Monday, June 10, 2019

Bill Wittliff (1940–2019)

Bill Wittliff was himself a publisher long before the University of Texas Press began working with him in 1996 on two series that drew from the Collections he founded at Texas State University. The Southwestern & Mexican Photography Series, for which he served as editor for two decades, included eighteen books, showcasing work from the likes of Keith Carter, Kate Breakey, Rocky Schenck, Graciela Iturbide, Mariana Yampolsky, and Mary Ellen Mark. Wittliff’s Southwestern Writers Collection, also housed at Texas State, was the foundation of a second series with the Press. Also founded in 1996, the series included twenty-nine books with such Texas writers as John Graves, Bud Shrake, Larry L. King, Prudence MacIntosh, and Steve Harrigan, among many others.

A prolific photographer, Wittliff authored or coauthored four books with his images for UT Press: Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy (2004); La Vida Brinca: A Book of Tragaluz Photographs (2006), A Book of Photographs from Lonesome Dove (2007), and A Book on the Making of Lonesome Dove (2012). Late in his career, Wittliff began writing a memoir that evolved into a fictional series of books he called the Papa Stories: The Devil’s Backbone (2014), The Devil’s Sinkhole (2016), and The Devil’s Fork (2018) were inspired by stories he heard as a child growing up in Texas.

In all, Bill Wittliff and the University of Texas Press collaborated on more than fifty books. It is a measure of his contribution to Texas letters that, even if none of those titles had been published, Wittliff would still be an icon, renowned for his collection, his screenwriting, his photography, and his own Encino Press. The Press is deeply saddened by his passing, and forever grateful for the work we did together.


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Monday, May 27, 2019

Annotated Playlist by Casey Rae for 'William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock 'n' Roll'

The most transgressive of the Beat writers, William S. Burroughs was also something of a clandestine agent in the development of rock ’n’ roll—a spectral figure who haunted the cultural underground and helped usher it into the mainstream. Naked Lunch, Junkie, and The Wild Boys remain fixtures of bohemian bookshelves the world over. From the Beatles to punk to today’s remix scene, Burroughs helped accelerate an evolution in sound that continues to reverberate across genres and eras.
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Burroughs’ biography has become as legendary as even his most celebrated novels. Here was a homosexual drug addict, born in the Gilded Age, who killed his wife in a drunken game of William Tell and wrote infamous prose featuring orgasmic executions, shape-shifting aliens, and all manner of addicts, sadists, and creepy crawlies. But there exists a real person within the legend, a man who exhibited genuine kindness and hospitality to those who knew him, including many of the musicians appearing in William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ’n’ Roll.

It’s not hard to see how Burroughs’ writing—exploding with disquieting, even ghastly, imagery—might serve as fodder for music genres like punk, heavy metal, and industrial. To be sure, it is within these subcultures that the majority of present-day Burroughs acolytes are found. But his anti-establishment attitude and unconventional personal habits also found favor with such artists as Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Lou Reed, Frank Zappa, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Laurie Anderson, and countless other musical innovators. This playlist captures only a sliver of the artists who were directly influenced by Burroughs; the descriptions below are a sliver of that sliver. To get the whole story, you’ll want to grab a copy of the book.


Find the full playlist on Spotify | YouTube


“East St. Louis Toodle-Oo”Duke Ellington

William S. Burroughs was actually not much of a music aficionado. Well, that was his standard line, anyway—the reality is that he had many friendships with musicians and felt affinity for rock ’n’ roll’s anti-establishment attitude and shamanic potency. Nevertheless, his personal tastes were more in line with the songs he heard growing up, including this 1927 composition from Duke Ellington, which name-checks Burroughs’ childhood hometown. Ellington’s big band music is raucous and sly, with bold melodies and a streetwise swing. It’s not hard to picture Burroughs’ fictional stand-in, William Lee, skulking through urban streets as this tune blares from open tenement windows. “East St. Louis Toodle-Oo” was covered by Steely Dan some four decades later, which is not their only connection to Burroughs—the band members were huge fans who took their name from a state-of-the-art dildo described in Naked Lunch.

“Tombstone Blues”
Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited

Dylan became a Burroughs obsessive when he first got his hands on a copy of Naked Lunch as a young man. The author’s quicksilver abstractions opened up new creative possibilities for Dylan, whose work only became more abstract, caustic, and surreal. “Hey, you dig something like cut-ups? I mean, like William Burroughs?” Dylan asked interviewer Paul J. Robbins in a conversation published in the Los Angeles Free Press in 1965. D. A. Pennebaker’s early Dylan biopic Don’t Look Back shows the songwriter giving a how-to on cut-ups, which Dylan claimed he didn’t actually use for lyrics due to the need to rhyme. That’s debatable, but we do know that Dylan sought out Burroughs for a face-to-face encounter in a small café in Manhattan’s East Village in 1965—a meeting recounted in 
William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ’n’ Roll. Not long after, Dylan aggravated the folk music cognoscenti with an electric set at the Newport Folk Festival. That same year saw the groundbreaking album Highway 61 Revisited, which contains the song “Tombstone Blues.” Another Burroughs fan, Iggy Pop, spotted what might be a reference to Burroughs: “I wish I could give Brother Bill his great thrill / I would set him in chains at the top of the hill / Then send out for some pillars and Cecil B. DeMille / He could die happily ever after.





“Eleanor Rigby”The Beatles, Revolver

In 1966, Burroughs was 52 years old and living in Great Britain. It’s hard to picture this taciturn relic of the jazz age serving as inspiration to the psychedelic minstrels of the mid-sixties. And yet the fabbest of the fab, the Beatles, put Burroughs on the cover of their kaleidoscopic masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. His wan visage appears alongside several dozen luminaries, including Mae West, Aleister Crowley, Lenny Bruce, Aldous Huxley, and Carl Jung, to name a few. Burroughs’ experiments with tape manipulation were inspiring to Paul McCartney, who set the author up with a makeshift studio in a flat owned by Ringo Starr. Burroughs and McCartney would chat about computers making the music of tomorrow, as the future Knight of the Realm listened to Burroughs’ sonic experiments such as the 20-minute “K-9 Was in Combat with the Alien Mind-Screens.” As McCartney told Q Magazine in 1986, “I used to sit in a basement at Montagu Square with William Burroughs and a couple of gay guys he knew from Morocco doing little tapes, crazy stuff with guitar and cello.” Burroughs even got to witness McCartney composing “Eleanor Rigby.” Of the Beatle, Burroughs later said, “I could see he knew what he was doing. He was very pleasant and prepossessing. Nice looking young man, fairly hardworking.”

