UC Press is happy to share that we have partnered with The Booksmith in San Francisco, CA to bring a series of virtual author events to life. Entitled UC Press Now: Urgent Conversations, the series examines the most pressing issues currently facing the United States—from forced labor during COVID-19 to feminism’s role in criminal justice reform, the rise of fascist rhetoric, and more—through the eyes of expert scholars that have dedicated their careers to fighting injustices and raising popular awareness surrounding these issues.

Each event will take place on Mondays throughout the months of August and September, starting at 11AM Pacific time. The events are free to attend, but RSVPs are required to reserve a seat. For more information, please visit The Booksmith’s website.

August 3rd

Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary
Understanding U.S. Immigration for the Twenty-First Century

by A. Naomi Paik

Days after taking the White House, Donald Trump signed three executive orders—these authorized the Muslim Ban, the border wall, and ICE raids. These orders would define his administration’s approach toward noncitizens. An essential primer on how we got here, Bans, Walls, Raids, Sanctuary shows that such barriers to immigration are embedded in the very foundation of the United States. A. Naomi Paik reveals that the forty-fifth president’s xenophobic, racist, ableist, patriarchal ascendancy is no aberration, but the consequence of two centuries of U.S. political, economic, and social culture.

August 10

A Brief History of Fascist Lies

by Federico Finchelstein

In this short book, world-renowned historian Federico Finchelstein explains why fascists regarded simple and often hateful lies as truth, and why so many of their followers believed the falsehoods. Throughout the history of the twentieth century, many supporters of fascist ideologies regarded political lies as truth incarnated in their leader. This history continues in the present, when lies again seem to increasingly replace empirical truth, and has a long political and intellectual lineage that we cannot ignore.

August 17

The Feminist War on Crime
The Unexpected Role of Women’s Liberation in Mass Incarceration

by Aya Gruber

Deploying vivid cases and unflinching analysis, The Feminist War on Crime documents the failure of the state to combat sexual and domestic violence through law and punishment. Zero-tolerance anti-violence law and policy tend to make women less safe and more fragile. Mandatory arrests, no-drop prosecutions, forced separation, and incarceration embroil poor women of color in a criminal justice system that is historically hostile to them. This carceral approach exacerbates social inequalities by diverting more power and resources toward a fundamentally flawed criminal justice system, further harming victims, perpetrators, and communities alike.

August 24

Work Under Threat of Punishment

by Erin Hatton

What do prisoner laborers, graduate students, welfare workers, and college athletes have in common? According to sociologist Erin Hatton, they are all part of a growing workforce of coerced laborers. Coerced explores this world of coerced labor through an unexpected and compelling comparison of these four groups of workers, for whom a different definition of “employment” reigns supreme—one where workplace protections do not apply and employers wield expansive punitive power, far beyond the ability to hire and fire. Because such arrangements are common across the economy, Hatton argues that coercion—as well as precarity—is a defining feature of work in America today.

August 31

A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety
How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet

by Sarah Jaquette Ray

Drawing on a decade of experience leading and teaching in college environmental studies programs, Sarah Jaquette Ray has created an “existential tool kit” for the climate generation. Combining insights from psychology, sociology, social movements, mindfulness, and the environmental humanities, Ray explains why and how we need to let go of eco-guilt, resist burnout, and cultivate resilience while advocating for climate justice. A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety is the essential guidebook for the climate generation—and perhaps the rest of us—as we confront the greatest environmental threat of our time.

September 7

Workers on Arrival
Black Labor in the Making of America

by Joe William Trotter Jr.

In his engrossing new history, Workers on Arrival, Joe William Trotter, Jr. charts the black working class’s vast contributions to the making of America. Covering the last four hundred years since Africans were first brought to Virginia in 1619, Trotter traces black workers’ complicated journey from the transatlantic slave trade through the American Century to the demise of the industrial order in the 21st century. At the center of this compelling, fast-paced narrative are the actual experiences of these African American men and women. A dynamic and vital history of remarkable contributions despite repeated setbacks, Workers on Arrival expands our understanding of America’s economic and industrial growth, its cities, ideas, and institutions, and the real challenges confronting black urban communities today.