Field Notes: Excavations of Paquimé’s Site 204

October 22, 2020

By Paul Minnis and Michael Whalen

Our research in northwestern Chihuahua focused on the area around the famous and important site of Paquimé (or Casas Grandes), which was most influential during the Medio Period, AD 1200–1450 (give or take a few decades either way). Over the past two decades, we directed multiple field projects in the region. At first, we conducted surveys, systematically walking over an area to record whatever archaeological remains were observable. Then we transitioned to the excavation of a range of sites in an attempt to understand how the Paquimé-dominated society was organized and when it dated to, among other questions.

One of the most important sites we studied—Site 204—is located west of Paquimé in a tributary drainage. We selected this site because it was one of the two largest Medio Period sites near Paquimé, so we could compare it with the small villages we studied at one end of a continuum of size and the premier and largest site, Paquimé, at the other extreme.

1a. before excavation

Image 1a: Site 204 is located in a small valley that also has a large number of Medio Period villages. The atalaya is a feature on a hilltop that probably was a shrine and communication point visible from Cerro Moctezuma, which is just west of Paquimé. Cerro Moctezuma was probably one of the major shrines in the local area.

1b. before excavation

Image 1b: Site 204 has three “mounds” that are the remains of adobe room blocks that have decayed over the centuries into piles of dirt. There are three mounds for a total of about two hundred rooms. In addition, this site has two large ritual roasting pits and a ball court. Like nearly all Medio Period sites, the room blocks have been severely looted.

2 first day

Image 2: The first day of excavation is always exciting and, in a way, terrifying. Questions go through your mind: What is below the ground, what will you find, or did you start in the best place to excavate?

3a. excavated rooms
3b. excavated rooms

Image 3a & 3b: Excavating using a precise grid system, you slowly find walls and outline rooms. Then you remove the fill in the room in layers, carefully screening the dirt so as not to miss small artifacts. Unfortunately, much of each room has been looted, which mixes the artifacts. Finally, there’s the reward: the excavation of the floor and its features such as hearths and pits. You are not actually done after excavating, mapping, and photographing the rooms: the area below the room is excavated to look for evidence of earlier occupation.

3c. ball court trench

Image 3c: Ball courts were important locations of community events. Site 204 has one ball court that had been dug into the ground forming an I-shape. We also excavated a trench across the ball court.

3d. hillside fields

Image 3d: Not all archaeological features are visually interesting or obvious. The faint lines of rocks are rock walls (trincheras) that form small farming plots. The hillside above Site 204 is filled with these features, as are many hillslopes in the Casas Grandes region. While most were farmed by small families, a few seem to have been cacique or chief fields, controlled by leaders and worked by the populous.

4a. stairs

Image 4a: Although not common, we excavated several stairs at the six sites we studied.

4b. closed T-door

Image 4b: T-shaped doorways are common and likely had important ritual significance. This example is of a T-shaped doorway that was filled to block it off as part of the room’s renovation.

4c. ritual room

Image 4c: Most rooms at sites in the Casas Grandes region appear to have been used as domestic space where people lived their daily lives. We did excavate some that appear to have had ritual use. This room originally had two columns, and some are artifacts. As you can see, the open space between the columns were closed with a later wall. Also present is a T-shaped door at the far end of the room. The many asymmetrical holes in the floor are the bottom of looters’ holes, an ever-present factor in studying Medio Period sites.

4d corn cobs

Image 4d: The value of archaeological remains are not determined by their aesthetic appeal or rarity. These charred corn cobs are not especially beautiful, but they help tell us about how the people lived. There is evidence that important community events that drew people from throughout the Casas Grandes area required massive amount of food for feasts.

4e. stone face

Image 4e: Figures and effigies are common from the Casas Grandes region. While this artifact obviously is a human head, we don’t know what it meant to the ancient peoples of the region.

4f. parrot burial

Image 4f: One of the most remarkable activities was the raising of macaws. This is the only macaw skeleton we found in our excavations. It was in a subfloor pit, probably an offering dedicating the room.

4g. pendant
4h. turquoise

Image 4 G: This pendant may be of a macaw, a parrot, or another bird.

Image 4h: Turquoise is quite rare in Casas Grandes sites, compared to other sites in the U.S. Southwest and northwestern Mexico.

4i. plain ware vessel

Image 4i: This is a reconstructed pot. Although most attention is on the beautiful and iconic Ramos Polychrome ceramic, most clay vessels were plain like this one.

5 lab work

Image 5: Survey and excavation are the best known parts of archaeological research, but at least an equal amount of time is spent in the laboratory analyzing the materials removed during fieldwork.

6 crew friendships

Image 6: One wonderful outcome of being on an archaeological project is that you often develop friendships that last a lifetime . . . literally. This is especially delightful among crews from different countries or regions within a country. Here, one of our crews with members from Mexico, the Unites States, and Canada enjoy a day off visiting the famous cliff dwelling site, Cueva de la Olla, with it enormous granary located in the mountains west of Paquimé.

The Prehispanic Ethnobotany of Paquimé and Its Neighbors is the first large-scale investigation of the prehispanic ethnobotany of this important ancient site and its neighbors. Paul Minnis and Michael Whalen examine ethnobotanical relationships during Medio Period, AD 1200–1450, when Paquimé was at its most influential. Based on two decades of archaeological research, this book examines uses of plants for food, farming strategies, wood use, and anthropogenic ecology. The authors show that the relationships between plants and people are complex, interdependent, and reciprocal. This volume documents ethnobotanical relationships and shows their importance to the development of the Paquimé polity.

Paul E. Minnis is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. He is the author or editor of twelve books and numerous articles. He has been president of the Society of Ethnobiology and treasurer and press editor for the Society for American Archaeology, and he is co-founder of the Southwest Symposium.

Michael E. Whalen is a professor emeritus in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. He has published a series of books, monographs, chapters, and journal articles on Oaxaca, western Texas, and northwestern Chihuahua. His research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Geographic Society.


All images in the post are copyright the authors.

University Press Week: Read. Think. Act.

October 7, 2019

According to Publisher’s Weekly, this year’s theme for University Press Week is, Read. Think. Act.

From Sunday, November 3 through Saturday, November 9, the Association of University Presses encourages readers to dive into publications about the issues that affect our present and future.

The theme, the AUPresses said in its statement, is timely in that “many citizens around the globe continue to engage in important debates that will influence vital decision-making in the months ahead; in fact, this year’s UP Week will begin exactly one year to the day before the 2020 Election Day in the U.S.” The organization added: “AUPresses members worldwide seek to encourage people to read the latest peer-reviewed publications about issues that affect our present and future—from politics to economics to climate change to race relations and more—and to better understand academic presses’ important contribution to these vital areas of concern.”

UA Press Director Kathryn Conrad, who currently serves as president of the Association of University Presses, said this in the same statement:

“Many of us choose to work for university presses because we believe in the UP mission of bringing the latest research and ideas to diverse audiences of readers, [and] the success of recent university press books such as White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo (Beacon Press) and Cyberwar by Kathleen Hall Jamieson (Oxford University Press) make it clear that there is a hunger for these books,” Kathryn Conrad, AUPresses president and director of the University of Arizona Press, said in a statement “In the last few years many people have found it difficult to have effective conversations about the most serious and important issues facing our communities, nations, and world. We hope that by encouraging readers to explore university press works on topics that affect everyone—and to reflect on their reading—our publications might help stimulate positive conversations and actions.”

To kick off your celebration, AUPresses put together a reading list from all of its membership that you can download and share. Recommended from the UA Press is a new book edited by Thomas E. Sheridan and Randal H. McGuire, The Border and Its Bodies.

The Border and Its Bodies examines the impact of migration from Central America and México to the United States on the most basic social unit possible: the human body. It explores the terrible toll migration takes on the bodies of migrants—those who cross the border and those who die along the way—and discusses the treatment of those bodies after their remains are discovered in the desert.

Read. Think. Act.

Kathryn Conrad Begins Term as President of AUPresses

June 26, 2019

Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press, assumed the presidency of the Association of University Presses (AUPresses) on June 12, 2019, during the Association’s Annual Meeting. Conrad was preceded by Jennifer Crewe, associate provost and director of Columbia University Press.

In her inaugural address, Conrad commended university presses for working “to advance scholarship, to preserve cultural heritage, and to build the scholarly record.” Read Conrad’s full remarks.

Conrad began her publishing career as an editorial assistant for both Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill and Houghton-Mifflin’s Best American Short Stories, an editor for River Styx—a literary magazine based in St. Louis—and a typesetter. She joined the marketing department of the University of Missouri Press in 1989, where she worked as advertising manager, promotion manager, and finally assistant marketing manager. She moved to Tucson in 1995 as the marketing and sales manager of the University of Arizona Press and served as its interim director, while continuing in her marketing and sales duties, for four years before her appointment as director in 2012.

The leader of a university press that reports to its university’s library—as do 20 percent of the Association’s member presses—Conrad speaks and writes frequently on the synergies that academic libraries and scholarly presses share. In addition, she earned a master’s degree in information and library sciences (MALIS) from the University of Arizona last year.

Conrad has advanced the work of the AUPresses community in many volunteer capacities. She served on the Association’s Board of Directors from 2002-2005 and also for three, multi-year terms on the Marketing Committee, including a stint as its chair. She has been a member and chair of the Library Relations Committee and has served on the Nominating and Program Committees and the University Press Week Task Force.

As a longtime leader within the Association, President Conrad offered her special thanks at the Detroit conference to all volunteers who will lead and serve AUPresses committees this year, including a new Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Committee.

She also welcomed all newcomers to the conference and profession. “The university press of the future may not look like the university press of today, but it will keep quality and expertise at its core,” she concluded. “I have a lot left to learn about publishing, and I expect to learn it from you. You are the future of AUPresses.”

About the 2019-2020 AUPresses Board of Directors

Other AUPresses leadership changes for 2019-2020 include:

  • Treasurer Jean Kim, Stanford University, took office, as Robbie Dircks, University of North Carolina Press, wrapped up his 2018-2019 term.
  • Niko Pfund, president of Oxford University Press USA, was chosen as President-Elect.
  • Alice Ennis, chief financial officer of University of Illinois Press, was named Treasurer-Elect.
  • New board members began three-year terms: Mary C. Francis, editorial director of the University of Michigan Press/Michigan Publishing, and Lara Mainville, director of the University of Ottawa Press.
  • Past president Nicole Mitchell, director of the University of Washington Press; past treasurer Nadine Buckland, finance manager of University of West Indies Press; John Donatich, director of Yale University Press; and Donna Shear, director of the University of Nebraska Press concluded their terms on the board as the Association thanked them for their dedicated service.

About the Association

The Association of University Presses is an organization of 150+ international nonprofit scholarly publishers. Since 1937, the Association of University Presses has advanced the essential role of a global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. The Association holds integrity, diversity, stewardship, and intellectual freedom as core values. AUPresses members are active across many scholarly disciplines, including the humanities, arts, and sciences, publish significant regional and literary work, and are innovators in the world of digital publishing.

Alma García Featured on Texas Standard News Show

November 29, 2023

Alma García was featured on the Texas Standard News Show and spoke about her debut novel, All That Rises. In the interview, she spoke about her inspiration for the book, her personal ties to El Paso and Albuquerque, key themes in her book, and how she makes the story come alive.

The inspiration from the story came from a character that she wrote about in short story 20 years ago, a Mexican-American working class gardener.

“And once I wrote the story and it was published and it had received some attention, I felt like ‘oh, I can’t quite let go of this character. I am interested in spinning a world around him.’ And I already understood that El Paso was sort of the background of where he was in his world. But as I began to spin a world around him, I began to understand that there was something bigger happening here,” she said.

One of the key themes in her book is “that history repeats itself no matter how many times we think humanity has surely learned its lesson,” said García.

Another key theme she would like readers to take away is “the idea of what borders mean in a larger sense. I mean, a border is a place that both divides and joins in. It’s a geopolitical gesture.”

If you would like to listen or read the full interview click here.

About the book:

In the border city of El Paso, Texas, two guardedly neighboring families have plunged headlong into a harrowing week. Rose Marie DuPre, wife and mother, has abandoned her family. On the doorstep of the Gonzales home, long-lost rebel Inez appears. As Rose Marie’s husband, Huck (manager of a maquiladora), and Inez’s brother, Jerry (a college professor), struggle separately with the new shape of their worlds, Lourdes, the Mexican maid who works in both homes, finds herself entangled in the lives of her employers, even as she grapples with a teenage daughter who only has eyes for el otro lado—life, American style.

Excerpt from “Hottest of the Hotspots”

November 21, 2023

Continually recognized as one of the “hottest” of all the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the island of Madagascar has become ground zero for the most intensive market-based conservation interventions on Earth.

Hottest of the Hotspots by Benjamin Neimark details the rollout of market conservation programs, including the finding drugs from nature—or “bioprospecting”—biodiversity offsetting, and the selling of blue carbon credits from mangroves. It documents the tensions that exist at the local level, as many of these programs incorporate populations highly dependent on the same biodiversity now turned into global commodities for purposes of saving it. Proponents of market conservation mobilize groups of ecologically precarious workers, or the local “eco-precariat,” who do the hidden work of collecting and counting species, monitoring and enforcing the vital biodiversity used in everything from drug discovery to carbon sequestration and large mining company offsets.

Providing a voice for those community workers many times left out of environmental policy discussions, this volume proposes critiques that aim to build better conservation interventions with perspectives of the local eco-precariat. Read an excerpt from the book below.

In the late 1980s, the famed biologist Norman Myers published a series of articles that drastically modified the global conservation map. Calling attention to locations with unusually high concentrations of species endemism found nowhere else on Earth, and areas facing exceptional threats of species extinction, Myers argued that these “hotspots” should be accorded the highest priority for protection. Myers’ original article identified 10 hotspots for protection. Two years later, he expanded his list to 18. By the year 2000, it had grown to 25, and by 2004, 34 hotspots had been proposed for special attention. Yet throughout this period of hotspot proliferation – one site in particular – the island of Madagascar, was continually recognized as one of the ‘hottest’ of all the hotspots.

It is easy to see conservationists’ attraction to Madagascar. Split off from the supercontinent Gondwana roughly 160 million years ago, Madagascar is the fourth largest island and the world’s largest oceanic island. Due to its convergent evolutionary history and unique biogeography, it is endowed with some of the most unique flora and fauna in the world. It is not only conservationists who have taken note of the value of Madagascar’s unique biodiversity, however. For years, thousands of plants, amphibians, insects, marine animals and microorganisms have been identified, collected and transported off the island for use in the discovery and development of new drugs, crops, chemicals and biofuels. Plant parts and insects are extracted out of the high, humid forests of the east; succulents are gathered in the western dry-spiny forests; and soft coral sponges are found on the northern reefs. The unique flora and fauna have distinctive biological traits and exceptional chemical properties, highly attractive to make new natural products, including drugs, biofuels and industrial products. It is in this context that they, like Norman Myers, place a special value on Madagascar’s nature.

The systematic search, screening, collecting and commercial development of valuable genetic and biological resources, is sometimes called “bioprospecting”. As the term suggests, bioprospectors, similar to those who search underground for gold or semi-precious stones, are also on an exploration mission – to locate, test, isolate, and extract the distinctive chemical scaffolding concealed under layers of cellular tissue and transformed by years of evolutionary history.

November 20, 2023

We were thrilled to see so many authors and editors stop by our booth at the joint conference of the American Anthropological Association and the Canadian Anthropology Society in Toronto this year! If you weren’t able to visit our booth, there’s still time to order the books we had on display. Get 35% off with discount code AZAAA23 at checkout in our website shopping cart until 12/19/23.

Check out the photos of the event below!

A quiet moment before the exhibit hall opened on the first day of the conference.

Look at all those books! So many new Anthropology titles to display.

University of Arizona Press Senior Editor, Allyson Carter, standing beside Randall H. McGuire with his book, The Border and Its Bodies.

Maximilian Viatori with his books, The Unequal Ocean and Coastal Lives.

Thanks to everyone who came by to say hello, browse books, and talk with our staff. See you next year!

Excerpt from “Central American Migrations in the Twenty-First Century”

November 18, 2023

The reality of Central American migrations is broad, diverse, multidirectional, and uncertain. It also offers hope, resistance, affection, solidarity, and a sense of community for a region that has one of the highest rates of human displacement in the world.

Central American Migrations in the Twenty-First Century edited by Mauricio EspinozaMiroslava Arely Rosales Vásquezand Ignacio Sarmiento tackles head-on the way Central America has been portrayed as a region profoundly marked by the migration of its people. Through an intersectional approach, this volume demonstrates how the migration experience is complex and affected by gender, age, language, ethnicity, social class, migratory status, and other variables. Contributors carefully examine a broad range of topics, including forced migration, deportation and outsourcing, intraregional displacements, the role of social media, and the representations of human mobility in performance, film, and literature. The volume establishes a productive dialogue between humanities and social sciences scholars, and it paves the way for fruitful future discussions on the region’s complex migratory processes. Read an excerpt from the book’s Introduction below.

In July 2021, the name of a young athlete was heard by every living Guatemalan with WIFI access or a TV: Luis Grijalva. A 22-year-old undocumented Guatemalan immigrant in the United States, Grijalva participated in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. On August 6, he became the first Guatemalan to run in the track and field 5K final, where he ultimately finished in 12th place and established a new Guatemalan record. Grijalva came to the United States at the age of one, when his parents decided to leave Guatemala City and––irregularly––migrate to New York. After a couple of years, the family relocated to Fairfield, California, where the father worked at a carwash and at a furniture company. In 2012, Grijalva became a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which allows undocumented young immigrants to legally study and work in the United States. Thanks to this program and his talent, Grijalva was admitted with a full scholarship in Northern Arizona University in 2018. In June 2021, at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championship held in Eugene, Oregon, Grijalva secured a spot in the Olympic Games, becoming the last athlete to join Team Guatemala. Nevertheless, qualifying for the Olympic Games was not the hardest challenge––his participation was in jeopardy due to his undocumented status. Like any other undocumented immigrant, Grijalva would be able to leave the country at the cost of having his entrance to the United States prohibited for ten years. Grijalva paid more than $1,000 to file a special petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and obtain a permit that would allow him to re-enter the country after participating in the Olympics Games. After several anxious weeks of waiting, on July 27, his petition was ultimately accepted and Grijalva made history in Japan.

Grijalva’s story brings together some of the numerous difficulties faced by the 3.8 million Central Americans living in the United States—1.9 million of whom are believed to be in this country without papers (Babich and Batalova). For example, his legal permanence in the country where he has lived his entire life exclusively depends on the existence of the DACA program, which was in jeopardy when former president Donald Trump tried to cancel it during his first year in office. Fortunately for Grijalva and the other hundreds of thousands of DACA beneficiaries, the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the president did not have legal authority to rescind the program (Totemberg 2020). However, while Grijalva is able to work and study in the United States as long as DACA— which does not offer any path to residency or citizenship—is in effect, his parents are at constant risk of deportation.

Not all stories are the same for the more than 5 million migrants from the isthmus living (with or without documents) around the world. Privileged Central Americans also face forced displacement from their home countries—and not all end up in the United States. Two well-known recent cases are Nicaraguan authors Sergio Ramírez and Gioconda Belli. In September 2021, Ramírez (the 2017 Cervantes Prize winner and Nicaraguan vice president during the Sandinista government between 1985 and 1990) announced on social media that he had been forced into a second exile as a result of his open opposition to the oppressive Daniel Ortega-Rosario Murillo regime in his home country. At the time of this writing (2023), the eighty-year-old man was living in Spain, dealing with the hardships of his new reality (DW 2021). In one interview (given in Costa Rica, where he first fled), the writer addressed the heartbreak that this situation has caused him and which has affected thousands of his compatriots since the violently repressed protests against the current Nicaraguan government took place starting April 2018: “I am one of the 40,000 Nicaraguans exiled in Costa Rica, and I represent them because I have a voice that is heard, but exile is very hard. My house, my books collected during my entire life are there, and the idea that I may never find myself in that place of refuge that I have had for my writing is also very hard” (Santacecilia 2021; our translation). A similar situation has been faced by poet and novelist Gioconda Belli, also a former Sandinista militant, who in October 2021, at the age of seventy-two, was forced to abandon her home country (Barranco 2021). Her poem “No tengo dónde vivir” (I don’t have a place to live) reflects the anguish of having left everything behind (Belli 2021). In February 2023, Belli, Ramírez, and ninety-two other people were stripped of their Nicaraguan nationality by Ortega’s regime.

Belli’s and Ramírez’s experiences are far from being the only ones among Central American authors and creators. Throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, many people in the world of arts and letters have suffered exile from taking part in political struggles to confront authoritarian governments, or they have left because of a lack of scholarships and financial support to survive and devote themselves completely to their artistic endeavors or as a result of a precarious cultural infrastructure in their home countries.

Contributors
Guillermo Acuña
Andrew Bentley
Fiore Bran-Aragón
Tiffanie Clark
Mauricio Espinoza
Hilary Goodfriend
Leda Carolina Lozier
Judith Martínez
Alicia V. Nuñez
Miroslava Arely Rosales Vásquez
Manuel Sánchez Cabrera
Ignacio Sarmiento
Gracia Silva
Carolina Simbaña González
María Victoria Véliz

***

Mauricio Espinoza is a poet, translator, and researcher from Costa Rica. He is an assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American cultural studies at the University of Cincinnati. Miroslava Arely Rosales Vásquez is a PhD student in literature at Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Germany. Ignacio Sarmiento is an assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American history at the State University of New York–Fredonia whose research focuses on postwar Central America and the Central American diaspora.

Excerpt from “From the Skin”

November 15, 2023

In From the Skin edited by Jerome Jeffery Clark and Elise Boxer with foreword by Nick Estes, contributors describe how they apply the theories and concepts of Indigenous studies to their communities, programs, and organizations. These individuals reflect on and describe the ways the discipline has informed and influenced their community programs and actions. They show the ways these efforts advance disciplinary theories, methodologies, and praxes. Their chapters cover topics that include librarianship, health programs, community organizing, knowledge recovery, youth programming, and gendered violence. Through their examples, the contributors show how they negotiate their peoples’ knowledge systems with knowledge produced in Indigenous studies programs, demonstrating how they understand the relationship between their people, their nations, and academia. We share an excerpt from the book’s Introduction below.

From the Skin: Defending Indigenous Nations Using Theory and Praxis originates from conversations at the 2016 American Indian Studies Association (AISA) conference held at Arizona State University. The membership met to consider the theme “Native Leadership in Community Building.” Each year the conference concludes with an association business meeting where new board members and the president are nominated and voted on. Once the new board is selected, they decide on the conference location for the next year. We both remember that year for separate conversations. The first conversation had to do with organizational direction and the nomination and election process. The board and membership discussed ways the organization could grow and the areas in which we should put our focus. The membership broadly recognized that the AISA could do more to formalize structure and establish new protocols, so the board established committees to research non-profit status and the adoption of bylaws. Conference attendees then nominated new board members and a president.

The second conversation among J. Jeffery Clark, Eric Hardy, Madison Fulton, and Waquin Preston happened after the business meeting ended. They all listened and participated in the business meeting discussions, offering their professional skills and knowledge to help the organization. Their post-business meeting conversation was about more than offering their abilities because they discussed the organization’s direction and their specific place within it and the field more broadly. They had all attended association meetings throughout their undergraduate studies, sometimes to present but other times to hear panels and to be in community. As graduates of Indigenous Studies programs, some of them had moved on to professional careers, while others enrolled in masters’ programs. They found themselves at a crossroads, recognizing that their work in Indigenous Studies was not visible because they weren’t academic professionals. But they valued and applied the scholarship and intellectual conversations that shaped their thinking and informed their community work. They asked: What is our place in this association? What is our place in the discipline? Does our work in the community have a place? Is our work taken seriously? They knew the worthiness of their work, which they felt deserved the same consideration as scholarship produced by professional academics. Because they applied disciplinary theories and concepts in their work, they knew there was room for their efforts. At that moment, though, they felt like their presence and efforts were underappreciated. At the root of their conversation and questions are matters of belonging, disciplinary scope, academic connections to community, legibility of community intellect and practices, and what counts as Indigenous Studies.

We recount these conversations and questions because this book holds space for former Indigenous students to display the ways they apply and develop Indigenous Studies in community work. If any students of Indigenous Studies have ever asked: What contributions do my practices make? What are my intellectual contributions? Where does my work belong? The response is this project, which is a testament to the creativity, commitment, and intellect of Indigenous students in the discipline. This edited collection features practitioners and thinkers of Indigenous Studies actively working with nonprofits, grassroots organizations, and academic institutions, all of these contexts represent the distinct ways to apply disciplinary knowledge. The collection of essays illustrates how the contributors apply the discipline in community contexts to recover, revitalize, and assert Indigenous knowledge systems. These individuals reflect upon and elucidate the ways the discipline has informed and influenced their community programs and actions, and it also shows the ways these efforts advance disciplinary theories, methodologies, and praxes.

The authors represent nine disciplinary undergraduate and graduate programs that include Arizona State University, University of New Mexico, Fort Lewis College, and the University of California Los Angeles, among others. The authors in this volume work with Indigenous Nations located in the political boundaries of the United States, but the intellectual labor of global Indigenous scholars informs their efforts. A similar project could have included contributors from other countries, but we limited our contributors to the US context for the simple reason of project manageability. Our process of selecting authors was to make a general call to our networks. We do not represent all Indigenous Nations from the US. We selected authors to ensure they covered a range of topics (gender, youth, education, health) and places (university, community, non-profit).

In the following sections, we discuss disciplinary origins and principles to contextualize our contributors’ locations within Indigenous Studies. Primarily, we focus on longstanding debates around the relationship between our discipline and Indigenous communities and nations. We then propose and define the term practitioner theorist to demarcate how the contributors fit in our discipline and intellectual practices and why we must pay attention to how they apply concepts and theories in their communities. We present their work in three sections: Animating Embodied Knowledge, Unsettling Institutions and Making Community, and Making Good Relations Now and Beyond. Although each chapter could fit under multiple sections, we decided on their placements to emphasize key topics and themes in their work and because we saw them in conversation with contributors they’re grouped with.

Contributors
Elise Boxer
Randi Lynn Boucher-Giago
Shawn Brigman
J. Jeffery Clark
Nick Estes
Eric Hardy
Shalene Joseph
Jennifer Marley
Brittani R. Orona
Alexander Soto

Arizona Bookstores Celebrate University Press Week, Nov. 13 – 17

November 14, 2023

Thank you to Bright Side Bookshop in Flagstaff, Antigone Books in Tucson, and the University of Arizona Bookstore for highlighting University of Arizona Press books this week! They are part of a national independent bookstore campaign to celebrate University Press Week, November 13 – 17, 2023.

The Association of University Presses‘s theme for this year’s University Press Week is ”Speak UP.” See the complete list of SpeakUP books here. The SpeakUP list of 103 publications represent the many areas in which university presses and their authors #Speak UP. Below are a few photos from Arizona bookstores that show the range of University of Arizona Press books.

Photos from University of Arizona bookstore above show our latest books in borderlands studies, Chicano/Chicana studies, Indigenous studies, best-selling poetry, and desert natural history books.

Bright Side Bookshop’s UA Press display includes this year’s popular Rim to River, the classic Science Be Damned, along with the recently published Nihikéyah, Navajo Homeland and Becoming Hopi, A History.

Antigone Bookstore in Tucson celebrates University Press Week with UA Press books, including Raven’s Echo and Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak.

2023 AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting: Discounts, New Books, and More

November 13, 2023

We are thrilled to be participating in the 2023 AAA/CASCA Annual Meeting in Toronto, Ontario this week! November 15-19, find us at booth #211 to browse our latest anthropology titles and meet with our Senior Editor, Allyson Carter.

If you can’t attend this year, or if you need an extra copy of a book you discover at our booth, we’ve got you covered: use AZAAA23 for 35% off all titles through 12/19/23.

Are you an author or editor? Do you have a project that would be a great fit for The University of Arizona Press? To learn more about publishing with us, click here.

New & Featured Anthropology Titles

In Persistence of Good Living: A’uwe Life Cycles and Well-Being in the Central Brazilian Cerrados, anthropologist James R. Welch transparently presents ethnographic insights from his long-term fieldwork in two A’uwẽ communities. He addresses how distinctive constructions of age organization contribute to social well-being in an era of major ecological, economic, and sociocultural change. Welch shows how A’uwẽ perspectives on the human life cycle help define ethnic identity, promote cultural resilience, and encourage the betterment of youth.

Through careful analysis, Welch shows how contemporary traditional peoples can foster enthusiasm for service to family and community amid dominant cultures that prioritize individual well-being.

Urban Indigeneities: Being Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century is the first book to look at urban Indigenous peoples globally and present the urban Indigenous experience—not as the exception but as the norm. Edited by Dana Brablec and Andrew Canessa, the contributing essays draw on a wide range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, architecture, land economy, and area studies, and are written by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars. The analysis looks at Indigenous people across the world and draws on examples not usually considered within the study of indigeneity, such as Fiji, Japan, and Russia.

Based on a decade of ethnographic and archival research in Peru, The Unequal Ocean: Living with Environmental Change along the Peruvian Coast reveals how prevailing representations of the ocean obscure racialized disparities and the ways that different people experience the impacts of the climate crisis.

Maximilian Viatori analyzes a multitude of timely topics, including waves and coastal development, the circulation of ocean waste, El Niño warming events, and the extraction of jumbo squid. This book also addresses expanding scholarly interest in the world’s oceans as sites for thinking about social inequities, environmental politics, and multispecies relationships.

Urban life has long intrigued Indigenous Amazonians, who regard cities as the locus of both extraordinary power and danger. Modern and ancient cities alike have thus become models for the representation of extreme alterity under the guise of supernatural enchanted cities. In Urban Imaginaries in Native Amazonia: Tales of Alterity, Power, and Defiance, editors Fernando Santos-Granero and Emanuele Fabiano seek to analyze how these ambiguous urban imaginaries—complex representations that function as cognitive tools and blueprints for social action—express a singular view of cosmopolitical relations, how they inform and shape forest-city interactions, and the history of how they came into existence.

The Carbon Calculation examines how climate science, the policy world, and neoliberalism have mutually informed each other to define the problem of climate change as one of “market failure”—precluding alternatives to market-based solutions.

Raquel Rodrigues Machaqueiro critically highlights the ways in which politics has reinforced a scientific focus on one possible solution to the problem of climate change—namely those that largely absolve the industrialized world from undertaking politically painful transformations in its own economic model.

Continually recognized as one of the “hottest” of all the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the island of Madagascar has become ground zero for the most intensive market-based conservation interventions on Earth. Hottest of the Hotspots: The Rise of Eco-precarious Conservation Labor in Madagascar details the rollout of market conservation programs, including the finding of drugs from nature—or “bioprospecting”—biodiversity offsetting, and the selling of blue carbon credits from mangroves. It documents the tensions that exist at the local level, as many of these programs incorporate populations highly dependent on the same biodiversity now turned into global commodities for purposes of saving it. Providing a voice for those community workers many times left out of environmental policy discussions, Benjamin Neimark proposes critiques that aim to build better conservation interventions with perspectives of the local eco-precariat.

Challenging traditional and long-standing understandings, Our Hidden Landscapes: Indigenous Stone Ceremonial Sites in Eastern North America provides an important new lens for interpreting stone structures that had previously been attributed to settler colonialism. Instead, the contributors to this volume argue that these locations are sacred Indigenous sites.

Editors Lucianne Lavin and Elaine Thomas introduce readers to eastern North America’s Indigenous ceremonial stone landscapes (CSLs)—sacred sites whose principal identifying characteristics are built stone structures that cluster within specific physical landscapes, presenting these often unrecognized sites as significant cultural landscapes in need of protection and preservation.

Featured Series

Amerind Studies in Anthropology is a series that publishes the results of the Amerind Seminars, annual professional symposia hosted by the Amerind Foundation in Dragoon, Arizona, and cosponsored by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). Series titles that emerge from these symposia focus on timely topics like the analysis of regional archaeological sites, current issues in methodology and theory, and sweeping discussions of world phenomena such as warfare and cultural settlement patterns.

The Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona is a peer-reviewed monograph series sponsored by the School of Anthropology. Established in 1959, the series publishes archaeological and ethnographic papers that use contemporary method and theory to investigate problems of anthropological importance in the southwestern United States, Mexico, and related areas.

Critical Green Engagements: Investigating the Green Economy and Its Alternatives is a series that critically engages with the growing global advocacy of the “green economy” model for environmental stewardship and puts forth alternatives to discourses that dominate “green” practices. The series explores how different advocates, bystanders, and opponents engage with the changes envisaged by policy directives and environmental visions.

Native Peoples of the Americas is an ambitious series whose scope ranges from North to South America and includes Middle America and the Caribbean. Each volume takes unique methodological approaches—archaeological, ethnographic, ecological, and/or ethno-historical—to frame cultural regions. Volumes cover select theoretical approaches that link regions, such as Native responses to conquest and the imposition of authority, environmental degradation, loss of Native lands, and the appropriation of Native knowledge and cosmologies.

Biodiversity in small spaces is a series that provides short, to-the-point books that re-examine the conservation of biodiversity in small places and focus on the interplay of memory, identity, and affect in determining what matters, and thus what stays, thereby shaping the fabric of biodiversity in the present and, ultimately, the future.

Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies anchors intellectual work within an Indigenous framework that reflects Native-centered concerns and objectives. Series titles expand and deepen discussions about Indigenous people beyond nation-state boundaries, and complicate existing notions of Indigenous identity.

The Archaeology of Indigenous-Colonial Interactions in the Americas is a series that highlights leading current research and scholarship focused on Indigenous-colonial processes and engagement throughout all regions of the Americas. The series builds on the success of its predecessor, The Archaeology of Colonialism in Native North America.

Global Change/Global Health: Revealing Critical Interactions Between Social and Environmental Processes is a new series for scholarly monographs that treat global change and human health as interconnected phenomena. The goals of the series are to advance scholarship across the social and health sciences, contribute to public debates, and inform public policies about the human dimensions of global change.

For questions or to submit a proposal to any of these series, please contact Allyson Carter, acarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

Elizabeth Henson Essay in “The Brooklyn Rail”

November 10, 2023

Elizabeth Henson, author of Agrarian Revolt in the Sierra of Chihuahua, 1959–1965, writes about the Sojourner Truth Organization in The Brooklyn Rail. In her essay titled “When We Win, We Lose: The Story of a Run-Away Shop,” Henson details a critical event during her years as an activist and member of the Sojourner Truth Organization from the early 1970s to 1983. Similar to her book about the history of revolt and activism in Chihuahua, Mexico, the essay reveals her personal history of activism in the labor movement in Chicago.

She writes:

In the spring of 1976, Val Klink and I formed a legal collective downtown with Kingsley Clarke from the Sojourner Truth Organization (STO), the revolutionary communist group that we were close to. . . . South Chicago was grimy, with blocks of bungalows, menudo on weekends, and a thrift store opposite the bank. It was an espresso-free zone, but the train connected it to Hyde Park and downtown. In segregated Chicago, South Chicago was the one working-class district where Black, Mexican, and white folks lived more or less together. Our clients had real estate problems, contract disputes, and custody battles, a litany of tedious and intractable difficulties, exacerbated by the massive layoffs of the mid-1970s. Many had been employed by local steel mills.

Read the entire essay here.

About Agrarian Revolt in the Sierra of Chihuahua, 1959–1965:

The early 1960s are remembered for the emergence of new radical movements influenced by the Cuban Revolution. One such protest movement rose in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. With large timber companies moving in on the forested sierra highlands, campesinos and rancheros did not sit by as their lands and livelihoods were threatened. Continuing a long history of agrarian movements and local traditions of armed self-defense, they organized and demanded agrarian rights.

Thousands of students joined the campesino protests in long-distance marches, land invasions, and direct actions that transcended political parties and marked the participants’ emergence as political subjects.

Excerpt from “Ready Player Juan”

November 8, 2023

Written for all gaming enthusiasts, Ready Player Juan by Carlos Gabriel Kelly González fuses Latinx studies and video game studies to document how Latinx masculinities are portrayed in high-budget action-adventure video games, inviting Latinxs and others to insert their experiences into games made by an industry that fails to see them.

The book employs an intersectional approach through performance theory, border studies, and lived experience to analyze the designed identity “Player Juan.” Player Juan manifests in video game representations through a discourse of criminality that sets expectations of who and what Latinxs can be and do. Developing an original approach to video game experiences, the author theorizes video games as border crossings, and defines a new concept—digital mestizaje—that pushes players, readers, and scholars to deploy a Latinx way of seeing and that calls on researchers to consider a digital object’s constructive as well as destructive qualities. Read an excerpt from the book below.

In the past decade, I have taken to thinking more deeply and critically about video games, which has been my longest running and most beloved entertainment choice. Video games, just the words bring me joy and a possible connection to others— “you play video games?” A ‘Yes’ (a more common answer as the years have passed) always fills me with energy, excitement to know what this person plays and what games they love, or what console they play on, “oh PC, so cool!” I mean whatever people are playing on, I am pumped to hear their stories.
Games are full of stories, whether from the game’s narrative or from the people recounting a moment from their gameplay experiences. I once learned about an amazing game from a former student at a youth summer camp where I taught. The student chatted me up about all the games they played when at home. With excitement he pointed to a game’s alternate and shifting storylines, how cool it was that you could be three different people, and how there were consequences beyond what he was used to all in studio Quantic Dream’s Detroit: Become Human. I was also impressed by its story and how personal decisions left me asking what if I had chosen differently? Was there another way? The storytelling in video games compels me to play, to think about the game even when I should be doing other things; I revel in the stories video games provide.
Like the young boy at the camp, I didn’t know one could study video games beyond making them. I thought playing and enjoying games was all there was for me. I came to know this only because I was in a PhD program, which makes me think of how many people from other marginalized groups do not know or have the access they need to study video games? When you think about the low number of Latinxs in gaming production or in games’ representations, it isn’t surprising to see very little about Latinxs or games that continually stereotype us when that’s all we see in media. Then add the fact video games have always been an expensive hobby. The PlayStation 5 (PS5) is currently $750 in Brazil (2021, July), that’s over $250 more than the $500 US retail price. Or what about the 16-year-old Max Hayden buying and reselling PS5s for a total profit of over $1.7 million dollars? Video games and the new consoles are expensive and for the most part, because of the pandemic you are lucky to get one. All this to say that I have been fortunate in my access to the worlds made possible by video game creators and I consider it a privilege to be able to study, play, and love these stories.
We are living in a boom period for video games, in every sense of it. The attention to gaming has led to streaming favorite players, to esports competition, to websites dedicated to critiques and reviews, to next generation consoles, to more films and TV series about video games, to Twitter updates on where you can snag a next gen console; video games are it right now. Before I started to get into this research, I used to think video games had to prove they were worthy of attention or study, etc. This stance was a way for me to answer the criticism of video games being a waste of time, to study and examine the games I love to show people what was up! Yet, video games are worthy, and this idea runs less circles around me than before. However, I am plagued by yet another concern, this one more critical to unlocking the full potential of the stories I love in video games. In the face of this undeniable and infinite growth video games continue to lack diversity, especially when it comes to more completely capturing the extent of non-White peoples’ humanity. We just don’t see many stories not centering whiteness.
Video game storytelling has the potential to be boundless, to create what our other media cannot achieve, and yet we continue to see the same characters and the same stereotypes. Without diversity how can video games aspire to technology’s boundless possibilities? I’m reminded of Christopher González’s Permissible Narratives and how he writes about the limits experienced by Latinxs who were publishing their stories. He investigates how the early success of Latinx narratives set limits on the types of Latinx storytelling, creating a phenomenon of what was or is deemed permissible, which was/is based on audiences’ receptions to what stories they thought were authentic Latinx stories. He writes that “the earliest Latino/a authors were already attempting to break from a priori expectations of what types of narratives they could create; what they lacked was narrative permissibility from their audiences” (González 177). We continue to see this in the way Latinxs are represented in video games, with not much being permissible beyond the stereotypes involving White protagonists and Latinx side characters—if we even make it that far into the script.
Game production in the US (and globally) needs a more well-rounded dialogue that makes space for marginalized peoples, and no Naughty Dog Studios (creator of Last of us Two), you don’t just throw in a Latinx character and expect us to be like, “cool, cool, you did it!” I love that game, but it tokenizes people of color and treats us like horror movie characters where we have a role and then we do not, usually by brutal death. This role given to marginalized groups is usually in the service of expanding upon the protagonists’ story, just like Manny in Last of us Two. Thus, as consumers of games and producers of games we need to recognize that with the growing popularity and the immense storytelling power of video games comes responsibility— yes; Uncle Ben/Aunt May telling Spidey with great power. . . you know the rest.
Video games can and do provide a multitude of experiences that work on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. Again, which is why it is so critical to be more inclusive instead of recreating the same White male lead with a slightly modified 5’o clock shadow. When it comes to Latinxs, we really don’t exist in the same ways that White characters do. In fact, Latinx masculinities (in mostly male bodies) exist only in stereotypes, and I can only name three playable Latina characters in the last 20 years: Isabella Keyes, Christie Monteiro, and Sombra. Notable here, Sombra was only added after the launch of Overwatch, again pointing to how Latinxs are afterthoughts. How is this possible when according to Pew Research, Latinxs are considered the fastest growing group of people to identify as gamers? (Pew). Latinxs are continually underrepresented as marginalized peoples in all our media even though we make up the most sizeable portion of non-gringo peoples in the US. This erasure, this ignoring, this way of seeing worlds without Latinxs just can’t stand anymore. As gamers, as people, as heavy consumers of video games (the highest consumers of video games) Latinxs deserve better.

Photos from Alma García’s Book Launch in Seattle

November 8, 2023

Alma García, celebrated her debut novel All That Rises at two Seattle bookstores. Although originally from Texas and New Mexico, García now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest. She launched her novel at Secret Garden Books where she used to work as a bookseller. Her “OG” booksellers surprised her at the celebration. Everyone enjoyed music by Jenny&Birch and Los Flacos. Next up, Kristen Millares interviewed García at Elliott Bay Book Company. Seattle is a great town for authors and readers!

If you live in Texas or New Mexico, Alma García is coming your way:

Nov. 10: Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center in San Antonio

Nov. 11: Texas Book Festival in Austin

Nov. 14 Búho Books in Brownsville

Nov. 16 Daniel Chacón Talks with Alma García in El Paso

Nov. 17 Bookworks in Albuquerque

Readers with the book and Alma García reading at Secret Garden Books. Los Flacos and Jenny&Birch brought the book launch rhythm.

At Elliot Bay Book Company, readers celebrated the debut novelist. Kristen Millares (on the right in red) interviewed Alma García, then the author read from All That Rises.

About the book:

In the border city of El Paso, Texas, two guardedly neighboring families have plunged headlong into a harrowing week. Rose Marie DuPre, wife and mother, has abandoned her family. On the doorstep of the Gonzales home, long-lost rebel Inez appears. As Rose Marie’s husband, Huck (manager of a maquiladora), and Inez’s brother, Jerry (a college professor), struggle separately with the new shape of their worlds, Lourdes, the Mexican maid who works in both homes, finds herself entangled in the lives of her employers, even as she grapples with a teenage daughter who only has eyes for el otro lado—life, American style.

