Academic Tuesdays: April 18, 2023
— By Anupma Prakash, provost and executive vice chancellor
Nate Bauer, UPC associate director and UAPress acquisition editor
Tia Tidwell, assistant professor of Alaska Native studies and UPC trustee
UAPress: Past and present
Founded in 1967, the University of Alaska Press has long been a source for high quality scholarly books about Alaska history, culture, and research practices. More recently, special series including the Classic Reprints Series, founded by Terrence Cole, and the Alaska Literary Series, founded by Peggy Shumaker, have expanded UA Press’ specialties and strengths as a publisher. Since 2007, UA Press has been a proud member of the international Association of University Presses, and a client of the Chicago Distribution Center (the University of Chicago Press’ digital printing and shipping service).
UPC and UAPress: how it operates
In 2020, UA Press entered into a licensing agreement and partnership with the University Press of Colorado (UPC), headquartered in Denver, as one of its four main university press imprints. Under this agreement, UA acts as one of fourteen member universities paying dues to support UPC, an independent scholarly nonprofit publisher. In exchange, UPC maintains UA Press as its own academic imprint, with its own Alaska-based staff and representatives on the UPC Board of Trustees and editorial committee. Current UPC trustees from UA include Anupma Prakash (Provost, UAF), Tia Tidwell (Department of Alaska Native Studies and Rural Development, UAF), and Ian Hartman (Department of History, UAA).
UA Press’ partnership with UPC has had many benefits, including the immediate expansion of editorial, design, production, marketing, and administrative functions. In the time since the agreement, UA Press publications have increased from a suspension period of no publications in the year prior to twelve new UA Press books since then. Capacity continues to increase, with seven more UA Press titles planned by year’s end, and another six under contract. Many more projects are in development and undergoing peer review currently.
In addition to maintaining high standards and oversight for all its imprints’ publications, UPC’s Board of Trustees has focused recently on the urgent issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in academic publishing, creating initiatives to broaden representation of multiply marginalized or historically underrepresented (MMU) scholars amongst UPC and UA Press authors and peer reviewers, increase accessibility of all publications and public facing materials, and establish special funding programs to support book projects led by MMU scholars.
The most recent UA Press publications have been exciting, and represent the wide variety of specialties and subject matter that characterizes Alaska as a place. They include Alaska Herring History by James Mackovjak, the story of one of the state’s most unheralded and longstanding fisheries; Spirit Things by Lara Messersmith-Glavin, a collection of personal essays about the rough and rugged work on a commercial fishing boat near Kodiak; Trouble Will Save You by David Nikki Crouse, a cycle of novellas about the nature of grief, loss, and beauty, told in the context of life in and around Fairbanks; and The Gwich’in Climate Report by Matt Gilbert, a monumental collection and interpretation of first-hand Gwich’in Athabascan testimonies about the conditions and results of climate change in interior Alaska in recent decades.
How to buy UAPress books
These books and all other UA Press titles, past and present, are available at its website, and at most other online bookstores. Interested readers or booksellers can also reach the distribution center in Chicago to order books directly by calling 800-621-2736. UA Press also maintains some limited inventory of new and old books in its library office in Rasmuson 510, and arrangements can be made to purchase books in person by appointment, by emailing Nate Bauer or Laura Walker.
How to engage
Finally, UPC Associate Director and UA Press Acquisitions Editor Nate Bauer is making a special appeal to all UAF faculty and program leaders to consider how their own scholarly work might fit and develop into a UA Press book project. He’s eager to meet and discuss potential academic book projects with individuals or disciplinary groups, and is happy and prepared to lead introductory or workshop presentations for UAF units about the work of developing a dissertation or other full length research work into a book proposal. See more about the process of proposing a UA Press book project here, and contact Bauer by email or phone at 907-687-4453.