Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spider Martin: Image and Activism

Media coverage and public awareness of alleged police brutality has drastically changed in the era of YouTube and Twitter. During the Civil Rights Movement, only journalists sent by publications to cover racial unrest could widely disseminate images from demonstrations like the Selma to Montgomery March. Alabama native Spider Martin was one of those journalists. The Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas in Austin acquired Mr. Martin’s archive, including more than 1,000 images shot in and around Selma, which lead to our collaborative publication, Selma 1965: The Photographs of Spider Martin. We asked Ahmad Ty-ke Ward, the Head of Education at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, to comment on Spider Martin's significance and how the power to engage in this kind of activism is now in the public's hands.

Spider Martin: Image and Activism

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By Ahmad Ty-ke Ward, Head of Education at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

The Selma to Montgomery March was a landmark event in American history which ultimately led to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In February of 1965, twenty-seven-year-old Jimmy Lee Jackson, demonstrating with his family for the right to vote, was fatally injured in Marion (Perry County), Alabama. Jackson had placed his body between his mother and a state trooper’s club and was shot in his abdomen. His death galvanized groups like the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Active in voter registration efforts in the Black Belt, these groups decided to stage the largest demonstration on behalf of equal voting rights for African Americans in history—a march from the Dallas County seat, Selma, to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery, a distance of fifty-four miles.

James “Spider” Martin, a native of Wylam, Alabama, and an up-and-coming photographer with the Birmingham News, was sent down to Selma to cover Jackson’s death. Martin had cut his teeth on civil rights coverage during the events that happened in Birmingham in 1963. Even with that background, he could have no idea how instrumental his work would be to the Selma movement. With his camera, Spider Martin would serve as recorder, witness and moral compass for the rest of the country trying to make sense of the situation unfolding in Alabama.

“Dr. King told me the reason they were marching and protesting in Alabama was because of George Wallace, Bull Connor, Sheriff Jim Clark and Al Lingo. They all fell into the plan. Dr. King said we could march and protest in Chicago and nobody would care. But in Alabama . . .”

—Spider Martin

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Mark Cohen's Throwback Street Photography

Decades before Instagram photographer Daniel Arnold amassed 118,000 followers by capturing street scenes below eye level and surreally framed, Mark Cohen was cementing a style of street photography that has become not only iconic but fashionable decades later. Cohen recently told Vice's i-D magazine, "If you look at the advertising in Vogue, you'll see a lot a pictures that look like I might have taken them 30 or 40 years ago. In the New York Times, you see pictures with people's heads cut off all the time. When I first did that, it was seen as extremely radical, but now, it's very common." In a recent
HuffPost Arts and Culture piece, photographer Michael Ernest Sweet reminds contemporary audiences that Mark Cohen's style was paradigm-shattering at the time: "In precis, both Cohen's way of working, as well as his product, were entirely unfamiliar to a vintage audience."

Many of Mark Cohen's iconic images were taken on the streets of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, in the 1970s. The scenes captured in these photographs amount to more than just street style fashion photography; Cohen's work is emotional and evocative. "There's an autobiographical thread to Frame that's very hard to explain even to myself. But it's about life, your work is really about your life in some ways," he explains. We asked Mark to take us back to the moment he created some of his images. F
or Throwback Thursday, enjoy these six short pieces written by Mark Cohen detailing the process and spirit behind photographs from his most recent book, Frame: A Retrospective.

Behind the Images

By Mark Cohen
Bandaged Boy on Bike, August 1998
From Frame: A Retrospective

Bandaged Boy on Bike, August 1998, is about my use of speed and the life intensity of the small boys playing more or less wildly. And it is about the bandages—just visible as they zoom by—seen around this kid's arm and chest. A bandage in a picture creates an eerie unease or discomfort.

I was using a 50mm lens, panning along with the boy to have the much-needed depth of field as there was no time to focus, a normal lens, as I did more and more frequently, at this time, 25 years after the 1970’s, to keep my distance, and safety, from the very close and confrontational interactions when I would get inches away with the 28mm lens.

