(University of Arizona Press, 2022)
Common understandings drawn from biblical references, literature, and art portray deserts as barren places that are far from God and spiritual sustenance. Bountiful Deserts foregrounds the knowledge of Indigenous peoples in the arid lands of northwestern Mexico, for whom the desert was anything but barren or empty. Instead, they nurtured and harvested the desert as a bountiful and sacred space. Drawing together historical texts and oral testimonies, archaeology, and natural history, author Cynthia Radding develops the relationships between people and plants and the ways that Indigenous people sustained their worlds before European contact through the changes set in motion by Spanish encounters, highlighting the long process of colonial conflicts and adaptations over more than two centuries. This work reveals the spiritual power of deserts by weaving together the cultural practices of historical peoples and contemporary living communities, centered especially on the Yaqui/Yoeme and Mayo/Yoreme.
On a moonless night in the summer of 1793 a crime was committed in the back room of a New York brothel—the kind of crime that even victims usually kept secret. Instead, seventeen-year-old seamstress Lanah Sawyer did what virtually no one in US history had done before: she charged a gentleman with rape. Based on rigorous historical detective work, John Wood Sweet’s book takes us from a chance encounter in the street into the sanctuaries of the city’s elite, the shadows of its brothels, and the despair of its debtors’ prison. The Sewing Girl’s Tale shows that if our laws and our culture were changed by a persistent young woman and the power of words two hundred years ago, they can be changed again.
Dr. Sweet’s book was featured in the New York Times Book Review in July 2022.
(Harvard University Press, 2021)
What does it mean to belong somewhere? For many of Prague’s inhabitants, belonging has been linked to the nation, embodied in the capital city. Chad Bryant tells the stories of five marginalized individuals who, over the last two centuries, forged their own notions of belonging in one of Europe’s great cities. An aspiring guidebook writer, a German-speaking newspaperman, a Bolshevik carpenter, an actress of mixed heritage who came of age during the Communist terror, and a Czech-speaking Vietnamese blogger: none of them is famous, but their lives are revealing. They speak to tensions between exclusionary nationalism and on-the-ground diversity. In their struggles against alienation and dislocation, they forged alternative communities in cafes, workplaces, and online. While strolling park paths, joining political marches, or writing about their lives, these outsiders came to embody a city that, on its surface, was built for others.
Prague was the co-winner of the 2022 Radomír Luža Prize from the German Studies Association.
(University of Mississippi Press, 2021)
In the American South, the civil rights movement in the 1960s and the struggle to abolish racial segregation erupted in dramatic scenes at lunch counters, in schools, and in churches. The photographs featured in I AM A MAN: Photographs of the Civil Rights Movement, 1960–1970 bear witness to the courage of protesters who faced unimaginable violence and brutality as well as the quiet determination of the elderly and the angry commitment of the young. Talented photographers documented that decade and captured both the bravery of civil rights workers and the violence they faced. Most notably, this book features the work of Bob Adelman, Dan Budnik, Doris Derby, Roland Freeman, Danny Lyon, Art Shay, and Ernest Withers. Like the fabled music and tales of the American South, their photographs document the region’s past, its people, and the places that shaped their lives. The photographs in this volume, collected by William R. Ferris, reveal, as only great photography can, the pivotal moments that changed history, and yet remind us how far we have to go.
(W.W. Norton, 2020)
Grounded in decades of research, the family’s private papers, and interviews with Katharine and Grace, Sisters and Rebels unfolds an epic narrative of American history through the lives of three Southern women. Descendants of a prominent slaveholding family, Elizabeth, Grace, and Katharine Lumpkin were raised in a culture of white supremacy. While Elizabeth remained a lifelong believer, her younger sisters sought their fortunes in the North, reinventing themselves as radical thinkers whose literary works and organizing efforts brought the nation’s attention to issues of region, race, and labor. National Humanities Award–winning historian Jacquelyn Dowd Hall follows the divergent paths of the Lumpkin sisters, tracing the wounds and unsung victories of the past. Hall revives a buried tradition of Southern expatriation and progressivism; explores the lost, revolutionary zeal of the early twentieth century; and muses on the fraught ties of sisterhood.
