For Liberation and in Solidarity: Recommended Reading for LGBT Pride 2016

From the earliest marches in 1970 to this month’s events around the Bay Area and worldwide, Pride has celebrated and commemorated the LGBT community’s culture and heritage for over 40 years.

We at UC Press are honored to have published titles that recognize the past accomplishments and document the ongoing struggles of the community. As SF Pride, the largest gathering of the community in the nation, approaches, we’ve prepared a selection of books (including a few exciting upcoming titles!) to shed light on the unique experiences of LGBT individuals across just some of the many varied and diverse queer spaces.

Happy Pride, and happy reading!

Gay L.A.:
A History of Sexual Outlaws, Power Politics, and Lipstick Lesbians

by Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons

The exhortation to “Go West!” has always sparked the American imagination. But for gays, lesbians, and transgendered people, the City of Angels provided a special home and gave rise to one of the most influential gay cultures in the world. Drawing on rare archives and photographs as well as more than three hundred interviews, Lillian Faderman and Stuart Timmons chart L.A.’s unique gay history, from the first missionary encounters with Native American cross-gendered “two spirits” to cross-dressing frontier women in search of their fortunes; from the bohemian freedom of early Hollywood to the explosion of gay life during World War II to the underground radicalism set off by the 1950s blacklist; and from the 1960s gay liberation movement to the creation of gay marketing in the 1990s.


Lavender and Red:
Liberation and Solidarity in the Gay and Lesbian Left

by Emily K. Hobson | Available October 2016

LGBT activism is often imagined as a self-contained struggle, inspired by but set apart from other social movements. Lavender and Red recounts a far different story: a history of queer radicals who understood their sexual liberation as intertwined with solidarity against imperialism, war, and racism. This politics was born in the late 1960s but survived well past Stonewall, forming a gay and lesbian left that flourished through the end of the Cold War. The gay and lesbian left found its center in the San Francisco Bay area, a place where sexual self-determination and revolutionary internationalism converged. Across the 1970s, its activists embraced socialist and women of color feminism and crafted queer opposition to militarism and the New Right. In the Reagan years, they challenged U.S. intervention in Central America, collaborated with their peers in Nicaragua, and mentored the first direct action against AIDS. Bringing together archival research, oral histories, and vibrant images, Emily K. Hobson rediscovers the radical queer past for a generation of activists today.


Eccentric Modernisms: Making Differences in the History of American Art
by Tirza True Latimer | Available December 2016

“What if we ascribe significance to aesthetic and social divergences rather than waving them aside as anomalous? What if we look closely at what does not appear central, or appears peripherally, or does not appear at all, viewing ellipses, outliers, absences, and outtakes as significant?” Eccentric Modernisms places queer demands on art history, tracing the relational networks connecting cosmopolitan eccentrics who cultivated discrepant strains of modernism in America during the 1930s and 1940s. Building on the author’s earlier studies of Gertrude Stein and other lesbians who participated in transatlantic cultural exchanges between the world wars, this book moves in a different direction, focusing primarily on the gay men who formed Stein’s support network and whose careers, in turn, she helped to launch, including the neo-romantic painters Pavel Tchelitchew and writer/editor Charles Henri Ford. Eccentric Modernisms shows how these “eccentric modernists” bucked trends by working collectively, reveling in disciplinary promiscuity, and sustaining creative affiliations across national and cultural boundaries.


A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability

by Jack Halberstam

(This title is part of the American Studies Now: Critical Histories of the Present series and will be available in E-book format in November 2016 and in paperback in February 2017.)

In the last decade, public discussions of transgender issues have increased exponentially. However, with this increased visibility has comes not just power, but regulation, both in favor of and against trans people. What was once regarded as an unusual or even unfortunate disorder has become an accepted articulation of gendered embodiment as well as a new site for political activism. What happened in the last few decades to prompt such an extensive rethinking of our understanding of gendered embodiment? How did a stigmatized identity become so central to US and European articulations of self? And how have people responded to the new definitions and understanding of sex and the gendered body? In Trans, Jack Halberstam explores these recent shifts in the meaning of the gendered body and representation, and explores the possibilities of a non-gendered, gender optional, or gender-hacked future.