The boy sees me as he goes by and when I see this negative I see that there are two bandages, adding to the sense of surrealness of the picture. We meet eye to lens as he flies by. He has defiance and speed and I have pretty good focus. The shirt is like a part of a Weston contact print and it all goes on with Hollywood lighting.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

University Press Week Blog Tour: Day 3

It's the third day of the annual blog tour for University Press Week. Stayed tuned tomorrow when we share quintessential street photographer Mark Cohen's 1970s street style and his behind-the-photos commentary. Our fellow presses are featuring themed posts for each day of the week. Check out yesterday's stops here. Monday's posts are collected here. Today's theme is University Press Design.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Monday, November 9, 2015

University Press Week Blog Tour: Day 1

Welcome to the fourth annual University Press Week! University presses are full of surprises each year and this year we didn’t have to look hard to find the unique and
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special ways that these presses make their mark on the world. From our very own James Beard award winner Yucatán by Chef David Sterling to Princeton University Press’s 150th Anniversary Edition of Alice in Wonderland illustrated by Salvador Dali and Ohio University Press’s illustrated YA novel Trampoline, this has been a year of outstanding publishing from university presses. All the while, university presses continue to publish the best scholarship from the foremost thinkers working today and garner awards and media attention in vast numbers for their work. University presses worldwide are proud to create these varied, often surprising, and always incredibly well-researched publications for students as well as armchair scholars, librarians, journalists, booksellers, and general readers alike.

For the annual blog tour, our fellow presses are featuring themed posts for each day of the week including, “Surprise!”, Design, Throwback Thursday, conversations between authors and their editors, and The Future of Scholarly Publishing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The 10 Most Significant Sci-Fi Films

Advance tickets for a small indie film called Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (wink, wink) went on sale this week, smashing box office records for pre-sales and crashing movie theatre websites. The Walt Disney Company release, which doesn't hit theaters until December 18th, is expected to take in $2 billion globally making it the biggest mainstream science fiction film of the decade, potentially the biggest genre film of the century. But let's not forget how the film industry got here.

Douglas Brode is a screenwriter, playwright, novelist, graphic novelist, film historian, and multi-award-winning journalist who has written nearly forty books on movies and the mass media. His latest book Fantastic Planets, Forbidden Zones, and Lost Continents
The 100 Greatest Science-Fiction Films is a comprehensive list ranging from today’s blockbusters to forgotten gems, with surprises for even the most informed fans and scholars. We asked Brode to list the ten most significant science fiction films that established the genre as a global industrial powerhouse. The force is strong with this one.
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'The 10 Most Significant Sci-Fi Films'
By Doug Brode

The idea of doing a book on the 100 greatest science fiction films of all time had been dancing around in my mind for decades. Thank goodness I didn’t have the opportunity write it until very recently. While growing up in the 1950s, most of the sci-fi films that I stood in line to see were low-budget affairs, sometimes high-quality (The Incredible Shrinking Man), others less so (Cat-Women of the Moon) – though even the least ambitious films were appealing to the first true generation of American teenagers who became addicted to rock ‘n’ roll music, the then-new medium of television, and anything at all to do with outer space – in large part because that's when the US-Soviet space race began in earnest. So many films of that era played strictly at local drive-In movie theatres or downtown grindhouse bijous that many people forget a simple fact: when feature-length science-fiction premiered with Metropolis in 1927, the genre represented the biggest budget films of the time.

Today, the most important films being produced internationally as well as in Hollywood are almost exclusively science-fiction related. The mainstream has fallen in love with the sort of stories that way back when, in the Dick Clark era, were thought to be marginal. But how did the transition occur? One element of my book Fantastic Planets, Forbidden Zones, and Lost Continents is the manner in which step-by-step, high budgets (often accompanied by high quality) gradually returned to this genre.

Here, in their order of their production, are ten of the most significant:

If there was one Hollywood studio that seemed unlikely ever to make a sci-fi film, it was MGM. Here was the home of the greatest musicals, the biggest epics, and more stars than there were in the heavens. Leave sci-fi to the likes of Universal-International, where such B items could be knocked out for about $500,000 per production, invariably in black and white. Then, the seemingly impossible occurred – MGM turned out a $2 million sci-fi color feature with a top star (Walter Pigeon), gorgeous color photography, a sexy female star who appeared in the near-nude (to make clear this was for adults as well as kids), and an irresistible robot named Robby. Here was an early indication of the shape of things to come.


