University of Illinois Press author Dr. Robin Harris recently returned to northeastern Siberia for a presentation of her book, Storytelling in Siberia: The Olonkho Epic in a Changing World. After living in northern Russia for a decade and spending almost another decade documenting the revival of the Sakha’s epic tradition of olonkho, Harris reports, “I was delighted to see the enthusiastic reception of this volume, long-awaited by the Sakha people. They are glad to finally have a way for the English-speaking world to know about the revitalization of  olonkho, a process which began to gain tremendous energy when in 2005, UNESCO proclaimed it a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”

Olonkho singer (S. Chernogradskiy) and children from the book’s cover – 9 years later!

Harris was amazed by extent of local participation in the presentation, noting, “The olonkho singer surrounded by children on the front of the book not only came to sing at the event, he also invited some of the children who were in the picture nine years ago to cross the frozen river and participate in the book presentation with him. At the closing of the event, they gathered around him as he sang, reprising the original cover photo. Since the river was melting and almost closed to traffic, he was grateful that the parents gave their permission for the children to travel, noting that this was an event the children would remember for the rest of their lives.”

Harris receives awards from government officials and educational institutions.

At the presentation, organized by Dr. Anna Larionova at the Institute of Humanitarian Studies and Problems of the Indigenous Peoples of the North, certificates of gratefulness were presented to the author by the Ministry of Culture (Vice-Minister Nikolai Makarov); the State Councilor to the Head of the Republic of Sakha-Yakutia (Andrei Borisov); a performer in the Theater of Olonkho (Valentin Isakov); the Olonkho Institute of the North-Eastern Federal University (Aitalina Koryakina); the Center for Intangible Cultural Heritage (Elena Protodyakonova); the Higher School of Music (Associate Professor Alexandra Khaltanova and Rector Vera Nikiforova); Advisor to the Chairman of the State Assembly (Sergei Vasilev); the Institute of Humanitarian Studies and Problems of the Indigenous Peoples of the North (Nadezhda Pokatilova), and an olonkho performer (Semyon Chernogradskiy).

Olonkho enthusiasts and research collaborators

Storytelling in Siberia, lauded as “a masterpiece of contemporary ethnography,” provides vivid insights into understanding the epic tradition of olonkho—its attenuation, revitalization, transformation, and sustainability—and its role in the Sakha’s cultural reemergence in post-Soviet Russia.

 

 

The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) in northeastern Siberia (April 2018)

Remember President William McKinley? Maybe you discussed the Dingley Tariff just the other day. Actually, most people remember McKinley because an anarchist shot him in the early months of his second term in office. His passing opened the door for Theodore Roosevelt. Countless hours of public television programming followed.

Continue reading

This summer, the CoxS18University of Illinois Press is publishing an extraordinary volume chronicling the work of women in the digital arts in the Midwest. Through profiles and oral histories of nearly two dozen artists, New Media Futures: The Rise of Women in the Digital Arts reveals the wealth of women’s creative experiments in the digital domain, including collage and montage, video art and filmmaking, interactive and Internet-based artworks, digital imaging for medical uses, interactive theater and electronic games, and holographic installations and sculptures, to mention only a few.

 

The book focuses on the formative years, from the late 1970s to the early 1990s, when the so-called Silicon Prairie developed along an axis from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, with its state-of-the-art programs and facilities in computer science, to Chicago, with its diverse arts community, art institutions, galleries, and art education facilities. In this rich soil, women artists and computer scientists thrived, fostering innovation in computermediated creative media and developing political strategies for collaboration.

“One important characteristic of a successful collaboration is that members are motivated by a common goal. They need mutual respect for each other. Each member needs to benefit, get appropriate credit, and be rewarded within his/her peer system. Feminism was about women becoming equal partners with men.” —Donna J. Cox, volume editor and director of the University of Illinois’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory at NCSA

At UIUC, collaboration took the form of “Renaissance Teams” of artists, technologists, and scientists. The fruits of these creative teams included the first visual browser, Mosaic; the virtual reality environment CAVE; and other innovations. The Renaissance Teams concept (a term coined by Donna J. Cox) brought women’s intuitive understanding of the collaborative process together with ideas about collaboration from the domain of scientists and engineers. Hats off to these pioneering women and the path they have laid for creativity, collaboration, and equal inclusion and recognition of women in technology and the arts.