A Yavapai Night to Remember: Presenting to Carlos Montezuma’s Ancestral Community

November 7, 2023                                    

By David Martínez

Every aspect of my experience writing My Heart Is Bound Up with Them: How Carlos Montezuma Became the Voice of a Generation has been profoundly rewarding and fulfilling. From delving into the treasures of the Carlos Montezuma Archival Collection in ASU’s Hayden Library to first holding the book in my hands, I felt a genuine satisfaction with the work I created and an immense amount of gratitude for everyone who has helped along the way. However, now that the book is out, the focus is more on the historic figure at the center of my book than it is on me as researcher and author. As an Indigenous scholar and public intellectual, a unique experience in my professional career is sharing my work with Indigenous communities. Of particular importance is the opportunity to speak with an historic figure’s living descendants. On the evening of October 5, 2023, I had the honor of telling members of Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation what I had written about their revered ancestor, Wassaja, also known as Carlos Montezuma. It was a night I will always remember.

         While many today think of the Wekopa Resort and Casino complex when they think of Fort McDowell, for others the lands along the Verde River are the ancestral Yavapai homeland. For my Akimel O’odham ancestors, however, the Yavapai were o’ob, which is how we say “enemy” in our ne’oki, our O’odham language. In turn, the Yavapai called us jo’go ha’na. Nonetheless, as Arizona Territory was building its economy for the purpose of being admitted into the Union as the forty-eighth state, which it did in 1912, local business interests in the Verde Valley coveted Yavapai land and water. Toward that end, they convinced the Office of Indian Affairs under Commissioner Cato Sells to take steps at relocating the Yavapai from Fort McDowell to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa reservation. Needless to say, neither tribe was pleased with this proposition. Fortunately, someone arrived, a protector, who would fight the Indian Office, advocate for their rights, and avert an economic catastrophe and a humanitarian crisis. His Yavapai relatives knew him as Wassaja and always addressed him in their copious letters as “Dear Cousin.” The rest of the country, including my O’odham ancestors, knew him as Carlos Montezuma, the author of “Let My People Go” (1915). What Montezuma did for Salt River, not to mention the Gila River reservation, which would have also felt the impact of the Yavapai forced removal, was the story that I wanted to tell at Fort McDowell.

               When Clissene Lewis, director of the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Museum & Cultural Center, invited me to present, it was at the behest of Irasema Coronado, director of ASU’s School of Transborder Studies, where I have a joint appointment (with American Indian Studies). Clissene, in addition to other Yavapai community leaders, were given signed copies shortly after the book’s release this past February. So, it was no surprise that Clissene was anxious to organize an event. She had read the book already and had written to me to share her favorable opinion. The only restriction with respect to the event was limiting it to Fort McDowell community members. Irasema and I were amenable to this request. Fort McDowell wanted this to be just for them. Consequently, my wife Sharon and I drove from our home in Tempe to the Fort McDowell Recreation Center, which contains a ballroom and theater stage. A sign inside called this venue the “Large Room.”

               While the recreation center, which stands near the museum, isn’t that far away from the casino and resort complex, it feels a world apart. The facility was decorated for Halloween and the workout room, gymnasium, pool, and other rooms were busy with Yavapai children and adults. Clissene was waiting for us in the Large Room. Having arrived early, Sharon and I were introduced to the small team of community members that were there to help make the night’s event run smoothly. I wish I could recall all of their names. But the night turned into a whirlwind. Not long before 6 pm, the room began to fill. Before I knew it, Clissene was greeting the audience. She then asked an elder to say a prayer and bless the refreshments. People ate and visited, all the while laughing and having a pleasant time. A few minutes later, it was time to begin.

               After thanking Clissene for her warm introduction, I began telling my Yavapai audience why their ancestor, Wassaja, was so important to my people as well. I showed them the ooshikbina, the calendar sticks, which recounted how my O’odham ancestors at Salt River and Blackwater villages remembered young Wassaja as Hejel-wi’ikam, or “Left Alone,” when he was captured by O’odham scouts, who were working for the US Army during the late 1860s. I told them what the Indian Office wanted to do to Yavapai; how their rights were disregarded and their well-being ignored, all in the name of progress. Significantly, I shared with them my feelings when Montezuma showed compassion for the O’odham, even though they were the ones that stole him and sent him into exile from his homeland. In fact, as Anna Moore Shaw related in A Pima Past, Montezuma once visited Sacaton Village on the Gila River reservation, where he asked to meet his captors. According to oral history, Wassaja’s captors, now elderly, were apprehensive about meeting the young boy who was now a man. Yet, when Montezuma met one of these former scouts, he shook his hand and thanked him for saving him from the devastating conditions that his Yavapai family had to endure in the aftermath of the Army’s invasion. My story concluded with an account from Yavapai oral history, which said that not long before Montezuma passed away in January 1923, he was taken to Skeleton Cave, the site of an 1872 massacre that shattered the community. Ancestral remains were being recovered. However, even after fifty years, the cave walls still showed the blood stains. Montezuma wept. My presentation concluded with a reverential silence, which I honored by saying that whatever one may think about Montezuma’s political legacy—he was a friend to Carlisle Indian School founder Richard Pratt and a strong proponent of abolishing the Indian Office—no one should ever doubt that Montezuma loved his people.

               In conclusion, as people applauded, a little girl, about seven years old, came rushing up to the stage. When she gestured to me that she wanted to say something, I leaned forward so I could hear her. “Can I have your autograph?” Needless to say, I was delighted. At the same time, I noticed that she wasn’t holding anything. Clissene had purchased books for community members, however, I didn’t expect a little girl to be among my readers. “What did you want me to sign?” I asked her. “I don’t know. But my grandmother said that we could get your autograph.” Naturally, like a typical college professor, I had a pen and yellow pad with me, complete with my lecture notes. I then led her to the table where Sharon was sitting. While writing a thank you note to my young autograph seeker, others began lining up to get their books signed. One at a time, they told me their names, expressed appreciation for my lecture, and asked me an assortment of questions about my book, Montezuma, and me. Among the attendees was the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation president, Bernadine Burnette; the vice president, Paul J Russell; and the treasurer, Pansy P Thomas. Only on my own reservation have I felt so moved and honored. Thank you all.

***
David Martínez is professor of American Indian and Transborder studies at Arizona State University and is enrolled in the Gila River Indian Community. He is the author of My Heart Is Bound Up with Them: How Carlos Montezuma Became the Voice of a Generation, Life of the Indigenous Mind: Vine Deloria Jr. and the Birth of the Red Power Movement, and Dakota Philosopher: Charles Eastman and American Indian Thought.

Anthony Macías on Latinopia Cinema

November 3, 2023

Anthony Macías, author of Chicano-Chicana Americana: Pop Culture Pluralism Starring Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Robert Beltran, and Lupe Ontiveros, was interviewed on Latinopia.com. In the short video, he talks about how the actors subtly transformed American culture through film imagery. He explains about two actors featured in the book: “When I was telling people about the book, I was shocked that they had no idea who Anthony Quinn is. And he has been in hundreds of movies, co-starring with all these Academy Award winners. He’s a four-time Academy Award winner and people haven’t heard of him! And then Katy Jurado—I wasn’t aware of her other than her groundbreaking, legendary role in ‘High Noon.’ She was bigger in the golden age of Mexican cinema than in the classic Hollywood studio system.”

About Chicano-Chicana Americana:

Each biographical chapter analyzes an underappreciated actor, revealing their artistic contributions to U.S. common culture. Their long-shot careers tell a tale of players taking action with agency and fighting for screen time and equal opportunity despite disadvantages and differential treatment in Hollywood. These dynamic and complex individuals altered cinematic representations—and audience expectations—by surpassing stereotypes.

The book explores American national character by showing how ethnic Mexicans attained social and cultural status through fair, open competition without a radical realignment of political or economic structures. Their creative achievements demanded dignity and earned respect. Macías argues that these performances demonstrated a pop culture pluralism that subtly changed mainstream America, transforming it from the mythological past of the Wild West to the speculative future of science fiction.

When Language Broke Open Makes #SpeakUp List

November 2, 2023

To celebrate University Press Week (November 12-17, 2023), the Association of University Presses created a list of “103 University Press Publications that #SpeakUp”. Selected by member presses to celebrate UP Week 2023, these 103 publications represent the many areas in which university presses and their authors #Speak UP. We are happy to announce that When Language Broke Open: An Anthology of Queer and Trans Black Writers of Latin American Descent, edited by Alan Pelaez Lopez, is on the list.

When Language Broke Open collects the creative offerings of forty-five queer and trans Black writers of Latin American descent who use poetry, prose, and visual art to illustrate Blackness as a geopolitical experience that is always changing. Telling stories of Black Latinidades, this anthology centers the multifaceted realities of the LGBTQ community.

Alan Pelaez Lopez is an Afro-Indigenous poet and installation and adornment artist from Oaxaca, Mexico. Their work attends to the realities of undocumented migrants in the United States, the Black condition in Latin America, and the transgender imagination. Their poetry collection, Intergalactic Travels: poems from a fugitive alien, was a finalist for the 2020 International Latino Book Award. They are an assistant professor at the University of California, Davis.

November 2, 2023

We were thrilled to see so many authors and editors stop by our booth at the Western History Association Conference in Los Angeles in October. If you weren’t able to stop by, there’s still time to order our western history titles. For 30% off and free shipping in the continental U.S., use discount code AZWHA23 at checkout in our website shopping cart. The discount ends 11/28/23.

Yvette Saavedra and Vanessa Fonseca-Chavez with their books. They are also editors for our new series BorderVisions.

Author Doug Hurt speaks with Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles.

Co-Editor Elise Boxer with her new book!

José Alamillo (center) speaks with Arizona Crossroads series editors Katherine Morrissey (left) and Eric Meeks (right).

Author Nancy Marie Mithlo speaks with Kristen Buckles.

Yvette Saavedra (Pitzer) and Publicity Manager Mary Reynolds (Pomona) realize they are both Claremont Colleges graduates. Go Sagehens!

Aldama, Lomelí & Gómez Winners for 2023 International Latino Book Awards

November 1, 2023

International Latino Book Awards event group photo

We are pleased to announce that two of our books were recently selected as winners for the 2023 International Latino Book Awards. Juan Felipe Herrera: Migrant, Activist, Poet Laureate, edited by Francisco A. Lomelí and Osiris Aníbal Gómez, won a gold medal in the “Best Biography” category.  Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Frederick Luis Aldama won a bronze medal in the “Best Academic Themed Book, College Level – English” category.

In their remarks about Juan Felipe Herrera: Migrant, Activist, Poet Laureate, the judges complimented the book’s inclusion of “19 writers’ diverse thoughts about the works and life of a national treasure.” Commenting on Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, the judges wrote that the book “would make an interesting documentary. Very interesting to read about the growth and nurturing of the development of Latina/o actors.”

The International Latino Book Awards recognize excellence in literature, honoring books written in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, with the goal of “growing the awareness for books written by, for and about Latinos.”

About the authors:

Frederick Luis Aldama, also known as Professor Latinx, is the Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Adjunct Professor and Distinguished University Professor at The Ohio State University. He is the award-winning author of more than forty-eight books, including the bilingual children’s books The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie and With Papá. He is editor or co-editor of nine academic press book series, including Latinographix, which publishes Latinx comics. He is the creator of the first documentary on the history of Latinx superheroes and the founder and director of UT Austin’s Latinx Pop Lab.

Francisco A. Lomelí is professor emeritus and distinguished professor of Chicano/a studies and Latin American literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has published extensively on Mexican, Chilean, Argentine, and Chicano/a literatures, as well as multiple reference works in the field of Chicano/a studies.

Osiris Aníbal Gómez is an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His areas of expertise include contemporary Indigenous literatures of Mexico, Mexican literature, Chicano/a literature, and translation studies. His work explores the condition, aesthetics, and social justice possibilities of bilingual Indigenous and Chicanx writers.

Congratulations to all!

Excerpt from “Construction of Maya Space”

November 1, 2023

Construction of Maya Space, edited by Thomas H. Guderjan and Jennifer P. Mathews, sheds new light on how Maya society may have shaped—and been shaped by—the constructed environment. Moving beyond the towering pyramids and temples often associated with Maya spaces, this volume focuses on how those in power used features such as walls, roads, rails, and symbolic boundaries to control those without power, and how the powerless pushed back.

Through fifteen engaging chapters, contributors examine the construction of spatial features by ancient, historic, and contemporary Maya elite and non-elite peoples to understand how they used spaces differently. Through cutting-edge methodologies and case studies, chapters consider how and why Maya people connected and divided the spaces they used daily in their homes, in their public centers, in their sacred places such as caves, and across their regions to inform us about the mental constructs they used to create their lives and cultures of the past. Read an excerpt from the book’s Introduction below.

The purpose of this volume is to examine the construction of spatial features by ancient, historic, and contemporary Maya people of Mesoamerica. As humans such as Maya peoples encounter spaces like a tropical landscape, they modify them to meet their social and economic needs. They built towering pyramids around public plazas and constructed vast networks of ditched fields to produce food and other agricultural products, however, much of the focus of this volume goes beyond these spaces. Instead, we consider how and why Maya people of the ancient past and more recent present connected and divided the spaces they used daily in their homes, in their public centers, in their sacred places, and across their regions. How does the evidence of walls, roads, rails, and boundary markers that they left on today’s archaeological landscape inform us about the mental constructs they used to create their lives and cultures of the past?

This theoretical approach is essentially a Taylorian view – one that believes that we can understand the behaviors that caused and created the archaeological data and then, by extension, inform us about their defining mental constructs (Taylor 1948). Like Walt Taylor himself, we may never fully reach that final goal. However, we challenged ourselves and our colleagues to reexamine how and why walls, roads and other features can both connect and divide space. At first blush, the idea that “walls divide” or “roads connect” sounds simplistic. However, as the papers in this volume demonstrate, the answers to our questions are complex and nuanced. To arrive where we wanted this study to end involves deconstructing archaeological data, both temporally and in terms of the behavior that created those data. We believe we have made strides in our own understanding and hope to share them in this volume by thinking about how our notion of Maya landscapes, placemaking, and memory work have evolved.

Contributors
Elias Alcocer Puerto
Alejandra Alonso Olvera
Traci Ardren
Jaime J. Awe
Alejandra Badillo Sánchez
Nicolas C. Barth
Grace Lloyd Bascopé
Adolpho Iván Batún-Alpuche
Elizabeth Beckner
M. Kathryn Brown
Bernadette Cap
Miguel Covarrubias Reyna
Juan Fernandez Diaz
Alberto G. Flores Colin
Thomas H. Guderjan
C. Colleen Hanratty
Héctor Hernández Álvarez
Scott R. Hutson
Joshua J. Kwoka
Whitney Lytle
Aline Magnoni
Jennifer P. Mathews
Stephanie J. Miller
Shawn G. Morton
Holley Moyes
Shannon Plank
Dominique Rissolo
Patrick Rohrer
Carmen Rojas Sandoval
Justine M. Shaw
J. Gregory Smith
Travis W. Stanton
Karl A. Taube
Daniel Vallejo-Cáliz

Brandy McDougall Is Keynote Speaker at Schools of the Future Conference

October 31, 2023

Brandy Nālani McDougall will speak at the The Schools of the Future Conference (SOTF Conference) on November 16, 1 -2 p.m., in Honolulu. In her keynote presentation, she will share her poems and poems by other Hawaiʻi poets, as well as reflections on her experience as both a haumana (student) and as a kumu (teacher) within Hawaiʻi school systems.

McDougall, the author of  Aina Hanau/Birth Land and Finding Meaning, (Kanaka ‘Ōiwi) is a poet, scholar, mother, and aloha ‘āina from Aʻapueo, Maui, and now living with her ʻohana in Kalaepōhaku, Oʻahu. She is director of the Mānoa Center for the Humanities and Civic Engagement and an associate professor of Indigenous studies in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s American Studies Department.

The SOTF Conference explores a wide-range of topics and ideas related to best and emerging practices in education. The annual conference is the largest event of its nature in Hawai’i and serves as an opportunity for teachers and administrators, across Hawaii’s public, private and charter schools, to reflect upon how to better serve children. The conference is produced annually in partnership with the Hawai’i State Department of Education, the Hawai’i Association of Independent Schools, the Hawai’i Community Foundation and the Hawai’i Society for Technology in Education.

National Book, Jacket, and Journal Show at UA Press

October 27, 2023

The University of Arizona Press will host this year’s Association of University Presses 58th annual Book, Jacket, and Journal Show, Nov. 13 – Dec. 23, 2023. The show coincides with the 10th anniversary University Press Week, Nov. 13 – 17. One winning design above is from Princeton University Press Designer Chris Ferrante and The Original Bambi, The Story of a Life in the Forest, by Felix Salten, illustrated by Alenka Sottler.

The show will recognize, honor, and celebrate the work of design and production professionals in university publishing.

“There is so much knowledge and creativity in this community,” said Wendy McMillen, Production and Design Manager at the University of Notre Dame Press, who, along with Mindy Basinger Hill, Art Director at the University of Washington Press, co-chaired this year’s Book, Jacket, and Journal Show Committee. “The AUPresses Book, Jacket, and Journal Show gets better every year!”

Open to AUPresses member publishers worldwide, this year’s competition attracted 488 submissions, published during 2022 in these categories:

  • Scholarly typographic books
  • Scholarly illustrated books
  • Trade typographic books
  • Trade illustrated books
  • Poetry and literature books
  • Reference books
  • Journals
  • Jackets and covers (of books and journals)

Come check out the winners at the UA Press office, 5th Floor of the Main Library, University of Arizona.

Excerpt from “Nihikéyah, Navajo Homeland”

This anthology of essays edited by Lloyd L. Lee offers perspectives of the Navajo homeland, nihikéyah, highlighting Diné examinations and understandings of the land.

While various books have investigated Native American reservations and homelands, this book is from Diné individuals’ experiences, observations, and examinations. Poets, writers, and scholars frame their thoughts on four key questions: What are the thoughts/perspectives on nihikéyah/Navajo homeland? What challenges does nihikéyah face in the coming generations, and what should all peoples know about nihikéyah? And how can nihikéyah build a strong and positive Navajo Nation for the rest of this century and beyond? Below read an excerpt from the book.

Over 400,000 people are enrolled Navajo Nation citizens and over 150,000 live on the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation land base is 27,413 square miles, larger than ten of the fifty states in the United States of America.  While the Navajo Treaty of 1868 established an original reservation, Diné people always regard their homeland in relation to their six sacred mountains.  This homeland is referred to as Níhi Kéyah.  Níhi kéyah means the land the people live and walk upon called home. The Diyin Dine’é (Holy People) created níhi kéyah for the people and instructed them to live within its space.  For this book, the term níhi kéyah will be used to refer to Navajo land and the homeland.

Níhi kéyah is the world to Diné people.  While many Native Nations and communities have been separated from their original homeland through forced removal and live elsewhere, Diné people continue to live on their original homeland even though some of the land is not designated as part of the reservation. 

Níhi kéyah is more than a commodity and property for the people, it is their foundation and hózhǫ́ǫgo iiná (beauty way of life).  Níhi kéyah is a physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual existence for the people. Níhi kéyah is the core of what it means to be human and Diné.  Níhi kéyah’s energy and spirit are reflected in the creation scripture, journey narratives, matrix, and way of life. 

In this book, the eight contributors categorized in the cardinal directions will focus on níhi kéyah’s spirit and the challenges the homeland faces including climate change, oppression, bureaucracy, and the western legal system.  The contributors’ examinations, analyses, and/or reflections display a distinct Diné or Navajo matrix.  While many non-Diné or non-Navajo have written about the land, philosophy, history, and so many other topics on the Navajo Nation, each of the contributors in this book are Diné, grew up or live on the Navajo Nation, and have observed and/or experienced in their lifetime what they are writing about for the reading audience.  Their written words embody níhi kéyah, the love, and concerns each has for their homeland.  

We start with a general description of a part of the Navajo creation narratives to provide context to níhi kéyah.  The stories come from the book Navajo History Volume I compiled by the Navajo Curriculum Center, edited by Ethelou Yazzie, and published by Rough Rock Press in 1971 and Mike Mitchell’s Origins of the Diné published in 2001 by the Navajo Studies and Curriculum Center at the Rough Rock Community School.  Other versions of these narratives exist and each one, including this generalized version, are all accurate. The texts used to discuss the creation narratives have long been thought of by Navajo people and scholars as some of the most reliable sources on Diné baa hane’ (Navajo history).

Contributors
Mario Atencio
Shawn Attakai
Wendy Shelly Greyeyes
Rex Lee Jim
Manny Loley
Jonathan Perry
Jake Skeets
Jennifer Jackson Wheeler

2023 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference: Discounts, Featured Books, and More

October 23, 2023

We are thrilled to be participating in the 2023 Arizona Historic Preservation Conference this week! This year, the conference will be held October 25-28 right here in Tucson, Arizona. View the full schedule here.

One more reason to attend is a chance to hear keynote speaker, Lydia Otero, who has written extensively on urban space, place, and history. We’ll have extra copies of Otero’s La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City at our booth!

If you can’t attend this year, or if you need an extra copy of a book you discover at our booth, we’ve got you covered: use AZHPC23 for 35% off all titles through 11/28/23.

New & Featured History Titles

Becoming Hopi is a comprehensive look at the history of the people of the Hopi Mesas as it has never been told before. The Hopi Tribe is one of the most intensively studied Indigenous groups in the world. Most popular accounts of Hopi history romanticize Hopi society as “timeless.” The archaeological record and accounts from Hopi people paint a much more dynamic picture, full of migrations, gatherings, and dispersals of people; a search for the center place; and the struggle to reconcile different cultural and religious traditions. Becoming Hopi weaves together evidence from archaeology, oral tradition, historical records, and ethnography to reconstruct the full story of the Hopi Mesas, rejecting the colonial divide between “prehistory” and “history.”

Diverting the Gila, the sequel to David H. DeJong’s 2009 Stealing the Gila, continues to tell the story of the forerunner to the San Carlos Irrigation Project and the Gila River Indian Community’s struggle to regain access to their water. DeJong explores the complex web of tension, distrust, and political maneuvering to divide and divert the scarce waters of the Gila River.

On March 1, 1966, the voters of Tucson approved the Pueblo Center Redevelopment Project—Arizona’s first major urban renewal project—which targeted the most densely populated eighty acres in the state. For close to one hundred years, tucsonenses had created their own spatial reality in the historical, predominantly Mexican American heart of the city, an area most called “la calle.” Here, amid small retail and service shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, they openly lived and celebrated their culture. To make way for the Pueblo Center’s new buildings, city officials proceeded to displace la calle’s residents and to demolish their ethnically diverse neighborhoods, which, contends Lydia Otero, challenged the spatial and cultural assumptions of postwar modernity, suburbia, and urban planning.

La Calle examines conflicting claims to urban space, place, and history as advanced by two opposing historic preservationist groups: the La Placita Committee and the Tucson Heritage Foundation. She gives voice to those who lived in, experienced, or remembered this contested area, and analyzes the historical narratives promoted by Anglo American elites in the service of tourism and cultural dominance.

In the first half of the twentieth century, the canyons and mesas of the Southwest beckoned and the burgeoning field of archaeology thrived. Among those who heeded the call, Marjorie Ferguson Lambert became one of only a handful of women who left their imprint on the study of southwestern archaeology and anthropology. In No Place for a Lady, Shelby Tisdale successfully combines Lambert’s voice from extensive interviews with her own to take us on a thought-provoking journey into how Lambert created a successful and satisfying professional career and personal life in a place she loved (the American Southwest) while doing what she loved.

Western History Association 2023: Discounts, New Books, and More

October 23, 2023

We are thrilled to be participating in the 2023 Western History Association meeting in Los Angeles, California this week! Find us near the exhibit hall entrance at booth #201 to browse our latest history titles and meet with our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles.

If you can’t attend this year, or if you need an extra copy of a book you discover at our booth, we’ve got you covered: use AZWHA23 for 30% off all titles through 11/28/23.

Are you an author or editor? Do you have a project that would be a great fit for The University of Arizona Press? To learn more about publishing with us, click here.

New & Featured History Titles

In From the Skin, contributors demonstrate the real-world application of Indigenous theory to the work they do in their own communities and how this work is driven by urgency, responsibility, and justice—work that is from the skin.

Editors J. Jeffery Clark and Elise Boxer propose and develop the term practitioner-theorist to describe how the contributors theorize and practice knowledge within and between their nations and academia. The practitioner-theorists of this volume envision and labor toward decolonial futures where Indigenous peoples and nations exist on their own terms.

In the Arms of the Saguaros shows how, from the botanical explorers of the nineteenth century to the tourism boosters in our own time, saguaros and their images have fulfilled attention-getting needs and expectations. Through text and lavish images, author William L. Bird Jr. explores the saguaro’s growth into a western icon from the early days of the American railroad to the years bracketing World War II, when Sun Belt boosterism hit its zenith and proponents of tourism succeed in moving the saguaro to the center of the promotional frame.

While various books have investigated Native American reservations and homelands, Nihikéyah is from Diné individuals’ experiences, observations, and examinations. Lloyd L. Lee gathers poets, writers, and scholars who frame their thoughts on four key questions: What are the thoughts/perspectives on nihikéyah/Navajo homeland? What challenges does nihikéyah face in the coming generations, and what should all peoples know about nihikéyah? And how can nihikéyah build a strong and positive Navajo Nation for the rest of this century and beyond?

Where We Belong dispels the harmful myth that Native people are unfit stewards of their sacred places. In this comparative work, Daisy Ocampo brings together the stories of two peoples and places in North America, establishing Indigenous preservation practices as sustaining approaches to the caretaking of the land that embody ecological sustainability, spiritual landscapes, and community well-being.

Celebrating more than forty years of creative writing by Chicana author Margarita Cota-Cárdenas, La Plonqui includes critical essays, reflections, interviews, and previously unpublished writing by the author herself to document the lifelong craft and legacy of a pioneering writer in the field. Editors Jesús Rosales and Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez affirm Margarita Cota-Cárdenas’s significant role in shaping the field of Chicana literature and emphasize the importance of honoring a celebrated author who wrote a majority of her works in Spanish—one of the few Chicana writers to do so.

A comprehensive new work, Carbon Sovereignty offers a deep dive into the complex inner workings of energy shift in the Navajo Nation. Geographer Andrew Curley, a member of the Navajo Nation, examines the history of coal development within the Navajo Nation, including why some Diné supported coal and the consequences of doing so. He explains the Navajo Nation’s strategic choices to use the coal industry to support its sovereignty as a path forward in the face of ongoing colonialism.

Chicano-Chicana Americana is a cultural history of Mexican Americans in film, television, and theater. Through biographical sketches of performers such as Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Robert Beltran, and Lupe Ontiveros, this work asserts Mexican Americans’ proper place in the national narratives of our collective imaginary. Conveying a multicentered, polycultural America, Anthony Macías shows us intriguing performers in bit parts who steal the scene and redefine what it means to be American.

Featured Series

We are excited to be adding new titles to our BorderVisions, Arizona Crossroads, Modern American West, and Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies series this year! Learn more below.

BorderVisions, edited by Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez and Yvette J. Saavedra, engages the U.S.-Mexico borderlands’ dynamic histories and cultures and expands our understanding of the borderlands beyond a site of geopolitical inquiry. We are especially interested in books that address the complexities and richness of borderlands experiences at different historical, cultural, and sociopolitical moments. Watch a recording of the series launch for BorderVisions here.

Arizona Crossroads, edited by Anita Huizar-Hernández, Eric V. Meeks, and Katherine G. Morrissey, is a series in collaboration with the Arizona Historical Society that explores the history of peoples and cultures, events and struggles, ideas and practices in the place we know today as Arizona. We are open to a variety of book formats: monographs, multi-authored works, and edited collections, as well as broader more synthetic works. Interdisciplinary projects that engage the past are encouraged.

Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies, edited by Jeffrey P. Shepherd and Myla Vicenti Carpio, anchors intellectual work within an Indigenous framework that reflects Native-centered concerns and objectives. Series titles expand and deepen discussions about Indigenous people beyond nation-state boundaries, and complicate existing notions of Indigenous identity. The series editors are especially interested in works that analyze colonization, land dispossession, and oppression while foregrounding Indigenous peoples’ resistance to these processes.

Modern American West, edited by Flannery Burke and Andrew G. Kirk, seeks to advance scholarly and public understanding of the rich history of the twentieth-century American West by publishing creative works of research and synthesis. Volumes in the series are distinguished by both original research and careful analysis of existing secondary literature. The series editors seek single- or co-authored works that identify new directions for scholarship and develop new interpretive frameworks, while also providing comprehensive introductions to particular topics.

For questions or to submit a proposal to any of these series, please contact Kristen Buckles, kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Alma García Essay in “Poets & Writers”

October 20, 2023

“Poets & Writers,”  the nation’s largest nonprofit organization serving creative writers, invited 5 over 50 authors to write essays for the November/December 2023 magazine. One of them is Alma García, author of All That Rises. In the introduction, the editor says, “These first-time authors, who range from their early fifties to early seventies, remind us that time, and its inevitable passage, is a gift that enriches our personal and literary lives and that age can make us both robust and nimble, ready to persevere, to put words on the page.”

García explains her writing journey from short stories to journalism to debut novel. She writes:

Writing a book over a very long time is sometimes a deadly enterprise. Ideas drift. The end point disappears. A lack of urgency can overtake you. You might find yourself appalled when you pass your own characters in age. You become aware of your own mortality, of the soul-sucking thought that your best creative years already might be behind you.

But if you listen quietly, sometimes you’ll hear the truth of your own creative being whispering in your ear.

Read her beautiful essay here.

About the book:

In the border city of El Paso, Texas, two guardedly neighboring families have plunged headlong into a harrowing week. Rose Marie DuPre, wife and mother, has abandoned her family. On the doorstep of the Gonzales home, long-lost rebel Inez appears. As Rose Marie’s husband, Huck (manager of a maquiladora), and Inez’s brother, Jerry (a college professor), struggle separately with the new shape of their worlds, Lourdes, the Mexican maid who works in both homes, finds herself entangled in the lives of her employers, even as she grapples with a teenage daughter who only has eyes for el otro lado—life, American style.

David Yetman on ‘Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán’

October 19, 2023

In the new book Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán, authors David Yetman and Alberto Búrquez provide an accessible and photographic view of the culture, history, and environment of an extraordinary region of southern Mexico. The Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán are lauded by botanists for their spectacular plant life—they contain the densest columnar cacti forests in the world. Recent archaeological excavations reveal them also to be a formative Mesoamerican site as well. So singular is this region that it is home to the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The authors have been traveling to the area for two decades. Today, David Yetman answers a few questions about their newest collaboration:

What inspired you to collaborate on this work?

Alberto and I gained familiarity with Sonora via different routes, he as a Sonoran-born Cambridge-trained ecologist, I as a wandering desert rat trained in philosohy. We met at a field research school in Alamos, Sonora, sponsored by Tucson Audubon Society in, I believe, 1993 and immediately discovered our shared interests. We also realized rather quickly that our areas of interest complemented each other. Two years later we initiated a study of buffelgrass ecology in the small town of Tecoripa in eastern Sonora. During meeting key members of the community, we learned that representatives of the Mexican department of land reform were in the town discussing with townspeople the prospect of converting their cooperatively owned lands to private. We at once realized this was a historic moment in Sonora and spent the next year following the privatization procedures and interviewing the landowners involved. We published an article with our findings in 1997. In 2003 Alberto joined me in filming an episode of The Desert Speaks in the valleys called Cuicatlán in northern Oaxaca and Tehuacán in adjacent southern Puebla. We realized then that we had been pulled into a region with uncanny resemblance to the Sonoran Desert. We also realized that we enjoyed working together. Some twenty trips to that area later, we have published the book.

The plants in the region are so varied and so unusual that Mexico has designated it as a biosphere reserve, and UNESCO has followed, designating it a World Heritage Site. Why is the area so singular?

The valley’s peculiar location as connected desert valleys among several mountain ranges in the tropics has given rise to a bewildering variety of ecological zones or habitats, notably a desert environment where lusher vegetation would be expected. Those unusual conditions and a climate more or less stable for millions of years have combined to produce an astonishing array of desert plants, especially columnar cacti, many of which occur nowhere else. The high degree of endemism within the valleys means that it is the place to study these species and the evolutionary processes that promotes widespread speciation. At the same time, the region has seen the evolution of peoples of many different ethnicities. We long ago that discovered that they have stories to relate that complement the high diversity of the valleys.

The Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán also have a long human history. What are a few of the ways that visitors to the area today can see the continuity of human experience?

The archaeological sites within the valleys have not received the attention they merit, so visitors often must discover their location and history on their own. Alberto and I have presented four of these and their developmental history in a way that will assist visitors in locating and visiting these sites. One such site is Purrón Dam, which was the largest dam in the Americas two thousand years ago, but today not even located on maps. Another is the astonishing site of Cerro Quiotepec, located in an extraordinarily scenic hilltop far above where the two valleys converge and form a profound canyon. It is a highly developed site that was occupied for six hundred years before the Zapotec builders abandoned it in about 300 CE. At the same time the valleys’ varied resources have brought together at least eight different indigenous groups. They have established the human history of the valleys, with connections throughout Mesoamerica. Many towns in the valleys retain their indigenous identity.

What is your next project?

We have repeatedly discussed the importance of returning to Tecoripa after nearly thirty years to see what changes have occurred in the town’s social and economic structure because of the move from cooperatively owned to privately-owned land. We also have many places of ecological and social significance that we would like to visit, study, and describe. We have separate careers, but we remain close friends with a tacit agreement that soon we must find another area to visit, study, discuss, and describe. Sonora has a wealth of ecological and cultural surprises, all within a day’s drive of Tucson, less yet from Hermosillo, where Alberto lives. It is only a matter of time.

***
David Yetman is distinguished outreach faculty and a research social scientist at the Southwest Center of the University of Arizona, where he has worked since 1992. His research specialties include the peoples and ecology of northwest Mexico and the southwestern United States. Yetman has a PhD in philosophy and is author of numerous books and articles, including Sonora: An Intimate Geography, Natural Landmarks of Arizona, and The Saguaro Cactus: A Natural History. Yetman is the former host of the PBS series The Desert Speaks and current host and co-producer of the PBS travel/adventure series, In the Americas with David Yetman.

Alberto Búrquez works as a researcher at the Instituto de Ecología, Department of Ecology of Biodiversity, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. He is a co-author (with David Yetman) of The Saguaro Cactus.

Excerpt from “Our Hidden Landscapes”

Challenging traditional and long-standing understandings, this volume provides an important new lens for interpreting stone structures that had previously been attributed to settler colonialism. Instead, the contributors to this volume argue that these locations are sacred Indigenous sites.

This volume introduces readers to eastern North America’s Indigenous ceremonial stone landscapes (CSLs)—sacred sites whose principal identifying characteristics are built stone structures that cluster within specific physical landscapes. Our Hidden Landscapes edited by Lucianne Lavin and Elaine Thomas presents these often unrecognized sites as significant cultural landscapes in need of protection and preservation.

In this book, Native American authors provide perspectives on the cultural meaning and significance of CSLs and their characteristics, while professional archaeologists and anthropologists provide a variety of approaches for better understanding, protecting, and preserving them. The chapters present overwhelming evidence in the form of oral tradition, historic documentation, ethnographies, and archaeological research that these important sites created and used by Indigenous peoples are deserving of protection.

This work enables archaeologists, historians, conservationists, foresters, and members of the general public to recognize these important ritual sites. Read an excerpt from the book’s Introduction below.

The purpose of this book is to introduce readers to Indigenous ceremonial stone landscapes in Eastern North America — sacred sites whose principal identifying characteristics are stone cultural features (stone groupings) in a variety of designs that cluster within specific physical landscapes. Such sacred sites have been known and used for thousands of years throughout the Americas; some are still being used today, especially in South and Central America and the North American West. Professional archaeologists working in these regions routinely acknowledge their existence (e.g., Morgan et al. 2014, Reeves and Kennedy 2017; see also Thrane, this volume). This is not always the case for Eastern North America, particularly the Northeast, where such sites are often misidentified and destroyed.

Indigenous-Built Stone Structures and their Early Recordation by Euro-Americans

 The designed stone groupings in the form of mounds, rows, enclosures, niches, above-ground and subterranean chambers, perched boulders, split stones, standing stones, and other stone creations are often aligned with astronomic events such as the sunrises and sunsets of the winter or summer solstices, annual meteor showers, certain constellations, cycles of the moon, and other cosmic phenomena. In turn, celestial events are known historically to be associated with – and often are the catalyst for – traditional, annual Native American religious rituals and festivals. For example, anthropologist Dr. Frank G. Speck’s eyewitness account of the Cayuga Iroquois Mid-Winter Festival reported that the eight-day ceremony began five days after the constellation Pleiades was directly overhead at sunset following the first new moon in January (Speck 1949:49). Often the designed stones are in the form of animals, particularly turtles and serpents, which play significant roles in Native American creation stories, folklore, and spiritual practices (Simmons 1986).

Seventeenth, 18th, and 19th century English and Dutch settlers described seeing Native peoples east of the Mississippi create and use these sacred stone landscapes. Some significant examples are the 17th century accounts of Indigenous stone monuments, in the Chesapeake Bay area by English explorer John Smith of Pocahontas fame (called pawcorances by the local tribal peoples), and in the Carolina Piedmont by German explorer John Lederer (King and Strickland, this volume), and the 18th century Journal of Reverend John Sergeant, particularly his Nov. 3, 1734 entry describing a huge stone memorial mound in Great Barrington, Massachusetts actively being visited by Mohican tribal members (Hopkins 1753: 24). Sergeant was the first minister to the Mohican Indian tribe in their main village, which is now Stockbridge, Massachusetts. In the 19th century, the anonymous author of “A Description of Mashpee, in the County of Barnstable” described local Natives building and using stone monuments (Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, written in 1802 and cited by Simmons, 1986: 253). The Indigenous community of Mashpee is located in eastern Massachusetts on what is now known as Cape Cod. In 1907 Frank Speck visited Mashpee and was told by elderly Wampanoag informants that the roadside monuments were spirit-lodges, where tribal members left offerings to the spirits of the dead (Simmons 1986: 254).

Likewise, the spiritual significance of built stone structures was conveyed by Native American leaders and informants to other Euro-American researchers, and subsequently published in the late 19th-21st century anthropological literature. Some of these ceremonial sites continue in use today. Primary documents, like those previously cited, that describe and/or support (through accounts of Indigenous worldview and spirituality) Indigenous creation and use of ritual stone features are not uncommon, and most are easily available to researchers online or through library loan. To make this point, we list a small, additional selection from that body of available literature: Philip L. Barbour (1986), The Complete Works of Captain John Smith, 1580-1631; Joseph Bruchac (1993), The Native American Sweat Lodge: History and Legends; Thor Conway (1993), Painted Dreams: Native American Rock Art; Frank Glynn (1973), “Excavation of the Pilot’s Point Stone Heaps;” Doug Harris and Paul Robinson (2015), “The Ancient Ceremonial Landscape and King Philip’s War: Battlefields of Nipsachuck”; Diamond Jenness (1935), The Ojibwa Indians of Parry Island, Their Social and Religious Life; Charles Leland (1884), The Algonquin Legends of New England; James Mooney (1900), Myths of the Cherokees; Robert E. Ritzenthaler and Pat Ritzenthaler (1970), The Woodland Indians of the Western Great Lakes; Elaine Thomas (2015), “Maintaining the Integrity of the Homeland: Recognizing and Re-Awakening the Memory of Forgotten Places through Mohegan Archaeology.”

Contributors
Nohham Rolf Cachat-Schilling
Robert DeFosses
James Gage
Mary Gage
Doug Harris
Julia A. King
Lucianne Lavin
Johannes (Jannie) H. N. Loubser
Frederick W. Martin
Norman Muller
Charity Moore Norton
Paul A. Robinson
Laurie W. Rush
Scott M. Strickland
Elaine Thomas
Kathleen Patricia Thrane
Matthew Victor Weiss

OSIRIS-REx Celebration in Downtown Tucson

October 16, 2023

On October 14, author Dante Lauretta hosted an “Orbits and Elixirs Celebration” for contributors and supporters of the NASA OSIRIS-REx Mission, at the Don Martini Bar on top of the Rialto Theater in downtown Tucson. Lauretta and Mayor Regina Romero spoke; they talked about the sample return mission, the work of the mirror lab for the Giant Magellan Telescope, and the opening of the Center for Astrobiology.  UA Press Director Kathryn Conrad and Editor Allyson Carter joined in the celebration, along with UA Lunar Planetary Laboratory Director Mark Marley. Below are photos from the event.

About the book: Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid, is the world’s first complete (and stereoscopic) atlas of an asteroid, is the result of a unique collaboration between OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta and Brian May’s London Stereoscopic Company. Lauretta’s colleagues include Carina Bennett, Kenneth Coles, and Cat Wolner, as well as Brian May and Claudia Manzoni, who became part of the ultimately successful effort to find a safe landing site for sampling. The text details the data collected by the mission so far, and the stereo images have been meticulously created by Manzoni and May from original images collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras.

Dante Lauretta speaks about the mission to Bennu and back.

Allyson Carter, Dante Lauretta, and Kathryn Conrad

Slide show celebrating all University of Arizona space and astronomy accomplishments.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero congratulates the OSIRIS-REx team on a successful mission.

October 12, 2023

In Bringing Home the Wild, A Riparian Garden in a Southwest City, author Julie Stromberg demonstrates how ecologically guided gardening develops a sense of place, restores connections to nature, and brings joy and meaning to our lives. When living in a large sprawling city, one may feel disconnected and adrift. Finding ways to belong and have positive effects is challenging. Today, Stromberg has provided us with field notes and insights into her work.

For three decades of my life, I was a professor at Arizona State University. During that time, I made many field trips to rivers of the American Southwest and published many research papers about the ecological relationships of riparian plants. These studies increased our understanding of the ways in which human activities alter riparian plant communities and informed the efforts of those who were working to restore them.

A riparian ecosystem in the mountains of Arizona
Author relaxing in a ratama (Parkinsonia aculeata)

Once I retired, my engagement with riparian biota became more personal. My attention turned to the forests and shrublands my partner and I were tending on a patch of abandoned farmland we had purchased near the Salt River. Revitalizing our own patch of green has been deeply satisfying. I love engaging with trees not just as study organisms, but as partners and even as friends. Ecosystem restoration has been called, somewhat dismissively, glorified gardening. I am proud to be a gardener. I firmly believe that urban gardeners, collectively, can do much to help tackle the pressing issues of our time. Our ecosystem garden is a multitasker. For one, we have a working food forest of velvet mesquite, a tree which once covered much of the area that is now Phoenix. Agroecosystems such as these are a sustainable alternative to industrialized agriculture.

Second, by tending a bioproductive climate garden, we help mitigate the rising air temperatures in the city and offset a share of our own carbon emissions. Connecting with the plants who sequester the carbon is an important first step in undertaking climate action.

Third, our patch of green provides habitat for birds, mammals, and other wildlife whose numbers are in decline. Pollinators, herbivores, predators, and decomposers all thrive in our ecosystem garden: all have roles to play. The diversity of life in our garden has astounded me.

Finally, our garden provides ecotherapy. Anxiety is high among many urban dwellers, but the colors, sounds, smells, and patterns of the flora and fauna keep us calm and hopeful. Ecotherapy is a powerful force, especially when the greenery embraces you right as you step outside the door.

I wrote this book to inspire and guide others. I hope that our joyful experiences in urban ecosystem gardening will tempt others to deepen their connection to the natural world and nurture life-filled bounty in their own backyards. I hope more urban dwellers will unplug from the digital world, for a bit, and put on their gardening gloves. When we connect strongly to a place and feel as if we are part of the local ecosystem, we are more likely to take actions that benefit us all.

***

Julie Stromberg is a professor emeritus at Arizona State University and a plant ecologist who specializes in wetland and riparian ecosystems of the American Southwest. For the past thirty years, she has studied plant population and community dynamics and vegetation-hydrology interactions. The author of more than a hundred peer-reviewed publications, Stromberg continues to write about plants while also tending a riparian forest garden in the city.

