We are pleased to announce that “Where You Are Accepted, You Blossom: Toward Care Ethics in Jazz Historiography” by Vanessa Blais-Tremblay from Jazz and Culture Vol. 2 has won the 2020 International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) Canada Article/Chapter Prize. With this award, Vanessa’s article is recognized as the best pop music article by a Canadian scholar in the past year.

From the committee:

“Blais-Tremblay exposes exclusionary discourses in jazz history and criticism that have understood motherhood and care-giving as incompatible with excellence in jazz performance and creation. She carefully theorizes an aesthetic grounded in care-ethics that makes visible the vital contributions of jazz history’s “badass mothers,” women whose commitment to care-giving opened paths to influencing and sustaining vital jazz traditions, contributions that have been largely unseen in jazz scholarship.

“Employing feminist scholarship and critical race theory, Blais-Tremblay interprets oral histories to deconstruct the binary of “invisibility or exceptionalism” that has heretofore excluded or contained women in jazz historiography.

“Her use of the concept of motherwork as a way for understanding personal and musical mentorship in African-American and African-Canadian communities is both original and illuminating, as is her application of the idea of blood-mother and other-mothers in those communities. The prize committee appreciated in particular Blais-Tremblay’s perceptive handling of an “awkward” archival interview with Daisy Peterson Sweeney, using this “failed” interaction with a journalist to tease out important and revealing tensions around race, class and gender. Her sensitive and insightful treatments of the life histories studied here challenge contemporary norms in feminist discourse and underscore how this work contributes productively to feminist scholarship and jazz history, with ramifications that resound well beyond both.”

Congrats, Vanessa!

Welcome to the University of Illinois Press Society for American Music 2020 virtual exhibit! Step inside and take a look at some of our featured titles on music in America, as well as interviews with UIP authors and specially curated playlists inspired by our books. Don’t forget to use promo code SAM20 to get 50% off all music books on our website! Plus, buy 3 books and get a free copy of the Spring 2020 issue of American Music. The sale runs July 16-18, 2020, so don’t miss out!

Tammy Kernodle is the president of the Society of American Music and author of Soul on Soul: The Life and Music of Mary Lou Williams

Please welcome Todd Decker, the new editor of American Music. Read more about him here.

A toast to UIP winners of 2019 SAM awards

Naomi André, winner of the Irving Lowens Book Award

Katherine K. Preston, winner of the Distinguished Service Citation 

Marian Wilson Kimber, winner of a Sight and Sound Subvention

New Books

Let’s Talk!

Make an appointment to talk about your book project with music editor Laurie Matheson or about your journal article with Todd Decker, editor of American Music.

To schedule an appointment with Laurie Matheson, please email lmatheso@illinois.edu

Click here to view the Music in American Life Series

To schedule an appointment with Todd Decker, please email  tdecker@wustl.edu 

Click here for American Music, currently available on JSTOR for free access

UIP on Spotify

Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton

Always the Queen: The Denise LaSalle Story

Rocking the Closet: How Little Richard, Johnnie Ray, Liberace, and Johnny Mathis Queered Pop Music

Hillbilly Maidens, Okies, and Cowgirls: Women’s Country Music, 1930-1960

Hear from our Authors and Editors

Todd Decker is serving as the editor of American Music, the oldest scholarly journal devoted to the subject, from 2020 to 2022. 

Todd Decker is Professor of Musicology at Washington University, St. Louis, MO where he teaches courses on twentieth-century American popular music, film music, and eighteenth-century European art music. 

Professor Decker has published four books on commercial popular music in the United States from the 1920s to the present. Professor Decker has given numerous scholarly presentations nationally and internationally, including at the Library of Congress, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the University of Texas at Austin, the College of William and Mary, and Northwestern University. He is an international partner with the Labex Arts-H2H project Musical MC2, based in Paris. 

Decker regularly serves as an expert witness in music copyright disputes, including the 2019 “Dark Horse” case. 

