A History of Dissent at National Conventions: Lessons from 1968’s Festival of Life

Based on the media coverage so far, the 2016 Republican and Democratic national conventions are looking to be among the most divisive and controversial in over fifty years. In this guest post, Craig J. Peariso—author of Radical Theatrics: Put-Ons, Politics, and the Sixties—revisits the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago and how it might inform this month’s events.

At the turn of 1968, Abbie and Anita Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Nancy Kurshan, Paul Krassner, and Ed Sanders began making plans to hold a music festival as something of a counterpoint to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago that summer. It would be a “Festival of Life,” as they called it, in opposition to the Democratic “Party of Death.” The friends envisioned rock bands playing as America’s youth demonstrated not just their opposition to the war, but the version of liberation that the counterculture offered. To bring young people to Chicago, they would call their sponsoring organization the Youth International Party, a name that stressed their core constituency, of course, but also served as a bit of a pun. For those accustomed to traditional Party politics, the name would sound somewhat official, but for those who weren’t interested in politics-as-usual, the word “Party” could be read differently. Much as the mainstream political Parties tended to involve drudgery and compromise, the Festival of Life and the Youth International Party would be about celebration, a fact the group emphasized in the preferred way of pronouncing their acronym: Y.I.P. became “Yippie!”

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From the Desk of Rachael Levay: Fall 2016 Sneak Peek

While everyone is hitting the beach or the open road for a summer road trip, the book world is getting ready for fall, our biggest season. Sales reps are currently calling on accounts from coast to coast—independent bookstores, museums, and galleries—and we are working on events, ads, direct mail, and exhibits to ensure our titles reach the broadest audiences possible.

So in the spirit of summer, I’d like to share a few highlights from the Fall 2016 season, books that have already garnered some exciting feedback from buyers, reps, and readers.

Migrating the Black Body: The African Diaspora and Visual Culture, edited by Leigh Raiford and Heike Raphael-Hernandez, explores how visual media has shaped our ideas of diasporic imaginings of the individual and collective self. Featuring a broad range of scholars and artists, this powerful volume features 21 color illustrations and its oversize trim has made it very popular with buyers at museums, particularly in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, and has led many buyers to look more deeply at our backlist titles in African and African American art.

DeepestRoots_AlcalaThe Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, by Kathleen Alcalá, explores relevant questions about food and place by looking closely at how the cultural history of Bainbridge Island contributed to its culinary and agricultural makeup. More importantly, though, Alcalá uses this unique place to examine our current relationships to food and show how we can make savvy decisions about our present that will sustainably honor the future. It’s a smart and moving book that should be read by everyone interested in the ways in which food shapes our lives.

My personal favorite from this list is Looking for Betty MacDonald: The Egg, the Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and I, by Paula Becker. Yes, it’s funny and sweet and illuminates a part of the Pacific Northwest’s history that may be fresh to our region’s newcomers, but what’s made it such fun to work on is the sheer delight of my contacts when they remember their first experiences with The Egg and I or the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. A major library wholesaler buyer sent me pictures of her beloved childhood copies of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, an events coordinator for one of the country’s best independent bookstores talked at length about the emotional resonance of The Egg and I, a librarian in Illinois wrote to say she recommends MacDonald to patrons every week. We in university presses often get the chance to showcase important topics and spread scholarship that changes academia, but I don’t think I’ve worked on another book that has elicited such delight from early readers. It makes us feel like we’re part of the excitement!

Check out our full list of forthcoming titles in our Fall 2016 catalog.

Exhibitions on View: ‘Bhupen Khakhar’


Khakhar painting “Paan Beedi Shop” at Documenta IX, Kassel, 1992. Photograph by Benjamin Katz.