“Casino Boogie”The Rolling Stones, Exile on Main Street

Mick Jagger and guitarist Keith Richards—the latter of whom was persuaded by Burroughs to try the infamous “apomorphine cure” for heroin addiction—used the cut-up method on choice Stones lyrics, including “Casino Boogie” from the 1972 album Exile on Main Street. “It's in the style of William Burroughs,” Jagger explained to Uncut in 2010. “We just wrote phrases on bits of paper and cut them up. This is the conceit.” And reflecting on the 1983 single “Undercover of the Night,” Jagger said, “I'm not saying I nicked it, but this song was heavily influenced by William Burroughs’ Cities of the Red Night, a freewheeling novel about political and sexual repression.” Burroughs was hot and cold on the Stones, but he did attend the band’s tax exile farewell party in 1971. “I remember Keith Richards talking to me and I couldn’t understand one word he said,” Burroughs recalled. He did reserve some praise for Jagger, however. “I had admired his work, what I’d heard of it, and I also admired him because of the pressure he was under,” Burroughs said. “There’s something about Mick that arouses great antagonism in a certain kind of person, the cabdriver-hardhat-redneck strata throughout the world, and to be able to stand up to that and be able to maintain his equilibrium and cool, as he certainly has, is quite something.” At one point in the 1970s, Jagger was even considered for the lead in a film adaptation of Naked Lunch, but the project never got off the ground (the David Cronenberg-directed version arrived in 1991 with Paul Weller as Burroughs stand-in William Lee).

“Take Me With You, My Darling, Take Me With You”The Master Musicians of Jajouka, Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka

Burroughs was a longtime appreciator of the Master Musicians of Jajouka, a group of Sufi musicians based in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco. Burroughs initially encountered the Master Musicians while living as an ex-pat in Tangier in the 1950s, and promoted their music for the rest of his life. In 1968, Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones surreptitiously recorded the Master Musicians while on a trip to Morocco. Jones tinkered with the tapes in the studio right up to his death in 1969, experimenting with effects, splicing audio, and playing sections in reverse. Even though the Stones had already booted Jones out of the band, they released Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka on their own vanity label in 1971. Liner notes were provided by Burroughs, who described the record as “the primordial sounds of a 4,000-year-old rock 'n' roll band.” The music of the Master Musicians is intense and entrancing, with piercing tones from a reed instrument called the rhaita and the relentless thrum of hand drums. This is the sound of Burroughs’ fabled Interzone—a treacherously liminal locale from Naked Lunch.

“Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide”David Bowie, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars

Burroughs’ influence on David Bowie was profound and enduring—so much so that an entire chapter of 
William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ’n’ Roll is devoted to the topic. Bowie was a dyed-in-the-wool Burroughs fan who embraced the author’s outré prose and creative methods. “That guy messed me up when I first started reading him in the late ’60s, and I've never gotten over it,” he recalled. Throughout his career, Bowie employed Burroughs’ cut-up method in his lyrical compositions. “It seems that it would predict things about the future, or tell me a lot about the past,” he remarked in 1974. “I suppose it’s a kind of Western tarot.” Bowie was particularly fascinated by Burroughs’ lifestyle. A drug user and homosexual at a time when society treated both activities with outright enmity, Burroughs spent much of his life dodging authorities and rankling the establishment on multiple continents. Bowie’s identikit aesthetic was informed by Naked Lunch, which boasts a coterie of characters who morph and evolve with little adherence to narrative logic. He looked to The Wild Boys for his Ziggy Stardust persona, which also borrowed from Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange. “They were both powerful pieces of work, especially the marauding boy gangs with their Bowie knives,” the singer said. Bowie was also interested in Burroughs’ occult outlook, where random chance is used to uncover and amplify subconscious intent. The two artists first met in 1975—their conversation becoming the basis of an article in Rolling Stone—and Bowie continued to revere the author until his own passing in 2016.

“Heroin”The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico

Burroughs was an essential part of Lou Reed’s creative makeup. A shrewdly insightful writer, Reed rendered potent truths about the human condition in terse, economical prose. Like Burroughs, Reed chronicled desperate characters and squalid situations while refraining from moral imposition. The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man” captures the anxiety of the addict, and is a direct descendant of Burroughs’ Junkie. Even more obvious is “Heroin,” a micro-symphony of self-destruction: I have made the big decision / I'm gonna try to nullify my life / 'Cause when the blood begins to flow / When it shoots up the dropper's neck / When I'm closing in on death / You can’t help me now, Reed mumble-sings as drummer Maureen Tucker mimics an accelerating heartbeat. Reed said Burroughs was “the person who broke the door down . . . he alone had the energy to explore the interior psyche without a filter.” He claimed Burroughs “changed my vision of what you could write about, how you could write,” which makes perfect sense to anyone who has heard his work with the Velvets and solo. Burroughs and Reed had mutual friends but the two didn’t actually meet face-to-face until 1979. By then, Burroughs had become a fixture in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. There, in his windowless, three-room apartment at 222 Bowery, he held court among the musicians, intellectuals, writers, and junkies littering the scene like discarded show posters strewn across the sidewalk of nearby nightclub CBGBs. The Reed-Burroughs confab—at turns hilarious and provocative—is covered in detail in 
William S. Burroughs and the Cult of Rock ’n’ Roll.

“Land: Horses”Patti Smith, Horses (Legacy Edition)

Patti Smith was not only influenced creatively by Burroughs, she was also part of his inner circle and remained a close friend until the author’s death in 1997. Though her music wasn’t precisely punk, Smith heralded the New York scene in the early-to-mid-1970s. Her fearless performances helped restore rock’s primal drive, which had been diluted by musicians more concerned with instrumental virtuosity than connecting with audiences. Smith, too, was obsessed with Burroughs. “He's a hard guy to get into bed, that's why I like him,” she said. She initially encountered Burroughs as a visitor to the infamous Chelsea Hotel, where the older writer would stay while in town. “Burroughs showed me a whole series of new tunnels to fall through,” she said. “He was so neat. He would walk around in this big black cashmere overcoat and this old hat. So of course, Patti gets an old black hat and coat, and we would walk around the Chelsea looking like that.” Smith would go on to sprinkle Burroughs references in her work, including “Land: Horses,” which features a character named Johnny on loan from The Wild Boys. Over the years, Smith and Burroughs developed an affectionate relationship. “I had the biggest crush on William,” she said. “Really, a big one. And I used to even daydream about, you know, he would fall in love with me and we'd get married.” Smith also keenly observed Burroughs’ stealth influence on music and culture. “He’s another Bible . . . so many things come from him,” she said.