(Harvard University Press, 2019)
If you really want to understand Jim Crow—what it was and how African Americans rose up to defeat it—you should start by visiting Mobile Street in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the heart of the historic black downtown. There you can see remnants of the shops and churches where, amid the violence and humiliation of segregation, men and women gathered to build a remarkable community. William Sturkey introduces us to both old-timers and newcomers who arrived in search of economic opportunities promised by the railroads, sawmills, and factories of the New South. He also takes us across town and inside the homes of white Hattiesburgers to show how their lives were shaped by the changing fortunes of the Jim Crow South.
(W. W. Norton, 2019)
Shining Path orchestrated bombings, assassinations, and massacres across the cities, countryside, and jungles of Peru in a murderous campaign to seize power and impose a Communist government. Their fanatical devotion to an outmoded and dogmatic ideology, and the military’s bloody response, led to the death of nearly 70,000 Peruvians. Orin Starn and Miguel La Serna’s narrative history of Shining Path is both panoramic and intimate, set against the socioeconomic upheavals of Peru’s rocky transition from military dictatorship to elected democracy. They take readers deep into the heart of the rebellion, and the lives and country it nearly destroyed. We hear the voices of the mountain villagers who organized a fierce rural resistance, and meet the irrepressible black activist María Elena Moyano and the Nobel Prize–winning novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, who each fought to end the bloodshed. Deftly written, The Shining Path is an exquisitely detailed account of a little-remembered war that must never be forgotten.
(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019)
Historians commonly designate the High Middle Ages as the era of the “papal monarchy,” when the popes of Rome vied with secular rulers for spiritual and temporal supremacy. Indeed, in many ways the story of the papal monarchy encapsulates that of medieval Europe as often remembered: a time before the modern age, when religious authorities openly clashed with emperors, kings, and princes for political mastery of their world, claiming sovereignty over Christendom, the universal community of Christian kingdoms, churches, and peoples. At no point was this conflict more widespread and dramatic than during the papacies of Gregory IX (1227-1241) and Innocent IV (1243-1254). Their struggles with the Hohenstaufen Emperor Frederick II (1212-1250) echoed in the corridors of power and the court of public opinion, ranging from the battlefields of Italy to the streets of Jerusalem. In The Two Powers, Brett Edward Whalen has written a new history of this combative relationship between the thirteenth-century papacy and empire. Whalen highlights the ways in which Gregory and Innocent acted politically and publicly, realizing their priestly sovereignty through the networks of communication, performance, and documentary culture that lay at the unique disposal of the Apostolic See.
With culinary nationalism defined as a process in flux, as opposed to the limited concept of national cuisine, the contributors of this book call for explicit critical comparisons of cases of culinary nationalism among Asian regions, with the intention of recognizing patterns of modern culinary development. As a result, the formation of modern cuisine is revealed to be a process that takes place around the world, in different forms and periods, and not exclusive to current Eurocentric models. Editor Michelle T. King brings together prominent scholars from around the world, creating a volume that sets out a fresh agenda for thinking about future food studies scholarship.
Culinary Nationalism won the Association for the Study of Food and Society’s 2021 Best Edited Volume book award.
(Princeton University Press, 2018)
Broken Lives is a gripping account of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of ordinary Germans who came of age under Hitler and whose lives were scarred and sometimes destroyed by what they saw and did. Drawing on six dozen memoirs by the generation of Germans born in the 1920s, Konrad Jarausch chronicles the unforgettable stories of people who not only lived through the Third Reich, World War II, the Holocaust, and Cold War partition, but also participated in Germany’s astonishing postwar recovery, reunification, and rehabilitation. Written decades after the events, these testimonies, many of them unpublished, look back on the mistakes of young people caught up in the Nazi movement. In many, early enthusiasm turns to deep disillusionment as the price of complicity with a brutal dictatorship — fighting at the front, aerial bombardment at home, murder in the concentration camps—becomes clear.
