UC Press is proud to publish award-winning authors and books across many disciplines. Below are several of our March 2024 award winners. Please join us in celebrating these scholars by sharing the news!

Justin Brooks

2024 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, Books Finalist
American Bar Association

Justin Brooks is a criminal defense lawyer, law professor, and the Founding Director of the California Innocence Project, where he has spent decades freeing innocent people from prison. He is the author of the only legal casebook devoted to the topic of wrongful convictions and was portrayed by Academy Award–nominated actor Greg Kinnear in the feature film Brian Banks.

You Might Go to Prison, Even Though You’re Innocent

Putting readers at the defense table, this book forces us to consider how any of us might be swept up in the system, whether we hired a bad lawyer, bear a slight resemblance to someone else in the world, or are not good with awkward silence. The stories of Brooks’s cases and clients paint the picture of a broken justice system, one where innocence is no protection from incarceration or even the death penalty. Simultaneously relatable and disturbing, You Might Go to Prison, Even Though You’re Innocent is essential reading for anyone who wants to better understand how injustice is served by our system.

Shannon Cram

2024 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year, Ecology and Environment, Finalist
Foreword Magazine

2024 PROSE Awards Finalist, Physical Science & Mathematics-History of Science, Medicine, & Technology
Association of University Presses

Ludwik Fleck Prize 2024, Finalist
Society for Social Studies of Science

Shannon Cram is Assistant Professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington Bothell.

Unmaking the Bomb: Environmental Cleanup and the Politics of Impossibility

What does it mean to reckon with a contaminated world? In Unmaking the Bomb, Shannon Cram considers the complex social politics of this question and the regulatory infrastructures designed to answer it. Blending history, ethnography, and memoir, she investigates remediation efforts at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a former weapons complex in Washington State. Home to the majority of the nation’s high-level nuclear waste and its largest environmental cleanup, Hanford is tasked with managing toxic materials that will long outlast the United States and its institutional capacities. Cram examines the embodied uncertainties and structural impossibilities integral to that endeavor. In particular, this lyrical book engages in a kind of narrative contamination, toggling back and forth between cleanup’s administrative frames and the stories that overspill them. It spends time with the statistical people that inhabit cleanup’s metrics and models and the nonstatistical people that live with their effects. And, in the process, it explores the uneven social relations that make toxicity a normative condition.

William Darity, A. Kirsten Mullen, and Lucas Hubbard

2024 PROSE Award Finalist, Social Sciences-Economics
Association of University Presses

William A. (“Sandy”) Darity Jr. is Samuel DuBois Cook Professor of Public Policy, African and African American Studies, and Economics and founding director of the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. With A. Kirsten Mullen, he is author of the award-winning From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century. Most recently, he is one of the editors of The Pandemic Divide: How COVID Increased Inequality in America.

A. Kirsten Mullen is a folklorist and the founder of Artefactual, an arts consulting practice, and Carolina Circuit Writers, a literary consortium that brings expressive writers of color to the Carolinas. Her most recent book is From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century.

Lucas Hubbard is an associate in research at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University. His writing has appeared in INDY WeekDuke MagazinePaste, and Deadspin; he is also one of the editors of The Pandemic Divide: How COVID Increased Inequality in America.

The Black Reparations Project: A Handbook for Racial Justice

A surge in interest in black reparations is taking place in America on a scale not seen since the Reconstruction Era. The Black Reparations Project gathers an accomplished interdisciplinary team of scholars—members of the Reparations Planning Committee—who have considered the issues pertinent to making reparations happen. This book will be an essential resource in the national conversation going forward.

Michael Dear

John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize 2024, Winner
Association of American Geographers

Michael Dear is author of Why Walls Won’t Work and other works on border urbanism, Latinx culture in Los Angeles, and the urban humanities. He is a critic and curator, most recently of Califas: Art of the US-Mexico Borderlands.

Border Witness: Reimagining the US-Mexico Borderlands through Film

Border Witness is an account of cultural collision and fusion between Mexico and the United States, as seen on the ground and in films from the past hundred years. Blending film studies with political and cultural geography, Michael Dear investigates the making of cross-border identity and community in the territories between two nations.