“Six Six Sixties”Throbbing Gristle, 20 Jazz Funk Greats

Formed in 1975, Throbbing Gristle terrorized British society with an incendiary mix of abrasive sound and provocative theatrics. Members Genesis P-Orridge, Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson, Cosey Fanni Tutti, and Chris Carter invented an entirely new genre—industrial music—and their modus operandi owed everything to Burroughs. Using tape recorders to play back abrasive noise alongside electric instruments in intensely jarring performances, the band blended the primal energy of punk with occult ideas. Throbbing Gristle borrowed imagery from humanity’s history of mass violence and donned paramilitary outfits embossed with a menacing symbol of their own invention. Burroughs took a shine to the group, going as far as to write a letter of support for a cultural grant and offering further assistance when P-Orridge faced charges for sending postcards that UK authorities deemed obscene. “He helped us when we got all the legal action against us, with a lot of recommendations and advice, of what to do and what not to do, and to be polite, and not try and turn it onto a big battle,” P-Orridge said. Few have done more to advance Burroughs’ magical mindset than P-Orridge, who maintains a worldview directly imparted by the author.





“The Priest They Called Him”Kurt Cobain and William S. Burroughs

“Heart-Shaped Box”
Nirvana, In Utero

“There's something wrong with that boy,” Burroughs said following a meeting with Nirvana leader Kurt Cobain in 1993. “He frowns for no good reason.” Cobain initially discovered Burroughs as a teenager, furtively reading dog-eared library copies of Naked Lunch and Junkie in between ditching class and experimenting with drugs and alcohol. It wasn’t just a lifestyle crush; he was also taken by Burroughs’ pioneering work with cut-ups. In an interview shortly after “Smells Like Teen Spirit” catapulted Nirvana into the mainstream, Cobain referred to Burroughs as his favorite author and called the cut-up approach “revolutionary.” On the 1991 European tour for Nevermind, Cobain’s sole piece of luggage was a small bag containing Naked Lunch, which he had recently rediscovered at a used bookshop in London. Cobain even released a record with the author in 1991. “The Priest They Called Him” features Cobain’s junk-sick guitar weaving webs of feedback around Burroughs’ laconic croak to arresting affect. Not long after, Cobain asked Burroughs to appear as a crucifixion victim in the video for “Heart-Shaped Box.” Burroughs declined the offer—he would not be depicted as dying on film—but he did give Cobain a standing invite to visit him at his home in Lawrence, Kansas. Nirvana tour manager Alex MacLeod recalled a visit that took place in 1993: “William made him feel at ease very quickly. There was definitely a connection on an artistic level. I think William saw a lot more in him than Kurt even realized.” Burroughs was fond enough of Cobain to send him original artwork on his birthday; sadly, this did not become tradition, as the younger artist killed himself in 1994.


Casey Rae is the director of music licensing for SiriusXM and a longtime music critic whose work has been featured in a wide array of publications. His commentary on technology’s impact on creators has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Billboard, and other media outlets. An adjunct professor at Georgetown University and a course developer for Berklee Online, Rae is also a musician and played with several bands in the 1990s.




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Monday, May 20, 2019

Q&A with Theresa L. Miller on Multispecies Ethnography

The Indigenous Canela of Brazil inhabit a vibrant multispecies community of nearly 3,000 people and over 300 types of cultivated and wild plants living together in a biome threatened with deforestation and climate change. In the face of these environmental threats, Canela women and men work to maintain riverbank and forest gardens and care for their growing crops, whom they consider to be, literally, children. This nurturing, loving
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relationship between people and plants—which offers a thought-provoking model for supporting multispecies survival and well-being throughout the world—is the focus of Theresa L. Miller's new book Plant Kin: A Multispecies Ethnography in Indigenous Brazil.


We asked Theresa to explain the significance of her research, which reckons with the rapid environmental and climatic changes facing sensitive ecologies as the Anthropocene epoch unfolds.

Give us the elevator pitch for your research and the resulting book.

Plant Kin is about Indigenous peoples’ environmental knowledge and their resiliency to climate change. I pose the question: How do Indigenous peoples engage with their environment in meaningful ways, even as the environment is rapidly changing in the Anthropocene? For the Indigenous Canela of the Brazilian Cerrado, they engage with their environment through affectionate, caring relationships with nonhuman kin, especially plant kin. By examining these human-plant relationships through what I call a “sensory ethnobotany” approach, Plant Kin offers a way forward for climate change resilience strategies in the Anthropocene.

How did you get interested in the subject of your book?

I have been interested in working with Indigenous peoples since I was an undergraduate at American University making two documentary films on Aymara youth and feminist activists in Bolivia and Diné environmental activists in New Mexico. My interest in human-environment engagements and Indigenous peoples grew while I was working toward my masters degree at Oxford University and I began working in Brazil. Through a serendipitous connection with Dr. William Crocker from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, I visited the Canela village in July 2011 and was eventually adopted by my Canela family. Ever since, I have been connected to and deeply interested in understanding their life-world. Moreover, the ethnobotanical diversity that Canela gardeners manage is impressive and extremely beautiful. I was, and continue to be, drawn to the multi-sensory beauty of diverse human-plant relationships.

How do you interview a plant?

There are various strategies that scholars have offered on how to “interview” and ethnographically study plants (see Hartigan 2017; Myers 2017; among others). Plant Kin looks at this question ethnographically, through its focus on Indigenous life-worlds that have arguably the most complex and detailed ways of engaging with nonhuman kin (see TallBear 2011, 2016; Todd 2016). From an Indigenous Canela perspective, it becomes clear that people engage with plants through multi-sensory, embodied activities of naming and planting seeds and cuttings; tending, weeding, and singing ritually to growing crops; harvesting crops at the end of their life-cycles; and through specific shamanic communication with plants and their master-spirits. For my research, I participated in and observed these activities in multi-sensory and embodied ways in order to understand how Indigenous human-plant communication occurs. While the Canela do not consider themselves to be “interviewing” plants as such, there are ways that they closely engage and communicate with plants that is akin to scientific observation in the Western tradition, and that goes beyond this realm to consider plants as agentive subjects in the Canela community.