2024 Ambroggio Prize Submissions Open Now

October 10, 2023

Norma E. Cantú, editor of Chicana Portraits: Critical Biographies of Twelve Chicana Writers, is the judge of the 2024 Academy of American Poets Ambroggio Prize.

The Ambroggio Prize is a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by the University of Arizona Press. Established in 2017, it is the only annual award of its kind in the United States that honors American poets whose first language is Spanish.

The 2023 prize winner was Margarita Pintado Burgos for Ojo en Celo /Eye in Heat.

Submissions for the 2024 Ambroggio Prize will be accepted from September 15, 2023 to February 15, 2024. 

Chicana Portraits is an innovative collection pairs portraits with critical biographies of twelve key Chicana writers, offering an engaging look at their work, contributions to the field, and major achievements. Artist Raquel Valle-Sentíes’s portraits bring visual dimension, while essays delve deeply into the authors’ lives for details that inform their literary, artistic, feminist, and political trajectories and sensibilities.

Norma E. Cantú is a scholar-activist who currently serves as the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University. She is founder and director of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa. She has published fiction, poetry, and personal essays in a number of publications.

Five Questions for Alma García

October 10, 2023


Alma García’s debut novel All That Rises is about secrets, lies, border politics, and discovering where you belong—within a family, as well as in the world beyond. It is a novel for the times we live in, set in a place many people know only from the news.

In the border city of El Paso, Texas, two guardedly neighboring families have plunged headlong into a harrowing week. Rose Marie DuPre, wife and mother, has abandoned her family. On the doorstep of the Gonzales home, long-lost rebel Inez appears. As Rose Marie’s husband, Huck (manager of a maquiladora), and Inez’s brother, Jerry (a college professor), struggle separately with the new shape of their worlds, Lourdes, the Mexican maid who works in both homes, finds herself entangled in the lives of her employers, even as she grapples with a teenage daughter who only has eyes for el otro lado—life, American style.

What first sparked your interest in telling this story?

All That Rises started its life almost twenty-five years ago as a single short story—my first published story, as it so happens. It won a debut writer’s award. I was floored.         

Fearing that this might be the only writing success I might ever have, I set out to keep the protagonist of this story alive. And so, I began a collection of linked stories that took place in the neighborhood and amongst the neighbors of this protagonist: a young Mexican-American gardener grappling with the loss of his complicated father. Semi-consciously, I understood this neighborhood to be located in El Paso, Texas, where I grew up, though this setting remained quietly in the background.

Little did I know that this was to be the start of an epic journey, in which—owing to a variety of major life transitions and the fact that it was eventually made clear to me that the manuscript wasn’t working as a collection of linked stories—the book would be transformed, over another decade and a half, into a full-blown novel. As I completely re-envisioned the story I meant to tell, centering different characters and entangling their families with one another, I discovered that the characters had become a part of something far larger: the history of El Paso itself, which is inextricably bound up in the cultures, legacies, geography, and the ever-evolving politics of the borderlands. What I also discovered was that I had been writing this book because I wanted to tell stories about the kinds of people I grew up with—people with their feet in more than one culture, whose lives I hadn’t seen much of on the page.

How has your relationship to the Southwest and the U.S./Mexico border changed over time?

I lived the first part of my life in El Paso, and later, in Albuquerque. My extended family still lives in the El Paso area and has roots in the area that go back for many generations. With a few exceptions, I have gone back to visit for most of the years of my life.

Of course, it’s a different world there now than it was when I was growing up in the 1970s and 80s. In those days, as was common, my family thought nothing of crossing the border to buy groceries or go to dinner; my older relatives would go over to get their hair done or for dental work, and of course, then as now, many families (though not mine) are split between El Paso and across the border in Ciudad Juárez. That’s to say, it was fairly free-flowing and easy to go back and forth; the two cities felt very much like two sides of the same coin. Sadly, a number of realities in recent years have chilled that dynamic—safety issues south of the border, the new complexities of mass migration and the politicization that surrounds it; a horrific act of home-grown terrorism in 2019 that demonstrated how white nationalism can force its way even into a Mexican American-majority border city.

But as much as things have changed, there is also much that remains deeply familiar to me. During the years I spent writing this book, as the city transformed from a mere blip beneath the radar of the national consciousness to a place that became the epicenter of the news again and again, I felt even more urgency to portray it with all the depth and complexity that is its due, and to reflect its inhabitants back to the world in a way that centers their humanity—even when that sense of humanity is complicated.

In any case, it might be ironic that I wasn’t able to write this novel until I moved away from the border itself. I’ve lived in Seattle since 2001, and it was only here—in the cool, dark, misty, green Pacific Northwest—that I was able to separate myself enough from the world that I came from in order to reflect upon it, to truly see it for what it is, to be able to re-enter it in my memory and in my imagination—at least until the next time that I physically returned to it. There’s plenty I miss about this world. For sure, there are days I miss being in a place where I never have to tell anyone how to spell or pronounce my name.

Do you think family dynamics are an ideal way to reflect border issues?

It might be more accurate to say that, on the border, border issues are frequently reflected in family dynamics. There are the literal realities of those whose families are split between two cities and two countries, of course, and the cultural legacies that anyone with a family history in the area inherits (and often passes on in complex ways). Heritage itself is a fraught concept, especially as who or what people understand themselves to be is sometimes at odds with a family’s beliefs or perceptions or records. Add to this brew the fact that the border is always about duality—where you “belong,” and where you do not belong. From there, it’s not a very big leap to start asking yourself where you belong within your own family, and how that determines where you belong in the world beyond.

The border is also a powerful metaphor, and this metaphor can manifest itself in the psychological and emotional borders people create between themselves. When people become entangled with one another—whether by accident or intention or geographical location or by blood relation—the boundaries between them sometimes blur in unexpected ways. Where does one person’s world end and another’s begin? Who is “us” and who is “them”? 

The political issues facing the border today are many, as you reference above, and the book also brushes up against a number of related phenomena unique to this area, including Border Patrol culture, the economic inequality exacerbated by the American-owned maquiladora system in Ciudad Juárez, and the prosaic struggles of domestic workers whose well-being depends on access to the American side of the border. Yet with the many up-to-the-moment social urgencies and emergencies issues you could draw upon, the novel is set in 2005 and 2006, rather than the present day. What’s behind this choice?

There are two reasons for this. One was practical: Originally, this book was set in the present, whatever “the present” means when you’re writing a book over a very long period of time. But the current events, politics, and even the landmarks of the city changed so much over the years, it became impossible to keep up. The world was evolving—and continues to evolve—rapidly, and I needed a fixed point from which to examine it.

The second is a reason that proved to be far more thematically meaningful. The mid-2000s marked a period of time in which the border first began to noticeably tighten, but it was still a deeply different world than the one we find ourselves in today. You can trace the development of our current affairs to this time; had we but known, we could have seen a lot coming. As one character puts it, “The problem with history is that by the time you realize it’s repeating itself, it’s already happened.” I think the book offers a fair amount to unpack around that notion—especially in a time when what happens at the Texas/Mexico border has implications far beyond the borderlands themselves.

Do you have an idea for your next novel or other project that you would like to share?

I can only provide you with a hint, because what’s new in my writing world is currently evolving as well, wildly and deeply. Suffice it to say that there is likely to be intrigue surrounding secret identities; the unholy trio of fact, fiction and fake news; and the shape-shifting world of ethnic impostors. Suffice it to say that the story might be set in a place just slightly further north than this one, but I am still keeping one foot in a place I recognize as home.

***

Alma García is a writer whose award-winning short fiction has appeared in Narrative Magazine and most recently in phoebe and the anthology Puro Chicanx Writers of the 21st Century. This is her first novel.

Myrriah Gómez Speaks at ASU Science and Mathematics Colloquium

October 9, 2023

Myrriah Gómez, author of Nuclear Nuevo México, was a guest speaker at the Science and Mathematics Colloquium series presented by the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at Arizona State University.

“In her book and through her public outreach, she is bringing to light the long-term impacts of the nuclear industrial complex, emphasizing what she sees as the five tenets of nuclear colonialism: intergenerational trauma; disease and death; contamination; secrecy and obscurity; and environmental racism. Gómez argued that a combination of these injustices continue to plague Nuevomexicano communities,” Sona Patel Srinarayana wrote in an ASU News article about the series.

About Nuclear Nuevo México:

Contrary to previous works that suppress Nuevomexicana/o presence throughout U.S. nuclear history, Nuclear Nuevo México focuses on recovering the voices and stories that have been lost or ignored in the telling of this history. By recuperating these narratives, Myrriah Gómez tells a new story of New Mexico, one in which the nuclear history is not separate from the collective colonial history of Nuevo México but instead demonstrates how earlier eras of settler colonialism laid the foundation for nuclear colonialism in New Mexico.

Gómez examines the experiences of Nuevomexicanas/os who have been impacted by the nuclear industrial complex, both the weapons industry and the commercial industry. Gómez argues that Los Alamos was created as a racist project that targeted poor and working-class Nuevomexicana/o farming families, along with their Pueblo neighbors, to create a nuclear empire. The resulting imperialism has left a legacy of disease and distress throughout New Mexico that continues today.

Five Questions for William L. Bird Jr.

October 7, 2023

An essential—and monumental—member of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem, the saguaro cactus has become the quintessential icon of the American West.

In the Arms of the Saguaros by William L. Bird Jr., shows how, from the botanical explorers of the nineteenth century to the tourism boosters in our own time, saguaros and their images have fulfilled attention-getting needs and expectations. Through text and lavish images, this work explores the saguaro’s growth into a western icon from the early days of the American railroad to the years bracketing World War II, when Sun Belt boosterism hit its zenith and proponents of tourism succeed in moving the saguaro to the center of the promotional frame.

What first sparked your interest to write this book?

I trained as a historian at the University of Arizona, so you can probably understand how the saguaro came to lodge in my head as an impressionable student from the east. Pictures of people posing with saguaros have a certain timeless quality. Most of the pictures of—let’s call them social saguaros—bridge no distance between person and plant. People posing with saguaros sometimes reach out and touch them, but actually it’s the other way around. These special plants touch us.

What was the first image of a saguaro that inspired you to personally own this image?

I found a dog-eared copy of a 1950s Arizona annual magazine in a used bookstore in Washington, D.C. shortly after returning home from my studies in Tucson in 1975. The magazine’s cover pictures a western wear model wearing a saw-tooth pocket shirt and a cowboy hat, with her folded arms resting on the curve of a spineless saguaro arm. I kept this thing for years. I was lucky enough to find a clean copy and made it my frontispiece.

Sometimes saguaro images are misplaced—What is the place farthest from the Sonoran Desert that a saguaro has been used to represent?

The saguaro’s success as a far-flung western symbol lies in the assumptions that people have picked up about its habitat, most of them mistaken. And this is where the fun begins. Transplanted saguaros popped up throughout the west and beyond after the railroad came to Tucson in 1880. At first there were so-called Arizona gardens in California and track side displays that the Southern Pacific railroad mounted at select passenger stations. Saguaros and other native plants rode the rails to the era’s world’s fairs. Out-of-habitat transplants might cheat death for a summer or for a little while longer in the care of a botanical garden. The New York Botanical Garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden (Shaw’s Garden) and Pittsburgh’s Phipps Botanical Garden all had them. Their pictures circulated in the press. With the first rush of conspicuous transplants and publicity about them, you might be excused for thinking that they grow anywhere.   

Why are saguaros so interesting to people from around the world?

The saguaro joined the travel industry’s toolkit of symbols freely associated with the American West. Historically southwestern tourism’s fun-in-the-sun sales message has featured freshly starched western wear, horseback rides, campfires, bathing suits, swimming pools and saguaros, whose welcoming arms wave you in, closer and closer. This anthropomorphic quality may be the basis of the saguaro’s success as a symbol, which though ephemeral, is nevertheless powerful. And this is pretty much where we are today in fashion, art and craft.

What is your next book or research project?

I am working on a couple of publication projects with the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation, that focus upon the development of graphic identities in the American Southwest. One is a book-length illustrated history of Tucson’s Cabat-Gill Advertising Agency, which among other things pioneered in early television production. Another is a short piece on stylized linen postcard images picturing downtown Tucson and their acceptance as actualities.

***
William L. Bird Jr. is a curator emeritus of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. His interests lie at the intersection of politics, popular culture, and the history of visual display.

Excerpt from “Chicana Portraits”

Chicana Portraits edited by Norma Elia Cantú pairs portraits with critical biographies of twelve key Chicana writers, offering an engaging look at their work, contributions to the field, and major achievements.

Artist Raquel Valle-Sentíes’s portraits bring visual dimension, while essays delve deeply into the authors’ lives for details that inform their literary, artistic, feminist, and political trajectories and sensibilities. The collection brilliantly intersects artistic visual and literary cultural productions, allowing complex themes to emerge, such as the fragility of life, sexism and misogyny, Chicana agency and forging one’s own path, the struggles of becoming a writer and battling self-doubt, economic instability, and political engagement and activism.

Arranged chronologically by birth order of the authors, the book can be read cover to cover for a genealogical overview, or scholars and general readers can easily jump in at any point and read about an individual author, regardless of the chronology.

Biographies included in this work include Raquel Valle-Sentíes, Angela de Hoyos, Montserrat Fontes, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Norma E. Cantú, Denise Elia Chávez, Carmen Tafolla, Cherríe Moraga, Ana Castillo, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Sandra Cisneros, and Demetria Martínez. Read an excerpt from the book below.

It is a balmy May evening in Laredo, Texas, in 2001 when we gather in el Café del Barrio, a small café/bookstore that the artist and poet Raquel Valle-Sentíes owns and operates out of her Victorian-era home on Matamoros Street. At this particular gathering, we are celebrating the writers from Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, and Laredo, Texas, who are attending the IV Letras en el Borde (Letters on the Border) conference. The brainchild of José Luis Velarde and Guillermo Lavín, a couple of writers from Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas, the annual transnational event has taken place for several years with support from Texas A&M International University (TAMIU), Laredo Community College(LCC), and the cultural affairs office of the city of Nuevo Laredo under the direction of Héctor Romero Lecanda. Like any other literary festival, Letras en el Borde features writers reading their work and academic papers by critics and scholars; because it is being held in the two Laredos and the organizers want to emphasize the transnational aspects of our region, the conference focuses on border writing. The meal and performances—readings and music—at Café del Barrio are a highlight of the conference.

Our host, Raquel Valle-Sentíes herself, is active in the local literary scene. Her dream of owning a bookstore has come true, and it is all she had hoped it would be. In the 1980s Valle-Sentíes had begun writing poetry and taking art classes at Laredo Community College (now Laredo College) with Martha Fenstermaker. I was then a professor at Laredo State University (now Texas A&M International University), and we—the literatontos, as some jokingly referred to us—were a handful who were keeping Chicanismo alive as we engaged with community projects that addressed the raging problems of the day: immigration, illiteracy, erasure of our history, historic preservation, et cetera. By the 1990s, we had coalesced into a force engaged in important interventions, launching a chapter of Amnesty International to do our work in the migrant detention center run by the private carceral company Corrections Corporation of America and establishing the Refugee Assistance Council to provide legal services to migrants. It was the days of massive migration from Central America due to the United States incursions into that region of the Americas. Many of our members were also involved in the feminist group Las Mujeres, and we hosted an annual women’s conference, Primavera, to promote and recognize the accomplishments of women in our community. I discuss Las Mujeres below as I contextualize the work of Café del Barrio and Raquel Valle-Sentíes.

Contributors
Cordelia E. Barrera
Mary Pat Brady
Norma E. Cantú
María Jesus Castro Dopacio
Carlos Nicolás Flores
Myrriah Gómez
Maria Magdalena Guerra de Charur
Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs
Georgina Guzmán
Cristina Herrera
María Esther Quintana
Eliza Rodríguez y Gibson
Meagan Solomon
Lourdes Torres
Raquel Valle-Sentíes
Jen Yáñez-Alaniz

“Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán” Book Launch

September 26, 2023

David Yetman and Alberto Búrquez celebrated the publication of Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán last night, hosted by the gracious Consulate of Mexico in Tucson, AZ and supported by The Southwest Center. Special thanks to everyone who came out to support our authors!

Enjoy the photos below for a recap of the event:

Alberto Búrquez presents photographs from Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán
David Yetman presents photographs from Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán
A packed house! The consulate staff had to bring in lots of extra chairs
Yetman and Búrquez during the audience Q & A
David Yetman signs copies of his new book during the reception
Lots of book signing!
Thanks to everyone who came out to support our authors

About Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán:

Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán: From Deserts to Clouds provides an accessible and photographic view of the culture, history, and environment of an extraordinary region of southern Mexico. The Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán are lauded by botanists for their spectacular plant life—they contain the densest columnar cacti forests in the world. Recent archaeological excavations reveal them also to be a formative Mesoamerican site as well. So singular is this region that it is home to the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Through firsthand experience and engaging prose, the authors provide a synthesis of the geology, ecology, history, and cultures of the valleys, showing their importance and influence as Mesoamerican arteries for environmental and cultural interchange through Mexico. It also reveals the extraordinary plant life that draws from habitats ranging from deserts to tropical forests.

The authors, both experts in their respective fields, begin with a general description of the geography of the valleys, followed by an introduction to climate and hydrology, a look at the valleys’ often bewildering geology. The book delves into cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the valleys and discusses archaeological sites that that encapsulate the valleys’ fascinating history prior to the arrival of Europeans. The book concludes by describing the flora that makes the region so singular.

Excerpt from “Latinos and Nationhood”

Spanning from the early nineteenth century to today, Latinos and Nationhood by Nicolás Kanellos examines the work of Latino writers who explored the major philosophic and political themes of their day, including the meaning and implementation of democracy, their democratic and cultural rights under U.S. dominion, their growing sense of nationhood, and the challenges of slavery and disenfranchisement of women in a democratic republic that had yet to realize its ideals.

Over the course of two centuries, these Latino or Hispanic intellectuals were natural-born citizens of the United States, immigrants, or political refugees. Many of these intellectuals, whether citizens or not, strove to embrace and enliven such democratic principles as freedom of speech and of the press, the protection of minorities in the Bill of Rights and in subsequent laws, and the protection of linguistic and property rights, among many others, guaranteed by treaties when the United States incorporated their homelands into the Union.

Latinos have resided in North America since before the arrival of the English at Jamestown and Plymouth. They already lived in lands that became English colonies and later the states of the early American Republic; of course, their largest populations dwelled in what became the southern and western United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, most of which would be conquered and/or bought by the expanding United States during the nineteenth century. Whether before or after their incorporation into US territory, the people that would in the future be called “Latinos” or “Hispanics” had a rich intellectual history, having introduced the first written European language, book culture and universities to the hemisphere. They pondered and wrote about all of the cultural and scientific themes that we think of as part of the Western tradition. They continued this rich intellectual activity in the lands that became part of the United States.

Over the course of United States history, Latinos thought about, struggled with and wrote about the major philosophic and political themes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including: 1) the meaning and implementation of democracy, especially through establishment of a liberal republic; 2) their democratic and cultural rights under United States dominion; 3) their growing sense of nationhood; and 4) the particular challenges of slavery and disenfranchisement of women in a democratic republic that had yet to realize its ideals.

From the very outset, Latinos thought about and expressed their opinions, penned and published philosophical, humanistic, scientific and political discussions on all of the major topics that today we consider as part of the national intellectual heritage of the United States. They did so through speeches in the public arena, books and periodicals, and in the classroom; in fact, the earliest schools on the continent were missionary schools run by the Spanish friars, and the earliest imprints and newspapers in the West and Southwest were Spanish-language publications. What follows below and in the chapters of this book are stories about only a few individuals who made an impact on the spread of intellectual thought, these thinkers and activists were not alone in developing, articulating and publishing important ideas; rather, they were members of communities of thinkers, writers and political activists who helped them hone their ideas. Indeed, it would take volumes to adequately chart the full development of Latino thought; thus, this book is just an initial foray into a rich and complex intellectual history. In this foray, I have chosen not to review the thought about identity and nationhood of such well known giants of Latino thought as, for instance José Martí, who was in the vanguard of so many ideas about democracy, race relations and governance. Rather, the first, larger section of this book will be dedicated to presenting the work lesser-known thinkers, most of whose works have been inaccessible until recently. The traditional Anglo- or Euro-centric history of the United States has consistently ignored Latino intellectual history, and especially is unaware of most of the intellectuals to be covered in this book. Today, this intellectual tradition, like that of other ethnic and minority groups, women and LGBTQ+, is key to achieving a full understanding of our development as a democratic nation striving for equity and the realization of its ideals penned in the Constitution and its amendments. In the last three chapters of the book, I take the liberty of inserting my personal reading of three prominent literary figures from the Chicano movement, a movement in which I have served as the most experienced editor/publisher.

The contributions of Latinos to the civilization of the Americas, including what later would become the United States, begin during the period of exploration and colonization and include such legacies of American life as the technologies of farming, ranching, mining and natural resource management, among many others. Most of these accomplishments can be attributed to mestizo culture (mixed European, African and Native American) that arose not only south of today’s border but also in the lands that would become the United States. However, the starting point for this book will properly be the United States shortly after winning its independence from the British Empire and its establishment of a new form of government.

Since the days of the early American Republic, Latino intellectuals have struggled: 1) to export to their countries of origin the democratic ideas learned from the US “founding fathers” and the texts of the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and the American Constitution; 2) and from the mid nineteenth century onward under US dominion to demand the implementation of these lofty concepts among minorities and the disenfranchised within the boundaries of the American Republic. From the mid-nineteenth century on, Latinos have struggled to define themselves within the American Republic and to understand their relationship with the Hispanic world write large. At first, these intellectuals from throughout the Americas, from as far away as the River Platte and Peru, idealistically flocked to Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston to acquire this knowledge, translate it and smuggle it to the various regions of New Spain; they did so in order to prepare for their independent nationhood, as separate from “the mother country” Spain, and create an ideological foundation on which to establish their own republics. As documented in Chapters 1 and 2, most of these political thinkers were drawn to Philadelphia at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, not only because it was the cradle of American independence and at that time the capital of the United States, but also because it was home to numerous printers. For competitive fees, these printers made “freedom of the press” a reality for the Spaniards and Spanish American creoles (criollos) whose mission it was to adapt US democratic and republican principles in the political texts they would smuggle into the Caribbean and as far as south as the River Platte.

Excerpt from “La Plonqui”

Celebrating more than forty years of creative writing by Chicana author Margarita Cota-Cárdenas, La Plonqui edited by Jesús Rosales and Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez includes critical essays, reflections, interviews, and previously unpublished writing by the author herself to document the lifelong craft and legacy of a pioneering writer in the field.

Nicknamed “La Plonky” by her family after a made-up childhood song, Cota-Cárdenas grew up in California, taught almost exclusively in Arizona, and produced five major works (two novels and three books of poetry) that offer an expansive literary production spanning from the 1960s to today. Her perspectives on Chicana identity, the Chicanx movement, and the sociopolitical climate of Arizona and the larger U.S.-Mexico border region represent a significant contribution to the larger body of Chicanx literature. Additionally, the volume explores her perspectives on issues of gender, sexuality, and identity related to the Chicanx experience over time.

Divided into three major parts, this collection begins with an introduction, followed by two testimonial essays written by the author herself and a longtime colleague, as well as an interview with the author. The second section contains nine essays by well-established literary critics that analyze Cota-Cárdenas’s literary output within a Chicano Movement literary context and offer new readings of Cota-Cárdenas’s fiction and poetry. The third part presents poetry and fiction from Cota-Cárdenas, including an excerpt from a work in progress. As a whole, the collection aims to affirm Margarita Cota-Cárdenas’s significant role in shaping the field of Chicana literature and emphasizes the importance of honoring a celebrated author who wrote a majority of her works in Spanish—one of the few Chicana writers to do so. Read an excerpt from the book below.

This collection is an open invitation to readers to share in the legacy of Chicana writer Margarita Cota-Cárdenas and to learn more about the impact of her work, which spans more than forty years in the state of Arizona. The authors who graciously contributed essays to this volume have been impacted in profound ways by the carefully crafted words Cota-Cárdenas has placed on paper, often with the assistance of La Malinche, her typewriter. If you ever had the chance to be at a poetry reading or a presentation given by Cota-Cárdenas, there is no doubt that those words shared aloud impacted you—as they did many of the authors in this collection. To know Cota-Cárdenas is to understand the plight of Chicanas/os within a historical and contemporary context. This collection is an act of love that honors the many paths that Cota-Cárdenas has paved to inspire Chicanas/os to find their voice, be fearless in calling out systemic and oppressive structures, and hold ourselves and those around us accountable for the creation of a more just world. Always knowing that la lucha sigue.

Margarita Cota-Cárdenas was born on November 10, 1941, in Heber, California, a small town located approximately five miles northwest of the border city of Calexico. Cota-Cárdenas’s father, Jesús Cota, was born in Cócorit, Sonora, Mexico, and her mother, Margarita Cárdenas de Cota, in Tortugas, New Mexico. Early in their life they both worked as migrant workers throughout the U.S. Southwest, but, tired of the constant movement this type of job required, Cota-Cárdenas’s parents soon decided to settle down in central California, earning their living as labor contractors. This occupational change provided Cota-Cárdenas with a stable living environment that allowed her to benefit from an uninterrupted educational experience, an opportunity uncommon in those days for many migrant families.

Cota-Cárdenas graduated from Orestimba High School in Newman, California, and later from Modesto Junior College. In 1966, she received her BA from California State College, Stanislaus (now California State University, Stanislaus), with a major in Spanish and a minor in English. She promptly continued her graduate studies, earning an MA in 1968 from the University of California, Davis. The PhD took longer to complete, but Cota-Cárdenas eventually received her degree in 1980 from the University of Arizona, specializing in the narrative of Carlos Fuentes. The following year Cota Cárdenas began her professional career teaching Spanish, Latin American, and Chicana/o literature and culture at Arizona State University, in Tempe, until her retirement in 2002.

Cota-Cárdenas is the author of three books of poetry and two novels. In 1976, she published Noches despertando inConciencias, her first book of poetry. This collection was followed by Puppet: A Chicano Novella (1985); Marchitas de mayo (Sones pa’l pueblo) (poetry, 1989); Sanctuaries of the Heart / Santuarios del corazón (novel, 2005); and Poemática inspiración y fiebre: Poesía mechicana y relato (poetry, 2016). Here we wish to offer a brief synopsis and analysis of Cota-Cárdenas’s body of work, representing forty years of literary production.

Contributors
Laura Elena Belmonte
Margarita Cota-Cárdenas
José R. Flores
Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez
Carolyn González
Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs
Manuel M. Martín-Rodríguez
Kirsten F. Nigro
Margarita E. Pignataro
Tey Diana Rebolledo
Jesús Rosales
Charles St-Georges
Javier Villarreal

Margarita Pintado Burgos wins 2023 Ambroggio Prize with “Ojo en Celo / Eye in Heat”

September 21, 2023

The Academy of American Poets awarded the 2023 Ambroggio Prize to Margarita Pintado Burgos for Ojo en Celo / Eye in Heat. Alejandra Quintana Arocho translated the collection. The is $1,000 prize is given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by the University of Arizona Press, a nationally recognized publisher of award-winning works of emerging and established voices in Latinx and Indigenous literature, as well as groundbreaking scholarship in Latinx and Indigenous studies. Established in 2017, the Ambroggio Prize is the only annual award of its kind in the United States that honors American poets whose first language is Spanish. This year’s judge was Achy Obejas.

Obejas commented on the work: “The phrase ‘eye in heat’ can have a few different meanings. It can refer to a state of intense sexual desire, but it can also refer to a heightened awareness and excitement. Here, the phrase is used to describe the speaker’s state of mind as they try to make sense of the world around them. The speaker is both attracted to and repelled by the world. The poems here capture the poet’s intense desire to find meaning in this paradox.”

Margarita Pintado Burgos, a professor, poet, and essayist, was born on January 16, 1981, in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. She was raised in this municipality’s barrios of Cerro Gordo and Braulio Dueño. She studied journalism at the University of Puerto Rico and completed her doctorate in Spanish at Emory University.

Pintado Burgos’ published books include ​​​​​​Simultánea, la marea (Blurb, 2022); Una muchacha que se parece a mí (Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, 2016), for which she received the poetry award in a contest held by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture in 2015; and Ficción de venado (la secta de los perros, 2012). With Cuban poet Lorenzo García Vega, Pintado cowrote the experimental novel Ping-Pong Zuihitsu, published by Indiana University Press. She edited the bilingual (Spanish-Portuguese) anthology of García Vega poems, Palabras que repito (Ed. Lumme, 2017). Pintado Burgos’s poems have also been published in multiple anthologies and magazines.

Pintado Burgos is a professor of language and literature at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. She is also a reviewer for the blog El Roommate and co-director of a poetry space called Distrópika. In 2022, she was named an inaugural Letras Boricuas Fellow by the Flamboyan Foundation.

We are thrilled to be publishing this award-winning collection. Congratulations, Margarita!

University of Arizona Press at 2023 FILUNI Book Fair

We’re excited to share some images from La Feria Internacional del Libro de las Universitarias y de los Universitarios, (FILUNI) 2023!

This year’s book fair was held in late August at the UNAM Center in Mexico City. FILUNI brings together editors, academics, librarians, researchers, professors, and the general public with the goal of supporting international university publishers. Learn more about FILUNI by visiting their website.

Though we weren’t able to attend in person, we’re grateful to the Association of University Presses for displaying our books at the fair!

Below, you’ll see a few of our books on display: Federico: One Man’s Remarkable Journey from Tututepec to L.A. by Federico Jiménez Caballero, edited by Shelby Tisdale; Border Water: The Politics of U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Water Management, 1945–2015 by Stephen P. Mumme; and Where We Belong: Chemehuevi and Caxcan Preservation of Sacred Mountains by Daisy Ocampo.

The flyer tucked inside each book has a list of titles, including the ones you see here, that are available for translation!

New Titles Available for Translation

One of the reasons we love FILUNI is that it helps us connect with translators! Translation rights are currently available for many of our titles. To learn more, or to request a complimentary PDF for review, please contact our subsidiary rights department.

Photo Credit: Kate Kolendo, AUPresses

Shelby Tisdale Presents “No Place for a Lady” at the University of Arizona

September 19, 2023

Shelby Tisdale gave a talk on her recent book, No Place for a Lady, on September 18th, 2023 at the University of Arizona’s ENR2 building. We were delighted to attend this event, which was hosted by the Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society. Thanks for including us!

Held in the beautiful ENR2 building on the University of Arizona campus, we were happy to display Shelby Tisdale’s recent No Place for a Lady (2023) and Federico (2021), which she edited.
Shelby Tisdale gave a wonderful presentation on the life and work of Marjorie F. Lambert, the subject of No Place for a Lady.
Thanks to everyone for coming and attending on Zoom!
We love our authors!

About No Place for a Lady:

In the first half of the twentieth century, the canyons and mesas of the Southwest beckoned and the burgeoning field of archaeology thrived. Among those who heeded the call, Marjorie Ferguson Lambert became one of only a handful of women who left their imprint on the study of southwestern archaeology and anthropology.

In this delightful biography, we gain insight into a time when there were few women establishing full-time careers in anthropology, archaeology, or museums. Shelby Tisdale successfully combines Lambert’s voice from extensive interviews with her own to take us on a thought-provoking journey into how Lambert created a successful and satisfying professional career and personal life in a place she loved (the American Southwest) while doing what she loved.

Through Lambert’s life story we gain new insight into the intricacies and politics involved in the development of archaeology and museums in New Mexico and the greater Southwest. We also learn about the obstacles that young women had to maneuver around in the early years of the development of southwestern archaeology as a profession. Tisdale brings into focus one of the long-neglected voices of women in the intellectual history of anthropology and archaeology and highlights how gender roles played out in the past in determining the career paths of young women. She also highlights what has changed and what has not in the twenty-first century.

Women’s voices have long been absent throughout history, and Marjorie Lambert’s story adds to the growing literature on feminist archaeology.

Excerpt from “Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán”

Mexico’s Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán: From Deserts to Clouds by David Yetman and Alberto Búrquez provides an accessible and photographic view of the culture, history, and environment of an extraordinary region of southern Mexico. The Valleys of Cuicatlán and Tehuacán are lauded by botanists for their spectacular plant life—they contain the densest columnar cacti forests in the world. Recent archaeological excavations reveal them also to be a formative Mesoamerican site as well. So singular is this region that it is home to the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Through firsthand experience and engaging prose, the authors provide a synthesis of the geology, ecology, history, and cultures of the valleys, showing their importance and influence as Mesoamerican arteries for environmental and cultural interchange through Mexico. It also reveals the extraordinary plant life that draws from habitats ranging from deserts to tropical forests. Below read an excerpt from the book.

I first traveled through the Valley of Tehuacán in 1969, driving an old Land Rover south en route to the city of Oaxaca. I recall very little of the region, except for a semidesert landscape, unending mountains, interminable curves, and the plodding, smoking diesel trucks crowding the narrow, shoulderless highway. Those trucks, known in Mexico as tórtones, heavy, usually overladen, are seldom seen now. In those days, tórtones clogged the mountain roads, belching black clouds of diesel smoke. Their parking brakes would often fail, so when drivers suffered a flat tire, they would block the wheels with large rocks to keep the monsters from rolling out of control. The tire replaced, the operators would drive away, leaving the large rocks behind for other vehicles to run into. My Land Rover was a good choice for that terrain, for the road was also laden with potholes, cracks, washouts, and landslides.

A modern expressway connecting the cities of Tehuacán and Oaxaca would not be completed until after the turn of the twenty-first century. The road through the Cuicatlán Valley, which connects to the Valley of Tehuacán and leads nearly to Oaxaca, was still a dirt track. It often washed out during the summer rains or was rendered impassable by multiple landslides. If paved, that route would have shortened the trip by a couple of hours.

It was not until the year 2000 that I visited the valleys themselves, walking through the hills and stopping by some of their small towns. By then the roads had been expanded and improved, and graded roads replaced many unimproved tracks. Since that trip I have logged more than twenty visits, discovering sights, peoples, and natural history features I had previously overlooked. Potholes are now fewer. Road-blocking landslides are still a hazard.

Alberto Búrquez joined me on an exploration of the valleys in 2003. He had visited previously as a lecturer in ecology at UNAM, Mexico’s National Autonomous University. He could hardly resist bringing his students to one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. I have often envied the easy access he had in those years to the valleys of Tehuacán and Cuicatlán, only a few hours’ drive from the southern limits of Mexico City, where UNAM is situated.

Alberto and I collaborated on projects throughout the 1990s, focusing on the plants and vegetation of the northwestern Mexican state of Sonora, where he had been born and raised and now held a distinguished post as professor of ecology for UNAM. We had a list of places in Sonora to visit and study, he as an ecologist studying the relationships between plants and animals, I as a philosopher who found Mexico’s natural and cultural history so rich that I abandoned my philosophical musings. On another visit to Oaxaca around 2005, we agreed that it was time for us to collaborate on a book on the valleys we had come to hold in the highest esteem. Though they lie far from the Sonora with which we are familiar, the valleys bear a close ecological resemblance to that state far to the northwest. Out of that easy agreement with my friend came this book.

What would impel us to expend the effort and expense in writing a book about these valleys, so far from our homes in the Sonoran Desert? After all, the first impression visitors experience for much of the year is one of semidesert, drought, and, in places, a parched, often eroded landscape (except after summer rains). Yet unless one is in a hurry to get from Tehuacán to Oaxaca or the reverse, it is difficult not to be impressed by the vegetation and landscapes visible from a vehicle. The combination of cactus forests, plants of unusual shapes and densities, and minor roads leading off into the bush and hills in all directions poses an irresistible draw to anyone with a curiosity about natural and human history. The mountains on either side that engulf the valleys seem to shield mysteries beyond the cliffs and forests that ring the east side and the forbiddingly steep desert slopes on the west. The landscapes away from the cities and viewed up close reveal human occupation deep in antiquity. Churches, ancient as well as new, most of them visible from afar, grace every settlement, be it a village or a town. Place names roll off the tongue, evoking times long before Europeans ordered the prefacing of aboriginal names with the titles of saints, Indigenous names like Alpizagua, Atatlahuca, Altepexi, Atolotitlán, Axuxco, Coxcatlán, Metzontla, Miahuatlán, Nanahuatípam, Tecomavaca, Teotitlán, Zapotitlán, Zinacatepec, and on and on. The modern, urban Mexico of the city of Tehuacán grades quickly into hamlets and villages, where old traditions endure and life proceeds at a slower pace. Sophisticated dwellers from the megapolis of Mexico City find the allure of the valleys as compelling as I do.

The closer we looked, the more extraordinary and complex the valleys became. Dense forests of columnar cacti swathe the hillsides with their color: there are eighteen species of the giants, more than in any similar tract in the world. Within the valleys we find not just unusual vegetation, but also a host of endemic species and strange plants with names like elephant’s foot, mother-in-law’s chair, old man, and (ahem!) ball swellers. The endless varieties and combinations of trees, shrubs, agaves, yuccas, and cacti poke out of cliffs, protrude from tropical forests adjacent to barren deserts, emerge from unexcavated pyramids, lurk in obscure canyons, and hide in oak woodlands and pine forests. The Indigenous peoples of the valleys, at least eight different linguistic groups, persist, some even thriving.

Five Questions for Louis Friedman

September 18, 2023


Humans have always been fascinated by the possibility of extraterrestrial life, often wondering if we are alone in the universe. Alone but Not Lonely, Exploring for Extraterrestrial Life answers those questions. Drawing on nearly fifty years as a leader in planetary exploration, author Louis Friedman brings into focus the subject of extraterrestrial life, separating knowledge from conjecture, fact from fiction, to draw scientific and technical conclusions that answer this enduring question.

What first sparked your interest to write this book?

I was motivated to write this book by the work I was doing with colleagues at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory about using the solar gravity lens to image exoplanets. Magnifying light by 100 billion times with the solar gravity lens would give us the ability to see life on other worlds throughout the galaxy!  The challenge of designing a mission to reach the focus of the solar gravity lens is an exciting one to be working on. It’s hard, but we can do it; as opposed to interstellar flight which is not practical.

Why do you think people are so interested in life beyond planet Earth?

For the whole of human history we have wondered about the nature of life and our place in the Universe.  We wandered through religion and folklore, myths and stories—but now we wonder through science and exploration.  As Carl Sagan used to say, if you are not interested in the question of “are we alone and the nature of life in the Universe,” you must be made of wood. 

Why are you excited about comparative astrobiology? 

Comparative astrobiology will teach us about ourselves and our place in the Universe.  When we eventually find and compare life on other worlds to what has happened here, it will give us insights just as did the discovery of the nature of gravity and that the Earth was not the center of the Universe, but one object among billions of other—that we compare our planet to.  

Why did you, Carl Sagan, and Bruce Murray start the Planetary Society?

In the late 1970s NASA was planning to cease planetary exploration entirely, despite the enormous success and public interest from the Viking and Voyager missions. Sagan and Murray recognized that public interest needed to be expressed and thus we began the development of The Planetary Society as a citizens-based advocacy group promoting exploration of other worlds and the search for extraterrestrial life.  

What is your next research project?

I am following up the subject in this book of exploring exoplanets remotely by use of the solar gravity lens.  I hope to contribute to making a mission to the foci of habitable exoplanets possible in the next decade.  

***
Louis Friedman co-founded the Planetary Society with Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray and was its executive director for thirty years. He has contributed to numerous journals and is the author of Starsailing: Solar Sails and Interstellar Travel, Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars, and Planetary Adventures: From Moscow to Mars.

Texas Book Festival Invites García and Momen

September 15, 2023

Authors Alma García and Mehnaaz Momen have been invited to the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas, November 11 -12. García will talk about her debut novel, All That Rises, and Momen will discuss Listening to Laredo, A Border City in a Globalized Age.

The Texas Book Festival (TBF) began with a simple purpose: to bring authors and readers together in a celebration of literature and literacy. Founded in 1995 by Laura Bush (a former librarian and then First Lady of Texas), Mary Margaret Farabee, and a dedicated group of volunteers, the TBF set out to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading, and benefit the state’s public libraries. The first Festival took place in November 1996 and is now one of the nation’s premier annual literary events, featuring 300 authors of the year’s best books and drawing 50,000 book lovers. Discover all the 2023 Festival authors.

Congratulations to Alma and Mehnaaz!

About All That Rises:

In the border city of El Paso, Texas, two guardedly neighboring families have plunged headlong into a harrowing week. Rose Marie DuPre, wife and mother, has abandoned her family. On the doorstep of the Gonzales home, long-lost rebel Inez appears. As Rose Marie’s husband, Huck (manager of a maquiladora), and Inez’s brother, Jerry (a college professor), struggle separately with the new shape of their worlds, Lourdes, the Mexican maid who works in both homes, finds herself entangled in the lives of her employers, even as she grapples with a teenage daughter who only has eyes for el otro lado—life, American style.

About Listening to Laredo:

Nestled between Texas and Tamaulipas, Laredo was once a quaint border town, nurturing cultural ties across the border, attracting occasional tourists, and serving as the home of people living there for generations. In a span of mere decades, Laredo has become the largest inland port in the United States and a major hub of global trade. Listening to Laredo is an exploration of how the dizzying forces of change have defined this locale, how they continue to be inscribed and celebrated, and how their effects on the physical landscape have shaped the identity of the city and its people.

Excerpt from “Urban Indigeneities”

Today a majority of Indigenous peoples live in urban areas: they are builders and cleaners, teachers and lawyers, market women and masons, living in towns and cities surrounded by the people and pollution that characterize life for most individuals in the twenty-first century. Despite this basic fact, the vast majority of studies on Indigenous peoples concentrate solely on rural Indigenous populations.

Aiming to highlight these often-overlooked communities, Urban Indigeneities: Being Indigenous in the Twenty-First Century edited by Dana Brablec and Andrew Canessa  is the first book to look at urban Indigenous peoples globally and present the urban Indigenous experience—not as the exception but as the norm. The contributing essays draw on a wide range of disciplines, including sociology, anthropology, architecture, land economy, and area studies, and are written by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars. The analysis looks at Indigenous people across the world and draws on examples not usually considered within the study of indigeneity, such as Fiji, Japan, and Russia.

Indigeneity is often seen as being “authentic” when it is practiced in remote rural areas, but these essays show that a vigorous, vibrant, and meaningful indigeneity can be created in urban spaces too. The book challenges many of the imaginaries and tropes of what constitutes “the Indigenous” and offers perspectives and tools to understand a contemporary Indigenous urban reality. As such, it is a must-read for anyone interested in the real lives of Indigenous people today. Read an excerpt from the book below.

We are all familiar with the image of the Indigenous person in forests or mountains living close to and in harmony with the natural environment, enjoying a traditional lifestyle distant from the realities of a modern world. The reality is that an increasing proportion of Indigenous peoples today live in urban areas (UN Habitat 2010). They are builders and cleaners, teachers and lawyers, market women and masons, living in towns and cities surrounded by the people and pollution that characterize life for most of us in the twenty first century.