 

This post is from our new newsletter. Read more in The Callout and sign up to stay up-to-date on UIP news.

The Callout Masthead 2

June 9-10, the streets of Dearborn and Polk will be flooded with booksellers, publishers, and book lovers for the annual Printer’s Row Lit Festival in Chicago! The University of Illinois Press will have a booth at the southern end of Dearborn, so make sure to stop by and check out some of our great new regional trade titles! We’ll also have in booth signings with some of our authors and authors Roger Biles, Colleen Taylor Sen and Bruce Kraig will all participate in panels at the festival.

 

Here are all the University of Illinois Press events happening during #PRLF18 that you won’t want to miss:

 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

1:00pm

John H. Flores, the author of The Mexican Revolution in Chicago: Immigration Politics from the Early Twentieth Century to the Cold War will sign books at the University of Illinois Press Booth.

 

 

 

 

2:00pm

Roger Biles, the author of Mayor Harold Washington: Champion of Race and Reform in Chicago, will participate in a panel discussion with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Elizabeth Taylor, former book editor of the Chicago Tribune.

Jones College Prep  700 South State Street

North Auditorium with C-Span

Chicago, IL 60605

 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

11:00 am 

Frank Cicero Jr., the author of Creating the Land of Lincoln: The History and Constitutions of Illinois, 1778-1870, will sign books at the University of Illinois Press booth.

 

 

 

 

11:45 am

Colleen Taylor Sen and Bruce Kraig, co-editors of The Chicago Food Encyclopedia will explore the hidden delights of Chicago food with Bill Daley on the food and dining stage.

Jones College Prep  700 South State Street

Food and Dining Stage/2nd Floor

Chicago, IL 60605

 

1:00pm

Colleen Taylor Sen and Bruce Kraig will then head over to the University of Illinois Press booth to sign books.

 

We hope to see you there! 

June 1, 1918 marks the day the University of Illinois Board of Trustees established the University of Illinois Press! And to celebrate, we’re giving you 40% off all UIP books!

Use promo code 1918 June 1-June 15, 2018 and take advantage of this great offer!

Need some ideas? Check out our Spring 2018 Catalog for our latest titles!

The following is a guest post from Courtney R. Baker, the author of Humane Insight: Looking at Images of African-American Suffering and Death.


When I first published my book on looking at images of African American suffering and death, I would say to any who asked that my wish was that no one would need to write its sequel, that its lessons would quickly become obsolete. Sadly, the contrary has taken place. Not only are there more recorded images of astonishing episodes of unwarranted Black death, but our language about what it means to look at these visualizations—documentary or fictionalized—has become increasingly fractured. What do we do with these images? How do we engage or disengage productively with them in our quest for racial justice and an end to the violences that they depict?

Taking these questions seriously, I worked to historicize these images. The lesson that I learned in studying the wisdom of great African American activists like Mamie Till (mother of Emmett Till), Ida B. Wells, Frederick Douglass, and Martin Luther King, Jr. is that engaging with the terror and sorrow of injury is a burden that is unfairly distributed to black Americans. Under the regimes of slavery and Jim Crow, black people disproportionately bore witness to the injury of their racial kin. More to the point, these regimes made the spectacle of black injury an essential mechanism of social domination. When a person was lynched or an enslaved person was tortured, their fellows could do nothing but watch for fear of violent reprisal. Looking was rendered an important technique of anti-blackness.

But looking is not necessarily the weak gesture that the slavers and the lynch mob envisioned. With the assistance of the press—in particular, the black press, the international press, abolitionist newspapers, and the television news program—looking upon these scenes of violence also cohered a vocal, powerful community of outraged onlookers—many of whom showed up for Emmett Till’s open-casket funeral or were themselves motivated to go on freedom rides and marches in the long walk toward civil rights.

Certainly, some looked away, and there is no shame in acknowledging that the abundance of these images and the cruelties that they depict still disproportionately bear upon the psychic lives of African Americans. That said, I depart from the view that individual aversion should determine the entire conversation about these images. Nor can I embrace the perspective that these images only perpetuate harm. Significant shifts in the social and political conditions of African Americans and in the status of the image and its circulation (in the 24-hour news cycle and on social media, for example) mean that the conversation and our thinking must shift—not disengage—again.