School’s Out:
Gay and Lesbian Teachers in the Classroom

by Catherine Connell

How do gay and lesbian teachers negotiate their professional and sexual identities at work, given that these identities are constructed as mutually exclusive, even as mutually opposed? Using interviews and other ethnographic materials from Texas and California, School’s Out explores how teachers struggle to create a classroom persona that balances who they are and what’s expected of them in a climate of pervasive homophobia. Catherine Connell’s examination of the tension between the rhetoric of gay pride and the professional ethic of discretion insightfully connects and considers complicating factors, from local law and politics to gender privilege. She also describes how racialized discourses of homophobia thwart challenges to sexual injustices in schools. Written with ethnographic verve, School’s Out is essential reading for specialists and students of queer studies, gender studies, and educational politics.


Plane Queer:
Labor, Sexuality, and AIDS in the History of Male Flight Attendants

by Phil Tiemeyer

In this vibrant new history, Phil Tiemeyer details the history of men working as flight attendants. Beginning with the founding of the profession in the late 1920s and continuing into the post-September 11 era, Plane Queer examines the history of men who joined workplaces customarily identified as female-oriented. It examines the various hardships these men faced at work, paying particular attention to the conflation of gender-based, sexuality-based, and AIDS-based discrimination. Tiemeyer also examines how this heavily gay-identified group of workers created an important place for gay men to come out, garner acceptance from their fellow workers, fight homophobia and AIDS phobia, and advocate for LGBT civil rights. All the while, male flight attendants facilitated key breakthroughs in gender-based civil rights law, including an important expansion of the ways that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act would protect workers from sex discrimination. Throughout their history, men working as flight attendants helped evolve an industry often identified with American adventuring, technological innovation, and economic power into a queer space.

The Immigration Issue for Election 2016

Yet again, immigration has become a pivotal issue in the elections. Presidential candidates have shared their varying stances. And in response, many Latinos did their best to register to vote despite various obstacles.

Many believe that the Latino vote will be a game-changer. From now until November elections, as candidates continue to discuss immigration in regards to paths to citizenship, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), deportation raids, or border control, we should remember that every immigrant’s story is a personal one.

Below are some titles that share the immigrant experience. You can see more titles on our website re: Immigration and Emigration. And save 40% on these and all other UC Press titles, including upcoming Fall ’16 new release pre-orders, by participating in our Summer Sale from June 14th-June 21st. Use discount code 15W4890 at checkout. (Sale excludes e-books and journals, and some restrictions apply; please see Summer Sale info).

Budget Cuts and Burning Buildings in Flint, Michigan

This post was originally featured on Medium and has been reblogged with the permission of the author.

by Gordon Young, author of Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City

“Three years after being named arson capital of the nation, Flint’s Arson Squad is being cut in half after the decision was made to pull Flint police from the team.” 

— Molly Young, MLive, December 4, 2015

The fires started in late March of 2010, around the time Flint residents typically start fantasizing about the spring thaw. Like any city with widespread blight, Flint had an ongoing arson problem, but this was different.

The sight of smoke plumes was commonplace, along with an acrid, charred smell that wafted through the city. It seemed like everyone had a fire story, and a friend of mine named Guy was no different.

Guy was born and raised in Flint. Though his grandfather had been a prominent local doctor, Guy’s dad landed on the line at Chevy in the Hole, took to drinking, and ended up living in an apartment above Vechell’s Lounge, a well-known bar near the factory.

Guy learned to play the piano growing up. He landed gigs at various union halls around Flint, found work in a band down in Houston, and eventually made his way to Las Vegas, where he joined the house band at The Dunes. The pay wasn’t bad, and he had a room with two king-size beds at the casino hotel, but he saw no future in it.

