Banned Books Week: For Further Reading

If you’re interested in learning more after this year’s Banned Books Week festivities, here are some suggestions to deepen the conversation about freedom of speech and the censorship of literature and other media through the years.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn9780520266100-1
Mark Twain (Author), Victor Fischer (Editor), Lin Salamo (Editor), Harriet E. Smith (Editor), Walter Blair (Editor)

Read the oft-challenged classic! This 125th Anniversary edition of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is expanded with thoroughly updated notes and references, and a selection of original documents—letters, advertisements, playbills—some never before published, from Twain’s first book tour.

See more of our Mark Twain titles here.





Film Criticism, the Cold War, and the Blacklist: Reading the Hollywood Reds
Jeff Smith (Author)

This book examines the long-term reception of several key American films released during the postwar period, focusing on the two main critical lenses used in the interpretation of these films: propaganda and allegory. Produced in response to the hearings held by the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) that resulted in the Hollywood blacklist, these films’ ideological message and rhetorical effectiveness was often muddled by the inherent difficulties in dramatizing villains defined by their thoughts and belief systems rather than their actions. Whereas anti-Communist propaganda films offered explicit political exhortation, allegory was the preferred vehicle for veiled or hidden political comment in many police procedurals, historical films, Westerns, and science fiction films. Jeff Smith examines the way that particular heuristics, such as the mental availability of exemplars and the effects of framing, have encouraged critics to match filmic elements to contemporaneous historical events, persons, and policies.


9780520283381The Essential Mario Savio: Speeches and Writings that Changed America
Robert Cohen (Editor), Tom Hayden (Editor)

This compendium of influential speeches and previously unknown writings offers insight into and perspective on the disruptive yet nonviolent civil disobedience tactics used by Mario Savio during the 1960s Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, California. The Essential Mario Savio is the perfect introduction to an American icon and to one of the most important social movements of the post-war period in the United States.




8975.160Outspoken: Free Speech Stories
Nan Levinson (Author)

With the government granting itself sweeping new surveillance powers, castigating its critics as unpatriotic, and equating differing opinions with abetting “America’s enemies,” free speech seems an early casualty of the war on terrorism. But as this book brilliantly demonstrates, to sacrifice our freedom of speech is to surrender the very heart and soul of America.

Nan Levinson tells the stories of twenty people who refused to let anyone whittle away at their right to speak, think, create, or demur as they pleased. In an engaging, anecdotal style, Levinson explores the balance between First Amendment and other rights, such as equality, privacy, and security; the relationship among behavior, speech, and images; the tangle of suppression, marketing, and politics; and the role of dissent in our society. These issues come to vibrant life in the stories recounted in Outspoken, stories that—whether heroic or infamous, outrageous or straightforward—remind us again and again of the power of words and of the strength of a democracy of voices.


9780520248601The Final Victim of the Blacklist: John Howard Lawson, Dean of the Hollywood Ten
Gerald Horne (Author)

Before he attained notoriety as Dean of the Hollywood Ten—the blacklisted screenwriters and directors persecuted because of their varying ties to the Communist Party—John Howard Lawson had become one of the most brilliant, successful, and intellectual screenwriters on the Hollywood scene in the 1930s and 1940s. After his infamous, almost violent, 1947 hearing before the House Un-American Activities Committee, John Howard Lawson spent time in prison and his career was effectively over. Lawson’s life becomes a prism through which we gain a clearer perspective on the evolution and machinations of McCarthyism and anti-Semitism in the United States, on the influence of the left on Hollywood, and on a fascinating man whose radicalism served as a foil for launching the political careers of two Presidents: Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. In vivid, marvelously detailed prose, Final Victim of the Blacklist restores this major figure to his rightful place in history as it recounts one of the most captivating episodes in twentieth century cinema and politics.

