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.

An Excerpt from ‘A Love Letter to This Bridge Called My Back’

June 29, 2022

In 1981, Chicana feminist intellectuals Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa published what would become a touchstone work for generations of feminist women of color—the seminal This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. To celebrate and honor this important work, editors gloria j. wilson, Joni B. Acuff, and Amelia M. Kraehe offer new generations A Love Letter to This Bridge Called My Back.

Here’s an excerpt from the book’s introduction that’s part of a larger Q&A interview the editors did with each other that shares details of the book, and more specifically here, why Love Letters:

AMY So why create a collection of love letters? What is the significance of that framing?

GLORIA Perhaps it’s because I grew up listening to stories my mother told about my father writing so many love letters to her during their courtship! It signifies deep commitment to human-being and living.

AMY gloria, that sounds so intimate.

JONI It’s very intimate. Meaning, it takes more time and effort. When you think about a love letter, you don’t think about somebody typing something out on a computer. You think about a handwritten letter, in cursive. It’s a romanticized representation of something mundane. It is illustrative of how something so simple can be presented in a profound way. Crafting a love letter is time- consuming, it takes effort and intentionality, and it also takes patience. It’s a different kind of energy, meaning that it’s an opportunity to be vulnerable in ways one might not be face-to-face.

AMY The intimacy that’s conveyed and captured in a love letter can, like you said, Joni, be about quotidian happenings, but life’s texture and complexity are contained in the everyday. So much insight can come from sharing the small bits of life. Those bits are passageways to deeper levels of understanding of another person and their condition. They are symbolic spaces for relationship, and those spaces are opportunities to touch or come into the presence of another being.

gloria, you said that your dad wrote love letters to your mom. We now have digital technologies that allow people to engage with each other very quickly all the time through text and social media, but a love letter is a classic form that has existed across time and in different geographic and cultural locations. It is inflected culturally and differently depending upon who is writing and the tradition that they come from, but it endures as a classic form of dialogue. I think that is important here. This book is in conversation, a deep, committed kind of conversation with the original Bridge authors, and with thousands of other folks. If we look at the number of Google citations for This Bridge Called My Back, it is in the thousands, and they keep climbing every day. That is just citations, to say nothing of the incalculable numbers of other readers who thumb the book’s pages each day. So A Love Letter is in conversation not only with the original Bridge writers but also with every-one who is reading that text and, like us, is passionate about theory in the flesh, sensing and making sense through aesthetic forms of philosophy, knowledge, communication, and collectivity. That is exciting to me, and maybe it is only possible through a love letter.

GLORIA Yeah. You know, as I was thinking about this question, I was thinking that one has to be vulnerable. So when I think of a love letter, I think of it as a radical act of care. It’s like humbling yourself to someone else, opening yourself wide and performing an act that is so private and personal. You know, a love letter is not intended for the world to witness, necessarily, although there are examples of public pronouncements of love. In all, it’s intended for the recipient in a very direct manner.

When I think about love letters that I have written, I recall including traces of myself in the form of swatches of fabric from clothing or artwork, with the intent of distilling, suspending, or cementing a memory. In the case of this Love Letter anthology, my desire was to offer an extension of the sentiments tied to the expression of a love letter, and yet I felt the need to share a space and record it collectively and in material form—record it with others for whom the original book has made an impact. In doing this, the question I thought with and attempted to answer was: What opportunity might be created as an acknowledgement of thanks for each of these women, for their work and its impact on my life because it may not be possible to do so in person?

My response was to attempt a collective love letter, as an insistence for radical love for women of color in the wake of forced silences and settlements via colonialisms and imperialisms; it is an aesthetic pronouncement—an outward declaration of gratitude. But in excess of this, to create an archive of collective voice. Moraga and Anzaldúa would refer to the contributors to This Bridge as “women from all kinds of childhood streets,” who speak to past, present, and current conditions of life in and into the afterlives of containment, migration, silencing, diaspora. For the contributors of the original text, This Bridge Called My Back, who are still present in this life and for those who exist with us in the afterlife— this book serves to express that I am thinking about and with them; thinking with their thoughts and sentiments and creative pronouncements, which reveal the conditions of their existence forty years ago. This Love Letter might illuminate traces of what is still occurring and what might emerge as contemporary conditions and our current moment. And that’s what is, in my opinion, the most radical act of care, like we said in the beginning. Like Joni said, it’s something that you put energy into, writing it out.

AMY Along the same lines as This Bridge, a collection like this one can be healing for so many people. Many contributors returned to the idea of bridges and bridging. Can a love letter be a bridge? Here I’m thinking not only of connection but also healing. Love letters heal in ways that may be different from bridges. Bridges enable us to move and transition. They connect one realm to another because they are liminal spaces, in- between spaces. But love letters might do something else. So in that sense, A Love Letter does not seek to replicate This Bridge. It is not an addition to a series or an attempt to replicate the original text. It is intending something different and for a very different moment in time.

***

gloria j. wilson is co-founder and co-director of Racial Justice Studio and an assistant professor in the School of Art at the University of Arizona. Her research centers cultural studies and Black studies engagements with theories of racial formations, anti-racism, and critical arts-based praxis.

Joni B. Acuff is an associate professor in the Department of Arts Administration, Education, and Policy at The Ohio State University. Acuff utilizes frameworks such as critical race theory, critical multiculturalism, Black feminist theory, and Afrofuturism to develop and disseminate pedagogical and curriculum strategies that activate critical race knowledge in art education.

Amelia M. Kraehe is associate vice president for equity in the arts, co-founder and co-director of Racial Justice Studio, and an associate professor in the School of Art at the University of Arizona. She researches and teaches about intersectional anti-racism, the arts, and creative agency. She is co-author of Race and Art Education and co-editor of Pedagogies in the Flesh: Case Studies on the Embodiment of Sociocultural Differences in Education and The Palgrave Handbook on Race and the Arts in Education.

Honorable Mentions for the International Latino Book Awards Include Téllez, Chávez, Boffone, Herrera, Aguasaco, and Rathbun

June 28, 2022

We are thrilled to announce that six University of Arizona Press authors received honorable mentions for the 2022 International Latino Book Awards! These selections are a salute to the wide variety of quality books being created by and about Latinx people, both inside and outside the USA.

Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas by Michelle Téllez and The Sound of Exclusion by Christopher Chávez both received honorable mentions for the Victor Villaseñor Best Latino Focused Nonfiction Book Award!

Latinx Teens by Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera received an honorable mention for the Best Nonfiction – Multi-Author Award!

Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak, written by Carlos Aguasaco and translated by Jennifer Rathbun, received an honorable mention for the Best Poetry Book – Multi Author Award!

Congratulations to Michelle, Christopher, Trevor, Cristina, Carlos, and Jennifer!

Andrew Flachs Talks ‘Cultivating Knowledge’ and more on Landscapes Podcast

June 17, 2022

Landscapes with Adam Cato featured a recent interview with University of Arizona Press author Andrew Flacks on his study of the role of seeds on farmer livelihoods in rural India as part of his book, Cultivating Knowledge.

In Cultivating Knowledge Flachs shows how rural farmers come to plant genetically modified or certified organic cotton, sometimes during moments of agrarian crisis. Interweaving ethnographic detail, discussions of ecological knowledge, and deep history, Flachs uncovers the unintended consequences of new technologies, which offer great benefits to some—but at others’ expense. Flachs shows that farmers do not make simple cost-benefit analyses when evaluating new technologies and options. Their evaluation of development is a complex and shifting calculation of social meaning, performance, economics, and personal aspiration. Only by understanding this complicated nexus can we begin to understand sustainable agriculture.