Despite this basic reality of contemporary Indigenous life, the vast majority of studies on Indigenous peoples still concentrate on the rural Indigenous. There are a number of reasons for this. Even though Indigenous peoples have lived in cities for centuries and even created some of the largest cities of their era (e.g., Cuzco in Peru, and Tenochtitlan in Mexico), from the time of Rousseau, Hobbes, and Locke, Europeans and their descendants have seen Indigenous peoples as living in a “state of nature” and so were not only blind to an Indigenous history in cities, but even when they did appear in urban spaces, they were considered to be no longer Indigenous by definition. This close association of indigeneity with the wild spaces continues right through to the twenty-first century, where the “authentic” Indigenous subject is deemed to live in the forests and mountains far from urban life and, if not in a state of nature, certainly in harmony with it. To situate so resolutely the Indigenous beyond the urban is not only to ignore history but also to deprive Indigenous peoples of their cultural agency and their ability to create identities in any space they choose. The social sciences in general have been largely complicit in this, although there are some notable exceptions (Howard and Proulx 2011; Furlan 2017; Horn 2019). This book, written by Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors, is the first to look at urban Indigenous peoples globally and to present the urban Indigenous experience not as the exception, but as the norm it is.

Contributors
Aiko Ikemura Amaral
Chris Andersen
Giuliana Borea
Dana Brablec
Andrew Canessa
Sandra del Valle Casals
Stanislav Saas Ksenofontov
Daniela Peluso
Andrey Petrov
Marya Rozanova-Smith
Kate Stevens
Kanako Uzawa

Five Questions for Mehnaaz Momen

September 12, 2023

Nestled between Texas and Mexico, the city of Laredo was a quaint border town, nurturing cultural ties across the river, attracting occasional tourists, and populated with people living there for generations. In Listening to Laredo, Mehnaaz Momen traces Laredo’s history and evolution through the voices of its people. She examines the changing economic and cultural infrastructure of the city, its interdependence with its sister city across the national boundary, and, above all, the resilience of the community as it adapts to and even challenges the national narrative on the border.

Why did you embark on this work?

I moved to Laredo from Cleveland in 2002 because I got a job at Texas A&M International University. I always loved the historic feel of the city and its rich heritage. However, I could not make sense of its urban growth patterns. All the theories I had learnt in my Urban Studies program felt inadequate for the then second-fastest growing city with its core of Spanish plazas, which remained underutilized, and the growing warehouses that surrounded the city. There were no delineable suburbs and yet there was a striking north/south divide. I wanted to study the city through the lenses of urban theory, so I wrote a few articles on Laredo. But it was much later in 2017 that I started working on a book-length manuscript. I was inspired by academic curiosity about the city at first, but after living here for two decades, it feels like an intellectual responsibility to understand the city and share my frame of analysis with a broader audience.

Your approach is very hands-on. You conducted interviews with 75 residents of Laredo. Why did you choose an ethnographic approach for your research?

My original plan was to contrast urban theory with material from the interviews of local residents. Almost as soon as I started the interviews, I knew that the local narratives about the border deserved exclusive attention. The local and national implications of a border region are not only different but often in conflict. When Laredo emerged as the largest inland port of the nation, global trade eclipsed all other frames of viewing the border. In the literary and cultural spheres, as well as in academia, the border has seldom been defined by the people who live in that space. It was fascinating how the different aspects of their stories were connected organically, which allowed me to weave a comprehensive story of Laredo. This is one of the main contributions of my work, namely to bring out the voices from the border to define the problems and possibilities of border cities.

Laredo is not only the locus of your research, it is also your home. What do you want the world to know about Laredo and border communities like it?

Laredo was the place where I got a job and reluctantly settled in. It took me a number of years to look at Laredo without preconceived notions even though I was living there. The cultural stereotype of the border is ingrained in all of us. I want my readers to see Laredo from the eyes of the people who live there by choice. We always hear about the dangers of the border, but the border is fragile, the border is beautiful, and the border is evolving. The border is full of possibilities, especially because it is always a little wild. For the people who live on the border, it was historically an abstract notion that had legal and political restrictions but did not obstruct cultural and economic exchanges. It is global trade and the politics surrounding the border wall that have turned the border into a concrete obstruction that has significantly curtailed economic and social flows between the two sides of the river. This hasn’t made the border safer; rather, it is stripping away the unique features of border areas.   

Even though you’ve been a resident of Laredo for more than two decades, you’re careful to point out in the book that you are still an outsider. Why was this important?

With the exception of my home city, Dhaka, where I grew up and lived for twenty-five years, Laredo is the only other city where I have lived so long, especially as an adult. I was an outsider in Laredo in all senses of the term. As an outsider, perhaps I was able to perceive a lot more anomalies of the city than a local person. The city is 95% Hispanic but has a stable history of intermarriages and has always made room for outsiders. Actually, in Laredo vocabulary, the outside/insider divide is neither national nor ethnic, but rather who is part of the community. In that sense, my relationship with the city changed because of this book. Laredo became a home for me through this process.

I was very conscious that I was writing the stories of a number of people with whom I don’t have a shared memory or shared history. I was bringing my academic and other life experiences to connect their stories to a framework of analysis, but my voice is not the nucleus. It is important to note that although I am an observer and a participant, this story belongs to the people of Laredo.

What is your next project?

I am working on a couple of articles using the materials from the interviews, information that I could not incorporate in the book because of the word limit. I am also working on a project with Webb County which will collect primary information about county services. Hopefully by next year I can expand my research to other border cities and explore their growth patterns. I want to start an alternate conversation about the border which acknowledges the prospects of the border and border people beyond the myopic view of disorder and trade calculations. 

***
Mehnaaz Momen is an associate professor in the Department of Social Sciences at Texas A&M International University. Her research interests include citizenship, immigration policy, urban theory, public space, political satire, and marginality. She is the author of The Paradox of Citizenship in American Politics: Ideals and Reality and Political Satire, Postmodern Reality, and the Trump Presidency: Who Are We Laughing At?

Author photo by Laila Nahar

Mehnaaz Momen Reveals Laredo’s Border Battles in the L.A. Times

September 11, 2023

Mehnaaz Momen, author of Listening to Laredo, tells the story of the largest port in the United States through the voices of its residents. In this L.A. Times Editorial, Momen writes, “The flow of money has shifted from the city itself to the four international bridges tying the local economy to the crumbs of international trade. Homegrown economic growth helped bring prosperity to the city in the 1960s and ’70s. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, however, transformed the beautiful downtown and the mighty Rio Grande into a mere passage for money, merchandise and narcotics.”

She interviewed Alec Martinez, a local resident who has worked in city government. He told her, “Laredo is like the goose that lays the golden eggs. Everyone is interested in the eggs, but no one cares about the goose.”

Momen offers hope for the city, in spite of state and national efforts to militarize the border. She writes, “Laredoans are excitedly awaiting the construction of the River Vega project, a binational park planned to run along the much-maligned Rio Grande for residents of Laredo as well as Nuevo Laredo across the border. This project has grown out of a community-driven master plan, Viva Laredo, focused on reanimating the historic downtown and enhancing quality-of-life features for residents.”

About the book:

Listening to Laredo is an exploration of how the dizzying forces of change have defined this locale, how they continue to be inscribed and celebrated, and how their effects on the physical landscape have shaped the identity of the city and its people.

In contrast to the many studies of border cities defined by the outside—and seldom by the people who live at the border—this volume collects oral histories from seventy-five in-depth interviews that collectively illuminate the evolution of the city’s cultural and economic infrastructure, its interdependence with its sister city across the national boundary, and, above all, the strength of its community as it adapts to and even challenges the national narrative regarding the border.

Excerpt from “Listening to Laredo”

Nestled between Texas and Tamaulipas, Laredo was once a quaint border town, nurturing cultural ties across the border, attracting occasional tourists, and serving as the home of people living there for generations. In a span of mere decades, Laredo has become the largest inland port in the United States and a major hub of global trade. Listening to Laredo: A Border City in a Globalized Age by Mehnaaz Momen is an exploration of how the dizzying forces of change have defined this locale, how they continue to be inscribed and celebrated, and how their effects on the physical landscape have shaped the identity of the city and its people.

Bringing together issues of growth, globalization, and identity, Momen traces Laredo’s trajectory through the voices of its people. In contrast to the many studies of border cities defined by the outside—and seldom by the people who live at the border—this volume collects oral histories from seventy-five in-depth interviews that collectively illuminate the evolution of the city’s cultural and economic infrastructure, its interdependence with its sister city across the national boundary, and, above all, the strength of its community as it adapts to and even challenges the national narrative regarding the border. The resonant and lively voices of Laredo’s people convey proud ownership of an archetypal border city that has time and again resurrected itself. Read an excerpt from the book below.

The largest inland port of the United States along the U.S.-Mexico boundary is Laredo, which before the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) used to be a dusty little border town with a quaint history. Nestled between the U.S.-Mexico territory along the Rio Grande in Texas, the city is older than the United States. Fueled by a dizzying spell of growth that occurred in the short span of three decades, Laredo surpassed Los Angeles to become the largest port of any kind—sea, land, or air—in the United States in 2019. The aura of the bygone age surrounding its charming downtown is now overshadowed by negative ordeals associated with trade and migration. The flocks of tourists and traders to the twin cities on both sides of the Rio Grande—Laredo and Nuevo Laredo—are now memories of a departed era. The same features of proximity to Mexico and ease of passage currently spell disorder and chaos in the political discourse. The border of Laredo has become synonymous with international trade to a greater extent than in the past. Under this new iteration, the remarkable history of the rich culture, economic success, and spatial evolution of Laredo is being buried. This book attempts to excavate the story of the city from the viewpoints and experiences of the people who actually live there to make sense of the concurrent drifts of being a historic city, a border city, and a global trade center.

Historic cities emphasize their glorious pasts; border cities are perceived as intermediate sites between nation-states, allowing clandestine activities; and global cities are centers of unmitigated growth. Historic cities are formed by the annals of antiquity, border cities are characterized by peripheral conflicts around boundaries, and global cities attempt to navigate national boundaries with the promise of economic boons. Laredo boasts of the distinct record of having been under seven flags (one as the capital of a short-lived republic), and its intricate history has served as a matter of pride for the people. The overwhelmingly Hispanic town relished its interdependent relationship with the people of Nuevo Laredo, which included family and business bonds going back several generations. Even though borders are contested sites for nation-states—and Laredo had been disputed terrain between Mexicans, Texans, and Americans—the umbilical cord between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo remained robust until Laredo evolved into a global port. Geography situated the coupled cities along a navigable river but detached from other metropolises, which strengthened their mutual dependence. Laredo has a long history of benign neglect by all the nation-states to which it belonged. The city flourished organically by taking advantage of its location and cultivating a socioeconomic hierarchy nuzzled in ethnic and cultural homogeneity.

An economic windfall came to Laredo during the Civil War when Laredo became a center for smuggling the cotton that funded the Confederate army. The city blossomed into a trade center by the turn of the twentieth century. Local folklore goes so far as to claim that by the 1950s, downtown Laredo was more prosperous than New York. The 1980s devaluation of the peso brought disaster to the retail economy heavily dependent on Mexican customers. Globalization ushered in a new meaning for border territories in the 1990s, as Laredo found itself perfectly situated to be a key locale in the postindustrial economy in the thriving Sunbelt, with an existing transportation network and abundant cheap labor on its periphery. The neoliberal growth rationale for border zones is based on transportation, consumption, and enhancement of the state apparatus with incessant surveillance, a notable deviation from the established pattern of the gradual progress of a city.

As the busiest land port, Laredo functions as a major link in the expansive global trade web, which requires simultaneous speedy transit and strict policing of the nation-state’s boundary. With its newfound international trade link, the codependency between Laredo and Nuevo Laredo has evaporated. Nuevo Laredo, the largest transportation nerve center in Mexico, fell under the power of the drug cartels as its location in the global network abetted narcotics transactions. In this new reality, the river, roads, and bridges are all under constant supervision, impairing the previous openness of the border. Only large freight trucks enjoy swift entrance from the south. The ceaseless flow of people across the border is a not-so-distant memory and is mourned by residents. Local concerns about preserving water quality and the riverbank or even investing in homegrown businesses have to compete with national or international trade and growth imperatives. The evolution of Laredo reveals both internal and external elements in the process of economic advancement and the formation of cultural identity in the border city.

Tom Zoellner Is Keynote Speaker for Arizona Library Association

August 31, 2023

Tom Zoellner will speak on “The Arizona Literary Tradition” at the Arizona Library Association conference on October 19, 2023, at the We Ko Pa Resort in Fort McDowell, Arizona. Zoellner, author of Rim to River, will talk about the writing tradition in Arizona. Many great works of non-fiction come from Arizona; however, something is missing. He says, “There have been plenty of very good novels set here, but none that has truly captured the essence of the state. This is a challenge laid before the state’s fiction writers: where is the Great Arizona Novel? Can you write it, please?”

About the book:

Rim to River is the story of Zoellner’s walk on the Arizona Trail. Follow his extraordinary journey through redrock country, down canyons, up mesas, and across desert plains to the obscure valley in Mexico that gave the state its enigmatic name. The trek is interspersed with incisive essays that pick apart the distinctive cultural landscape of Arizona: the wine-colored pinnacles and complex spirituality of Navajoland, the mind-numbing stucco suburbs, desperate border crossings, legislative skullduggery, extreme politics, billion-dollar copper ventures, dehydrating rivers, retirement kingdoms, old-time foodways, ghosts of old wars, honky-tonk dreamers, murder mysteries, and magical Grand Canyon reveries.

Aldama, Lomelí & Gómez Finalists for 2023 International Latino Book Award

August 28, 2023

We are pleased to announce that two of our books were recently selected as finalists for the 2023 International Latino Book Awards: Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Frederick Luis Aldama in the “Best Academic Themed Book, College Level – English” category, and Juan Felipe Herrera: Migrant, Activist, Poet Laureate, edited by Francisco A. Lomelí and Osiris Aníbal Gómez in the “Best Biography” category.

The International Latino Book Awards recognize excellence in literature, honoring books written in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, with the goal of “growing the awareness for books written by, for and about Latinos.”

Frederick Luis Aldama, also known as Professor Latinx, is the Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin, as well as Adjunct Professor and Distinguished University Professor at The Ohio State University. He is the award-winning author of more than forty-eight books, including the bilingual children’s books The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie and With Papá. He is editor or co-editor of nine academic press book series, including Latinographix, which publishes Latinx comics. He is the creator of the first documentary on the history of Latinx superheroes and the founder and director of UT Austin’s Latinx Pop Lab.

Francisco A. Lomelí is professor emeritus and distinguished professor of Chicano/a studies and Latin American literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He has published extensively on Mexican, Chilean, Argentine, and Chicano/a literatures, as well as multiple reference works in the field of Chicano/a studies.

Osiris Aníbal Gómez is an assistant professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His areas of expertise include contemporary Indigenous literatures of Mexico, Mexican literature, Chicano/a literature, and translation studies. His work explores the condition, aesthetics, and social justice possibilities of bilingual Indigenous and Chicanx writers.

Congratulations to all!

Dante Lauretta and Brian May Interviewed about “Bennu 3-D”

August 29, 2023

In England, The Guardian newspaper featured Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid and its authors in the week leading up to the book launch at the London Museum of Natural History on July 27. Dante Lauretta told his side of the story about how he and Brian May came to collaborate: “As the OSIRIS-REx mission progressed, I couldn’t help but share some of the latest developments with him … To my delight, Brian showed a keen interest in the mission and the science behind it. It was clear that he was not just a casual fan, but a true space enthusiast and an advocate for space exploration.” Lauretta eventually brought May on to the mission, who, alongside his collaborator Claudia Manzoni, created stereo images from original images that were collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras.

Space.com’s Tereza Pultarova interviewed Brian May, co-author of Bennu 3-D. She spoke with May about his role in bringing stereoscopic photography to the OSIRIS-REx NASA mission.

The rock-star-turned-astrophysicist explained how he came to be part of the team: “So what happened with me and Dante, is that I sent him just off the cuff a couple of OSIRIS-REx images which I’d made into 3D. And he was amazed. He said ‘I have never seen it like this, this is such a great tool and this might be able to help us find the landing site that we need in order to get that sample safely.'”

In another article focusing on the book, Space.com listed May’s other scientific projects. May, who holds a PhD in astronomy, had previously collaborated with the science teams behind Europe’s comet-chasing Rosetta probe and NASA’s Pluto explorer New Horizons. He joined the OSIRIS-REx team in January 2019, a few months after the probe reached its destination, after striking up a friendship with Lauretta over shared interests.

In fact, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx chief scientist Dante Lauretta and Brian May challenge Space.com readers to photograph objects in the solar system. The prize? A signed copy of Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid. Watch the contest announcement video here. Astrophotographers can submit their entries into the competition by email to spacephotos@space.com by Sept. 15. Be sure to include “astrophoto competition” in the subject line to be considered.

About the book:

The world’s first complete (and stereoscopic) atlas of an asteroid, this book is the result of a unique collaboration between OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta and Brian May’s London Stereoscopic Company. Lauretta’s colleagues include Carina Bennett, Kenneth Coles, and Cat Wolner, as well as Brian May and Claudia Manzoni, who became part of the ultimately successful effort to find a safe landing site for sampling. The text details the data collected by the mission so far, and the stereo images have been meticulously created by Manzoni and May from original images collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras.


The print edition includes 120 illustrations, 50 maps, 80 stereoscopic images, and includes stereoscopic glasses.

Diego Báez and the Evolution of his Political Consciousness in Alta

August 28, 2023

In the Alta article Abolition, Anarchism, and a Question of Action, Diego Báez reflects on the books and editorials that have shaped his political view. He begins his review in 2009 and concludes with the present time. These writings include Class Struggle and the Origin of Racial Slavery: The Invention of the White Race, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire and Revolution in the Borderlands, and an editorial for the New York Times titled “Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police.”

Diego Báez has a debut collection coming out in February 2024, Yaguareté White. In this collection English, Spanish, and Guaraní encounter each other through the elusive yet potent figure of the jaguar. 

The son of a Paraguayan father and a mother from Pennsylvania, Baéz grew up in central Illinois as one of the only brown kids on the block—but that didn’t keep him from feeling like a gringo on family visits to Paraguay. Exploring this contradiction as it weaves through experiences of language, self, and place, Baéz revels in showing up the absurdities of empire and chafes at the limits of patrimony, but he always reserves his most trenchant irony for the gaze he turns on himself.

“Discover Arizona” Class with Our Authors

August 24, 2023

Our authors are teaching a class this fall at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Arizona! Tim Hunter, Juliet Stromberg, Tom Zoellner, and William L. Bird take you behind the scenes of their books in “Discover Arizona Days and Nights with The University of Arizona Press Authors,” four Wednesdays starting October 18. The classes meet 1:00 – 2:45 p.m., at the Central Tucson campus, 4485 N. 1st Ave. (at the NW corner of 1st Avenue and Wetmore Road). Classes will be in person and via zoom. Registration is open for all fall OLLI-UA classes.

Tim Hunter, author of The Sky at Night, covers all the basics—from the Moon, planets, and stars to the history and origins of constellations and selected famous astronomers and events. Emphasis is on naked-eye viewing with an occasional reference to using a pair of binoculars or a small telescope, encouraging beginners to explore the skies.

Tom Zoellner, author of Rim to River, hiked the Arizona Trail through redrock country, down canyons, up mesas, and across desert plains. The trek is interspersed with incisive essays that pick apart the distinctive cultural landscape of Arizona: the wine-colored pinnacles and complex spirituality of Navajoland,  desperate border crossings, extreme politics, billion-dollar copper ventures, old-time foodways, and more.

William “Larry” Bird, author of In the Arms of Saguaros, shows how, from the botanical explorers of the nineteenth century to the tourism boosters in our own time, saguaros and their images have fulfilled attention-getting needs and expectations. The history of the saguaro’s popular and highly imaginative range points to the current moment in which the saguaro touches us as a global icon in art, fashion, and entertainment.

In Bringing Home the Wild, Juliet Stromberg tells of her 20-year journey in ecologically guided gardening on a four-acre irrigated parcel in Phoenix, from the perspective of a retired botanist. Some plants are indigenous to the American Southwest, while others are part of the biocultural heritage of the cityscape. She makes the case for valuing inclusive biodiversity.

Class Schedule

Oct. 18 Tim Hunter, The Sky at Night (in person)

Oct. 25 Tom Zoellner, Rim to River (zoom or in person, to be determined)

Nov. 1 William “Larry” Bird, In the Arms of Saguaros (in person)

Nov. 8 Juliet Stromberg, Bringing Home the Wild (zoom)

In Honor of Aurelie Sheehan: An Excerpt from “Demigods on Speedway”

August 18, 2023

In the tradition of Joyce’s DublinersDemigods on Speedway is a portrait of a city that reflects the recession-era Southwest. Inspired by tales from Greek mythology, these gritty heroes and heroines struggle to find their place in the cosmos.

In 2014, we celebrated the publication of Aurelie Sheehan’s book, Demigods on Speedway. Today, we re-share a portion of the excerpt in honor of her memory and tremendous contributions:


Tucsonans might trash their sister city, but all things considered, Phoenix does wield some charms. It has an echelon of restaurants and hotels mostly lacking here, for instance. Because landowners care not about the cost of water or the environmental impact of watering the desert, it’s much greener overall. Little rivulets by malls. Major, awesome lawns. In fact, it was some kind of hardcore lawn fertilizer that killed Fandango . . . at this moment being cremated. Or who will be, soon. His body is waiting somewhere, in the sort of place it’s preferable not to think about at all.


All beauty is wasted, all beauty will end, Terri is thinking, keenly aware of the unholy joke of immediate, rude extinction, the disregard the majority partner seems to have when it comes to maintaining the social contract—the capacity to be social, as Terri now interprets it, to look and listen and feel. Fandango is dead. And it goes on from there: we’re talking doom, individually and in great swaths. We’re talking the aging process. And so you need to capture life for the brief moments you can. Look at that barrel cactus.


Terri would not have come down to Tucson if Chris had been around, but he is working on a project in New Orleans this week. The kids are also both gone for the night—sleepovers. To be frank, her husband may not have been as helpful as Sarah (a good listener, Terri knows), because he adopts a fatalistic, purportedly practical stance in times of trouble: “It was his time,” “Crying can’t bring him back,” “We’ll get another one,” et cetera. Still, it would have felt awkward to leave for the weekend, if he were home. “Sisters have a special bond” might have come in handy in that circumstance. All in all, it was cleaner and easier not to have had to talk about it, to have just gotten in the car, turned on the A/C, and pretended for a couple of hours that life could be a song on the radio and a Starbucks in the cup holder and vague attention to a stretch of highway notable for its ugliness, give or take a few patches of cacti, a kitschy ostrich farm, and Picacho Peak, a lump of molten lava people climb when they have nothing better to do.

Poor Sarah. She looks like complete shit. Her very thinness looks unhealthy, a diminishing. Not the product of a compulsive fitness regimen, but of illness and overwork. It’s all because of that moron Wilbur. Ever since he broke up with her, Sarah has been a tall, thin moper. She looks like an ostrich herself, hanging her head.

“To hell with it,” says Terri, “I’m going to buy one of these small ones and just see how it does in the car.”

“Good,” says Sarah.

“I know, you have to, right?” says Alyssa.

And so the three women trudge farther into the maelstrom of xeriscape terrain, pots filled with this and that Martian-like form: the one with glorious black hair holding the spiky thing to her belly as if she’s pregnant; the squat, shorter one from Phoenix holding up, as if for inspection, a fat miniature cactus with a pink head, resembling the penis of a prickly circumcised frontiersman; the willowy one with the membership card and the 20 percent discount not holding anything at all but casting the remnant of her gaze bitterly over the entire venue, or so it seems.

The cacti aren’t really dry or barren. They just know how to conserve.


Aurelie Sheehan was the author of two novels and two short story collections. Her short fiction has appeared in Conjunctions, Fence, The Mississippi Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, and The Southern Review. She taught fiction at the University of Arizona.

Monsoon Book Roundup: Poetry & Prose to Welcome the Rain

The rain falls
on everyone’s skull
with equal charity
in a lapse from realism
makes us subjects of something more than flesh and blood
we are children of water
of longing
of uncertainty.

Elizabeth Torres, “The Rain” (Lotería, 2023)

In Tucson, the month of August is always exciting: school is about to resume, the students begin to trickle back into town, and new books are on their way. But this year, the natural flow of the season has been hampered by the unrelenting heat and scarcity of serious rain. Even the desert’s best-adapted plants have struggled to make it through this summer’s heat-wave.

At the University of Arizona Press, we find that it’s a little easier to exercise hydrological patience by looking back to some of our favorite water-writing. We hope you’ll enjoy this roundup of monsoon books—and who knows—maybe you’ll even be reading one on your back porch when the rain starts. We can always hope!

Lotería

Elizabeth Torres

The vision begins with a river. From this river, you can see a village, marine life, and ancestral rituals. It is here that you recognize origins, and a poison beginning to spread through paradise. Suddenly, a premonition: a wounded animal. The certainty of war cries. What you take with you is what you become, each movement a gamble, a lottery of life that transforms you until this moment, when uncertainty becomes an ally.

Lotería: Nocturnal Sweepstakes is a collection of deeply evocative coming-of-age poems that take the reader on a voyage through the intimate experiences of displacement. Conjuring dreamlike visions of extravagant fruits and rivers animated by the power of divination, these poems follow the speaker from the lash of war’s arrival through an urgent escape and reinvention in a land that saves with maternal instinct but also smothers its children.

In this bilingual collection, Colombian American poet Elizabeth Torres threads together the stories of family dynamics and the realities of migration with the archetypes of tarot and the traditional Lotería game, used for centuries as an object of divination and entertainment. Through these themes and images, the poems in Lotería narrate intimate moments in the lives and journeys of migrants, refugees, and all who have been forced into metamorphosis in order to reach the other side of the river.

Winner of the 2022 Ambroggio Prize of the Academy of American Poets, this collection showcases masterfully crafted and translated poems.

When It Rains

Ofelia Zepeda

When it was first released in 1982, When It Rains was one of the earliest published literary works in the O’odham language. Speakers from across generations shared poems that showcased the aesthetic of the written word and aimed to spread interest in reading and writing in O’odham.

The poems capture brief moments of beauty, the loving bond between family members, and a deep appreciation of Tohono O’odham culture and traditions, as well as reverent feelings about the landscape and wildlife native to the Southwest. A motif of rain and water is woven throughout the poetry in When It Rains, tying in the collection’s title to the importance of this life-giving and sustaining resource to the Tohono O’odham people. With the poems in both O’odham and English, the volume serves as an important reminder of the beauty and changeability of the O’odham language.

Bringing Home the Wild: A Riparian Garden in a Southwest City

Juliet C. Stromberg

book cover with a photo of riparian garden in the American southwest

Please note: this book is forthcoming in October 2023

When living in a large sprawling city, one may feel disconnected and adrift. Finding ways to belong and have positive effects is challenging. In Bringing Home the Wild, botanist Juliet C. Stromberg demonstrates how ecologically guided gardening develops a sense of place, restores connections to nature, and brings joy and meaning to our lives.

This book follows a two-decade journey in ecologically guided gardening on a four-acre irrigated parcel in Phoenix, Arizona, from the perspective of a retired botanist and her science historian partner. Through humor and playful use of language, Bringing Home the Wild not only introduces the plants who are feeding them, buffering the climate, and elevating their moods but also acknowledges the animals and fungi who are pollinating the plants and recycling the waste. Some of the plants featured are indigenous to the American Southwest, while others are part of the biocultural heritage of the cityscape. This book makes the case for valuing inclusive biodiversity and for respectful interactions with all wild creatures, regardless of their historical origin.

As author and partner learn to cohabit with the plants who feed them, calm them, entertain them, and protect them from the increasing heat, their desire to live sustainably, ethically, and close to the land becomes even stronger, revealing the importance of observing, appreciating, and learning from the ecosystems of which we are a part.

The Desert Smells Like Rain

Gary Paul Nabhan

Published more than forty years ago, The Desert Smells Like Rain remains a classic work about nature, how to respect it, and what transplants can learn from the longtime residents of the Sonoran Desert, the Tohono O’odham people.

In this work, Gary Paul Nabhan brings O’odham voices to the page at every turn. He writes elegantly of how they husband scant water supplies, grow crops, and utilize edible wild foods. Woven through his account are coyote tales, O’odham children’s impressions of the desert, and observations of the political problems that come with living on both sides of an international border. Nabhan conveys the everyday life and extraordinary perseverance of these desert people.

This edition includes a new preface written by the author, in which he reflects on his gratitude for the O’odham people who shared their knowledge with him. He writes about his own heritage and connections to the desert, climate change, and the border. He shares his awe and gratitude for O’odham writers and storytellers who have been generous enough to share stories with those of us from other cultural traditions so that we may also respect and appreciate the smell of the desert after a rain.

When the Rains Come

John Alcock

Life in the desert is a waiting game: waiting for rain. And in a year of drought, the stakes are especially high.

John Alcock knows the Sonoran Desert better than just about anyone else, and in this book he tracks the changes he observes in plant and animal life over the course of a drought year. Combining scientific knowledge with years of exploring the desert, he describes the variety of ways in which the wait for rain takes place—and what happens when it finally comes.

When the Rains Come is brimming with new insights into the desert, from the mating behaviors of insects to urban sprawl, and features photographs that document changes in the landscape as drought years come and go. It brings us the desert in the harshest of times—and shows that it is still teeming with life.

Cornerstone at the Confluence

Jason A. Robison

Signed on November 24, 1922, the Colorado River Compact is the cornerstone of a proverbial pyramid—an elaborate body of laws colloquially called the “Law of the River” that governs how human beings use water from the river system dubbed the “American Nile.”

No fewer than forty million people have come to rely on the Colorado River system in modern times—a river system immersed in an unprecedented, unrelenting megadrought for more than two decades. Attempting to navigate this “new normal,” policymakers are in the midst of negotiating new management rules for the river system, a process coinciding with the compact’s centennial that must be completed by 2026.

Animated by this remarkable confluence of events, Cornerstone at the Confluence leverages the centennial year to reflect on the compact and broader “Law of the River” to envision the future. It is a volume inviting dialogue about how the Colorado River system’s flows should be apportioned given climate change, what should be done about environmental issues such as ecosystem restoration and biodiversity protection, and how long-standing issues of water justice facing Native American communities should be addressed.

In one form or another, all these topics touch on the concept of “equity” embedded within the compact—a concept that tees up what is perhaps the foundational question confronted by Cornerstone at the Confluence: Who should have a seat at the table of Colorado River governance?

In Honor of Roberto Cintli Rodriguez: An Excerpt from Yolqui, A Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World

August 11, 2023

In Nahuatl yolqui is the idea of a warrior brought back from the dead. For Roberto Cinctli Rodríquez, it described his own experience one night in March 1979 after a brutal beating at the hands of L.A. sheriffs.

In November 2019, we celebrated the publication of his book Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World: Testimonios on Violence. Today, we re-share a portion of the excerpt in honor of his memory and his tremendous contributions:


In the middle of a cornfield in Huitzilac, Morelos, Mexico, I am given aguamiel, the juice of the maguey plant, to drink. That night, presumably, it prompts a dream.

I am hovering above a sprawled body.

Suddenly, I realize that the body is mine.

My spirit and my consciousness are outside of my body.

But how can this be possible? How can I be here, looking down at my own body?

I observe my bloodied body sprawled on the ground below me. I know it is me because those are my pants, my jacket, my hair.

I am not struggling. I am not moving. I am lifeless. A cold realization sets in, but it doesn’t make sense.

If my spirit and my consciousness are outside of my body, what does this mean?

I know I am not awake. This must be a dream. How else could this be happening?

The only other explanation is that I am no longer alive . . . that I am dead. No. This must be a mistake. There must be another explanation. I’m not going anywhere—I’m not ready to go!

At that, I am startled awake. I am in shock, trying to understand what I just saw.

For the past twenty years I’ve not had any dreams nor nightmares; either I
was not dreaming, or I was unable to remember my dreams. Either way, something changed that day in the cornfield, and that night I finally had a dream that I could remember. I was very disturbed by the dream, knowing full well there was meaning attached to it.

In the dream I’d been conscious of observing myself. It was the night of March 23–24, 1979, in East L.A., the night I was assaulted while photographing the brutal beating of a young man on Whittier Boulevard. Once I understood what I was looking at and where I was, my mind forced me to wake up.

That long-ago night resulted in my being arrested and charged with attempting to kill the four deputies who almost took my life. It took nine months to win that trial and another seven years to win the lawsuit I filed against those same deputies and the Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Department.

Even as I write this, I realize that something else happened to me all those years ago, beyond the constant harassment and death threats, beyond having to live in fear and operating on survival instincts. Something was taken from me that night in 1979: the trauma to my brain and skull also had a long-term impact on my ability to process my thoughts in the dreamworld. I lost the ability to recall my dreams. A psychologist could probably comment about that; I know our ability to dream is a critical part of what makes us human. Dreams permit us to process our thoughts, our emotions, and our experiences, and dreams are what connect us to that other world. That was taken from me that weekend. Many Indigenous healers whom I am close to believe that our dream state is as important, if not more so, as our awakened state, and most view the inability to dream as unhealthy. I am also conscious as I write this that I am providing a psychological portrait of my mind and my spirit some forty years after that night in 1979 in East Los Angeles.

What was the meaning of the dream I had in Huitzilac? At the time, I was unsure, and that was disconcerting. In subsequent days, I internalized the idea that I had died that night in East L.A. Was that a nightmare, or was it a memory of what had happened to me that weekend? Regardless, I realized I had become a spirit walking outside of my body.

Sometime later, when I was living in San Antonio, Texas, I discussed that disturbing dream with a good friend, Enrique Maestas, who is also an Azteca/Mexica danzante. I told him I remembered having had recurring bouts of fear between 1979 and 1986, fear that I was going to be killed. “The dream is nothing to worry about,” Enrique told me.

All warriors have to die.

Okay. I got that. I now understand that I died on March 23, 1979, and on March 24, 1979, I was resuscitated. But why?

So that as warriors, we can come back and fight again.

Perhaps that was the answer I was looking for, though Enrique’s explanation did not sink in right away.


Roberto Cintli Rodríguez was an associate professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. He wrote for Truthout’s Public Intellectual Page and was an award-winning journalist, columnist, and author. His first book with the UA Press was Our Sacred Maíz Is Our Mother: Indigeneity and Belonging in the Americas.

Sarah Hernandez and Tom Zoellner Represent Their States at National Book Festival

August 8, 2023

Sarah Hernandez and Tom Zoellner will represent South Dakota and Arizona, respectively, at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC, on August 12. Hernandez wrote We are the Stars: Colonizing and Decolonizing the Oceti Sakowin Literary Tradition, selected by The South Dakota Humanities Council. Tom Zoellner wrote Rim to River, selected by the Arizona State Library, Archives & Public Records.

The South Dakota Humanities Council plans to give away ten copies of We Are the Stars at their Festival booth. Meanwhile, at the Arizona booth, Tom Zoellner will be available 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. to talk with readers.

Both books will be part of the “Great Reads from Great Places” reading list, distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.

One way the Library of Congress strives to bring the 2023 festival experience to all Americans is through the creation of recorded online conversations featuring the Great Reads authors talking about their books and about the theme of this year’s festival: “Everyone Has a Story.” Videos from both Hernandez and Zoellner will be available here, shortly after the Festival.

The 23rd annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., on August 12, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. A selection of programs will be live-streamed online and videos of all programs will be available shortly after the Festival.

Congratulations Sarah and Tom!

About We Are the Stars:

Women and land form the core themes of the book, which brings tribal and settler colonial narratives into comparative analysis. Divided into two parts, the first section of the work explores how settler colonizers used the printing press and boarding schools to displace Oceti Sakowin women as traditional culture keepers and culture bearers with the goal of internally and externally colonizing the Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota nations. The second section focuses on decolonization and explores how contemporary Oceti Sakowin writers and scholars have started to reclaim Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota literatures to decolonize and heal their families, communities, and nations.

About Rim to River:

Rim to River is the story of this extraordinary journey through redrock country, down canyons, up mesas, and across desert plains to the obscure valley in Mexico that gave the state its enigmatic name. The trek is interspersed with incisive essays that pick apart the distinctive cultural landscape of Arizona: the wine-colored pinnacles and complex spirituality of Navajoland, the mind-numbing stucco suburbs, desperate border crossings, legislative skullduggery, extreme politics, billion-dollar copper ventures, dehydrating rivers, retirement kingdoms, old-time foodways, ghosts of old wars, honky-tonk dreamers, murder mysteries, and magical Grand Canyon reveries.

Pyrocene Park Makes List from Yale Climate Connections

August 1, 2023

With many North American cities enveloped by wildfire smoke this summer, Yale Climate Connections has published a round-up of must-read new fire books. Stephen J. Pyne’s newest work, Pyrocene Park, made their list, which features new works that help us better understand the dynamics of fire and our changing climate.

Yale Climate Connections Book Review Editor Michael Svoboda, writes, “Publishers and nongovernmental organizations seem already to have noticed the uptick in the number, intensity, and duration of wildfires in the past several years.”

In Pyrocene Park, Pyne focuses on one of America’s most beloved and iconic national parks, Yosemite. Pyne deftly tells the park’s history through a look at its fire story.

Yale Climate Connections is a nonpartisan, multimedia service providing daily broadcast radio programming and original web-based reporting, commentary, and analysis on the issue of climate change, one of the greatest challenges and stories confronting modern society.

About the Book
The Earth is fast transitioning from a planet shaped by ice to one shaped by fire in all its manifestations. Yosemite National Park offers a microcosm for understanding our current world. Stephen J. Pyne tells the story of how fire got removed from the landscape and the ways, both deliberate and feral, it is returning.

About the Author
Stephen J. Pyne is a fire historian, urban farmer, and emeritus professor at Arizona State University. He spent fifteen seasons with the North Rim Longshots, a fire crew at Grand Canyon National Park. Out of those seasons emerged a scholarly interest in the history and management of fire, with major surveys for America, Australia, Canada, Europe (including Russia), and the Earth, some thirty-three books both large and small. From that career, Pyne has developed the notion of a Pyrocene, a human-driven fire age.

Reyes Ramirez Receives Honorable Mention for the 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award

July 28, 2023

Reyes Ramirez has received an honorable mention for The Book of Wanderers in the short story/anthology category for the 2023 Eric Hoffer Book Award.

The Eric Hoffer Book Award “honors the memory of the great American philosopher Eric Hoffer by highlighting salient writing, as well as the independent spirit of small publishers. Since its inception, the Hoffer has become one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses.”

Congratulations, Reyes!

About the book:

What do a family of luchadores, a teen on the run, a rideshare driver, a lucid dreamer, a migrant worker in space, a mecha soldier, and a zombie-and-neo-Nazi fighter have in common?

Reyes Ramirez’s dynamic short story collection follows new lineages of Mexican and Salvadoran diasporas traversing life in Houston, across borders, and even on Mars. Themes of wandering weave throughout each story, bringing feelings of unease and liberation as characters navigate cultural, physical, and psychological separation and loss from one generation to the next in a tumultuous nation.

The Book of Wanderers deeply explores Houston, a Gulf Coast metropolis that incorporates Southern, Western, and Southwestern identities near the borderlands with a connection to the cosmos.

Authors Dante Lauretta and Brian May featured in the Arizona Daily Star

July 27, 2023

Recently, the Arizona Daily Star interviewed author Dante Lauretta about how Brian May and his London Stereoscopic Company came to be involved in the publication of Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid.

Lauretta, Director of NASA Mission OSIRIS-REx, explained to reporter Henry Brean how he started working with Brian May, “Brian and I corresponded briefly about the mission and my hometown of Tucson, Arizona, where he had spent some time enjoying the natural beauty of the Sonoran Desert and using it for self-reflection, as many do.”

Lauretta had always been a fan of Brian May’s music, May was a founding member of the band Queen. Lauretta mentioned that Queen’s song “Under Pressure,” helped him through some tough times as a kid.

Lauretta said, “The fact that I was corresponding with one of my childhood heroes was beyond cool.”

Lauretta told Brean that he May kept in touch as the mission progressed. Lauretta said, “I couldn’t help but share some of the latest developments with him. To my delight, Brian showed a keen interest in the mission and the science behind it. It was clear that he was not just a casual fan, but a true space enthusiast and an advocate for space exploration.”

After Lauretta invited May to officially join the team, May and his London Stereoscopic team went to work. May and his collaborator, Claudia Manzoni, used early, publicly available data collected by the spacecraft to produce stereoscopic images that showed Bennu’s rugged and dangerous landscape in what Lauretta describes as “glorious 3-D.”

Watch preparation behind the scenes and evening book launch from London on Thursday, July 27. Live streaming starts at noon (GMT+1), 2:00 a.m. AZT, on Brian May’s Instagram: @brianmayforreal.

About Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid:

The world’s first complete (and stereoscopic) atlas of an asteroid is the result of a unique collaboration between OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta and Brian May’s London Stereoscopic Company. Lauretta’s colleagues include Carina Bennett, Kenneth Coles, and Cat Wolner, as well as Brian May and Claudia Manzoni, who became part of the ultimately successful effort to find a safe landing site for sampling. The text details the data collected by the mission so far, and the stereo images have been meticulously created by Manzoni and May from original images collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras.

The print edition includes 120 illustrations, 50 maps, 80 stereoscopic images, and stereoscopic glasses.

Laura Da’ Named Poet Laureate Fellow

July 26, 2023

Congratulations to Laura Da’, public school teacher and poet laureate of Redmond, Washington! She is one of 23 poets laureate in the United States to receive $50,000 as Poet Laureate Fellow in The Academy of American Poets. Da’ is author of Instruments of the True Measure and Tributaries.

According to The Academy of American Poets, funding will enable Da’ to “produce a poetic map and walking installation of the Lake Sammamish ecosystem. The project will include an online, interactive brochure that encourages participants to learn more about the history of Lake Sammamish, a poetry walk installed at the sites of Idylwood Creek and Idylwood Park on the shores of Lake Sammamish, and a permanent installation of selected prompts.”

“The Academy of American Poets celebrates the unique position poets laureate occupy at state and local levels, elevating the possibilities poetry can bring to community conversations and reminding us that our national spirit can be nourished by the power of the written and spoken word,” said Ricardo Maldonado, president and executive director of the Academy.

Congratulations again, Laura!

Gloria Muñoz and Brandy Nālani McDougall Named Poet Laureate Fellows

July 25, 2023

Congratulations to Gloria Muñoz, author of Danzirly, and Brandy Nālani McDougall, author of Aina Hanau / Birth Land ! They are two of 23 poets laureate in the United States to receive $50,000 as Poet Laureate Fellows in The Academy of American Poets. These 23 individuals serve as poets laureate of states, counties, and cities across the United States and will be leading public poetry programs in their respective communities in 2023–24. Muñoz is St. Petersburg, Florida, poet laureate, and McDougall is Hawai’i poet laureate.

“The Academy of American Poets celebrates the unique position poets laureate occupy at state and local levels, elevating the possibilities poetry can bring to community conversations and reminding us that our national spirit can be nourished by the power of the written and spoken word,” said Ricardo Maldonado, president and executive director of the Academy.

Francisco Aragón, editor of Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry, was one of the panelists who recommended the recipients of the 2023 Fellowships. Aragón is the founding director of Letras Latinas at Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies.

Congratulations again to Gloria and Brandy!

Book Lovers of UA Press: Cameron Louie

July 25, 2023

Summer is a great time to meet the people at the University of Arizona Press who turn book dreams into reality. We are a small but mighty team.

Today, we feature our Marketing Specialist, Cameron Louie.

Hello Cameron, what do you do for the Press?

I am the Marketing Specialist for the University of Arizona Press. One of the major components of my job is facilitating exhibits, which is all about the press’s physical presence: knowing which conferences and events make sense to attend, handling pre-exhibit logistics, representing the press at events, and generally just making sure that our books and authors are visible in their communities. I also contribute to advertising and social media, and I submit our authors’ books for awards.

