To celebrate Pride Month throughout June, check out these five books that discuss important figures in the LGBTQ+ community and the issues surrounding the fight for gay rights.

Lana and Lily Wachowski

Cael M. Keegan

Cáel M. Keegan views the Wachowskis’ films as an approach to trans* experience that maps a transgender journey and the promise we might learn “to sense beyond the limits of the given world.” Keegan reveals how the filmmakers take up the relationship between identity and coding (be it computers or genes), inheritance and belonging, and how transgender becoming connects to a utopian vision of a post-racial order. Forthcoming in November 2018



Ugly Differences: Queer Female Sexuality in the Underground

Yetta Howard

In Ugly Differences, Yetta Howard uses underground contexts to theorize queer difference by locating ugliness at the intersection of the physical, experiential, and textual. From that nexus, Howard contends that ugliness—as a mode of pejorative identification—is fundamental to the cultural formations of queer female sexuality. Ugly Differences offers eye-opening ways to approach queerness and its myriad underground representations. Forthcoming in July 2018


Vita Sexualis: Karl Ulrichs and the Origins of Sexual Science

Ralph M. Leck

Ralph M. Leck returns Ulrichs to his place as the inventor of the science of sexual heterogeneity. Leck’s analysis situates sexual science in a context that includes politics, aesthetics, the languages of science, and the ethics of gender. Original and audacious, Vita Sexualis uses a bedrock figure’s scientific and political innovations to open new insights into the history of sexual science, legal systems, and Western amatory codes.


The Battle over Marriage: Gay Rights Activism through the Media

Leigh Moscowitz

 In this thorough analysis, Leigh Moscowitz examines how prominent news outlets presented this issue from 2003 to 2012, a time when intense news coverage focused unprecedented attention on gay and lesbian life. During this time, LGBT rights leaders sought to harness the power of media to advocate for marriage equality and to reform their community’s public image.



Queer Migration Politics: Activist Rhetoric and Coalitional Possibilities

Karma R. Chavez

The battles for LGBTQ rights and immigrant rights have captured significant attention in the U.S. public sphere throughout the twenty-first century. Both movements, which are largely understood to be separate, have advocated a politics of inclusion in and assimilation to mainstream national values. Advocating a politics of the present and drawing from women of color and queer of color theory, this book contends that coalition enables a vital understanding of how queerness and immigration, citizenship and belonging, and inclusion and exclusion are linked.

June is Black Music Month! Here are several titles to help you celebrate and appreciate black artists who have influenced the music industry.

Black Opera: History, Power, Engagement

Naomi Andre

Naomi André draws on the experiences of performers and audiences to explore this music’s resonance with today’s listeners. Interacting with creators and performers, as well as with the works themselves, André reveals how black opera unearths suppressed truths. These truths provoke complex, if uncomfortable, reconsideration of racial, gender, sexual, and other oppressive ideologies.



Spirituals and the Birth of a Black Entertainment Industry

Sandra Jean Graham

Sandra Jean Graham mines a trove of resources to chart the spiritual’s journey from the private lives of slaves to the concert stage. Graham navigates the conflicting agendas of those who, in adapting spirituals for their own ends, sold conceptions of racial identity to their patrons. In so doing they laid the foundation for a black entertainment industry whose artistic, financial, and cultural practices extended into the twentieth century.


Jazz Internationalism: Literary Afro-Modernism and the Cultural Politics of Black Music

John Lowney

Jazz Internationalism offers a bold reconsideration of jazz’s influence in Afro-modernist literature. Ranging from the New Negro Renaissance through the social movements of the 1960s, John Lowney articulates nothing less than a new history of Afro-modernist jazz writing. Jazz added immeasurably to the vocabulary for discussing radical internationalism and black modernism in leftist African  American literature.


Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends: On and Off the Record with Jazz Greats

Lilian Terry

Drawing on Terry’s long friendships and professional associations, Dizzy, Duke, Brother Ray, and Friends offers readers a rare opportunity to hear intimate conversations with some of the world’s greatest musical figures. The result is a collection of profiles, some stretching over a decade or more, that reveal these performers in ways that illuminate their humanity and expand our appreciation of their art.



