Celebrating A Year of Winning Scholarship

Explore a year’s worth of award-winning thinking from UC Press authors. Click the image to enlarge:

2014 Award Winners


Editor's Spotlight: Naomi Schneider

Other than Maxwell Perkins or Jackie Kennedy Onassis, even dedicated readers and authors may have trouble identifying editors — and understanding exactly what they DO. This occasional feature examines how editors at UC Press bring you your favorite books.

Executive Editor Naomi Schneider

Executive Editor Naomi Schneider

What Does an Editor Do?

My primary responsibility is to acquire manuscripts, and to make sure that after I acquire them they’re brought to fruition and published. The process involves a lot of skill sets, including an assessment of what kinds of books and authors the Press can best publish successfully.

Though it’s a naive notion on the surface, books can change the world through the ways certain ideas are understood, socially involved scholars interact and speak about the large issues of the world, and data is interpreted for a broader audience. There’s an inchoate energy between the UC system—the best public university in the world, committed to educating students across class, race, and sexual identities—and the mission of UC Press. My goal—and it dovetails with the Press’s mission—is to publish books that have an impact on the larger issues of the day.
A Typical Day

I work very quickly. I’m not sure I’m a model for anyone else, but I’m very reactive: I like to get back to people expeditiously. The challenge—and it’s more difficult than it sounds—is to clear your desk so you can think about your program in a more creative way and do higher-level strategizing about what to acquire.
On Acquiring

Because I’ve been at this job for a while, people come to me all the time with their projects, but I also track down authors in various ways: through social networks, at conferences, from an article I might read in the New York Times, or through something I might see on Facebook. Often, you do have to be more assertive to acquire the books you find truly exciting and that have potential to really reach a broader audience.
Editing Itself

I do work closely with some authors in conceptualizing their books, in developing organizational frames, in helping them tease out their theses and the way they want to develop arguments. I don’t copyedit, I don’t have time for that, or even have time to do in-depth editorial work on all my manuscripts, just on books that might have an audience beyond specialists.
On Editing Two Nobel Prize Winners

I acquired Dora Bruder by Patrick Modiano fifteen years ago. This novella grapples with a host of issues—being Jewish in Nazi-occupied Paris, collaboration, memory, identity, and suffering—with a nuanced sensibility that really captures a noir-ish mood and dark historical moment. When the prize was announced in October we immediately sought out Modiano’s French publisher at the Frankfurt Book Fair and begged them to allow us to re-acquire  English language rights for North America. Quite expeditiously—because my colleagues in production, editing, design, and marketing made it happen!—we reprinted the book within a month, and we’ve already sold over 5,000 copies! It’s been so gratifying that a book and an author I believed in received this kind of recognition.

Jody Williams

Jody Williams

Jody Williams won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. I worked really closely on her memoir, My Name is Jody Williams, to ensure Jody melded her life story—she’s a very interesting woman with a blunt and straightforward approach—with her work on the ground. What I love about Jody—and what really reflects on UC Press’s mission and on my list—is that she believes every woman can be an activist, that she’s not extraordinary, not an anomaly, and that the work continues. After she won the prize, she formed the Nobel Women’s Initiative. The prize was a high point of her life, but after she won she formed the Nobel Women’s Initiative, and she continues day in and day out to be an activist.
On Having An Imprint

My imprint is an acknowledgment that I’ve developed a coherent list of books that have often received lots of attention, that I’ve brought in books that have sold really well, and that my list reflects the mission of UC Press. The books I put in the imprint reflect the kinds of work that UC Press is proud to publish: books that deal with inequality, human rights, and social justice in interesting and sometimes proactive ways. An imprint is an honor … and I feel very, very grateful.
An Author Who’s Been at the Center of My Work: Paul Farmer (and Protégés)

Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer

Paul Farmer is a doctor, anthropologist, and co-founder of Partners in Health. When Paul won the MacArthur “genius grant” he used the monies to build the only hospital on the central plateau of Haiti, where he’s worked for 30 years. He’s rebuilt, with Rwandan partners, the medical infrastructure of that country after the genocide. In a major new initiative, Partners in Health is now on the ground in Liberia and Sierra Leone confronting the Ebola crisis in an aggressive effort to end the epidemic. I’m his editor but I see my commitment to Paul’s work as an all-encompassing one: I support his on-going medical activism in the field and give money to Partners in Health.

