A selection of books, films, and recordings by UChicago alumni.
By Nancy Foner, AM’68, PhD’71; Princeton University Press, 2022
Many scholars have studied the experience of immigrants to the United States. In One Quarter of the Nation, sociologist Nancy Foner offers a far-ranging look at how immigrants and their children—nearly 86 million people in all—have transformed America. Immigration, she concludes, remains good for the United States and inseparable from its meaning. Every aspect of the country, from electoral politics to popular culture, from big cities to rural hamlets, has been shaped by nonnative Americans.
By Tomi Obaro, AB’12; Knopf, 2022
At a wedding in Lagos, Nigeria, three college friends, now in their 50s, are reunited. One of the women, Funmi, is the mother of the bride. Enitan, whose marriage across cultures tested both partners, arrives with her American daughter. And Zainab has had to travel to Lagos without her older, ailing husband. In Tomi Obaro’s debut novel, the women’s celebration, in a richly described present-day Nigeria, turns to scrutiny of the past and of themselves.
By Steven C. Dubin, AM’76, PhD’82; foreword by Margo Jefferson, LAB’64; CityFiles Press, 2021
Bronzeville, Chicago, in the 1940s and 1950s: the nights are alight with marquees and alive with the music of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and others who performed in the neighborhood’s abundant clubs and dance halls. The moment proved fleeting, but jazz saxophonist Lonnie Simmons captured it in photographs—published for the first time in Bronzeville Nights by sociologist Steven C. Dubin, with a foreword by Pulitzer Prize winner Margo Jefferson. Go back in time to a South Side scene now almost forgotten.
By Alejandro Nava, AM’92, PhD’97; University of Chicago Press, 2022
Religious studies scholar Alejandro E. Nava explores a little-noticed element of hip-hop music and culture: spirituality. In the lyrics and sound of rap, reggaeton, and Latinx hip-hop, Nava uncovers religious feeling, meaning, and questioning that he places in a tradition threading back to William James and even to St. Augustine. In the “street theology” he teases out of hip-hop, prominent themes include the music’s blending of the sacred and the profane as well as its truth telling about racial and social justice.
By Raghuveer Parthasarathy, PhD’02; Princeton University Press, 2022
Biophysics offers a key to understanding how a small set of basic principles undergird the whole dizzying array of life-forms on earth. In So Simple a Beginning, University of Oregon physicist Raghuveer Parthasarathy provides an understanding of four critical constants: self-assembly, regulatory circuits, predictable randomness, and scaling. Readers also learn why work at the interface of biology and physics has the potential to revolutionize the health sciences—but also to spark intense controversy.
For additional alumni book releases, use the link to the Magazine’s Goodreads bookshelf at mag.uchicago.edu/alumni-books.