From Landscapes:

An article in Scientific American bringing a science and technology studies lens to Genetically Modified Organisms, provoked louder than normal responses from the pro biotech crowd. What can we learn from the exchange? Dr. Andrew Flachs, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Purdue University, studied the role of seeds on farmer livelihoods in rural India as part of his book, Cultivating Knowledge. We discuss the arguments of the article and its malcontents to try and reach a broader understanding of what this debate is really about.

Listen to the podcast here.

Gloria Muñoz’s ‘Danzirly’ 2021 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards Winner

June 16, 2022

We are pleased to announce that Danzirly, the Ambroggio Award-winning poetry collection by Gloria Muñoz, received an honorable mention in 24th annual Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Awards in the poetry category.

Foreword Reviews, a book review journal focusing on independently published books, recently announced the winners of its INDIES Book of the Year Awards. The INDIES recognize the best books published in 2021 from small, indie, and university presses, as well as self-published authors.

From Foreword on Danzirly:

Danzirly is a stunning bilingual poetry collection that considers multigenerational Latinx identities in the rapidly changing United States. Winner of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize, Gloria Muñoz’s collection is an unforgettable reckoning of the grief and beauty that pulses through twenty-first-century America.

Raquel Salas Rivera’s ‘x/ex/exis’ Poetry Collection a Lambda Literary Finalist

June 13, 2002

We are proud to announce that poet Raquel Salas Rivera‘s collection, x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación/poems, was chosen as a 2022 Lambda Literary Awards finalist.

Salas Rivera’s book was the first Ambroggio Prize winner from the Academy of American Poets, a $1,000 publication award given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with and English translation. The winning manuscript is published by the University of Arizona Press. 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.

Salas Rivera’s x/ex/exis was a finalist in the Lambda Literary Awards competition in the Transgender Poetry category. The book was written in the early days of the rise of world-wide fascism and the poet’s gender transition. From teen dysphoria, to the incarceration of anticolonial activists Oscar López and Nina Droz Franco, to the entanglement of church and state, these poems acknowledge the violence of imposed binaries. For Salas Rivera, the marks Puerto Rican transness in a world that seeks trans death, denial, and erasure. Instead of justifying his existence, he takes up the flag of illegibility and writes an apocalyptic book that screams into an uncertain future, armed with nothing to lose.

Watch: Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez Delivers Inaugural Bazy Tankersley Southwest Laureate Lecture

June 7, 2022

In April, Arizona State University anthropologist and University of Arizona Press author Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez delivered the Inaugural Bazy Tankersley Southwest Laureate Lecture, “The Southwest Northwest Region, a Political Ecology of Cultures and Hegemonies.” Due to the audience enthusiasm the Southwest Center will schedule a second conversation in September.

Vélez-Ibáñez’s latest book with the Press is Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist: From Netzahualcóyotl to Aztlán, which takes us on a journey of remembering and rediscovery with the anthropologist as he explores his development as a scholar and in so doing the development of the interdisciplinary fields of transborder and applied anthropology. He shows us his path through anthropology as both a theoretical and an applied anthropologist whose work has strongly influenced borderlands and applied research. Importantly, he explains the underlying, often hidden process that led to his long insistence on making a difference in lives of people of Mexican origin on both sides of the border and to contribute to a “People with Histories.”

If you missed the lecture or want to watch it again, you can catch it here:

New Review of Stephen Pyne’s ‘To the Last Smoke’

June 3, 2022

A recent issue of The Quarterly Review of Biology featured a review of Stephen J. Pyne’s To the Last Smoke: An Anthology.

From the review by Donald A. Falk at the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources & the Environment:

Some of the best sections of book are chapters in which fire is seen through the lens of a particular person, including fire managers and scientists, some of them well known and others underappreciated. These sections are refreshing because they center on narrative rather than politics or philosophy.

Pyne’s language is exceptional among writers about wildfire. Describing how the indigenous inhabitants of the Southwest used the increasingly sparse fuels near their settlements, the author writes that “[l]andscape fires thinned, and then shrank into the hearths of kivas and kilns”. In fact, this displacement of fire from landscapes to controlled combustion in human devices is a theme throughout the volume and elsewhere in his writing, a phenomenon he describes as the “pyric transition” in human and Earth history.

There are many poets of place; Stephen Pyne is a poet of process, and his work is required reading for anyone who wants to understand wildland fire in today’s world and into the future. The irony of the title is that there is no last smoke.

UT Austin’s Life & Letters Tells Origin Story of Latinx Pop Culture’s Professor Latinx

May 31, 2022

Life & Letters, the official magazine for University of Texas Austin’s College of Liberal Arts recently published a deep dive into University of Arizona Press author and editor Frederick Luis Aldama.

In “The Pilgrimage of Professor Latinx” Frederick Luis Aldama and the Making of an Academic Superhero,” Emily Nielsen goes from Aldama’s early childhood to his love scholarship, and of course, Latinx pop culture.

Aldama is the co-editor of the Press’s Latinx Pop Culture series. Its most recent title, Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Aldama, argues that Latinx TV is not just television—it’s an entire movement. Digital spaces and streaming platforms today have allowed for Latinx representation on TV that speaks to Latinx people and non-Latinx people alike, bringing rich and varied Latinx cultures into mainstream television and addressing urbanization, immigration, family life, language, politics, gender, sexuality, class, race, and ethnicity.

Here’s an excerpt from the Life & Letters feature:

At the heart of Aldama’s work is the belief that academic scholarship has an essential role to play in the growth and health of the field of Latino comics. It is not just about reading and critiquing the work of writers and artists, but also legitimizing them and their field. This extends beyond comics to other media as well. Film and television, in particular, have been abiding interests. He’s published two books on the Austin-based film director Robert Rodriguez and is currently working on two books on Latinx TV.

“Wherever I can, I try to bring to these spaces the cultural gravitas, or cultural capital, of being a Ph.D. and a professor with an endowed chair,” Aldama said. “The artists don’t necessarily need it to find readers, but it’s like your art being pulled into a space like the Smithsonian. Suddenly more people are going to take it seriously as art, as some- thing carefully crafted to make a difference in the world.”

As a Latino kid growing up in the 1970s and ‘80s, Aldama didn’t often see people like himself in the media he absorbed. “Growing up, we didn’t have a TV at home, so it was at my abuelita’s that we would watch TV,” Aldama said. “We would spend the night on a Friday, and as a treat on Saturday she would let us watch cartoons. I remember very vividly Speedy Gonzales was one of the few representations. I didn’t know at the time how bad that representation was. There’s Slowpoke Rodriguez, his cousin, who seems totally stoned all the time. And Speedy, what is he doing? He’s a master thief.”

To read the entire interview go here.

*Illustration of Aldama in the image of Marvel’s Professor X. By J. Gonzo

Explore New Titles from the University of Arizona Press Fall 2022 Catalog

May 26, 2022

We have another amazing season ahead of us at the University of Arizona Press. Here’s a preview of our upcoming fall 2022 season with the best the Press has to offer, from Indigenous lit, Latinx poetry, to Indigenous studies, anthropology, borderlands, as well as the return of a classic you love. You know the drill. Tuck in.

Detective Monique Blue Hawk returns in Devon A. Mihesuah new novel, Dance of the Returned. The disappearance of a young Choctaw leads Detective 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.

