Lethal State: A History of the Death Penalty in North Carolina (UNC Press, February 2019) by Seth Kotch (M.A. history ’05, Ph.D. history ’09), assistant professor of American studies. In Lethal State, Kotch recounts the history of the death penalty in North Carolina from its colonial origins to the present. He tracks the attempts to reform and sanitize the administration of death in a state as dedicated to its image as it was to rigid racial hierarchies. Through this lens, Lethal State helps explain not only Americans’ deep and growing uncertainty about the death penalty but also their commitment to it. Listen to a WCHL “Oh, the Humanities!” segment with Kotch.
Putin v. the People: The Perilous Politics of a Divided Russia (Yale University Press, June 2019) by Graeme Robertson, professor of political science, and Samuel A. Greene, director of the Russia Institute of King’s College London. What do ordinary Russians think of Putin? Who are his supporters? And why might their support now be faltering? Alive with the voices and experiences of ordinary Russians and elites alike, Greene and Robertson craft a compellingly original account of contemporary Russian politics. Telling the story of Putin’s rule through pivotal episodes such as the aftermath of the “For Fair Elections” protests, the annexation of Crimea and the War in Eastern Ukraine, Greene and Robertson draw on interviews, surveys, social media data and leaked documents to reveal how hard Putin has to work to maintain broad popular support.
Our Better Angels: Seven Simple Virtues That Will Change Your Life and the World (Macmillan Publishers, October 2019) by Jonathan Reckford (political science ’84), the CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, with a foreword by Jimmy Carter. Having witnessed people beat back the storms of life, Reckford came to see how we can all find our better selves by tapping into seven old-fashioned virtues — kindness, generosity, community, empowerment, respect, joy and service. And he came to see how the strength gained from these virtues can help each of us build our best selves in ways that impact all areas of our lives — from our careers to our families, from how we behave in our communities to how we see the world. Reckford is the May 2019 Carolina commencement speaker.
Against Translation (The University of Chicago Press, March 2019) by Alan Shapiro, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of English and creative writing. We often ask ourselves what gets lost in translation — not just between languages, but in the everyday trade-offs between what we experience and what we are able to say about it. But the visionary poems of this collection invite us to consider: what is loss, in translation? Through poems that are fine-grained and often quiet, Shapiro tells of subtle bereavements: a young boy is shamed for the first time for looking “girly”; an ailing old man struggles to visit his wife in a nursing home; or a woman dying of cancer watches her friends enjoy themselves in her absence.
Mothers and Strangers: Essays on Motherhood from the New South (UNC Press, April 2019) edited by Samia Serageldin and Lee Smith with essay contributors with deep Carolina connections, including Marianne Gingher, James Seay, Daniel Wallace, Sally Greene, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, Randall Kenan, Bland Simpson and more. In this anthology of creative nonfiction, 28 writers set out to discover what they know, and don’t know, about the person they call mother. Serageldin and Smith have curated a diverse and insightful collection that challenges stereotypes about mothers and expands our notions of motherhood in the South. The mothers in these essays were shaped, for good and bad, by the economic and political crosswinds of their time.The book was named a Top Spring 2019 “Okra Pick” by the Southern Independent Booksellers Association.
Slavery and Class in the American South: A Generation of Slave Narrative Testimony, 1840-1865 (Oxford University Press, February 2019) by William Andrews, E. Maynard Adams Distinguished Professor of English and comparative literature. More than 60 mid-19th century slave narratives reveal how work, family, skills and connections made for social and economic differences among the enslaved of the South. Slave narrators disclosed class-based reasons for violence that broke out between “impudent,” “gentleman” and “lady” slaves and their resentful “mean masters.” Andrews’ far-reaching book shows that status and class played key roles in the self- and social awareness and in the processes of liberation portrayed in the narratives of the most celebrated fugitives from U.S. slavery, such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, William Wells Brown, and William and Ellen Craft.
Battle Lines: Poetry and Mass Media in the U.S. Civil War (University of Pennsylvania Press, February 2019) by Eliza Richards, associate professor of English and comparative literature. During the U.S. Civil War, a combination of innovative technologies and catastrophic events stimulated the development of news media into a central cultural force. Reacting to the dramatic increases in news reportage and circulation, poets responded to an urgent need to make their work immediately relevant to current events. As poetry’s compressed forms traveled more quickly and easily than stories, novels, or essays through ephemeral print media, it moved alongside and engaged with news reports, often taking on the task of imagining the mental states of readers on receiving accounts from the war front.