Tell us about the part of the world where your research is focused and why you chose this area.

The Brazilian Cerrado is a biome that covers nearly a quarter of Brazil’s territory and is being deforested more rapidly than the Amazon. The Cerrado has long been considered a “sacrifice zone,” as compared to the Amazon (Sawyer 2009; Oliveira and Hecht 2016), and here industrial cattle-ranching and soy and eucalyptus plantations are allowed to run rampant. This was particularly true of the Cerrado during the soy moratorium of 2006–2016 in the Amazon (Gibbs et al. 2015). The Cerrado is an extremely beautiful and diverse biome, with sweeping landscapes and brilliant red earth. I fell in love with the region and its people while living there and experiencing its seasons and ecological diversity. While the threats to the Cerrado are relatively well-understood within Brazil (and there are organizations that work exclusively on conserving this biome), worldwide much more is known about the Amazon and its threats. Plant Kin is an attempt to shed light on the plight—and also the beauty and resiliency—of the Cerrado and its socio-ecological diversity.

How do you see the Anthropocene in terms of “sensory ethnobotany”?

Sensory ethnobotany is the theoretical approach I put forward in the book to take seriously embodied, multi-sensory engagements among people and plants over time and in diverse contexts. The framework can help us understand the Anthropocene—a distinct epoch marked by human activity that has changed the “socio-economic and biophysical spheres” of the earth (Steffen et al. 2015)—in its focus on the lived realities of human-plant engagements in the past, the present, as well as by allowing for contemplations of what those realities could look like in the future. Sensory ethnobotany allows us to reconsider human-plant engagements as not purely economic or nutritional, but rather communicative, generative, caring, and sometimes grounded in kinship ties, as is the case for the Indigenous Canela. In this regard, sensory ethnobotany is a response to Natasha Myers’s (2017: 3-4) call for a “Planthroposcene” in which humans “make allies” with plants. In this way, sensory ethnobotany furthers the dialogue concerning multispecies engagements and how they can contribute to climate change resilience strategies.

In what ways can your work be read as political?

Although not explicitly stated as such, this book is deeply political in that it is grounded in understanding climate change and strategies to deal with and mitigate its effects, which unfortunately is a contested political and economic issue. As Brazil, the US, and other countries across the globe grapple with authoritarian regimes that are dismantling environmental protections and threatening Indigenous rights and livelihoods, the question becomes: how do we fight climate change in hostile political environments? I believe the answer can be found in taking seriously, working closely with, and letting Indigenous peoples lead climate resilience strategies. This is already occurring in Brazil as Indigenous peoples put themselves on the front lines to demand socio-ecological justice through protest movements, running for political office, and stopping policies that threaten Indigenous lives and the environment. Plant Kin is a call to support Indigenous resilience strategies and to make these strategies central to broader environmental decision-making and policymaking worldwide.

How does gender factor in to your research?


Gender is a key component of my research and informs the sensory ethnobotany approach and analysis of Indigenous human-plant relationships described in Plant Kin. For the Canela, as is common in Indigenous Lowland South American communities, the gender binary categories of male and female are crucial to understanding socio-economic, socio-political, socio-cultural, socio-ecological, and aesthetic aspects of the life-world. The gender binary of male/female informs Canela relationships with one another and with nonhuman kin. Yet there are important instances of both people and plants transgressing these gender binaries through third-gender or gender non-conforming identities, activities, and practices. I examine instances of genderqueer gardening in the book and elsewhere (Miller 2018), and it is an important aspect of human-plant relationships that should be explored further.

What do you hope readers, scholars, and researchers take away from your book?

The main point I hope readers take away from Plant Kin is the strength and resilience of Indigenous peoples and the environments they so carefully manage. I also hope that the multispecies embodied approach to nonhumans and especially plants is taken up at a much broader scale to inform not only scholarly discussion, but also everyday human-plant relationships and policymaking around environmental issues. I hope readers come away with a renewed respect for Indigenous worldviews and ways of being and becoming in the world, and are able to appreciate the ways that engaging with plant (and other nonhuman) kin can make the world a better, more inclusive, and more socio-ecologically just place.


Theresa L. Miller is an anthropologist working on environmental and social justice issues. She has worked at the Field Museum and Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, and is currently a Researcher at FrameWorks Institute in Washington, DC.


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Monday, May 13, 2019

Our Fall | Winter 2019 Catalog is Here!

Browse our forthcoming books in our latest seasonal catalog, featuring Stephen Harrigan's Big Wonderful Thing: A History of Texas, Asher Price's Earl Campbell: Yards after Contact, María Hesse and Fran Ruiz's Bowie: An Illustrated Life, translated by Ned Sublette, and more! Flip through the catalog below, or download the PDF here.




All forthcoming books can be pre-ordered here on our website! Apply the discount code S19SALE during checkout at www.utexaspress.com to receive 40% off and free shipping through May 31, 2019.

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Monday, May 6, 2019

Q&A with Xóchitl Bada and Shannon Gleeson on Migrant Rights

Immigration policy, enforcement, and reform has dominated national discourse in the United States for many years. Vital research on trends, institutions, and policies that could be most impactful in this national discourse are often underrepresented or deliberately obfuscated for political reasons.

Scholars Xóchitl Bada and Shannon Gleeson have brought together a timely, transnational
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examination of the institutions in Mexico, Canada, and the United States that engage migrant populations in becoming agents of change for immigrant rights while holding government authorities accountable in the new book Accountability Across Borders: 
Migrant Rights in North America.

Collecting the diverse perspectives of scholars, labor organizers, and human-rights advocates, 
Accountability Across Borders is the first edited collection that connects studies of immigrant integration in host countries to accounts of transnational migrant advocacy efforts, including case studies from the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

We asked Professors Xóchitl Bada and Shannon Gleeson to answer a few questions about their research and how their findings can inform both policy makers and rights activists.

Give us the elevator pitch for your research and the resulting book.

In the last thirty years, immigrant advocacy organizations have demanded protections in various arenas, including employment, health, and education. They have used a variety of strategies that transcend the container of the nation-state as they work to hold local, national, and global bureaucracies accountable to the needs of migrant populations. But we do not yet well understand the relationship between these organizations and the countries of origin and destination whose systems of governance they are lobbying for change.