In Raven’s Echo, Tlingit artist and poet Robert Davis Hoffmann calls on readers to nurture material as well as spiritual life, asking beautiful and brutal questions about our individual positions within the universe and within history. The poems in this collection are brimming with an imaginative array of characters, including the playful yet sometimes disturbing trickster Raven, and offer insights into both traditional and contemporary Native life in southeast Alaska.

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.

Published more than forty years ago, The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in O’odham Country by Gary Paul Nabhan 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. 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.

This special rerelease also includes a beautiful new cover by Tohono O’odham artist Michael Chiago, who happens to have a book coming out this spring 2022 season with Press on his work depicting O’odham life and traditions, Michael Chiago: O’odham Lifeways Through Art.

In Sonoran Desert Journeys: Ecology and Evolution of Its Iconic Species ecologist Theodore H. Fleming discusses two remarkable journeys. First, Fleming 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.

Animated by this remarkable confluence of events, Cornerstone at the Confluence: Navigating the Colorado River Compact’s Next Century, edited by Jason A. Robison, 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?

Bountiful Deserts: Sustaining Indigenous Worlds in Northern New Spain foregrounds the knowledge of Indigenous peoples in the arid lands of northwestern Mexico, for whom the desert was anything but barren or empty. Instead, they nurtured and harvested the desert as a bountiful and sacred space. Drawing together historical texts and oral testimonies, archaeology, and natural history, author Cynthia Radding develops the relationships between people and plants and the ways that Indigenous people sustained their worlds before European contact through the changes set in motion by Spanish encounters, highlighting the long process of colonial conflicts and adaptations over more than two centuries. This work reveals the spiritual power of deserts by weaving together the cultural practices of historical peoples and contemporary living communities, centered especially on the Yaqui/Yoeme and Mayo/Yoreme.

What does “development” mean for Indigenous peoples? Indigenous Economics: Sustaining Peoples and Their Lands lays out an alternative path showing that conscious attention to relationships among humans and the natural world creates flourishing social-ecological economies. Economist Ronald L. Trosper draws on examples from North and South America, Aotearoa/New Zealand, and Australia to argue that Indigenous worldviews centering care and good relationships provide critical and sustainable economic models in a world under increasing pressure from biodiversity loss and climate change. He explains the structure of relational Indigenous economic theory, providing principles based on his own and others’ work with tribal nations and Indigenous communities. Trosper explains how sustainability is created at every level when relational Indigenous economic theory is applied—micro, meso, and macro.

Visualizing Genocide: Indigenous Interventions in Art, Archives, and Museums, edited by Yve Chavez and Nancy Marie Mithlo, examines how creative arts and memory institutions selectively commemorate or often outright ignore stark histories of colonialism. The essays confront outdated narratives and institutional methods by investigating contemporary artistic and scholarly interventions documenting settler colonialisms including land theft, incarceration, intergenerational trauma, and genocide. Interdisciplinary approaches, including oral histories, exhibition practices, artistic critiques, archival investigations, and public arts, are among the many decolonizing methods incorporated in contemporary curatorial practices.

Contrary to previous works that suppress Nuevomexicana/o presence throughout U.S. nuclear history, Nuclear Nuevo México: Colonialism and the Effects of the Nuclear Industrial Complex on Nuevomexicanos 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.

World of Our Mothers: Mexican Revolution–Era Immigrants and Their Stories by Miguel Montiel and Yvonne de la Torre Montiel, captures the largely forgotten history of courage and heartbreak of forty-five women who immigrated to the United States during the era of the 1910 Mexican Revolution. The book reveals how these women in the early twentieth century reconciled their lives with their circumstances—enduring the violence of the Revolution, experiencing forced labor and lost childhoods, encountering enganchadores (labor contractors), and living in barrios, mining towns, and industrial areas of the Midwest, and what they saw as their primary task: caring for their families.

Edited by Natalia Deeb-Sossa and Jennifer Bickham Mendez, Latinx Belonging: Community Building and Resilience in the United States 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. Contributors to this volume view “belonging” as actively produced through struggle, survival, agency, resilience, and engagement.

Lavender Fields: Black Women Experiencing Fear, Agency, and Hope in the Time of COVID-19, edited by Julia S. Jordan-Zachery, uses autoethnography to explore how Black girls and women are living with and through COVID-19. It centers their pain, joys, and imaginations for a more just future as we confront all the inequalities that COVID-19 exposes. The essays center Black girls and women and their testimonies in hopes of moving them from the margin to the center. With a diversity of voices and ages, this volume taps into the Black feminine interior, that place where Audre Lorde tells us that feelings lie, to access knowledge—generational, past, and contemporary—to explore how Black women navigate COVID-19. Using womanism and spirituality, among other modalities, the authors explore deep feelings, advancing Black feminist theorizing on Black feminist praxis and methodology.

Gardening at the Margins: Convivial Labor, Community, and Resistance tells the remarkable story of a diverse group of neighbors working together to grow food and community in the Santa Clara Valley in California. Based on four years of deeply engaged ethnographic field research via a Participatory Action Research project with the people and ecosystems of La Mesa Verde home garden program, Gabriel R. Valle develops a theory of convivial labor to describe how the acts of care among the diverse gardeners—through growing, preparing, and eating food in one of the most income unequal places in the country—are powerful, complex acts of resistance.

The Americas are witnessing an era of unprecedented human mobility. With their families or unaccompanied, children are part of this immense movement of people. Edited by Alejandra J Josiowicz and Irasema Coronado, Children Crossing Borders: Latin American Migrant Childhoods explores the different meanings of the lives of borderland children in the Americas. It addresses migrant children’s struggle to build a sense of belonging while they confront racism and estrangement on a daily basis. 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.

Author Sarah Milne spent more than a decade working for and observing global conservation projects in Cambodia. During this time, she saw how big environmental NGOs can operate rather like corporations. Their core practice involves rolling out appealing and deceptively simple policy ideas, like Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES). Yet, as policy ideas prove hard to implement, NGOs must also carefully curate evidence from the field to give the impression of success and effectiveness. In her new book, Corporate Nature: An Insider’s Ethnography of Global Conservation, Milne delves inside the black box of mainstream global conservation. She reveals how big international NGOs struggle in the face of complexity—especially in settings where corruption and political violence prevail. She uses the case of Conservation International’s work in Cambodia to illustrate how apparently powerful NGOs can stumble in practice: policy ideas are transformed on the ground, while perverse side effects arise, like augmented authoritarian power, illegal logging, and Indigenous dispossession.

In communities in and around Cobán, Guatemala, a small but steadily growing number of members of the Q’eqchi’ Maya Roman Catholic parish of San Felipe began self-identifying as members of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Their communities dramatically split as mainstream and charismatic Catholic parishioners who had been co-congregants came to view each other as religiously distinct and problematic “others.” In Guarded by Two Jaguars: A Catholic Parish Divided by Language and Faith, Eric Hoenes del Pinal tells the story of this dramatic split and in so doing addresses the role that language and gesture have played in the construction of religious identity. Drawing on a range of methods from linguistic and cultural anthropology, the author 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.

