First issue of the Journal for Civil and Human Rights is now available!

This year, the University of Illinois Press, with support from Sonoma State University, published the first issue of the Journal of Civil and Human Rights (JCHR). JCHR is a peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary, academic journal dedicated to studying modern U.S.-based social justice movements and freedom struggles, including transnational ones, and their antecedents, influence, and legacies. The journal features research-based articles, interviews, editorials, and reviews of books, films, museum exhibits, and Web sites.

The journal’s editor, Michael Ezra says, “The Journal of Civil and Human Rights (JCHR) evolved from the idea that the civil rights struggle—the African American fight for justice and equality, writ large, beginning around the World War II era and moving toward the present—deserves its own peer-reviewed journal. Many people provided input into this project, which led to expanding the focus to include all twentieth-century U.S. social movements and freedom struggles for human rights, including transnational ones.

One of the keenest expectations I have for the journal is that it will showcase articles that reflect currency—not just the best in scholarship but also work that directly relates to the ongoing struggles for civil and human rights that flow from the past to the present. It is my hope, along with the editorial board, that the Journal of Civil and Human Rights becomes the publication of record for such activism, both then and now.”

You can subscribe to this exciting new title here.

You can also follow @CivilHumanRight on twitter!

The University of Illinois Press (UIP) welcomes the Journal of Mormon History as the newest addition to its journals program!

We are excited to welcome the Journal of Mormon History, the official publication of the Mormon History Association, to the University of Illinois Press.

The Mormon History Association (MHA) is currently in its 50th year and the Journal of Mormon History is celebrating its 41st. The annual meeting of the Mormon History Association recently took place in Provo, UT.

Dawn Durante, an Acquisitions Editor at the University of Illinois Press, traveled to the meeting and shared her thoughts on the Press blog. The Press recently published The Mormon Tabernacle Choir authored by Michael Hicks, the previous editor of the journal American Music, also published by UIP.

Press director Laurie Matheson remarked, “Illinois has been publishing in Mormon history since the mid-1980s, and we are thrilled to build on our commitment to the field by taking on publication of the Journal of Mormon History. This partnership between the Press and the MHA will secure a lasting foundation for the broader dissemination of excellent scholarship in Mormon history.”

The first issue published in partnership with the University of Illinois Press will released in April 2016. We are very excited to be working with the MHA and welcome the Journal of Mormon History to our journals program!

You can follow MHA on Facebook and on Twitter @MormonHistAssoc.

University of Illinois Press Welcomes New Director

Although we are a few days late, we have a special announcement regarding our new press director!

The UI journals division is pleased to welcome Laurie Matheson as new director of the Press. Laurie’s work in book acquisitions over nearly fourteen years has intersected with the societies and subject areas of several key journals, including Ethnomusicology, the Journal of American Folklore, The Black Music Research Journal, and more recently the Journal of Appalachian Studies. She is eager to support efforts by journals and books staff to expand cross marketing and other collaborations, building on strong subject area synergy between journals and books content and audiences.

Congratulations, Laurie!

News From the Music and the Moving Image Conference

By: Ariel Marx

The Music and the Moving Image Conference X was held at the New York University School of Steinhardt’s Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions on May 29th-31st, 2015.

The topic of this year’s conference was Psychology of Film Music, and featured keynote speaker Siu-Lan Tan, who presented “Psychology of Film Music: Framing Our Intuition.” Tan has been at Kalamazoo College since 1998, teaching various courses in developmental psychology, psychology of music, and creativity. Her research focuses on listeners’ perceptions of musical form and unity, graphic representations of music, and the role of sound in multimedia.

Over the weekend more than one hundred respected film music scholars gave presentations of their topic-related papers, including titles such as “Down Will Come Baby Cradle and All: Lullabies and the Perception of Childhood and Fear in Film” and “Can a Soundtrack Lie?: Musical Ruse in Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye.”