Last year’s Reimagining Global Health—edited by Paul; Jim Kim, President of the World Bank (and cofounder of Partners in Health); Arthur Kleinman, who founded the field of medical anthropology; and Matt Basilico—offers a set of intellectual paradigms for providing people around the world with the same types of medical care that we who live in a very wealthy country would receive. The book is already part of a MOOC around the class that Paul, Jim, and Arthur lead at Harvard. Perhaps needless to say, Reimagining Global Health has been an astounding success, as all of Paul’s books are, and it’s a teaching tool for medical students, public health workers, and social scientists who aim to provide a “preferential option for the poor.”

I’ve just published Blind Spot, a book by one of Paul’s protégés, Salmaan Keshavjee, who is also a doctor/anthropologist who has worked on drug-resistant TB in central Asia, Siberia, and Lesotho. Blind Spot takes on how corporate philanthropy and foreign aid priorities have been developed, probing the disjuncture between foreign aid imperatives and the reality of how poor people are actually treated.

Seth Holmes

Seth Holmes

Seth Holmes (Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies) is also an MD/PhD who has written a powerful ethnography based on his journey with farm workers from Mexico to Washington state. Through his understanding as an MD and as a socially engaged anthropologist, he looks at the bodily suffering of the perhaps poorest-paid and most stigmatized workers in the US—and how violence is imposed on their bodies. This first book has sold over 10,000 copies in a year, and just won the most prestigious award from the American Anthropological Association.
“An Amazing Coterie of Feminist Authors”

I’ve only brought up men so far, but I’m really committed to working on gender and gender inequality, and have published an amazing coterie of feminist authors.

We just published Marianne Cooper‘s books Cut Adrift, that’s gotten a lot of recognition and attention; she’s a colleague of Sheryl Sandberg, who’s been very supportive of the book.

Cynthia Enloe

Cynthia Enloe

Marianne, an ethnographer and protégé of Arlie Hochschild, examines, through the experiences of families in Silicon Valley, how inequality during the economic recession we’ve just experienced plays itself out in families across the class spectrum.

Cynthia Enloe is an unconventional political scientist who provides accessible yet provocative ideas on how patriarchy and militarism have deeply embedded themselves in our institutions and in our personal lives. We’ve just published a second edition of Bananas, Beaches, and Bases. She’s a feminist icon and a very, very generous mentor to several generations of students and activists.

Arlie Russell Hochschild

Arlie Russell Hochschild

We’ve also just published a new edition of Arlie Russell Hochschild’s classic work about emotional labor entitled The Managed Heart as well as a book of her essays entitled So How’s The Family? Arlie’s probably the most important feminist sociologist in the post-war period who has altered our notions of work and family in radical ways.

I work with young scholars like C. J. Pascoe who wrote Dude, You’re A Fag—a book with a provocative title to say the least. Pascoe is conducting research on a new book about teenage love that will offer a radical portrait of young people that belies our notions of their jaded cynicism. Raising the Transgender Child: Being Male or Female in the Twenty First Century, by a young sociologist at Harvard, Tey Meadows, will chart one facet of our configuring of gender in the contemporary period. This is cutting-edge stuff because we’re just now seeing the first generation of openly transgender young people come of age.


Weekend Armchair

In this “Deep Mid-Winter Weekend Armchair” UC Press staff share what they’re reading … or skimming as the case may be. (Publicity Director Alex Dahne de-escalates any possible literary one-upmanship with a daring confession.)