Xaq Frohlich

2024 Hagley Prize in Business History, Finalist
Business History Conference

Xaq Frohlich is Associate Professor of History of Technology at Auburn University. He works on issues relating to food and risk at the intersections of science, law, and markets.

From Label to Table: Regulating Food in America in the Information Age

How did the Nutrition Facts label come to appear on millions of everyday American household food products? As Xaq Frohlich reveals, this legal, scientific, and seemingly innocuous strip of information can be a prism through which to view the high-stakes political battles and development of scientific ideas that have shaped the realms of American health, nutrition, and public communication. By tracing policy debates at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Frohlich describes the emergence of our present information age in food and diet markets and examines how powerful government offices inform the public about what they consume. From Label to Table explores evolving popular ideas about food, diet, and responsibility for health that have influenced what goes on the Nutrition Facts label—and who gets to decide that.

Chiara Galli

Distinguished Scholarship Award 2024, Winner
Pacific Sociological Association

Chiara Galli is a sociologist and Assistant Professor of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

Precarious Protections: Unaccompanied Minors Seeking Asylum in the United States

More children than ever are crossing international borders alone to seek asylum worldwide. In the past decade, over a half million children have fled from Central America to the United States, seeking safety and a chance to continue lives halted by violence. Yet upon their arrival, they fail to find the protection that our laws promise, based on the broadly shared belief that children should be safeguarded. A meticulously researched ethnography, Precarious Protections chronicles the experiences and perspectives of Central American unaccompanied minors and their immigration attorneys as they pursue applications for refugee status in the US asylum process. Chiara Galli debunks assumptions about asylum, including the idea that people are being denied protection because they file bogus claims. In practice, the United States interprets asylum law far more narrowly than what is necessary to recognize real-world experiences of escape from life-threatening violence. This is especially true for children from Central America. Galli reveals the formidable challenges of lawyering with children and exposes the human toll of the US immigration bureaucracy.

Christina Gerhardt

California Book Award Contribution to Publishing 2023, Finalist
Commonwealth Club

Christina Gerhardt is Associate Professor at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Senior Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and former Barron Professor of Environment and the Humanities at Princeton University. Her environmental journalism has been published by Grist.orgThe NationThe Progressive,and the Washington Monthly.

Sea Change: An Atlas of Islands in a Rising Ocean

Low-lying islands are least responsible for global warming, but they are suffering the brunt of it. This transportive atlas reorients our vantage point to place islands at the center of the story, highlighting Indigenous and Black voices and the work of communities taking action for local and global climate justice. At once serious and playful, well-researched and lavishly designed, Sea Change is a stunning exploration of the climate and our world’s coastlines. Full of immersive storytelling, scientific expertise, and rallying cries from island populations that shout with hope—”We are not drowning! We are fighting!”—this atlas will galvanize readers in the fight against climate change and the choices we all face.

Helena Hansen, Jules Netherland, David Herzberg

Rachel Carson Prize 2024, Finalist
Society for Social Studies of Science

Helena Hansen is an addiction psychiatrist and anthropologist and Professor of Psychiatry and Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Jules Netherland is a sociologist and policy advocate and Managing Director of the Department of Research and Academic Engagement at the Drug Policy Alliance.

David Herzberg is a historian and Professor of History at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Whiteout: How Racial Capitalism Changed the Color of Opioids in America

In the past two decades, media images of the surprisingly white “new face” of the US opioid crisis abounded. But why was the crisis so white? Some argued that skyrocketing overdoses were “deaths of despair” signaling deeper socioeconomic anguish in white communities. Whiteout makes the counterintuitive case that the opioid crisis was the product of white racial privilege as well as despair.

Anchored by interviews, data, and riveting firsthand narratives from three leading experts—an addiction psychiatrist, a policy advocate, and a drug historian—Whiteout reveals how a century of structural racism in drug policy, and in profit-oriented medical industries led to mass white overdose deaths. The authors implicate racially segregated health care systems, the racial assumptions of addiction scientists, and relaxed regulation of pharmaceutical marketing to white consumers. Whiteout is an unflinching account of how racial capitalism is toxic for all Americans.