He returned to Flint and got a degree in psychology from the University of Michigan with nearly perfect grades. He took a creative writing class, and the professor was so impressed that he urged him to apply to the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. But before long Guy was drinking heavily, just like his dad, and his marriage was on the rocks. He bounced around, living in Lansing for a while before returning to Flint in 1993 with his new wife, Maggie. He got sober, and they bought a 750-square-foot house on Arlington Street on the East Side, now one of Flint’s toughest neighborhoods.

Guy was a salesman at a mattress warehouse making seven dollars an hour, plus a little money on the side designing websites, a skill he picked up on his own. He didn’t have enough money to move. “I’m trapped on the East Side,” he said during one of the long conversations we had when things were slow at the mattress store.

Flint had a way of intruding on our talks. One day a woman showed up at the warehouse. Guy thought he had a customer, but she was selling frozen meat out of a cooler in the backseat of her car, most likely stolen. “You wanna buy some steaks?” she asked.

“Do you accept plasma as payment?” Guy replied.

She didn’t get the joke and left quickly.

“Man, that encounter pretty much sums up Flint,” he told me.

Guy thought of himself as someone who didn’t scare easily. After all, he’d seen some weird shit in the neighborhood: high-speed car crashes, a little boy drowning in a backyard pool, neighbors drinking and fighting, child abuse in plain sight, random gunshots, and even a sword fight in the middle of the street.

“When we first moved here, there were some GM retirees and a few other people on the block who kept their homes immaculate,” Guy said. “But all those ‘normal’ people — for lack of a better term — either died or moved away. There’s almost a complete absence of middle-class homeowners now. Almost everyone’s renting, and it’s like they’re feral people. On warm summer days the street is a cacophony of profanity. I’m amazed how quickly my street declined,” he told me.

There’s no doubt Guy would have liked better neighbors — or the money to move — but he still maintained a large measure of sympathy for his fellow East Siders, even if they were making his life miserable and all but eliminating any value left in his house. “There’s a prevalence of hopelessness coupled with contempt for authority in the neighborhood,” he said. “There’s just a lot of disillusionment. They never got a real piece of the American dream. And the piece they got is getting increasingly smaller.”

Guy had a highly personal take on the arson spree. He and Maggie had been asleep one morning when they were awakened by pounding on their front door. Groggy, disoriented, and naked — Guy volunteered that he’s not fond of pajamas — he jumped out of bed, thinking it was a break-in. “I’m not a gun nut, but I live on the East Side, so of course I have a shotgun and a couple handguns,” he said. “I was wondering if I was going to have to defend myself.”

He threw on a pair of boxers and headed for the door. He could hear someone screaming for everyone to get out of the house. Guy opened the door, walked onto his front porch, and discovered that the two-story house next door, just fifteen feet away across the driveway, was engulfed in flames. Burning debris was floating down onto his house. He could feel the fire.

It was so hot he smelled his hair starting to singe.

A drunk man in his fifties had banged on the door. He was riding a child’s bike home from a party and saw the fire. He had probably saved Guy and Maggie’s lives.

“Armageddon’s happening on the other side of the driveway, and I’m in there sawing logs,” Guy said. “Our bedroom window was open, smoke was billowing in, and we didn’t even notice.”

Maggie quickly joined him on the porch. As Guy stood there in his underwear, a wave of anxiety washed over him. He and his wife had three Chihuahuas, two cats, a blind Cocker Spaniel, and a German Shepherd named Buddy they had found on the street and nursed back to health. They were all in the house. He needed to get them out. And what about his computers? If they went up in flames, so did half his income. And there was the fact that he’d just paid off the house four months earlier and canceled the homeowners’ insurance because it was too expensive.

“I just had this overwhelming feeling that I was doomed,” he said. “Everybody and their brother had just been laid off from the fire department, and I had no insurance. We were going to lose everything, and it was my fault. I was going to hate myself for the rest of my life, if I had one when this was all over.”

