The majority of the country is stuck inside weathering a deep arctic freeze (oh, and a global pandemic). The staff here at UPK is no different. As an opportunity to turn off the tube, we’d like to suggest some analog matches from our backlist to complement your digital favorites…
If you enjoyed Spike Lee’s story of four African American veterans returning to Vietnam decades after the war to find their squad leader’s remains, you might like Lisa Doris Alexander’ Expanding the Black Film Canon; Race and Genre across Six Decades, which expands our idea of what black films are and, going back to the 1960s, shows us new and interesting ways to understand them.
Obsessed with mysteries that seem to have no explanation? Dig into J. Patrick O’Connor’s Justice on Fire: The Kansas City Firefighters Case and the Railroading of the Marlborough Five. O’Connor describes a misguided eight-year investigation propelled by an overzealous Bureau of Alcohol, ATF agent keen to retire; a mistake-riddled case conducted by a combative assistant US attorney willing to use compromised “snitch” witnesses and unwilling to admit contrary evidence; and a sentence of life without parole pronounced by a prosecution-favoring judge.
Has the pandemic and cold weather turned your family into something resembling the Fraser family? Maybe check out Ian Dowbiggin’s The Search for Domestic Bliss: Marriage and Family Counseling in 20th-Century America.In The Search for Domestic Bliss, Dowbiggin delves into the stories of the usual suspects in the founding of the therapeutic gospel, exposing little known aspects of their influence and misunderstood features of their work.
If you’ve spent countless hours streaming the 17(!) seasons of “medical drama” on Grey’s Anatomy, maybe it’s time to brush up on your actual anatomy. Try John Cody’s classic Visualizing Muscles, which features a live model painted to look as though his skin had been stripped off and then photograph in multiple poses. Paired photographs—show how the simulated muscles produce the subtle lights and darks, hills and valleys, on the model’s unpainted skin.
So you’re into dystopian science fiction Westerns with a side of amusement park fun? Well then, you need to check out William H. Katerberg’s classic Future West: Utopia and Apocalypse in Frontier Science Fiction. Katerberg takes a new look at works of utopian, dystopian, and apocalyptic science fiction to show how narratives of the past and future powerfully shape our understanding of the present-day West.
A flying object, shaped like a potato chip with the center cut out, lands on Earth and grows a crystal shell? Cool. Thomas E. Bullard wrote a whole book about it. The Myth and Mystery of UFOs shows how ongoing grassroots interest in UFOs stems both from actual personal experiences and from a cultural mythology that defines such encounters as somehow “alien”—and how it views relentless official denial as a part of conspiracy to hide the truth. Bullard also describes how UFOs have catalyzed the evolution of a new but highly fractured belief system that borrows heavily from the human past and mythic themes and which UFO witnesses and researchers use to make sense of such phenomena and our place in the cosmos.
Watching the news have you thinking: ‘Well, how did we get here?’ David E. Kyvig’s The Age of Impeachment: American Constitutional Culture since 1960 has some answers. In this magisterial work, Bancroft Prize-winning historian David Kyvig chronicles the rise of a culture of impeachment since 1960—one that extends far beyond the infamous scandals surrounding Presidents Richard Nixon (Watergate) and Bill Clinton (Monica Lewinsky) and has dramatically altered the face of American politics.
The University Press of Kansas is excited to announce that Jeremy D. Bailey and Susan McWilliams Barndt are the new series editors for American Political Thought.
Since its founding in 1987 by Wilson Carey McWilliams and Lance Banning, the American Political Thought (APT) series has been a defining part of the publishing program at the University Press of Kansas. With more than 80 volumes and counting, APT has established itself as one of the premier series of monographs in the fields of political science and political theory, and features landmark works from leading scholars such as Jean M. Yarbrough, Robert Booth Fowler, Philippa Strum, Bob Pepperman Taylor, David C. Hendrickson, Kimberly K. Smith, and Alan Gibson.