9780520242319Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War, Updated with a New Preface
John R. MacArthur (Author), Ben H. Bagdikian (Foreword)

Now updated with a new preface that examines the current conflict in Iraq, this brilliant work of investigative reporting reveals the government’s assault on the constitutional freedoms of the American media during Operation Desert Storm. John R. MacArthur’s engaging and provocative account is as essential and alarming today as when the first paperback edition was published.



9780520239661Policing Cinema: Movies and Censorship in Early-Twentieth-Century America
Lee Grieveson (Author)
White slave films, dramas documenting sex scandals, filmed prize fights featuring the controversial African-American boxer Jack Johnson, D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation—all became objects of public concern after 1906, when the proliferation of nickelodeons brought moving pictures to a broad mass public. Lee Grieveson draws on extensive original research to examine the controversies over these films and over cinema more generally. He situates these contestations in the context of regulatory concerns about populations and governance in an early-twentieth-century America grappling with the powerful forces of modernity, in particular, immigration, class formation and conflict, and changing gender roles.This book develops new perspectives for the understanding of censorship and regulation and the complex relations between governance and culture. In this work, Grieveson offers a compelling analysis of the forces that shaped American cinema and its role in society.

The 2015 American Studies Association is Coming to Toronto!

Join University of California Press this fall at the 2015 American Studies Association Annual Meeting. The meeting convenes October 8-11 in Toronto, Ontario.

Please visit us at booth 300 in the Sheraton Centre Grand Ballroom West to purchase our latest American Studies publications. We’re also offering the following promotions for attendees:

  • 40% conference discount.
  • Submit exam copy requests for course adoption for your upcoming classes
  • Win $100 worth of books! Join our eNews subscription

Our American Studies Association list is comprised of an interdisciplinary selection of titles perfect for research and course usage. While at our booth, explore topics ranging from American history, music, politics, race, and immigration. 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 @AmerStudiesAssn and hashtag #2015ASA for current meeting news.



Natalia Molina interviewed on the New Books Network

Earlier this month, David-James Gonzales interviewed Natalia Molina about her work and her new book, How Race is Made in America: Immigration, Citizenship, and the Historical Power of Racial Scripts.

New Books in History is part of the New Books Network, a collection of podcasts hosted by the Amherst College Library dedicated to public discourse and the discussion of new books by their authors.


Listen to the full interview on the New Books Network’s website, which also features David-James’ full review of the book.

Natalia Molina is Associate Dean for Faculty Equity, Division of Arts and Humanities and Associate Professor of History and Urban Studies at the University of California, San Diego and author of Fit to Be Citizens?: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles, 1879-1940 (UC Press, 2006)

Art in World History

By Sonal Khullar, author of Worldly Affiliations 

This guest post is published in advance of The World History Association conference in Savannah, Georgia. UC Press authors share their research and stories that reflect on this year’s two conference themes, Art in World History and Revolutions, Rebellions, and Revolts. Check back often for new posts. 

The purpose of art, Amrita Sher-Gil wrote in 1936, was to “create the forms of the future.” Art was not limited by existing social and political conditions. Indeed it aimed to transform notions of nation and world. Unlike her counterparts in India, notably in Bengal, during this period, Sher-Gil did not believe there was an Eastern alternative to modernism, modernity, and the West. Indian artists would have to embrace oil painting, material conditions, and the historical present, and not look back to an idealized, spiritual, and premodern past. Sher-Gil’s model of making art and identity that resisted colonialist and nationalist norms proved influential in twentieth-century India.

Worldly AffiliationsWorldly Affiliations excavates a distinctive trajectory of modernism in the visual arts in India and emphasizes its cosmopolitan aims and achievements. It focuses on four artists —Sher-Gil, M.F. Husain, K.G. Subramanyan, and Bhupen Khakhar—who challenged the canons, disciplines, schools, and institutions of British colonialism and Indian nationalism. For these artists, cosmopolitanism was a critical response to colonialism, a way of asserting citizenship in national and international community that had been impossible under colonialism. This cosmopolitanism entailed a thoroughgoing investigation of categories such as East and West that propelled globalizing processes such as capitalism and colonialism. For the period I discuss in the book, the East was associated with the village, crafts, tradition, and nationalism, while the West was associated with the city, art, modernity, and colonialism. Artists challenged these associations, but the terms East and West remained active in various forms during the twentieth century.

