shunned or marginalized, a number of these works were instead accepted as canonical.

Chosen as a Choice Academic Title for 2006, French Gay Modernism is the only study devoted to the analyzing these representations of male homosexuality in early twentieth-century French literature. Lawrence R. Schehr explains how earlier representations of homosexuality, encoded rather than conspicuous, served as a basis for later writers to treat homosexual behavior as sets of relationships rather than as secrets or scandals. The prominence of authors such as Proust and Gide also helped other writers take up homosexual relationships in their work, often by adopting the same representational strategies.

Schehr doesn’t limit his study to high literary culture, however. He devotes considerable attention to popular writers whose homosexual characters encounter contempt, scorn, and worse and whose portrayals of homosexual couples and society were at once more open and more at risk.

ladurieThe Peasants of Languedoc, by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie
Hailed as a pioneering work of “total history” when it was published in France in 1966, Le Roy Ladurie’s volume combines elements of human geography, historical demography, economic history, and folk culture in a broad depiction of a great agrarian cycle, lasting from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. It describes the conflicts and contradictions of a traditional peasant society in which the rise in population was not matched by increases in wealth and food production.

On July 15, 1805, William Rector undertook an important, if arduous, task. By government order, he was to survey the Buffalo Trace, also known as the Vincennes Trace, a makeshift road pounded down by migrating herds of bison. “The trace varied from twelve to twenty feet wide,” wrote the Department of Agriculture, “and had been in use for centuries. In some places, it had worn through solid rock to a depth of twelve feet.”

Treaties with the Delaware and Piankashaw nations had given the United States land along a mythical straight line the followed the Trace’s general route. Rector would draw that line on the maps of the day. He and other surveyors would also note salt licks, mines, and other important details.

The Buffalo Trace was an essential route for settlers bound for the Indiana and Illinois Countries. By and large the road ran along high ground–to bypass marshes–and through valleys–to avoid bison-unfriendly steep hills. Native Americans had used the Trace for ages before French explorers trouped along in the 1700s. During the Revolutionary War, the Trace provided George Rogers Clark with a troop road to attack the British—most of them actually Canadians sympathetic to American independence—at Vincennes, Indiana. Clark’s victory helped encourage the Crown to hand over the Northwest Territory to the United States. Illinois-bound settlers soon passed through Vincennes in droves on their way to cheap prairie land.

The Trace became a postal route connecting Kaskaskia, the capital of Illinois, to Louisville. Indiana Territory governor William Henry Harrison convinced the federal government to encourage a line of taverns along the Trace to aid, intoxicate, and shelter travelers heading west. Needing the Native Americans’ cooperation, the government signed the treaties that launched William Rector on his survey, and tavern-keepers on their business plans. Later on, a portion of the route became known as Harrison’s Road.

Past the Wabash River, the Trace split. Part of it ran west to the Mississippi at Kaskakia. The other fork went north through modern-day Danville and Hoopeston to suburban Blue Island to the swamp that became State Street in present-day Chicago.

FischerS16Nick Fischer is Adjunct Research Fellow of the School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. He answered some questions about his book Spider Web: The Birth of American Anticommunism.

Q: How does the term “spider web” describe the anticommunist movement more so than the term describes international communism?

Nick Fisher: When the ‘Bolsheviks’ or Communists seized power in Russia, in November 1917, international socialism suddenly had a focal point. The anticommunist movement began to refer to international communism as a ‘spider web’ because its members believed that a broad range of social, political and economic ideas and movements – which they feared and disapproved of – were all directed by a central power: the Communist International in Moscow. As I describe in Spider Web, the concept of the communist ‘spider web’ as the master controller of socialist, pacifist, feminist and other objectionable movements was powerfully expressed in a ‘Spider Web Chart,’ produced in 1923 by a librarian in the Chemical Warfare Service of the U.S. Army. This chart depicted the ‘interlocking directorates’ of ‘International Socialism’ and showed where these directorates were thought to intersect with the ‘Socialist-Pacifist Movement in America.’ The chart became totemic for the American anticommunist movement, summarizing and projecting all of its views and objectives. Continue reading