Under the leadership of Bailey and McWilliams Barndt, the APT series will continue to publish the leading scholars in the field, while also expanding to reflect the full breadth of American political thought today. Even as the study of the Founding and early republic remains vibrant, there has been a surge of interest in other periods as well (e.g., Reconstruction and the early twentieth century) as well as in substantive research areas (race, gender, and inequality). This renewed interest in American political thought brings with it a new generation of scholars. The editors are interested in recruiting emerging scholars and working with them as they become caretakers of this vibrant field of research.
As coeditors of the journal American Political Thought, Bailey and McWilliams Barndt not only have a strong working relationship but also are well connected to scholars in the field of American political thought. They are the ideal people to serve as editors for this series, and the Press is thrilled to be working with them.
“It is a tremendous honor to be asked to take on this role,” McWilliams Barndt said. “The American Political Thought series at the University Press of Kansas has long been a gold standard in the field. I am so happy to be working with Jeremy Bailey to maintain the excellence of this series at this time of dynamic and changing scholarship in American political thought.”
Bailey echoed McWilliams Bardnt’s thoughts.
“I am thrilled to be part of this series, which was founded by two scholars whose names are synonymous with the field itself,” Bailey said. “Over the last three decades, the series has not only published many outstanding books but has also nourished and sustained the study of American political thought. As APT attracts a new generation of authors, I look forward to the work required to keep the series, and the University Press of Kansas, at the center of this exciting and growing area of research.”
About the Series Editors:
Jeremy D. Bailey is professor of political science at the University of Houston. He is the author of The Idea of Presidential Representation: An Intellectual and Political History (Kansas, 2019), James Madison and Constitutional Imperfection (Cambridge, 2015), The Contested Removal Power, 1789-2010 (coauthored with David Alvis and Flagg Taylor, Kansas, 2013), and Thomas Jefferson and Executive Power (Cambridge, 2007).
Susan McWilliams Barndt is chair and professor of politics at Pomona College, where she has twice won the Wig Distinguished Professor Award for excellence in teaching. She is the author of The American Road Trip and American Political Thought (Lexington Books, 2018) and Traveling Back: Toward a Global Political Theory (Oxford, 2014). She has also edited several books, most recently A Political Companion to James Baldwin (Kentucky, 2017) and The Best Kind of College: An Insiders’ Guide to America’s Small Liberal Arts Colleges (coedited with John Seery, SUNY Press, 2015).
Peter Dean was awarded the Jakobczak Memorial Book Award, presented by the U.S. Military History Group, for McArthur’s Coaliation.
The USMHG’s Jakobczak Award recognizes the outstanding book on United States Military History covering any topic, methodology, service, or region within (or substantially involving) the period 1898 to 1945. Peter Dean will receive a plaque and a monetary prize sponsored by the USMHG.
The USMHG’s Ulbrich Award recognizes the outstanding book on United States Military History covering any topic, methodology, service, or region within (or substantially involving) the period 1775 to 1897. Jonathan Steplyk will receive a plaque and a monetary prize sponsored by the USMHG.
The award is given annually by the Atlanta Civil War Round Table for the best book on a Civil War subject, honors the late Richard Barksdale Harwell (nationally recognized librarian, bibliographer and historian), and includes a cash prize and engraved plaque.
For Danny Caine, owner of the Raven Book Store in downtown Lawrence, Kansas, building community is just another part of the job.
“What are we without a community?” Caine asks with a sense of sarcasm. “Of course we’re working to build a community around books.”
In the two years since Caine bought the renowned Lawrence bookstore in 2017, the Raven Book Store and the University Press of Kansas (UPK) have partnered on dozens of author events. Caine is a passionate supporter of independent businesses and works tirelessly to promote companies he feels are fighting the good fight.
“Our relationship with UPK is mutually beneficial,” Caine explains. “We work hard to offer a curated selection of books to our audience, and the press provides the fantastic regional books that many of our customers want. UPK produces the beautiful, thoughtful works we want to put on our shelves, and we know when we host a UPK author that they will attract an engaged crowd.”
