A selection of books, films, and recordings by UChicago alumni.

Prairie Imperialists: The Indian Country Origins of American Empire

Katharine Bjork, AM’89, PhD’98

US imperial expansion overseas after the Spanish-American War extended a colonial project begun at home, argues Katharine Bjork, professor of history at Hamline University. Her book profiles three US Army officers who became colonial administrators in the former Spanish colonies after fighting decades earlier in US wars with Native nations on the domestic frontier. According to Bjork, their ways of knowing and ruling colonial others in the new territories were predicated on those earlier conflicts.

Golden Children: Legacy of Ethnic Studies, SF State

Juanita Tamayo Lott, AM’73

From November 1968 to March 1969, led by the Black Student Union and the Third World Liberation Front, thousands of demonstrators at San Francisco State College (now San Francisco State University) demanded equal access to public higher education, more senior faculty of color, and a multicultural curriculum. The outcome was SF State’s College of Ethnic Studies. This memoir by Juanita Tamayo Lott, a retired senior federal demographer and statistician, places the community of a major public state university at the vanguard of the era’s minority student activism. She also addresses UChicago’s influence on the careers of pioneering intellectuals of color, including her own.

Spending Time: The Most Valuable Resource

Daniel S. Hamermesh, AB’65

Life is long but time is scarce and evermore valuable, according to economist Daniel S. Hamermesh, distinguished scholar at Barnard College. Though life expectancy has increased dramatically in wealthy and middle-income nations in the past half century, average income levels have grown far more rapidly, which means our spending power is greater than the time we have for expending it. Hamermesh describes time-use patterns among different demographic groups and suggests how assessing trade-offs can help Americans spend more time in the pursuit of happiness.

Department Stores and the Black Freedom Movement: Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights from the 1930s to the 1980s

Traci Parker, AM’04, PhD’13

As hubs of consumption and labor, department stores for much of the 20th century enshrined economic participation as a route to full democratic citizenship, asserts Traci Parker, assistant professor of Afro-American studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. With shoppers and workers alike fighting discrimination, Parker argues, the movement for racial integration in US department stores drew from the African American struggles for both equal access to public spaces and equal economic opportunity, and played a central role in the formation of a modern black middle class.

Our Friends the Enemies: The Occupation of France after Napoleon

Christine Haynes, AM’95, PhD’01

The Napoleonic wars didn’t exactly end in 1815 with the Battle of Waterloo, argues Christine Haynes, associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. For the next three years, a British-led multinational force occupied northeastern France. Haynes describes this occupation as the first modern “peacekeeping mission,” which involved political reconstruction, financial reparations, and cultural cross-pollination. Taking its title from a ribald French popular song of the era, Haynes’s book examines how this project of international reconciliation affected people in all classes of society. 

Work Wife: The Power of Female Friendship to Drive Successful Businesses

Erica Cerulo, AB’05, and Claire Mazur, AB’06

The phrase might evoke the 20th-century cliché of a male executive and his capable assistant, but for entrepreneurs Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur, “work wife” now belongs to women who combine the personal and the professional in their own mutually supportive work relationships. Linking it to other female entrepreneurial partnerships, Cerulo and Mazur depict their own venture, the designer-focused e-commerce website Of a Kind, as part of a female-driven transformation of the American workplace into a more cooperative and less competitive environment.

The Caregiver: Poems

Caroline Johnson, AM’98

In the decade and a half she spent caring for her parents through aging and illness, college adviser and prizewinning author Caroline Johnson wrote poetry to celebrate their lives and express her grief. The 50 poems gathered in this collection, Johnson’s first full-length publication, combine lyric and narrative into meditations on the difficult, compassionate work of caring for another and the experiences of grace, dignity, and hope it bestows.

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