The Weekly Read

The Weekly Read for Saturday, January 21, 2023 is The Curious Case of Oscar Lorick: Race, Markets, and Militancy during the Farm Crisis, by Rebecca Shimoni-Stoil. The article appears in The 1980s Farm Crisis Reconsidered, a recent special issue of Agricultural History.


“In 1985 Oscar Lorick—an aging and illiterate Black farmer clinging to seventy-nine acres of land and burdened with massive debts—turned to local farm activist Tommy Kersey to help stave off foreclosure. The ensuing mobilization tied together the NAACP, Black church networks, white supremacist militants, corporate sponsors, a millionaire benefactor, and even the Atlanta Falcons in the ultimately successful attempt to save his farm. Lorick’s story serves as a point of departure to assert that the Farm Crisis facilitated the convergence of anti-federal and federal-skeptic ideologies, both radical and conventional, in the fertile ground of rural America. Relying on court records, news reports, and organizational documents, this article reconstructs a story that grabbed national attention during the Farm Crisis to demonstrate the importance of free-market narratives, racial discrimination, and the legacy of civil rights mobilization in understanding the complexity of agrarian activism in the crisis-era South.”

Oscar Lorick’s story remains inscribed in the countryside outside of Cochran, Georgia, today. The faded inscriptions read “Live Free or Die,” and “FED RES SYS” with superimposed prohibition sign. (Photograph by Bert Way, April 17, 2022.)

The Weekly Read is a new weekly feature in which we highlight articles, books, and chapters that are freely available online. You’ll be able to find a link to the selection here on the blog as well as on our social media channels. Enjoy The Weekly Read, and check back next week for something new to read for free.

University Press Week: #Twitterstorm



Welcome back to the University Press Week blog tour. Today’s theme is #TwitterStorm, featuring posts about how authors and university presses use social media to spread their messages. Check out the video above to see our author Lynn Comella discuss how she considers social media a form of activism. Then head over to Harvard University Press to get a look at how social media has played a role in the publication of Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide. Next, Greg Britton, Editorial Director of Johns Hopkins University Press, extols the virtues of Twitter. Athabasca University Press showcases how they utilized social media channels to create a citywide book club. Finally, a post from Beacon Press demonstrates how social media has helped advertise and keep conversation going about Christopher Edmin’s For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood…and the Rest of Y’all Too.

Come back tomorrow for a great Veterans Day post from us and more from the University Press Week blog tour. And keep sharing your love for university presses on social media with the hashtags #LookItUP and #ReadUP.

University Press Week: Producing the Books that Matter


Welcome back to the University Press Week blog tour. Today’s theme is Producing the Books that Matter. Visit University of Kansas Press to learn about how editorial and production departments work together to create books. Then head to University of Michigan Press for an interview with Jay Timothy Dolmage, author of their upcoming book Academic Ableism. David Goodwin will talk about the production of his book Left Bank of the Hudson, which was published this Fall by Fordham University Press. At University of Washington Press, their press director and president of the AAUP, Nicole Mitchell, will write about the value of university presses. Yale University Press will be featuring an episode of their podcast on the making of the Voynich Manuscript. UBC Press offers a post on the challenges and rewards of working closely with an author to develop a book for a general rather than a scholarly audience. University of California Press and Georgetown University Press are also participating.

Check back here tomorrow for more great blog posts and don’t forget to share your love for university presses online with the hashtags #LookItUP and #ReadUP.

University Press Week 2017: Knowledge Matters


It’s University Press Week! University Press Week highlights the extraordinary work of nonprofit scholarly publishers and their many contributions to culture, the academy, and an informed society. We’ll be celebrating with displays at the Durham County Library‘s South Regional branch, the Hayti Heritage Center, North Carolina Central University library, and around Duke University’s campus at the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, the Music Library, the Office for Faculty Advancement, the John Hope Franklin Center, the Nicholas School of the Environment, and the Center for Multicultural Affairs. If you’re in Durham please stop by and check out some of our recent titles and pick up a free bookmark, pen, or magnet.