The recent video collaboration between Childish Gambino (Donald Glover’s musical persona) and his longtime director Hiro Murai is an example of a fresh challenge to our thinking about images of violence and the role of black masculinity. Several essays, video breakdowns, and “listicles” have inventoried the many cultural references packed into the short video. They offer useful insights on the many “easter eggs”—the nod to Fela Kuti’s styling and political musical legacy, the invocation of a white supremacist’s recent massacre of a black congregation, and the distractions of black entertainment that are valued more than black life—contained in the video.

It is important, too, to acknowledge that the video is more than just a litany of clever references. “This Is America” is a work of art, and we would do well to think hard about the conditions for this particular creation. No less a scholar than W. E. B. DuBois once wrote of African American art that, “somehow, somewhere eternal and perfect Beauty sits above Truth and Right I can conceive, but here and now and in the world in which I work they are for me unseparated and inseparable. … Thus all Art is propaganda and ever must be, despite the wailing of the purists. I stand in utter shamelessness and say that whatever art I have for writing has been used always for propaganda for gaining the right of black folk to love and enjoy.” (“Criteria of Negro Art” [1929]) We would do well, then, to think about the conditions and criteria for black—nay, for human art amidst these sadly enduring conditions of lethal anti-blackness.

-Courtney R. Baker, Occidental College


 

Himanee Gupta-Carlson is an associate professor at SUNY Empire State College. She recently answered some questions about her new book, Muncie, India(na): Middletown and Asian America.


Q. Muncie, Indiana is well-known for being the site of the famous Middletown Studies, conducted by Robert and Helen Lynd during the 1920s and 1930s. How did the Middletown Studies portray the city of Muncie and, on a broader scale, American culture?

Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd co-authored two studies: Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture (1929), and Middletown in Transition: A Study of Cultural Conflicts (1929). Both studies represented Middletown – their pseudonym for Muncie – as predominantly white, conservative, and fundamentalist Christian. The first study, which is the most famous, identified class divisions between the middle class and working class as the primary features dividing the city, removed African Americans from consideration, and downplayed the significance of immigration in shaping “American culture”. The second study did acknowledge racial difference as a primary divider of the city but did not explore the issue further. What emerged from the studies and the popular acclaim was a portrayal of Muncie and American culture as white, not-foreign born, and Christian.

Q. Muncie, India(na): Middletown and Asian America highlights both your own personal experiences growing up in Muncie, as well as other Asian-American residents’ experiences. You have an obvious connection to the city, but what inspired you to write a book about your hometown?

I was interested in writing about South Asian American experiences, particularly in the context of diaspora links to Hindu fundamentalist politics in India, and initially had planned to do my research in a larger metropolitan area. As I studied other works on the South Asian American experience, however, I increasingly felt that my experiences of being a child and teenager growing up Indian in a small Midwestern community were not being represented in the literature. I decided that I wanted to tell that story, and as I started to probe the Middletown archive deeper, I realized that the story of being South Asian American in Muncie offered a strong example of how whiteness and Christian dominance had defined Americans of many colors, backgrounds, and differences and had rendered the non-white, non-Christian body as invisible. Making the invisible visible through telling my story as well as the stories of the South Asian Americans I grew up with in Muncie became the inspiration for the book.

Q. You noted that, “From an early age, I recognized that being the child of Indian immigrants made me non-typical of Muncie.” How did this recognition of yourself as an “other” influence your identity formation?

This recognition made me a “no-fit” person essentially. That role has traveled with me through my entire life, causing me to feel as if I am always the outsider, regardless of setting. However, writing and sharing Muncie, India(na) with a reading public has caused
me to begin to speculate that a common thread that many share is that of being a “no-fit.” I do not want to downplay the influence that racial and religious oppression have in rendering certain individuals invisible as Americans; as invisible within discourses on American-ness; those influences are insidious and can be lethal. Instead, I would suggest that one’s recognition of their own outsider-ness creates a position from which societal injustices can be more effectively addressed.

Q. The Middletown Studies are a prime example of the way that social sciences have all too often excluded people of color, immigrants and other marginalized populations from their studies. Why is it important to continue to bring visibility to these groups and their stories?

America has never been solely a white, Christian nation with European genealogical roots. Rather, it has from the outset been a messy conglomeration of peoples, languages, races, ethnicities, gendered identities, religions, and more. Bringing visibility to the stories and experiences of the excluded exposes the falsity of belief that this is “one nation” under “one (singular) god”. It allows us to visualize an Indiana in which an India and an Indian, so to speak, are also present.