George Pal, the second greatest fantasy-filmmaker in L.A. (only Walt Disney surpassed him as to quality and quantity), wanted to move away from what remained the run of the mill stuff by mounting a full-scale interpretation of H.G. Welles’ The Time Machine. With young rising stars Rod Taylor and Yvette Mimieux, a smart script that updated the classic novel for a new generation, some superb state of the art special effects for the monstrous Morlocks, and the creation of a ruined future world brought to life in vivid color, he succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dream.

Monday, October 12, 2015

UT Press at the 2015 Texas Book Festival

This weekend, the University of Texas Press and 13 of our authors will enjoy the 20th annual Texas Book Festival on the Capitol grounds in downtown Austin and environs. We'll have a booth on Colorado Street with tons of titles for sale at a great discount, so please stop by. There are a lot of wonderful authors in attendance this year, so we’ve distilled our authors' appearances into a single UT Press schedule (browse the full schedule here):


10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

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The Jemima Code
Author: Toni Tipton Martin
Moderated by Addie Broyles
Location: Central Market Cooking Tent

Come see Toni Tipton-Martin discusses recipes and stories from her book, The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African American Cookbooks, a comprehensive treasure.

Where to find the author online: @thejemimacode | Website

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM

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The Best I Recall: A Memoir
Author: Gary Cartwright
Moderated by John Spong
Location: Capitol Extension Room E2.028

Esteemed writer Gary Cartwright traces his career across Texas in his memoir, The Best I Recall. After working in publishing and journalism for over 60 years, Cartwright has acquired countless by-lines and numerous awards. Join the lively and talented author as he shares his stories.

2:45 - 3:30 PM

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Eli Reed: A Long Walk Home
Author: Eli Reed

Moderated by Steven Hoelscher
Location: The Contemporary Austin--Jones Center (700 Congress)

Eli Reed: A Long Walk Home presents the first career retrospective of Reed's work. Consisting of over 250 images that span the full range of his subjects and his evolution as a photographer, the photographs are a visual summation of the human condition.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

UTP on IndieBound's October Next List

Brick-and-mortar independent bookstores are on the rise in the Amazon age largely because they foster a sense of community through engaging staff, author events, and book clubs. That's why it is so exciting to have Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt by Kristin Hersh on the October IndieBound Next List, a roundup of the best new books based on reviews by independent booksellers.

It's our third book to appear on an IndieBound Next List. First, the hardback edition of Jan Reid’s Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards (now a $11.36 paperback on our website), made a splash in 2012. Then in 2013, Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark landed on the list alongside Amy Tan, Wally Lamb, and Ann Patchett. Now Kristin Hersh's haunting ode to a lost friend Don't Suck, Don't Die has deeply moved booksellers across the country. Hersh's new book joins Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies, Mary Karr's The Art of Memoir, and other highly anticipated titles. Browse the full list here.

To celebrate, we've gathered all the bookseller reviews together and thrown in our book trailer, Spotify playlist, and fan zine!

Bookseller Quotes

"Add Kristin Hersh’s Don't Suck, Don't Die to the list of music memoirs that have little to do with music. A book about her friendship with the talented and tragic Vic Chesnutt, the style, tone, and quality of the very personal writing allow this work to sit nicely next to Patti Smith’s Just Kids and Kim Gordon’s Girl in a Band, but the unique tenderness between Vic and Kristin ensure that the book also stands alone. The book sometimes feels like a punch in the gut, and sometimes like a good hug, but it is always affecting. For anyone who is a fan of Hersh, or anyone who loved Chesnutt, or anyone who has a best friend."
— Frank Reiss, Owner, A Cappella Books (Atlanta, GA)
"Vic Chesnutt wrote songs so brilliant and powerful that they drew the attention of the likes of Michael Stipe, Patti Smith, and Jeff Mangum. His direct, bold, and uncompromising honesty through artistry are the very things that made him a legend that never broke into mainstream popularity. In Don't Suck, Don't Die, his longtime touring partner and friend Kristen Hersh draws a portrait of an artist so clear and unflinching that only a true friend could. Hersh takes time to focus on the importance of both the tragedies and joys of Chesnutt's life and art, never dismissing the important fleeting moments in exchange for rock star spectacle. No other book about a musician reaches the level of intimacy, respect, and love for a friend as Hersh's does."
— Kevin Elliott, 57th Street Books (Chicago, IL)