“I think your own weakness should also be reflected in painting. One can’t hide oneself behind a painting. It is standing naked in front of everyone—what you are.”—Bhupen Khakhar, Arts Council of Great Britain, 1983

The University of Washington Press recently copublished Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All, edited by Chris Dercon and Nada Raza, with Tate Modern in London. The book accompanies an exhibition on display until November 6, 2016. Bringing together Khakhar’s paintings and some of his ceramics, Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All is a rare opportunity to discover Khakhar’s work and his inspirational story. Continue reading

Walking Tacoma

Inspired by Judy Bentley’s Walking Washington’s History: Ten Cities, our staff is going on a series of history walks of featured Washington State cities. In this guest post, catalog and metadata manager Kathleen Pike Jones explores her hometown of Tacoma.

Learn more about Washington’s urban history and celebrate the publication of Walking Washington’s History at these author events:

Washington State Historical Society State Capital Museum and Olympia Historic Preservation (Olympia walk/talk starting at the Olympia Center, Room 100), Olympia, WA, July 9 at 1 p.m.

History Café (cosponsored by Seattle Public Library, MOHAI, and HistoryLink), MOHAI, July 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Guided hike with Pacific Northwest Historians Guild, Yakima Pass, WA, July 30 at 10 a.m. (For more information, see the PNWHG events page; please RSVP by July 15.)

After reading the Seattle Times article “$99 Road Trip to Zoo, Fort, Beaches, and Forest of Tacoma’s Point Defiance,” I decided to do a little Tacoma sightseeing as well. (Full disclosure: I grew up in Seattle, but moved to the suburbs of Tacoma a number of years ago.)

Point Defiance should definitely be compared to Shangri-La. It’s beautiful. Where else can you go from the zoo to the beach in less than five minutes? I suggest that you go to the Antique Sandwich Co. first and take your food down to Owen Beach. There are plenty of picnic tables at the beach, and the views of the water and Mount Rainier are spectacular. And it’s always a few degrees cooler by the water. . .

Since I go to Point Defiance on a regular basis, I decided to increase my knowledge of Tacoma by taking the Pioneer Walk: Old Town featured in Judy Bentley’s Walking Washington’s History: Ten Cities. (Bentley features a much longer walk through downtown Tacoma as well.)

Beginning at the Old Town dock, Bentley’s short walk (one mile round trip) is a great place to start learning more about the history of Tacoma, and Old Town is an easy stopping point on the way to or from Point Defiance.

Here are some highlights of the walk:


I’d driven by the Chinese Reconciliation Park many times and always promised myself I would stop, but never actually had. I’m so glad I finally did. The park serves as an “act of reconciliation and inclusivity toward appreciation of the people of diverse legacies and interests,” says the Chinese Reconciliation Project Foundation (CRPF). It’s a reminder of the Chinese workers who were forced out of Tacoma by municipal leaders in the late 19th century. The beautiful pavilion is a gift from Fuzhou, Tacoma’s sister city in China. Continue reading

Summer Reads: Staff Picks

As staff members start heading out on adventures and taking advantage of the long, sunny days, we wanted to find out which books they are most excited to read (or re-read) this summer.

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle (Picador USA)

“As a kid I spent most summers away—either visiting family in India or studying dance in Virginia—and to me, the hot season was a time for calibrated isolation. Three months simultaneously far from my school friends but immersed in an alternate reality, unnervingly familiar but frustratingly different. John Darnielle, known for his dynamic songwriting as the Mountain Goats, wrote a novel about a kid who knows situational dissonance well, only for very different reasons. Maybe a little summer escapism can be a good thing?”—Intellectual property manager Puja Boyd

Just Be Yourself by Mary Bard (J.B. Lippincott, 1956)

“Like the Brontës before them, authing was a family pastime for Bard sisters Betty and Mary. So after a springtime steeped in the life and works of Pacific Northwest writer Betty MacDonald, I asked her biographer (Looking For Betty MacDonald author Paula Becker) for a book recommendation by the elder sister. With Just Be Yourself in hand, I am ready to experience the literary stylings of Mary Bard (no doubt comparing the sisters to each other) as she recounts the time she agreed to be her daughters’ Brownie leader when all their local troops were full. Never one to be held back by having no training, Mary is sure to take on this role with confident aplomb. I can’t wait to be inspired and entertained.”—Senior project editor Nancy Cortelyou