This year’s University Press Week Theme is #LookItUP: Knowledge Matters. In today’s political climate—where “fake news” and “alternate facts” are believed by so many people—valuing expertise and knowledge can feel like a radical act. University presses not only believe in facts and knowledge, but traffic in them daily, publishing approximately 14,000 books and more than 1,100 journals each year, read by people around the globe.

We launched our “Read to Respond” series to highlight some of our own groundbreaking scholarship that engages with today’s pressing issues. Each topic, from student activism to racial justice, is highlighted with a reading list that encourages students and teachers alike to join the conversation surrounding these current events. Check out your favorite “Read to Respond” topics below and share these resources in and out of the classroom. These articles are freely available until December 15, 2017.

We now encourage you to learn more about the important work of university presses by checking out the week-long blog tour. Each day has a different theme and will feature posts by five-ten different presses. Today’s theme is Scholarship Making a Difference. Begin at Temple University Press for a post on scholarship on racism and whiteness. Then head to Wayne State University Press to read about their upcoming book on slavery in 21st-century America. University Press of Colorado has a feature on their post-truth focused titles. At Princeton University Press, Al Bertrand writes on the importance of non-partisan peer reviewed social science in today’s political climate. George Mason University Press offers a post on the path to discovery of an overlooked and misunderstood yet influential historical figure, William Playfair. At University of Toronto Press, their history editor in higher education discusses the importance of making scholarship accessible to students and the role of publishers in helping to build better citizens. Wilfrid Laurier University Press offers a roundup of their Indigenous scholarship with commentary from the series editor about its importance. Oregon State University Press  Finally, stop at Cambridge University Press to see their post.

Check back here each day to see the stops on the blog tour and our own University Press Week posts. Don’t forget to share with the hashtags #ReadUP and #LookItUP!

Duke and UNC Press Staff Collaborate on Building Equitable and Inclusive Workplace Communities


The theme of today’s University Press Week blog tour is spotlighting the work of university press staff. We offer a guest post by Assistant Director for Contracts and Intellectual Property Cathy Rimer-Surles and Editor Gisela Fosado on the recent work they’ve been doing UNC Press to build a more equitable and inclusive workplace. 

As we highlight the enormous contribution of university presses toward publishing books and journals featuring a rich range of multicultural voices, staff at Duke and UNC Presses are also acknowledging the entrenched problem of an all-too-homogenous workforce in the publishing industry as a whole. The 2015 Diversity Baseline Survey, conducted by Lee and Low Books, represents the first major study to look at diversity among publishing industry staff.  This survey indicated that 79% of employees in the publishing industry identified as White, while only 21% of employees combined identified as Black, Native American, Asian-American, Hispanic/Latino or Multiracial.  When looking at job functions within publishing such as those in Editorial, Sales/Marketing or Executive groups, the disparities become even more striking. Earlier this year both Duke and UNC Presses launched equity working groups in order to attempt to address the lack of diversity within our own presses.


In conversations around diversity in the workplace, employers sometimes ask themselves why there are so few people of color within their workforce.  As part of our discussions around diversity, equity and inclusion, however, a growing number of staff members are starting to ask themselves different questions, such as why it is that the vast majority of employees and especially administrators at their respective presses are White.  In other words, what publishing opportunities did White employees have that were not open to members of underrepresented groups?

Through engaging in regular discussion and self-assessment, equity working group members at both presses are starting to identify some common themes around hiring and recruitment.  For example, where the vast majority of staff members in a workplace identify as White, when they reach out to their informal networks as part of the organization’s recruitment process, they are most likely to reach out to people similar to themselves.  As an alternate approach, the groups are partnering with their respective HR teams to implement strategies for casting a wider net for potential job applicants including consistently posting at a wider range of area universities, having a visible presence at diversity job fairs, and forming a speaker’s bureau to talk with diverse audiences about scholarly publishing as a career.