I had never read David Foster Wallace before Infinite Jest, and I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into as I browsed the packed shelves at Pegasus Books in Oakland. I don’t like to leave books unfinished, and its 1,079 pages were clearly a commitment—and, between work and family, one I wasn’t sure I should make.  But once I started reading, I was hooked. No longer an obligation, it was an exploration of the odd and compelling lives of others. Simultaneously, funny, absurd, horrifying, challenging, and accessible, it’s a detailed account of the tragi-comedy of human existence.

I wasn’t much into Mark Twain’s fiction when I was forced to read it in high school. That changed a few years ago, however, when we published the Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1. Between reading that book and frequent trips to the Mark Twain Papers at the Bancroft Library on the University of California, Berkeley campus—where we were shown Mark Twain’s original manuscripts, intimate pictures of his family, and family heirlooms—I found myself unable to get enough of Mark Twain.

That ended up being a good thing as the book became a New York Times Best Seller, and Mark Twain was back in the cultural zeitgeist (and certainly in our daily lives at UC Press!). He would have loved that.

What many people don’t know is that was the first of a three-volume set of his previously unpublished (in its totality) autobiography. As part of our run up to the publication of Volume 3, I’ve been reading the V3 manuscript.  Even printed out double-sided, it is not a small stack of paper—and I’m thrilled that it’s a fascinating read full of scandal, morality tales, scathing wit, deep sadness, and love of family. It further lifts the veil of Samuel Clemens, the man. Once again, I’m in. (Note: Volume 3 is slated for a Fall 2015 publication.)

—Deb Nasitka
Director of Marketing



My favorite read of the last couple of years is John Williams’s Stoner (first ​published in the 1960s but enjoying renewed attention lately). It’s a ​ beautifully written  book whose stoic protagonist—William Stoner—leaves a farming life for literature, ​marries  badly, loves well, and is thwarted by a colleague–enemy during his 40-year career at the University of Missouri. I loved this novel​, though it’s wrenching at times because Stoner’s disappointments are so ordinary and familiar.

—Kate Warne
Managing Editor




I’ve only been reading holiday catalogs and People magazine. Does that look bad?

Okay, okay, that part is totally and utterly true, but lest I be judged, buried under the towering pile of catalogs rests a dog-eared paperback copy of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, schlepped in my backpack on various flights and then shoved in the side pocket of our family minivan (subject to something sticky, I’m not asking), to be finished en route to my in-laws’ house over the holiday break. Now read, I’m thankful for the experience of it, mostly because Strayed makes writing seem easy when we know it’s not. Memoir is not my usual genre of choice—celebrity gossip is, naturally—but I’m glad I picked it up, and no, I have yet to see the movie (but likely will), and yes, this story of a woman’s independent journey on the Pacific Crest Trail confirmed to me that I must accept that I am not her therapeutic kin. I will continue to seek my epiphanies over brunch, and I would never sleep alone in the woods. Ever.

Also on the same nightstand, The Master, Colm Tóibín’s complex and sympathetic novel about Henry James, which I devoured, and a copy of Rohinton Mistry’s book Family Matters, because I loved one of his other books, A Fine Balance, and have been wanting to read more from this author.

And finally, a stack of books recently read to my kindergarten-aged twin sons while we were buried under the covers, prolonging the bedtime ritual: Lemony Snicket’s strange and wonderful 13 Words, Brian Floca’s Locomotive (one son’s train obsession sated), and the beautifully-illustrated A Sick Day for Amos McGee.

Oh, and some more magazines, contents of which I will exclude from this post. But let’s just say Girls has been renewed for a fifth season: yay!

—Alex Dahne
Publicity Director



Start 2015 with 1995

1995Remember life before the web?

It’s now hard to imagine (or recollect, depending on your age) that a generation ago, in 1995, Sergey and Larry were just meeting at Stanford. (“Their mutual first reaction was that the other was pretty obnoxious.”)