Professor Decker received his Ph.D. in historical musicology at the University of Michigan in 2007 and was selected for an Alvin H. Johnson AMS 50 Fellowship by the American Musicological Society in 2006-07. He joined the faculty of Washington University in fall 2007—after a one-year visiting position at UCLA—and teaches courses on twentieth-century American popular music, film music, and eighteenth-century European art music. 

Outside his work on American music, Prof. Decker has published articles on eighteenth-century keyboard composer Domenico Scarlatti and holds a Master of Music in harpsichord performance from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. He has many years of experience performing on harpsichord, piano, and organ, as well as conducting, directing, choreographing, and performing musical theatre. 

sight and sound subvention

Marian Wilson Kimber’s book The Elocutionists reclaimed a forgotten performance genre. From the mid-1800s to the 1940s, elocutionists recited poetry or drama with music to entertain audiences, in particular women’s groups. Women, in fact, dominated the art, and their purveyance of wholesome entertainment allowed them to cross boundaries while quietly commenting on—and even satirizing—the gender norms of their day.

Wilson Kimber continues to bring the elocutionists to new audiences. The Society for American Music has awarded her a Sight and Sound subvention for creating “In a Woman’s Voice: Musical Readings by American Women Composers,” a video of performances with Wilson Kimber as reciter and longtime collaborator Natalie Landowski on piano. The video captures elocution works the pair perform in academic settings and for contemporary women’s groups as the duo Red Vespa.

Sight and Sound Subvention

In addition, Wilson Kimber is one of several Press authors to make a recent impact in our scholarly journals. The spring 2020 issue of American Music features her article “Reciting Parsifal: Opera as Spoken-Word Performance in America.” It can be read free of charge as part of JSTOR’s effort to provide open access to essential scholarship during the Covid-19 pandemic. The same issue offers a book review by Thomas L. Riis, coeditor of the UIP book Rethinking American Music.

For more information about elocutionary arts and Wilson Kimber, visit her Tumblr here: https://elocutionaryarts.tumblr.com/

Congratulations, Marian Wilson Kimber!

African American figures and subjects continue to play a central role in the stories and scholarship offered by the Press. A number of recent releases highlight our commitment to publishing books on the African American experience in Chicago.

African Americans Chicago

Always the Queen

Denise LaSalle’s journey took her from rural Mississippi to the top of the chartsand a long reign as a southern soul superstar. Always the Queen is LaSalle’s in-her-own-words story of a lifetime in music, where her stage presence and earthy lyrics about relationships connected with generations of female fans. She also talks about her off-stage success as a record label owner, entrepreneur, and genre-crossing songwriter.

African Americans Chicago

The Merchant Prince of Black Chicago

Born to enslaved parents, Anthony Overton created a business empire that ranged from personal care products and media properties to insurance and finance. In The Merchant Prince of Black Chicago, Robert E. Weems Jr. weaves the life story of an African American trailblazer through the eventful history of his times, from mentorship by Booker T. Washington through Overton’s fame as the first African American to head a major conglomerate to his up-and-down fortunes during and after the Great Depression.

African Americans Chicago

Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.

Guided by Lerone Bennett Jr., the magazine’s senior editor and in-house historian, Ebony played a key part in educating millions of African Americans about their past. Bennett’s writing helped push representations of the African American past to the center of the nation’s cultural and political imagination. E. James West combines biography and cultural history to illuminate the intellectual role of the iconic magazine and its contribution to African American scholarship in Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.


Roots of the Black Chicago Renaissance

From the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition to the start of the Great Depression, African Americans working across the landscape of the arts set the stage for an intellectual flowering that redefined black cultural life. In Roots of the Black Chicago Renaissance, Richard A. Courage and Christopher Robert Reed curate essays that unearth the transformative forces that supported the emergence of the individuals and social networks who became an African American cultural vanguard.