Duke and UNC’s equity groups have also focused on examining the culture of their respective presses.  In a recent joint panel discussion featuring staff from both presses and Duke University’s Office for Institutional Equity, panelists highlighted the need to examine and transform the workplace culture. For example, becoming more aware of the role of implicit bias not just in recruitment and hiring decisions, but also in everyday personal interactions, including awareness of who is developed professionally through mentorship or through other opportunities that arise in the workplace. Panelists of color highlighted the negative impact of micro-aggressions and subtle bias on their self-esteem and job satisfaction, an experience shared by staff members from other marginalized groups including members of the LGBTQI community and people with disabilities.  Panelists of color also discussed their sense that there was an expectation to assimilate in order to truly “fit in.”

In seeking to address these concerns in depth, Duke University Press’s equity group has organized a series of workshops designed not only to raise awareness about the experiences of marginalized groups, but also about the critical role of the dominant, but often “invisible” culture.  After a kick-off workshop on Implicit Bias, staff will have the opportunity to participate in workshops led by Duke’s Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity and Disability Management Office.

Although these initiatives are only the first building blocks in constructing a more equitable and inclusive workplace, we are excited to be having these conversations and are eager to share our experiences with other interested presses.


Continue on the University Press Week blog tour with Seminary Co-op Bookstore featuring a bibliography of former Triliteral sales rep, John Eklund’s favorite books throughout his career with Harvard, Yale and MIT. Head to Wayne State University Press for the WSUP Shelf Talkers series—this time highlighting WSUP’s new in-house designer. University of Washington Press features Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow Niccole Leilanionapae’aina Coggins. University Press of Mississippi draws attention to staff members’ work outside of the Press and in the community. The University of Wisconsin Press shares The Art & Craft of Print: a feature on multi-talented books production manager Terry Emmrich, who is also a fine art printmaker. Johns Hopkins University Press spotlights Debby Bors, who—-after nine years in manuscript editing at JHU Press—explains her passion for university press publishing.



Governor Jerry Brown, City Lights Bookstore, and a Bulgarian Adventure

Left Side of HistoryWelcome to the University Press Week blog tour! Today we offer a guest post on the power of indie bookstores by Kristen Ghodsee, author of The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe (2015).

On May 23, 2016, I woke up in Helsinki to an email containing a voice to text transcript of a message from someone called “Kathy,” claiming to be based in the office of the governor of California.  I deleted the message.  It was election season and they were probably asking for money, I thought.  No one uses land lines unless they’re asking for money.

But the next message in my inbox was from my administrative coordinator back at Bowdoin College.  She forwarded me a message left on her voice mail from the same Kathy who stated that Jerry Brown “would like to speak with Professor Kristen Ghodsee.”  I did a quick Google search of Kathy’s full name, and found that she indeed worked in Sacramento for the governor’s office.

But why would the governor want to speak with me?  As a Californian and a product of two public universities in the Golden State, I wondered if this had something to do with projected changes to the UC system.  I grew up under Jerry Brown.  I was four years old in San Diego when he was first elected governor at the age of 36 in 1974.  He served as “Governor Moonbeam” until I was 13.  Many years later I was a doctoral student at Berkeley when he became the mayor of neighboring Oakland, but I had already relocated to Maine when he was sworn in for his third term as California governor in 2011, succeeding the “Governator,” Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He was serving his fourth term 2016.

Soon after, I received a direct email from Kathy.  I told her I was on leave in Finland, (ten hours ahead of Pacific Standard time), and asked what this was about.  She wrote: “Hello and thank you for your reply. I believe he was hoping to chat with you about “To the Left of History.” Would a phone call be possible? And if yes, could you please provide some possible times when you might be available?”


It turns out that Governor Brown hangs around the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco and stumbled upon a copy of my book, The Left Side of History on a shelf there.  Intrigued by the title, he bought and read it and wanted to discuss the book with me.  Thus ensued a series of conversations that lasted for the next six weeks as Governor Brown and I corresponded by phone and email.  Once on a intercity train between Tampere and Helsinki, my mobile phone rang and I ended up having to sit in a cramped sound proof booth for an hour while the Governor and I discussed East European politics and his upcoming trip to Bulgaria.