Hattiesburg: An American City in Black and White (Harvard University Press, March 2019) by William Sturkey, assistant professor of history. Sturkey’s new book is a rich, multigenerational saga of race and family in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, that tells the story of how Jim Crow was built, how it changed and how the most powerful social movement in American history came together to tear it down. He shows that if you really want to understand Jim Crow — what it was and how African Americans rose up to defeat it — start by visiting Mobile Street in Hattiesburg, 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. Read a review of the book in The New York Times.
Where We Find Ourselves: The Photographs of Hugh Mangum, 1897-1922 (UNC Press, February 2019) by Margaret Sartor (B.A. English ’81) and Alex Harris. Self-taught photographer Hugh Mangum was born in 1877 in Durham, North Carolina. As an itinerant portraitist working primarily in North Carolina and Virginia during the rise of Jim Crow, Mangum welcomed into his temporary studios a clientele that was both racially and economically diverse. After his death in 1922, his glass plate negatives remained stored in his darkroom, a tobacco barn, for 50 years. Slated for demolition in the 1970s, the barn was saved at the last moment — and with it, this surprising and unparalleled document of life at the turn of the 20th century, a turbulent time in the history of the American South.
Gaining Voice: The Causes and Consequences of Black Representation in the American States (Oxford University Press, March 2019) by Christopher Clark, assistant professor of political science. Scholars studying the causes and consequences of political representation, particularly in terms of gender and race, often turn to a concept called descriptive representation. Descriptive representation tells us the degree to which elected officials resemble their constituents, and whether such a resemblance has a bearing on the way they legislate. Clark argues that descriptive representation is a more multi-faceted phenomenon than previously shown, particularly when observed at the state level.
Rice in the Time of Sugar: The Political Economy of Food in Cuba (UNC Press, May 2019) by Louis A. Pèrez Jr., J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History and director of the Institute for the Study of the Americas. How did Cuba’s long-established sugar trade result in the development of an agriculture that benefited consumers abroad at the dire expense of Cubans at home? In this history of Cuba, Pérez proposes a new Cuban counterpoint: rice, a staple central to the island’s cuisine and sugar, which dominated an export economy 150 years in the making. In the dynamic between the two, dependency on food imports — a signal feature of the Cuban economy — was set in place.
Hallaj: Poems of a Sufi Martyr (Northwestern University Press, 2018), translated from Arabic by Carl Ernst, William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of religious studies and co-director of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies. Hallaj is the first authoritative translation of the Arabic poetry of Husayn ibn Mansur al-Hallaj, an early Sufi mystic. Despite his execution in Baghdad in 922 and the subsequent suppression of his work, Hallaj left an enduring literary and spiritual legacy that continues to inspire readers around the world. In Hallaj, Ernst offers a definitive collection of 117 of Hallaj’s poems expertly translated for contemporary readers interested in Middle Eastern and Sufi poetry and spirituality.
Contested Territory: Ðien Biên Phu and the Making of Northwest Vietnam (Yale University Press, April 2019) by Christian C. Lentz, associate professor of geography. Historians regard the Battle of Ðien Biên Phu, in 1954, as the conflict that toppled the French empire in Indochina and triggered the decline of colonial rule in Southeast Asia. This new work of historical and political geography ventures beyond the conventional framing of the battle’s history, tracking a longer period of anticolonial revolution and nation-state formation from 1945 to 1960. Lentz engages newly available sources from Vietnam’s National Archives, as well as documents from the French military and other overseas archives.
The American Military: A Concise History (Oxford University Press, 2018) by Joseph Glatthaar, Stephenson Distinguished Professor of history and adjunct professor of the curriculum in peace, war and defense. Since the first English settlers landed at Jamestown with the legacy of centuries of European warfare in tow, the military has been an omnipresent part of America. In The American Military, Glatthaar explores this relationship from its origins in the 13 colonies to today’s ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. Since 9/11, the U.S. has been frustrated by unconventional warfare, including terrorism and cyberwar, largely negating the technological advantage it had held. Glatthaar examines all these challenges, from the past to the present, looking to the future of the U.S. military and its often proud and complicated legacy.
Women’s Place in the Andes: Engaging Decolonial Feminist Anthropology (University of California Press, 2018) by Florence Babb, Anthony Harrington Distinguished Professor of Anthropology. Babb draws on four decades of anthropological research to reexamine the complex inter-workings of gender, race and indigeneity in Peru and beyond. Babb argues that decolonizing feminism will lead to a deeper understanding of the iconic Andean women who are subjects of both national pride and everyday scorn. This book’s novel approach goes on to set forth a collaborative methodology for rethinking gender and race in the Americas.