Reading the Illegible: Indigenous Writing and the Limits of Colonial Hegemony in the Andes examines the history of alphabetic writing in early colonial Peru, deconstructing the conventional notion of literacy as a weapon of the colonizer. This book develops the concept of legibility, which allows for an in-depth analysis of coexisting Andean and non-Native media. The book discusses the stories surrounding the creation of the Huarochirí Manuscript (c. 1598–1608), the only surviving book-length text written by Indigenous people in Quechua in the early colonial period. The manuscript has been deemed “untranslatable in all the usual senses,” but scholar Laura Leon Llerena argues that it offers an important window into the meaning of legibility.

In Translation and Epistemicide: Racialization of Languages in the Americas author Joshua Martin Price tracks how through the centuries translation practices have enabled colonialism and resulted in epistemicide, or the destruction of Indigenous and subaltern knowledge. The book gives an account of translation-as-epistemicide in the Americas, drawing on a range of examples from the early colonial period to the War on Terror. The first chapters demonstrate four distinct operations of epistemicide: the commensuration of worlds, the epistemic marginalization of subaltern translators and the knowledge they produce, the criminalization of translators and interpreters, and translation as piracy or extractivism. The second part of the book outlines decolonial translation strategies, including an epistemic posture the author calls “bewilderment.”

Environmental Directions Radio Interviews Markes Johnson

May 26, 2022

Environmental Directions Radio recently featured author Markes Johnson, discussing his newest book Baja California’s Coastal Landscapes Revealed. In the interview, Johnson and host Nancy Pearlman talk about the islands in the Gulf of California, the peninsula itself, and myriad ways that geology reveals change through time.

The program is a long-running environmental radio series, started in 1977. Pearlman has featured leading scientists, activists, and representatives from the business, academic, government, and nonprofit sectors. Since it began, more than 2,300 shows have been produced.

In Baja California’s Coastal Landscapes Revealed Johnson takes us on a dozen rambles through wild coastal landscapes on Mexico’s Gulf of California. Descriptions of storm deposits from the geologic past conclude by showing how the future of the Baja California peninsula and its human inhabitants are linked to the vast Pacific Basin and populations on the opposite shores coping with the same effects of global warming.

Indigenous Archaeology: An Excerpt

May 20, 2022

Indigenous Archaeology in the Philippines highlights how collaborative archaeology and knowledge co-production among the Ifugao, an Indigenous group in the Philippines, contested (and continue to contest) enduring colonial tropes. Stephen B. Acabado and Marlon M. Martin explain how the Ifugao made decisions that benefited them, including formulating strategies by which they took part in the colonial enterprise, exploiting the colonial economic opportunities to strengthen their sociopolitical organization, and co-opting the new economic system. The archaeological record shows that the Ifugao successfully resisted the Spanish conquest and later accommodated American empire building.

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, the authors demonstrate how changing historical narratives help empower peoples who are traditionally ignored in national histories. Today, we offer an excerpt from the books preface, which explains how this collaborative archaeology project came together:

This book is a product of more than a decade of collaboration between the Kiangan, Ifugao community and the Ifugao Archaeological Project. What started as a 30-minute meeting in 2011 resulted in a long-term and productive partnership. Although I (Acabado) have been working in Ifugao as early as 2003, it wasn’t until 2011 that I met Marlon Martin, when I brought my students for a field excursion in Ifugao. The Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo) arranged our Ifugao visit and hosted us through 3 days of traipsing around the rice terraces. I was then employed at the University of Guam. I recently concluded a field school in San Remigio, Cebu (Central Philippines), and decided to treat the field school participants to a visit to the famed UNESCO-inscribed Rice Terraces, some 1,200 kilometers away. I contacted Jovel Ananayo, a SITMo member and a friend, whom I met at the University of Hawai’i, where we went for graduate school. Jovel hosted us and facilitated the introduction between Marlon and myself.

At this meeting in 2011, I intimated that I would like to return to restart my archaeological work in Ifugao and conveyed my wish to collaborate with the community. Marlon expressed his interest and suggested that we look at the Old Kiyyangan Village as a start. By March 2012, a series of consultations with the descendants of the Old Kiyyangan Village, elders, the local governments, and the community at large had already been conducted. By June 2012, the Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP) was formally launched. Fast forward to 2020, this collaboration has resulted in about 35 publications, a book, 5 MAs, and 3 upcoming PhDs. In 2017, SITMo, the newly created Kiangan Culture and Arts Council of the Kiangan Local Government, the DEPED, and IAP launched the Ifugao Community Heritage Galleries that soon served as the Ifugao Indigenous Peoples Education Center. The IPED Center now functions as a resource center for Ifugao studies featuring a small library, a weaving center, and three galleries on Ifugao material culture. It also serves as a training center for Indigenous people’s education for teachers, researchers, and other community members. The IAP has come full circle with the community taking control of their history and heritage.

This book is about engaged scholarship and emphasizes the fact that archaeologists need to involve the communities that they work with in the research process. Doing so results in a more meaningful practice that also empowers communities. As a country with a long colonial history, it is still attempting to define its national identity. This has resulted in the maintenance of colonial structures that aim to assimilate various ethnolinguistic groups into being Filipino. By doing so, the history and heritage of marginalized groups who were on the peripheries of the colonial world were neglected.

We thus highlight the Indigenous history of the Ifugao to stress the importance of a nuanced understanding of Philippine Indigenous histories. In this work, we provide counternarratives to nationalized histories that ignore local realities. We are particularly privileged that the community provided their interpretation of the archaeological record, using community stories as a guide to make sense of the archaeological data. Coauthor Marlon Martin, a member of the Ifugao community, weaves these stories into the discussions in the book. The concluding chapter that focuses on making their own history was written by the community, with minor editorial embellishments by the authors.

This work is about Indigenous representation and empowerment. As such, we are indebted to Cordillera trailblazers who have opened the opportunity for us to write about our own culture. We stand on the shoulders of Juan Dait Jr. (1957), Manuel Dulawan (2005), Lourdes Dulawan (2001), Patricia Afable (1989), Albert Bacdayan (1980), June Prill-Brett (1986), Mariano Dumia (1979), Emilio Pagada (2006), Esteban Magannon (1974), and Maximo Garming (1984), to name a few.

We hope that this book spurs meaningful involvement of descendant communities in the study of their own history, particularly in the Philippine setting. Communities on the peripheries of the colony and the state are imagined to be representatives of the past; they are not. So, this book is about Indigenous history, which combines archaeology, ethnography, and community stories.

***

Stephen B. Acabado is an associate professor of anthropology at University of California, Los Angeles. He directs the Bicol and Ifugao Archaeological Projects and co-directs the Taiwan Indigenous Landscape and History Project.

Marlon M. Martin is an Ifugao who heads the nonprofit heritage conservation organization Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement, Inc., a grassroots NGO. Along with Stephen Acabado, he established the first community-led Ifugao Indigenous Peoples Education Center.


Five Questions with Nielsen and Heather on ‘Finding Right Relations’

May 18, 2022

In Finding Right Relations: Quakers, Native Americans, and Settler Colonialism, Marianne O. Nielsen, and Barbara M. Heather explore the contradictory position of the Quakers as both egalitarian, pacifist people, and as settler colonists. This book explores major challenges to Quaker beliefs and resulting relations with American Indians from the mid-seventeenth century to the late nineteenth century. Below, Nielsen and Heather get to a bit of the heart of their new book in five questions:

In your book you set out to shed light on the real history between Quaker settlers and Native Americans. In doing so, you offer the chance to change a modern perspective on Quakers and Friends overall. Was that your intention?