Governor Brown would be traveling to the small Balkan country in early July with his wife and two friends.  He asked me to help arrange meetings for him in Sofia, but also if it would be possible for he and his wife to meet Elena Lagadinova, the 86-year-old protagonist of my book.  Lagadinova had been the youngest female partisan fighting against the Nazi-allied monarchy in Bulgaria during World War II.  My book was an attempt to recuperate the heroism of those who fought on the “left side of history:” mostly communist idealists who risked their lives to defeat fascism.


And so it was on July 8th, that the sitting governor of California shared tea and cakes with Elena Lagadinova in Sofia, a meeting made possible through a healthy does of serendipity and the astounding power of university press books and independent bookstores to bring stories and people together despite the decades and oceans between them.


Now that you’ve read this post, please continue on the University Press Week blog tour. Head to University of Texas Press for Q&A with their sales manager about visiting indie bookstores along the West Coast  this fall. The University of Chicago Press blog features a day in the life of sales rep Mical Moser. Cornell University Press spotlights Buffalo Street Books, Ithaca’s cooperatively owned community bookstore. University Press of Colorado looks back on the past year’s author events at their two local indies, Tattered Cover and Boulder Bookstore. NYU Press features a re-cap of the Brooklyn Book Festival. McGill Queens University Press offers an appreciation of Canada’s independent bookstores. University Press of Kentucky will be featuring fun, revealing Q&As with indie booksellers across the state. University Press of Kansas showcases  The Raven Bookstore and KU Bookstore, two local, independent shops that carry and promote their titles. And don’t miss a post from one of the U.S.’s best indie bookstores, the Seminary Co-op, where they’ll highlight what’s on their front table right now.

Why I Loved My Internship at Duke University Press

FullSizeRenderHi everyone! My name is Sarah Kinniburgh and I am a senior at William & Mary. This summer, I was an intern in the Books Marketing Department. It’s been a blast, but I don’t want to reminisce too hard just yet! Instead, I want to share how I ended up at Duke in the first place and my main takeaway from the experience.

So, once upon a time, also known as December of 2015, I knew I wanted to write a thesis. With no concrete ideas beyond that, I took to the stacks of Swem Library for hours at a time. I was curious to see what I was curious about.

This free association was not the most efficient brainstorming strategy, but it worked. After a few spins, I had a list of books and authors that spoke to me. At the top: A Coincidence of Desires: Anthropology, Queer Studies, Indonesia by Tom Boellstorff and Cities From Scratch: Poverty and Informality in Urban Latin America edited by Brodwyn Fischer, Bryan McCann, and Javier Auyero. It blew my mind that books on totally unfamiliar subjects were so well-researched, so nice to look at, and so fun to read. So I checked out those two books, then as many other Duke University Press titles as I could find.

At this point, I was on the prowl for a paid internship. Based on one phone call with a manuscript editor at a university press and a few blog posts (one of which helpfully suggested, “Love editing? Be an editor!”), I focused on editorial departments at publishing houses, as well as communications departments at think tanks.

Duke University Press was the first place I emailed. I heard back within two days—a promising sign, to say the least. Books Editorial was all set with student interns for the summer, but had I talked to Laura Sell in Books Marketing? The way it all worked out, I had my phone interview with Laura on my birthday. At the time, I was taking Amtrak to New York City to spend the weekend with my family (and was in a ridiculously good mood, which couldn’t have hurt). Not long after, Laura contacted me to offer me the internship.

The best part? On my first day at the Press, I walked past a stack of Cities From Scratch, casually perched on a table in the front office.

All of this is to say, I ended up at Duke University Press because I wanted to work around books that I knew I liked reading. This summer, I had the chance to do just that. I also got to know the people and process behind the titles, which is just as fun. Another unexpected perk: I feel more prepared to write my thesis, though not about Latin America or Indonesia, having worked around serious scholarship all summer.

In the big picture, though, my favorite part about the internship has been learning what academic publishing really is. Books Marketing covers so much territory: exhibits at conferences and museums, advertising, author events at bookshops, social media, and more. By learning more about Duke University Press’s marketing strategies, I feel like I have learned about the industry as well.