Q. How did your experience as a journalist influence your research and your writing methods? 

Being a journalist shaped the ethnographic approach that I took with the book. I did not follow a pre-designed structure in organizing interviews or interview questions. Rather, I created dialogic open-ended queries that invited the interviewees to tell their stories and to converse with me in ways that they saw fit. They chose pseudonyms. They chose what to share and what to withhold, and were invited to ask me questions, as well. Much of the writing was shaped around the stories that emerged from these exchanges. I had done extensive research on the South Asian diaspora, critical race theory, and feminist methodology before going out to interview Muncie South Asians. However, the decision to do secondary research into the Middletown archive came later. It was a result of being in Muncie first for several months with my family and other interviewees and then for what became several years of reflecting on what I had learned about the place of these individuals as well as my own place in this town so famous for being typical. That stimulated a curiosity to learn more about the roots of Muncie’s typicality. The critique of the Middletown studies that the book offers is built around the interviewee’s stories as is the personal reflection that emerged through my journey to get to know Muncie and America better.

Q. What insights can readers take away from your book about the contemporary Asian-American experience?

I’d like readers to tell me what insights they are gaining from my book, rather than presuming I know how they are receiving it. I will say that in the readings I’ve given to date in Muncie, Seattle, San Francisco, and in many cities throughout New York, what has
emerged is a deeply engaged conversation about how the question of being American affects all of us. Readers have raised questions about present-day immigration policies, racial violence, the impact of deindustrialization in mobilizing support for Donald Trump, and commonalities and divergences in many immigrant and ethnic community histories. I do hope that for all of us the book can become a thinking tool for envisioning America as a space that is not necessarily united but always in conversation with the polyphonic chorus that calls for a cacophony of different voices to sound.


 

 

We are pleased to announce that Chicana/o and Latina/o Fiction: The New Memory of Latinidad by Ylce Irizarry has won the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award, which is given to an outstanding new book in the field of Chicana and Chicano Studies.

The book also won the MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies earlier this year.

Congratulations Ylce Irizarry!

We’re thrilled to be attending #BookExpo 2018 this year in New York City! Stop by booth #2766 May 31-June 1 and say hello! We’ve got some great new and forthcoming books that we’ll be showcasing, including:

Glory in Their Spirit: How Four Black Women Took on the Army During World War II

By Sandra M. Bolzenius

We’ll be giving away 50 COPIES of this remarkable story at our booth, so make sure to stop by before they’re gone!

 

 

 

James Baldwin and the 1980s: Witnessing the Reagan Era

by Joseph Vogel

Read an excerpt from the book in the Boston Review here!

Read a Q&A with Joseph Vogel here.

 

 

 

Pigskin Nation: How the NFL Transformed American Politics

By Jesse Berrett

“A superb cultural history.”–Publisher’s Weekly

Read a Q&A with Jesse Berrett here.

 

 

 

Hockey: A Global History 

By: Stephen Hardy and Andrew C. Holman

November 2018

The saga of how the coolest game changed the world–and vice versa.

 

 

 

Bill Monroe: The Life and Music of the Blue Grass Man 

By Tom Ewing

September 2018

From cradle to great, the comprehensive real story of Bill Monroe

 

 

 

Cinematic Encounters: Interviews and Dialogues

By Jonathan Rosenbaum

December 2018

The lively art of conversation with auteurs from Welles to Jarmusch

 

 

 

And those are just a few! Make sure to stop by and find out about other new and forthcoming titles we’re publishing, and if you haven’t yet, peruse our new catalog!

Join us for a reception celebrating 100 years of publishing excellence with Illini Union Document Services, and Campus Mail at the Illini Union Art Gallery on Friday June, 1st from 1:30-3:30pm.

Established by the the Board of Trustees on June 2, 1918, the University of Illinois Press, Illini Union Document services and Campus Mail were originally one entity. Since then, the University of Illinois Press, Document Services, and Campus Mail have been valuable resources to the entire campus community at the University of Illinois. To acknowledge the longstanding impact they have each had on the campus and to recognize their evolution in printing and publishing services, Mayor Deborah Feinen and Mayor Diane Marlin will be officially declaring June 1st as ‘Printing Day’ in Champaign and Urbana at this event.

An exhibit will present and an engaging visual history of the University’s printing history, publishing services, and evolving print technology. The exhibit will continue for the month of June.

We hope you’ll join us for this centennial celebration!