Scent of Apples: A Collection of Stories by Bienvenido N. Santos (University of Washington Press)

“Although I have now been with UW Press for just over two years, in that time I have only worked my way through a tiny fraction of the backlist. Considering there are literally a hundred years’ worth of books down in the basement stacks, this lack of progress is totally reasonable and entirely forgivable. Less forgivable is that Bienvenido Santos’s Scent of Apples is on the list of Press books I have yet to read. The spare, workmanly cover gives a nice little nod to the style of the stories themselves. Not knowing that much else about Santos, but having read my share of economical and elliptical short stories, I am expecting sort of a Visayan-inflected John Fante.”—Chief financial officer Tom Helleberg

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (Book #1 of The Dandelion Dynasty; Saga Press)

Liu’s book recently won the 2016 Locus Award for First Novel. I was introduced to his work by the award-winning story “The Paper Menagerie,” which then led me to his translation of The Three Body Problem. Ken’s writing is, quite simply, beautiful and it is used to highlight a new voice and insight into a field and genre that has often felt stale. I’m really excited to see what an extended world looks like through his lens and to meet his characters.”—Assistant editor Whitney Johnson

Hot Dog Taste Test by Lisa Hanawalt (Drawn & Quarterly)

“I have been utterly entertained by artist and ‘Bojack Horseman’ producer Lisa Hanawalt since I started listening to the Baby Geniuses podcast she co-hosts with comedian Emily Heller.  Some of the pieces in the book have their origins in illustrated columns Hanawalt put together for Lucky Peach, which you should also read. In expanded form, this project promises to combine all of the things I crave during the summer: art, culture, and food-related exploits tied together with irreverent humor.”—Publicity and communications manager Casey LaVela

Find Me by Laura van den Berg (FSG Originals)

“While I was working toward my MFA in creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, my first foray into publishing was working as co-editor of The Greensboro Review. I called dibs on a story right off the bat as my pick for our next issue: “The Language of Their Youth,” about a dying Russian submarine admiral who remembers a young woman he once loved and lost. It was by a fellow MFA writer at Emerson College named Laura van den Berg and I loved everything about her voice, her writing, and her style.

While I haven’t written anything in years, I’ve been thrilled to see van den Berg’s writing progress. Her first collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (2009), is an incredible, beautiful,  masterful next step (and what a title, am I right?) and The Isle of Youth (2013), her next collection, was all that too but her work also evolved into something darker, more complex.

So this summer, I’m itching to read her first novel, Find Me, which takes a dystopian future and makes it both ordinary and extraordinary (something that happens with all her stories, too). I can’t wait to read it slowly, carefully, and thoroughly. And you all should too, trust me – both the today me and the me from 2006 because we knew then and still know now Laura van den Berg’s going to be a lasting voice in American fiction.”—Marketing and sales director Rachael Levay

The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter by Kia Corthron (Seven Stories Press)

“This debut novel from one of my favorite social justice indie publishers has been peripherally compared to Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (which I madly and sadly consumed). The author is a renowned playwright and wrote for the HBO series ‘The Wire,’ and her language is beautiful, masterful, and alive with the dialects of the South during WWII. It’s also a whopping 789 pages long, and there’s nothing like starting a book knowing I can savor it for weeks to come.”—Direct marketing, exhibits, and advertising manager Katherine Tacke

Forest Under Story: Creative Inquiry in an Old-Growth Forest edited by Nathaniel Brodie, Charles Goodrich, and Frederick J. Swanson (University of Washington Press)