Additionally, the conference inspired the creation of a group of film music scholars and research-based psychologists to reach across the disciplines and facilitate an open dialogue between fields of study. This cross-discipline group will allow for meaningful collaboration between psychologists and film music scholars and will help to broaden topics and methodologies in future research. If you are interested in joining the group, please get in touch with Music and the Moving Image:

Subscription information can be found at

COMING SOON!!! Announcing COMMON THREADS, a new series from the University of Illinois Press.

AJP_CTcover2This series brings together related journal content into e-book format, allowing the reader to experience several thematically-related scholarly articles at one time. This innovative new series aims to gather hand-selected material by leading scholars in an easy-to-digest format that will appeal to a wider audience than before.

Our first e-book in this series, Higher Mental Processes, was curated by Robert W. Proctor, editor of The American Journal of Psychology. The idea for this collection originated with an article by R .A. Carlson that was featured in the 125th anniversary issue of the Journal. Starting with this piece, which categorizes processes of higher-order thinking, Proctor added nine related articles from different issues throughout the Journal’s history that complemented the theme and resulted in a ten article e-book with a special introduction from the editor.

Look for future Common Threads from our other titles!

Common Threads: Higher Mental Processes will be on our website at

Thoughts on Immigration and the Journal of American Ethnic History

I recently read an article in JAEH 33.2 by Hidetaka Hirota about immigration issues in New York State, up to the late 1800s. The article’s title “The Great Entrepot for Mendicants”: Foreign Poverty and Immigration Control in New York State to 1882, focuses primarily on the policies used to deport/support European immigrants that were considered unable to be economically viable. I asked Hirota for his take on the policies and discrimination immigrants face, especially during times when immigrations seem to be ethnically or regionally homogenous. He responded:

“To start with, we should reconsider the whole view of the United States as “the welcoming nation.” It is true that the United States has been the world’s major migrant-receiving nation. At the same time, however, the right to enter America was not unconditionally given to all migrants. Admission into the United States was regulated for much of American history. While receiving a large number of migrants and incorporating them into the nation’s economic, political, and cultural fabrics, the United States constantly developed laws and policies for regulating the quality of newcomers who would join American society. Historians have produced an array of works on how American immigration policy in the past excluded various groups of migrants deemed undesirable on economic, medical, moral, political, or racial grounds.

My article suggests how New York State restricted the landing of, and deported, destitute European immigrants from the eighteenth century onward, illuminating the centrality of economic considerations in the state’s immigration policy and its influence on later federal immigration law. Many people, including professional historians, assume that American borders remained open until anti-Asian racism triggered the enactment of federal laws to restrict Chinese immigration in the late nineteenth century. My article demonstrates that immigration control actively functioned at the state level long before the introduction of federal Chinese exclusion. Entry regulation and removal are deeper-seated traditions in the American immigration experience than most people realize. The United States might have been a “land of opportunity” for immigrants, but not for all of them. Some groups of foreigners were prohibited from stepping upon American soil and sent back to their places of origin.

The critical assessment of the United States’ relationship with newcomers provides us with important insight into the issue of “immigrant success.” Again, it is true that many immigrants, often poor and lacking resources upon their arrival, did indeed manage to socially and economically establish themselves in the new land with hard work and thrift, realizing what can be called the American dream. A recent study on Five Points in New York City, the most impoverished slum in nineteenth-century America, reveals that even some of the poorest Irish immigrants in the nation’s poorest neighborhood eventually accumulated a considerable amount of savings.

Yet we need to exercise some caution here. Just like the right to admission into the nation, the opportunity to rise up in the United States was never equally distributed among immigrants. American naturalization law serves as a quick example. The empowerment and incorporation of newcomers was deeply related to their political power. Until the mid-twentieth century, American naturalization law limited the right to become citizens to people of European and African descents, denying Asian immigrants the road to naturalized citizenship and participation in American politics.