In our ongoing collaboration, we seek to analyze the advocacy practices of transnational civil society organizations so as to advance and implement protections afforded to migrants in North America. We argue that these practices are not uniform; rather, they are constituted at different scales, ranging from the local to national and the transnational. Advocacy organizations also pursue various cross-border strategies to build power beyond sovereign states. This volume examines the perspectives of a range of actors, including national and binantional bureaucracies, local consular offices, educational institutions, and a variety of civil society groups.

Taking Canada, Mexico, the United States as entry points, this edited collection includes several case studies addressing efforts to ensure Mexican migrants’ basic rights and their access to the protections those rights should afford. The contributors analyze the multiple mechanisms for accountability from governments of the countries of origin and countries of destination, in both domestic and international legislative frameworks. The chapters discuss a range of institutional arenas where migrant rights matter, such as global governance, labor rights, health-care access, schooling for indigenous migrants, and returned and undocumented immigrant youth.

How do you define migrant civil society?

We use “migrant civil society” to refer to migrant-led membership organizations and public institutions. These can include membership organizations, nongovernmental organizations, media, and other autonomous groups. Migrants organize around a variety of often overlapping identities, as workers, say, or as members of a neighborhood, a village of origin, an ethnicity, or a religion. These multiple identities and allegiances can in turn fuel civic and political leadership. In other words, the notion of a migrant civil society refers to the capacity of migrants to represent themselves rather than having advocates speak on their behalf, although they may collaborate with allies as well.

How did first the Obama administration and then the Trump administration alter the course of your research and writing?

Our efforts to bring together a group of North American scholars interested in migrant rights and accountability began in the spring of 2016, close to the beginning of Donald Trump´s presidential campaign. We had received generous funding from the Cornell University ILR School’s Pierce Memorial Fund to organize a workshop on transnational migrant advocacy, and by the time we met in December, it became clear that our work was not only relevant but urgent. By mid-December of 2016, we had secured an invitation to submit our edited collection to the UT Press, and we encouraged our collaborators to engage with current immigration policy changes as much as possible. Of course, the constant evolution of this policy field always presents immigration scholars with challenges in their research and writing. On the one hand, the current president has undoubtedly produced an unprecedented number of executive actions on immigration that make it difficult to produce up-to-date research and analysis. On the other, many of the policies that threaten immigrant communities have a deep foundation in previous Republican and Democratic administrations. So there is a continuity in many of our core themes.

Your book focuses on three areas of migration governance: education, labor, and health. Can you broadly cover your findings in these respective areas?

It is always difficult to tackle several institutional arenas of migrant rights at once, especially in more than one country. But we attempt to do so here with a focus on education, labor, and health across Mexico, Canada, and the United States.

Undocumented immigrants and returned migrants have demanded increased support for and investment in education from their countries of origin. Accordingly, Alexandra Délano discusses the new roles that Mexican consulates in the United States have played in securing rights for Mexican migrants and facilitating US protections. For example, Mexican consulates have helped facilitate the application process for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program, which opens important educational and professional opportunities. With respect to Canada, Patricia Landolt and Luin Goldring consider the importance of grassroots activists in demanding educational access for all students in Toronto, regardless of immigration status. And regarding Mexico, Mónica Jacobo finds that returned and deported Mexican youth have organized to eliminate the highly expensive and bureaucratic procedure to validate their US education and gain access to Mexico’s higher education institutions.

In a moment of significant discussions about the future of NAFTA, we find that migrant labor-rights protections may at long last be meaningfully addressed in regional trade negotiations thanks to the dedicated efforts over the past two decades by labor unions and transnational labor-advocacy organizations. While the portability of migrant labor-rights protection is far from being fully implemented in the region, the chapters by Bada and Gleeson and by Gálvez, Godoy, and Meinema find that civil society has taken an increasingly visible role in demanding accountability from public officials for guestworkers in bilateral agreements, trade negotiations, and labor enforcement initiatives.

Access to health care remains one of the most difficult challenges for migrants in the United States. The Affordable Care Act enacted during the Obama administration prohibited undocumented immigrants from acquiring federally subsidized health insurance in the newly created health markets. This kept migrants in an already overburdened system served primarily by local community health centers. The chapter by Osorio, Dávila, and Castañeda offers the first historical overview of the Binational Health Week, sponsored by Mexico´s Ministry of Health, which provides access to free preventive care for underinsured migrants. The program has existed for more than a decade and is now replicated by a dozen Latin American consulates across the United States.

How can your research contextualize immigration-based fear and racism in the United States?

Migrants workers are disproportionally represented in precarious work and face significant structural vulnerabilities, violence, and human- and labor-rights violations during their transit, settlement, and return in countries of origin, transit, and destination.

Yet for over three decades, the federal government has failed to reach a bipartisan compromise on comprehensive immigration reform. As a result, state and local governments in the United States have had to take up the slack, playing a substantial role on issues ranging from enforcement to benefits and services. In 2017 alone, states enacted 206 laws on all sides of issues ranging from so-called sanctuary policies to refugee resettlement, education/civics, and in-state tuition.

In this context, immigrant civil society plays a significant role in enacting and implementing local immigrant policies. Our research documents how migrant civil society organizations engage civic and political institutions in countries of origin and destination to demand better enforcement and implementation of Mexican migrant rights across borders. These groups also serve as cultural brokers that help immigrants navigate local bureaucracies and help advocate for the rights of migrants in—sometimes welcoming, sometimes hostile—destination communities.

Can you highlight major gaps or inconsistencies in immigration policy and enforcement that your findings reveal?

In the United States, Mexican migrants make up nearly a third of all immigrants and more than half of the undocumented population, estimated at 11 million. Even so, “lawfully present” Mexican immigrants vastly outnumber the undocumented. In fact, the estimate of Mexican migrants living in the United States without authorization declined from 6.9 million in 2007 to 5.8 million in 2014. Many undocumented immigrants have resided in the United States for more than a decade; the typical unauthorized immigrant has lived there for a median of fifteen years. A variety of factors have led to this decline, including Mexico’s changing demography and decreasing fertility rates, improved conditions in Mexico’s labor market, higher levels of education, dramatic increases in the costs of crossing the border, the Great Recession of 2007, and decreasing family remittances that could finance new border crossings. However, family remittances to Mexico were at historic new highs between 2016 and 2018, possibly because of President Trump’s anti-immigrant measures and his threat to tax family remittances.