Craigslist,, and all began in 1995. Yahoo was incorporated in 1995. eBay was launched (as AuctionWeb) in 1995. Netscape IPO-ed spectacularly, and Jeff Bezos launched Amazon. In fact, during the course of 1995 the Internet and the World Wide Web—a word of the year according to the American Dialect Society—went from “near-invisibility to near-ubiquity” in the words of legendary Internet pioneer Vinton G. Cerf.

Other events that occurred in 1995?

The Oklahoma bombing, the O. J. Simpson trial, the Dayton Peace Accords, and the start of the Clinton–Lewinsky relationship—all of which had lasting effects and consequences for American culture. It is “a year that matters still,” according to W. Joseph Campbell, and 1995: The Year the Future Began shows why.

The author of five other nonfiction books (including Getting It Wrong: Ten of the Greatest Misreported Stories in American Journalism), Campbell is persuasive as to why 1995 represents a “clear starting point for contemporary life,” and elaborates his argument via a chapter on each event:

They were profound in their respective ways, and, taken together, they define a watershed year at the cusp of the millennium. Nineteen ninety-five in many ways effectively marked the close of one century, and the start of another.

At his blog devoted to the book and the year 1995, Campbell answers the question “why write a book about 1995?”

Campbell’s prose reflects his 20-year background in journalism; though meticulously researched, the book reads like a thriller. Given that Campbell is social-media savvy as well as a lively writer—as befits both his subject matter and his current ‘beat’ as a Professor in the School of Communication at American University—let’s let him do the talking: you can listen to his recent Newseum interview here.


Quick as he is to demur when queried about, say, Marc Andreesen’s re-tweeting him—“we’re not acquaintances or anything … but it makes a difference when he re-tweets, for sure”—Campbell comes prepared for most social media situations (as befits his coverage of the massively “up-and-to-the-right” rise of American Internet adoption).

The best way to experience 1995 is just to start reading. Remember the roots of the Internet as you relive 1995. Once you’re hooked, explore Campbell’s other books, blogs, and feeds.

You’ll be in august company: not long ago, Intel CEO Brian M. Krzanich—at the Consumer Electronics Show keynote in Las Vegas, no less—declared that “1995 was a watershed moment in consumer technology.” You can’t get much better confirmation than that!

(Yes, this hyper hyper-linking is an homage to what’s changed in just two decades … or, in ‘Internet time,’ approximately 1,000 years. And if you believe you’re as prescient as Vinton Cerf, please share your predictions for five events that 2035 will look back upon as watershed exemplars of the ‘mid-teens’ of the twenty-first century.)

Getting it Wrong

Newsrooms have been meeting tech for a long, long time and typically have not dealt very well with it. One of the chapters in Getting It Wrong discusses the famous (or infamous) “War of the Worlds” radio dramatization of 1938, and how newspapers really took the occasion to beat up on radio as an immature and irresponsible medium. By doing so they helped perpetuate what was an exaggeration of the notion of nationwide panic and mass hysteria caused by that program. It did not happen. There may have been some frightened people that night, but nowhere near on a national scale, nowhere near mass panic or broad-based hysteria.

It’s a recurring theme in American journalism that established media treat upstart new media with suspicion and a fair amount of skepticism, if not overt hostility, and they often do so to their detriment. We see that same trend in 1995 with the rise of the Internet into mainstream consciousness. One of the top editors at the time said, “Well, thankfully, people getting their news from the Internet is a very small audience, and likely will remain as such for a long time.”

Campbell’s provocative Getting It Wrong won in 2010 the Society of Professional Journalists’ national award for “Research about Journalism.” He maintains the MediaMythAlert blog.



Celebrating Martin Luther King Day

To celebrate Martin Luther King Day on Monday, January 19, Tenisha Hart Armstrong, Volume VII editor of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., curated a special selection of relevant photographs and a video that draw upon the rich resources of The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute.