European immigrants such as Irish and Italians, to be sure, experienced severe ethnic prejudice and even discriminatory treatments in the United States. But they nevertheless enjoyed a series of tangible legal privileges unavailable for Asian immigrants, including naturalized citizenship and suffrage, which significantly facilitated the integration of European immigrants into American society.

Another important arena in the discussion of immigrant success is social welfare. One of the dominant lines of nativist argument against the poverty of Mexican immigrants today is that they are not working hard enough, compared to earlier European immigrants who overcame hardship and climbed the American economic ladder through individual effort without governmental assistance. Recent studies, however, have revealed firstly that European immigrants in fact received various forms of aid from public welfare programs during the first half of the twentieth century and secondly that the modern American social welfare system have operated in ways which excluded African Americans and non-European immigrants, especially Mexicans, from many of its benefits.

One of the problems with nativist discourse today is that too often it is based on a view which somewhat romanticizes the achievement of earlier European immigrants and attributes the poverty of present Mexican immigrants to their alleged moral failings without acknowledging the history of American social welfare policy and the racial disparity in its makeup and implementation.”

You can read Hirota’s article on JSTOR.

New editor for PAQ

Public Affairs Quarterly welcomes a new editor, Professor Rebecca Kukla. Dr. Kukla is a Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University and a Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics as well as the Editor-In-Chief of their journal, the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal.  Her first issue will be PAQ 29.4, October 2015.

Dr Kukla’s most recent research interests are the ethical and epistemological issues concerning the assessment of risk and communication about risk. This dovetails with her established research into bioethics, leading to exploration of issues of risk at all levels of medical practice, from the design of medical trials to the interpretation of scientific results, and to all kinds of medical communication including medicine guidelines, physician-patient communication, and media representations of risk.

Her 2009 book ‘Yo!’ and ‘Lo!’: The Pragmatic Topography of the Space of Reasons with co-author Mark Lance looked at philosophical problems starting with the pragmatics of language, and they developed a typology of pragmatic categories of speech. If you’re not sure why Don Corleone wants you to “leave the gun and take the cannoli,” this will help you to understand!

Dr. Kukla’s discussion of the practical ethics of pregnancy and motherhood in her 2005 book Mass Hysteria: Medicine, Culture, and Mothers’ Bodies led a reviewer to highlight the “sly wit, impressive historical scope and deep moral conviction, (with which) Rebecca Kukla brilliantly illuminates modern cultural beliefs and practices about motherhood as an embodied experience.”

PAQ will continue to publish essays that bring “philosophical depth and sophistication to matters . . . of public debate that would otherwise be left to the tender mercies of political rhetoric and journalistic oversimplification.” Rebecca Kukla can be reached at Or visit PAQ,

From Feminist Teacher: Inclusive Language at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

The pen is mightier than the sword. Albeit cliché, the oft used phrase is not incorrect. The written and spoken word is a powerful tool. Manipulating words can yield any number of results; many major historical events begun with an oratorical catalyst. Sometimes, however, word choice is so ubiquitous and habitual that it can be hard to see when it’s also discriminatory, exclusive, or marginalizing. 

ftimageThis was a problem that a group of professors and students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire wanted to confront. Theresa Kemp, a professor and director of women’s studies was approached by a member of her campus’s Commission on the Status of Women; her title was “chairman”. Kemp took on assembling a group to investigate the issue further, and also figure out some ways of changing their universities language to be more inclusive. The group was comprised of Kemp, Angela Pirlott, an assistant professor in psychology, and Erica Benson, an associate professor of linguistics; undergraduate students Casey Coughlin, Meghann McKinnon, and Quinn Forss; and Laura Becherer, a graduate student in English. They found that much of the language used in institutional literature at their university was unnecessarily gendered, especially in regards to professional positions, ex. Chairman. 