Nevertheless, Mexican migrants have been a major target for immigration enforcement actions under Clinton, Bush, and Obama, and even more systematically and brazenly under the Trump administration. More migrants from Mexico were deported in fiscal year 2018 than from any other country: 141,045 of 252,405 removals (56%), not including voluntary returns. President Trump even declared a national emergency at the border by falsely claiming that the Democratic Party is leading an assault on the United States by inciting large flows of people from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to cross Mexico and continue to the United States. Although total apprehensions at the southern border by Customs and Border Protection (CPB) reached 521,090 in fiscal year 2018, CBP had apprehended a total of 569,237 people in 2014, during the Obama administration. In fact, the United States has for decades increased border militarization in an attempt to stem the northward flow that began before US borders were even drawn. The Trump administration’s current policy of separating families in detention is a further manifestation of this state violence, given that there are literally now thousands of children lost as a consequence to this punitive measure, which many international scholars agree is a violation of human rights. Conversely, the children held in detention have also reported a range of abuses, including sexual assault, an alarming reality for which the administration has yet to be held accountable.

Restrictive immigration policies and harshly punitive deportation measures have been accompanied by ill-informed public perceptions about what contributions migrants make. Mexican migrants embody a narrative about Latino migrants in the United States that is at once contradictory and reductive. They are frequently held up to be hard-working people, a criminal threat, a drain on the welfare state, a cultural stain on democracy, and resistant to assimilation. These perceptions are further fueled by Trump’s racist rhetoric, coupled with a series of repressive measures that include a vast expansion of the groups prioritized for deportation, arrests of subjects at places previously considered safe, a plan to hire 15,000 more immigration agents, a broad ban on refugees and even on basic travel for migrants from several majority-Muslim countries, and the creation of a Victims of Immigrant Crime Enforcement Office.

The United States is facing these difficult conversations around immigration while simultaneously grappling with declining fertility rates and population decline. By 1980, eighteen of the twenty-five most populous cities in 1950 had lost residents. Of the twenty-five largest cities in 1980s, seventeen gained residents over the subsequent thirty years, largely because of a rapid increase in the Latino population. Of the twenty-five largest US cities, twelve have populations that are more than one-quarter Hispanic; Latinos make up over one-third the population in eight of those, and they constitute the majority in two. In other words, Latinos, and especially Mexicans, are a part of the fabric of US society. The continued inaction on immigration reform and the absence of inclusive local policies toward immigrants is therefore of serious consequence.

Could you establish an approach to your book for both policy makers and rights activists? How can readers best utilize the research-based tools for improvement that you present?

Our book offers a multidisciplinary institutional analysis of migrant rights through a cross-sectoral, multisited, and multiscalar lens. We highlight the cross-border relations between government actors and civil society, across a variety of policy arenas, including global labor regulation, public education, health care, and criminal justice. Given our limited regional focus, we have knowingly overlooked several sectors and binational relations, such as sustainable trade and rural development, environmental justice, development and violence-induced internal displacement, and voting-rights coalitions. To fill this gap, policy makers, scholars, and migrant rights activists should pay more attention to variations across specific policy arenas at local, state or provincial, federal, and transnational scales.

For example, the experiences of traditional destination countries like the United States and Canada are not likely to mirror those of other destinations that lack the same bureaucratic capacity for immigration enforcement and migrant integration, such as Mexico. The Mexican government’s failure to offer immediate access to public education (a result of byzantine bureaucratic obstacles) to thousands of Mexican American children caught in the US deportation regime illustrates the urgent need to interrogate such policies affecting returned migrants. Conversely, the Mexican government’s unwillingness to offer even minimal access to basic health care and other resources to thousands of Central Americans waiting their turn in temporary shelters to request asylum to the United States on the Mexican side of the border is equally shameful. It is unclear whether states closer to the border have fared any better than those in central and southern Mexico.

We also know surprisingly little about the educational outcomes of US-born Mexican American children who return to Mexico and continue their education in public schools that have no programs dedicated to integrating students whose first language is English or other nonindigenous languages. Studying these and other outcomes will become increasingly important under Trump-era immigration enforcement policies in the United States.

President Trump’s anti-immigrant rethoric and policies have already stranded thousands of migrants in Mexican border states. These groups may hold out hope for a new administration in 2020 that is more sympathethic to those fleeing criminal violence from state and nonstate actors alike. Thus far, Mexico has only begrudgingly accepted its new role as a transit country and has agreed to receive Central Americans while they wait their turn to request asylum.

However, those immigrants may decide to stay in Mexico, taking advantage of the positive rethoric of a recently inaugurated center-left government. Mexico, a country with a foreign-born population of 1.2 million (0.99% of the total population)—the vast majority coming from the United States (899,311)—will likely be forced to incorporate a large group of Central Americans with little precedent for doing so on a large scale. While Trump’s famous campaign promise of a border wall is only partially funded 2.5 years into his presidency, his declaration of a national emergency already faces multiple lawsuits in several state courts. Further, the xenophobia and racism coming out of the White House and targeted at Latinos and immigrants fuel anxiety and amplify uncertainty among migrants and would-be migrants alike.

Our volume admittedly focuses on primarily positive examples of collaboration. Further work should continue to examine more contested efforts to enforce rights across borders, especially in varied federalist contexts such as Canada, where provinces have more control over certain policies—such as collective bargaining—that impact migrants. Moving forward, we will continue to examine consular advocacy on behalf of migrant worker rights across traditional and new migrant destinations in the United States. Our findings also lay the groundwork for future research in other areas of policymaking (beyond immigration) that implicate state-society collaborations and contestations.

Xóchitl Bada is an associate professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Mexican Hometown Associations in Chicagoacán: From Local to Transnational Civic Engagement and a coeditor of two forthcoming works: New Migration Patterns in the Americas: Challenges for the 21st Century and Handbook of Latin American Sociology.

Shannon Gleeson is an associate professor of labor relations, law, and history at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. She is the author of Precarious Claims: The Promise and Failure of Workplace Protections in the United States and Conflicting Commitments: The Politics of Enforcing Immigrant Worker Rights in San Jose and Houston. She also coedited Building Citizenship from Below: Precarity, Migration, and Agency and The Nation and Its Peoples: Citizens, Denizens, Migrants.


www.utexaspress.com

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Announcing a New Series—Latinx: The Future is Now

Latinx: The Future Is Now is a new interdisciplinary series devoted to the evolving field of Latina/o/x studies, including Central American, Afro-Latinx, and Asian-Latinx studies. Situated at the nexus of cultural, performance, historical, food, environmental, and textual studies, the series will focus on ways in which the racial, cultural, and social formations of historical Latinx communities can engage and enhance scholarship across geographies and nationalities. The series editors invite projects that consider the multiple queer and gender-fluid possibilities that are embodied in the “x”; projects that have a feminist critique of patriarchy at the center of their intellectual work; projects that deploy a relational approach to ethnic and national groups; and projects that address the overlapping dynamics of gender, race, sexual, and national identities.