The Heart of a Woman

The Heart of a Woman is the first-ever biography of Florence B. Price, a composer whose career spanned both the Harlem and Chicago Renaissances, and the first African American woman to gain national recognition for her works. Through interviews and material from public and private archives, Rae Linda Brown illuminates Price’s major works and explores the depth of her achievement while tracing the composer’s personal life, teaching, and struggles.

This post is from The Callout, the UIP newsletter. You can read the latest issue here.

Author of Werner Herzog, Joshua Lund answers questions about his motivations for writing, and dispels some myths about Herzog.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

A book about the politics of Herzog’s films has been percolating in my mind for what seems like  forever.  I first encountered Herzog’s films in the mid-1990s, when my dissertation director, René Jara, screened Aguirre, the Wrath of God for his course on Latin American colonial culture.  I still recall the experience of watching the film’s famous opening shot, which Herzog predicted would stick in the spectator’s mind for a long, long time.  When the conquistadors show up and one of them, played by Klaus Kinski, has aggressively blond locks, and then opens his mouth and out comes German, I think I laughed out loud.  An experience akin to reading Borges for the first time.  But there’s an analytical provocation here.  Aguirre was a Spaniard, a native of the País Vasco.  But there were plenty of German conquistadors, especially in the region where Aguirre would eventually make his last stand, the viceroyalty that would later become the modern countries of Venezuela and Colombia, chunks of which were ceded to powerful Germanic families by the Spanish crown.  Jorge de la Espira, a German, even became obsessed with El Dorado, just like Herzog’s Aguirre.  Hans Staden fraternized with cannibals.  And Bartolomé Sánchez Torreblanca was known to have indulged in a range of German fetishes, carried on by his descendants to this day.  And moreover Hollywood and world cinema have a long tradition of making their indigenous characters speak the wrong language, dress the wrong way, eat the wrong foods, and so on.  So why shouldn’t the Great Conquistador speak German? It has to do with our expectations as an audience, but defying these is a chance to rethink received historical conventions, and to ask where they come from.   As I worked through his films, I found that Herzog confronts with these opportunities all the time.  When I heard the story that on the set of Fitzcarraldo some of the Indian actors approached Herzog and offered to kill Kinski, I knew that one day I would write this book.

Q: Who were your biggest influences?

Pretty much Herzog’s films in and of themselves, combined with the important fact that I watched them as both a fan and as a scholar of Latin American literary and cultural history.  Sometimes without even knowing that he’s doing it, Herzog makes critical interventions into the region’s history that are truly original and worth contemplation.

Q: What is the most interesting discovery you made while researching and writing your book?

Really hard to pick just one.  My favorite might have been tracking down, with my middle daughter in tow (she’s a photographer, she took the pictures) the ephemera from Herzog’s first opera, at the archives of the Teatro Comunale in Bologna; or cobbling together the details of the indigenous protest around his Fitzcarraldo location shoot.  This is more of a general principal than a specific example, but the most interesting to me was the historical rigor of Herzog’s settings, and then the way in which this rigor is disobeyed to such aesthetically and critically productive effect.  Just getting a little beneath the surface of Herzog’s stories you can learn a tremendous amount about the history of the plunder of the Americas, the rubber boom, the history of opera in South America, the politics of West African cinema, economic malaise in the 1970s US, the cultural politics of volcanic eruptions, and so on.  Herzog’s imagination is vast, and the leads he points us toward regarding historical reality and cultural politics could fill up many books. 

Q: What myths do you hope your book will dispel or what do you hope your book will help readers unlearn?

That Herzog is not a political filmmaker.  And what it means to make political cinema.

Q: What is the most important idea you hope readers will take away from your book?

That irreverence is intellectually productive.

Q: What do you like to read/watch/or listen to for fun?

Read, the standards:  Arendt; Borges; Braudel; Cervantes; Dickens; Faulkner; Garcia Marquez; Morrison.   I love Flannery O’Connor. I really liked Ted Chiang’s recent collection of stories.  A new collection of Jon Krakauer’s early essays is some pretty hardcore adventure writing.  My son just reminded me how perfect Ellison’s Inivisible Man is, so I’m revisiting that for the first time in decades.  I’m quietly obsessed with the NYTimes, even though it so often disappoints.