This project was featured in Feminist Teacher, issue 23.3,and had several goals. One of which was to implement guidelines that would make the language of institutional documents more inclusive. They began the process by scouring university literature for examples of unnecessarily gendered and sexist language (distinguishing between the two, noting when gendered language is appropriate) and comparing the current language policy against other colleges (two-year, four-year, and other state institutions). They proceeded to create a survey that would be distributed to students and faculty, which asked them to rate their comfort/discomfort of gendered and sexist words. Once they received the results of the survey, they drafted and distributed language suggestions to make university documents, including syllabi and promotional literature, more inclusive. 

I asked Theresa how successful the implementation has been. Change, especially at universities takes time, although she says she has been pleasantly surprised. Since the policy was started, two years ago, she says that “advising materials and departmental/program home pages seem to be in pretty good shape. These are pages with a lot of traffic and use, so that seems like an especially “good thing”. The language policy has been included in the email that the deans from various departments send at the beginning of each semester reminding instructors about required language inclusions like misconduct, plagiarism, and disability accommodations, so it has relatively good visibility. Kemp does note that she doesn’t have an easy way to determine how widely the language policy has been implemented, though, and there is still a lot of work to do. 

Even though the policy seems to have been well accepted, there are words that are so ingrained in university language that their removal or change will continue to present problems. The word “freshman/men”, for example, is used nationally and internationally to denote a first year student. Given its ubiquity, changing it will be quite a challenge. Kemp also notes that there wasn’t a lot of resistance amongst those who did adopt the language suggestions, however, she did reference that they encountered “strong expressions of sexism, misogyny, heterocentrism, and homophobia”in the responses to the survey they sent out, although she hasn’t seen it face-to-face. 

You can read about the project on Project MUSE, here, and JSTOR, here. It’s a great read and an interesting look into the problematic nature of some of the words that are institutionally ingrained and supported. However, the article is also helpful and hopeful; it illustrates that our language is evolving in a more positive and inclusive direction.

Some Friday Fun: Remembering the First Issue of the Journal of Aesthetic Education.

The inaugural issue of JAE was published in the spring of 1966. In it, an article that discussed the government initiatives to beautify America, for which its author Thomas Munro largely credited “Lady Bird” Johnson. After the article, “‘Beautification’ Reconsidered”, was published, Bess Abell, the First Lady’s Social Secretary, contacted the Press in thanks.The letter from July 8, 1966, reads:

Dear Professor Smith:

Mrs. Johnson asked me to thank you for giving her the opportunity to see your new magazine and especially for pointing out the article “’Beautification’ Reconsidered.”

With gratitude and best wishes,
Bess Abell
Social Secretary


We thought this was a neat artifact from the University of Illinois Press’s history and we’re glad to be able to share it!

Global Health Impact: A New Tool for Looking at Need, Access, and Efficacy

ghiimageThe Global Health Impact Index (GHI), a new tool for assessing the accessibility of essential medications for the world’s poorest populations, was launched on January 23, 2015 at the World Health Organization Conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Its creator, Nicole Hassoun, developed it to make vital information available that she believed was absent from the appraisal of pharmaceutical companies’ drugs. Hassoun, concerned with the obstacles so many people face when trying to access life-saving medications (specifically for malaria, tuberculosis, and HIV/AIDS), looked into the various ways of combating these obstacles. In her own words, she “realized that no one was going to do it for me”, and thus worked to receive grant funding and data to help drive the index’s rankings. 

It seems like a tall order. Pharmaceutical companies, like any other company, need to make money. As there is very little money in treating and preventing the three diseases about which the GHI focuses, Hassoun hopes that the index will guide global health policy as well as the decisions made by pharmaceutical companies by creating incentives for positive change. One of these incentives, plays directly back into the industry’s interests by creating a metric to increase competition.

In addition to creating competition amongst pharmaceutical companies, the index also helps give us a more nuanced picture of what poor access to the medications looks like and the positive impact the drugs have when they are accessible. 

The index has been profiled in various news outlets, including NPR’s Marketplace Morning and the Wall Street Journal. An article about the Global Health Impact Index was also published in the July 2014 issue of Public Affairs Quarterly, which you can read here. You can also visit GHI’s website.