How long have you been at UAP?
About a week—I’m brand new! While I have a background in literature, publishing, advertising, and education, this is my first time working at a university press. In my previous life as a student at the University of Arizona, I always admired the mysterious folks on the fifth floor of the library, who seemed to materialize incredible books at a breakneck pace, and now I’m excited to be part of the action.

What do you like most about working here?
The experience and knowledge of my colleagues is incredible. Being surrounded by people who are passionate about literature and language is nurturing, and everyone I’ve met has been welcoming and supportive. I love being part of a culture that acknowledges the profound responsibility and privilege of getting to help shepherd these books into the world. I also love that marketing is involved in the whole life of the book, getting to see it in its primordial state and then being able to observe its impact on people out in the world. It’s pretty magical.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?
One of the things that is currently boggling my mind is how far out the planning needs to happen. Everyone is constantly thinking about the next season, the next year. Marketing requires so much attention to detail, and when those details are provisional, or TBD, or a year out, it requires a lot of flexibility and scrappiness to make sure that people and things are where they need to be. The stakes are high, too! Our authors’ ideas are crucial.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I’ve been rock climbing since I was a teenager, and it’s my favorite way to catch up with friends, spend time outside in the desert, move around, and (cheesy as it sounds) be in the present. Climbing is playful, social, and mentally/physically engaging, so it checks all my boxes for quality recreation.

Book Lovers of UA Press: Mary Reynolds

July 20, 2023

Summer is a great time to meet the people at the University of Arizona Press who turn book dreams into reality. We are a small but mighty team.

Today, we feature our Publicity Manager, Mary Reynolds.

Hello Mary, what do you do for the Press?

I let everyone know about our awesome books! Book promotion starts early. Pre-publication, I work with trade authors to find people to write blurbs for their books. I send out press releases, digital and print Advance Reader Copies of books, review copies to scholarly journals and popular media outlets. I contact podcasters, bloggers, radio shows, and more to get our authors and books promoted in as many places as possible. I manage UA Press social media and write news and event items for our website. I also coordinate author events for our trade authors.

How long have you been at UAP?
Seven whole months! I’m a rookie at the Press, but I’ve worked in the areas of publicity, writing, and editing for 20 years or so. And once upon a time, I even worked in a bookstore.

What do you like most about working here?
I like knowing what’s behind the scenes in book publishing and working with other friendly people who love books. I love working with authors to bring their books out into the world, and learning about how authors came to write a particular book. But my favorite part so far is working at the UA Press tent at the Tucson Festival of Books where I can see authors interacting with readers, and witness the joy on everyone’s faces. I also see this at author events, authors enjoy answering readers’ questions.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?
Unless you are a published author, you would be surprised at how early our team starts to work on publicity for your book. About a year before the publication date, we contact trade authors and talk with them about our process. We partner with authors on publicity; authors come up with great ideas themselves about book promotion, and how to reach their target audiences. For trade and scholarly titles, we work way in advance of publication date to get books into our catalog, on our website, on other online distribution sites; and for scholarly titles, we send their books to appropriate journals for review. I am always looking for ways to promote our authors. Early book buzz is the best book buzz.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Someday, I will travel to Machu Pichu and hike the Inca Trail. I’ve wanted to make the trip since I learned about the Incas in my 7th grade Spanish class. I’m in awe of the stone remains of this intriguing civilization. I’m happy in high mountains, I enjoy hiking, and I would love to visit other Inca sites in the Peruvian Andes, too.

Author David DeJong on PBS News Hour

PBS News Hour interviewed David DeJong, author of Stealing the Gila and Diverting the Gila, about water rights. DeJong is Director of the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project. PBS NewsHour correspondent Stephanie Sy spoke with DeJong and community members Ramona Button and Terry Farms about how the federal government took water from the Gila River Indian Community by building the Gila River dam. The Gila River is part of the Colorado River watershed. And now the federal government has finally provided funds to the Gila River Indian Community to bring back water to their lands and restore the agricultural economy. Watch the PBS News Hour Story: “Despite owning rights to Colorado River, tribes largely cut off from accessing water.”

About Stealing the Gila:

By 1850 the Pima Indians of central Arizona had developed a strong and sustainable agricultural economy based on irrigation. As David H. DeJong demonstrates, the Pima were an economic force in the mid-nineteenth century middle Gila River valley, producing food and fiber crops for western military expeditions and immigrants. As immigrants settled upstream from the Pima villages, they deprived the Indians of the water they needed to sustain their economy. DeJong traces federal, territorial, and state policies that ignored Pima water rights even though some policies appeared to encourage Indian agriculture. This is a particularly egregious example of a common story in the West: the flagrant local rejection of Supreme Court rulings that protected Indian water rights.

About Diverting the Gila:

Water was as vital to newcomers to Arizona’s Florence and Casa Grande valleys as it had always been to the Pima Indians, who had been successfully growing crops along the Gila River for generations when the white settlers moved in. Diverting the Gila explores the complex web of tension, distrust, and political maneuvering to divide and divert the scarce waters of the Gila River. Residents of Florence, Casa Grande, and the Pima Reservation fought for vital access to water rights. Into this political foray stepped Arizona’s freshman congressman Carl Hayden, who not only united the farming communities but also used Pima water deprivation to the advantage of Florence-Casa Grande and Upper Gila Valley growers.

Five Questions with “Bennu 3-D” Authors

July 17, 2024

Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid, the world’s first complete (and stereoscopic) atlas of an asteroid, is the result of a unique collaboration between OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta and Brian May’s London Stereoscopic Company. Lauretta’s colleagues include Carina Bennett, Kenneth Coles, and Cat Wolner, as well as Brian May and Claudia Manzoni, who became part of the ultimately successful effort to find a safe landing site for sampling. The text details the data collected by the mission so far, and the stereo images have been meticulously created by Manzoni and May from original images collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras. The book includes a stereoscopic viewer.

Why did your team choose Bennu as the destination for the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft?

Data from telescopes suggested that Bennu would be a “primitive” asteroid that preserves organic molecules (the building blocks of life as we know it) and water-bearing minerals from early in solar system history. This time-capsule aspect made it a high-value scientific target with the potential to shed light on how our planet and the life on it originated.

There was also a practical consideration in the selection of Bennu—it is a (relatively) nearby asteroid with an orbit that brings it close to Earth every few years. This makes it much more feasible to send a spacecraft there and back than if we were to go to an asteroid in the main belt. 

How many cameras were on OSIRIS-REx and what were their different purposes?

The spacecraft has two camera suites, each with three cameras, for six cameras total.

The OSIRIS-REx Camera Suite (OCAMS) (built by U of A) imaged the asteroid at global to local scales, providing data to construct the maps and digital terrain models needed for effective and safe sampling. OCAMS includes:

  • PolyCam, a telescopic camera with a zoom lens, which first detected Bennu from more than two million kilometers (1.24 million miles) away and later imaged the sample site in millimeter-scale detail;
  • MapCam, a multispectral imager that used color filters to map the diversity of materials on Bennu’s surface;
  • SamCam, a close-range camera used to photo-document the sample collection event.

The Touch and Go Camera System (TAGCAMS) (built by Malin Space Systems) is an engineering camera suite designed to support navigation and operations. It also ended up serendipitously supporting science by capturing images of rock particles ejecting from Bennu. TAGCAMS includes:

  • NavCams 1 and 2, two identical imagers that photographed Bennu and the background starfield for navigation purposes.
  • StowCam, which photo-documented the stowage of the sample in the capsule for delivery to Earth.

What did you learn about Bennu that you didn’t expect?

Lots! A primary theme of the mission was the curveballs that Bennu threw at us. Probably the biggest surprise was that we expected Bennu to be covered in sandy material, like a beach, that would be relatively easy to sample. In fact, it turned out to be covered in boulders, some the size of buildings, which was scientifically fascinating but made sampling a real challenge.

Another surprise was the serendipitous discovery, in navigation images, of tiny shards of rocks ejecting from Bennu’s surface, apparently spontaneously. This phenomenon was observed many times over the course of the mission. The science team concluded that it is probably caused by rocks breaking when meteoroids strike them and/or cracking under the strain of Bennu’s dramatic temperature changes.

A third surprise was the discovery of large (meter-scale) veins of carbonate minerals in some boulders. (An example of carbonate minerals on Earth is the white crust that forms around sinks and water fixtures.) Such large veins mean that back when Bennu was part of a larger asteroid, there was water flowing extensively under the surface, depositing the veins.

Finally, we were surprised to find that when our sampling device made contact with the surface, it sunk into Bennu as though into a plastic ball pit, rather than coming to rest on firm ground. This means that Bennu’s surface is made of particles that are very loosely packed and barely held together by any cohesion at all. If we had not fired the thrusters to back away, the spacecraft might have been swallowed by the asteroid as a result.

How did you happen work with Brian May and the London Stereoscopic Company to create Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid?

Brian and Dante first began corresponding as early co-supporters of the global Asteroid Day campaign. This correspondence eventually grew into Brian and his colleague Claudia Manzoni becoming active members of the OSIRIS-REx science team. They created numerous stereo (3-D) images from the spacecraft camera imagery that, in addition to being stunning to look at, were instrumental in helping the team understand Bennu’s rugged terrain and identify a safe sampling site. So it made perfect sense to work with them when it came time to create this atlas of Bennu.

What are the next steps for the OSIRIS-REx mission?

We are all looking forward to the delivery of the sample from Bennu to Earth on September 24, 2023. That event will kick off two years of intense laboratory analyses all over the world to test hypotheses about Bennu’s origin and evolution.

After the spacecraft drops off the sample, it will continue on its orbit in preparation for a second mission, called OSIRIS-APEX, that will rendezvous with the asteroid Apophis in 2029. Observing another asteroid with the same state-of-the-art cameras and instruments will offer exciting opportunities for comparison.    

Cynthia Guardado Video Interview about Cenizas

July 11, 2023

The University of Arizona’s Nancy Montoya interviewed Cynthia Guardado about her poetry collection, Cenizas, during the 2023 Tucson Festival of Books. The UA’s Digital Futures Bilingual Studio hosted the interview, and the video is available here.

Guardado talks about her poetry influenced by her family, violence and civil war in El Salvador, and shared grief through migration. Asked about the home that exists in her heart, she says “Home is the cobbled stone and dirt road that arrives at my Mama Chila’s house, my grandmother’s house,” in El Salvador.

Cenizas offers an arresting portrait of a Salvadoran family whose lives have been shaped by the upheavals of global politics. The speaker of these poems—the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants—questions the meaning of homeland as she navigates life in the United States while remaining tethered to El Salvador by the long shadows cast by personal and public history. Cynthia Guardado’s poems give voice to the grief of family trauma, while capturing moments of beauty and tenderness. Maternal figures preside over the verses, guiding the speaker as she searches the ashes of history to tell her family’s story. The spare, narrative style of the poems are filled with depth as the family’s layers come to light.

MALCS 2023: Recent Books & Conference Discounts

July 10, 2023

We’re thrilled to be attending the 40th Anniversary MALCS Summer Institute at the University of California, Riverside July 13-15. This year’s theme is “40 years of MALCS, Centuries of Activism: La Lucha Sigue for Racial, Reproductive and Decolonial Justice.” In honor of this special occasion, we are offering 30 percent off all titles on our website with discount code AZMALCS23 through 8/12/2023. Here are just a few of the books we’ll be featuring at the conference:

Letres y Limpias by Amanda V. Ellis
Letras y Limpias is the first book to explore the literary significance of the figure of the curandera within Mexican American literature. Amanda Ellis traces the significance of the curandera and her evolution across a variety of genres written by leading Mexican American authors, including Américo Paredes, Rudolfo Anaya, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Manuel Munoz, ire’ne lara silva, and more.

Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa edited by Margaret Cantú-Sánchez, Candace de León-Zepeda, Norma Elia Cantú
Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa is a pragmatic and inspiring offering of how to apply Anzaldúa’s ideas to the classroom and in the community rather than simply discussing them as theory. The book gathers nineteen essays by scholars, activists, teachers, and professors who share how their first-hand use of Anzaldúa’s theories in their classrooms and community environments.

Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas by Michelle Téllez
Near Tijuana, Baja California, the autonomous community of Maclovio Rojas demonstrates what is possible for urban place-based political movements. This work tells the story of Maclovio Rojas, a women-led social movement that works for economic and political autonomy to address issues of health, education, housing, nutrition, and security.

Latinx Belonging edited by Natalia Deeb-Sossa &, Jennifer Bickham Mendez
Latinx Belonging is anchored in the claim that Latinx people are not defined by their marginalization but should instead be understood as active participants in their communities and contributors to U.S. society. The volume’s overarching analytical approach recognizes the differences, identities, and divisions among people of Latin American origin in the United States, while also attending to the power of mainstream institutions to shape their lives and identities.

Nuclear Nuevo México by Myrriah Gómez
Contrary to previous works that suppress Nuevomexicana/o presence throughout U.S. nuclear history, Nuclear Nuevo México focuses on recovering the voices and stories that have been lost or ignored in the telling of this history. By recuperating these narratives, Myrriah Gómez tells a new story of New Mexico, one in which the nuclear history is not separate from the collective colonial history of Nuevo México but instead demonstrates how earlier eras of settler colonialism laid the foundation for nuclear colonialism in New Mexico.


Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture by Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez
Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture exposes the ways in which colonialism is expressed in the literary and cultural production of the U.S. Southwest, a region that has experienced at least two distinct colonial periods since the sixteenth century. Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez traces how Spanish colonial texts reflect the motivation for colonial domination. She argues that layers of U.S. colonialism complicate how Chicana/o literary scholars think about Chicana/o literary and cultural production.

La Gente by Lorena V. Márquez
La Gente traces the rise of the Chicana/o Movement in Sacramento and the role of everyday people in galvanizing a collective to seek lasting and transformative change during the 1960s and 1970s. In their efforts to be self-determined, la gente contested multiple forms of oppression at school, at work sites, and in their communities.

Activist Leaders of San José by Josie Méndez-Negrete
The community of San José, California, is a national model for social justice and community activism. This legacy has been hard earned. In the twentieth century, the activists of the city’s Mexican American community fought for equality in education and pay, better conditions in the workplace, better health care, and much more. Sociologist and activist Josie Méndez-Negrete has returned to her hometown to document and record the stories of those who made contributions to the cultural and civic life of San José in Activist Leaders of San José.

Calling the Soul Back by Christina Garcia Lopez
Calling the Soul Back explores the spiritual and ancestral knowledge offered in narratives of bodies in trauma, bodies engaged in ritual, grieving bodies, bodies immersed in and becoming part of nature, and dreaming bodies. Reading across narrative nonfiction, performative monologue, short fiction, fables, illustrated children’s books, and a novel, Garcia Lopez asks how these narratives draw on the embodied intersections of ways of knowing and being to shift readers’ consciousness regarding relationships to space, time, and natural environments.

Excerpt from Urban Imaginaries in Native Amazonia

July 5, 2023

Urban life has long intrigued Indigenous Amazonians, who regard cities as the locus of both extraordinary power and danger. Modern and ancient cities alike have thus become models for the representation of extreme alterity under the guise of supernatural enchanted cities. This volume seeks to analyze how these ambiguous urban imaginaries—complex representations that function as cognitive tools and blueprints for social action—express a singular view of cosmopolitical relations, how they inform and shape forest-city interactions, and the history of how they came into existence.

Urban Imaginaries in Native Amazonia edited by Fernando Santos-Granero and Emanuele Fabiano features analysis from historical, ethnological, and philosophical perspectives, contributors seek to explain the imaginaries’ widespread diffusion, as well as their influence in present-day migration and urbanization. Above all, it underscores how these urban imaginaries allow Indigenous Amazonians to express their concerns about power, alterity, domination, and defiance. Below read an excerpt from the Introduction to the book.

Although urbanization is an ancient phenomenon, going back in time at least nine thousand years (P. Taylor 2012), for most of human history people lived in dispersed, low-density rural settlements. This began to change as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution (1760–1840), when, due to technological changes in production and manufacturing, rural emigration increased and urban populations began to grow rapidly. In 1800, only 10 percent of the world’s population lived in urban areas. Today, 55 percent of the world’s population (according to the United Nations) or as much as 85 percent (according to the European Commission) live in urban settings (Ritchie and Roser 2019), the discrepancy deriving from different definitions of urban—an issue that will be discussed in more detail below. Regardless of these differences, however, what the above figures indicate is that urbanization has not only accelerated sharply in the past two hundred years but has, in the process, become a global phenomenon.

This rapid process of urbanization has had significant social, economic, and political impacts. On the positive side, high population density (and the concentration of resources in cities) has fostered technological advancements, economic specialization, higher productivity, and lower costs of production. It has promoted new forms of connectedness, political activity, and social solidarity, and it has encouraged creativity and the development of a broad range of cultural activities and forms of entertainment. On the negative side, it has deepened social inequalities, leading to the emergence of slums, overcrowding, and an urban underclass. It has promoted individualism and anonymity, thus weakening traditional family networks and forms of cooperation. And it has increased pollution, waste production, environmental degradation, and crime. In brief, although urbanization has generally led to higher standards of living, it has also condemned a large proportion of urban dwellers to a life of poverty and squalor. Despite lingering perceptions of Amazonia as a wild, remote, mostly rural space, the region has not escaped this global trend. Thanks to the building of a large network of roads and the development of better means of transportation, since the 1960s Amazonia has experienced a rapid process of urbanization. By 1985, with over 50 percent of the population of Amazonia living in urban areas, Bertha K. Becker (1985) had already described it as an “urbanized forest.” Today, almost forty years later, with approximately 70 percent of the Amazonian population living in cities (Becker 2013, 310; Chaves et al. 2021, 1187), urbanity has become hegemonic, and Amazonia is now an urban forest. The appeal of cities and urban lifeways has extended to the region’s every corner, including its three million Indigenous people belonging to some 350 ethnic groups (Charity et al. 2016, 26). As a result, by 2010, 36 percent of Brazil’s Amazonian Indigenous population lived in urban settings (Santos et al. 2019). Although the pace of Indigenous urbanization has varied in other Amazonian regions, it is safe to assume that between 30 and 40 percent of Amazonia’s Indigenous population now lives, more or less permanently, in cities. The urbanization of Amazonia has neither been the result of a unidirectional process nor been limited to the Indigenous people living closest to cities. Migrants to Amazonian cities often originate from the rural and urban areas of the Andes or the coastal regions of Brazil (Emlen 2020; Ødegaard 2010). In some cases, they are international migrants coming from neighboring countries (Aragón 2011). It is therefore appropriate to consider Amazonian cities and their current population as the result of complex demographic flows between rural and urban areas, often leading to the multisite household pattern that characterizes Amazonian populations nowadays (Padoch et al. 2008).

Contributors:
Natalia Buitron
Philippe Erikson
Emanuele Fabiano
Fabiana Maizza
Daniela Peluso
Fernando Santos-Granero
Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen
Robin M. Wright

Book Lovers of UA Press: Amanda Krause

June 28, 2023

Summer is a great time to meet the people at the University of Arizona Press who turn book dreams into reality. We are a small but mighty team.

Today, we feature our Editorial, Design, and Production Manager, Amanda Krause.

Hello Amanda, what do you do for the Press?

I oversee our Editorial, Design, and Production department, handle manuscript editorial tasks like maintaining our house style guide and hiring freelance copyeditors, manage the production schedules of all our new books and reprints, and host of other tasks to make sure our books are both timely and something we and the authors can be really proud of.

How long have you been at UAP?
I just hit my ten-year anniversary earlier this year, though I’ve been in university press publishing in some capacity or another for about fifteen. In a past life, I’ve also worked in other editorial and publishing jobs as a proofreader for a company that made marketing materials for colleges and universities, an assistant editor at a buildings and facilities trade magazine, and a beat reporter for covering school boards for two small-town newspapers in eastern Iowa.

What do you like most about working here?
The people! Both our authors and our staff here at the press are some of the smartest, most creative and passionate people you’ll ever meet. I constantly learn new things from the people I get to work with—both interesting facts and new ways of thinking. . . . And I’d be remiss in my duties as a bibliophile if I didn’t also say that I love that new-book smell.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?
How collaborative a process making a book is. When a manuscript goes through copyediting, it isn’t just a “hey we’ve edited your book to conform to the press’s house style and we’re done”; there’s a lot of back-and-forth between the copyeditor and the author, and then oftentimes consultation with me on the best way to handle a particular style issue for a particular book. Grammar isn’t a one-size-fits-all thing where all the rules can or should apply uniformly to all text. The goal instead is to make sure the author’s ideas are communicated clearly and the style is consistent, and you have to take into consideration how to make sure the language is free of bias, which could undermine the author’s expertise. And language doesn’t stay static over time. Plus there’s all the internal communication on everything from schedules to cover design. It’s a lot of meetings and emails.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Morocco! I studied French from middle school up through college (I missed the last class needed for a minor in order to do an internship at Northwestern University Press), and I became fascinated with Francophone Africa. Morocco has such a unique blend of French, Arabic, and African cultures. And I recently read one of Karen Armstrong’s books about the prophet Muhammad and am very interested in learning more about the Islamic world as well. Unfortunately, I’d really need to brush up on my French before I go—my language skills are VERY rusty after years of disuse, though I used to be pretty conversational.

Tom Zoellner Video Interview about Rim to River

June 27, 2023

The University of Arizona’s Nancy Montoya interviewed Tom Zoellner about his book, Rim to River during the 2023 Tucson Festival of Books. The UA’s Digital Futures Bilingual Studio hosted the interview, and the video is available here.

The book is 17 essays inspired by Zoellner’s walk across the state, from Utah to Mexico, on the Arizona Trail. “There’s a chapter in the book called ‘White Bones’ and it’s about the water shortage and the Colorado River,” says Zoellner in the interview. “And we’re running into a harsh reality in Arizona. To put it simply, it’s going to be farmers versus cities. And cities are going to win.” He thought a lot about water while hiking: “I developed a profound appreciation for water, the feeling of your body as you dehydrate. It’s a terrifying feeling.” In one of his chapters, Zoellner links this feeling of dehydration to the experience of border crossers, “the hardship of crossing the desert, and what they endure to feed their families back home.”

Rim to River is the story of his extraordinary journey through redrock country, down canyons, up mesas, and across desert plains to the obscure valley in Mexico that gave the state its enigmatic name. The trek is interspersed with incisive essays that pick apart the distinctive cultural landscape of Arizona: the wine-colored pinnacles and complex spirituality of Navajoland, the mind-numbing stucco suburbs, desperate border crossings, legislative skullduggery, extreme politics, billion-dollar copper ventures, dehydrating rivers, retirement kingdoms, old-time foodways, ghosts of old wars, honky-tonk dreamers, murder mysteries, and magical Grand Canyon reveries.

Dante Lauretta Hits the Airwaves

June 26, 2023

Arizona Public Media’s “The Buzz” interviewed Dante Lauretta about what to expect when OSIRIS-REx returns to earth. Lauretta is co-author of the forthcoming book, Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid. In the interview, Lauretta explained: “We’ve got to do multiple things. First of all, we got to get ready to receive that capsule. . . . Of course, the sample has to get to Houston, to NASA’s Johnson Space Center. So we’ve been doing a lot of work building the curation lab, making sure it’s ultra clean, getting all the hardware in place, and reviewing the procedure for disassembling the flight hardware. Then for me, the best part is the real science. This is a sample return mission. Our goal is to analyze that material and we’re going after the whole history of the solar system.”

On “Houston We Have A Podcast,” Gary Jordan interviewed the OSRIS-REx mission’s deputy project manager, Mike Moreau, and the mission’s lead curator, Nicole Lunning. Lunning detailed the sample protection process for when the capsule carrying the Bennu asteroid sample lands in the Utah desert on September 24, 2023: “We’ll collect the sample as quickly as possible and actually connect it basically to a nitrogen bottle here in Utah to maintain that nitrogen atmosphere, and keep it from having any of the contact with Earth’s atmosphere that just always happens to meteorites no matter how rapidly you collect them.”

About Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid:

The world’s first complete (and stereoscopic) atlas of an asteroid is the result of a unique collaboration between OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta and Brian May’s London Stereoscopic Company. Lauretta’s colleagues include Carina Bennett, Kenneth Coles, and Cat Wolner, as well as Brian May and Claudia Manzoni, who became part of the ultimately successful effort to find a safe landing site for sampling. The text details the data collected by the mission so far, and the stereo images have been meticulously created by Manzoni and May from original images collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras.

The print edition includes 120 illustrations, 50 maps, and 80 stereoscopic images

Author Andrew Curley on NBC News

June 23, 2023

NBC News interviewed Andrew Curley, author of Carbon Sovereignty, about the Supreme Court decision regarding water rights on the Navajo Nation. The Supreme Court ruled 5-4 against the Navajo Nation in a dispute involving water rights in the lower Colorado River Basin. Curley said, “It’s not surprising that the Supreme Court, a colonial court, would side with a colonial government. The power is stacked against tribes in this scenario.”

In the minority opinion, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that he would have allowed the case to go forward and he characterized the Navajo’s position as a “simple ask.” Lawyers for the Navajo Nation stated that they were seeking only an assessment of the tribe’s water needs and a plan to meet them. Gorsuch also offered hope for the Navajo Nation indicating that his colleagues in the majority recognized that the tribe may still be able to “assert the interests they claim in water rights litigation, including by seeking to intervene in cases that affect their claimed interests.”

About Carbon Sovereignty:

For almost fifty years, coal dominated the Navajo economy. But in 2019 one of the Navajo Nation’s largest coal plants closed. This comprehensive new work offers a deep dive into the complex inner workings of energy shift in the Navajo Nation. Geographer Andrew Curley, a member of the Navajo Nation, examines the history of coal development within the Navajo Nation, including why some Diné supported coal and the consequences of doing so. He explains the Navajo Nation’s strategic choices to use the coal industry to support its sovereignty as a path forward in the face of ongoing colonialism. Carbon Sovereignty demonstrates the mechanism of capitalism through colonialism and the construction of resource sovereignty, in both the Navajo Nation’s embrace and its rejection of a coal economy.

***
Andrew Curley is a member of the Navajo Nation and an assistant professor in the School of Geography, Development & Environment at the University of Arizona. He has studied the social, cultural, and political implications of coal mining in the Navajo Nation, and his latest research is on the environmental history of water diversions on the Colorado River and the impact of colonial infrastructures on tribal nations.

Book Lovers of UA Press: Abby Mogollon

June 22, 2023

Summer is a great time to meet the people at the University of Arizona Press who turn book dreams into reality. We are a small but mighty team.

Today, we feature our Marketing Director, Abby Mogollon.

Hello Abby, what do you do for the Press?
I am the Marketing Manager for the University of Arizona Press. With a three-person marketing team, we have an all-hands-on-deck approach to our marketing and communications. It takes everyone doing their part. I have a wide variety of duties, from guiding our overall marketing strategy to overseeing our website and metadata. I work on book covers and jackets with our designer, coordinate with our sales reps across the country, and much more. All to help our authors share their vital scholarship! My favorite work is when I get to spend time at an exhibit or book festival, hand-selling our books and meeting authors and customers.

How long have you been at UAP?
I’ve worked at the Press since 2009. I started doing marketing for the press’s Andrew W. Mellon funded project, First Peoples: New Directions in Indigenous Studies. This was a tremendous, four-press project. After that, I was able to move into the Press’s amazing marketing department!

What do you like most about working here?
I am constantly learning from our authors and my colleagues. I feel so lucky to be in such a dynamic field. Publishing is constantly changing and evolving. It is not boring. And the scholarship our authors produce is truly cutting-edge and vital. I also really love when we get to see an author present their work. It isn’t always possible because our authors are all over the world. But for those rare times when I can hear an author present their scholarship at an academic conference, book festival, or cozy book event, it’s just the best.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?
So much of book publishing is invisible. It takes a great partnership between the Press and the author to spread the word about a book, and a lot of thought and planning is happening behind the scenes. For example, for every review a book receives, there were probably ten or even twenty pitches to outlets. I think people may also be surprised to learn how much thought goes into those quotes on the back of a book. We call them blurbs and think carefully about who we request them from, and the authors who provide blurbs spend a significant amount of time with a work to come up with those two sentences that appear on the back of a book. It’s a real craft. With the advent of digital marketing and metadata, the traditional channels for sharing and publishing information has become exponentially more interesting and complex.

What is something you like to do in your free time to relax?
I read! In my free time you’re likely to find me snuggled up with one of my pets reading a mystery.

Excerpt from ‘Juan Felipe Herrera’

June 15, 2023

Juan Felipe Herrera edited by Francisco A. Lomelí and Osiris Aníbal Gómez presents the distinguished, prolific, and highly experimental writer Juan Felipe Herrera. This wide-ranging collection of essays by leading experts offers critical approaches on Herrera, who transcends ethnic and mainstream poetics. It expertly demonstrates Herrera’s versatility, resourcefulness, innovations, and infinite creativity. This book includes an extensive interview with the poet and a voluminous bibliography on everything by, about, and on the author. The chapters in this book offer a deep dive into the life and work of an internationally beloved poet who, along with serving as the poet laureate of California and the U.S. poet laureate, creates work that fosters a deep understanding of and appreciation for people’s humanity. Below read an excerpt from the book.

The Chicano Cultural Poetics of Juan Felipe Herrera: The Artist as Shaman and Showman

By Rafael Pérez-Torres

“I write in my notebook with the intention of stimulating good conversation, hoping that will also be of use to some fellow traveler. But perhaps my notes are merely drunken chatter, the incoherent babbling of a dreamer. If so, read them as such.”

– Matsuo Basho Narrow Road to the Interior

Juan Felipe Herrera spins out a whirlwind of creativity and expression. A writer with a voracious curiosity, an absurdist humor, and a showman’s flare for style, he is also an artist who uses his craft to inspire deep human emotion as a pathway toward greater insight and understanding – what in some spiritual and philosophical contexts is called illumination. His poetry moves in multiple modes and directions. These movements may have contributed to a notable dearth of critical study addressing the critical and cultural significance of the broad aesthetic palette – incantatory, comical, improvisatory, anecdotal, hallucinatory, theatrical, minimalist, parodic, cosmic – Herrera employs. His profusion of styles may confound critics who seek to capture the qualities of this quicksilver poet in a circumscribed way. Much of his work appears spontaneous or extemporized, and this may add to the difficulties in developing an effective critical approach to his work. A broader critical focus may afford a perspective on his poetry and how it often relies on affective responses in order to achieve both aesthetic surprise and pleasure – aspects of a showman’s brio – and suggest a transformative moment that invites reflection on the spiritual dimensions of human impermanence – a shaman’s transformative incantation.

His dynamic poetry restlessly seeks to delight and transport the reader as it generates a Chicano performative cultural poetics. Improvisational and even elusively experimental, Herrera’s artistry comes into sharper focus if we consider the manner that it forms a performative cultural poetics. This term is one Herrera employed to describe the work of Latina/o writers and thinkers who for decades have sought to shape new cultural formations. Their work draws from devalued forms of knowledge to help generate a decolonial consciousness. Herrera recognizes those artists and activists who through their artistry and performances have given us, “long lost and abandoned ancestral concepts that we can envision and apply in one way or another, along with a Mexica performative cultural poetics that we have been attempting to build in the U.S.- Mexico borderlands since the Indigenista cultural revolution of the first half of the twentieth century” (“Foreword to the New Edition” xiv). Herrera identifies (and identifies with) a Mexicano-Chicano-Latino cultural performativity as a component of decolonial cultural activism. It is this sense of transformative performance that informs and drives his own restless artistic creation that echoes and evokes and conjures other forms of knowledge.

The present discussion considers the double role of Herrera as poet: as showman, playing aesthetic slights of hand, and as shaman, using language for spiritual and emotional transportation and transformation. The poetry employs linguistic and poetic forms as part of a performance meant primarily to generate an awareness of shared human suffering and, consequently, connection. Poetry makes evident that this suffering often results from long colonial legacies and continuing inequities related to state power, patriarch, and nationalism. As such, it demonstrates a decolonial impetus as it aspires – often employing experimental aesthetic form – to enact a type of cultural, spiritual, and emotional transformation. His vast, eclectic, and restless poetic output generates a performative cultural poetics premised on three central compositional elements: 1) acknowledging and honoring a sense of origin; 2) recognizing the social and even physical materiality of language; and 3) pursuing and encouraging a growth of consciousness. His poetic concerns thus resonate with a reclamation of suppressed knowledges and repressed languages (often associated with Mayan, Mexican, Huichol, and other Meso- American Indigenous practices) to experiment with dialogue and dramatic re-enactments (an association with his early involvement in theater) to invocations of language as a medium for incantatory powers. They all serve to generate an enveloping performativity. Throughout, Herrera serves as a kind of postmodern conjurer. The emphasis on play and performance, on the poet as protean creative force and sideshow entertainer, undergirds much of Herrera’s poetry and asserts his commitment to a Chicano performative cultural poetics.

His poems at times suggest a literal script – indicating setting, actors, and audience – that draws the reader into becoming a creative participant in a poetic enactment generated through the language on the page. As his poetry crosses aesthetic and national and philosophical borders in a variety of ways, it performs a decolonial crossing of signification and positionality – an enactment of a performative cultural poetics – in order to resituate the role of reader in relation to the poem. The poet acts through language to create the poems and, simultaneously, to prompt his readers to conjure themselves into an awareness of greater human connection.

Book Lovers of UA Press: Leigh McDonald

June 13, 2023

Summer is a great time to meet the people at the University of Arizona Press who turn book dreams into reality. We are a small but mighty team.

Today, we feature our Art Director, Leigh McDonald.

Hello Leigh, what do you do for the Press?
I’m the Art Director, working within the Editing, Design, and Production department to produce great books! I am in charge of all the cover designs and interior art for UA Press titles, as well as some of the interior design and typesetting (and I sometimes put my marketing hat on as well).

How long have you been at UAP?
A long time now! I started at UAP in 2006 as the Marketing Assistant and Exhibits manager, after some previous years spent working in commercial publishing as a manuscript editor. After joining the Press, I discovered an untapped passion for book design and production, and worked my way into the Art Director role over the next few years.

What do you like most about working here?
I love working with a small, passionate, engaged team who really care about the books we produce. And I love that we get to learn a little bit about all the amazing scholarship and creativity in the areas we publish—our authors keep us learning and growing as we use our skills to help their work reach its audience. It is always a dynamic job, never boring!

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?
Most of it, probably. I think publishing is one of those fields hidden in plain sight—everyone knows and loves the end product, but the work that goes into creating that great book and getting it into your hands is mostly unseen. One thing people ask me about quite often is the cover design process—who chooses the art and decides on the final version? How does that work? The truth is, projects vary widely and there is no simple answer to that question. I really enjoy the process, though, and work to ensure that every book has a cover that fits the content inside and helps it to reach its widest possible audience.

What is something you like to do in your free time to relax?
My day to day free time is mostly spent with my family enjoying great food, playing games, reading, or practicing capoeira. My greatest and most relaxing joy, though, is when we are able to get out camping in the wilderness and immerse ourselves in the natural world. The Southwest has so many wonderful places to explore and discover–any time I get to focus on getting out there and being present in this incredible environment we share is a gift.

Excerpt from ‘No Place for a Lady’

June 12, 2023

In the first half of the twentieth century, the canyons and mesas of the Southwest beckoned and the burgeoning field of archaeology thrived. In this delightful biography, No Place for a Lady by Shelby Tisdale, we gain insight into a time when there were few women establishing full-time careers in anthropology, archaeology, or museums. Tisdale successfully combines Lambert’s voice from extensive interviews with her own to take us on a thought-provoking journey. Today we offer an excerpt from the Introduction of the book.

A Chance Meeting

I first met Marjorie Ferguson Lambert in 1984 while I was working for the School of American Research, now the School for Advanced Research (SAR), in Santa Fe, New Mexico. As the assistant collections manager at the SAR’s Indian Arts Research Center (IARC), I was periodically asked to transport Marjorie to meetings and “Brown Bag” lectures at the School.  During these travels back and forth between her home and the SAR we would talk about southwest archaeology, and she mentioned her frustration with her failing eyesight and how difficult it was to keep up with her professional reading and writing. On one of these trips, I offered to read archaeological reports and other anthropological publications to her, and we agreed to get together on Wednesday evenings.

I would go over to Marjorie’s apartment after work and she would fix a light dinner or we would go out to eat at one of her favorite restaurants. Afterwards I would read whatever was on her list. I mostly read archaeological reports and book chapters. Marjorie was also fascinated with primates, so we sometimes ventured away from archaeology and anthropology to articles or books on the study of mountain gorillas in Rwanda by Dian Fossey or Jane Goodall’s study on chimpanzees in Tanzania. Marjorie contributed to organizations, such as the Jane Goodall Institute, that focus on the conservation and protection of primates and their habitats throughout the world.

Marjorie and I discussed what was in the reading each evening and sometimes our discussions turned to the issues faced by women in archaeology specifically, and in anthropology and museums in general. It was during these reading sessions that Marjorie started to share her experiences as a young female archaeologist in the 1930s. As these spirited discussions progressed and we got to know each other, we compared my own experiences as a 1980s anthropologist with hers and we both realized that the position of women in anthropology and archaeology had improved little over the years despite the attempts by feminists during the women’s liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Fortunately, this has changed as more women entered archaeology and anthropology and started taking on leadership roles at universities and in museums in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.    

Throughout the years Marjorie and I continued to keep in contact with one another and we found that we shared many common interests.  We especially shared a love for the Southwest, its diverse cultures and landscapes, and its deep history. In 1989 I left New Mexico for Tucson, Arizona to study for my doctorate at the University of Arizona. Shortly after I started my studies Nancy Parezo hired me as a graduate research assistant to work on the Hidden Scholars volume that she was editing. This project was an outgrowth of the papers delivered at the Wenner-Gren sponsored “Daughters of the Desert” conference held in Tucson in 1986. The conference was related to a traveling exhibition and publication by the same name organized by Barbara A. Babcock and Nancy J. Parezo.

Nancy and I discussed the women in these two publications at length and I felt that the history of anthropology and archaeology would benefit from more complete biographies on some of these “daughters.” I approached Marjorie about the possibility of writing a biography on her. I proposed it as a cross-generational collaboration, which would be a significant contribution to the intellectual history of women’s roles in southwestern archaeology. There is much to gain from the experiences of others, and for those of us following in a similar path we could benefit from Marjorie’s willingness to share her personal and professional experiences with us.

Ted Fleming Video Interview about Sonoran Desert Journeys

June 8, 2023

The University of Arizona’s Nancy Montoya interviewed Ted Fleming about his book, Sonoran Desert Journeys during the 2023 Tucson Festival of Books. The UA’s Digital Futures Bilingual Studio hosted the interview, and the video is available here.

Fleming describes himself as a “curious naturalist,” beginning with some sketchy snake interactions from his childhood in Detroit. He talks about iconic desert species like the road runner, desert tortoise, saguaro cactus, and their evolutionary history. He also speaks about the plant/animal connection; for example, how birds and bats pollinate plants. Fleming also solves the mystery about why your hummingbird feeder is full in the evening, but empty by the next morning.

In Sonoran Desert Journeys ecologist Fleming discusses two remarkable journeys. First, he offers a brief history of our intellectual and technical journey over the past three centuries to understand the evolution of life on Earth. Next, he applies those techniques on a journey of discovery about the evolution and natural history of some of the Sonoran Desert’s most iconic animals and plants. Fleming details the daily lives of a variety of reptiles, birds, mammals, and plants, describing their basic natural and evolutionary histories and addressing intriguing issues associated with their lifestyles and how they cope with a changing climate. Finally, Fleming discusses the complexity of Sonoran Desert conservation.

LitHub Recommends ‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land

June 7, 2023

LitHub recommends ‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land by Brandy Nālani McDougall as one of “7 New Poetry Collections to Read in June.” Reviewer Rebecca Morgan Frank introduces the collections: “Small presses dominate this early summer list, reminding us that American poetry thrives year-round. Head out to your June gardens, real or imagined­, and start reading.” She says of ‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land: “This is a book of resistance as well as love.”

‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land is a powerful collection of new poems by Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) poet Brandy Nālani McDougall. ‘Āina hānau—or the land of one’s birth—signifies identity through intimate and familial connections to place and creates a profound bond between the people in a community. McDougall’s poems flow seamlessly between ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i and English, forming rhythms and patterns that impress on the reader a deep understanding of the land. Tracing flows from the mountains to the ocean, from the sky to the earth, and from ancestor to mother to child, these poems are rooted in the rich ancestral and contemporary literature of Hawaiʻi —moʻolelo, moʻokūʻauhau, and mele —honoring Hawaiian ʻāina, culture, language, histories, aesthetics, and futures.

Excerpt from ‘Where We Belong’

June 6, 2023

Where We Belong by Daisy Ocampo dispels the harmful myth that Native people are unfit stewards of their sacred places. This work establishes Indigenous preservation practices as sustaining approaches to the caretaking of the land that embody ecological sustainability, spiritual landscapes, and community well-being. The author brings together the history and experiences of the Chemehuevi people and their ties with Mamapukaib, or the Old Woman Mountains in the East Mojave Desert, and the Caxcan people and their relationship with Tlachialoyantepec, or Cerro de las Ventanas, in Zacatecas, Mexico. Below read an excerpt from the Introduction to the book.

This book explores the historic preservation of Indigenous sacred places as sites embedded with their own value systems. Concepts of Indigenous historic preservation emerged out of cultures and are not uniform. Indigenous people in Mexico and the United States understand historic preservation through their own cultural lens, not necessarily that of government officials. This work offers an Indigenous comparative approach of two Public History projects within the field and profession of historic preservation. This research juxtaposes two sets of relationships: the Chemehuevi people and their ties with Mamapukaib (Old Woman Mountains in the Eastern Mojave Desert), and the Caxcan people and their relationship with Tlachialoyantepec (Cerro de las Ventanas in southern Zacatecas). Caxcan and Chemehuevi’s sacred mountains provide an entry point into understanding the importance of creation narratives and sacred sites to Native sovereignty, and how the colonial targeting of sites through nationalist preservation projects rupture Native ties to their land. Caxcan and Chemehuevi cultures contain active preservation practices, which counters colonial accusations that Indigenous people are ill equipped to preserve their respective mountains.

Chemehuevi people are the southern-most group of Nuwuvi or Southern Paiutes whose ancestral homelands extends into the current-day states of Utah, Nevada, Arizona, and California. Contemporary Chemehuevi are enrolled in three different reservations, including the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe located along the western shore of the Colorado River across from Lake Havasu City. In addition, Chemehuevi are enrolled on the Colorado River Indian Tribes along the Colorado River in present-day California and Arizona. Finally, Chemehuevi are enrolled in the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians located in Coachella Valley of Southern California. On the other hand, Caxcan people’s ancestral homelands extends into the Mexican states of Zacatecas, Jalisco, Durango, and Nayarit although the majority reside in an area known as the Caxcan Region in southern Zacatecas. Today, numerous Chemehuevi and Caxcan people reside outside of their ancestral homelands.

The stories of these two peoples and places in North America inform us about concepts of power and significance of Indigenous sovereignty within the field of Public History, which is closely tied to governmental policies, museums, archives, and agencies involved in historic preservation. Government and educational institutions, often considered to be democratic, steward many collections connected to Native spirituality, including historical documents and cultural items. These sources offer elements of cultural knowledge germane to landscapes, but most often, they are not curated, maintained, and preserved by Indigenous people. The materials relating to the past often emerged from a colonial past and present, which has dominated their use and interpretation without the consent and leadership of Indigenous people. As a result of the colonial past, institutions and agencies continue to undermine Native stewardship of the Indigenous past. Therefore, Public History projects in relationship to and with Native communities must privilege tribal scholars, intellectuals, and members. Indigenous people, sovereignty, and preservation ontologies must be at the center of historic preservation projects. My research into Indigenous historic preservation focuses on two mountain ranges, but the work begins with my family and community.