But just maybe all that time in Vegas had earned Guy a little luck, because the drunken bike rider had managed to call 911 on his cell phone. Guy could hear sirens in the distance. They were getting louder. The city’s beleaguered fire department, decimated by budget cuts, was on the way. When the trucks rolled up, the neighbor’s place was long past saving. The goal was to contain the blaze. Firefighters set up big sprinklers to soak Guy’s house. He pulled himself together and jumped in his beat up Dodge Dakota — baking in the driveway — and saved it from the fire. Maggie herded all the animals safely outside.

TeardownAs dawn broke, their little house was still standing.

But this relatively happy ending didn’t give guy a new outlook on life in Flint. “The fact that they saved our house and no one died is just amazing,” he said. “But when people start burning down every empty building, it’s still shocking. I live in fear all the time, because there doesn’t appear to be any end to this. I don’t see this getting better. Ever.”

Gordon Young grew up in Flint, Michigan. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Slate, Utne Reader, and numerous other publications. Young has published Flint Expatriates, a blog for the long-lost residents of the Vehicle City, since 2007. He is a senior lecturer in the Communication Department at Santa Clara University and lives in San Francisco. Learn more about Teardown on his website and listen to his UC Press Podcast on the book.

Appealing to Justice wins the 2016 Sutherland Book Award

We’re pleased to announce that Kitty Calavita and Valerie Jenness have won the 2016 Sutherland Book Award for the Society for the Study of Social Problem’s Law and Society Division for their book, Appealing to Justice: Prisoner Grievances, Rights, and Carceral Logic.

The Sutherland Book Award recognizes the best book in the category of law and society scholarship over the last two years; according to the division’s mission statement, the Law and Society division of the SSSP “focuses on the role of law as both a barrier to and a tool for change toward a more just, democratic and humane world”.

The authors will be officially honored with the award and presented with a plaque at the SSSP’s annual meeting in Seattle, Washington later this year.

Many congratulations to our authors– we are honored to have published with them!

Penn Sociologist Deconstructs America’s Trucking Industry

This post was originally featured on Penn Current and has been reblogged with the permission of the author and Penn Current. 

by Michele Berger 

In his new book The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream, Steve Viscelli, a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at University of Pennsylvania, explains the decline of the trucking industry, which used to be one of the best working-class jobs in the United States.

Truck driving is the No. 1 occupation in 37 of 50 states.

More than 3 million people drive trucks in the United States. In fact, according to Steve Viscelli, author of The Big Rig: Trucking and the Decline of the American Dream and a lecturer in the Department of Sociology, it’s the No. 1 occupation in 37 of 50 states.

“Within that, the biggest employer is what’s called truckload general freight,” he says. “That’s long haul, meaning you’re driving more than 150 miles.”

Viscelli, who will be a Robert and Penny Fox Family Pavilion Scholar and a senior fellow at the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy this fall, knows a thing or two about trucking beyond penning a book about it. In 2005, he spent six months working for a for-hire carrier. For an average of 90 hours a week, his truck’s 53-foot trailer hauled a mishmash of material: pillows, steel coils—anything a pallet could hold.

“I usually started out in New York. I’d take beer to Michigan. In Michigan, I would pick up auto glass and drive it to Green Bay, and in Green Bay I’d pick up paper products and bring them to Mobile, Alabama. In Mobile, I’d pick up tires and bring them to Florida,” Viscelli explains. “You just do that for weeks. You don’t know if you’re going to get home on Thursday or Sunday.”

Viscelli.BigRigThrough this on-the-job experience—what began as doctoral dissertation research—he learned that the Great Recession hit this industry, which acts as an economic barometer, in an interesting way. Unlike with product-based trades, trucking’s services can’t be stored. It’s what is known as derived-demand.

“As soon as there’s less demand, you have unutilized assets, which means everybody is going to start cutting rates to keep their trucks moving,” he says. “When rates start to go south in trucking, they go really south. Historically, that’s meant you always have big firms going into bankruptcy.”

This time around, though, that didn’t happen.