Sovereign Entrepreneurs: Cherokee Small-Business Owners and the Making of Economic Sovereignty (UNC Press, May 2019) by Courtney Lewis (Ph.D. anthropology ’12). By 2009, reverberations of economic crisis spread from the United States around the globe. As corporations across the United States folded, however, small businesses on the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians continued to thrive. In this rich ethnographic study, Lewis reveals the critical roles small businesses such as these play for indigenous nations. On the Qualla Boundary today, Indigenous entrepreneurship and economic independence extends to art galleries, restaurants, a bookstore, a funeral parlor and more.
Troubled Memories: Iconic Mexican Women and the Traps of Representation (SUNY Press, 2018) by Oswaldo Estrada, professor of romance studies. In Troubled Memories, Estrada traces the literary and cultural representations of several iconic Mexican women produced in the midst of neoliberalism, gender debates and the widespread commodification of cultural memory. He examines recent fictionalizations of Malinche, Hernán Cortés’s indigenous translator during the Conquest of Mexico; Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the famous Baroque intellectual of New Spain; Leona Vicario, a supporter of the Mexican War of Independence; the soldaderas of the Mexican Revolution; and Frida Kahlo, the tormented painter of the 20th century.
Circa 1903: North Carolina’s Outer Banks at the Dawn of Flight (UNC Press, May 2019) by Larry E. Tise (Ph.D. history ’75). Standing along the coast of today’s Outer Banks, it can be hard to envision the barrier island world at Kitty Hawk as it appeared to Wilbur and Orville Wright when they first arrived in 1900 to begin their famous experiments leading to the world’s first powered flight three years later. Around 1903, the islands and inland seas of North Carolina’s coast were distinctive maritime realms — seemingly at the ends of the earth. But as the Wrights soon recognized, the region was far more developed than they expected. This rich photographic history illuminates this forgotten barrier island world as it existed when the Wright brothers arrived.
Bruno Schulz: Collected Stories (Northwestern University Press, 2018), translated from Polish by Madeline Levine, professor emerita of Slavic literatures. Collected Stories is an authoritative new translation of the complete fiction of Bruno Schulz, whose work has influenced writers as various as Salman Rushdie, Cynthia Ozick, Jonathan Safran Foer, Philip Roth, Danilo Kiš and Roberto Bolaño. Schulz’s prose is renowned for its originality. Set largely in a fictional counterpart of his hometown of Drohobych, his stories merge the real and the surreal.
Understanding Francisco Goldman (University of South Carolina Press, 2018) by Ariana Vigil, associate professor of women’s and gender studies. Award-winning writer and journalist Francisco Goldman is the author of novels and works of nonfiction and is a regular contributor to The New Yorker. His awards include the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction and the T. R. Fyvel Book Award, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship. Born to a Guatemalan mother and Jewish American father, Goldman’s heritage has shaped his unique perspective and has had a significant influence on his literary themes. This is the first book-length study of Goldman’s life and work.
Raising the White Flag: How Surrender Defined the American Civil War (UNC Press, April 2019) by David Silkenat (M.A. history ’05, Ph.D. history ’08). Silkenat provides the first comprehensive study of Civil War surrender, focusing on the conflicting social, political and cultural meanings of the action. Looking at the conflict from the perspective of men who surrendered, Silkenat creates new avenues to understand prisoners of war, fighting by Confederate guerillas, the role of southern Unionists and the experiences of African American soldiers. The experience of surrender also sheds valuable light on the culture of honor, the experience of combat and the laws of war.
Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers (UNC Press, March 2019) by James J. Broomall (M.A. history ’06). How did the Civil War, emancipation, and Reconstruction shape the masculinity of white Confederate veterans? As Broomall shows, the crisis of the war forced a reconfiguration of the emotional worlds of the men who took up arms for the South. Drawing on personal letters and diaries, Broomall argues that the crisis of defeat ultimately necessitated new forms of expression between veterans and among men and women.
Poll Power: The Voter Education Project and the Movement for the Ballot in the American South (UNC Press, May 2019) by Evan Faulkenbury (Ph.D. history ’16). Creating and sustaining a social movement costs money. In the early 1960s, after years of grassroots organizing, civil rights activists convinced nonprofit foundations to donate in support of voter education and registration efforts. One result was the Voter Education Project (VEP), which, starting in 1962, showed far-reaching results almost immediately and organized the groundwork that eventually led to the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Read a story about political science professor Andrew Reynolds’ new book, The Children of Harvey Milk: How LGBTQ Politicians Changed the World.