Caine’s work to build a literary community in Lawrence has taken an ambitious turn. This summer he announced the inaugural Paper Plains Literary Festival (April 23–26, 2020), featuring poets, novelists, and young adult fiction writers.
“I was confident Lawrence would support the idea of a festival featuring authors and poets,” Caine says. “We’re really excited about the lineup we have coming to town, and the feedback says the community will embrace it.”
Paper Plains will be Lawrence’s first literary festival. UPK has assisted in its planning and is excited to host author Dan Flores (American Serengeti) and a roundtable discussion featuring regional UPK authors.
“It’s great having UPK involved with Paper Plains,” Caine says. “The press has a reputation for producing engaging, challenging work, and we’re excited to have them involved in the festival.”
Much like the work Caine is doing at the Raven, Lawrence Public Library Events Coordinator Kristin Soper is actively working to serve the educated community in Lawrence.
“This is a university town, so we know our audience is expecting well-researched ideas,” Soper says. “Our relationship with UPK is great. Actually really great.”
Soper traces the library’s relationship with UPK back to a single book.
Soper says a relationship with the University Press of Kansas has helped fill a need.
“Since our first event [with] C.J. Janovy a few years ago, our relationship with UPK has really helped fulfill a need for regional topics,” Soper explains. “The press does a phenomenal job publishing books of regional interest, and we know when we bring in one of their authors we will draw a crowd of engaged, intellectual readers.”
The University Press of Kansas and the Lawrence Public Library have partnered on events ranging from C.J.‘s talk about LGBTQ activism in Lawrence to a local author’s story about his scientific grandfather.
“Our relationship with UPK is great,” Soper said. “Our job at the library is to serve our community, and working with the press and their authors has been a tremendous benefit for both of us. We get to bring in intelligent, thoughtful authors who have written great books, and the press gets to build their brand within the Lawrence community.”
“Facts matter and this book provides them,” Barnett said. “From now on, no discussion of the practice of judicial review can ignore the book’s empirical findings. The most cynical political scientist will need to come to grips with its conclusion that ‘the justices are not lapdogs, and they have often bitten the hand of the party that put them on the bench.’ At the same time, idealists will need to incorporate its findings that the ‘justices have proven themselves to be allies of [their] political coalition leaders.’”
The Center for the Constitution established the Thomas M. Cooley Book Prize, Symposium & Judicial Lecture to recognize exceptional books written that advance our understanding of, and commitment to, our written Constitution. The third annual event will be held at Georgetown Law over two days, March 19-20, 2020.
On the opening evening, Judge Neomi Rao of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will deliver the event’s annual judicial lecture, which is open to the public.
The next day, the Cooley Book Prize ceremony will be held as part of a daylong invitation-only symposium focused on Whittington’s book. Featured political scientists and scholars of the judiciary will share commentary about the book, including Georgetown Law Dean William Treanor and professors Nancy Maveety (politics, Tulane University), Chancellor Howard Gillman (law, Univ. of Calif., Irvine), and Adam Carrington (politics, Hillsdale College).
Professor Whittington will join these scholars and a group of constitutional law professors from area law schools to discuss the issues raised by the book and papers — which will be published in a special issue of the Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy.
The Cooley Book Prize, Symposium & Judicial Lecture honor the renowned legal scholar and jurist Thomas McIntyre Cooley. Cooley was a longstanding chief justice of the Michigan Supreme Court, and a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, where he also served as the dean. He authored several highly influential books, including A Treatise on the Constitutional Limitations Which Rest Upon the Legislative Power of the States of the American Union.
Keith E. Whittington is William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. His many books include Political Foundations of Judicial Supremacy, Speak Freely, and, also from Kansas, Constitutional Interpretation.
New UPK acquisitions editor Bethany R. Mowry is a proud Navy brat, a native Kansan, and an expert on maritime history. No, really.
“I understand how those things may not really go together,” she says with a laugh. “But, here I am.”