Submissions or queries may be directed to the series editors, Nicole Guidotti-Hernandez, ngh24@austin.utexas.edu and Lorgia Garcia-Peña, garciapena@fas.harvard.edu in addition to Senior Acquisitions Editor, Kerry Webb, kwebb@utpress.utexas.edu.

Forthcoming books in the series will be listed here as they are published: https://utpress.utexas.edu/books/series/latinx-future-now.

# # #


Dr. Nicole M. Guidotti-Hernández is Associate Professor of American Studies and Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. She is an expert in Borderlands History after 1846, Transnational Feminist Methodologies, Latinx Studies, and Popular Culture and Immigration. As a public intellectual, Dr. Guidotti-Hernández has written numerous articles for the feminist magazine Ms. and the feminist blog The Feminist Wire, covering such topics as immigration, reproductive rights, and the Dream act. She also sits on the national advisory council for the Ms. and is currently on the national advisory council for Freedom University in Athens, Georgia.

Dr. Lorgia Garcia-Peña i
s the Roy G. Clouse Associate Professor of Latinx Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of  award-winning book The Borders of Dominicanidad and the co-founder of Freedom University Georgia, a modern-day freedom school created to support undocumented students.  

www.utexaspress.com

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Q&A with Jan Baetens about the Forgotten Art of Film Photonovels

More info
Jan Baetens' book The Film Photonovel: A Cultural History of Forgotten Adaptations is the first study devoted to the hybrid genre of the film photonovel. Baetens applies a comparative textual media framework to a previously overlooked aspect of the history of film and literary adaptation.

Discarded by archivists and disregarded by scholars despite its cultural impact on post–World War II Europe, the film photonovel represents a unique crossroads. This hybrid medium presented popular films in a magazine format that joined film stills or set pictures with captions and dialogue balloons to re-create a cinematic story, producing a tremendously popular blend of cinema and text that supported more than two dozen weekly or monthly publications.

Watch the author speak about his work in the book trailer video below, and dig deeper into his personal collection of this forgotten medium in this Q&A.


Could you give us the elevator pitch of your book? 

I have worked largely in the field of adaptation studies as applied to cinema, and I have always defended the idea that film is both a screen- and a print-based medium. Film circulates via all kind of printed formats and related products, and historically speaking, the film photonovel was probably the most intriguing of these print adaptations—most intriguing but, paradoxically, also the most forgotten, for the film photonovel, which was immensely popular in the late 1950s, has fallen into complete oblivion, mainly though the lack of any archive (film photonovels were not kept in university libraries, and the private archives have nearly all disappeared). My book I draws on research based on my private collection of film photonovel magazines—I currently have some 1,400 items—and aims at reconstructing the history of the film photonovel not just as a particular genre, but also as a social medium, that is, a social practice and everything that accompanies it. By doing so, I try to rewrite the history of cinema itself, for the film photonovel is a wonderful tool for showing how films were received and appropriated by popular audiences.

How do you define the film photonovel?

The photonovel is essentially a form of graphic narrative in magazine format, one very popular in pretelevision Europe, that combines sequentially organized photographs, generally six per page, and speech balloons as well as captions to tell a story—a romance in the case of the photonovel and the story line of a film in the case of the film photonovel. Film photonovels are thus a special type of novelization, a type that relies on two major features, both inspired by the photonovel model: first, the priority given to images (at the expense of the text); second, the attempt to reframe all adapted movies, whatever their genre or specific tone, as melodramas, the typical genre of the photonovel. The result is often stunning, for even if a film photonovel does not present “new” images, the selection and layout, the narrative reframing of the stories, and the invented narrative voice in the captions all serve to re-create the adapted movie in surprising and visually very attractive ways.

Why was the photonovel deemed “lowbrow”?

Four elements play a key role in the film photonovel’s cultural disrepute: first, the influence of its model, the photonovel, which was discarded as a kind of silly romance comics with pictures; second, the fact that film photonovels were published only in magazine format, never in book form; third, the association with the world of tearjerkers—in the woman-unfriendly 1950s, certainly not the best way to acquire cultural capital; fourth, the belief that film photonovels adapted only commercial movies, never art-house movies. The rebuilding of the film photonovel archive, however, allows for a completely different reading of the material and the cultural biases that have tended to blind us to its very existence. Today we know that photonovels have a very wide range, that film photonovels sometimes exceed the limits of ephemeral magazine publication, that gendered readings have to be corrected, and that art-house cinema is as well represented in the corpus as is any other type of cinema.

How does your research push the boundaries of adaptation studies?

First, my research discloses a form of adaptation that has been completely ignored, lacking not only prestige but also visibility: no archives, no direct or indirect references, no visual traces. The progressive rediscovery of this material generates a kind of Pompeii experience, for things whose very existence had been ignored suddenly become visible. Moreover, we can now better understand the film photonovel’s importance as a social phenomenon: along with going to the movies (and sometimes instead of doing so!), people read film photonovels, and their ideas on cinema were strongly influenced by their reading. Second, the film photonovel is also an important case in the debate on film adaptation. Adaptation is often seen as a one-way street, going only from book to film. Here and in my previous book on novelization, which has also contributed to this paradigm shift, we can see that this is just half the story and that adaptation does not stop once a book has been turned into a movie. Movies are ceaselessly remade in print format, and the film photonovel is without any doubt the most challenging form of these adaptations (which may also include comics, novels, posters, the “making of” books, games, etc.). At first sight, film photonovels may appear to be the poorest versions of these adaptations, since they cannot produce new images. At second sight, however, the obligation to rely exclusively on existing pictures forces the genre to be extremely inventive, as the many examples and images in the book clearly show.

How did photonovels cross borders and affect audiences in Latin America?

The production of film photonovels started in Italy around 1955 and then moved to France, nut it had also some extensions in other countries, including United Kingdom and, somewhat later, United States. In Latin America, where the photonovel was as popular as in Europe (and where, in certain countries, the medium still thrives), the European models were adapted for and appropriated by local audiences. The publishing world in Argentina was crucial in this regard: many Spanish publishing houses were active there (several companies were created by publishers who had to leave Spain during or after the Spanish Civil War), and European magazines circulated in Argentina as well (even French ones, Argentina being a very Francophile country). Some magazines, such as Secretos. Amiga y confidente de la mujer, published their own film photonovel serializations of European movies, while others, such as Superaventuras, specialized in American blockbusters. All these works were locally produced, in agreement with local distributors, as used to be the case in the film photonovel business in general.