The industry now uses employees and independent contractors to drive trucks, and the latter group must cover all expenses, including truck payments, insurance, and fuel. For these owner-operators, for-hire carriers negotiate customer contracts, which typically comprise a per-mile pay rate and fuel pricing. Most carriers also include a surcharge—an extra per-gallon cost to the independent contractor—to account for dips and spikes. In 2008, per-gallon costs rose above $4, and the fuel surcharge couldn’t keep pace.

When they didn’t collect enough from customers, carriers shifted the burden onto contractors.

“In 2008, into 2009, you had thousands of drivers basically working for free,” Viscelli says. “I met drivers taking money from their wife’s income to buy fuel because as they saw it, they had equity in the truck.”

Almost no major trucking companies failed, he adds, and some started making money again within two years. Around a decade later, these businesses are recruiting again, reopening schools that at their peak trained 200,000 people. Turnover in this male-dominated field remains high—100 percent annually in some places—but according to Viscelli, trucking right now is generally profitable. He’s keeping his finger on its pulse, working on a policy proposal that could change the movement of freight around cities and maximize the efficiency of each truck.

His time studying the industry taught him it’s ever-changing.

“There is definitely a novelty of the job, so drivers coming in are very excited about the possibilities,” he says. “The problem is that [their] expectations are virtually never met.”

Originally published on Thursday, June 2, 2016.


Save 40% with UC Press during the Law and Society Annual Meeting

The 2016 Law and Society meeting convenes June 2 – 5 in New Orleans, LA.

See the following UC Press titles and save 40% online with discount code 16E8104, or request an exam copy for consideration to use in your upcoming classes. The discount code expires May 20, 2016.

Additionally, be sure to take a look at these great guest posts from our authors:

Forensic Evidence: Reality and Fiction

By Corinna Kruse, author of The Social Life of Forensic Evidence

I have a confession to make: I find CSI (the long-running TV show Crime Scene Investigation) much less interesting than the non-fictional criminal justice system.

Kruse.SocialLifeOfForensicEvidenceI do admit, it feels a little unappreciative to write this. I’m quite sure that CSI’s popularity has helped my work find audiences, both within and without academia. But it’s no less true. Studying the (Swedish) criminal justice system from the inside – at least, from the considerable part of its insides that I was graciously given access to – has made me realize just how much more interesting non-fictional forensics are.

This difference, I think, boils down to complexity–complexity that I find fascinating and complexity that the criminal justice system has and CSI doesn’t. For example, on CSI, the same (fictional) crime scene investigators do lots of different things. They go to crime scenes and collect traces, they analyze these traces – and quite different kinds of traces, at that – in the laboratory, they talk to witnesses, and they cause suspects to confess in the face of overwhelming evidence.

In non-fictional criminal justice, these different tasks are done by different experts: in the Swedish criminal justice system, crime scenes are examined by crime scene technicians, traces are analyzed by forensic scientists – different forensic scientists for different types of evidence – and witnesses, plaintiffs, and suspects are interviewed by police investigators. What is more, work on a case is led and coordinated by an investigation leader, often a prosecutor but sometimes a police investigator. Other criminal justice systems may differ in organization and labor division – not all forensic scientists are state employees like the Swedish ones are, for example – but what they have in common is that forensic evidence (and criminal justice) is produced through the cooperation of a number of professions.

This is unavoidable. Regardless of the dismissiveness with which CSI treats crime work outside of the laboratory and crime scene, all these tasks require quite different skills and competences. Knowing where and how to find and recover relevant traces from a crime scene is a different thing entirely from analyzing them, or from persuading a witness, plaintiff, or suspect to want to talk to the police. So is producing suspects in the first place – which, on CSI, is, not surprisingly, done by means of forensic evidence.