That was not quite our intention. Our focus initially was on peacemaking among Quakers and, because there were strong similarities between Quaker and Indigenous decision-making practices, on whether Penn incorporated any Lenape principles or practices of peacemaking into his form of government. During this period of our research, we came across inconsistences in Penn’s time as Governor of Pennsylvania, such as the limits on his respect for, and understanding of, Indigenous cultural practices related to land use. There were also passages in his documents that were clearly paternalistic in tone. Penn is not documented as objecting to the requirements of Charles II that he Christianize and civilize the Lenape, although he did object vociferously to the suggestion, he needed a militia. In fact, a second thread was Penn’s insistence on having no militia. Rhode Island, which also had a mix of Quaker and non-Quaker settler-colonists, chose to fund a militia but include a right to conscientious objection. We wondered why Penn did not choose this for Pennsylvania, even as he was soliciting non-Quaker and non-pacifist settlers for his province? He failed to address the potential for violence. He needed plenty of settlers to make back the money he spent on negotiations with the Lenape but adding non-pacifists to the list inevitably caused an issue when settler-colonists and Lenape came into conflict.

Our intention therefore shifted to a focus on a broader issue, that of conflicts of faith, especially the Peace testimony and the Testimony to Equality. This Testament emerged as a belief in spiritual equality, i.e. that in the eyes of God all are equal.  We quickly realized that in the eyes of settler-colonists, the Indigenous Peoples were not equal. That allowed many settler-colonists, including Quakers, to cheat and defraud the Lenape, primarily of their lands. When this led to war, the Peace Testimony challenged the Quaker response. Penn had not set up any alternatives to a militia, such as Rhode Island’s law allowing conscientious objection. Quakers lost control of the government and never regained political power.   

Do you find that it is difficult for modern Quakers and others to rectify this history with how they may see themselves today?

On the surface we think many Friends accept that some Quakers have acted badly, whether with good intentions or knowingly to reach their own goals, but in practice we sense that our findings go deeper, bringing out resistance. Quakers have long been known for their aversion to conflict and we wonder if this also is behind their responses. It was painful to confront the reality that Quakers quite often did not live up to their beliefs and even more so to find some Friends protesting our descriptions of that behavior.  

Quakers such as the very active Boulder Colorado Friends Meeting have accomplished much toward reconciliation and reparation, as has the Canadian Friends Service Committee. Sometimes it seems easier to blame all those non-Quakers who do not question their assumptions, and to think of Quakers as behaving better than those others. Academically and personally both sides of this equation are hard to accept. How could a religious sect with such a strong belief in their Truth and such strong Testimonies, especially to Peace and to Spiritual Equality of peoples, commit cultural genocide? We hope that some readers of our book will understand why we became so involved with the contradictions of the Quaker faith and with the practical expressions of it, but also saw the potential of the Testimony to Peace and its corollary, peacekeeping. The cost of harms caused by all forms of colonialism to Indigenous Peoples are untenable. Can peacekeeping contribute to a beginning of reparation and reconciliation? 

The damage all forms of colonialism have cost the Indigenous of this land is often untenable, how can documenting this one area help further change or reconciliation?

Colonialism was and still is all-encompassing and insidious. By documenting this one situation, it may help raise awareness among readers of the continuing impacts such as high Indigenous mortality rates, poverty, and political suppression, and the need for resolutions. Quakers believed themselves to be above colonialism because of their beliefs, but they also fell victim to the greed and arrogance caused by colonial ideologies. They are the seeming exception that wasn’t an exception. By reinterpreting their history and showing the accumulating impacts of colonialism on their beliefs and behavior, we are providing a warning story, but also an example of hopeful change, as many Quakers accept the guilt of their predecessors and are working to further change and promote true reconciliation. Indigenous Peoples are working hard to overcome the impacts of colonization that still affect their communities and citizens, but there are many actions that non-Indigenous individuals, organizations and governments could take to offer reparations and assistance, if such are desired by Indigenous Peoples. We give some examples in this book.

How do you think we begin to put Indigenous knowledge into practice now with climate change and other issues at our heels?

Until the advent of colonialism, Indigenous Peoples world-wide practiced sustainable economies, that recognized that humans are just an interconnected part of creation, and a not very important one at that. Human activities are hurting Mother Earth and if we continue, she may become uninhabitable for us and many of our fellow beings.

Indigenous knowledge is the property of Indigenous Peoples and it is their choice if they wish to share it with non-Indigenous peoples. If they so choose, there is a lot the knowledge-holders could teach us about our role on this planet—how to end exploitation of natural resources, how to rebuild our damaged ecologies, and how to live sustainable lives that help our planet thrive, in other words, to have right relations with all those with whom we share the planet. The question is, will non-Indigenous people, organizations and governments listen and be willing to pay the high short-term costs to put us on the right path?

Ultimately, what do you hope readers, scholars, and others get from this book?

We hope that they will understand that colonialism has not stopped and that it continues to have serious impacts on Indigenous Peoples world-wide. Second, we hope our readers will gain a stronger understanding of colonialism’s impacts on the descendants of settler-colonists, its ability to become part of our lives, our ideologies, and our language – to permeate all that we are, even those whose strong religious faith should mitigate against such beliefs. Finally, we hope they understand that it is possible to counteract these impacts as non-Indigenous people become more aware and take action to assist Indigenous peoples in their efforts, as Indigenous Peoples so choose.

Five Questions on ‘Latinx Teens’ with Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera

May 11, 2022

In Latinx Teens: U.S. Popular Culture on the Page, Stage, and Screen, Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera explore the diverse ways that contemporary mainstream film, television, theater, and young adult literature invokes, constructs, and interprets adolescent Latinidad. Here are five questions from the authors on teen Latinidad, pop culture, and defeating white supremacy:

How is regular Latinidad different from teen Latinidad? Is it as simple as generational or is it more nuanced? 

It’s more nuanced. Teenagers have long been at the forefront of social change. Whether it’s slang, fashion, dance, music, or social media, teenagers set the tone. As they go, we go. Teenagers today have grown up as digital natives. They’ve only lived in a world in which access to social media and technology is a given. While us viejitxs may have had to adapt to digital media, teenagers today feel right at home on any number of platforms. Latinx teens influence intergenerational Latinx communities in much of the same way. Take, for instance, In the Heights’ Nina Rosario who, as a second generation immigrant, forces her parents to accept that her dreams aren’t necessarily their dreams. As someone who grew up in New York City, Nina sees the US (the good, the bad, the ugly) from her parents and, as such, pushes them to expand their preconceived notions of what it’s like to be Puerto Rican in the mainland US. Or, look no further than the ways that teenagers in the US were using TikTok years before most adults joined the app in 2020. While adults dismissed TikTok as “child’s play,” teenagers (many of them Latinx!) were setting the culture, the same culture that adults today engage with and mimic on the app. We see this same phenomenon play out in fictional media. Teens are setting the tone, and it’s up to adults, whether we like it or not, to keep up.

Pop culture has always influenced all teen behaviors, consumer habits, and how teens see themselves in the world. What ways do you think the growing Latinx characters and pop culture icons influence non-Latinx teens?

One of the major points we make in Latinx Teens is that Latinx teen representation is not merely enough to influence mainstream popular culture. We could argue that Latinx teens have always been present in popular culture, but how were they represented? In the twenty-first century, what we see is that Latinx teens are not only pushing for more representation and recognition, but they’re doing it in ways that have major influences on all teens, Latinx or not. For example, even a fictional character like Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’s Miles Morales is enormously significant in challenging monolithic understandings of Latinidad that erase Afro-Latinxs. Moreover, his Afro-Latinidad is intrinsic to his superhero qualities; one doesn’t cancel the other out. 