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Monday, April 1, 2019

University of Texas Press and University of Toronto Press Merge to Form “Giddy UP”

For Immediate Release
April 1, 2019 


Following months of idle speculation within academic circles, the University of Texas Press and the University of Toronto Press announced today that they are merging operations, effective immediately. The two university publishers will unite under one banner, “Giddy UP” (#GiddyUP), to build on mostly superficial parallels between the interests of scholars in the most populous city in Canada and their counterparts in the fourth-most populous city in Texas.

The merger was not inspired by shared corporate values, but, rather, the near endless confusion on social media regarding the handle @utpress. The University of Toronto Press 
New logo for Giddy UP
can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as @UTPRESS. However, readers have often mistaken @UTPRESS for @UTEXASPRESS and have tagged the Canadian institution in reference to the latest Texas publications.

To reduce the minuscule amount of staff time spent dealing with messages from confused customers, leadership at the respective scholarly presses opted to overlook geographic challenges. Both teams are excited to join forces and better serve the people of Texas from the colder climes of Ontario. The University of Texas Press social media presences @UTEXASPRESS will continue to post content, but will pivot to purely cute animals.

The new logo for the combined publishers incorporates Canada’s national sport of hockey with the well-known bovine mascot of the University of Texas at Austin.

The entire staff of the University of Texas Press will take their talents north of the border, leaving their current office space to be converted to a pop-up shop showcasing artisanal popsicles. The University of Toronto Press will expand their office to include a Tim Horton’s/Smokehouse for staff use.

To prepare for the move and requisite immigration red tape, the University of Texas Press staff members are all required watch Don Cherry’s Rock’em Sock’em Hockey, Volumes 1-30 and University of Toronto Press staff will all learn how to line dance. Both teams are receiving training in colloquialisms such as how to use “y’all” and “eh” appropriately.

SOCIAL MEDIA SHARES


Facebook

The University of Texas Press and the University of Toronto Press are pleased to announce that their operations will be merging. We have updated our logo to reflect the values of Giddy UP, our new scholarly publishing family! It’s super, eh? #GiddyUP

Twitter

Important announcement! Y’all, we are merging with the University of Toronto Press under the banner “Giddy UP.” This has absolutely nothing to do with the hottest summers on record, eh? #GiddyUP

Instagram

We are pleased to unveil our new logo, which reflects the recent decision by our leadership to merge with the University of Toronto Press. (and then the second and third paragraph above)

#hockey #movingtoCanada #movetoCanada #GiddyUP

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Bailey Morrison, Digital Media Producer, Giddy UP

BMorrison@giddy_UP.com

Tanya Rohrmoser, Social Media Specialist, Giddy UP

TRohermoser@giddy UP.com

Monday, March 18, 2019

UT Press at the San Antonio Book Festival

On Saturday, April 6, the University of Texas Press and five of our authors will enjoy the 7th annual San Antonio Book Festival at the Central Library (600 Soledad) and Southwest School of Art in beautiful downtown San Antonio. The Festival runs from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We'll have a booth in the Exhibitor Tent with tons of titles for sale at a great discount. There are a lot of fantastic authors in attendance (Tayari Jones! Elizabeth McCracken! Melissa Febos! Joe R. Lansdale! Lawrence Wright!), so we’ve distilled our authors' appearances into a single UT Press schedule.


Signing at 12:00 PM

Panel Location: Festival Room

Signing location: Southwest School of Art Parking Lot
Sauceda is a photographer, entrepreneur, and author of Y’all: The Definitive Guide to Being a Texan, and most recently, A Mile Above Texas. His aerial photographs of Texas were first published in a photo essay in Texas Monthly.

The Golden Ages of Television with Barbara Morgan & Maya Perez

3:15 PM - 4:00 PM
Signing at 4:15 PM

Location: Festival Room

Signing location: Southwest School of Art Parking Lot
Barbara Morgan Morgan co-founded the Austin Film Festival in 1993 and has served as the sole executive director since 1999. She developed and produces the TV and radio series Austin Film Festival’s On Story, currently airing on PBS stations nationally as well as on Public Radio International. She also coedited the previous volumes of On Story.

Maya Perez Perez is a writer and producer who coedited the previous volumes of On Story. She produces the television series Austin Film Festival’s On Story, currently in its seventh season on PBS, which won a Lone Star EMMY Award® for Best Arts/Entertainment Program in 2014 and was nominated for an EMMY Award® in 2016.


Billy Lee Brammer: Great Texas Writer, Wayward American Son with Tracy Daugherty

3:45 PM - 4:45 PM
Signing at 5:00 PM

Location: West Terrace
Signing location: Southwest School of Art Parking Lot


Daugherty has written biographies of Joan Didion, Joseph Heller, and Donald Barthelme, as well as four novels, six short story collections, a book of personal essays, and a collection of essays on literature and writing. His stories and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Paris Review online, McSweeney’s, Boulevard, Chelsea, The Georgia Review, Triquarterly, The Southern Review, and many other journals. Daugherty has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Bread Loaf, Artsmith, and the Vermont Studio Center. A member of PEN and the Texas Institute of Letters, he is a five-time winner of the Oregon Book Award. At Oregon State University, Daugherty helped found the Masters of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing and is now Distinguished Professor of English and Creative Writing, Emeritus.

Obsessed with Texas with Sarah Bird, David Norman & Mimi Swartz

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM
Signing at 4:45 PM

Location: West Terrace
Signing Location: Southwest School of Art Parking Lot

Sarah Bird’s previous novel, Above the East China Sea, was long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award. Sarah has been selected for the Meryl Streep Screenwriting Lab, the B&N Discover Great Writers program, NPR’s Moth Radio series, the Texas Literary Hall of Fame, and New York Libraries Books to Remember list. Her latest novel is titled Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, which is the compelling, hidden story of Cathy Williams, a former slave and the only woman to ever serve with the legendary Buffalo Soldiers. She first heard Cathy Williams’ story in the late seventies while researching African-American rodeos. Her forthcoming nonfiction collection, Recent Studies Indicate: The Best of Sarah Bird, will publish April 2.