Novels to Find the Real America

May 31, 2023

“A map of 1,001 novels to show us where to find the real America” includes two books from the UA Press. Find your America by reading the story written by Susan Straight in the Los Angeles Times, or go directly to the Storymap here. UA Press books featured are a collection of short stories and a novel. To discover El Paso and beyond, read The Last Tortilla and Other Stories by Sergio Troncoso. To discover a real Los Angeles neighborhood, read The Book of Want by Daniel A. Olivas.

About The Last Tortilla and Other Stories:

Troncoso’s El Paso is a normal town where common people who happen to be Mexican eat, sleep, fall in love, and undergo epiphanies just like everyone else. His tales are coming-of-age stories from the Mexican-American border, stories of the working class, stories of those coping with the trials of growing old in a rapidly changing society. He also explores New York with vignettes of life in the big city, capturing its loneliness and danger. Troncoso sets aside the polemics about social discomfort sometimes found in contemporary Chicano writing and focuses instead on the moral and intellectual lives of his characters. The twelve stories gathered here form a richly textured tapestry that adds to our understanding of what it is to be human.

About The Book of Want:

When Moses descended Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, he never could have foreseen how one family in Los Angeles in the early twenty-first century would struggle to live by them. Conchita, a voluptuous, headstrong single woman of a certain age, sees nothing wrong with enjoying the company of handsome—and usually much younger—men . . . that is, until she encounters a widower with unusual gifts and begins to think about what she really wants out of life. A delightful family tapestry woven with the threads of all those whose lives are touched by Conchita, The Book of Want is an enchanting blend of social and magical realism that tells a charming story about what it means to be fully human.

University of Arizona Press Presents Our Fall 2023 Books

May 30, 2023

We have another amazing season ahead of us at the University of Arizona Press. Here’s a preview of our upcoming fall 2023 season with the best the Press has to offer, from a debut novel and Indigenous poetry to space science, saguaros, Latinx studies, Indigenous studies, and the borderlands. Fall books are available for pre-order today! We highlight a few of our forthcoming books here.

Bennu 3-D, Anatomy of an Asteroid, the world’s first complete (and stereoscopic) atlas of an asteroid, is the result of a unique collaboration between OSIRIS-REx mission leader Dante Lauretta and Brian May’s London Stereoscopic Company. Lauretta’s colleagues include Carina Bennett, Kenneth Coles, and Cat Wolner, as well as Brian May and Claudia Manzoni, who became part of the ultimately successful effort to find a safe landing site for sampling. The text details the data collected by the mission so far, and the stereo images have been meticulously created by Manzoni and May from original images collected by the OSIRIS-REx cameras.

Nestled between Texas and Mexico, the city of Laredo was a quaint border town, nurturing cultural ties across the river, attracting occasional tourists, and populated with people living there for generations. In Listening to Laredo, Mehnaaz Momen traces Laredo’s history and evolution through the voices of its people. She examines the changing economic and cultural infrastructure of the city, its interdependence with its sister city across the national boundary, and, above all, the resilience of the community as it adapts to and even challenges the national narrative on the border.

Humans have always been fascinated by the possibility of extraterrestrial life, often wondering if we are alone in the universe. Drawing on Louis Friedman’s fifty years in the field, Alone but Not Lonely looks at the subject of extraterrestrial life, separating knowledge from conjecture, fact from fiction, to draw scientific and technical conclusions that answer this enduring question and examine the possibility of remotely exploring life on other worlds.

Alma García’s debut novel, All That Rises is set in El Paso, Texas. This multiple viewpoint novel is a story of two families—one Mexican American, one Anglo—who find themselves unexpectedly entangled with one another when each of their households separately implode. When the Mexican maid working in both houses begins to suspect that all is not what it seems, she is implicated in the unfolding of a web of mysteries, history, and border politics that forces all concerned to question their own pasts, their understanding of family, and their relationships to a part of the world like no other.

Light As Light is acclaimed poet Simon J. Ortiz’s first collection in twenty years. The poems in this volume are a powerful journey through the poet’s life—both a love letter to the future, and a sentimental, authentic celebration of the past.

Bringing Home the Wild follows a two-decade journey in ecologically guided urban gardening on a four-acre irrigated parcel in Phoenix, Arizona, from the perspective of a retired botanist and her science historian partner. Through humor and a playful use of language, author Juliet C. Stromberg introduces the plants who are feeding the couple, buffering the climate, and elevating their moods. She also acknowledges the animals and fungi who are pollinating the plants and recycling the waste. This work shows all of us the importance of observing, appreciating, and learning from the ecosystems of which we are a part.

In the Arms of Saguaros pictures how nature’s sharpest curves became a symbol of the American West. From the botanical explorers of the nineteenth century to the tourism boosters in our own time, saguaros and their images have fulfilled attention-getting needs and expectations. According to author William L. Bird, Jr., the history of the saguaro’s popular and highly imaginative range points to the current moment in which the saguaro touches us as a global icon in art, fashion, and entertainment.

Chicana Portraits details critical biographies of twelve key Chicana writers, offering an engaging look at their work, contributions to the field, and major achievements. Portraits of the authors are each examined by a noted scholar, who delves deep into the authors’ lives for details that inform their literary, artistic, feminist, and political trajectories and sensibilities. Editor Norma E. Cantú and artist Raquel Valle-Sentíes create a brilliant intersection of visual and literary arts that explores themes of sexism and misogyny, the fragility of life, Chicana agency, and more.

When Language Broke Open, edited by Alan Pelaez Lopez, collects the creative offerings of forty-five queer and trans Black writers of Latin American descent who use poetry, prose, and visual art to illustrate Blackness as a geopolitical experience that is always changing. Telling stories of Black Latinidades, this anthology centers the multifaceted realities of the LGBTQ community. Contributors challenge everything we think we know about gender, sexuality, race, and what it means to experience a livable life.

Woven from the Center presents breathtaking basketry from some of the greatest weavers in the Greater Southwest. Each sandal and mat fragment, each bowl and jar, every water bottle and whimsy is infused with layers of aesthetic, cultural, and historical meanings. In this book, Diane D. Dittemore offers stunning photos and descriptions of woven works from Indigenous communities across the U.S. Southwest and Northwest Mexico.

Open Arizona Offers New Open Access Titles

May 25, 2023

The University of Arizona Press is pleased to announce that a new selection of titles are now available as open access (OA). The titles are available for download or can be read in Open Arizona. These new titles bring our total OA titles available in Open Arizona to 101 items!

Now available as OA:

Persistence of Good Living
For the Indigenous A’uwẽ (Xavante) people in the tropical savannas of Brazil, special forms of intimate and antagonistic social relations, camaraderie, suffering, and engagement with the environment are fundamental aspects of community well-being. In this work, the author transparently presents ethnographic insights from long-term anthropological fieldwork in two A’uwẽ communities, addressing how distinctive constructions of age organization contribute to social well-being in an era of major ecological, economic, and sociocultural change.

Children Crossing Borders
This volume draws attention to the plight of migrant children and their families, illuminating the human and emotional toll that children experience as they crisscross the Americas. Exploring the connections between education, policy, cultural studies, and anthropology, the essays in this volume navigate a space of transnational children’s rights central to Latin American life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Empire of Sand
Empire of Sand is a documentary history of Spanish attempts to convert, control, and ultimately annihilate the Seris. These papers of religious, military, and government officials attest to the Seris’ resilience in the face of numerous Spanish attempts to conquer them and remove them from their lands.

The Stratigraphy and Archaeology of Ventana Cave
Re-issue, with new Preface offering recent insights, of the classic archaeological study which produced valuable findings on Hohokam perishable culture.

About Open Arizona
Open Arizona is a collection of open-access University of Arizona Press titles made available through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), as well as other sources of support. The scholarship, histories, and approaches in the selected titles emphasize the significance of the southwestern United States in a multitude of disciplines and fields, as well as the fields in which the University of Arizona Press excels in publishing.

David Lazaroff Is Picturing Sabino on TV

May 23, 2023

Picturing Sabino: A Photographic History of a Southwestern Canyon and author David Lazaroff were featured on KGUN-9’s “Absolutely Arizona.” Pat Parris interviewed Lazaroff about the human history of the canyon and showed several historic photos from the book. Lazaroff explained how people traveled to the canyon on horses or in carriages in the 19th century. He also debunked the myth of how Sabino Canyon got it’s name: it’s not from the name of a rancher’s daughter nor the Spanish name for a reddish horse. What is the true story of the canyon’s name? Watch the video here. To see 195 historic photos, and learn more about the myths and legends of Sabino Canyon, read the book!

Sabino Canyon, a desert canyon in the American Southwest near Tucson, Arizona, is enjoyed yearly by thousands of city residents as well as visitors from around the world. Picturing Sabino tells the story of the canyon’s transformation from a barely known oasis, miles from a small nineteenth-century town, into an immensely popular recreation area on the edge of a modern metropolis. Covering a century of change, from 1885 to 1985, this work rejoices in the canyon’s natural beauty and also relates the ups and downs of its protection and enjoyment.

Book Riot Features ‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land

May 19, 2023

‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land by Brandy Nālani McDougall is one of Book Riot’s “10 Essential Poetry Books by AAPI Authors.” Reviewer Connie Pan writes, “I delight in sharing one of my most eagerly awaited poetry titles of 2023. McDougall’s propulsive second collection about Hawai‘i’s culture, Kanaka ‘Ōiwi identity, memory, and parenthood gripped me so.”

‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land is a powerful collection of new poems by Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) poet Brandy Nālani McDougall. ‘Āina hānau—or the land of one’s birth—signifies identity through intimate and familial connections to place and creates a profound bond between the people in a community. McDougall’s poems flow seamlessly between ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i and English, forming rhythms and patterns that impress on the reader a deep understanding of the land. Tracing flows from the mountains to the ocean, from the sky to the earth, and from ancestor to mother to child, these poems are rooted in the rich ancestral and contemporary literature of Hawaiʻi —moʻolelo, moʻokūʻauhau, and mele —honoring Hawaiian ʻāina, culture, language, histories, aesthetics, and futures.

Tim Hernandez and Ana Saldaña Documentary Performance Video

May 18, 2023

Tim Z. Hernandez and Ana Saldaña presented “Searching for the Plane Wreck at Los Gatos: A Documentary Performance” last month, in a program sponsored by the University of Arizona Southwest Center. The full video of their performance is now available using this link. Above photo from the presentation: passengers boarding the plane that crashed in Los Gatos Canyon.

Hernandez took the audience on a journey from California to Mexico and back as he researched and wrote his book, All They Will Call You. Saldaña provided music inspired by Hernandez’s search for families in the United State and Mexico, and she closed the event with a beautiful rendition of the song “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee).”

All They Will Call You is the harrowing account of “the worst airplane disaster in California’s history,” which claimed the lives of thirty-two passengers, including twenty-eight Mexican citizens—farmworkers who were being deported by the U.S. government. Outraged that media reports omitted only the names of the Mexican passengers, American folk icon Woody Guthrie penned a poem that went on to become one of the most important protest songs of the twentieth century, “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportee).” It was an attempt to restore the dignity of the anonymous lives whose unidentified remains were buried in an unmarked mass grave in California’s Central Valley. For nearly seven decades, the song’s message would be carried on by the greatest artists of our time, including Pete Seeger, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez, yet the question posed in Guthrie’s lyrics, “Who are these friends all scattered like dry leaves?” would remain unanswered—until now.

Excerpt from Pyrocene Park

May 16, 2023

Its monumental rocks, etched by glaciers during the last Ice Age, have made Yosemite National Park a crown jewel of the national park system and a world-celebrated destination. Yet, more and more, fire rather than ice is shaping this storied landscape.

In the last decade, fire has blasted into public attention. California’s blazes have captured national and global media interest with their drama and urgency. Expand the realm of fire to include the burning of fossil fuels, and the fire story also subsumes climate change. Renowned fire historian Stephen J. Pyne argues that the relationship between fire and humans has become a defining feature of our epoch, and he reveals how Yosemite offers a cameo of how we have replaced an ice age with a fire age: the Pyrocene.

Organized around a backcountry trek to a 50-year experiment in restoring fire, Pyrocene Park by Stephen J. Pyne describes the 150-year history of fire suppression and management that has led us, in part, to where the park is today. But there is more. Yosemite’s fire story is America’s, and the Earth’s, as it shifts from an ice-informed world to a fire-informed one. Pyrocene Park distills that epic story into a sharp miniature.

Flush with people, ideas, fires, and controversy, Pyrocene Park is a compelling and accessible window into the American fire scene and the future it promises. Below read an excerpt from the book.

A trek to the Illilouette began as a thought by Jan van Wagtendonk, evolved into a resolve by the park’s upper administration, advanced to a project under the fire management program, and became a reality on September 13–15, 2021. Behind that undertaking lay the massif of the Sierra Nevada Range, California’s Mediterranean climate, a biota built to burn, humanity’s monopoly over fire, America’s halting history from laissez-faire burning to universal suppression to restoring good fires, Yosemite’s status as an emblem of the wild, the Earth’s hastening spiral from ice to fire, and those ineffable moments when planet and people converge.

The Illilouette Valley—hidden in the aesthetic shadow of Half Dome—is not a destination landscape. No John Muir has rhapsodized over its wild splendor. No Ansel Adams has immortalized it in photographs. No guidebooks identify it as one of Yosemite’s many iconic scenes. It boasts no towering granite domes, no Big Trees, no historical markers, no cult of climbing routes. In a place that overflows with the photogenic and the monumental, it projects no special vision or public voice. It is neither in Yosemite Valley nor along the Range of Light that forms the Sierra Crest. Its trees are Jeffrey pine, lodgepole, and aspen patches, not giant sequoias.

Which makes all the more astonishing that the superintendent, deputy superintendent, chief ranger, wilderness policy and recreation planner, chief of resources management and science, chief of ecological restoration, vegetation ecologist, fire ecologist, wilderness manager, park physical scientist, chief of staff, fire management officer, deputy fire management officer, and fuels battalion chief—most of the governing cadre of the park concerned with Yosemite’s natural endowment—along with two academics planned a three-day trek to the basin on September 13–15, 2021. These are the people who must decide how to manage the park’s natural estate.

That domain has been undergoing a slow, now quickening upheaval that makes Yosemite a microcosm of the Earth. Nearly all Yosemite’s fabled sites were shaped by Pleistocene ice as the planet flickered over the past 2.6 million years into and out of long glacial epochs broken by short bouts of warming. That ice was the most visible feature of a makeover that repeatedly recast the Earth’s lands, seas, and air. At Yosemite it widened and deepened valleys, rounded exposed granite, cached moraine and soils, and scoured routes for runoff that became rivers and waterfalls. Over and again, the ice made its mark, departed, and repeated.

The last interglacial, known as the Holocene, began roughly 12,000 years ago. But something new intervened in the rhythm of returning ice. This time a fire-wielding creature, Homo sapiens, interacted with a progressively fire-receptive world. The cooling stalled, then reversed. It was as though the expected ice age had refracted through a pyric prism and re-emerged as a fire age. Fire replaced ice, fire drove off ice. Visible flames reshaped living landscapes of conifers, shrubs, grasses, and peat, while combustion hidden in machines, burning the fossilized residue of formerly living biomes—call them lithic landscapes—began reforging how humans lived on the land. When the effluent from that industrial-scale firing marinated the atmosphere with greenhouse gases, it perturbed the climate, which reconfigured everything it touched. Local fires massed into a globalized fire age.

Even Yosemite, a monument to ice, is being refashioned by the hastening fires. That is what makes the Illilouette, otherwise so mundane, of interest to park management: it is a place informed by fire. It is where the park sought to test the notion, an amalgam of hope and alarm, that good fires might restore the lost fires and help stave off the bad burns, the feral flames, and the megafires that a blowup fire age threatens. It is where a landscape bequeathed by the Pleistocene has morphed into a Pyrocene.

Lotería Featured in ‘La Treintena’ 2023

May 9, 2023

Urayoán Noel includes Lotería: Nocturnal Sweepstakes, by Elizabeth Torres in his top 30 poetry books for 2023.

In ‘La Trientena’ 2023, 30 (Something) Books of Latinx Poetry, Noel writes, “Latina/o/x poets remain frustratingly marginal to the critical conversation even in the realm of literary studies, to say nothing of our broader field or beyond it. This time around, I was excited to come across a wide range of powerful new work from Central and South American poets, further challenging and complicating the entrenched canons of Latinidad.” The article is part of The Latinx Project at New York University.

Lotería: Nocturnal Sweepstakes is a collection of deeply evocative coming-of-age poems that take the reader on a voyage through the intimate experiences of displacement. Conjuring dreamlike visions of extravagant fruits and rivers animated by the power of divination, these poems follow the speaker from the lash of war’s arrival through an urgent escape and reinvention in a land that saves with maternal instinct but also smothers its children.

Congratulations Elizabeth Torres for making this list!

Excerpt from Indigenous Justice and Gender

May 8, 2023

Indigenous Justice and Gender edited by Marianne O. Nielsen and Karen Jarratt-Snider offers a broad overview of topics pertaining to gender-related health, violence, and healing. Employing a strength-based approach (as opposed to a deficit model), the chapters address the resiliency of Indigenous women and two-spirit people in the face of colonial violence and structural racism.

The book centers the concept of “rematriation”—the concerted effort to place power, peace, and decision making back into the female space, land, body, and sovereignty—as a decolonial practice to combat injustice. Chapters include such topics as reproductive health, diabetes, missing and murdered Indigenous women, Indigenous women in the academy, and Indigenous women and food sovereignty.

As part of the Indigenous Justice series, this book provides an overview of the topic, geared toward undergraduate and graduate classes. Below read an excerpt from the editors’ Introduction to book.

There is, contemporarily, a resurgence of Indigenous voice, Indigenous sovereignty, and Indigenous rights. At the heart of these movements we see, hear, and feel the power of Indigenous womxn (explanation of term to follow). While Indigenous womxn’s agency is not new by any means, the collective acts to dehumanize and marginalize Indigenous womxn through reproductive injustice, patriarchy, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and much more, has altered the Indigenous female space. While both historical repercussions and contemporary measures continue to commit offenses against the Indigenous female rights to body, land, and sovereignty, Indigenous rematriation is occurring within both rural and urban Indigenous communities and places around the globe. Rematriation is a “spiritually conscious movement led by Indigenous women” and embodies “the act or process of returning the sacred to the Mother” (https:// rematriation.com/). While the term “repatriation” is often utilized when referring to decolonization and the return of stolen items and/or remains to Indigenous communities, the root word “patriation” remains tied to the colonial, patriarchal context.

Rematriation is a concerted effort that places power, peace, and decision-making back into the female space, land, body, and sovereignty. While this book unearths the political, physical, emotional, and spiritual injustices forced upon Indigenous womxn, it more importantly exemplifies the abundance of Indigenous female movements and resilience. Rematriation is a justice movement for not merely Indigenous womxn but their children, communities, lands, health, reproduction, education, and basic human rights. In this book, we focus on the intersectionality of the Indigenous womxn’s experiences and how the interconnected nature of injustices against Indigenous womxn has in turn initiated an abundance of Indigenous people choosing to heal together. Our work is inspired by Indigenous grandmothers and is intentional with the abundant and bright futures of our daughters and granddaughters in mind.

In this book we use the terms American Indian, Native American, Indigenous, and First Nations to represent the original inhabitants of a certain space and land. Whenever possible we refer to people as from their respective Nations, tribes, clans, and communities. Similarly, for this introduction, we utilize the term “womxn” to represent the inclusivity of our LGBTQ+ and two-spirit community members. Because the term is relatively new, readers will notice not all contributing authors use it throughout the volume. We use it for inclusivity, with the intent of helping to de-marginalize those who have experienced marginalization for so long. This book is a concerted effort to personalize the Indigenous womxn’s experience and normalize the sustainable impacts and sovereign efforts Indigenous womxn are making within their respective communities and around the globe. Contemporary injustices geared toward Indigenous womxn are continuing impacts of colonization processes, such as assimilation, forced removal of children to boarding schools, and involuntary sterilization of womxn (Robyn 2018; Torpy 2000; Government Accounting Office 1976, and others) that disrupted the sacredness of Indigenous womxn within their communities.

Rather than focusing on dehumanizing Indigenous womxn through a “deficit” model or approach, we employ a more empowered approach that focuses on the strength and resilience of Indigenous womxn. In contrast, the “deficit” view picks out the perceived pathologies and reinforces the stereotypes and colonially based myths about Indigenous Peoples and their communities. As Coates (2004, 20) describes, the colonizers are on “a death watch” in that they expect Indigenous cultures to succumb to the inevitability of European strength. The deficit model, then, fails to accurately portray the actual situations of Indigenous Peoples. As Coates observed,

peoples as diverse as the Inuit and Maori, Chittagong Hill Tribes and Navajo, Sami and Mohawk have faced and survived the multiple forces of colonization. They changed, adapted, resisted, protested, accommodated, and otherwise responded to a series of efforts to undercut, undermine, and
disrupt their societies. Yet, to a degree that the contemporary rhetoric about colonization does not fully explain, the indigenous peoples remember their central stories and customs, retain centuries-old value systems, and continue to respect and understand the land and resources of their people. To
a much greater degree than most outsiders recognize, long standing family and community relationships remain pivotal in their lives. Even in highly developed industrial countries, indigenous societies are not dead—and in most cases are not even dying.

(Coates 2004, 22)


The deficit model ignores Indigenous Peoples’ strengths and their very survivance. The social justice issues that arise out of colonialism, however, are difficult to discuss without falling into an insidious form of structural racism. Criminologists, sociologists, and other scholars have used this paradigm in conducting research and in teaching students. Social workers, criminal justice personnel, public health workers, and other service providers (many taught by these same academics) also have been making
this error for years, which in turn appears in their reporting, analyses, and acting upon these issues in such ways that reinforce perceptions of Indigenous clients and their communities as “less than.”

Contributors:
Alisse Ali-Joseph
Michèle Companion
Mary Jo Tippeconnic Fox
Brooke de Heer
Lomayumtewa K. Ishii
Karen Jarratt-Snider
Lynn C. Jones
Anne Luna-Gordinier
Kelly McCue
Marianne O. Nielsen
Linda M. Robyn
Melinda S. Smith
Jamie Wilson


NAISA 2023: Recent Books, Conference Discounts, and More!

May 8, 2023

Join us for the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association Conference in Toronto, ON on May 11-13! Stop by our booth to browse our latest Indigenous studies titles and catch up with our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles! Order our books with the code AZNAISA23 at checkout for a 30% discount with free U.S. shipping. If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page or contact Kristen at kubuckles@uapress.arizona.edu. If you aren’t able to check out our books in person in Toronto, browse our recent titles below!

This book explains how Indigenous peoples organize their economies for good living by supporting relationships between humans and the natural world. This work argues that creating such relationships is a major alternative to economic models that stress individualism and domination of nature.

O’odham artist Michael Chiago Sr.’s paintings provide a window into the lifeways of the O’odham people. This book offers a rich account of how Tohono O’odham and Akimel O’odham live in the Sonoran Desert now and in the recent past.

We are thrilled that Michael Chiago won a Southwest Book of the Year Award! Check out the great book launch we had for Michael Chiago, in collaboration with Western National Parks Association!

In this book, disappearance of a young Choctaw leads Detective Monique Blue Hawk to investigate a little-known ceremonial dance. As she traces the steps of the missing man, she discovers that the seemingly innocuous Renewal Dance is not what it appears to be. After Monique embarks on a journey that she never thought possible, she learns that the past and future can converge to offer endless possibilities for the present. She must also accept her own destiny of violence and peacekeeping.

Read a brief interview with the author here. Listen to the author speak about her work on Native American Calling here. Are you attending the Tucson Festival of Books this year? Catch Devon Mihesuah and other UA Press authors at signings and on panels!

In Raven’s Echo, Tlingit artist and poet Robert Davis Hoffmann’s poetry grapples with reconstructing a life within Tlingit tradition and history. The destructiveness of colonialism brings a profound darkness to some of the poems in Raven’s Echo, but the collection also explores the possibility of finding spiritual healing in the face of historical and contemporary traumas.

Watch the poet discuss his work here.

This ethnography examines the role of language and embodied behaviors in producing a congregational split in a Catholic parish serving Guatemala’s Q’eqchi’ Maya people. Drawing on a range of methods from linguistic and cultural anthropology, author Eric Hoenes del Pinal examines how the introduction of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement in the parish produced a series of debates between parishioners that illustrate the fundamentally polyvocal nature of Catholic Christianity.

Read field notes from the author here.

Visualizing Genocide engages the often sparse and biased discourses of genocidal violence against Indigenous communities documented in exhibits, archives, and museums. Essayists and artists from a range of disciplines identify how Native knowledge can be effectively incorporated into memory spaces.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

From the early colonial period to the War on Terror, translation practices have facilitated colonialism and resulted in epistemicide, or the destruction of Indigenous and subaltern knowledge. This book discusses translation-as-epistemicide in the Americas and providing accounts of decolonial methods of translation.

Reading the Illegible weaves together the stories of the peoples, places, objects, and media that surrounded the creation of the anonymous Huarochirí Manuscript (c. 1598–1608) to demonstrate how Andean people endowed the European technology of writing with a new social role in the context of a multimedia society.

Critically examining the United States as a settler colonial nation, this literary analysis recenters Oceti Sakowin (historically known to some as the Sioux Nation) women as their tribes’ traditional culture keepers and culture bearers, while offering thoughtful connections between settler colonialism, literature, nationalism, and gender.

Centering historically neglected Indigenous voices as its primary source material, author David Martínez shows how Carlos Montezuma’s correspondence and interactions with his family and their community influenced his advocacy—and how his important work in Arizona specifically motivated his work on a national level.

This deep dive into the coal industry and the Navajo Nation captures a pivotal moment in the history of energy shift and tribal communities. Geographer Andrew Curley spent more than a decade documenting the rise and fall coal, talking with those affected most by the changes—Diné coal workers, environmental activists, and politicians.

Featuring analysis from historical, ethnological, and philosophical perspectives, this volume dissects Indigenous Amazonians’ beliefs about urban imaginaries and their ties to power, alterity, domination, and defiance. Contributors analyze how ambiguous urban imaginaries express a singular view of cosmopolitical relations, how they inform and shape forest-city interactions, and the history of how they came into existence, as well as their influence in present-day migration and urbanization.

This comparative work dispels the harmful myth that Native people are unfit stewards of their sacred places. This work establishes Indigenous preservation practices as sustaining approaches to the caretaking of the land that embody ecological sustainability, spiritual landscapes, and community well-being.

‘Āina Hānau / Birth Land is a powerful collection of new poems by Kanaka ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian) poet Brandy Nālani McDougall. These poems cycle through sacred and personal narratives while exposing and fighting ongoing American imperialism, settler colonialism, militarism, and social and environmental injustice to protect the ʻāina and its people.

We are thrilled that Brandy Nālani McDougall was selected as the new Hawai’i state poet laureate!

Cynthia Guardado Makes Ms. Magazine List

Ms. Magazine’s “Reads for the Rest of Us: The Best Poetry of Last Year” features Cynthia Guardado’s Cenizas. Karla J. Strand celebrated National Poetry Month by providing Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups. She wrote, “Instead of the usual blurb, I focused my thoughts about each collection into three words.”

Strand’s three words for Cenizas: Descent, grief, portal.

We have a few more words.

Cenizas offers an arresting portrait of a Salvadoran family whose lives have been shaped by the upheavals of global politics. The speaker of these poems—the daughter of Salvadoran immigrants—questions the meaning of homeland as she navigates life in the United States while remaining tethered to El Salvador by the long shadows cast by personal and public history. Cynthia Guardado’s poems give voice to the grief of family trauma, while capturing moments of beauty and tenderness. Maternal figures preside over the verses, guiding the speaker as she searches the ashes of history to tell her family’s story. The spare, narrative style of the poems are filled with depth as the family’s layers come to light.

‘American Scientist’ Publishes Stephen Pyne’s Essay on Pyrocene Park

April 27, 2023

Just in time for the publication of Stephen Pyne’s new book Pyrocene Park, American Scientist has republished the author’s essay on fire in one of America’s most popular national parks.

Pyne writes, “A century-long policy of fire exclusion has transformed Yosemite Valley into a tinderbox that threatens the ancient sequoias of the Mariposa Grove.

“Stand at Glacier Point and you’ll instantly understand why it is one of North America’s iconic overlooks. The great trough of Yosemite Valley in California fills the foreground below and, with almost gravitational pull, carries the eye eastward to the crest line of the Sierra Nevada mountains. With its sheer granite walls, waterfalls that plunge hundreds of meters, and uniquely sculpted stone monoliths (such as El Capitan and Half Dome), words such as monumental hardly do justice to the scene…”

Read the complete essay

***
Organized around a backcountry trek to a 50-year experiment in restoring fire, Pyrocene Park describes the 150-year history of fire suppression and management that has led us, in part, to where the park is today. But there is more. Yosemite’s fire story is America’s, and the Earth’s, as it shifts from an ice-informed world to a fire-informed one. Pyrocene Park distills that epic story into a sharp miniature. Flush with people, ideas, fires, and controversy, Pyrocene Park is a compelling and accessible window into the American fire scene and the future it promises.

Cowboy Up Podcast Interviews Shelby Tisdale

April 24, 2023

Cowboy Up hosts recently interviewed author Shelby Tisdale about her new book, No Place for a Lady, The Life Story of Archaeologist Marjorie F. Lambert.

Dude rancher Russell True and cowboy H. Alan Day interviewed Tisdale in Tucson, Arizona. Listen to the interview here: Breaking Through the Glass (or in This Case, the Dirt!). It’s also available on Apple podcasts.

Marjorie Lambert knew what she loved: archeology, specifically southwestern archeology. But back around 1930, excavation sites were not a place for women. That didn’t deter Marjorie, a trailblazer who, during her illustrious career, worked as a field manager, museum director, curator, professor, and what’s more, married a cowboy who became a dude rancher. When author Shelby Tisdale met Marjorie Lambert and got to know her, she knew that she had to write a biography about this extraordinary woman.

Marjorie Lambert’s first experience leading an excavation was when she taught a summer archaeology and anthropology class in New Mexico. Tisdale explains in the podcast, “They did a fantastic excavation at the Tecalote site. It was an ancestral Pueblo site from 1300 C.E. and a Plains Apache site. She was told by many men that she would never be able to get any men to work for her and she proved them wrong.”

As a graduate student, Tisdale had the opportunity to meet Marjorie Lambert. Lambert was losing her eyesight, so Tisdale volunteered to read to her. “We’d have a little dinner, maybe some wine or a margarita, and I’d sit and read to her,” Tisdale says. “Then our discussions would focus on her life, and what it was like being a woman in the field, and I was just starting my career. So we would compare notes.” A few years later the author asked Lambert is she could write a biography about her, and Lambert agreed. “And 35 years later, I finally finished the book!” says Tisdale.

More about the book:

Through Lambert’s life story we gain new insight into the intricacies and politics involved in the development of archaeology and museums in New Mexico and the greater Southwest. We also learn about the obstacles that young women had to maneuver around in the early years of the development of southwestern archaeology as a profession. Tisdale brings into focus one of the long-neglected voices of women in the intellectual history of anthropology and archaeology and highlights how gender roles played out in the past in determining the career paths of young women. She also highlights what has changed and what has not in the twenty-first century.

Women’s voices have long been absent throughout history, and Marjorie Lambert’s story adds to the growing literature on feminist archaeology.

Five Questions with Poet Elizabeth Torres

April 21, 2023

Lotería: Nocturnal Sweepstakes is a collection of deeply evocative coming-of-age poems that take the reader on a voyage through the intimate experiences of displacement. Conjuring dreamlike visions of extravagant fruits and rivers animated by the power of divination, these poems follow the speaker from the lash of war’s arrival through an urgent escape and reinvention in a land that saves with maternal instinct but also smothers its children. This collection is the winner of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize! Below, read a brief interview with poet Elizabeth Torres.

What inspired you to write this collection?
I’ve always been writing about subjects related to identity, agency and territory… but it is possibly due to the distance, both physically and mentally, caused by being in Denmark (and by time, of course), that I was able to think back and poke at my own story, and disrobe it / see it / relate to it as I do to the stories of other bodies in movement, refugees, migrants, nomads, whom I’ve encountered in my path. 

This book was very much written as a response to the turmoil being faced by families of immigrants, who carry these memories in their blood which cause them to look at their own stories from multiple mirrors… but also as a commentary on the idea of identity, and who really is allowed to belong.

How did the themes of displacement and home shape the poems in this collection?
Home is a relative term. To some, it is found when there is shelter and silence from a dangerous environment, to others it is a physical space that must be guarded from any disturbance. To me it is a fluid idea of recognition and acceptance. A collection of moments that molded me and carry me through uncertainty. In this book I combined poetry, testimonial, fiction and legend to look deep inside my own understanding of “what happened”, threading the waters to my definitions of memory, displacement, and adaptation.

Lotería includes pieces of your artwork. Would you tell us more about how your art and your poetry work together in the collection?
As a multimedia artist, to me everything has more than one dimension. A poem is musical, rhythmic, it is a soundscape on its own, not just confined to paper… and at the same time it is very visual, for it must create firm images that readers can attest to. It is the same with visual art. It must contain poetry, and leave enough room for others to breathe, take breaks, come back, return to. So I like to illustrate my poetry as an organic map of the process. And I like also to continue each investigation from a different angle. Lately I am doing small paintings inspired by the poems, to make my own arcana of these symbols I present in the book… and I recently received a grant in Denmark to make an experimental album based on these poems as well, so the body of work becomes richer, deeper, but really it’s all just poetry.

You translated your own poems in this bilingual collection–what are your thoughts on the poetic process of self-translation?
Translation is another layer of my work, and I think it is a very organic part of the process, in great part because of my dual identity as an American and as a Colombian. I tend to write in both languages, to borrow from each of my voices. In my writings in Spanish I can recognize melancholy, a craving for nurturing and kinship, attachment, blood and ancestral wisdom. In my English, there’s the coming-of-age, the sarcasm, the curiosity of the artist, the cotidianity of the adult. So I can borrow from each voice to give more depth to my poetic characters. In this specific case, since the story is so personal, so intimate… I needed to distance my present self (who mainly speaks English and Danish) and return to the nucleus, to the beginning, the origin which now is also a blurred dream, hence it was clear that it needed to be written in Spanish. And then, by translating to English, I was able to explain to myself what it is I was coming to terms with, what I was celebrating and what I was letting go of, but also to remain somehow removed from the painful/inconvenient/uncomfortable aspects of the story. 

What are you working on now?
Currently I am writing a play about interpretations of democracy in our current times and how these are influenced by AI/technology. It’s a gameshow and it involves an app for the audience to decide the turns of the story, so I have been enjoying the process very much. It premieres in May here in Denmark. 

Additionally I just translated a compilation of Latin American women poets for a book titled “The Witnessing of Days” released this month by Versopolis as part of their Poetry Expo. 

I am also a cultural organizer so I’ve been curating a series of literary events as part of a festival throughout the Nordic region, and last but not least of course, I am writing. I am always writing. Currently I am working on a poetic lexicon about artistic research and the embodiment of knowledge… and adding the finishing touches to a book in Spanish titled Expediciones a la Región furtiva (Expeditions to the Furtive Region), which narrates the voyage of a polar expedition towards oblivion, which comes out this spring in Spain, Mexico and Colombia with Valparaíso Ediciones. 

…I am also working on a novel, which I fondly call my “lucid spectacle of redemption”. 

In the meantime, for the past 13 years I have directed a quarterly arts magazine called Red Door, and I host an arts & culture podcast called Red Transmissions. See? It’s a poetic takeover.

***

Elizabeth Torres (Madam Neverstop) is a poet, multimedia artist, and literary translator. She is the author of more than twenty books of poetry in various languages and has toured more than thirty countries with her work. Torres is director of the arts quarterly publication Red Door Magazine, founder of the Poetic Phonotheque, and host of the Red Transmissions podcast. She resides in Copenhagen, where she is pursuing an MFA in performing arts at Den Danske Scenekunst Skole.

Reyes Ramirez Is New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award Finalist

April 20, 2023

Reyes Ramirez has been named one of the five finalists for the 2023 Young Lions Fiction Award for The Book of Wanderers.

Established in 2001, The New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award is a $10,000 prize awarded each spring to a writer age 35 or younger for a novel or a collection of short stories. Each year, five young fiction writers are selected as finalists by a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians. A panel of judges selects the winner.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony and celebration in New York on Thursday, June 15. Reyes Ramirez and his guests will be in attendance. The other finalists are: Fatimah Asghar for When We Were Sisters; Elaine Hsieh Chou for Disorientation; Zain Khalid for Brother Alive; and David Sanchez for All Day Is A Long Time. Part of the ceremony is having celebrities and influencers read an excerpt from each of the five finalists.

Congratulations Reyes!

About the book:

What do a family of luchadores, a teen on the run, a rideshare driver, a lucid dreamer, a migrant worker in space, a mecha soldier, and a zombie-and-neo-Nazi fighter have in common?

Reyes Ramirez’s dynamic short story collection follows new lineages of Mexican and Salvadoran diasporas traversing life in Houston, across borders, and even on Mars. Themes of wandering weave throughout each story, bringing feelings of unease and liberation as characters navigate cultural, physical, and psychological separation and loss from one generation to the next in a tumultuous nation.

The Book of Wanderers deeply explores Houston, a Gulf Coast metropolis that incorporates Southern, Western, and Southwestern identities near the borderlands with a connection to the cosmos.

Arizona History Convention Recap

Editors, authors, and readers of Arizona history came together at the Arizona History Convention (AHC) in-person sessions on April 15, 2023. AHC also hosted sessions online on April 13 and 14. Check out our photos below from April 15 at the Tempe History Museum. THANK YOU to Heidi Osselaer, Peg Kearney and all the other volunteers who made it a great Convention! In the photo above, Tom Zoellner, Wynne Brown and Gil Storms discuss “The Art of Writing Biography.”

Anabel Galindo, Octaviana Trujillo, Antonia Campoy, and Robert Valenica discuss “Itom Hiak Noki: You Can Find Our Strength in Our Words.”
Elsie Szecsy, Dennis Preisler, Katherine Morrissey and Lorrie McAllister discuss “Re-thinking Geography and History.”
Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles talks to Katherine Morrissey, Arizona Crossroads series co-editor.

Excerpt from Foodways of the Ancient Andes

April 18, 2023

Eating is essential for life, but it also embodies social and symbolic dimensions. Foodways of the Ancient Andes, edited by Marta Alfonso-Durruty and Deborah E. Blom,  shows how foods and peoples were mutually transformed in the ancient Andes. Exploring the multiple social, ecological, cultural, and ontological dimensions of food in the Andean past, the contributors of this volume offer diverse theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches that reveal the richness, sophistication, and ingenuity of Andean peoples. Today we offer an excerpt from the introduction of the volume.

A synergistic process of mutual production and transformation characterizes our relationship with food. We skillfully transform our food— cooking, mixing, and modifying ingredients—to enhance its nutrient value and alter its taste (Pollan 2013; Wrangham 2009). Similarly, while foods meet our nutritional needs, cooking and eating embody social and symbolic dimensions that transform our bodies into material (bio)culture (Bourdieu 1984; Douglas 1972; Lèvi-Strauss 1997; Mead 1997; Sofaer 2006). Meals too can be viewed as simultaneously material and discursive phenomena, and the chaînes opératoires of human thoughts, actions, and bodily techniques that go into preparing them are ideal avenues to view the ways in which humans interact with their physical and cultural environments (see Briggs 2018; Cadena and Moreano 2012; Goody 1982; Hastorf 2018; Mauss [1935] 2006; Mintz and Du Bois 2002; Peres and Deter-Wolf 2018). The Andean region’s cultural and environmental diversity provides a unique locale for the study of food (Cuéllar 2013; Klarich 2010; Knudson, Torres-Rouff, and Stojanowski 2015; Turner et al. 2018; Velasco and Tung 2021). Embracing this diversity and the rich ethnohistoric and archaeological record of the region, this volume addresses key sociopolitical and ontological questions about ancient foodways and uses a variety of methods to investigate how foods and peoples were mutually transformed in the ancient Andes.

Archaeologists are left to infer food, diet, and cuisine from material left behind (e.g., food remains, vessels, and tools) and from the chemical signatures of diets incorporated into human and animal bone. We can also draw from ethnographic and ethnohistorical accounts of more recent societies to aid our endeavors to reconstruct behaviors. While we cannot uncritically impose this information onto the past, we can use generalized insights from ethnohistory and ethnography to inform our Transforming Foods in the Ancient Andes Deborah E. Blom, Marta Alfonso-Durruty, and Susan D. deFrance Blom, Alfonso-Durruty, and de France Introduction understandings of ancient Andean social organization and ontologies about the world (e.g., Lozada and Tantaleán 2019; Murra 1975; Swenson and Roddick 2018). To quote Tristan Platt (2016, 199),

The word ‘Andean’ . . . does not deny historical change. . . . On the contrary, it can refer to Andean societies which have been conquered by the Incas, invaded by the Spanish, and incorporated into nation-states, combining threads of continuity and change in their actions and reactions to a constantly transforming context.

It is with these threads of continuity and change in mind that the scholarship included in this volume explores diversity in food, diet, and cuisine across time/space over the longue durée in the ancient Andes. Throughout time, Andean peoples rose to the challenges of climatic and sociopolitical changes that affected their access to resources (see also Juengst et al. 2021; Bruno et al. 2021). The resilient pre-Columbian Andean peoples prioritized, scaled, diversified, and embraced new as well as previously developed subsistence strategies and food resources. When all else failed, in the face of environmental degradation and state collapse that severely impacted their needs, they turned to local resources and enacted the power of their extended families.

April 11, 2023

We were thrilled to see so many authors and volume editors stop by our booth at the Society of American Archaeology meeting in Portland earlier this month. If you weren’t able to stop by, there’s still time to order our archaeology titles. For 30% off and free shipping in the continental U.S. use discount code AZSAA23 at checkout in our website shopping cart. The discount ends 5/5/23.

Author Paul Minnis with his works The Neighbors of Casas Grandes and Famine Foods.
Stephen Acabado, co-author of Indigenous Archaeology in the Philippines, and Allyson Carter, Senior Editor
John G. Douglass with his works The Global Spanish Empire and Forging Communities in Colonial Alta California
Randal H. McGuire, co-editor of The Border and Its Bodies, and Ruth M. Van Dyke, editor of Practicing Materiality
Samuel Duwe, author of Tewa Worlds and co-editor of Continuous Path
Shelby Tisdale, author of the forthcoming work No Place for a Lady
Andrew Turner co-editor of Flower Worlds
Patrick D. Lyons, editor of The Davis Ranch Site
Thomas H. Guderjan, co-editor of The Value of Things
Barbara J. Roth with her new work Households on the Mimbres Horizon
Allyson Carter, senior editor, meets with authors. If you have publishing questions about your archaeology manuscript, email her at acarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

Arizona History Convention 2023: Recent Books, Conference Discounts, and More!

April 11, 2023

Join us for the 2023 Arizona History Convention! This year’s convention will be held online April 13 and 14 and in-person on Saturday, April 15, at the Tempe Community Center, located on the southwest corner of Rural and Southern roads in Tempe, Arizona. Stop by our table to browse our fantastic recent titles, purchase books at a 30% discount, and catch up with press staff! If you aren’t able to make it to the in-person section of the convention, browse our recent titles below and use the code AZHISTCON23 for 30% off plus free U.S. shipping. If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page or reach out to our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles, at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

We are excited to be launching two new series, BorderVisions and Arizona Crossroads, this year! Learn more below.