Do you think one benefit will be the creative work of today’s Latinx teens and what they give to future generations? What will that look like?

Absolutely! This creative work has long term, positive benefits. Latinx teen popular culture provides the mirrors and windows, as Rudine Sims Bishop famously argued, for Latinx teens and other teens of color. We can’t underestimate the importance of seeing oneself on TV, film, or in literature. When young people watch Diary of a Future President, for example, it’s entirely possible for this viewing experience to spark their interest in student council, activism, and politics, to take a stand on issues they find relevant. In years to come, we have no doubt Latinx teens will continue to watch series like On My Block because shows like that, we argue, will always be relevant in capturing the lives of Latinx youth and all the messiness, joy, and complexities that come with it. 

How much further do you think we need to go when we will see fuller representation in the pop culture landscape?

Just as Latinx representation at large has room to grow in US popular culture, nuanced depictions of teenage Latinxs merit a deeper dive. One of our goals with Latinx Teens was to showcase the breadth of Latinx identities. The spectrum of Latinidad is expansive, but this isn’t always reflected in popular culture. Where are the intersectional stories about Afro-Latinx, indigenous, queer, disabled, neurodiverse, and/or Spanish-speaking teens? Of course, many of these stories exist (and in our book we made every effort to highlight them), but how many nuanced depictions of Latinx teens exist on Netflix, in Hollywood films, on Broadway, and on the New York Times Best-Seller List? Until these stories are commonplace in US popular culture then there is still work to be done to achieve fuller representation of Latinx teenagers in the pop culture landscape.

Ultimately is pop culture how Latinx teens can be part of defeating white supremacy?

Our book’s conclusion shifts the focus from fictional teens to real-life teens. This wasn’t by chance. We wanted to use this space to highlight just how badass Latinx teenagers can be! Even fictional representations of super cool, critical Latinx teens, like Lucía Acosta from Party of Five, who is an activist and who speaks out against unlawful detainment and deportation of Latinx residents, can bring about change. But this requires those in powerful positions to back these creative productions so they make it to the small and big screens and into our lives. So when we see real life activists like Emma González, we might think of characters like Lucía Acosta, and we’re reminded that there are Lucía Acostas throughout the US who are fighting for their communities and using their voices in admirable ways.  

NAISA 2022: Recent Books, Discounts, and More

May 6, 2022

The NAISA conference shifted to small, local gatherings this year, but we still want to celebrate our new and recent Native American and Indigenous studies books and offer a discount on all of our great titles. From now until 6/30/2022, use the code AZNAISA22 at checkout for 30% off plus free U.S. shipping.

If you have any questions about our publishing program, visit this page, or contact our Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Returning Home features and contextualizes the creative works of Diné (Navajo) boarding school students at the Intermountain Indian School, which was the largest federal Indian boarding school between 1950 and 1984. Diné student art and poetry reveal ways that boarding school students sustained and contributed to Indigenous cultures and communities despite assimilationist agendas and pressures.

Watch editors Farina King and Michael P. Taylor talk about the book here, then read an excerpt from the book here.

For the first time, Navigating CHamoru Poetry focuses on Indigenous CHamoru (Chamorro) poetry from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). In this book, poet and scholar Craig Santos Perez navigates the complex relationship between CHamoru poetry, cultural identity, decolonial politics, diasporic migrations, and native aesthetics.

As an Indigenous scholar researching the history and archaeology of his own tribe, Tsim D. Schneider provides a unique and timely contribution to the growing field of Indigenous archaeology, and his book, The Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse, offers a new perspective on the primary role and relevance of Indigenous places and homelands in the study of colonial encounters.

Watch Tsim D. Schneider introduce his new book here, then watch him give a talk on the book here.

The Community-Based PhD 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 CBPR in the arts, humanities, social sciences, public health, and STEM fields.

See the table of contents here.

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.

The works featured are inventive and current, and the writers covered are visionaries. The artists covered include Orlando White, LeAnne Howe, Stephen Graham Jones, Deborah Miranda, Heid E. Erdrich, Sherwin Bitsui, and many others.

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.

Watch a talk from the artist, Michael Chicago Sr., here.

We are partnering with Western National Parks Association to host a book launch event for this book on August 25, 2022! Read more information here.

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.

“With wry humor moistening the margins of her poems, Jenny Davis showcases how her Indigenous people have become experts in sorrow and seethe.”—Matt Sutherland, Foreword Reviews

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, A History of Navajo Nation Education by Wendy Shelly Greyeyes clears the path and provides a go-to reference to move discussions forward.

Read a brief interview with the author here.

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.

Challenging the distinctions between “old” and “new” media and narratives about the deprecation of orality in favor of inscribed forms, The Maya Art of Speaking Writing draws from Maya concepts of tz’ib’ (recorded knowledge) and tzij, choloj, and ch’owen (orality) to look at expressive work across media and languages.

Centering on the relationship between Quaker colonists and the Lenape people, Finding Right Relations explores the contradictory position of the Quakers as both egalitarian, pacifist people, and as settler colonists. This book explores major challenges to Quaker beliefs and resulting relations with American Indians from the mid-seventeenth century to the late nineteenth century. It shows how the Quakers not only failed to prevent settler colonial violence against American Indians but also perpetuated it.

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.

Pachamama Politics examines how campesinos came to defend their community water sources from gold mining upstream and explains why Ecuador’s “pink tide” government came under fire by Indigenous and environmental rights activists.

“This is a brilliant ethnography of Indigenous anti-mining movements in Ecuador from an activist-scholar who has spent decades working with social movements and learning from them.”—Nicole Fabricant, author of Mobilizing Bolivia’s Displaced: Indigenous Politics and the Struggle over Land

Sown in Earth Chosen for 2022 Saroyan Prize Shortlist

May 6, 2022

We are thrilled that Sown in Earth by Fred Arroyo was chosen for the nonfiction section of the Stanford Libraries’ shortlist for the tenth William Saroyan International Prize for Writing (Saroyan Prize), a Prize intended to encourage new or emerging writers and honor the Saroyan literary legacy of originality, vitality, and stylistic innovation. The Prize recognizes newly published works of both fiction and non-fiction. Winners and finalists will be announced in late summer or early fall. 

Fred Arroyo

View the entire shortlist here.

The Saroyan Prize is a biennial competition jointly awarded by the Stanford Libraries and the William Saroyan Foundation. It commemorates the life, legacy and intentions of William Saroyan – author, artist, dramatist, composer – and is intended to encourage new or emerging writers, rather than to recognize established literary figures. 

The 2022 Prize engaged over 230 Stanford alumni and friends who participate as readers and judges. “On this tenth anniversary of the Prize, we were thrilled to have a record number of entries submitted by new and emerging writers and evaluated by a dedicated, enthusiastic band of volunteers,” said Vice Provost and Ida M. Green University Librarian Michael Keller.

This year’s distinguished judging panel for fiction consists of award-winning authors Sumbul Ali-Karamali, Richard Holeton, and Elizabeth McKenzie. The non-fiction panel includes Stanford Professor of Comparative Literature, Emeritus John Bender, author and 2016 Saroyan Prize winner Lori Jakiela, and Scott Setrakian Vice Chairman of Foundry.ai, and board member of the William Saroyan Foundation. More information on our judges can be found here.