After a youth spent living on the coast until her parents’ retirement from the Navy brought the family back to Kansas, Bethany graduated from Topeka West High School, earned a BA from Washburn University in Topeka, and then moved across the country to pursue a MA at the University of Pittsburgh. It was while studying in the Steel City that Mowry’s passive interest in maritime history became a passion.
“For me, studying maritime history is all about recovering the histories of real salt-of-the-earth people,” she explains. “By looking at their songs and diaries, and the few official records they left behind, you get a real sense of who these people were—and how important their stories still are.”
Until recently, one of the nation’s leading maritime historians taught at the University of Oklahoma, so Mowry moved back to the Great Plains to work on a PhD. While at OU, Mowry was awarded a fellowship working with the University of Oklahoma Press.
“The first major project with which I assisted was a book celebrating the 125-year anniversary of OU,” she says. “That meant I spent hours in the university archives, poring over regents’ minutes and other official documents, or searching through boxes of photos in the basement. It wasn’t exactly glamorous, but that’s where I fell in love with the process of making books happen.”
When the opportunity to acquire books for the University Press of Kansas arose, Mowry knew it was time to come back home. She will be acquiring titles for multiple UPK lists, including Environment and Society, Feminist Ethics, Rural America, and regional studies.
“I’m really excited to be back in Kansas,” Mowry says with a genuine smile. “This feels like my academic life has come full circle. Kansas’s Press has a great tradition and reputation, and I’m proud to be able to work with our authors and scholars to help advance our lists.”
by Jill A. Hummels, Office of the Provost at The University of Kansas
An individual with more than 15 years of experience at the University Press of Kansas has been selected to be the publishing house’s next leader.
Conrad Roberts, who had been serving as interim director and business manager since September 2016, has been given a permanent appointment to lead the organization. Based at the University of Kansas, University Press of Kansas (UPK) represents a consortium of six state universities: Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, Wichita State University and KU. UPK publishes scholarly books in several genres, but stands out for its books in American history, environmental studies, Native American studies, politics and law. It also has an extensive collection of offerings in military history, including the renowned series called Modern War Studies.
“Conrad has done a remarkable job as interim director and clearly understands the challenges and opportunities within the publishing industry,” said KU Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Carl Lejuez. “Through his prior experience as the business manager at UPK, he’s helped the entity remain valuable through a time of dramatic change in the publication of content as well as in wholesale and retail markets. It will be fascinating to see how he guides UPK for the years to come.”
Roberts holds a bachelor’s degree in general studies with an emphasis in history from KU and an associate’s degree in business and finance from Coleg Powys, now part of Neath Port Talbot College in Wales, United Kingdom. He was on the KU Men’s Golf team from 1997 to 2001. Roberts’ first exposure to UPK was as a student employee in the warehouse. After graduation from KU, he briefly pursued a career as a professional golfer but returned to UPK to serve as its warehouse manager. He was then named interim business manager and soon after was officially appointed to that role. As business manager he was responsible for all financial aspects of UPK as well as management of customer service and distribution center activities. In July 2015, Roberts was named assistant director and business manager. In addition to his business manager responsibilities, Roberts led the creation and implementation of a strategic plan to further the success of the organization. In 2016 he was named interim director and business manager, which added operational oversight, and supervision of four departments and 20 employees.
“My goals for the press are twofold,” Roberts said. “First, I want to make sure our press continues its mission to disseminate excellent scholarship to the widest possible readership, from scholars to students, to general readers. Second, I want to get our revenues back to where they were before the impact of the recession in 2008. Our marketplace changed significantly shortly after 2008, when we saw chains like Borders go into bankruptcy, so it’s important that a press diversify its revenue streams by adding new initiatives, collaborating with new partners, and promoting additional services a press can offer to faculty, staff, and students.” Roberts said UPK will continue to print books in all formats and make them available as eBooks, ensure that books are available in print globally through new distribution agreements, and intends to increase its annual output of new titles from about 55 to about 75 by the 2020 fiscal year.