My favorite, favorite part has been learning how university presses use social media. Twitter is a great way to support individual authors and to connect titles with current events. Instagram may be on the rise for presses who know we all sometimes judge a book by its cover. Even Pinterest factors into some press’s brands. But the humble blog especially is thriving. University press blogs can feature longer, original reads that frame their titles and topics in the context of current events. For example, University of Chicago Press shared how Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissenting opinion on a recent case cited one of their titles, MIT Press posted a Happy Birthday message to Alan Turing, and NYU featured a guest post by an author on the private prison in Orange Is the New Black. And, for University Press Week two years ago, Columbia offered a manifesto explaining its weekly university press blog roundup and, like many other presses, sharing links to other themed posts from around the country. I especially like that university presses can play to their strengths and expertise with these posts, from incorporating guest posts to sharing the timeline of a particularly time-sensitive book from start to finish, like the University of Georgia does here.

And, as if these posts weren’t enough reason to show academic publishers some love, the Johns Hopkins University Press shared this tweet about the humble weasel. As I responded almost immediately, that is the kind of quality content that I have come to expect from our university presses.

My time at Duke University Press has come to an end, but—if my obvious heart-eyes for this entire experience didn’t give it away—I hope that I am just getting started with this complicated, exciting field.

University Press Week Continues

UPW-Logo-2015University Press Week is winding down, but it’s not over yet! Please join us tonight at  6 p.m. at The Regulator Bookshop for a reception to celebrate the week. Enjoy some wine and cheese, browse the Pop-Up University Press Bookstore, and then have a seat at 7 to hear Ambassador James Joseph talk about his years as the ambassador to South Africa and his philosophies of ethics and leadership.

This week we asked you to share your love of university presses on social media by posting on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the hashtags #ReadUP, #UPShelfie, #PublishUP and #UPWeek. We loved seeing our books on your shelves and hearing why you love to read university press books and publish with university presses.

Thanks to Chaucer’s Bookstore for sharing their love on Facebook!

chaucers fb

We loved seeing co-editor of The World Readers Robin Kirk tweeting about the series.

And the “shelfies” were fabulous!

And here’s the cutest picture we’ve ever seen our books in! Thanks to Corey for it.


From all your posts, we randomly selected a winner to receive five books of his choice: Congratulations to Dexter Z. Hough- Snee, who tweeted:

And now turn your browsers to the final day of the University Press Week blog tour. Today’s theme is Conversations with Authors. Begin the tour with Temple University Press, where they interview Eric Tang, author of Unsettled, about his experiences with University Press publishing. Then head to Columbia University Press, featuring Editor Christine Dunbar discussing their new Russian Library series of literature in translation. University of Virginia Press features a Q&A with poets Tiana Clark and Emily Vizzo. Beacon Press shares an interview with Jeanne Theoharis on The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks and the Rosa Parks papers. At University of Illinois Press, Acquisitions Editor Dawn Durante interviews Carol Stabile, editor of the Feminist Media Studies series. Southern Illinois University Press is featuring a Q&A with Guy R. Hasegawa, author of Villainous Compounds: Chemical Weapons and the Civil War. University Press of Kansas hosts a Q&A with Friended at the Front author Lisa Silvestri. At Oregon State University Press, author Lawrence Landis talks about his process in writing A School for the People: A Photographic History of Oregon State University. Liverpool University Press features a discussion of their new open-access textbooks. And University of Toronto Press gives us an interview with a journal editor. We hope you’ve enjoyed this week of fascinating posts!

University Presses are Surprising!

UPW-Logo-2015Welcome to Day 2 of the University Press Week blog tour. The theme of this year’s University Press Week is Surprising! The Association of American University Presses features a gallery that highlights some of the most surprising books and projects presses have published. From jokes to Bigfoot, basketball to Nobel Prize winners, university presses publish it all.