Joshua Lund is a professor of Spanish at the University of Notre Dame.

Watch:  One of the blessings of working through Herzog’s entire catalogue is that I can’t watch very many “normal” movies anymore.  But: Buñuel; Eisenstein; Haneke; Martel; Miyazaki; Reygadas; Rocha; Wells.  Kleber Mendonça’s O som ao redor (Neighboring Sounds) is an essential document of our time.  I like Ciro Guerra generally, and I like how El abrazo de la serpiente is a sly homage to Fitzcarraldo.  I love El Indio Fernández, Mexico’s great “national” filmmaker, whose beautiful pictures of Dolores del Rio and Maria Felix put Gabriel Figueroa’s photography on the map.  Kirsanoff’s Ménilmontant is my favorite old movie.  I’ll mention Martel twice, because all of her films are pretty much perfect, and Zama is about as good as it gets.  I like trashy revenge movies, of which Fuqua’s The Equalizer franchise is probably the trashiest best.  I have kids so Wes Anderson is on heavy rotation at my house.  And like everybody, I seem to mostly watch series these days: Taboo, Devs, Transparent, Better Call Saul, The Venture Brothers, and  Masterpiece’s non-musical version of Les Misérables have been my favorites lately.  Against my better judgment, I can’t stop watching Fauda.  I like those nature films with David Attenborough, I could watch the two seasons of Blue Planet all day and night.

Listen: Stevie Nicks (during and after Fleetwood Mac); James Brown; Marley; Monk; Bud Powell; Sinatra; Prince; Earl Hines; Mary Lou Williams; Jonny Hartman; George Shearing; the Heptones; Billie Holiday (of course); lately Brahms, Ravel, Chopin, and Wagner (that latter one from Herzog); Woody Herman; Howie Alexander III; Clifford Brown (probably my favorite); Chris Connor; old hip hop, I’ve recently gone back to Nas and Madvillain and De La Soul and even PE; I like the new stuff too, but never know what I’m listening to, my kids always have to tell me; oh, yeah, that one guy, Kodak Black.  Lots of old, random, folkways type traditional American music, many of the recordings are one-offs by the unsung and unknown heroes of American popular music.  Bach.  Kamasi Washington’s “Truth” (whose extraordinary video was taken off-line when the Whitney bought it, a real crime against culture) is about as consoling as it gets.  I love Django Reinhardt.  My daughter has me heavy into the melodramatic theme music of animé hits.  Schubert’s Ave Maria always lifts my spirit.       

University of Illinois Press seeks a Journals Marketing Assistant. The primary function of the Journals Marketing Assistant under the direction of the Journals Marketing and Strategy Manager is to implement marketing strategies for the Press’s Journals program covering 40+ (and growing) journal titles in the humanities and social sciences. This includes marketing campaigns, conference attendance/representation, advertising, social networking and the development and implementation of new marketing techniques for the department. The Journals Marketing Assistant will work to respond to the market needs of our journals program partners to strengthen and further grow the program.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer that recruits and hires qualified candidates without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, disability or veteran status. For more information, visit http://go.illinois.edu/EEO.

Additional responsibilities include:

  1. Work closely with the Journals Manager to keep pace with scholarly publishing developments and to proactively create strategic marketing/communication plans that meet the goals and objectives of the department.
  2. Work with the Journals Marketing and Strategy Manager and with other marketing staff to develop additional and/or new approaches to improve the effectiveness of existing marketing strategies.
  3. Develop and implement communication, advertising and marketing materials for traditional print and online media (including website, online advertising, e-mail marketing, and more) for strategic initiatives.
  4. Develop and implement key messages for all subscriber/reader audiences to increase reader involvement and increase subscriptions.
  5. Assist with using research and data analytics to drive strategic thinking into new areas of marketing, advertising, branding and content strategy.
  6. Update marketing content that appears on the UIP Journals Web site to ensure that it is meeting its potential as an effective marketing and communications tool.
  7. Execute and manage special projects as assigned by Journals Marketing and Strategy Manager.
  8. Use social media tools to promote UIP Journals, increase awareness and interact with readers and/or subscribers.
  9. Represent the Press at academic and professional conference meetings, as needed.
  10. Work with the Journals Marketing and Strategy Manager to develop marketing strategies when responding to RFP’s from potential new clients/publishing partners.
  11. Work with UIP outside Journal partners (JSTOR, Project Muse, etc.) to leverage marketing opportunities and data and to expand product offerings.
  12. Assist with aspects of advertising appearing in print and online Press journals including solicitations, preparation and invoicing.
  13. Perform other duties appropriate for a Journals Marketing Assistant.

Education and Experience


  1. Bachelor’s degree in marketing, business administration, communications, public relations, or a closely related field.
  2. One year (12 months) of professional work experience in marketing, public relations, communications, brand management, or a related professional area


  1. Experience needed with Microsoft Office, Dreamweaver, Photoshop, and InDesign. Experience in the implementation and analysis of e-marketing initiatives.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  1. Interest in publishing and understanding of the value of scholarship in the humanities and social sciences.
  2. Strong organizational and interpersonal skills and ability to handle a multi-task work environment with changing priorities and limited supervision.
  3. Able to be creative with strong analytical skills and strategic thinking capabilities.
  4. The ability to problem solve and work independently. Some technical knowledge to edit and maintain the journals department website.
  5. Knowledge of marketing, especially e-marketing, in order to make recommendations and explore new avenues for promotion of UIP Journals.
  6. Knowledge of scholarly journals publishing and library market trends as well as publishing knowledge.

This is a full-time Civil Service Marketing Associate position appointed on a 12 month service basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after July 14, 2020. Salary is commensurate with experience.

More information on how to apply can be found here:


July’s free ebook is here! For this entire month we are giving away Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC edited by Faith S. Holsaert, Martha Prescod Norman Noonan, Judy Richardson, Betty Garman Robinson, Jean Smith Young and Dorothy M. Zellner!

Fifty-two women–northern and southern, young and old, urban and rural, black, white, and Latina–share their courageous personal stories of working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. Since the women spent time in the Deep South, many also describe risking their lives through beatings and arrests and witnessing unspeakable violence. Each story reveals how the struggle for social change was formed, supported, and maintained by the women who kept their “hands on the freedom plow.”

Obtain your free ebook and find out more here: https://bit.ly/2VsZRsD

Authors, Bruce J. Dierenfield and David Gerber ofDisability Rights and Religious Liberty in Education: The Story Behind Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School District” answer questions about their influences and what readers should look for while reading their book.

Q: Why did you decide to write this book?

David Gerber wanted to find a subject that would anchor disability in mainstream social and political history, rather than in cultural theory and identity, and to explore disability simultaneously both in intimate personal relations, such as within a family, and in the ordering of social relations and opportunities within public institutions, such as schools. Bruce Dierenfield had more personal motives. He identified strongly with Jim Zobrest, our book’s protagonist, who like Bruce has always been significantly affected by deafness, and had always loved basketball. The world of Catholic education is also familiar to Bruce. Bruce has spent his professional career at a Catholic Jesuit college. Like Jim, Bruce’s wife and daughter attended Catholic schools.

Q: Who were your biggest influences?

David Gerber is a University at Buffalo Distinguished Professor of History Emeritus and Director Emeritus of the University at Buffalo Center for Disability Studies.