"Hersh's memoir of her time spent touring with the musician Vic Chesnutt is an intimate portrayal of a unique friendship faced with the harsh realities of life on the road. Hersh addresses Chesnutt directly in this book giving the reader the feeling of eavesdropping on a conversation that is still ongoing even though Chesnutt killed himself years ago. The method clearly reveals the open wound of Hersh's heart and the beauty of her love for Chesnutt."
— Arsen Kashkashian, Boulder Book Store (Boulder, CO)

“This is an amazing memoir. It paints a beautiful portrait of Vic Chesnutt, his unique friendship with the author and the sorrowful broken darkness they each deal with. The language is warm, intimate and poetic. It's so gorgeous it actually hurts to read. I have not been so moved by a piece of art, any art in years. Even with the inevitable tragic ending, Hersh keeps you hanging on with her delicate and sublime prose. You know you are circling a vortex but the water is so perfect you don't care. This story aches, laughs, stuns, pulls you into it like a siren song. You will put it down with insights that seem natural but impossible. You'll want more of both Chesnutt and Hersh and all the more brokenhearted at the enormity of the loss.”
— Bosco Farr, Bookstore manager, BookPeople (Austin, TX)

Spotify Playlist

Friday, September 25, 2015

Censorship in Comics for Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week (September 27 through October 3, 2015) is the book community’s annual opportunity to celebrate the freedom to read, and draw attention to those who hinder that right. Intellectual freedom is a core value of our mission; and the freedom to read is as integral to that value as the freedom to publish. 

This year's theme is Young Adult fiction—one of the most regularly challenged categories of books in libraries and schools across the country. We don't publish young adult fiction, but we are launching a new comic book studies series called
 World Comics and Graphic Nonfiction Series with Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher González as series editors. The series will include monographs and edited volumes that focus on the analysis and interpretation of comic books and graphic nonfiction from around the world. Books published in the series will bring analytical approaches from such fields as literature, art history, cultural studies, communication studies, media studies, and film studies, among others to help define the comic book studies field at a time of great vitality and growth.
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The Association of American University Presses is an official sponsor of Banned Books Week. To join the conversation, we're posting an excerpt from a recent issue of The Velvet Light Trap dealing with censorship in the comic book industry. To read Shawna Kidman's piece in full, you can access it through Project Muse, visit your local library, or purchase a single issue of The Velvet Light Trap on our website.

Contribute to the banned books conversation on social media with the hashtags #bannedbooks and #bannedbooksweek.

"Self-Regulation through Distribution: Censorship and the Comic Book Industry in 1954"
By Shawna Kidman

In the early 1950s, comic books boasted a readership of over seventy million Americans, each of whom consumed an average of six comics a month. There were two comic books published for every one book, with each copy likely passed on to more than three readers. And then, quite suddenly, the market crashed. Between 1954 and 1955, sales plummeted by 50 percent, from eighty million copies each month to just forty million. By 1956 more than half of the extant publishers had closed their doors, and two-thirds of the six hundred titles appearing monthly on newsstands had vanished.1 Just like that, comic books went from being one of the most popular forms of entertainment in America to a medium struggling for its survival.2

At the very same moment, as the comic book market was beginning its dramatic decline, the medium was undergoing a crisis in the political sphere. Psychiatrists, church officials, members of PTAs, and local politicians had for years been trying to link comic books to juvenile delinquency, illiteracy, and moral corruption. Finally, in the spring of 1954, the government got involved, and the Senate Judiciary Committee held televised hearings on the comic book industry and its alleged corruption of America’s youth. Pressured by this public relations disaster and the threat of local and state censorship, the major comic book publishers joined forces to form the Comics Magazine Association of America (CMAA). This trade organization drafted a code of self-censorship and created an administrative body to enforce it known as the Comics Code Authority (CCA). Like the Production Code Administration (PCA) created by Hollywood twenty years earlier, the CCA would issue a seal of approval to those titles it deemed morally appropriate. Heavily promoted by the industry, this response seemed to satisfy government officials and consumers alike; within the year, interest in the controversy had faded almost entirely from public view.3 But the dramatic decline in sales was already well under way.