  • In his office at Ebenezer Baptist Church, King meets with Gurdon Brewster, an intern at the church during the summer of 1961. Courtesy of Gurdon Brewster.
  • On a 27 March 1962 stop in Lynchburg, Virginia, during the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's People to People tour, King thanked eleven-year-old Chuck Moran, who was the first to volunteer for SCLC's voter registration and direct action campaigns. Courtesy of Wyatt Tee Walker.
  • At his home in Albany, William G. Anderson poses with King and Ralph Abernathy on 12 July 1962. Courtesy of William G. Anderson.
  • Following his release from the Albany jail on 10 August 1962, King attends a mass meeting at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. From left to right: Slater King, Charles Sherrod, Norma L. Anderson, Lois Steele, William G. Anderson, King, Coretta Scott King, and Ralph Abernathy. Courtesy of William G. Anderson.
  • In a handwritten draft of his article “Equality Now: The President Has the Power,“ written for publication in The Nation, King implores the federal government to take action on civil rights through legislative pressure, moral persuasion, and executive order. Courtesy of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University.
  • King congratulates John F. Kennedy on his election and requests a conference with him to talk over civil rights issues. Courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.
  • Following their 16 December 1961 arrest in Albany, Georgia, King, Ralph Abernathy, and William G. Anderson are transferred to Sumter County Jail in Americus. On this jail ledger, King is listed as number forty-five and is referred to as a “[Niger?] male.” Reprinted with the permission of the Sumter County Clerk of the Court’s Office, Americus, Ga.
  • After posting bail following his 16 December 1961 arrest, Ralph Abernathy sends the following telegram to King, who is in jail in Americus, Georgia. Courtesy of the Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library Archives and Special Collections.
  • King and his wife, Coretta, wish Ralph Abernathy a happy thirty-sixth birthday. Courtesy of the Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library Archives and Special Collections.
  • King maintained a diary while jailed in Albany, Georgia. These pages, from 10 July–11 July 1962, detail the jail conditions and express his commitment to remain in jail for the duration of his forty-five day sentence. Courtesy of the Atlanta University Center, Robert W. Woodruff Library Archives and Special Collections.


The publication in October 2014 of Volume VII: To Save the Soul of America, January 1961–August 1962, edited by Clayborne Carson and Tenisha Hart Armstrong of Stanford, marked the half-way point of this long-term research and publication venture of 14 volumes of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. which is conducted in association with the King Estate, Stanford University, and the University of California Press.

Explore the other volumes in the series:

The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. is part of UC Press’s strong list in African American history. Other titles that may be of interest include Black against Empire (which won the 2014 American Book Association award), The Black Revolution on Campus (winner of the Wesley-Logan Prize in African Diaspora History from the American Historical Association), The Next American Revolution (advice for the 21st century from civil rights activist Grace Lee Boggs, who turns 100 this year), and Climbin’ Jacob’s Ladder: The Black Freedom Movement Writings of Jack O’Dell.

Please explore our African American History list and our Race and Class list.


Big History: Thought Leadership Timeline

To acknowledge AHA’s theme this year of “History and the Other Disciplines” and to celebrate the publication of Teaching Big History, we offer this timeline.

Click the image to enlarge:

big history


Cheers from UC Press

As we wrap up for the holidays, please enjoy a few shots from the UC Press holiday party. We gathered around the “campfire” (the lounge area of the Press), where we enjoyed homemade treats, visits from old friends and colleagues, and our annual “Everyone’s A Winner” awards hosted by resident comedian Joe Tobin. From all of us at UC Press, wishing you a happy and healthy new year!



Join UC Press at SCS/AIA

University of California Press is exhibiting at the 2015 Society for Classical Studies/Archaeological Institute of America Joint Annual Meeting. The meeting convenes January 8-11 in New Orleans.