(University of North Carolina Press, 2018)
As the largest tribe east of the Mississippi and one of the largest in the country, the Lumbees have survived in their original homelands, maintaining a distinct identity as Indians in a biracial South. In this passionately written, sweeping work of history, Malinda Maynor Lowery narrates the Lumbees’ extraordinary story as never before.* The Lumbees’ journey as a people sheds new light on America’s defining moments, from the first encounters with Europeans to the present day. How and why did the Lumbees both fight to establish the United States and resist the encroachments of its government? How have they not just survived, but thrived, through Civil War, Jim Crow, the civil rights movement, and the war on drugs, to ultimately establish their own constitutional government in the twenty-first century? Their fight for full federal acknowledgment continues to this day, while the Lumbee people’s struggle for justice and self-determination continues to transform our view of the American experience.
*Dr. Lowery was a UNC History faculty member at the time of publication. She has since taken a position at Emory University.
(Springer International Publishing, 2017)
Melissa Bullard’s book shows how modern Brooklyn’s proud urban identity as an arts-friendly community originated in the mid nineteenth century. Before and after the Civil War, Brooklyn’s elite, many engaged in Atlantic trade, established more than a dozen cultural societies, including the Philharmonic Society, Academy of Music, and Art Association. The associative ethos behind Brooklyn’s fine arts flowering built upon commercial networks that joined commerce, culture, and community. This innovative, carefully researched and documented history employs the concept of parallel Renaissances. It shows influences from Renaissance Italy and Liverpool, then connected to New York through regular packet service like the Black Ball Line that ferried people, ideas, and cargo across the Atlantic. Civil War disrupted Brooklyn’s Renaissance. The city directed energies towards war relief efforts and the women’s Sanitary Fair. The Gilded Age saw Brooklyn’s Renaissance energies diluted by financial and political corruption, planning the Brooklyn Bridge and consolidation with New York City in 1898.
(Harvard University Press, 2017)
When President Barack Obama visited Cairo in 2009 to deliver an 9780674050372-lgaddress to Muslims worldwide, he followed in the footsteps of countless politicians who have taken the existence of a unified global Muslim community for granted. But as Cemil Aydin explains in this provocative history, it is a misconception to think that the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims constitute a single religio-political entity. How did this belief arise, and why is it so widespread? The Idea of the Muslim World searches for the intellectual origins of a mistaken notion and explains its enduring allure for non-Muslims and Muslims alike.
(Simson & Schuster Press, 2017)
In The Land of Enterprise, Benjamin Waterhouse charts the development of American business from the colonial period to the present. It explores the nation’s evolving economic, social, and political landscape by examining how different types of enterprising activities rose and fell, how new labor and production technologies supplanted old ones—and at what costs—and how Americans of all stripes responded to the tumultuous world of business. In particular, historian Benjamin Waterhouse highlights the changes in business practices, the development of different industries and sectors, and the complex relationship between business and national politics.
The “Truth” Behind Our Ancestors
Lisa A. Lindsay wrote a guest post in the UNC Press Blog about her recently published book, Atlantic Bonds: A Nineteenth-Century Odyssey from America to Africa. A decade before the American Civil War, James Churchwill Vaughan (1828–1893) set out to fulfill his formerly enslaved father’s dying wish that he should leave America to start a new life in Africa. Tracing Vaughan’s journey from South Carolina to Liberia to several parts of Yorubaland (present-day southwestern Nigeria), Lisa Lindsay documents this “free” man’s struggle to find economic and political autonomy in an era when freedom was not clear and unhindered anywhere for people of African descent. Lindsay explores the human tendency to shape our ancestors into who we need them to be. To read the post, click here.