Reflecting on the discipline of art history in the twentieth century, Subramanyan wrote: “Most histories of World Art emanating from European centres of culture present Europe as their main scene. . . . The arts of the rest of the world are side scenes that hook on to some point or other of this historical structure, or ladder of evolution: the arts of Africa, Pre-Columbian America, Oceania to the early stages; of Asia, to the middle (I still remember that when I visited the Edinburgh Museum in the mid-fifties all Asia was marked on a large cultural map displayed in its lobby as the Medieval world).” Subramanyan, like the other visual artists examined in Worldly Affiliations, deployed cosmopolitanism as a means to challenge logics that divided the world into East and West, medieval and modern, primitive and cultivated. This cosmopolitanism was a hallmark of modernism as it came to be practiced by artists in twentieth-century India, who explored worldly affiliations through unlikely—if ingenious—visual connections, synthetic gestures, and diverse archives of Eastern and Western cultural practice.

Sonal Khullar is Assistant Professor of South Asian art at the University of Washington. Her research interests include global histories of modern and contemporary art, feminist theory, and postcolonial studies. She is writing a book, The Art of Dislocation, on artistic collaboration as a critical response to globalization in South Asia since the 1990s.

Breaching the Frame

By Pedro R. Erber, author of Breaching the Frame

This guest post is published in advance of The World History Association conference in Savannah, Georgia. UC Press authors share their research and stories that reflect on this year’s two conference themes, Art in World History and Revolutions, Rebellions, and Revolts. Check back often for new posts.

The late Hariu Ichirō, one of the “three greats” of Japanese postwar art criticism, once told me that his most resilient memory of a trip to Brazil as commissioner to the 1977 São Paulo Biennale was of a book by the Brazilian poet and art critic Ferreira Gullar. Hariu claimed to have read this book, Vanguarda e subdesenvolvimento (Avant-garde and Underdevelopment) looking up word by word in a Portuguese dictionary. Almost thirty years later, he was still able to summarize the main argument of the book, according to which the very concept of the avant-garde art contradicts the condition of supposedly peripheral cultures, condemned, as they are, to lag behind the cultural capitals of the West.

Not only in narratives of twentieth-century art but whenever we talk about world history, the old notion that Europe and North America constitute the centers from which modernity spreads centrifugally throughout the rest of the world, although much criticized, is still hard to shed. Pascale Casanova’s conception of a “world republic of letters,” structured around a capital and its peripheral dependencies, is symptomatic in this regard.

breaching the frameBreaching the Frame: The Rise of Contemporary Art in Brazil and Japan examines the emergence of avant-garde movements in two supposedly peripheral locales. In investigating the apparent paradox of avant-garde art in the periphery, it disrupts our understanding of the belated, the advanced, and the contemporary. It tells a story of the emergence of contemporary art that goes beyond the local and particular, while refraining from representing world history as a single, unified narrative.

Pedro R. Erber teaches in the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. in Asian Studies from Cornell University, M.A. in philosophy from Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro, and B.A. in philosophy from Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro. Erber is the author of Política e verdade no pensamento de Martin Heidegger and articles on intellectual history, art, literature, and aesthetics.

Istanbul Exchanges in a Global Context

By Mary Roberts, author of Istanbul Exchanges

This guest post is published in advance of The World History Association conference in Savannah, Georgia. UC Press authors share their research and stories that reflect on this year’s two conference themes, Art in World History and Revolutions, Rebellions, and Revolts. Check back often for new posts. 