BorderVisions, edited by Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez and Yvette J. Saavedra, engages the U.S.-Mexico borderlands’ dynamic histories and cultures and expands our understanding of the borderlands beyond a site of geopolitical inquiry. The series conceptualizes borderlands as both a place and a methodology and addresses the constraints of traditional fields, challenging authors to think creatively and critically about the expansive frameworks and possibilities of borderlands studies. This series will deepen our understanding of the ways in which gender, class, race, sexuality, and other intersectional concerns are reflected in humanities and humanistic social science borderlands scholarship. This series will publish monographs and edited collections by new and established authors who employ innovative interdisciplinary methodologies on topics reflecting both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. We seek to foster an intellectual space that envisions and manifests the multitude of perspectives for understanding the borderlands through interdisciplinary humanities and humanistic social sciences scholarship. We are especially interested in books that address the complexities and richness of borderlands experiences at different historical, cultural, and sociopolitical moments.

Watch a recording of the series launch for BorderVisions here.

Arizona Crossroads, edited by Anita Huizar-Hernández, Eric V. Meeks, and Katherine G. Morrissey, is a series in collaboration with the Arizona Historical Society that explores the history of peoples and cultures, events and struggles, ideas and practices in the place we know today as Arizona. Throughout its history, Arizona has long served as a crossroads between Native peoples, settler colonists, and immigrants from around the world. It has been a contested site among peoples, nations, and empires; it is also a place where events, decisions, and struggles have had far-reaching consequences beyond its shifting borders. As the series title suggests, we welcome books that deepen our understanding of Arizona as a diverse crossroads and meeting ground within broad national and transnational contexts, whether topical, thematic, or geographic (the region, the nation, the borderlands). Open to any topic within any time period of Arizona history, the series will publish scholarship that is cutting-edge and innovative, yet generally accessible and readable to an educated general audience. We are open to a variety of book formats: monographs, multi-authored works, and edited collections, as well as broader more synthetic works. Interdisciplinary projects that engage the past are encouraged.

Watch a recording of the series launch for Arizona Crossroads here.

For questions or to submit a proposal to either of these series, please contact Kristen Buckles, kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

A sharp examination of Arizona by a nationally acclaimed writer, Rim to River follows Tom Zoellner on a 790-mile walk across his home state as he explores key elements of Arizona culture, politics, and landscapes. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about a vibrant and baffling place.

This deep dive into the coal industry and the Navajo Nation captures a pivotal moment in the history of energy shift and tribal communities. Geographer Andrew Curley spent more than a decade documenting the rise and fall coal, talking with those affected most by the changes—Diné coal workers, environmental activists, and politicians.

This history of Sabino Canyon shows like never before why this mountain canyon near Tucson, Arizona, is such a beloved place. With more than two hundred images and engaging text, David Wentworth Lazaroff relays a hundred years of history, revealing how the canyon changed from a little-known oasis into an immensely popular recreation area on the edge of a modern metropolis.

Centering historically neglected Indigenous voices as its primary source material, author David Martínez shows how Carlos Montezuma’s correspondence and interactions with his family and their community influenced his advocacy—and how his important work in Arizona specifically motivated his work on a national level.

World of Our Mothers highlights the largely forgotten stories of forty-five women immigrants in the early twentieth century. Through interviews in Arizona mining towns, Phoenix barrios, and selected areas of California, Texas, and the Midwest, we learn how they negotiated their lives with their circumstances.

WSSA 2023: Recent Books, Conference Discounts, and More!

April 10, 2023

Join us for the 2023 World Social Sciences Assocation meeting in Tempe, Arizona on April 12-15! We will be selling our recent books at a 30% discount, and you can catch up with our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles! If you aren’t able to attend the conference this year, please take a look at our recent titles below, and use the code AZWSSA23 to order books at a 30% discount with free U.S. shipping through 5/15/2023. If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page or email Kristen at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Accessible and engaging, Latinx Belonging underscores and highlights Latinxs’ continued presence and contributions to everyday life in the United States as they both carve out and defend their place in society.

Sitting at the intersection of border studies, immigration studies, and Latinx studies, this concise volume shows how Central American migrants in transit through Mexico survive the precarious and unpredictable road by forming different types of social ties, developing trust, and engaging in acts of solidarity. The accessible writing and detailed ethnographic narratives of different associations, ties, and groups that migrants form while in transit weave together theory with empirical observations to highlight and humanize the migrant experience.

This volume draws much-needed attention to the plight of migrant children and their families, illuminating the human and emotional toll that children experience as they crisscross the Americas. Exploring the connections between education, policy, cultural studies, and anthropology, the essays in this volume navigate a space of transnational children’s rights central to Latin American life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Centering historically neglected Indigenous voices as its primary source material, author David Martínez shows how Carlos Montezuma’s correspondence and interactions with his family and their community influenced his advocacy—and how his important work in Arizona specifically motivated his work on a national level.

Border Water places transboundary water management in the frame of the larger binational relationship, offering a comprehensive history of transnational water management between the United States and Mexico. As we move into the next century of transnational water management, this important work offers critical insights into lessons learned and charts a path for the future.

This new book offers a broad overview of topics pertaining to gender-related health, violence, and healing. Employing a strength-based approach (as opposed to a deficit model), the chapters address the resiliency of Indigenous women and two-spirit people in the face of colonial violence and structural racism.

Colonialism has the power to corrupt. This important new work argues that even the early Quakers, who had a belief system rooted in social justice, committed structural and cultural violence against their Indigenous neighbors.

Photos from Picturing Sabino celebration

David Wentworth Lazaroff celebrated the publication of his book, Picturing Sabino: A Photographic History of a Southwestern Canyon, at the Sabino Canyon Visitors Center in Tucson on April 4, 2023. Because Lazaroff founded the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists (SCVN) when he was an environmental educator in the Canyon, many members of SCVN joined in the celebration including the past and current presidents of the group. Everyone enjoyed Lazaroff’s myth-busting of familiar Sabino Canyon stories, his behind-the-scenes tales of writing and collecting historic photos for this book, and of course, cake.

David Lazaroff (far left) with current and former presidents of Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists
Rugged books holding someone’s place in line for book signing.
Waiting in line to get books signed.
One last question for author David Lazaroff.

Michelle Téllez wins 2023 NACCS Book Award

April 4, 2023

The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) presented their book award to Michelle Téllez, for her book Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas.

The NACCS selection committee said, “This is a unique contribution to community studies as Téllez tells the story of a community creating a space for survival and opportunities to thrive within the colonial space of two countries. Téllez provides us with how agency is created by women in places like the US-Mexico border.” The author is pictured above holding the poster for her book, with University of Arizona Press Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles.

Near Tijuana, Baja California, the autonomous community of Maclovio Rojas demonstrates what is possible for urban place-based political movements. More than a community, Maclovio Rojas is a women-led social movement that works for economic and political autonomy to address issues of health, education, housing, nutrition, and security.

Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas tells the story of the community’s struggle to carve out space for survival and thriving in the shadows of the U.S.-Mexico geopolitical border. This ethnography by Michelle Téllez demonstrates the state’s neglect in providing social services and local infrastructure.

Congratulations Michelle Téllez!

Five Questions with Andrew Curley

April 4, 2023

For almost fifty years, coal dominated the Navajo economy. But in 2019 one of the Navajo Nation’s largest coal plants closed. Carbon Sovereignty offers a deep dive into the complex inner workings of energy shift in the Navajo Nation. Geographer Andrew Curley, a member of the Navajo Nation, examines the history of coal development within the Navajo Nation, including why some Diné supported coal and the consequences of doing so. He explains the Navajo Nation’s strategic choices to use the coal industry to support its sovereignty as a path forward in the face of ongoing colonialism.

What first sparked your interest in telling the story of the coal plant development and closure?

I became interested in the Navajo coal economy when working at Diné College from 2007-2008. At that time, the tribe was trying to build a power plant on the eastern end of the reservation. There was a lot of opposition from grassroots groups to the plant while at the same time the tribal government promoted it. I thought it revealed a tension around coal in the reservation that needed explaining. The politics around coal fell into two camps, either promoting it or opposing it. I wanted to find out more about these ideas and why they developed the way they did around this industry. I was especially interested in the voice of Diné coal workers whose perspective I thought was missing from the conversation. These people had an intimate relation with coal. They also suffered some of the immediate health impacts from the industry. Why did they participate? What did they think about it? How did coal align or not align with traditional values? This was something I was interested in.

Why do some Diné continue to support coal energy?

I think there are a couple of main reasons. The first, it provides revenues for the tribal government. We don’t have a lot of other sources of income and the monies that come from coal and other resources give the tribe opportunities to do things for the people that the federal and state governments don’t provide. Money from coal leases goes directly into the tribal budget and pays for scholarships, salaries, even the maintenance of basic infrastructure. In a place with a harsh environment, these little bits of money go a long way. Coal was originally sold to the Diné people as a first step toward development and modernization. The modernization narrative is intoxicating and easy to sell because it always promises things in the future and never in the present. In the 1960s, coal was promoted as a first step toward industrialization in the reservation, toward future growth and the basis of life that reflects the rapidly developing cities in the west. This future never was realized in the way that it was initially promised. Nevertheless, hundreds of jobs were created in the reservation around coal work. People could afford basic things for their families and extended relatives. The tribal government also got money to tackle important problems within the reservation. Coal did a lot for the tribe. It’s wrong to ignore its positive impact.

What do you mean by “carbon sovereignty”?

It is a kind of sovereignty, or sense of both political authority and sense of self-determination, derived from tribal activities around fossil fuels, particularly coal in this case. Our actions and experience shape how we understand abstract ideas. In the case of the Navajo Nation, tribal experiences around coal helped us to understand how we think about sovereignty. It plays out in not only how we think about development and the exploitation of natural resources, but how we internally guard these activities against outside threats, how we think or rethink the federal government’s so-called ‘trust responsibility’ with tribes and the inequality found in early contracts between the tribe and private companies. In other words, sovereignty as institutional practice in the Navajo Nation reflects the history of coal mining and development over the past 60 years.

What is the role of Diné youth in energy transition?

Diné youth try to redefine and at times challenge these relationships. They want to change the conditions that they inherit, especially if they disagree on some of the major premises, such as the premise that coal is good for the Navajo Nation. I don’t want to paint a broad brush, to say there is even generational agreement on this. Younger people like all generations have varied opinions. But it is especially among younger Diné members where we find greater support for energy transition and different ideas of economic development in the Navajo Nation. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this difference. Some of this difference is attributed to global shifts in energy production and the decline of coal on a national level. But others can be understood as changing socioeconomic conditions for Diné people in particular. The value of low-skilled work is in decline, for better or worse. Today, extensive training and education is required for most kinds of work. Younger Diné generations, including myself, have taken advantage of tribal scholarships – derived from coal revenues – and look for work in very different kinds of industries, like in education, health, business, law, etc. This doesn’t speak for everyone, and there are many Diné youth who’d excel in work that you can get right out of high school and that trains you as you go along. That was the nature of coal work, and unfortunately many of those kinds of jobs are now found far from the reservation.

What is your current research project and/or next book?

I’m interested in the history of water infrastructure, both physical and legal, in the State of Arizona. I’m researching the origins of our water law and trying to understand specifically how tribes were excluded from almost all the water development in the west over the past century. It’s a big project that needs grounding in some ways. But I’m still in an exploratory phase.

***
Andrew Curley is a member of the Navajo Nation and an assistant professor in the School of Geography, Development & Environment at the University of Arizona. He has studied the social, cultural, and political implications of coal mining in the Navajo Nation, and his latest research is on the environmental history of water diversions on the Colorado River and the impact of colonial infrastructures on tribal nations.

Dan Arreola wins 2023 American Association of Geographers Award

April 3, 2023

The American Association of Geographers gave the AAG 2022 Globe Book Award for Public Understanding of Geography to Dan Arreola at their March 2023 annual meeting.  He received the award for Postcards from the Baja California Border.

The AAG award committee wrote, “This form of place study calls attention to how we can see a past through a serial view of places, by the nature of repetition, and the photographing of the same place over and over again. Arreola draws our focus to townscapes, or built landscapes, of four border towns—Tijuana, Mexicali, Tecate, and Algodones—during the first half of the twentieth century. With an emphasis on the tourist’s view of these places, this book creates a vivid picture of what life was like for tourists and residents of these towns in the early and mid-twentieth century.”

At the meeting Arreola also presented, “The Mexican Restaurant in America, A Journey across Time and Place,” as The Historical Geography Specialty Group of the AAG 2023 Distinguished Geography Lecture. Arreola explained how the popularity of Mexican food was driven by a nationwide early twentieth century “tamale craze.” He examined the restaurant as a form of material culture, a venue of cross-cultural contact, an ethnic enterprise, and a culinary business of surprising regional variation.

Congratulations to Dan Arreola on your AAG Award!

SAA 2023: Recent Books, Conference Discounts, and More!

March 28, 2023

Join us for the Society for American Archaeology meeting in Portland, Oregon, on March 29 – April 2! Visit our booth to browse our books and purchase titles at a 30% conference discount, and to talk with our Senior Editor, Allyson Carter, Ph.D. We hope to catch up with you at the conference, but if you’re unable to make it, please browse our latest titles below! Use the code AZSAA23 for 30% off plus free U.S. shipping through 5/5/2023. If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page or contact Allyson at acarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

Exploring the multiple social, ecological, cultural, and ontological dimensions of food in the Andean past, this book offers a diverse set of theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches that reveal the richness, sophistication, and ingenuity of Andean peoples. With forty-six contributors from ten countries, the studies presented in this volume employ new analytical methods, integrating different food data and interdisciplinary research to show how food impacts sociopolitical relationships and ontologies that are otherwise invisible in the archaeological record.

Set in the arid lands of northwestern Mexico, this book foregrounds the knowledge of Indigenous peoples who harvested the desert as bountiful in its material resources and sacred spaces. Author Cynthia Radding uses the tools of history, anthropology, geography, and ecology to re-create the means of defending Indigenous worlds through colonial encounters, the formation of mixed societies, and the direct conflicts over forests, grasslands, streams, and coastal estuaries that sustained wildlife, horticulture, foraging, hunting, fishing, and—after European contact—livestock and extractive industries. She returns in each chapter to the spiritual power of nature and the enduring cultural significance of the worlds that Indigenous communities created and defended.

This book explores variability in Mimbres Mogollon pithouse sites using a case study from La Gila Encantada to further our understanding of the full range of pithouse occupations in the area. Because the site is away from the major river valleys, the data from excavations at the site provides valuable information on the differences in cultural practices that occurred away from the riverine villages, as well as environmental differences, economic practices, and social constructs.

This book illustrates how descendant communities can take control of their history and heritage through active collaboration with archaeologists. Drawing on the Philippine Cordilleran experiences, Indigenous Archaeology in the Philippines discusses how changing historical narratives help empower peoples who are traditionally ignored in national histories.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

This book contextualizes the discovery of a Venus astronomical pattern by a female Mayan astronomer at Chich’en Itza and the discovery’s later adaptation and application at Mayapan. Calculating Brilliance brings different intellectual threads together across time and space, from the Classic to the Postclassic, the colonial period to the twenty-first century to offer a new vision for understanding Mayan astronomy.

This volume explores the complex and nuanced experience of doing community-based research as a graduate student. Contributors from a range of scholarly disciplines share their experiences with Community Based Participatory Research in the arts, humanities, social sciences, public health, and STEM fields.

This monograph summarizes findings from nine seasons of excavation at Barger Gulch Locality B, a Folsom campsite in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Archaeologist Todd A. Surovell explains the spatial organization of the camp and the social organization of the people who lived there.

The multiple vivid colors of scarlet macaws and their ability to mimic human speech are key reasons they were and are significant to the Native peoples of the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest. Although the birds’ natural habitat is the tropical forests of Mexico and Central and South America, they were present at multiple archaeological sites in the region yet absent at the vast majority. In Birds of the Sun, leading experts in southwestern archaeology explore the reasons why.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Five Questions with David Wentworth Lazaroff

March 27, 2023

Sabino Canyon, a desert canyon in the American Southwest near Tucson, Arizona, is enjoyed yearly by thousands of city residents as well as visitors from around the world. Picturing Sabino: A Photographic History of a Southwestern Canyon tells the story of the canyon’s transformation from a barely known oasis, miles from a small nineteenth-century town, into an immensely popular recreation area on the edge of a modern metropolis. Covering a century of change, from 1885 to 1985, this work rejoices in the canyon’s natural beauty and also relates the ups and downs of its protection and enjoyment.

Picturing Sabino is your third book about Sabino Canyon. How did you become interested in the canyon?

It began in January 1977, when I moved from California to Tucson to take job as Environmental Education Specialist with Coronado National Forest. On my first day at work my new supervisor, Bob Barnacastle, drove me in a Forest Service truck to the end of the road in Upper Sabino Canyon. I knew right away I’d landed somewhere spectacular.

Before long I had an idea for a program in which volunteers would lead children on educational field trips to the canyon. My supervisor and I worked together to make this idea a reality. The volunteers soon added presentations for the general public to their repertoire. Eventually they named themselves the Sabino Canyon Volunteer Naturalists, and they’ve continued to do their good work to this day.

I resolved to learn everything I could about Sabino Canyon both to satisfy my own curiosity and to help provide these volunteers with the background they needed. I found out quickly that the canyon was an inexhaustible source of fascination and discovery. I’ve never stopped learning about it. 

What caused you to focus on Sabino Canyon’s history?

I didn’t, at first. After leaving the Forest Service in 1986, I wanted to share something of what I’d learned about the canyon. The result was Sabino Canyon: The Life of a Southwestern Oasis, published in 1993 by The University of Arizona Press. Although most of the book’s pages were devoted to Sabino Canyon’s natural history, its last and longest chapter was a summary of the canyon’s human history and prehistory.

My research for that chapter convinced me that Sabino Canyon’s past was rich in all kinds of human experience, but that it would take time and effort to bring it more fully to light. As it turned out, I was right on both counts!

How did you uncover previously unpublished stories from Sabino Canyon’s past?

Much of my research involved documentary sources–newspaper articles, private and government correspondence, mining claims, property deeds, articles of incorporation, maps, census records, and the like. Information of this sort can be found in public archives in Arizona, elsewhere in the country, and increasingly, online.

Some of my most interesting research didn’t involve documents, though. Old photographs of visitors to the canyon were invaluable for their intimate views of what people were doing at the canyon, many years ago. What’s more, the backgrounds of these photos could be mined for nuggets of information about changes in the canyon, itself, over the decades. Equally rewarding was meeting and speaking with individuals who had lived through and contributed to Sabino Canyon’s history.

And of course one of the most intriguing sources of information was Sabino Canyon itself. It’s filled with historical treasures, if you know how find and interpret them–abandoned trails, obscure survey marks, poles from an old telephone line, fading targets shot up by military cadets, and many others.

Putting all this together was the challenge. It wasn’t often a matter of recovering stories that others had told long ago, but much more frequently of recognizing and piecing together untold stories from the great mass of disparate information I collected.

Were there any especially memorable moments in your research?

Yes, too many to describe! But here’s one.

As part of my research I often carried a copy of an old photograph into Sabino Canyon to find exactly where it had been taken. As a photographer myself, when I found the place I was looking for I often felt a subtle kinship with the person who had brought a camera there long ago.

One such occasion stands out in my memory. I had come to the canyon with a very old and quite deteriorated photograph. In searching for where it had been taken, I worked my way up a rugged slope covered with dense vegetation. It was tough going. I found the spot, and to my surprise discovered it was only about a yard from where I, myself, had taken a photograph twenty years earlier.

There is no trail to that place. Both I and that long-ago photographer seem to have been looking for the same thing: a long view up the canyon toward the landmark today called Thimble Peak. We had both worked hard to find what we wanted, and we had chosen the same site.

The image made by my predecessor–probably the well-known Tucson photographer, Henry Buehman–became the introductory photograph for Part I of Picturing Sabino. The photo I took appears in a natural-history display in the Sabino Canyon Visitor Center. (You might enjoy taking your book there and comparing the two.)

There are many wonderful historical photographs in Picturing Sabino. Was it difficult to find them?  

I found many of the photographs in public archives, but I also purchased prints online, received permission to reproduce photos from newspapers, and, in a few cases, I was able to borrow prints from generous individuals. I catalogued over fourteen hundred images and chose about two hundred for the book.

Surprisingly, it was much more difficult to find photographs from recent decades than from earlier times. Many of the photos in the book are snapshots taken by ordinary visitors to the canyon, who then mounted prints in family albums or stuffed them into envelopes and shoeboxes. As the decades passed, the photographers or their descendants came to recognize the historical value of these images, and donated them to public archives. Photos from more recent decades are likely still to be in private homes. Not enough time has passed for their owners to think of them as “historical.”

It would be worthwhile for all of us to consider the future value of the everyday photographs in our homes. For those of us still making prints in the digital age, it’s best to label them soon after we take them–before we forget the times, places, and subjects–then keep them safe. (You might be surprised by how many mislabeled prints I came across in my research!) Someday our present will be someone else’s past. Who can say how valuable our photographs may then prove to be?

***

David Wentworth Lazaroff is an independent writer and photographer living in Tucson, Arizona. He became fascinated by Sabino Canyon while working there as an environmental education specialist from 1977 to 1986. He has continued to study the canyon ever since then.

NACCS 2023: Recent Titles, Conference Discounts, and More!

March 27, 2023

Join us for the 2023 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies conference on March 29 – April 2 in Denver, Colorado! Make sure to stop by our table to browse our latest books and to speak with our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles. If you aren’t able to attend the conference this year, make sure to browse our latest books below and use the code AZNACCS23 for 30% off with free U.S. shipping through 5/5/2023. If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page or contact Kristen at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

LGBTQ Politics in Nicaragua provides the previously untold history of the LGBTQ community’s emergence as political actors—from revolutionary guerillas to civil rights activists.

“This comprehensive English-language review of LGBTQ movements in Nicaragua is a welcome addition to the expanding cross-cultural scholarship on the politics of sex and gender diversity.”—CHOICE

Children Crossing Borders draws much-needed attention to the plight of migrant children and their families, illuminating the human and emotional toll that children experience as they crisscross the Americas. Exploring the connections between education, policy, cultural studies, and anthropology, the essays in this volume navigate a space of transnational children’s rights central to Latin American life in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

World of Our Mothers highlights the largely forgotten stories of forty-five women immigrants in the early twentieth century. Through interviews in Arizona mining towns, Phoenix barrios, and selected areas of California, Texas, and the Midwest, we learn how they negotiated their lives with their circumstances.

Nuclear Nuevo México recovers the voices and stories that have been lost or ignored in the telling of U.S. nuclear history. By recuperating these narratives, Myrriah Gómez tells a new story of New Mexico, one in which the nuclear history is not separate from the collective colonial history of Nuevo México but instead demonstrates how earlier eras of settler colonialism laid the foundation for nuclear colonialism in New Mexico.

Read an excerpt from the book here, then read a brief interview with the author here.

Accessible and engaging, Latinx Belonging underscores and highlights Latinxs’ continued presence and contributions to everyday life in the United States as they both carve out and defend their place in society.

Gardening at the Margins explores how a group of home gardeners grow food in the Santa Clara Valley to transform their social relationships, heal from past traumas, and improve their health, communities, and environments.

From the early colonial period to the War on Terror, translation practices have facilitated colonialism and resulted in epistemicide, or the destruction of Indigenous and subaltern knowledge. This book discusses translation-as-epistemicide in the Americas and providing accounts of decolonial methods of translation.

This exciting new cultural history documents how Mexican Americans in twentieth-century film, television, and theater surpassed stereotypes, fought for equal opportunity, and subtly transformed the mainstream American imaginary. Through biographical sketches of underappreciated Mexican American actors, this work sheds new light on our national character and reveals the untold story of a multicentered, polycultural America.

Lotería is a collection of deeply evocative coming-of-age poems that take the reader on a voyage through the intimate experiences of displacement. In this bilingual collection, Colombian American poet Elizabeth Torres threads together the stories of family dynamics and the realities of migration with the archetypes of tarot and the traditional Lotería game, used for centuries as an object of divination and entertainment. Through these themes and images, the poems in Lotería narrate intimate moments in the lives and journeys of migrants, refugees, and all who have been forced into metamorphosis in order to reach the other side of the river.

Sitting at the intersection of border studies, immigration studies, and Latinx studies, this concise volume shows how Central American migrants in transit through Mexico survive the precarious and unpredictable road by forming different types of social ties, developing trust, and engaging in acts of solidarity. The accessible writing and detailed ethnographic narratives of different associations, ties, and groups that migrants form while in transit weave together theory with empirical observations to highlight and humanize the migrant experience.

Poet Richard Blanco Receives National Humanities Medal

On March 21, 2023, President Joe Biden awarded the National Humanities Medal to Richard Blanco. Blanco, who delivered his poem “One Today” at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration, is one of 12 people from across the nation chosen to receive the award.

In 2005, University of Arizona Press published Blanco’s Directions to The Beach of the Dead, for which the author received the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center. His latest poetry collection is How to Love a Country.

This week, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Chair Shelly C. Lowe (Navajo) said of the National Humanities Medal: “The recipients have enriched our world through writing that moves and inspires us; scholarship that enlarges our understanding of the past; and through their dedication to educating, informing, and giving voice to communities and histories often overlooked.” She continued, “I am proud to join President Biden in recognizing these distinguished leaders for their outstanding contributions to our nation’s cultural life.” 

The NEH described Richard Blanco: “An award-winning poet and author, professor and public speaker, and son of Cuban immigrants, Richard Blanco’s powerful storytelling challenges the boundaries of culture, gender, and class while celebrating the promise of our Nation’s highest ideals.”

Congratulations Richard Blanco!

Tom Zoellner Makes News in Arizona

Tom Zoellner made the news in Phoenix over the weekend, in this interview in The Arizona Republic (note: link is for subscribers only). The author of Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona described his home state as “a marvelous jumble” in the article.

Zoellner said his relationship with Arizona is complicated: “I’ve had a long argument with Arizona. Understanding the beauty of it and the intriguing people that live there, but also lamenting the reckless way that the cities have grown, a kind of thoughtless sense of what really makes a community and of course the dysfunctional politics and the way that we hand the keys over to anyone who comes in with a pile of money and an idea.”

In Southern Arizona, the author shared tales inspired by the Arizona Trail at two events last Friday. He spoke at La Posada in Green Valley at a special outdoor event for La Posada residents and Friends of the Tucson Festival of Books.

In the evening, Zoellner celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at the Triangle L Art Ranch in Oracle, Arizona. After a delicious Irish dinner of corn beef and cabbage, carrots and potatoes, he told stories that didn’t quite make it into the book. He answered readers’ questions and signed books, too.

Zoellner will be speaking at more events this week across Arizona:

Tuesday, March 21, 5:30 p.m at Bright Side Bookshop in Flagstaff

Wednesday, March 22, 6 p.m. at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix

Thursday, March 23, 11 a.m. at The Madaras Gallery in Tucson

Thursday, March 23, 3 p.m. at Joyner-Green Valley Library in Green Valley

Saturday, March 25, 11:30 a.m. at Arizona Historical Society in Tucson

Cynthia Guardado Featured in L.A. Times

The Los Angeles Times journalist interviewed Salvadoran writers living in Los Angeles. But their photographer had to travel to the Tucson Festival of Books to photograph three authors who were panelists at the annual spring literary gathering. Poet Cynthia Guardado, author of Cenizas, was one of the poets interviewed for March 16, 2023, article, and photographed in Tucson. (In L.A. Times photo above from left to right: Alejandro Varela, Cynthia Guardado, Raquel Gutiérrez.)

Journalist Christopher Soto wrote: “For too long, the American literary industry has discussed El Salvador and its people through the gaze of cultural outsiders. But that has started to change, with an explosion of writing by Salvadorans in the United States — especially those with ties to California.” He chronicles the recent history of literary journals that published Central American Writers in exile.

The war in El Salvador is often present in Guardado’s poems. As Soto wrote, “Her verse mixes family and personal histories, bounces between nations and covers the U.S.-funded civil war in El Salvador, which lasted from 1979 through 1992. At its core is an essential question: How should the generation after a war relate to the violence that has preceded us, and where do we go next?”

In the article, Felix Cruz, a publicist for Random House, referred to the “Salvadoran Renaissance in literature” in the United States. However, in El Salvador today, governmental and societal persecution of writers continues.

Kudos to Cynthia Guardado and other Salvadoran writers for this California media spotlight!

Extended Stay Surges into Spring

Juan Martinez rides the horror winds into spring with another top ten list and revealing interviews.

First on the east coast, The New York Public Library just put Extended Stay, by Juan Martinez, on its list of “10 New Horror Novels That Are Scarier than Scream VI.” NYPL’s Carrie McBride writes, “Whether you’re a Scream completist and already took in the most recent film of the franchise and are looking to keep the frights going, or you’re always looking for the adrenaline rush of a scary, disturbing tale, these ten novels, all published in the last few months, are sure to give you chills and thrills.”

Staying in the city for a moment, Vol 1 Brooklyn’s Tobias Carroll interviewed Martinez about his novel. The author revealed his writing process, changing plots, moving scenes around, and how living in Las Vegas inspired him: “I’m pretty sure we all have some version of Vegas in our heads. That’s all to say, I don’t think I was drawn to Vegas as a setting or a subject, but I couldn’t quite write about anything else after I stopped living there. I wanted to write a little about the weird mix of opportunity and exploitation that’s there if you work the service industry — how you really can make a whole life there, or start up a new one.”

Martinez also liked that his interviewer figured out Extended Stay‘s connection to his previous book, Best Worst American, will you be able to work it out?

In Lit Reactor’s “Exposing Power as Ridiculous: A Conversation between Juan Martinez and Eden Robins,” the Chicago authors find common ground between funny and scary fiction. Asked if writing horror is cathartic, Martinez replied: “Writing a genuinely horrific moment—one that comes out of nowhere and is sick and gross and out there—all of that is super clinical and detached for me. I’m not scaring myself. I’m just trying to set up stuff to scare a reader who shares a lot of my own readerly interests but is (1) imaginary, (2) not me, but (3) also may be a lot like me.” Find out what else he said about resistance and rebellion, navigating trauma in a life that is fundamentally uncontrolled, and what he’s reading right now.

Photos from AWP 2023

We loved seeing many of our authors at the AWP Bookfair University of Arizona Press exhibit booth last week! Poets, novelists, and editors celebrated together. Here are a few photos from Seattle, courtesy of UA Press Assistant Editor Elizabeth Wilder.

Poets Carlos Aguasaco and Elizabeth Torres
Poet Cynthia Guardado
Author Daniel Olivas
Poet Casandra López
Camino del Sol Editor Rigoberto González
Poets Gloria Muñoz and Urayoán Noel
Poet Robert Davis Hoffman
Alma García, author of All That Rises, forthcoming this fall from The University of Arizona Press

Brandy Nālani McDougall Shares Her Vision for Being Hawai’I Poet Laureate

Stephanie Han of Hawai’i Public Radio interviewed Brandy Nālani McDougal about her vision for the next two years as Hawai’i State Poet Laureate.  McDougall–scholar, mother, and aloha ‘āina from Maui–is the first woman selected. She says her daughters inspired her forthcoming book of poetry: ʻĀina Hānau, Birth Land.

In the interview, McDougall reflected on her high school education in “honors English” and the western canon: “Even if the western canon is intended to be more inclusive these days, you really lose out on the chance of teaching the literature of your community and of your students.” She continued, “Students can be exposed to literature that is most relevant to them, then they can see themselves as literary people. Then we can grow an amazing canon of our own in Hawai’i.”

Asked about her plans as poet laureate, McDougall explained that she wants poetry to be a place of healing, and working through trauma. She sees poetry as “reconnecting with ʻĀina, with land, and water, alongside connecting with our own stories.”

Listen to the full interview here.

Photos from University of Arizona Libraries Spring Author Talk with John P. Schaefer

University of Arizona President Emeritus John P. Schaefer celebrated his new book, Desert Jewels, at the University of Arizona Libraries Spring Author Talk on March 6. The UA Libraries hosted the event at the Tucson Botanical Gardens with introductions from University President Robert Robbins, University Dean of Libraries Shan Sutton, and The University of Arizona Press Director Kathryn Conrad.

Cactus flowers are jewels of the desert—they add brilliant pops of color to our arid surroundings. In Desert Jewels, renowned Tucson photographer John P. Schaefer brings the exquisite and unexpected beauty of the cactus flower to the page. Hundreds of close-up photographs of cactus flowers native to the U.S. Southwest and Mexico offer a visual feast of color and texture, nuance and light.

Dean Sutton and President Robbins explain how President Emeritus John Schaefer brought international recognition to the University of Arizona.
President Emeritus and Author John Schaefer tells how his early life inspired his later creativity in photography.
University of Arizona Press Director Kathryn Conrad introduces John Schaefer.
John Schaefer signs Desert Jewels.

Tucson Festival of Books Photos

Our authors enjoyed presenting at the Tucson Festival of Books, March 4-5, 2023, and signing books at our booth! Readers filled the tent each day and walked away with armfuls of books from our 2023 Spring Catalog, as well as best sellers and unique books from previous years.

Senior editor Allyson Carter and Author Tim Hunter
Authors Miguel Montiel and Yvonne de La Torre Montiel chat with readers.
On the right, author Tom Zoellner speaks at a panel sponsored by UA Press at UA Libraries Special Collections.
Author Devon Mihesuah, Publicity Manager Abby Mogollon, Author Gary Paul Nabhan, and UA Press Director Kathryn Conrad.
Author John P. Schaefer and Editorial Assistant Alana Enriquez.
Author Juan Martinez signs his book.

Author Tom Zoellner signs and chats with readers.
A reader chats with a few Mineralogy of Arizona authors: Harvey Jong, Ron Gibbs, and Jan Rasmussen
Poet and Editor Allison Adelle Hedge Coke and Editor Elizabeth Wilder

AWP 2023: Recent Books, Conference Discounts, and More!

March 6, 2023

Join us at the 2023 AWP conference in Seattle, Washington on March 8-11! Make sure to stop by our booth to browse our latest titles, get your books signed by several of our authors, and purchase books at a 30% conference discount and catch up with our Assistant Editor, Elizabeth Wilder, Ph.D. We hope to catch up with you at the conference, but if you can’t make it to Seattle this year, make sure to browse our latest titles below. Use the code AZAWP23 for 30% off with free U.S. shipping through 4/15/2023. If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page or contact Elizabeth at ewilder@uapress.arizona.edu.

AWP 2023 Book Signings

Thursday, March 9:

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM: Elizabeth Torres signing copies of Lotería.

Friday, March 10:

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM: Gloria Muñoz signing copies of Danzirly.

1:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Jennifer Givhan signing copies of Rosa’s Einstein.

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM: Carlos Aguasaco and Jennifer Rathbun signing copies of Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak.

Saturday, March 11:

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Cynthia Guardado signing copies of Cenizas.

Cenizas offers an arresting portrait of a Salvadoran family whose lives were shaped by tumultuous global politics. Cynthia Guardado’s poems argue that the Salvadoran Civil War permanently altered the Salvadoran people’s reality by forcing them to become refugees who continue to leave their homeland, even decades after the war.

In Raven’s Echo, Tlingit artist and poet Robert Davis Hoffmann’s poetry grapples with reconstructing a life within Tlingit tradition and history. The destructiveness of colonialism brings a profound darkness to some of the poems in Raven’s Echo, but the collection also explores the possibility of finding spiritual healing in the face of historical and contemporary traumas.

Watch a poetry reading and Q&A with poet Robert Davis Hoffmann here.

Extended Stay is a horror novel about an undocumented brother and sister who end up at a Las Vegas hotel that exploits and consumes anyone who comes into its orbit.

Extended Stay was featured in Book Riot, read more here. Extended Stay was also listed as one of the most anticipated Chicago books of 2023!

In Dance of the Returned, the disappearance of a young Choctaw leads Detective Monique Blue Hawk to investigate a little-known ceremonial dance. As she traces the steps of the missing man, she discovers that the seemingly innocuous Renewal Dance is not what it appears to be. After Monique embarks on a journey that she never thought possible, she learns that the past and future can converge to offer endless possibilities for the present. She must also accept her own destiny of violence and peacekeeping.

Read a brief interview with author Devon A. Mihesuah here. Listen to Devon talk about her new book on Native American Calling here.

Lotería is a collection of deeply evocative coming-of-age poems that take the reader on a voyage through the intimate experiences of displacement. In this bilingual collection, Colombian American poet Elizabeth Torres threads together the stories of family dynamics and the realities of migration with the archetypes of tarot and the traditional Lotería game, used for centuries as an object of divination and entertainment. Through these themes and images, the poems in Lotería narrate intimate moments in the lives and journeys of migrants, refugees, and all who have been forced into metamorphosis in order to reach the other side of the river.

Lotería is the winner of the Ambroggio Prize of the Academy of American Poets.

A sharp examination of Arizona by a nationally acclaimed writer, Rim to River follows Tom Zoellner on a 790-mile walk across his home state as he explores key elements of Arizona culture, politics, and landscapes. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in learning more about a vibrant and baffling place.

Tom Zoellner Talks Dirty Deals on Podcasts

Do you want to know the historic bars and restaurants in Arizona where Tom Zoellner says, “dirty deals have gone down”? Listen to the author in conversation with the podcast hosts on Voices of the West.

Tom’s family has lived in Arizona since 1908, and he spent years as a journalist for The Arizona Republic. He knows his way around his home state and tells tales in Rim to River: Looking into the Heart of Arizona.

On the podcast, he says Arizona is not a perfect state:  “I have complicated feelings about Arizona . . . there’s so many fascinating aspects to it. I wanted to capture it in all its imperfections and all its grandeur.”

Zoellner mentions Ho’zho, a spiritual state of being translated from Diné as “balance, getting your insides in tune with the outside.” Zoellner says there isn’t really an adequate English translation of the word. But in conversation with two Diné marathon runners in his book’s first chapter, he comes to a deeper understanding.

Tom will also speak with Tucson radio legend Bill Buckmaster and Tucson Weekly editor Jim Nintzel on the Buckmaster Show, 12 – 1 p.m., March 3, on KVOI AM 1030, in Tucson. Listen online, live or after air date.

The Cowboy Up podcast drops on Saturday, March 11, at high noon. Dude rancher Russell True and cowboy Alan Day will chat with Tom about how the Arizona Trail inspired his essay collection.

Listen whenever and wherever you want and go on the trail with Tom!

Excerpt from We Are the Stars

February 24, 2023

In We Are the Stars, Colonizing and Decolonizing the Oceti Sakowin Literary Tradition, author Sarah Hernandez recovers the literary record of Oceti Sakowin (historically known to some as the Sioux Nation) women, who served as their tribes’ traditional culture keepers and culture bearers. In so doing, it furthers discussions about settler colonialism, literature, nationalism, and gender.

In this book, I contend that replacing Indigenous women with non-Indigenous teachers, preachers, and writers is a conscious and deliberate act of settler-colonial violence that strikes at the very heart of tribal nationhood: women and land. The silencing of Indigenous women and the loss of Indigenous land are inextricably linked. Native feminist scholars Maile Arvine, Eve Tuck, and Angie Morrill argue that “the management of Indigenous peoples’ gender roles and sexuality was [and still is] . . . key in remaking Indigenous peoples into settler state citizens.”

The United States is founded on the theory and practice of settler colonialism: a continuous and ongoing process of Indigenous erasure that seeks to eliminate tribal nationhood by destroying Indigenous lifeways and replacing them with Western beliefs and values (e.g., matriarchy → patriarchy). Settler colonialism is an invasive process that erases Indigenous people and communities at multiple levels: culturally, linguistically, socially, politically, and legally. Law professor Bethany Ruth Berger emphasizes that the United States not only disempowers Indigenous women culturally and socially, but also politically and legally as well. Over the past one-hundred-plus years, U.S. federal Indian law and policy has “directly diminish[ed] the power and autonomy of women in tribal communities” through a series of legal cases and precedents that replaced Indigenous women “as the head of the family and the cultivator of the land.” Perhaps the most obvious, but certainly not the only, example is the Dawes Allotment Act of 1887, which divided communal tribal lands into individual plots owned by the male heads of household and transferred land from women to men.

Wendy Greyeyes wins Faculty Teaching Award

University of New Mexico Alumni Association gave Wendy Greyeyes their 2023 Faculty Teaching Award. The award recognizes outstanding teaching and service to students.

Wendy S. Greyeyes (Diné) is an Assistant Professor of Native American Studies at The University of New Mexico. She recently published A History of Navajo Education: Disentangling our Sovereign Body (University of Arizona Press, 2022) with a forthcoming anthology, The Yazzie Case: Building a Public Education System for Our Indigenous Future, through the University of New Mexico Press. Greyeyes formerly served as the tribal liaison for the Arizona Governor, a statistician/demographer for the Department of Diné Education, a Chief Implementation Officer for the Bureau of Indian Education, and a research consultant for the Department of Diné Education.

A History of Navajo Nation Education: Disentangling Our Sovereign Body unravels the tangle of federal and state education programs that have been imposed on Navajo people and illuminates the ongoing efforts by tribal communities to transfer state authority over Diné education to the Navajo Nation.

Congratulations Wendy Greyeyes on this award!

Five Questions with Tom Zoellner

February 27, 2023

Tom Zoellner walked across the length of Arizona to come to terms with his home state. But the trip revealed more mountains behind the mountains.

Rim to River is the story of this extraordinary journey through redrock country, down canyons, up mesas, and across desert plains to the obscure valley in Mexico that gave the state its enigmatic name. The trek is interspersed with incisive essays that pick apart the distinctive cultural landscape of Arizona: the wine-colored pinnacles and complex spirituality of Navajoland, the mind-numbing stucco suburbs, desperate border crossings, legislative skullduggery, extreme politics, billion-dollar copper ventures, dehydrating rivers, retirement kingdoms, old-time foodways, ghosts of old wars, honky-tonk dreamers, murder mysteries, and magical Grand Canyon reveries.

What was your reason for writing this book?

Arizona is an easy place to caricature, either as a scenic wonderland or a den of political craziness. It’s both of those to some degree but that is nowhere close to the whole story.

You grew up in Arizona, intimately aware of its landscape. Was there anything that surprised you about the natural world you experienced while on your Arizona Trail journey?

Nobody knows the whole place. There are pockets of Arizona that will always remain tucked away even to those who spend a lifetime here.

You said in one of the essays that a truly great novel about Arizona has not yet been written. Is this still true?

Yes. There have been plenty of very good novels set here, but none that has truly captured the essence of the state. This is a challenge laid before the state’s fiction writers: where is the Great Arizona Novel? Can you write it, please?

Did the lack of water on the Arizona Trail inform your writing about water challenges facing the state of Arizona?

Most definitely. One of the baseline characteristics of Arizona is aridity — it has defined us from the beginning of human settlement here ten thousand years ago. Thanks to hydrology, it’s easy to live in modern Arizona without experiencing it personally. Nearly running out of water creates a sense of elemental urgency. 

What are you working on now?

A nonfiction narrative about the refugee camps of freed enslaved people in the early days of the U.S. Civil War.

***

Tom Zoellner, a fifth-generation Arizonan, is the author of eight nonfiction books, including The Heartless Stone, Uranium, The National Road, and Island on Fire, which won the 2020 National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Bancroft Prize.

Excerpt from Border Water

February 17, 2023

The international boundary between the United States and Mexico spans more than 1,900 miles. Along much of this international border, water is what separates one country from the other. Border Wate The Politics of U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Water Management, 1945–2015 by Stephen Paul Mumme provides a historical account of the development of governance related to transboundary and border water resources between the United States and Mexico in the last seventy years.