Most writers have characterized the anti-comics crusade and the simultaneous market crash in primarily cultural terms, drawing a causal link between these two events. The episode has been sensationalized in many journalistic accounts, which create a hero and villain respectively in the figures of EC Comics publisher Bill Gaines, an innovator responsible for “some of the best comic books ever published,” and Fredric Wertham, an “insane” psychiatrist who told “apocalyptic” lies about the dangers of mass media.4 In this version of the story, the Senate or “EC hearings” are recast as a trial on taste, Bill Gaines is understood as their “principal target,” and Wertham is accused of censoring Gaines right “out of existence.”5 Scholars meanwhile tend to point to social trends, blaming the controversy on McCarthyism; seething generational battles; culture wars rooted in class, money, religion, and politics; and fundamental struggles over “who had the right and the responsibility to shape American culture.”6 With a focus on comic book content or the cultural milieu, many of these descriptions marginalize the market crash itself, which is depicted as merely a side effect of censorship. Some have even argued that the anti-comics crusade was “almost solely responsible for the drastic decline in sales and the near death of the industry during the 1950s.”7

Figure 1. Comics Code Authority Seal, 1954. For more than three decades, this seal from the CCA would grace the cover of the majority of comic books sold in America.
Too often left out of these historical accounts is the way in which both censorship and shrinking audiences are fundamentally also industrial, economic, and political occurrences. Censorship in particular often seems like an issue that is primarily value-based and culturally contingent. However, in the context of mass media, the regulation of content necessarily involves vast and powerful infrastructures of enforcement capable of containing the inherent disorderliness of popular culture. So while we should not give up on analyzing the texts and ideologies at the center of media censorship, it is equally important to consider the material foundations that support systems of both restriction and circulation. More broadly, as Philip Napoli has noted, it is possible to use the political economy of media as a useful “foundation of knowledge for a wide range of important scholarly inquiries into the behaviors of media industries, as well as the broader political and cultural ramifications of these behaviors.”8 A better understanding of the industrial context in which most media is produced and initially circulated can lead to a more profound insight into all aspects of culture, including its active consumption, transformation, and recirculation by audiences and fans, the latter of which has been a particular interest of comic book studies.9

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

10 Moments that Pushed Film & Free Speech

At the end of September every year, Banned Books Week draws attention to the harms of censorship in the distribution and availability of controversial books. Challenging book bans is a vital exercise of our First Amendment rights protected by the U.S. Constitution. Censorship battles over all forms of media help broaden long-held interpretations of the Constitution, expand personal freedoms, and open new horizons for free speech.

In the spirit of celebrating media forms that push boundaries, we asked Jeremy Geltzer, an entertainment and intellectual property attorney and author of the forthcoming Dirty Words and Filthy Pictures (January 2016), to highlight ten moments in film and media history that helped reaffirm the freedoms protected under the First Amendment.

The May Irwin Kiss (1896)

Motion pictures were a new technology when Thomas Edison’s film unit produced an 18 second featurette that electrified peephole projectors across the East Coast. The May Irwin Kiss was intended to promote “The Widow Jones,” a Broadway play that had opened in September 1895. Edison’s camera captured the play’s climatic moment when John C. Rice planted his puckered lips on Ms. Irwin. At the time public behavior was governed by Victorian sensibilities of decency and humility but early filmgoers were mesmerized by the close up view of an intimate moment. The short movie was a big hit and helped motivate censors to monitor and regulate the new medium.

A Free Ride (c. 1915)

The same year The Birth of a Nation rocked America as the first blockbuster, behind closed doors another revolutionary picture was unspooling. A Free Ride, the oldest existing hardcore pornographic film produced in the United States became a stag party staple. Ride was not the first sex loop ever, Europe had been shooting f* films for a decade, but Ride’s anonymous director added a distinctively American touch—a narrative. In the film a man is seen driving through the country in his Model T. He picks up two girls and they head out for a pastoral pleasuring.