Sown in Earth

By crafting a written journey through childhood traumas, poverty, and the impact of alcoholism on families, Fred Arroyo clearly outlines how his lived experiences led him to become a writer. Sown in Earth is a shocking yet warm collage of memories that serves as more than a memoir or an autobiography. Rather, Arroyo recounts his youth through lyrical prose to humanize and immortalize the hushed lives of men like his father, honoring their struggle and claiming their impact on the writers and artists they raised.

Congratulations, Fred!

Open Access: Four More Press Titles are Now OA

May 4, 2022

The University of Arizona Press is pleased to announce that a new selection of titles in the fields of anthropology, border studies, gender studies, and Latin American Studies are now available as open access (OA). The titles are available either via link on our website or directly through Knowledge Unlatched.

Now available as OA:

Latin American Immigration Ethics
Without eschewing relevant conceptual resources derived from European and Anglo-American philosophies, the essays in this book emphasize Latin American and Latinx philosophies, decolonial and feminist theories, and Indigenous philosophies of Latin America, in the pursuit of an immigration ethics. The contributors explore the moral challenges of immigration that either arise within Latin America, or when Latin Americans and Latina/o/xs migrate to and reside within the United States. Uniquely, some chapters focus on south to south migration. Contributors also examine Latina/o/x experiences in the United States, addressing the lacuna of philosophical writing on migration, maternity, and childhood.

Once Upon the Permafrost
T
his work offers a longitudinal climate ethnography about “knowing” a specific culture and the ecosystem that culture physically and spiritually depends on in the twenty-first-century context of climate change. Through careful integration of contemporary narratives, on-site observations, and document analysis, Susan Alexandra Crate shows how local understandings of change and the vernacular knowledge systems they are founded on provide critical information for interdisciplinary collaboration and effective policy prescriptions.

Gender and Sustainability
Bringing together case studies from Asia and Latin America, this valuable collection adds new knowledge to our understanding of the interplay between local and global processes. Organized broadly by three major issues—forests, water, and fisheries—the scholarship ranges widely: the gender dimensions of the illegal trade in wildlife in Vietnam; women and development issues along the Ganges River; the role of gender in sustainable fishing in the Philippines; women’s inclusion in community forestry in India; gender-based confrontations and resistance in Mexican fisheries; environmentalism and gender in Ecuador; and women’s roles in managing water scarcity in Bolivia and addressing sustainability in shrimp farming in the Mekong Delta.

How “Indians” Think
This book shines light on Indigenous perspectives of Spanish colonialism through a novel interpretation of the works of the two most important Amerindian intellectuals in the Andes, Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala and Garcilaso de la Vega, el Inca. Departing from the predominant scholarly position that views Indigenous-Spanish relations as the clash of two distinct cultures, Gonzalo Lamana argues that Guaman Poma and Garcilaso were the first Indigenous activist intellectuals and that they developed post-racial imaginaries four hundred years ago.

KUOW NPR Continues ‘Sound of Exclusion’ Conversation in Interview with Christopher Chávez 

May 2, 2022

Christopher Chávez sat down recently with KUOW NPR’s Soundside host Libby Denkmann to discuss his new book, The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public.

From Soundside:

Chavez explains that as radio grew to become widely used, it immediately went heavily commercial, despite some organizations and universities producing educational content.

“You had a framework of educational radio, these smaller systems that were meant to serve a social good … The 1967 Radio Broadcasting Act was meant to ensure some kind of framework for these stations. They would provide some sort of funding to basically serve a need that commercial radio couldn’t. They would do it through civic discourses, they would serve disenfranchised publics. They were meant to serve as an alternative to the commercial radio system.”

But Professor Chavez notes that, often, the most educated, socially connected, and people with cultural and economic capital have had easy access to the public media system.

“Even today, those are the folks that tend to be overrepresented in political discourses … so you have the people that are living in rural areas, that are poor, that are ethnic minorities, that are often not included in those kinds of civic discourses.”

To listen to the full conversation, go here.

Field Notes: Stephen Strom on the Greater San Rafael Swell

April 29, 2022

The new book The Greater San Rafael Swell showcases the stunning natural beauty of Utah’s red rock country. It also relays the important story of how people worked for more than two decades to develop a shared vision of the future of the Swell and its protection. Today, co-author Stephen Strom shares images from the work along with extended captions.

The Greater San Rafael Swell spans most of Emery County, located in east-central Utah.  

Location of Emery County, Utah – home of the Greater San Rafael Swell

The county is located near the western edge of the Colorado Plateau, the 130,000-square-mile uplift that lies a mile and more above sea level and spans the region between the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the Great Basin. The plateau’s vividly colored rocks, mesas, canyons, towers, badland hills, and hoodoos compel the eye and move the soul. Millions are drawn to explore its world-renowned national parks and monuments, while others seek solitude and inspiration in the rugged wilderness of red rock country.

On Emery County’s western boundary lies the Wasatch Plateau. At its highest, the plateau stands more than ten thousand feet above sea level. During the winter, it captures moisture from Pacific storms and stores it as snow. Snow melt in spring and summer feeds four major creeks which flow eastward, irrigating the arid Castle Valley, which lies three thousand to four thousand feet below. This gift of water enabled Mormon settlers and their descendants to farm this otherwise arid land and, before that, nourished Native peoples for more than ten millennia.

Cottonwood Creek emerging from the Wasatch Plateau and approaching Castle Valley (aerial image)

Located between the Wasatch Plateau to the west and the San Rafael Swell to the east, Castle Valley is home to 90 percent of the ten thousand citizens of Emery County.

Castle Valley in spring

Just east of Castle Valley lies the Molen Reef, a twenty-five-mile-long shale ridge topped with hardened sandstone. The reef’s strata reveal traces from mollusks, oysters, and now-extinct creatures including ammonites. Thousands of dinosaur bones are scattered across the expanse of its badlands territory.

The reef is rich as well in artifacts: stone working sites, vessels, and rock art left by Indigenous people that preceded European arrival. The region paints a vivid picture of the First Americans, from the plants they used for food, medicine, and religious purposes, to their rock art, habitation sites, stone working sites, burial sites, and granaries.

Molen Reef (aerial image)

To the south of the Molen Reef lie the Mussentuchit Badlands. The landscape in the badlands varies dramatically. On the west, the Limestone Cliffs rise above the slowly undulating Blue Flats. Farther east lie labyrinthine and brightly colored badlands.

Near Mesa Butte in the Limestone Cliffs (aerial image)
Mussentuchit Badlands (aerial image)
Volcanic Dikes, Mussentuchit Badlands

To the east of Castle Valley lies perhaps the best-known area of Emery County, the San Rafael Swell: a kidney-shaped uplift, extending approximately sixty miles from southwest to northeast, and thirty miles across from east to west. At its highest, the swell rises 1,500 feet above Castle Valley.

Perhaps the most prominent feature within this region is the San Rafael Reef, which forms the eastern edge of the Swell. The seventy-five-mile-long reef rises between 800 and 1,500 feet above the desert floor. Its surface reveals tilted layers of sandstone that have been shaped by water and wind into triangular “fins” and jagged peaks.

 
San Rafael Reef (extending from far left of image to the distant horizon top right; aerial image)

Near the geographic center of the swell is the Wedge, a plateau encompassing a sinuous, 1,200-foot-deep gorge, eroded over eons by the San Rafael River and popularly known as the Little Grand Canyon. The view from the Wedge into the gorge reveals layers of multicolored sandstone, the deepest of which dates back 200–250 million years.