“If you can’t visit the serene temperate rain forest of the Pacific Northwest yourself this summer, Forest Under Story will take you there. ‘Bees hum, seeking manzanita. Contrails drift. Black spiders shuttle in the scree,’ writes John R. Campbell in one of the book’s many gems. ‘Sometimes place just scratches out words.’ Indeed, that is exactly what Oregon’s H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest has done: it inspired this book’s contributors, and their reflections, musings, and observations are as absorbing as they are atmospheric. It is of course a joy to be thoroughly transported just by opening a book. No matter where I open this one, I know I will be.”—Editing, design, and production manager Jacqueline Volin

Q&A with ‘Indian Blood’ author Andrew J. Jolivette

In his new book Indian Blood: HIV & Colonial Trauma in San Francisco’s Two-Spirit Community, Andrew J. Jolivette examines the correlation between mixed-race identity and HIV/AIDS among Native American gay men and transgendered people, and provides an analysis of the emerging and often contested LGBTQ “two-spirit” identification as it relates to public health and mixed-race identity.

Prior to contact with European settlers, most Native American tribes held their two-spirit members in high esteem, even considering them spiritually advanced. However, after contact—and religious conversion—attitudes changed and social and cultural support networks were ruptured. This discrimination led to a breakdown in traditional values, beliefs, and practices, which in turn pushed many two-spirit members to participate in high-risk behaviors. The result is a disproportionate number of two-spirit members who currently test positive for HIV.

Using surveys, focus groups, and community discussions to examine the experiences of HIV-positive members of San Francisco’s two-spirit community, Indian Blood provides an innovative approach to understanding how colonization continues to affect American Indian communities and opens a series of crucial dialogues in the fields of Native American studies, public health, queer studies, and critical mixed-race studies.

We spoke with Jolivette about his book, published this spring.

What inspired you to get into your field?

Andrew J. Jolivette: American Indian studies is in my blood. I felt I had a commitment and a responsibility to give back to my community and I also felt that it was important that more Native perspectives be centered and not just represented or driven by outsiders.

What is the biggest misunderstanding people have about Native American studies and what you do?

AJJ: I think the biggest misunderstanding about the field of Native American studies is that it limits students from working in any field or area that they want and I would also have to say the general sentiment that Native peoples don’t exist in great numbers. What about the millions of people we call Latino or African American or European American—many of them are also Native and this book is also about recognizing how Indigenous peoples of mixed descent are missed in areas like public health because of invisibility and colonial trauma.

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Excerpt: Onnagata: A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki Theater

For a close-up look at transgender expression in another time and place, this Pride Month we wanted to share a selection from Maki Isaka’s book Onnagata: A Labyrinth of Gendering in Kabuki Theater. Onnagata, usually male actors who perform the roles of women, have been an important aspect of kabuki since its beginnings in 17th-century Japan. Isaka examines how the onnagata‘s theatrical gender “impersonation” has shaped the concept and mechanisms of femininity and gender construction in Japan. The implications of this study go well beyond the realm of theater and East Asia, informing theory about gender more broadly.

—Lorri Hagman, Executive Editor

Quatercentenary kabuki theater in Japan is a “queer” theater. That is not so much to say that kabuki is an all-male theater, in which male actors play women’s roles, as to note how radically this art form has altered the connotations of the word “kabuki.” Just as with the word “queer,” the implication of which has changed fundamentally over the years, the meanings of the word “kabuki”—nominalized from a verb, kabuku (to lean; to act and/or dress in a peculiar and queer manner)—have transformed dramatically. Not only did it shift from a generic word (that which is eccentric, deviant, queer, and the like) to a proper noun (this theater), but its connotations also altered tremendously from something negative to something positive. That is, kabuki theater was born as a kabuki thing—merely another stray entertainment among many, which was considered akin to prostitution—and ended up proudly styling itself the kabuki theater. With a checkered past marked by bans, shutdowns, exile, and even capital punishment for the parties concerned, kabuki—once a theater of rebellion for the common people—is now one of four classical genres of Japanese theater that the nation proudly presents to the world, along with noh (a medieval Buddhist theater a few centuries older than kabuki), kyōgen (a theater of mime and speech that accompanies noh), and bunraku (a puppet theater), all of which are all-male theater.

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