978-0-8223-4687-6_prOur own contribution to the Surprising! gallery is S. Ann Dunham’s Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia. President Barack Obama has a surprising background for an American politician: Kenyan father and American anthropologist mother, S. Ann Dunham. When Duke University Press was approached to publish Dunham’s 1992 dissertation, shaped into a book by her adviser and a colleague at the University of Hawaii, there was skepticism that it was a worthwhile project. But when we sent it out for peer review, we were surprised that the work was considered to be an important contribution to economic anthropology. And when we published the book, it received a surprising amount of media coverage, including the New York Times, the London Times, NPR, and the Jakarta Times. It also received positive reviews in important scholarly journals. And it even sold a surprising number of copies for a 440-page ethnography of Indonesian metalworkers. Dunham’s daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng, who wrote a foreword for the book, was  thrilled that the book sustains Dunham’s legacy, and (though he’s a little bit harder to correspond with) we hope President Obama is too.

Now we invite you to head out onto the blog tour. Today’s theme is The Future of Scholarly Publishing. Begin at University of Indiana Press to read Director Gary Dunham’s thoughts. Then go to Oxford University Press where their Editorial Director Sophie Goldsworthy shares her thoughts on broad trends in scholarly publishing. George Mason University Press features a post by Mason Publishing on a global survey of digital tools use in scholarly communication and research workflows. University of Colorado Press reflects on their fiftieth year and speculates about their future. University Press of Kansas Director Chuck Myers writes their post for today and UNC Press features a post by their director John Sherer. West Virginia University Press will offer reflections on the value of acquisitions work and the meaning of curating/gatekeeping in the digital era. And Johns Hopkins University Press has a post by their Editorial Director Greg Britton. Enjoy, and check back here tomorrow for more great posts.

It’s University Press Week!

UPW-Logo-2015Today kicks off the fourth annual University Press Week. In the spirit of partnership that pervades the university press community, Duke University Press and over 40 other presses will unite for the AAUP’s annual blog tour during University Press Week. This tour will highlight the value of university presses and the contributions they make to scholarship and our society. This year’s theme is Surprising! and blog posts will highlight some of the surprising things university presses publish.

In addition to the blog tour, this year we are celebrating University Press Week with a variety of events here in Durham. We hope local fans of university presses will make time to head to The Regulator Bookshop for our first ever Pop-Up University Press Bookstore. Books from eight university presses will be available on their lower level.

AuntiesThere are also three author events happening this week. On Wednesday, November 11, head to The Regulator to catch University of California Press author Alejandro Velasco discuss his book Barrio Rising: Urban Politics and the Making of Venezuela. On Thursday, November 12, catch the launch of Nadia Sablin’s Aunties: The Seven Summers of Alevtina and Ludmila, the seventh winner of the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. Sablin will give an artist talk which will be followed by a reception in Duke University’s Rubenstein Photography Gallery. And on Friday, November 13 at 6 pm, we hope you’ll return to The Regulator to celebrate University Press week with a reception featuring wine and cheese, followed by a reading by Ambassador James Joseph, author of Saved for a Purpose: A Journey from Private Virtues to Public Values.

If you can’t make it to our Durham events, we hope you’ll participate in University Press Week virtually. We invite you to enter to win five paperback books of your choice by sharing your love for university presses in social media. Tweet about how much you love reading Duke University Press books with the hashtag #ReadUP or how much you love publishing with us with the hashtag #PublishUP. Share our events with the hashtag #UPWeek. Or post a picture of yourself with your favorite university press books using the hashtag #UPShelfie. Just tag us @DUKEPress or email a screenshot or link to your Facebook post, Instagram, Tumblr or blog post, or any other social media to lsell@dukeupress.edu. We’ll announce the winner on Friday and share some of the best posts here on the blog.

Now that you know all the great things happening here at Duke University Press this week, we invite you to start the blog tour. Begin at University Press of Florida where they’ll highlight some recipes from Florida’s surprising food scene. At University Press of Mississippi, read about a partnership they have formed with the Clarion Ledger. Then head north to University of New England Press, where they’ll discuss the surprising success of a recent book on marriage equality. At University of Wisconsin Press, learn more about their mystery fiction series. Next, visit University of Kentucky Press to learn some surprising facts about AAUP member presses. University of Nebraska Press will introduce some of their staff. And University of California Press will discuss their new collaborative open access platforms, Luminos and Collabra.