Book on race receives grant

By Alexandra Kukulka

Walking into the resource section of a library, there are tall shelves filled with books on various topics from the past and present. Books are free to be checked out with a library card. But how those books get there, how they get published, definitely involves money. A lot of it.

The Columbia College Chicago Press received a $12,500 grant from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation on Jan. 19 for its support of the forthcoming publication, “Architecture of Segregation,” which explores the relationship between place and race. CCCP is a publisher of arts and humanities to stimulate intellectual conversations and promote Columbia’s mission, according to Columbia’s website.

“[‘Architecture of Segregation’] gets people to look at the structure, the landscapes, the buildings, the streets, the environments they live in and think about [their] shape,” said Gregory Dreicer, editor of the book and vice president of Interpretation and Exhibits for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. “The lens that this book is looking through is race, in particular the relationship between black and white Americans.”

The book is a collection of essays written by various authors. Each writer focuses on an aspect of life such as education, home, love or technology and how it breaks down or reinforces barriers of race, according to Brandy Savarese, editorial director of CCCP. The book’s release is scheduled for fall 2013, she added.

Once the budget was filled out for the grant, it included the costs essential in publishing a book, Savarese said. The grant will go toward supporting the editor in finding a research assistant, paying honoraria to essayists and supporting production costs.

“At this point, we have the money, and we have not yet taken that budget and figured out where we would allocate the funds specifically,” she said.

According to Savarese, CCCP is not looking for more grants for the book; however, it is actively looking for grants for other projects.

In terms of acquiring books, CCCP either receives unsolicited proposals or Savarese goes into the community and lets people know she is a publisher.

For “Architecture of Segregation,” Savarese approached Dreicer regarding his projects. Going into the community is the most effective way to start conversation about a project, she said.

“It was through our conversations and talking about book publishing and what Columbia wants to publish that he said, ‘I have a project. Maybe you’d be interested in it,’” Savarese said. “I was very interested in it. It’s an extraordinary project.”

Through his project, Dreicer  hopes to bring attention to the issue of race and the effects it still has on society. He has published other books about stereotypes, as well as “Between Fences,” which looks at relationships between people through the use of fences.

“I was working on various projects that  led me to this one, which was kind of taking a big look at the environment,” Dreicer said. “When I went out there and wanted to find books on [race], there really weren’t [any].”

According to him, there is a lot of scholarly research done on segregation, but none that focuses on it through the prism of environment. Many of the books on this subject are not accessible, so Dreicer wants to make his book available for everyone, not just specialists. For these reasons, he is excited to have received the grant.

“It is really fantastic that there are institutions such as the Driehaus Foundation that are sponsoring work in this area because, even though the subject of segregation itself is not controversial, it is still a subject that people don’t want to think about,” Dreicer said. “It is great that there are organizations that are enthusiastically supporting this kind of work.”

The CCCP has also been a big help in tackling difficult issues in the arts and humanities, he added.  According to Saverese, CCCP is a new brand on the press that has existed at Columbia for the last four years.

The CCCPS’s original name was Center for American Place at Columbia College Chicago but was renamed so the press could  better represent Columbia. The goal and mission of the CCCP is to build identity and prestige for the college, Saverese said.

With books in the pipeline, CCCP is off to a good start in locating books to publish that not only support the college’s mission, but projects that also represent the college  internationally and enhance the institution’s rising reputation, said Jo Cates, vice president of Academic Research.

“This important grant indicates that others also are enthused about our young CCCP, and I expect that this is only the first of many awards and grants to come,” said Cates.