Happy Quasquicentennial to Us!

February 16th, 2018 marks the quasquicentennial of University of California Press, celebrating 125 years of scholarly publishing since its founding on this day in 1893. Throughout this time, UC Press remained one of the most forward-thinking publishers in the world, collaborating with scholars, librarians, and authors, to publish high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship.

With $1000 appropriated by the University of California’s Board of Regents, UC Press was established “to publish papers prepared by members of the Faculty,” 25 years after University of California was founded in 1868. The first UC Press publication was Outlines of the Temporal and Modal Principles of Attic Prose, a pamphlet by Greek Isaac Flagg, which went on sale at the student store in Berkeley in 1893.

From its inception, UC Press disseminated scholarship that has undergone rigorous peer review, and championed work that influences public discourse and challenges the status quo in multiple fields of study. Today, UC Press continues to serve as the nonprofit publisher of the University of California system, publishing 200 books and 30 multi-issue journals each year, and maintaining 4,000 book titles in print. Its mission to drive progressive change by seeking out and cultivating the brightest minds and giving them voice, reach, and impact is evident by its award-winning editorial program. A selection of awards UC Press titles has received in recent years includes: American Book Award, CHOICE Award, Municipal Art Society of New York Brendan Gill Prize, American Musicological Society Award, Daedelus Foundation Award, Smithsonian Eldredge Prize, National Jewish Book Award, ASCAP Foundation Virgil Thompson Award, and PROSE Award.

UC Press has also been recognized as an innovative, global leader in digital publishing, critical to its goal of making its content widely accessible. Its Open Access products, which include Collabra: Psychology, Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, and Luminos, benefit from the same high standards for selection, peer review, and production as its traditional publishing programs.

Editorial Director Kim Robinson states, “Books make a difference, and I’m enormously proud to be associated with the long publishing history of University of California Press and its progressive publishing mission. Our authors consistently provide vital context and background to the most pressing issues facing us today, and we strive every day to ensure that their critical voices are heard.”

UC Press currently publishes in American studies, anthropology, ancient world/classical studies, art history, Asian studies, California and the West, communications, criminology, economics, environmental studies, film & media studies, food, geography, history, Latin American studies, Middle Eastern studies, music, psychology, public health, religion, and sociology.

Notable UC Press publications from decades past include:

To celebrate this milestone, UC Press will launch Voices Revived, a new cross-disciplinary series that brings field-defining, out-of-print books back into print.

UC Press Podcast: Why Calories Count

Calories—too few or too many—are the source of health problems affecting billions of people in today’s globalized world. Although calories are essential to human health and survival, they cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. They are also hard to understand. In Why Calories Count, Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim explain in clear and accessible language what calories are and how they work, both biologically and politically. As they take readers through the issues that are fundamental to our understanding of diet and food, weight gain, loss, and obesity, Nestle and Nesheim sort through a great deal of the misinformation put forth by food manufacturers and diet program promoters. They elucidate the political stakes and show how federal and corporate policies have come together to create an “eat more” environment. Finally, having armed readers with the necessary information to interpret food labels, evaluate diet claims, and understand evidence as presented in popular media, the authors offer some candid advice: Get organized. Eat less. Eat better. Move more. Get political.

In this UC Press podcast, Marion talks to Chris Gondek about the ideas and issues behind Why Calories Count.


And for a bit more information about Why Calories Count, here is a review of the book from the San Francisco Chronicle.

School Food, Beyond the Cafeteria

Janet Poppendieck, author of Free for All

After decades on the rise, obesity rates have stabilized among most groups of Americans, according to two CDC studies published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. But rates remain high, and increased among the heaviest boys aged 6 to 19. With 17% of children considered obese, Michelle Obama has said that reducing childhood obesity and promoting healthy eating will be her focus in 2010. School lunches are already at the forefront of this issue, with efforts underway to bring more fresh, nutritious foods to the cafeteria, but many are tracing the problem far beyond the lunch tray. Here’s what some UC Press authors have to say.

Janet Poppendieck finds that fixing school food means looking at many factors: “The eating habits of our children reflect changes in the way we produce, process, and distribute and consume food in this country”, she says in her book Free for All. In a Salon.com interview yesterday, Poppendieck talks about the web of forces, from children as consumers to government policies and schools’ budget problems, that put pizza and fries on school lunch trays, and calls for a sweeping change in cafeterias across the country: free, nutritious lunches for all. Such a plan, she says, would save administrative costs, reduce waste, and would be an opportunity for schools to promote healthy eating.

SFGate reported yesterday that starting in February, the chocolate milk served in San Francisco public schools will be sweetened with sucrose instead of high-fructose corn syrup. Quoted in the article, Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics, Safe Food and other books, applauded the effort but advised eliminating sugar altogether: “If parents really want the lunches to be healthier, they need to work on cutting down on all kinds of sugars and start serving kids real food”.

On her blog, Nestle chalks the rise in obesity since 1980 up to calories—larger portions and less exercise. Julie Guthman, author of Agrarian Dreams and a forthcoming UC Press book on obesity, argues in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed that these factors do not fully explain the sharp increase. She points to emerging links between endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in plastics and obesity, and says that while getting more fruits and vegetables into school lunches is important, environmental regulation is also needed: “In light of what we are learning about endocrine-disrupting chemicals, regulatory sticks are as important as fresh carrots”.

What I Didn’t Say On Colbert: Marion Nestle in the Atlantic

Nestle_author Colbert Report, August 19 I was interviewed on the Colbert Report about sugar policy, of all things. U.S. sugar policy is so absurd that I did not think it could be satirized, but Colbert managed just fine.
Here’s what I would have said if I hadn’t been completely disconcerted by his dousing himself with five pounds of sugar:

The sugar “crisis”: On August 5, several groups representing makers of processed foods wrote a letter asking the USDA to raise the quota on imported sugar because stocks are lower than they have been in years. Why? Because domestic sugar production
is thoroughly governed by quotas, imported sugar is thoroughly controlled by quotas and tariffs, and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is increasingly diverted to ethanol. Got that?

Read the full article on the Atlantic