Roberts is a past member of the Association of University Presses’ Business Handbook Board and has served as a panelist multiple times for the annual AUP Financial Officers meeting. He is still active in golf and is the Kansas Golf Association’s 2018 Mid-amateur Player of the Year. He is also a member of the Kansas Golf Association Board of Directors, and captain of multiple golf teams representing the State of Kansas on a national level.
Five questions with University Press of Kansas Director Conrad Roberts
Is there anything about University Press of Kansas that leaves people pleasantly surprised or shocked when you’re in a casual conversation about UPK with them?
I think there is a misnomer about university presses in general; we don’t publish college newspapers or yearbooks, nor do we have printing presses, so folks I run into are surprised to hear that we are a publishing house. Once that is understood, the expectation is that we publish only Kansas authors and works about Kansas, so they are surprised to hear that our authors are from all over the world and our books are available for sale globally. I don’t think many people realize just how influential the University Press of Kansas actually is, but I believe our slogan sums us up perfectly: Heartland Roots. Global Reach.
What do you see as some of the big challenges facing UPK?
Marketplace uncertainty. By this I don’t only mean the struggles of independent bookstores, college bookstores, and some of the larger bookstore chains, but also the fact that our books are being sold into a marketplace that is no longer clearly defined. For example, a retailer acquired a wholesaler and now buys their books through the acquired wholesaler, which makes it increasingly difficult to know your target audience.
Why is this important? It’s important because it affects pricing and discounting. Obviously everyone wants the best possible price for a book, and the University Press of Kansas prides itself on pricing our books competitively, but when an end user like a retailer becomes a wholesaler, margins for a book become narrower so presses have to adjust accordingly.
Also, the strength of a press has typically been in scholarly monographs, which we hope end up in classrooms, but because of additional marketplace competition in the textbook market, we have seen declining sales in the scholarly monographs because of factors like a strong used-textbook market, as well as piracy, which is hard to monitor. The combination of all these factors has a negative effect on how we are able to predict our marketplace, which makes pricing and print run decisions a daily challenge for a press.
What is the most popular title at UPK?
The most popular title in terms of lifetime unit sales has been a book called “Kansas in Color” by Andrea Glenn; it sold 60,000 copies. Published in 1982, this book captures the rich textures and subtle beauty of the Kansas landscape through 100+ color photographs. More recently, a book titled “American Serengeti” by Dan Flores has sold over 12,000 units through its available formats of hardback, paperback, and eBook. Published in 2017, this book was the winner of the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize and explains that America’s Great Plains once possessed one of the grandest wildlife spectacles of the world, equaled only by such places as the Serengeti, the Maasai Mara, or the veld of South Africa.
What is the most influential title in the past 10 to 20 years at UPK?
This is a great question, and one that has many answers. I polled our staff knowing I would get varied responses given the diverse list of books we have published over the years. I received a response for “The Myth and Mystery of UFOs,” by Thomas Bullard, which has readers fascinated with the culture, folktales, and history of alien encounters. I also received praise for a book called “Novus Ordo Seclorum” by Forrest McDonald — this title was a Pulitzer Prize finalist and made the University Press of Kansas the go-to publisher for a whole generation of constitutional and political philosophy and history authors. We also published a book called “Education for Extinction” by David Wallace Adams; a comprehensive account of the federal government’s Indian education program, a program that saw the removal of Indian children from their homes to boarding schools where they could be “restructured” both psychologically and culturally. Even though this book was published 23 years ago, it is still being used in classrooms today and is our most adopted book.
The most influential book to me is Frank and Jayni Carey’s “The Kansas Cookbook,” because it is the book I use most frequently; although they now have “The New Kansas Cookbook,” which includes the state’s favorite recipes and food traditions. This title is a close second!