To me, these different competences and skills are fascinating. And what I find, if possible, even more fascinating are the different perspectives that come with these competences and skills: to crime scene technicians, forensic evidence is the hoped-for end product of their examination of the crime scene – but certainly not all putative crime scenes yield decisive evidence. To forensic scientists, forensic evidence is most often a single trace, and, because forensic scientists only see cases in which forensic evidence is expected to provide essential answers, they regard it as very important for criminal justice. To police investigators, forensic evidence is a tool to be used in (mainly) interrogations. And to prosecutors as well as judges, forensic evidence is but one piece, and not necessarily the most important piece, in a large puzzle. Their different perspectives may at times cause friction, but also that makes their cooperation much more interesting than CSI’s rather one-dimensional production of forensic evidence.

Another complexity in the criminal justice system has to do with uncertainty. What forensic science does on CSI is to produce absolute certainty – in other words to eliminate any and all uncertainty – just by virtue of it being “scientific.” This scientificness seems to mainly consist of the main characters’ assertion that they are scientists and that, in consequence, evidence speaks to them.

No doubt a great arrangement. But non-fictional forensic evidence does not speak, neither to “scientists” nor to anyone else, and absolute certainty is unattainable. Instead, the criminal justice system must deal with inescapable uncertainties: there is the uncertainty whether or not the site the crime scene technicians examine has been the scene of a crime – the presumed crime may have been committed elsewhere or not at all. In addition, at the time the crime scene is being examined, there often is quite a lot of uncertainty about which crime may have been committed and which kind of questions – and thus which kind of evidence – will become salient later in the investigation. Then, there is the uncertainty whether a match between, say, a fiber from the crime scene and one from the suspect’s shirt is due to coincidence or their presence at the scene. There is the uncertainty whether a witness (or plaintiff, or suspect) is telling the truth – and which truth, at that. Even when they’re truthful about what they have seen, they may still misremember, and everyone sees the world through their frame of reference. And finally, there is always the uncertainty whether more work might produce more evidence that might change the outcome of the case. Seeing my interlocutors deal with these uncertainties and still manage to achieve certainty beyond a reasonable doubt in many cases has been much more fascinating than watching CSI achieve absolute certainty.

Of course, it would be difficult to convey all of these complexities in a TV series. And in this case, at least I certainly prefer reality over fiction.

Corinna Kruse is a lecturer in the Department of Thematic Studies—Technology and Social Change at Linköping University.

Motherhood Today: Doing the Best They Can

Motherhood (mŭth′ər-ho͝od′). noun: the state or experience of having or raising a child.

Sounds straightforward. Yet motherhood today is anything but straightforward. Whether they are single mothers, working mothers, teenage mothers, or surrogate mothers, all mothers seem to share a common thread — the constant struggle to navigate economic pressures and societal expectations while maintaining their identity and simultaneously creating a secure life for their children.

In recognition of Mother’s Day — and in honor of mothers in all walks of life — below are some books that shed light on the varying states of motherhood today.


On Becoming a Teen Mom: Life Before Pregnancy by Mary Patrice Erdmans and Timothy Black

Ironically, and sadly, when teen mothers are defined “as a problem, rather than a people with problems,” policies tend to focus on changing behaviors rather than addressing needs. Offering a fresh perspective on the links between teen births and social inequalities, this book demonstrates how the intersecting hierarchies of gender, race, and class shape the biographies of young mothers.

Hear from the authors about their experience interviewing teenage mothers.



Birthing a Mother: The Surrogate Body and the Pregnant Self by Elly Teman

In this beautifully written and insightful book, Elly Teman shows how surrogates and intended mothers carefully negotiate their cooperative endeavor. Teman traces the processes by which surrogates relinquish any maternal claim to the baby even as intended mothers accomplish a complicated transition to motherhood. Teman’s groundbreaking analysis reveals that as surrogates psychologically and emotionally disengage from the fetus they carry, they develop a profound and lasting bond with the intended mother.




The Fourth Trimester:Understanding, Protecting, and Nurturing an Infant through the First Three Months by Susan Brink

What every new mother needs! A comprehensive, intimate, and much-needed “operation manual” for newborns. Combining the latest scientific findings with real-life stories and experiences, Susan Brink offers well-informed, practical information and the reasons behind her advice so that parents and caretakers can make their own decisions about how to care of a newborn during this crucial period.




Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood before Marriage, With a New Preface by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas

Why do so many poor American youth continue to have children before they can afford to take care of them? Authors Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas offer an intimate look at what marriage and motherhood mean to low income, single mothers and provides the most extensive on-the-ground study to date of why they put children before marriage despite the daunting challenges they know lie ahead.



Villalobos.MotherloadMotherload: Making It All Better in Insecure Times by Ana Villalobos

Inadvertently, mothers overwhelmingly expect the mothering relationship to “make it all better” for themselves and their children. But often their attempts to create security through mothering backfire, exhausting them and deflecting their focus from other possible sources of security and thereby creating more stress. Pointing to hopeful alternatives, Villalobos shows how more realistic expectations about motherhood lead to greater security in families and, ultimately, bring greater joy to mothering.

Read Ana Villalobos’ thoughts on how social inequality means insecurity for all.



Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs, and the Micropolitics of Mothering by Cameron Lynne Macdonald

This book shines new light on an aspect of contemporary motherhood often hidden from view: the need for paid childcare by women returning to the workforce, and the complex bonds mothers forge with the “shadow mothers” they hire. Macdonald illuminates both sides of an unequal and complicated relationship and argues that these conflicts arise from unrealistic ideals about mothering, inflexible career paths and work schedules, and the devaluation of paid care work.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day!

Without teachers and educators, where would the world be?

University of California Press is honored to collaborate with university professors who serve as authors of outstanding scholarship. The work of addressing society’s core challenges can be accelerated when scholarship assumes its role as an agent of engagement and democracy.

To that end we take a moment to celebrate our authors’ and professors’ contributions to our society. The following are just some titles that share how teachers make a difference in our world, everyday.  

Happy Teacher Appreciation Day! #TeacherAppreciationDay


Grit and Hope: A Year with Five Latino Students and the Program That Helped Them Aim for College by Barbara Davenport

Grit and Hope tells the story of five inner-city Hispanic students who start their college applications in the midst of the country’s worst recession and of Reality Changers, the program that aims to help them become the first in their families to go college. This year they must keep up their grades in AP courses, write compelling essays for their applications, and find scholarships to fund their dreams. The book also follows Christopher Yanov, the program’s youthful, charismatic founder in a year that’s as critical for Reality Changers’ future as it is for the seniors. Told with deep affection yet without sentimentality, Grit and Hope shows that although poverty and cultural deprivation seriously complicate youths’ efforts to launch into young adulthood, the support of a strong program makes a critical difference.

Hicks.RoadOutThe Road Out: A Teacher’s Odyssey in Poor America by Deborah Hicks

Can one teacher truly make a difference in her students’ lives when everything is working against them? Can a love for literature and learning save the most vulnerable of youth from a life of poverty? The Road Out is a gripping account of one teacher’s journey of hope and discovery with her students—girls growing up poor in a neighborhood that was once home to white Appalachian workers, and is now a ghetto. Deborah Hicks, set out to give one group of girls something she never had: a first-rate education, and a chance to live their dreams. The author’s own life story—from a poorly educated girl in a small mountain town to a Harvard-educated writer, teacher, and social advocate—infuses this chronicle with a message of hope.



School’s Out: Gay and Lesbian Teachers in the Classroom by Catherine Connell

How do gay and lesbian teachers negotiate their professional and sexual identities at work, given that these identities are constructed as mutually exclusive, even as mutually opposed? Using interviews and other ethnographic materials from Texas and California, School’s Out explores how teachers struggle to create a classroom persona that balances who they are and what’s expected of them in a climate of pervasive homophobia. Catherine Connell’s examination of the tension between the rhetoric of gay pride and the professional ethic of discretion insightfully connects and considers complicating factors, from local law and politics to gender privilege. She also describes how racialized discourses of homophobia thwart challenges to sexual injustices in schools. Written with ethnographic verve, School’s Out is essential reading for specialists and students of queer studies, gender studies, and educational politics.