Christina Heatherton

Best Scholarly Books of 2023, Winner
Chronicle of Higher Education

Christina Heatherton is Elting Associate Professor of American Studies and Human Rights at Trinity College, Connecticut. She is coeditor of Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter.

Arise! Global Radicalism in the Era of the Mexican Revolution

The Mexican Revolution was a global event that catalyzed international radicals in unexpected sites and struggles. Tracing the paths of figures like Black American artist Elizabeth Catlett, Indian anti-colonial activist M.N. Roy, Mexican revolutionary leader Ricardo Flores Magón, Okinawan migrant organizer Paul Shinsei Kōchi, and Soviet feminist Alexandra Kollontai, Arise! reveals how activists around the world found inspiration and solidarity in revolutionary Mexico. 

Ryo Morimoto

Rachel Carson Prize 2024, Finalist
Society for Social Studies of Science

Ryo Morimoto is a first-generation college student and scholar from Japan and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University. His scholarly work addresses the planetary impacts of our past and present engagements with nuclear things.

Nuclear Ghost: Atomic Livelihoods in Fukushima’s Gray Zone

“There is a nuclear ghost in Minamisōma.” This is how one resident describes a mysterious experience following the 2011 nuclear fallout in coastal Fukushima. Investigating the nuclear ghost among the graying population, Ryo Morimoto encounters radiation’s shapeshifting effects. What happens if state authorities, scientific experts, and the public disagree about the extent and nature of the harm caused by the accident? In one of the first in-depth ethnographic accounts of coastal Fukushima written in English, Nuclear Ghost tells the stories of a diverse group of residents who aspire to live and die well in their now irradiated homes. Their determination to recover their land, cultures, and histories for future generations provides a compelling case study for reimagining relationality and accountability in the ever-atomizing world.

Pooja Rangan, Akshya Saxena, Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan, and Pavitra Sundar

René Wellek Prize 2024, Winner
American Comparative Literature Association

Pooja Rangan is Associate Professor of English and Film and Media Studies at Amherst College and author of Immediations: The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary.

Akshya Saxena is Assistant Professor of English at Vanderbilt University and author of Vernacular English: Reading the Anglophone in Postcolonial India.

Ragini Tharoor Srinivasan is Assistant Professor of English at Rice University.

Pavitra Sundar is Associate Professor of Literature at Hamilton College and author of Listening with a Feminist Ear: Soundwork in Bombay Cinema.

Thinking with an Accent: Toward a New Object, Method, and Practice

Everyone speaks with an accent, but what is an accent? Thinking with an Accent introduces accent as a powerfully coded yet underexplored mode of perception that includes looking, listening, acting, reading, and thinking. This volume convenes scholars of media, literature, education, law, language, and sound to theorize accent as an object of inquiry, an interdisciplinary method, and an embodied practice. Accent does more than just denote identity: from algorithmic bias and corporate pedagogy to migratory poetics and the politics of comparison, accent mediates global economies of discrimination and desire. Accents happen between bodies and media. They negotiate power and invite attunement. These essays invite the reader to think with an accent—to practice a dialogical and multimodal inquiry that can yield transformative modalities of knowledge, action, and care.

Chelsea Shields

Bryce Wood Book Award 2024, Winner
Luciano Tomassini Latin American International Relations Book Award 2024, Winner

Latin American Studies Association

Chelsea Schields is Assistant Professor of History at the University of California, Irvine.

Offshore Attachments: Oil and Intimacy in the Caribbean

Offshore Attachments reveals how the contested management of sex and race transformed the Caribbean into a crucial site in the global oil economy. By the mid-twentieth century, the Dutch islands of Curaçao and Aruba housed the world’s largest oil refineries. To bolster this massive industrial experiment, oil corporations and political authorities offshored intimacy, circumventing laws regulating sex, reproduction, and the family in a bid to maximize profits and turn Caribbean subjects into citizens. Historian Chelsea Schields demonstrates how Caribbean people both embraced and challenged efforts to alter intimate behavior in service to the energy economy. Moving from Caribbean oil towns to European metropolises and examining such issues as sex work, contraception, kinship, and the constitution of desire, Schields narrates a surprising story of how racialized concern with sex shaped hydrocarbon industries as the age of oil met the end of empire.