The term influential is up to personal interpretation, but I have to look at the titles we have published that have won the most prestigious awards—I would consider these amongst the most influential the UPK has published. “Explicit and Authentic Acts” by David Kyvig is the most complete and most insightful history of the amendment process and its place in American political life, and it was the winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize — one of the highest honors awarded to books about diplomacy or the history of the Americas. We also published a book called “The Contested Plains” by Elliott West; this title won both the Francis Parkman Prize, an annual award by the Society of American Historians for the best book in American history, and the Ray Allen Billington Prize, an annual award by the Organization of American Historians for the best book on the American frontier. A strong argument can be made for either one of these books to be the UPK’s most influential.
Are there statistics you can share that indicate something about the operation at UPK?
We publish on average 60 titles per year.
We have published over 2,600 titles since 1946.
We have 1,884 books in print.
We have won 153 total awards since 2010.
UPK books have been translated into 26 different languages.
Q: What inspired you to research social media’s role in the American war zone?
A: My brother was on his first deployment in Iraq while I was in graduate school studying communication. At the time, he and I mostly wrote letters back and forth. But I began paying closer attention to advancements in digital communication technologies, especially when the infamous Abu Ghraib photos emerged. At the time, it seemed like new communication technologies (MySpace, YouTube, Facebook) were becoming available at the same time we were becoming increasingly entrenched in Iraq and Afghanistan. So I was personally and academically invested in keeping a close eye on both of these “fronts.” I wondered how all this connection would change what it’s like to be at war.
Q: What were you most surprised to learn?
A: I learned a lot so this question could easily become very long-winded. So I’ll just share the earliest surprise, which was that no one writes letters any more. The war letter, which was once a staple genre of letter writing, is now an endangered, if not extinct, artifact. Almost all the men and women I talked to said they carried their iPhones in their pockets, just like the rest of us. How will this change the archival aspect of these wars?
Q: Do you believe social media enhances the lives of those protecting our country abroad, or did you find that it contributed to depression or homesickness?
A: That’s the question, isn’t it? To an extent we are all probably wondering if social media is enhancing or diminishing our lives. For troops in a war zone, the stakes are raised on these types of issues—fear of missing out (FOMO), being distracted, feeling lonely and bored. We can all relate to these social anxieties. But I would say, on the whole, after talking with the men and women fighting our wars, I’m most worried about the broad emotional spectrum they are forced to occupy; Thinking about OPSEC and mission safety on one hand and about how their kids got in a fight at school on the other. In previous generations, our troops were more “protected” from home front concerns. This is a big change. I wonder how it will affect things like PTSD or the homecoming process more generally.
Q: What are some of the most common ways social media is used within the American military warscape?
A: In interviews, most personnel said they used social media to “keep up to date.” This can include more intimate information like knowing what your wife had for dinner last night as well as getting a broader idea of what the latest stateside pop culture craze might be.
A: One of my chief goals as a writer, teacher and citizen is to cultivate empathy. My hope is that readers will come away having meaningfully related to the men and women fighting these wars. And out of that empathy, maybe they will start to question America’s ongoing relationship with war.
#TBT: On this day in 1999, President Bill Clinton signed a sweeping measure knocking down Depression-era barriers and allowing banks, investment firms and insurance companies to sell each other’s product. Learn more about Clinton’s presidency inside UPK’s upcoming “Bill Clinton: New Gilded Age President.” Author Patrick Maney goes beyond personality and politics to examine the critical issues of the day: economic and fiscal policy, business and financial deregulation, healthcare and welfare reform, and foreign affairs in a post–Cold War world. But at its heart is Bill Clinton in all his guises: the first baby boomer to reach the White House; the “natural”—the most gifted politician of his generation, but one with an inexplicably careless and self-destructive streak; the “Comeback Kid,” repeatedly overcoming long odds; the survivor, frequently down but never out; and, with Hillary Rodham Clinton, part of the most controversial First Couple since Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Maney’s book is, in sum, the most succinct and up-to-date study of the Clinton presidency, invaluable not merely for understanding a transformative era in American history, but presidential, national, and global politics today.