Blue Rhythm Fantasy: Big Band Jazz Arranging in the Swing Era

John Wriggle

Behind the iconic jazz orchestras, vocalists, and stage productions of the Swing Era lay the talents of popular music’s unsung heroes: the arrangers. John Wriggle takes you behind the scenes of New York City’s vibrant entertainment industry of the 1930s and 1940s to uncover the lives and work of jazz arrangers, both black and white, who left an indelible mark on American music and culture.



The Street Is My Pulpit: Hip Hop and Christianity in Kenya

Mwenda Ntarangwi

Mwenda Ntarangwi explores the Kenyan hip hop scene through the lens of Juliani’s life and career. A born-again Christian, Juliani produces work highlighting the tensions between hip hop’s forceful self-expression and a pious approach to public life, even while contesting the basic presumptions of both. What emerges is an original contribution to the scholarship on hip hop’s global impact and a passionate study of the music’s role in shaping new ways of being Christian in Africa.


Harry T. Burleigh: From the Spiritual to the Harlem Renaissance

Jean E. Snyder

Harry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) played a leading role in American music and culture in the twentieth century. Celebrated for his arrangements of spirituals, Burleigh was also the first African American composer to create a significant body of art song. An international roster of opera and recital singers performed his works and praised them as among the best of their time.

Last weekend, Chicago hosted one of the largest literary events in the Midwest: Printers Row Lit Festival. The festival is a reader’s dream featuring a wealth of author panels, and vendors ranging from bookstores, literary magazines, and publishers. The University of Illinois Press was pleased to have a booth at the festival this year and multiple authors on the Printers Row programming.

Roger Biles, the author of the new biography, Mayor Harold Washington: Champion of Race and Reform in Chicago, was on a panel with Elizabeth Taylor, literary editor at large at the Chicago Tribune, former press secretary of the office of the mayor Monroe Anderson and Jacky Grimshaw, the vice president for governmental affairs at the Center for Neighborhood Technology. C-SPAN’s Book TV filmed the panel.

Check out the video below of their fascinating and wide-ranging conversation!

Job announcement:

Assistant to the Electronic Publisher

The University of Illinois Press is looking for a highly motivated student to join our electronic publishing team beginning in the fall 2018 semester. As Assistant to the Electronic Publisher, you will work closely with the electronic publisher to support online journal products for the more than 40 journals published by the University of Illinois Press. This key Electronic Publishing position requires good problem-solving skills, close attention to detail, and a high level of comfort using Web-based tools and general PC applications (such as Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Word, and Excel).

Students from all majors are encouraged to apply; no experience in electronic publishing required. This is a designated federal work-study position.

Specific job tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing online user support and troubleshooting problems with customers’ access to online journal archives
  • Responding to email queries for information regarding electronic resources maintained by the Press
  • Proofing HTML material and fixing errors introduced by the conversion process for UI Press journals
  • Testing online journal products for navigational accuracy and ease of use

We are looking for someone who:

  • Has proficiency in PC applications (such as Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Word, and Excel)
  • Is a creative problem-solver
  • Works well independently and also as a team
  • Pays close attention to detail

Students in the position will have the opportunity to experience and/or learn the following:

  • Usage of online access control tools and usage reporters
  • Increased familiarity with PC applications, including Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Word, and Excel
  • Experience providing direct user support
  • Familiarity with working in an office environment
  • An introduction to academic publishing
  • Further professional development opportunities will be made available

Time commitment: 8-10 hours per week; flexible schedule

The University of Illinois is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer dedicated to building a community of excellence, equity, and diversity. University Administration welcomes applications from women, underrepresented minorities, persons with disabilities, sexual minority groups, and other candidates who will lead and contribute to the diversification and enrichment of ideas and perspectives.


Interested students should forward a cover letter and résumé to: 


Paul Arroyo

Electronic Publisher

University of Illinois Press

1325 S. Oak Street

Champaign IL, 61820






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.

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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


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.






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



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