Theda Bara

Theda Bara riled early audiences with her ample assets. The guardians of Victorian values had taken a hit with May Irwin’s Kiss but the old ways crumbled when this full bosomed femme fatale appeared on screen. Bara made her debut in A Fool There Was (1915) and quickly followed up with Siren of Hell (1915), The Devil’s Daughter (1915), and Sin (1915). She played an irresistible temptress that lured unwitting men to their ruin as she spouted memorable lines like “Kiss me you fool!” Bara was a movie creation to be sure, transforming from Theodosia Goodman, a Jewish girl from Cleveland into the screen’s first vamp, as far removed from the waif-like innocence of Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish as humanly possible.

Hedy Lamarr’s nude swim in Ecstasy (1933)

Postmaster General Will Hays was invited to Hollywood to vouch for the clean, wholesome content of movies. By 1922 he established the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA) to monitor mainstream movies, but independent producers and foreign filmmakers were beyond the his reach. When an Austrian-Hungarian starlet named Hedwig Kiesler appeared nude in a Czech film called Ecstasy she rocked the boat. While the film was butchered and banned throughout U.S. theaters, Louis B. Mayer set out on the first boat bound for Europe to sign the actress and remake her into Hedy Lamarr. Lamarr would become one of MGM’s great glamor girls of the 1940s.

The Miracle decision (1952)

From the 1930s-1950s, Will Hays, Joseph Breen, and the MPPDA held iron-fisted oversight in Hollywood, reining in racy content in studio films. Across the country, state censors and regional regulators could freely cut and ban movies. Their power derived from Mutual v. Ohio, a 1915 Supreme Court decision that held motion pictures were not protected under the First Amendment. Mutual controlled until 1952 when the Court heard Burstyn v. Wilson. This case centered on a film directed by Robert Rossellini called The Miracle. In The Miracle decision, the Court reversed its position. Censors could still regulate indecent and obscene movies but a ban based on blasphemy couldn’t stand. The Miracle was the first thread that began to unravel regulators strict control.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

VIDEO: Fall 2015 Preview

This fall and winter, UT Press will publish very important works in photography, food, film and media studies, musicLatin American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, and more.

Check out this preview of our fall books! Browse our full catalog here.

Coming Fall 2015

And here are more great fall titles:

Film, Media, and Popular Culture

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The Classical Mexican Cinema: The Poetics of the Exceptional Golden Age Films
By Charles Ramírez Berg

In one of the first systematic studies of style in Mexican filmmaking, a preeminent film scholar explores the creation of a Golden Age cinema that was uniquely Mexican in its themes, styles, and ideology.

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Jonathan Demme Presents Made in Texas: Six "New" Films from Austin
Edited by Louis Black

This DVD includes six short films that represent the creative community and avant-garde nature of Austin in the late 1970s and early 1980s, especially the new wave and punk scenes.

Watch the trailer here. 

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By Douglas Brode

With revelations for even the most avid fans, here are the one hundred greatest sci-fi films of all time, from today’s blockbusters such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Gravity to forgotten classics and overlooked gems.

Read reviews here

Latin American Studies

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The Limits of Identity: Politics and Poetics in Latin America
By Charles Hatfield

Ranging over works of literature, political theory, and cultural criticism from the nineteenth century to the twenty-first, this book offers a radical challenge to the theory of anti-universalism widely accepted in Latin American studies.

Read reviews here

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Photopoetics at Tlatelolco: Afterimages of Mexico, 1968
By Samuel Steinberg

Drawing on diverse photographic, cinematic, and literary artifacts, this critical study reinterprets the 1968 massacre of student-populist protesters in Mexico City, examining both the effects of the violence and the subsequent state-sponsored manipulation of cultural memory.

Read reviews here

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Cuban Underground Hip Hop: Black Thoughts, Black Revolution, Black Modernity
By Tanya L. Saunders

Drawing on over a decade of interviews and research, this fascinating book examines a group of self-described antiracist, revolutionary Cuban youth who used hip hop to launch a social movement that spurred international debate and cleared the path for social change and decolonization.