There has been much talk in recent years about expanding the discipline to create a global history of art, but what precisely are the new methods and protocols for writing these more encompassing transcultural histories? I have long thought that Istanbul and its cross-cultural webs of art patronage in the nineteenth century have much to tell us about what a global history of nineteenth-century art might look like. The capital of the Ottoman Empire had a particularly vibrant art scene in this period. European artists were working alongside Muslim and non-Muslim Ottomans with many artistic initiatives receiving patronage from both foreign diplomatic communities and the Ottoman court. Webs of art patronage connected Istanbul to Western Europe; they operated between the capital and other cities within the empire and also encompassed links between communities in Istanbul and the Russian Empire in the Caucasus. In Istanbul Exchanges I have mapped these networks to gain a better insight into the visual culture produced for such diverse audiences.

Istanbul ExchangesThis is a history of art attuned to patterns of artistic exchange that accounts for the movement of art works in and out of Istanbul and its changing meaning on the move. Art produced in this context was created, apprehended and interpreted within a cross-cultural web of meanings. Sometimes this web was a battlefield of competing representations, at other times it was a negotiated matrix of divergent positions. Such cross-cultural transmission in nineteenth-century Istanbul was also entangled within patterns of misinterpretation, as visual forms were created reshaped, censored or productively misunderstood. By tracking these multi-sited and multidirectional art connections, I wanted to disclose the nodes and vectors that register the particularities of Istanbul as a place of cross-cultural contact while also situating Istanbul’s exchanges within a global history of nineteenth-century art.

Mary Roberts is John Schaeffer Associate Professor in British Art at the University of Sydney and the author of Intimate Outsiders: The Harem in Ottoman and Orientalist Art and Travel Literature.

Ana Elizabeth Rosas interviewed on the New Books Network

Ana Elizabeth Rosas, author of Abrazando el Espiritu: Bracero Families Confront the US-Mexico Border, spoke to David-James Gonzoles of New Books in American Studies this weekend. Ana Rosas is Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the departments of History and Chicano-Latino Studies at the University of California, Irvine

Listen to the full interview at the New Books Network’s website, where you can also read David-James Gonzoles’ full review.

Abrazando el Espíritu: Bracero Families Confront the US-Mexico Border
Abrazando el Espíritu: Bracero Families Confront the US-Mexico Border

Abrazando el Espiritu (“embracing the spirit”), a study of the 1942 Bracero Program established between the U.S. and Mexican governments, navigates the deep impact that it had upon transnational Mexican immigrant families. Rosas’ book draws both from official government archives and family histories such as photographs, love letters, popular music, and oral histories in order to provide a closer, more personal understanding of the lives of these Bracero families and the challenges that they faced.

In this lengthy interview, she speaks about how she came to study her field, the link between the lives of Bracero families and those of contemporary migrant workers, the process of acquiring interviews and bringing the personal histories of families into her work, and the important role that love and connection play in understanding the historical moment of her study.

“A truly landmark study,” says Gonzoles, “Abrazando el Espiritu deepens our understanding of the costs of transnational labor migration on families and the efforts undertaken by women, children, men, and the elderly to preserve familial bonds amidst government surveillance and abandonment.”

Sale Extended Through June 5 – Save 40%







Our sale has been extended through June 5th!

Use discount code 15W8482 at checkout on our for 40% off your purchase. For orders shipped to the US and Canada use the “Shop Now” button below. For international orders please see our website for ordering instructions. This is your last chance!

This is the perfect opportunity to get some of our most anticipated Fall titles:

Parrots of the WildParrots of the Wild: A Natural History of the World’s Most Captivating Birds

Catherine A. Toft and Tim Wright

A synthetic account of the diversity and ecology of wild parrots, this book distills knowledge from the authors’ own research and from their review of more than 2,400 published scientific studies. The book is enhanced by an array of illustrations, including nearly ninety color photos of wild parrots represented in their natural habitats. Parrots of the Wild melds scientific exploration with features directed at the parrot enthusiast to inform and delight a broad audience.


Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 3: The Complete and Authoritative Edition

Edited by Benjamin Griffin and Harriet E. Smith

The surprising final chapter of a great American life. Created from March 1907 to December 1909, these dictations present Mark Twain at the end of his life. Also included in this final volume of the Autobiography is the previously unpublished “Ashcroft-Lyon Manuscript.”




Islamic StateIslamic State: The Digital Caliphate

Abdel Bari Atwan

Islamic State stunned the world when it overran an area the size of Great Britain on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border in a matter of weeks and proclaimed the birth of a new Caliphate. In this timely and important book, Abdel Bari Atwan draws on his unrivaled knowledge of the global jihadi movement and Middle Eastern geopolitics to reveal the origins and modus operandi of Islamic State.



The Land of Open GravesThe Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail

Jason De León with photographs by Michael Wells

In his gripping and provocative debut, anthropologist Jason De León sheds light on one of the most pressing political issues of our time—the human consequences of US immigration policy. The Land of Open Graves reveals the suffering and death that take place daily in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona as thousands of undocumented migrants attempt to cross from Mexico into the United States.



Visit UC Press at the 2015 World History Association Conference

Join University of California Press this summer at the 2015 World History Association Annual Conference. The meeting convenes June 30-July 2 in Savannah, GA.

Please visit us at the Hyatt Regency Savannah for the following offers:

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

The theme for this year’s conference is “Art in World History” and “Revolutions, Rebellions, and Revolts.” Our table will feature our latest titles in world history, big history, and comparative/transregional history. University of California Press staff will be available for your publishing questions.

Check out @WHAtweets for current meeting news.

Barrio Rising: Urban Popular Politics and the Making of Modern Venezuela

By Alejandro Velasco

This guest post is published in advance of the Latin American Studies Association Congress in San Juan, Puerto Rico. UC Press authors share their research and stories that reflect on this year’s conference theme, “Precariedades, exclusiones, emergencias. Come back for new posts every weekday through the meeting.

9780520283329These days most people know Venezuela as a country mired in turmoil – whether it’s political battles between supporters and opponents of the late socialist President Hugo Chávez, economic crisis as oil prices plummet, or social unrest as people fill the streets to protest everything from spiraling crime to state violence. But thirty years ago the story was very different. Back then Venezuela stood for many as an inclusive democracy in a continent where dictatorship and civil war reigned. Enlightened leaders, strong parties, powerful unions – all spoke of a stable political system that for decades managed to ensure social peace.

Or so it seemed.

As I describe in Barrio Rising, the conflicts that grip Venezuela today aren’t a departure from but a continuation of decades-long struggles over what kind of democracy would take shape after the country’s last military dictatorship fell in 1958. More representative? More participatory? How to combine the two?

These struggles played out dramatically in the 23 de enero (January 23rd) neighborhood, a massive complex of barrios (squatter settlements) and public housing high-rises in downtown Caracas, Venezuela’s capital and largest city. Named in honor of democracy’s founding date, the neighborhood’s history mirrors the nation’s democratic history. Here, as one long-time resident put it to me, “the fight was fierce.” The fight to secure a democracy more responsive to the needs of the nation’s growing ranks of urban popular sectors in what is Latin America’s most urbanized country. It took place as poverty rose amid oil booms, and rose even more amid oil busts. It took place in the streets and in the polls, as residents made use of both formal and informal democratic tools – protest and the vote – to demand accountability from political leaders. And it took place largely out of view of scholarship that focused more on the institutions of democracy than on its everyday, lived experience.

Barrio Rising captures that experience. The questions it raises about the relationship between formal and informal politics extend beyond Caracas or Venezuela. They strike at the heart of debates over what democracy is – and what it should be – in highly unequal societies.

Alejandro Velasco is Assistant Professor at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study.