The Separation Solution? Single-Sex Education and the New Politics of Gender Equality by Juliet A. Williams

Since the 1990s, there has been a resurgence of interest in single-sex education across the United States, and many public schools have created all-boys and all-girls classes for students in grades K through 12. The Separation Solution? provides an in-depth analysis of controversies sparked by recent efforts to separate boys and girls at school. Reviewing evidence from research studies, court cases, and hundreds of news media reports on local single-sex initiatives, Juliet Williams offers fresh insight into popular conceptions of the nature and significance of gender differences in education and beyond.




The Real School Safety Problem: The Long-Term Consequences of Harsh School Punishment by Aaron Kupchik

Schools across the U.S. look very different today than they did a generation ago. Police officers, drug-sniffing dogs, surveillance cameras, and high suspension rates have become commonplace. The Real School Safety Problem uncovers the unintended but far-reaching effects of harsh school discipline climates. Evidence shows that current school security practices may do more harm than good by broadly affecting the entire family, encouraging less civic participation in adulthood, and garnering future financial costs in the form of high rates of arrests, incarceration, and unemployment. This text presents a blueprint for reform that emphasizes problem-solving and accountability while encouraging the need to implement smarter school policies.

Beyond Mass Incarceration: The Cognitive Legacy of the Clinton Era

By Michela Soyer, author of A Dream Denied: Incarceration, Recidivism, and Young Minority Men in America 

SoyerheadshotWhen Bill Clinton signed the federal “Three Strikes Bill” in 1994, most of the teenagers I interviewed between 2010 and 2013 were barely a year old. Some of my interviewees were not even been born yet. For several of those young men, the upcoming presidential election will be the first one in which they are able to cast their vote. One of their likely choices will be the woman whose husband’s political choices in the mid-1990s have wrecked havoc in their communities. Twenty years later, Hillary Clinton works hard to put a distance between herself and her husband’s legacy; on her campaign website, she calls for an end of mass incarceration and criminal justice reform.

For the teenagers whose lives I describe in A Dream Denied, Clinton’s promise to undo some of her husband’s damage comes too late. Five of the young men I portray in my book won’t be allowed to vote in the upcoming election; they are either serving time in a state prison or are on parole for a felony. The others may have escaped the tragic cycle of incarceration and recidivism, but their formative teenagers years were nevertheless stunted. Their life trajectories have been shaped by a juvenile justice system unable to fill the void Clinton’s welfare reform has created. Their middle class counterparts may face anxieties about their lack of self-fulfillment and financial insecurities. The young men in my study learned early on that their basic freedom is nothing they should take for granted.

In June 2013, I conducted my final interview for the book. The young man I spoke with had just suffered through a string of family tragedies. His cousin and his aunt had been killed. “Why does this s*** keep happening to me and my family?” he asked. I didn’t know how to respond, and I still believe that there was nothing I could have said to ease his pain. His experience of incarceration, recidivism, fosSoyer.ADreamDeniedter care and death are deeply personal. On the other hand, the seeds for his troubled teenage years were laid around the time of his birth, when the Clinton administration ended “welfare as we know it.”

These young men grew up with the double disadvantage of a defunct welfare system and a racially biased highly punitive criminal justice system. Astonishingly, these young men still believed in a bright future. If Hillary Clinton were to meet with them, they probably would not confront her like a protestor did recently in South Carolina. Most of the young minority men whose lives I describe blamed themselves. They pointed to their lack of self-control, their laziness, or inability to listen to the adults in their lives. In that sense, they are true children of the Clinton years. They did not expect the government to help their families. Some even believe their punishment was justified. Worse than the time many young men have lost in the juvenile or criminal justice system, however, is that they were never able to develop any concept that they deserve better. This cognitive burden may be the most tragic legacy of the Clinton years, and it will shape the life trajectories of the young men in my study well beyond the presidential election this fall.

Michaela Soyer is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Hunter College.