David Gerber has been influenced by two authors who write on disability. They are: Andrew Solomon, whose book Far from the Tree is a series of narratives about different sorts of disabling conditions experienced by children and adolescents in the context of their families; and Gina Oliva, a deaf author whose book, Alone in the Mainstream, is an autobiographically based study of the negotiations a hearing impaired women undertook over many years, from childhood well into adulthood, to find a balance between life in the hearing and the Deaf worlds. Bruce Dierenfield has been a long-time researcher on the field of constitutional law of religious liberty, especially in the arena of public education. He names these legal scholars among the influences of his views on the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment: Douglas Laycock, Ronald Flowers, Peter Irons, and Leonard Levy, and the legal anthropologist David Engel for his work of why ordinary people do or do not file lawsuits when they have judicable grievances.

Q: What is the most interesting discovery you made while researching and writing your book?

Both of us have been impressed by the fact that ordinary people like the Zobrests, when severely tested, have extraordinary resources within themselves to pursue justice against very steep odds.

Q: What myths do you hope your book will dispel or what do you hope your book will help readers unlearn?

Bruce J. Dierenfield is a professor of history and director of the all-college honors program at Canisius College.

We would like readers to be aware that passing good laws helpful to people whose rights are easily violated or overlooked is only part of what liberates people. Sensitivity of our institutions to the spirit of the laws, the legal processes for the implementation of law, and the willingness of people to pursue justice are of greatest importance to justice being done. In addition, we would like readers to understand that Thomas Jefferson’s “wall of separation” between Church and State, as the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted it over the past century, is not high and impregnable, but increasingly permeable, permitting certain kinds of government assistance, including tax-paid sign interpreters of deaf students in religious schools.

Q: What is the most important idea you hope readers will take away from your book?

Ordinary people can sometimes obtain justice despite very long odds and the need for great struggle in their own behalf.

Q: What do you like to read/watch/or listen to for fun?

Bruce Dierenfield enjoys playing the pipe organ at local churches, and would like to travel to any place he has never been before; his list of destinations at present includes India, Japan, and Kenya.  David Gerber reads biographies and histories situated in the mid-twentieth century. He enjoys spinning training and cycling, and he runs with and is on the Board of Directors of Racin’, a Buffalo, New York organization that brings wheel chair using and non-wheel chair using athletes together to do local 5K races. Racin’ began when one of our founders wasn’t allowed to participate in local 5Ks using his wheel chair, and, like the Zobrests in another context, refused to take “No” for an answer.

The Journals and Books divisions at the Press endeavor to present scholarship not as two separate entities, but as a unified whole beneath the UIP banner.

Italian American Studies

The field of Italian Studies offers a prime example. Like many areas of research on ethnicity, Italian Studies at UIP and across academia long ago outgrew the field of history to embrace an ever-expanding interdisplinary mission.

Thus, the scope of Italian Studies at UIP ranges widely. The immigrant experience naturally plays a large part in our offerings.

The essays in Laura E. Ruberto and Joseph Sciorra’s two-volume New Italian Migrations to the United States covers topics like youth culture, how Italian American women embraced tarantella dance and music, and Italian language radio. Recent journals articles include “The Southwest’s Uneven Welcome: Immigrant Inclusion and Exclusion in Arizona and New Mexico” by Robin Dale Jacobson, Daniel Tichenor, and T. Elizabeth Durden (the Journal of American Ethnic History) and Katherine Reed’s look at graffiti on Ellis Island in the same publication.

Italian American Studies

The enormous contribution by Italian Americans to pop culture is another rich source of research. In 2019, a special issue of Italian American Review focused on Italian American song and soundscapes. Our long commitment to books on the topic include John Caps’s biography of movie soundtrack icon Henry Mancini and Jonathan J. Cavallero’s Hollywood’s Italian American Filmmakers.

Finally, there’s the sacred relationship between Italian Americans and the kitchen. In her book Migrant Marketplaces, Elizabeth Zanoni looks at how food from the homeland helped Italian immigrants create new identities in New York City and Buenos Aires. The Italian American Table, by Simone Cinotto, shows how Neapolitan, Sicilian, and Calabrese immigrants added their food culture to the menu for people across the United States.

This post is from The Callout, the UIP newsletter. You can read the latest issue here.