Friday, April 17, 2020

Robert Devens Named Director of the University of Texas Press

Austin, Texas—The University of Texas Press announces with great pride and genuine excitement that Robert Devens has been named its next director.

“Robert’s deep knowledge of academic publishing, his experience at UT Press, and his collaborative relationships with the scholarly community at UT Austin are tremendous assets,” said Maurie McInnis, executive vice president and provost. “During his time at UT,

he has served as a visible, public ambassador for the Press by articulating the critical role of university presses in supporting faculty scholarship, and research.”

Devens joined UT Press in 2013 as assistant editor-in-chief, rising to the role of editor-in-chief in 2014 and assistant director in 2018. During these years, Devens led the editorial department toward greater successes in its many core areas — from the establishment of new series in fields ranging from Latinx studies to film studies, to more extensive general interest offerings in areas such as biography and music.

Devens has also served as UT Press’s editor in architecture, American studies, and U.S. history. He was the founding acquisitions editor for the Press’s Lateral Exchanges series in architecture and has been instrumental in the development of both the Texas Bookshelf and the Katrina Bookshelf. His many notable acquisitions include Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity, Guitar King: Michael Bloomfield’s Life in the Blues, Taking the Land to Make the City: A Bicoastal History of North America, São Paulo: A Graphic Biography, and Border Land, Border Water: A History of Construction on the US-Mexico Divide.

As director, Devens brings to the position more than twenty years of experience in academic publishing. Before coming to Texas, he devoted thirteen years to the acquisitions department at the University of Chicago Press, working his way from editorial assistant to senior editor. There, he acquired trade and scholarly books in American studies, history, and urban studies, including many bestselling and award-winning titles, and he was the founding acquisitions editor for the American Beginnings and Chicago Visions & Revisions series.

In his work at Chicago and Texas, Devens has stressed the centrality of institutional partnerships to the success of the university press endeavor, fostering publishing relationships with museums and archives ranging from the Chicago History Museum to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

“I am thrilled to be the next director of the University of Texas Press. In my seven years here, I’ve been honored to work with devoted authors and talented staff on a stellar list of books and journals,” said Devens, “I’m excited and optimistic about the Press’s next chapters.”

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The University of Texas Press serves knowledge seekers in an information-rich world through the publication of books and journals in a wide range of fields. Our work is a focal point where the life experiences, insights, and specialized knowledge of writers converge to be disseminated in both print and digital formats. Established in 1950, UT Press has published more than 3,000 books over six decades.

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