Please visit us at booth 402 in the exhibit hall at the Sheraton New Orleans to purchase our latest Ancient World publications and take advantage of the following offers:

  • 30% conference discount + free worldwide shipping
  • Request exam copy requests for course adoption for your upcoming classes
  • Win $250 worth of books! Sign up for our monthly eNews in the booth for a chance to win

While at our booth, explore our latest titles on ancient history, late antiquity, and classical literature in translation. We will also have issues of Classical Antiquity on hand and offer special subscription rates for attendees.

Please see our conference program ad for our latest releases. Acquisitions and marketing staff will be available for your publishing questions.

Hear from authors of recent and forthcoming Late Antiquity titles as they share the motivations and stories behind their research. We hope these personal glimpses into their scholarship will inspire a broad community of readers.

Follow @apaclassics for current meeting news.



Join UC Press at AHA

Bring in the new year with University of California Press at the 2015 American Historical Association Annual Meeting. The meeting convenes January 2-5 in New York City.

Please visit us at booth 401 in the New York Hilton Grand Ballroom to purchase our latest American Studies publications and for the following offers:

  • 30% conference discount and free worldwide shipping
  • Submit exam copy requests for course adoption for your upcoming classes
  • Win $100 worth of books! Join our eNews subscription

Our history list is comprised of a broad selection of titles ideal for research and course usage.  While at our booth, explore topics such as United States history, Latin American history, and world history. We’ll also offer subscription rates for our history journals.

Please see our conference program ad for our latest offerings.  Acquisitions and marketing staff will be available for your publishing questions.

Follow hashtag #AHA2015 and @ahahistorians for current meeting news.





A Glimpse Inside Patrick Modiano's Dora Bruder

Nobel Prize winner Patrick Modiano’s haunting and lyrical book, Dora Bruder, is one of few works in English by the author, and was recently cited in the Wall Street Journal as “one of the author’s most beloved books.”

As with the deepest journeys of discovery, the historical collides with the personal in this layered and nuanced investigation. Modiano’s search to uncover Dora Bruder’s past becomes entangled with his own life’s enigmas, which, like Dora’s, remain unspoken and unresolved.

The below excerpt conveys this intimate connection, his own memories wrapped together with those of his real, yet imagined, character. Join Modiano—and thousands of readers—on a journey through the streets of today’s Paris and yesterday’s, where we confront these ghosts, memories, and mysteries.

Dora Bruder with her mother and father.

Dora Bruder with her mother and father

Dora Bruder with her mother

Dora Bruder with her mother

Dora Bruder with her mother and grandmother

Dora Bruder with her mother and grandmother


Excerpt from Dora Bruder

I remember the intensity of my feelings while I was on the run
in January 1960—an intensity such as I have seldom known.
It was the intoxication of cutting all ties at a stroke: the clean
break, deliberately made, from enforced rules, boarding
school, teachers, classmates; you have nothing to do with these
people from now on; the break from your parents, who have
never understood you, and from whom, you tell yourself, it’s
useless to expect any help; feelings of rebellion and solitude
carried to flash point, taking your breath away and leaving you
in a state of weightlessness. It was probably one of the few
times in my life when I was truly myself and following my own

This ecstasy cannot last. It has no future. You are swiftly
brought down to earth.

Running away—it seems—is a call for help and occasionally
a form of suicide. At least you experience a moment of
eternity. You have broken your ties not only with the world
but also with time. And one fine morning you find that the
sky is a pale blue and that nothing now weighs you down. In
the Tuileries garden, the hands on the clock have stopped for
good. An ant is transfixed in its journey across a patch of sunlight.

I think of Dora Bruder. I remind myself that, for her, running
away was not as easy as it was for me, twenty years later, in a
world that had once more been made safe. To her, everything
in that city of December 1941, its curfews, its soldiers, its police,
was hostile, intent on her destruction. At sixteen years old,
without knowing why, she had the entire world against her.

Photo by by Frankie Fouganthin [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Patrick Modiano was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Literature and is one of the most celebrated French novelists of his generation. Dora Bruder has been translated worldwide in 20 languages.