Read reviews here

Middle Eastern Studies

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The Ba'thification of Iraq: Saddam Hussein's Totalitarianism
By Aaron M. Faust

This fascinating analysis of a wealth of documents from the Hussein regime reveals the specific tactics used to inculcate loyalty in the Iraqi people during the nearly quarter century-long rule of Saddam Huessein and the Ba’th party.

Read reviews here

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Crescent over Another Horizon: Islam in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latino USA
Edited by Maria del Mar Logroño Narbona, Paulo G. Pinto, and John Tofik Karam

In the first book to comprehensively examine the Islamic experience in Latina/o societies—from Columbian voyages to the post-9/11 world—more than a dozen luminaries from nations throughout the Western Hemisphere explore how Islam indelibly influenced the making of the Americas.

Read reviews here

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Muhammad in the Digital Age
Edited by Ruqayya Yasmine Khan, foreword by Randall Nadeau

This remarkable collection of essays examines how Islam was introduced to the West through the Internet in an age of terrorism.

Read reviews here


Photographs by Spider Martin, with an introduction by Douglas Brinkley and a foreword by Don Carleton

As raw and unforgettable as the moment they were taken, these iconic images—never before published as a collection—document the historic Selma-to-Montgomery marches that turned the tide for African American voting rights.

Look inside the book here

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Political Abstraction
Photographs by Ralph Gibson

Ralph Gibson, an iconic American fine art photographer whose books Somnambulist, Deja-vu, and Days at Sea are considered classics of the twentieth-century photo-book genre, presents new work that explores the search for visual identity in a digital age.

Read more here

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Rodrigo Moya: Photography and Conscience/Fotografía y conciencia
Photographs by Rodrigo Moya, essay by Ariel Arnal

With photographs that have never been published before, this is the first English-Spanish bilingual retrospective of a prominent Mexican photographer who has documented Latin America from revolutionary movements to timeless moments of daily life.

Look inside the book here


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Comin' Right at Ya: How a Jewish Yankee Hippie Went Country, or, the Often Outrageous History of Asleep at the Wheel
By Ray Benson, and David Menconi

A who’s who of American popular music fills this lively memoir, in which Ray Benson recalls how a Philadelphia Jewish hippie and his bandmates in Asleep at the Wheel turned on generations of rock and country fans to Bob Wills–style Western swing.

Read an excerpt, reviews here

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Los Lobos: Dream in Blue
By Chris Morris

From the East Los Angeles barrio to international stardom, Los Lobos traces the musical evolution of a platinum-selling, Grammy Award–winning band that has ranged through virtually the entire breadth of American vernacular music, from traditional Mexican folk songs to roots rock and punk.

Read an excerpt, reviews here

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Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt
By Kristin Hersh, Foreword by Amanda Petrusich

A haunting ode to a lost friend, this memoir by the acclaimed author of Rat Girloffers the most personal, empathetic look at the creative genius and often-tormented life of singer-songwriter Vic Chesnutt that is ever likely to be written.

Read an excerpt, reviews, and more here


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Edited by Andrée Bober

Spotlighting more than eighty collections in very diverse fields, this extensively illustrated volume showcases the unparalleled quality and range of the holdings of the University of Texas at Austin.

Look inside the book here

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Picturing Texas Politics: A Photographic History from Sam Houston to Rick Perry
By Chuck Bailey; with historical text by Patrick Cox; introduction by John Anderson

With rare, previously unpublished photographs and iconic images of politicians from the state’s founders to Ann Richards, George W. Bush, and Rick Perry, here is the first-ever photographic album of Texas politicians and political campaigns.

Read an excerpt, reviews, and look inside here

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Texas Turtles & Crocodilians: A Field Guide
By Troy D. Hibbitts and Terry L. Hibbits
In this extensively illustrated field guide, two of the state’s most knowledgeable herpetologists present the first complete identification guide to all thirty-one native and established exotic turtle species in Texas, as well as the American Alligator.

Look inside and read reviews here