This work examines the phases and pivot points in the development of U.S.-Mexico border water resources and reviews the theoretical approaches and explanation that impart a better understanding of these events. Mumme, a leading expert in water policy and border studies, describes three important periods in the chronology of transboundary water management. First, Mumme examines the 1944 Water Treaty, the establishment of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) in 1945, and early transborder politics between the two governments. Next, he describes the early 1970s and the rise of environmentalism. In this period, pollution and salinization of the Colorado River Delta come into focus. Mumme shows how new actors, now including environmentalists and municipalities, broadened and strengthened the treaty’s applications in transboundary water management. The third period of transborder interaction described covers the opening and restricting of borders due to NAFTA and then 9/11.

Border Water places transboundary water management in the frame of the larger binational relationship, offering a comprehensive history of transnational water management between the United States and Mexico. As we move into the next century of transnational water management, this important work offers critical insights into lessons learned and charts a path for the future. Below read an excerpt from the book.

Anyone interested in U.S.-Mexico water politics should trace the 1,954-mile international boundary on Google Earth. The observer is immediately struck by the way water literally delineates the boundary in so many places. And not just the 1,200 miles along the Rio Grande from El Paso–Ciudad Juárez to Brownsville-Matamoros and the 24-mile strip between the northerly and southerly international boundaries along the Colorado River. Along the land boundary, the hydraulic divide is evident in many locations, particularly where the boundary bisects sister cities, revealing the vivid contrast of a verdant north juxtaposed against a barren south. It is, in fact, along this 700- mile land boundary where the knowledgeable viewer observes which country prevailed in the allocation of the waters of the upper Rio Grande and the Colorado River, a potent reminder of the historic asymmetry of political and economic power that often influenced and continues to influence decisions affecting the use and management of water resources in the border region.

An accounting of how this hydraulic boundary came to be, how it has been developed, and how it is managed today is partially revealed in several outstanding histories and analyses of water development and politics in the American Southwest. These studies range from various accounts of the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848, to the exceptional scholarship on riparian development in the western United States by historians Paul Horgan (1984), Norris Hundley (1966), Frank Waters (1946), Evan Ward (2003), Donald Worster (1985), and Donald Pisani (1992), by diplomat Charles Timm (1941), and by journalists Philip Fradkin Introduction (1981) and Marc Reisner (1986), and to the scholarship on Mexican water development by Adolfo Orive Alba (1970) and Ernesto Enríquez Coyro (1976) and, recently, to a most welcome contribution by Marco Samaniego López (2006). Other more focused or more faceted studies by government officials and diplomats, legal specialists, engineers and hydrologists, ecologists, and social scientists flesh out a picture of binational and regional water politics and institutional development that is essential for comprehending the economic and hydraulic issues in play, the legal frames of the governmental actors in binational water relations, the development of national and international institutions engaged in conflict and cooperation on shared waters, and the political calculus of key governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders in transboundary water management. And yet, as rich and informative as these various works are, and taking into account a trove of scholarly and popular essays related to the topic, the reader is hard pressed to find within a single volume an account of the diplomacy and governance of water along the U.S.-Mexico border between 1945 and the present day.

This study aims to correct this deficiency. Its purpose is to provide a historical account of the development of governance related to transboundary and border water resources after 1945. As a longtime observer of U.S.- Mexico water and environmental relations, however, the author would be remiss in failing to take this opportunity to comment on certain themes in these relations, themes of particular resonance to scholars interested in understanding and strengthening a binational relationship that is today among the most important to which either country is a party. These themes, the manner in which transboundary water management is affected by the larger bilateral relationship, the problems of economic asymmetry and equity and their effect on binational water diplomacy, and the resilience of the binational treaty regime as it affects the sustainable management of shared water resources, are issues that most scholars tackling contemporary problems of binational water management confront directly or indirectly in their work. They are inescapable.

Five Questions with David Martínez

February 17, 2023

Carlos Montezuma is well known as an influential Indigenous figure of the turn of the twentieth century. While some believe he was largely interested only in enabling Indians to assimilate into mainstream white society, Montezuma’s image as a staunch assimilationist changes dramatically when viewed through the lens of his Yavapai relatives at Fort McDowell in Arizona. Through his diligent research and transcription of the letters archived in the Carlos Montezuma Collection at Arizona State University Libraries, David Martínez offers a critical new perspective on Montezuma’s biography and legacy in his new work My Heart Is Bound Up with Them. Today, Martínez answer our five questions, including about what inspired this work and the importance of archives and family histories.

Why did you embark on this work?

In the fall of 2014, Joyce Martin invited me to join her in applying for an Arizona Humanities Council grant. At the time, she was curator for the Labriola National American Indian Data Center at Arizona State University’s Hayden Library. More to the point, she wanted to digitize the Carlos Montezuma Archival Collection and needed help from a humanities scholar. That’s when I entered the picture. Joyce knew about my interest in American Indian intellectual history, the Progressive Era, and Carlos Montezuma. In fact, I had published a paper in a 2013 joint issue of the American Indian Quarterly and Studies in American Indian Literatures, in which I examined the advocacy work that Montezuma did for the Akimel O’odham and Piipaash communities at the Salt and Gila River reservations. Initially, when I agreed to collaborate with Joyce, I thought at most I was going to write a paper for publication in a peer reviewed journal. Little did I know that my interests in the Montezuma Collection would blossom into a full-length book.

Carlos Montezuma’s biography has been well-documented. But this work uncovers a new dimension to his life story. It recovers how his relatives informed his later activism. How did you uncover this story?

What I soon discovered when I delved into the boxes of material that are held in the Montezuma Collection is that there are nearly 120 personal letters, virtually all of which were composed by Montezuma’s relatives at Fort McDowell, and nearly the entirety was handwritten. Only a handful were typed. The letters spanned a roughly twenty-year period, beginning in 1901, and contained a host of topics, from the utterly mundane, such as needing a winter coat or wanting to purchase a trumpet from the Montgomery Ward catalog, to the profound, such as being anxious to organize a trip to Washington, DC, to plead for Yavapai land and water rights. Moreover, what was equally fascinating was the way that Montezuma’s cousins regarded him as a valued community member, who they urgently depended on to negotiate with the Office of Indian Affairs. As in any Indigenous community, one’s kinship relations are of utmost importance, especially when it comes to understanding one’s role and purpose in life. Montezuma found his. These handwritten letters provide a whole new context for comprehending and appreciating Montezuma’s work and legacy as a founding member of the Society of American Indians, the creator of the Wassaja newsletter, as an activist-intellectual, and, above all, as a Yavapai.

What is the importance of archives to this kind of historical recovery work?

What is remarkable about the Montezuma Collection is that everything was literally cast out with the trash. After Montezuma’s wife Marie passed away in 1956, her husband’s papers wound up on the curb. Fortunately, there were people who knew the value of these discarded items and rescued them. Eventually, the papers found their way into four major collections: the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Newberry Library, the University of Arizona, and Arizona State University. As an historically important Indigenous personage, Montezuma’s belongings are a dramatic example of how easily history can wind up on the trash heap, forever lost to posterity. Montezuma’s papers were saved from destruction, but how much of Indigenous history is lost because no one was around to perceive something’s true worth? When my grandfather, Simon Lewis, died in 1999, his papers, along with photographs and other affects, were almost tossed out. Fortunately, I had the presence of mind to ask for them. I’m keeping them now. Collectively, my grandfather’s archives provide a window onto the Gila River Indian Community as a minister at the Gila Crossing First Presbyterian Church, which began in the 1950s. Granted, I have yet to turn these items into an article or book, but the archival record is there when I am finally ready. In the meantime, what is important to know is that Indigenous histories cannot be preserved without a conscientious effort at preserving our own archival records. We should never underestimate our own worth, including the heritage items that we leave to our descendants. Simply relying on mainstream institutions like the National Archives and Library of Congress, or even local historical societies, is not enough. Fortunately, there are many people working in libraries and archives today, many of whom are Indigenous professionals, who are aware of these issues, and are working diligently at increasing awareness and setting an agenda for more digital sovereignty in Indigenous communities. In fact, the current director of the Labriola is Tohono O’odham and, I am proud to say, a former student of mine, Alex Soto.

How does your own family history inform your work as a scholar?

Someday I should write a memoir, so that I can answer this interesting and important question more thoroughly than I can here. With respect to my book on Montezuma, when I think about the work that he did for the Salt and Gila River reservations during the 1910s, I think about the world that my maternal grandparents were born into. My grandfather, Simon Lewis, was born in 1911. My grandmother, Margaret Lewis (née Childs), in 1913. During the 1930s and 1940s, my grandparents worked their allotment in the Gila River Indian Community. According to my mom, Marilyn, and her older siblings, my grandfather was a pretty good farmer. His allotment, like others, was created during Montezuma’s time, when the superintendent for the Pima Agency, with the help of an allotment agent, surveyed the Gila and Salt River reservations. While the Akimel O’odham and Piipaash, who share these two reservations, lost a lot of land because of allotment, what we retained as a community was in large part due to Montezuma’s willingness to work tirelessly at defending his Yavapai people at Fort McDowell (keeping them from being forcibly relocated to Salt River) and, by turns, preempting a land and water rights crisis at Salt and Gila River from getting worse.

What are you working on now?

Now that the Montezuma book is out, making for my fourth major work in the field of American Indian intellectual history, I am finally turning all of my attention to O’odham culture, history, and politics. Specifically, I am working on a history of the Hia-Ced O’odham, which is a small but vibrant part of the O’odham homeland. I am related to them through my maternal grandmother. As for the book-length project that I am researching—tentatively titled Elder Brother’s Forgotten People: How the Hia-Ced O’odham Survived an Epidemic to Claim a Place in Arizona’s Transborder History—it covers the period from 1848-1936. Recently, I completed a 53-page chapter on the 1851 yellow fever epidemic that swept across ancestral Hia-Ced O’odham land in southwestern Arizona, and down toward the Sierra Pinacate, which compelled people to flee from the region to take refuge in Ajo, Quitobaquito, and Sonoyta. Unfortunately, because of the US-Mexico border, the creation of Arizona Territory, and restraints set by US federal Indian policy—most significantly, its reservation system—the Hia-Ced O’odham saw their presence reduced to “extinction”—or so anthropologists and the Indian Bureau assumed. My book is ultimately about Hia-Ced O’odham resilience, as they endured the indignity of being overlooked as the four O’odham reservations were drawn without them. My historical narrative will conclude with the 1936 Papago Tribe (now Tohono O’odham Nation) Constitution, when eleven reservation districts were enumerated, complete with the omission of any reference to the Hia-Ced O’odham. In the end, I hope my work brings the Hia-Ced O’odham all of the recognition they deserve as a discreet part of the O’odham Jeved, the O’odham homeland.

***

David Martínez is professor of American Indian studies at Arizona State University and is enrolled in the Gila River Indian Community.

Photos from We Love the Night Sky celebration

On February 15, Tim Hunter, author of The Sky at Night, spoke at Western National Parks Association, in Oro Valley, Arizona. Fueled by cookies and hot chocolate, participants saw Jupiter and the Galilean moons through telescopes. David Levy, Tim Hunter, and other astronomers pointed out planets, bright stars, and constellations in the sky.

Author Tim Hunter speaks about his book: The Sky at Night: Easy Enjoyment from Your Backyard
Author Tim Hunter explains the planisphere, an analog star chart
We looked at Jupiter from the same telescope as President Obama (POTUS). This telescope went to the White House!
Chuck and Steve from Astronomy Adventures set up Celestron Telescope
Author Tim Hunter signs The Sky at Night
Half moon and star cookies and hot chocolate

Juan Felipe Herrera wins Frost Medal for lifetime achievement

The Poetry Society of America announced that Juan Felipe Herrera is the 2023 recipient of the Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. Named for Robert Frost, and first given in 1930, the Frost Medal is one of the oldest and most prestigious awards in American poetry.

Herrera served as poet laureate from 2015 to 2017.

Herrera says, “With the poem, I can design a little corner for my families that have passed to live on, and for those brutalized by society to continue and be honored—to generate kindness.” Drawing on disparate sources, from European Modernism to Mesoamerican traditions to popular culture, Herrera creates a poetic voice that is both deeply embedded and wholly original. “Poetry,” he writes, “has gills and spears, spells and corn offerings, saxophones, tambourines and dinner tables—the sky liquid of a Jimi Hendrix guitar.”

The Frost Medal is one of many awards given to Herrera. For example, his poetry collection Half the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry and the PEN/Beyond Margins Award.

Congratulations Juan Felipe!

Excerpt from My Heart is Bound Up with Them

February 9, 2023

Through his diligent research and transcription of the letters archived in the Carlos Montezuma Collection at Arizona State University Libraries, David Martínez offers a critical new perspective on Montezuma’s biography and legacy in My Heart is Bound Up with Them, How Carlos Montezuma Became the Voice of a Generation. During an attempt to force the Fort McDowell Yavapai community off of their traditional homelands north of Phoenix, the Yavapai community members and leaders wrote to Montezuma pleading for help. It was these letters and personal correspondence from his Yavapai cousins George and Charles Dickens, as well as Mike Burns that sparked Montezuma’s desperate but principled desire to liberate his Yavapai family and community—and all Indigenous people—from the clutches of an oppressive Indian Bureau. Below read an excerpt from the book.

Much has been written about this full blood Yavapai because he had an unbelievable life and left an inspiring legacy. Wassaja was not born into a world of peace. In 1866 there was an extermination policy on Indians. His mother gave birth to Wassaja on the ground somewhere in Kewevkepaya (Southeastern Yavapai) country, probably within view of Four Peaks or the Superstition Mountains. For his aboriginal parents, he was the new generation and the continuation of their native race.


Such was how anthropologist Sigrid Khera described the legacy of one of the more extraordinary lives of the Progressive Era struggle for Indian rights. Nearly a century after his death in 1923, the name of Carlos Montezuma still stands prominently in modern American Indian history. For the Fort McDowell Yavapai community, in particular, Montezuma is remembered as a revered ancestor, whose memory is preserved in the names of the Wassaja Memorial Health Center, Wassaja Family Services, and the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation Wassaja Scholarship at Arizona State University. For those outside of the Yavapai community, such as the author of the book in hand, Montezuma is remembered through his corpus of writings, most importantly the political essays that appeared in his self-published newsletter Wassaja. Speaking of which, the scholarship on Montezuma’s work and legacy is possible largely because of the archives (held at the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Newberry Library, Arizona State University, and the University of Arizona) that nearly perished after his death, when Montezuma’s name Introduction A Trunkful of Papers Arrives at ASU fell into relative obscurity. Indeed, at the time of the Red Power movement (1964–1973), which rose to overshadow the Progressive Era, Montezuma was all but forgotten. During this period, Montezuma appeared in books by Edward H. Spicer (1962) and Hazel W. Hertzberg (1971). However, neither volume did much to reaffirm Montezuma’s place in Indian rights history. It was a different story, of course, in Fort McDowell, Camp Verde, and Prescott, where Montezuma’s descendants invoked his name in their battle against the Orme Dam during the 1970s, which pitted them against the Central Arizona Project.


During the early years of the struggle against Orme Dam, specifically in spring 1974, the Arizona Statesman ran a story titled “Seeds of Wounded Knee? Carlos Montezuma Collection, a Timely Acquisition, Boosts Stature of ASU’s Hayden Library.” Wounded Knee in this context referred to the 1973 confrontation between the American Indian Movement and federal forces at the historic site of the 1890 massacre of unarmed Ghost Dance prisoners. As for the Carlos Montezuma Collection, its contents, which were literally contained in a trunk that was nearly lost to posterity, documented the Yavapai activist-intellectual’s battle on behalf of Fort McDowell against the Indian Bureau during the 1910s, when it sought to forcibly remove the “Mohave-Apache” to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Reservation for the purpose of opening the land to local developers. Six decades after Montezuma’s battle, the “Fort McDowell Mohave Apache Tribe” was opposing the proposed construction of the Orme Dam—a part of the Central Arizona Project—that threatened to flood Yavapai land. Montezuma’s name would be invoked by those fighting to protect Fort McDowell. Could the Montezuma Collection aid in the struggle for justice?

UA Press earns three PubWest design awards

February 8, 2023

Congratulations to The University of Arizona Press Editorial Production and Design team: Amanda Krause, Leigh McDonald, and Sara Thaxton! Because of their amazing creativity and dedication to excellence, the team received three awards for book design at The Publishers Association of the West’s (PubWest) 2023 conference.

UA Press designers dominated the podium in the category of Short Stories/Poetry/Anthologies. Raven’s Echo by Robert David Hoffmann, won gold. Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak, by Carlos Aguasaco won silver.

And just in time for the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show, the beautiful full-color Mineralogy of Arizona, Fourth Edition, by Raymond W. Grant, Ron Gibbs, Harvey Jong, Jan Rasmussen, and Stanley Keith, won silver in the Reference Book category.

PubWest is a national trade organization of publishers and of associated publishing-related members. The association presents annual design awards for book design, book cover design, and graphic novel design.

Five Questions with Tim Hunter

February 7, 2023

In his new book The Sky at Night avid stargazer and astronomy columnist Tim Hunter covers all the basics—from the Moon, planets, and stars to the history and origins of constellations and selected famous astronomers and events. The book emphasizes naked-eye viewing with an occasional reference to using a pair of binoculars or a small telescope. Hunter encourages beginners to explore the skies while giving them a solid understanding of what they see. Building on his writings for the long-running Sky Spy column, Hunter defines and outlines astronomical terms and how they relate to locating objects in the sky. He weaves in his personal experiences of what he learned about astronomy as a columnist for more than a decade, detailing his mistakes and triumphs to help other would-be astronomers excel in this heavenly hobby. Today, he answers our questions.

What inspired you to write this book?

I am an avid amateur astronomer whose hobby has run amok.  I have always wanted to do an astronomy book but never had good idea or subject matter for such a book until I started writing the weekly “Sky Spy” column for the Arizona Daily Star.  I have written three academic radiology books and was familiar with putting together a book.  After writing Sky Spy columns for ten years, I realized the material in the columns would be ideal for a book on easy observing of the night sky.

You’ve been a columnist about astronomy for more than a decade.  What were the challenges in turning your column into a book?

When I began thinking about turning my columns into a book, I had more than 750 weekly columns that had been published.  There are many books where authors have combined their weekly or monthly columns into a book.  A lot of these are simply thrown together and renamed as a book without any major editing or condensation of the material.  My columns ranged from 250 to 300 words, frequently covering the same topic from year to year like the equinoxes or the solstices.  The columns were often Tucson or Arizona centric and very often date specific describing an astronomical event.

If the book were to have any worth, it could not just be columns thrown together and called a book.  There had to be a consistent whole and most Tucson and Arizona centric material had to be removed as well as most of the date specific material.    

Having to explain a concept to someone else means you must understand it as well.  I have often been chagrined to discover how little I knew about an astronomical topic when I first sat down to write a column about it.  When I finally got done with the column, the column might not be any good, but I sure learned a lot.

I picked important points from the columns and collated them, I hope, into an intelligible whole to be enjoyed by the reader.  I describe what I learned about astronomy and about being a columnist over the years.  I tell about my mistakes and occasional triumphs, advising other would-be astronomy columnists what to emphasize and what to avoid.  This book really is “the adventures of a sometimes astronomy columnist.”

Much of the best material for the Sky Spy columns has come from its readers through questions or complaints.  Constant reader feedback is essential for keeping a column fresh and relevant. 

Traditional newspaper columns are fading from public view due to the challenges facing print media in today’s digital world.  Even so, a blog or digital column needs as much input as possible from interested persons, readers and editors.  The sky is a wonderful draw.  It interests everyone in some fashion.  Put a telescope on a busy corner in the heart of a metropolis.  You will draw a crowd no matter the light pollution or surrounding urban chaos.  It is hard to beat the glory of Saturn’s rings or the craters on the Moon in a small telescope.  The summer Milky Way overhead on a clear night at a dark sky site rivals any digital trick available to the modern movie industry.  A total eclipse of the Sun is such a stunning experience that it has no serious rival in nature. 

What first brought you to astronomy?

I have been an amateur astronomer since 1950 when Miss Wilmore my first-grade teacher showed me a book of the constellations.  I was fascinated by a drawing of Cygnus the Swan and wondered whether I could ever see that in the sky.  That book has been published in the 1920s and did not list Pluto.  When I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, Pluto was a planet.  Today, Pluto is now longer a planet, but that is a story for another time.  It turns out the book I though was outdated when I was in first grade is now back in style.

You advocate naked-eye viewing, and your book discusses objects easily viewed this way.  Why do you like this approach?

The sky is wonderful.  It is to be enjoyed day and night with easy viewing of the night sky the focus of the book.  All one has to do is step outside and look up.  I assume the reader is literate and interested in the sky but not particularly knowledgeable.  It assumes one is not familiar with most of the constellations, but it is hoped the descriptions provided and the directions given are good enough to find one’s way around the sky.  

There are many things you can easily see from your backyard even if you live in the city: the Moon, the planets, bright stars, bright satellites, the Earth’s shadow, conjunctions of the planets and Moon, eclipses, and bright constellation.  At a darker suburban location, you can even see a few star clusters and at least one galaxy with your naked eye.  If you add a good pair of easily held binoculars, you extend your viewing many times further. 

I will have succeeded if you enjoy the sky as much as I do and make friends with the Moon, planets, and stars. 

What are you working on now?

I have an observatory in my front yard in Tucson, the 3towers Observatory, and an observatory out of town near Sonoita, Arizona, the Grasslands Observatory (see: http://www.grasslandsobservatory.com ).  The Grasslands Observatory sits on a high 5000-foot altitude grasslands between distant mountains in all directions.  It has three telescopes that can be controlled remotely from Tucson and are used for astrophotography projects.  An ongoing project is to image all the 370 Barnard Objects in color.  These are regions of dark nebulosity which were first described and photographed in black and white more than 100 years ago by the famous astronomer E. E. Barnard (1857-1923).

***

Tim B. Hunter, MD, MSc, is a professor emeritus in the Department of Medical Imaging at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and has been the author of the Sky Spy column in the Arizona Daily Star for more than fifteen years. He is a co-founder of the International Dark-Sky Association and has received multiple awards for his work addressing light pollution.

Excerpt from Chicano-Chicana Americana

Chicano-Chicana Americana: Pop Culture Pluralism Starring Anthony Quinn, Katy Jurado, Robert Beltran, and Lupe Ontiveros by Anthony Macías is a cultural history of Mexican Americans in film, television, and theater. Through biographical sketches of performers, this work asserts Mexican Americans’ proper place in the national narratives of our collective imaginary. Conveying a multicentered, polycultural America, this book shows us intriguing performers in bit parts who steal the scene and redefine what it means to be American.

Each biographical chapter analyzes an underappreciated actor, revealing their artistic contributions to U.S. common culture. Their long-shot careers tell a tale of players taking action with agency and fighting for screen time and equal opportunity despite disadvantages and differential treatment in Hollywood. These dynamic and complex individuals altered cinematic representations—and audience expectations—by surpassing stereotypes.

The book explores American national character by showing how ethnic Mexicans attained social and cultural status through fair, open competition without a radical realignment of political or economic structures. Their creative achievements demanded dignity and earned respect. Macías argues that these performances demonstrated a pop culture pluralism that subtly changed mainstream America, transforming it from the mythological past of the Wild West to the speculative future of science fiction. Below read an excerpt from the book.

To further contextualize the book’s career retrospectives and explain its theoretical framework, allow me to unpack its title and subtitle.

            Chicano-Chicana

Not all of the people analyzed in this study necessarily self-identify as Chicano or Chicana. Nevertheless, whereas the label Mexican American evokes the 1940s and 1950s, Chicano-Chicana (and, alternately, Chicana-Chicano) is a more flexible term that connotes bilingualism, Mexican cultural connections, a mestizo (mixed-race with Indian ancestry) difference, and a broad range of cultural production and expressive cultural evidence, including art. I see the hyphen in Chicano-Chicana as representing a gender spectrum, thus I also use its combined form, Chican@. For me, the elegant unbroken line of @ symbolizes a wholeness between the Spanish-language o, gendered, and the a, gendered, merged together, encircled as one. This embrace signifies a twenty-first-century vision of unity and parity, holistically connecting, establishing rapport, and cultivating relationships, much like the terms Chicanx and Latinx.

Before the 1960s, some Mexican Americans used the word Chicano as a disparaging term for a poor, recently arrived mestizo migrant worker from Mexico. A new generation of activists, inspired by the civil rights movement and fluent in dual idioms, politicized the word Chicano in order to reject assimilation, identify with their Indigenous heritage, teach Mexican and Mexican American history, promote Spanish-language usage and bilingualism, and convey dissatisfaction with their socioeconomic conditions and political position in postwar America. They began calling each other Chicano and Chicana, as well as carnal and carnala (brother and sister). Through mass mobilization and direct-action protest, militant Chicanos and Chicanas fought for collective community empowerment and political self-determination, resisted institutional neglect and hostility, and exposed the hypocrisy of American liberalism and tokenism. Everyday people took to the streets demanding equal educational opportunities and decrying police brutality and differential treatment in the criminal justice system.

As a political identification, Chicano or Chicana still expresses a socially conscious brown pride, but without the male privilege, sexism, and homophobia of old-school Chicano nationalism. Victor Viesca argues that the 1990s post–Chicano Movement generation’s “Chicana/o sensibility” is “neither assimilationist nor separatist,” and that it welcomes women’s perspectives and leadership while respecting “different sexual orientations.” As Richard Dyer observed, “Having a word for oneself and one’s group, making a politics out of what that word should be, draws attention to and also reproduces one’s marginality, confirms one’s place outside of power and thus outside of the mechanisms of change. Having a word also contains and fixes identity.” Yet “culture is politics, politics is culture,” Dyer also declared. So, “what we are called and what we call ourselves matter, have material and emotional consequences.”

The terms Chicana and Chicano illuminate the nonstigmatized status of acculturated-yet-conscious Mexican Americans who attempt to transcend stereotypes by defining themselves. For example, Richard “Cheech” Marin, an actor and comedian who has long articulated a Chicano point of view, stated, “I’m not Mexican—I’ve never even been to Mexico . . . but I knew I wasn’t white . . . so when I first heard Chicano . . . that’s it, that’s the can-do spirit . . . the rasquache raised to an art form . . . I’m a Chicano . . . this other thing is really good, and I can fit into any culture.” “Rasquache” refers to rasquachismo, which Tomás Ybarra-Frausto theorized as a working-class “Chicano sensibility,” an “attitude” based on an “outsider viewpoint . . . irreverent and impertinent.” It is a resilient “underdog perspective . . . rooted in resourcefulness and adaptability . . . survival and inventiveness.” To be rasquache is to make moves, or “movidas . . . the coping strategies you use to gain time, to make options, to retain hope.” In short, rasquachismo helps “to create a Chicano self-vision of wholeness,” it is “a way of being in the world.”

Michael Chiago Wins Southwest Books of the Year Award

February 2, 2023

We are thrilled to announce that Michael Chiago by Michael Chiago Sr. and Amadeo M. Rea is the winner of a 2023 Southwest Books of the Year Award! Southwest Books of the Year considers titles published during the calendar year that are about Southwest subjects, or are set in the Southwest.

Here’s what one of the judges, Lydia Otero, had to say about the book:

“Self-taught artist Michael Chiago bases his paintings on the O’odham practices he witnessed and his conversations with elders about a past that preceded him. Born in 1946, he grew up on the reservation and started drawing when he was sent away to boarding school. One cannot help but appreciate the intricate details in each painting of the desert people, landscapes, plants and animal life. Reprinted in color, each of his paintings provide a treasure trove of insights into the O’odham people and their lives in the Sonoran Desert. Co-author Amadeo M. Rea incorporates words and phrases from the O’odham language in his descriptions of Chiago’s work that provide additional context and further enhance the visual experience. As an O’odham artist, Chiago’s art offers a rare indigenous perspective that makes this book a must-read for those interested in the history and ethnography of the Sonoran Desert.”—Lydia R. Otero

Congratulations, Michael and Amadeo!

Open Arizona: Twenty Backlist Archaeology Titles Now Available

January 31, 2023

Thanks to a grant from the NEH, we are pleased to announce that we have been able to add twenty backlist titles in archaeology. These titles expand our understandings of the ancient Southwest and demonstrate the University of Arizona’s Press’s long-standing excellence in the field of archaeology.

Here are the new works:

Fish et al / The Marana Community in the Hohokam World

Hargrave / Mexican Macaws

Hinsley & Wilcox / The Southwest in the American Imagination

Huckell / Of Marshes and Maize

Huntley / Ancestral Zuni Glaze-Decorated Pottery

Kintigh / Settlement, Subsistence, and Society in Late Zuni Prehistory

Longacre / Ceramic Ethnoarchaeology

Longacre et al / Multidisciplinary Research at Grasshopper Pueblo, Arizona

Mabry / Canals and Communities

Mathews & Morrison / Lifeways in the Northern Maya Lowlands

Mills & Crown / Ceramic Production in the American Southwest

Nelson / Mimbres during the Twelfth Century

Oliver / Landscapes and Social Transformations on the Northwest Coast

Rocek / Navajo Multi-Household Social Units

Shaw / White Roads of the Yucatán

Snead / Ancestral Landscapes of the Pueblo World

Sullivan & Bayman / Hinterlands and Regional Dynamics in the Ancient Southwest

Varien / Sedentism and Mobility in a Social Landscape

Whalen & Minnis / The Neighbors of Casas Grandes

Zedeño / Sourcing Prehistoric Ceramics at Chodistaas Pueblo, Arizona

AISA 2023: Recent Books, Conference Discounts, and More!

January 30, 2023

Join us at the 24th annual American Indian Studies Association conference in Tempe, Arizona, on February 1-3! Visit our table to browse our recent titles and purchase books at a 30% conference discount, or browse our recent titles below and receive a 30% discount with free U.S. shipping with the code AZAISA23 through 3/5/2023. If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page.

Postindian Aesthetics is a collection of critical, cutting-edge essays on a new generation of Indigenous writers who are creatively and powerfully contributing to a thriving Indigenous literary canon that is redefining the parameters of Indigenous literary aesthetics.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Our Fight Has Just Begun illuminates Native voices while exposing how the justice system has largely failed Native American victims and families. This book tells the untold stories of hate crimes committed against Native Americans in the Four Corners region of the United States.

Bennett offers a reference point for understanding contemporary issues of racial violence, underscoring the firm entrenchment of systemic racism. Highly recommended.”— G. R. Campbell, CHOICE

Visualizing Genocide engages the often sparse and biased discourses of genocidal violence against Indigenous communities documented in exhibits, archives, and museums. Essayists and artists from a range of disciplines identify how Native knowledge can be effectively incorporated into memory spaces.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

O’odham artist Michael Chiago Sr.’s paintings provide a window into the lifeways of the O’odham people. This book offers a rich account of how Tohono O’odham and Akimel O’odham live in the Sonoran Desert now and in the recent past.

Read about a book celebration we hosted with Western National Parks Association here.

Carbon Sovereignty is a deep dive into the coal industry and the Navajo Nation captures a pivotal moment in the history of energy shift and tribal communities. Geographer Andrew Curley spent more than a decade documenting the rise and fall coal, talking with those affected most by the changes—Diné coal workers, environmental activists, and politicians.

Trickster Academy is a collection of poems that explore the experience of being Native in Academia—from land acknowledgement statements, to mascots, to the histories of using Native American remains in anthropology. This collection illuminates the shared experiences of Indians across many regions, and all of us who live amongst Tricksters.

On the heels of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Department of Diné Education, this important education history explains how the current Navajo educational system is a complex terrain of power relationships, competing agendas, and jurisdictional battles influenced by colonial pressures and tribal resistance. In providing the historical roots to today’s challenges, Wendy Shelly Greyeyes clears the path and provides a go-to reference to move discussions forward.

Read a brief interview with the author here.

Critically examining the United States as a settler colonial nation, this literary analysis recenters Oceti Sakowin (historically known to some as the Sioux Nation) women as their tribes’ traditional culture keepers and culture bearers, while offering thoughtful connections between settler colonialism, literature, nationalism, and gender.

Centering historically neglected Indigenous voices as its primary source material, author David Martínez shows how Carlos Montezuma’s correspondence and interactions with his family and their community influenced his advocacy—and how his important work in Arizona specifically motivated his work on a national level.

A New Deal for Navajo Weaving provides a history of early to mid-twentieth-century Diné weaving projects by non-Natives who sought to improve the quality and marketability of Diné weaving but in so doing failed to understand the cultural significance of weaving and its role in the lives of Diné women.

Informed by personal experience and offering an inclusive view, Diné Identity in a Twenty-First-Century World showcases the complexity of understanding and the richness of current Diné identities.

Watch a conversation about the book with author Lloyd D. Lee here.

Indigenous Economics explains how Indigenous peoples organize their economies for good living by supporting relationships between humans and the natural world. This work argues that creating such relationships is a major alternative to economic models that stress individualism and domination of nature.

Transforming Diné Education honors the perspectives and voices of Diné educators in culturally relevant education, special education, Diné language revitalization, well-being, tribal sovereignty, self-determination in Diné education, and university-tribal-community partnerships. The contributors offer stories about Diné resilience, resistance, and survival by articulating a Diné-centered pedagogy and politics for future generations.

Extended Stay Featured in Tor.com Can’t Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction

Tor.com calls Extended Stay by Juan Martinez a “Can’t Miss Indie Press Speculative Fiction for January and February 2023.”

Haunting and visceral, Extended Stay uses the language of body horror and the gothic to comment on the complicated relationship between the Latinx undocumented experience and capitalism, the erasure of those living and working on the margins, the heavy toll exacted by memory, and the queasy permeability of boundaries that separate the waking world from the world of dreams.

“This looks to be both thematically resonant and unsettling in the best possible way,” says Tobias Carroll from Tor.com.

TFOB 2023: Book Signings & Panels with Our Authors

January 26, 2023

Join us for the 2023 Tucson Festival of Books on March 4th and 5th! We will be setting up shop on the University of Arizona campus for a weekend of literary fun. We are thrilled to have a wide variety of our most recent authors presenting on panels and signing books in our booth this year. Take a look at the schedule below to see where you can find University of Arizona Press authors at this year’s festival! We hope you’ll stop by our booth to browse our great titles— which you can purchase for a 25% discount— and to meet our authors and press staff!

Book Signing Schedule

Saturday, March 4:

11:00 AM: Cynthia Guardado, author of Cenizas
12:00 PM: John Schaefer, author of Desert Jewels
2:00 PM: Yvonne de la Torre Montiel and Miguel Montiel, authors of World of Our Mothers
3:00 PM: Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, co-editor of Sing

Sunday, March 5:

10:00 AM: Tim Hunter, author of The Sky at Night
11:00 AM: Tom Zoellner, author of Rim to River
12:00 PM: Ted Fleming, author of Sonoran Desert Journeys
1:00 PM: Devon Mihesuah, author of Dance of the Returned
1:30 PM: Juan Martinez, author of Extended Stay
2:00 PM: Co-Authors of Mineralogy of Arizona, 4th Edition

Saturday, March 4th Panel Schedule

10:00 AM:

Title:Photographing Arizona
Location:UA Library – Special Collections
Date/Time:Saturday, 10:00 am to 11:00 am
Panelists:Virgil Hancock, John Schaefer, Thomas Wiewandt
Moderators:Shan Sutton
Genres:Fine Arts / Photography
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – Integrated Learning Center

Description:
Three expert photographers, one of them former UA President John Schaefer, will discuss their craft and the secrets of shooting the perfect picture.

Title:Going Off Grid
Location:Koffler Room 218
Date/Time:Saturday, 10:00 am to 11:00 am
Panelists:Ted Conover, Janet Fogg, Bob West, Tom Zoellner
Moderators:Mary Holden
Genres:Memoir / Essays / Creative Nonfiction
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – UA BookStore Tent (on Mall)

Description:
Today we will hear several different perspectives of the American West and our authors’ approach writing their reflections about this iconic part of the United States.

1:00 PM:

Title:Arizona, Up Close and Personal
Location:UA Library – Special Collections
Date/Time:Saturday, 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm
Panelists:Gilbert Storms, Jim Turner, Tom Zoellner
Moderators:Heidi Osselaer
Genres:History / Biography
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – Integrated Learning Center

Description:
Gilbert Storms, Jim Turner and Tom Zoellner have studied Arizona for years, each in their very own way. Today they will explore our state’s past and present, and maybe even look into its future a bit!

2:30 PM:

Title:The Meaning of Home
Location:Nuestras Raíces Stage
Date/Time:Saturday, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Panelists:Cynthia Guardado, Alejandro Varela, Javier Zamora
Moderators:Ernesto Portillo Jr.
Genres:Nuestras Raices
Signing Area:Pima County Public Library/Nuestras Raíces/Craft Tent & Signing Area

Description:
These authors share a common bond regarding home and homeland, through their different genres: literary, poetic and memoir.

Title:Workshop: Infusing Humor, Horror, Joy
Location:UA Main Library 254/Main Floor
Date/Time:Saturday, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Panelists:Juan Martinez
Genres:Nuestras Raices
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – Integrated Learning Center

Description:
We neglect the importance of affect when working on our drafts. We build characters, we engage imagery and plot and language, but we forget to exploit the comic or horrific possibilities in what we’re building. In this session, we’ll explore how to tune a piece so that it’s funnier, scarier, or sadder.

4:00 PM:

Title:Global Deception
Location:Student Union Tucson Room
Date/Time:Saturday, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Panelists:Francine Mathews, Devon Mihesuah, Camilla Trinchieri
Moderators:Wanda Morris
Genres:Mystery / Thrillers
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – UA BookStore Tent (on Mall)

Description:
It doesn’t matter where you live in the world, there are always mysteries to be solved. Just ask Francine Matthews, Devon Mihesuah and Camilla Trinchieri.

Title:Mundo de Nuestras Madres
Location:Nuestras Raíces Stage
Date/Time:Saturday, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Panelists:Yvonne de la Torre MontielMiguel Montiel, Luis Alberto Urrea
Moderators:Cristina Ramirez
Genres:Nuestras Raices
Signing Area:Pima County Public Library/Nuestras Raíces/Craft Tent & Signing Area

Description:
Three authors share inspiring stories of the historical journeys of brave and courageous women.

Title:Taking it Outside
Location:National Parks Experience
Date/Time:Saturday, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Panelists:Susan Lamb, Tom Zoellner
Moderators:Roger Naylor
Genres:Nature / Environment / Outdoor Adventure
Sponsors:Western National Parks Association
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – Science City

Description:
Sitting down to tell a tale is only a small part of writing a good book about nature. The real work, and the real fun, is being there. Today, Susan Lamb and Tom Zoellner will explain why hitting the trail is so important to getting to know a place.

Sunday, March 5 Panel Schedule

11:30 AM:

Title:Those Starry Skies
Location:Science City – Main Stage
Date/Time:Sunday, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Panelists:Lindy Elkins-Tanton, Tim Hunter
Moderators:Timothy Swindle
Genres:Science / Medicine / Technology
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – Science City

Description:
Join authors Lindy Elkins-Tanton and Tim Hunter as they sit down with UArizona’s Space Institute Director Timothy Swindle to discuss what drew them to learning about planets, stars and the vastness of space.

Title:Leaving, Loving, and Returning Home through Poetry
Location:Student Union Kiva
Date/Time:Sunday, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Panelists:Cynthia Guardado, José Olivarez, Laura Villareal
Genres:Poetry
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – UA Bookstore, Main Floor

Description:
Join poets Laura Villareal, Jose Olivarez and Cynthia Guardado as they explore poetry’s ability to restore a sense of home and heal the traumatic legacies of exile and the domestic violence.

Title:That Got Weird
Location:Student Union Kachina
Date/Time:Sunday, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Panelists:Juan Martinez, Ander Monson
Moderators:Matt Bell
Genres:Memoir / Essays / Creative Nonfiction, Sci-Fi / Fantasy / Horror
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – UA BookStore Tent (on Mall)

Description:
In this session, Juan Martinez and Ander Monson will chat about finding and deploying horror and science fiction tropes in unexpected places. Moderator Matt Bell is pretty good at that himself!

2:30 PM:

Title:Can Nature Cooperate?
Location:National Parks Experience
Date/Time:Sunday, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Panelists:Stephen Buchmann, Theodore Fleming, Kristin Ohlson
Moderators:Carol Schwalbe
Genres:Nature / Environment / Outdoor Adventure, 2023 Big Read
Sponsors:Western National Parks Association
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – National Parks

Description:
Stephen Buchmann, Theodore Flemming and Kristin Ohlson all write about nature, which means they understand exactly how unpredictable nature can be. We ask them, “Can nature cooperate?”

Title:Wait for It, Wait for It …
Location:Student Union Tucson Room
Date/Time:Sunday, 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm
Panelists:Tracy Clark, Sean Doolittle, Devon Mihesuah
Moderators:Terry Shames
Genres:Mystery / Thrillers
Signing Area:Sales & Signing Area – UA BookStore Tent (on Mall)

Description:
Three of our favorite authors — Tracy Clark, Sean Doolittle and Devon Mihesuah — keep us on the edge of our seats until the last page. How do they know when it’s time to reveal whodunit?

4:00 PM:

Title:Que Susto: What a Fright!
Location:Nuestras Raíces Stage
Date/Time:Sunday, 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Panelists:Ramona Emerson, Juan Martinez, Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Moderators:Megan Hellwig
Genres:Nuestras Raices
Signing Area:Pima County Public Library/Nuestras Raíces/Craft Tent & Signing Area

Description:
These authors take you on a roller-coaster ride of terror, horror, and fright. Hold on to your seats!

For the full festival schedule, click here.

Bojan Louis Awarded NEA Fellowship in Poetry

Bojan Louis, contributor to The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature, recently received the Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The goal of these fellowships is to encourage the production of new literary work by allowing writers the time and financial means to pursue their craft.

Louis is Diné of the Naakai dine’é, born for the Áshííhí. In addition to teaching at the Institute for American Indian Arts, Louis is an assistant professor in the Creative Writing MFA and American Indian Studies programs at the University of Arizona. He said about the award: “I’m stunned and elated to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. It will enable me to stay put, to say no to extra work, and to be more present with my family and creative work, which have become intertwined.”

Congratulations Bojan Louis!

Extended Stay Makes Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s January 2023 Book Preview

Extended Stay by Juan Martinez was featured in Vol. 1 Brooklyn’s January 2023 Book Preview.

Haunting and visceral, Extended Stay uses the language of body horror and the gothic to comment on the complicated relationship between the Latinx undocumented experience and capitalism, the erasure of those living and working on the margins, the heavy toll exacted by memory, and the queasy permeability of boundaries that separate the waking world from the world of dreams.

“It’s been six years since the release of Juan Martinez’s collection Best Worst American, a book that we quite enjoyed. What’s next for Martinez? Turns out the answer is a novel about an emotionally vampiric sentient hotel that arises in the southwestern U.S. and the people who cross paths with it. And with a concept like that, it’s hard to resist delving in,” said Vol. 1 Brooklyn.

New Books in Geography Podcast Interviews Sarah Milne

Stentor Danielson recently interviewed Sarah Milne, author of Corporate Nature, An Insider’s Ethnography of Global Conservation, on the New Books in Geography podcast.

In 2012, Cambodia’s most prominent environmental activist was brutally murdered in a high-profile conservation area in the Cardamom Mountains. Tragic and terrible, this event magnifies a crisis in humanity’s efforts to save nature: failure of the very tools and systems at hand for advancing global environmental action. Sarah Milne spent more than a decade working for and observing global conservation projects in Cambodia. During this time, sh