The “Wedge”, a deep canyon carved by the San Rafael River (aerial image)

To the east of the Wedge lie a series of peaks that have held tall against the erosive forces of wind and water: Window Blind Peak, Assembly Hall Peak, and the San Rafael Knob are the most prominent. Viewed from a distance, these peaks appeared to early settlers as “castles” towering above the landscape, giving rise to the name Castle Valley.

Assembly Hall Peak (far left). Image is taken looking west toward the “Swinging Bridge” constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of a road building project to link western and eastern Emery County

To the south of the Wedge lie a wealth of canyons: Eagle, Saddle Horse, Devil’s, and Red’s among them. In the 1950s and early 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, output from uranium mines located in and to the south of Red’s Canyon.

Mussentuchit Badlands (aerial image)
Penitentiary Canyon, near Red’s Canyon (aerial image)

Between the San Rafael Reef—the edge of the swell—and the Green River lies the San Rafael Desert, an area of windblown sand plains, the occasional butte, and little vegetation. The Green River, which defines the eastern boundary of Emery County, wends its way through the northern part of the desert after emerging from the Book Cliffs and Desolation Canyon to the north of the eponymous town of Green River.

Wind blown sand patterns, northern San Rafael Desert (aerial image)

North and west of the town of Green River lie Gray and Desolation Canyons. Both Gray Canyon to the south and Desolation to the north are carved into the Book Cliffs, one- to ten-mile-wide bluffs that loom two thousand to four thousand feet above the desert floor, and whose bases comprise lead- to blue-gray Mancos Shale.

Book Cliffs, north of Green River, Utah (aerial image)

***
Stephen E. Strom has spent forty-five years as a research astronomer after receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in astronomy from Harvard. He began photographing in 1978, after studying silver and non-silver photography and the history of photography at the University of Arizona. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the United States and is held in several permanent collections, including the Center for Creative Photography and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. His photography complements poems and essays in five books published by the University of Arizona Press—Secrets from the Center of the World, Sonoita Plain, Tseyi / Deep in the Rock, Earth and Mars: A Reflection, and his most recent book, Voices from Bears Ears: Seeking Common Ground on Sacred Land. He is also the author of Otero Mesa, Earth Forms, Death Valley: Painted Light and Tidal Rhythms, Bears Ears: Views from a Sacred Land, and This Desert Hides Nothing.

LASA 2022: Recent Books, Discounts, and More

April 29, 2022

We are thrilled to be participating in the virtual LASA Congress! This year’s theme is: Polarización socioambiental y rivalidad entre grandes potencias, or Socio-environmental polarization and rivalry between great powers. If you are participating in the virtual congress, we invite you to visit the virtual exhibit hall and explore our latest titles here. We have also compiled our new and recent Latin American Studies books for you to learn more about below.

We are currently offering a 30% discount with free U.S. shipping when you use the code AZLASA22 at checkout. This discount is valid through 6/15/2022.

To learn more about our publishing program, visit this page, or contact our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles, at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Museum Matters tells the story of Mexico’s national collections through the trajectories of its objects. The essays in this book show the many ways in which things matter and affect how Mexico imagines its past, present, and future.

Watch the book trailer, featuring editors Miruna Achim, Susan Deans-Smith, and Sandra Rozental, 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 by Gerardo Aldana 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.

Postcards have a magical pull. They allow us to see the past through charming relics that allow us to travel back in time. Daniel D. Arreola’s Postcards from the Baja California Border offers a window into the historical and geographical past of storied Mexican border communities. Once-popular tourist destinations from the 1900s through the 1950s, the border communities explored in Postcards from the Baja California Border used to be filled with revelers, cabarets, curio shops, and more. The postcards in this book show the bright and dynamic past of California’s borderlands while diving deep into the historic and geographic significance of the imagery found on the postcards.

Take a look inside of the book here.

In The Sound of Exclusion, Christopher Chávez critically examines National Public Radio’s professional norms and practices that situate white listeners at the center while relegating Latinx listeners to the periphery. By interrogating industry practices, we might begin to reimagine NPR as a public good that serves the broad and diverse spectrum of the American public.

Read an interview with the author by NiemanLab here, and listen to the New Books Network podcast about the book here. Read an op-ed by the author featured on the Latinx Project here, and an excerpt from the book shared by Current here.

Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds describes the history of Mexican narco cartels and their regional and organizational trajectories and differences. Covering more than five decades, sociologist James H. Creechan unravels a web of government dependence, legitimate enterprises, and covert connections.

Watch the author talk about his book to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members here.

The Beloved Border is a potent and timely report on the U.S.-Mexico border. Though this book tells of the unjust death and suffering that occurs in the borderlands, Miriam Davidson gives us hope that the U.S.-Mexico border could be, and in many ways already is, a model for peaceful coexistence worldwide.

Watch the author talk about her book to Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members here. Read an op-ed by the author in The Progressive here, then read an excerpt from the book here. Read a brief interview with Davidson here.

Winner of the Ambroggio Prize of the Academy of American Poets.

Deuda Natal finds the beauty within vulnerability and the dignity amidst precariousness. As one of the most prominent voices in Puerto Rican poetry, Mara Pastor uses the poems in this new bilingual collection to highlight the way that fundamental forms of caring for life—and for language—can create a space of poetic decolonization. This collection was translated by María José Giménez and Anna Rosenwong.

Watch poet Mara Pastor in conversation with Siomara España at the International Literature Festival here. Deuda Natal was featured by Orion Magazine during Latinx Heritage Month! Read about it here.

Latin American Immigration Ethics advances philosophical conversations and debates about immigration by theorizing migration from the Latin American and Latinx context. Following an extended period of near silence on the subject, many social and political philosophers are now treating immigration as a central theme of the discipline. For the first time, this edited volume brings together original works by prominent philosophers writing about immigration ethics from within a Latin American context.

Near Tijuana, Baja California, the autonomous community of Maclovio Rojas demonstrates what is possible for urban place-based political movements. 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.

Listen to a New Books Network interview with the author here. We held a wonderful celebration for the book in Tucson, read about it here!

Winnow of the Ambroggio Prize of the Academy of American Poets.

Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak by Carlos Aguasaco offers the insightful voice of a first-generation immigrant to the United States in both Spanish and English. The poems, both fantastical and real, create poetic portraits of historical migrants, revealing shocking and necessary insights into humanity while establishing a transatlantic dialogue with the great voices of the Spanish Renaissance. This collection was translated by Jennifer Rathbun.

La Bloga highlighted this collection, read about it here.

Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century offers an expansive and critical look at contemporary television by and about U.S. Latinx communities. This volume unpacks the negative implications of older representation and celebrates the progress of new representation, all while recognizing that television still has a long way to go.

Professor Latinx (Frederick Luis Aldama) brought Latinx TV contributors together to celebrate the book in a special video series. Watch it here!

Watch Professor Latinx and Mighty Peter talk about their top five Latinx TV shows here. Aldama was included in a USA Today debate on the use of the word “Latinx”, read more about it here. La Bloga highlighted Latinx TV, read more here.

Latinx Teens by Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera examines how Latinx teenagers influence twenty-first-century U.S. popular culture. The book explores the diverse ways that contemporary mainstream film, television, theater, and young adult literature invokes, constructs, and interprets adolescent Latinidad.

La Bloga highlighted Latinx Teens, read more here.

LGBTQ Politics in Nicaragua by Karen Kampwirth provides the previously untold history of the LGBTQ community’s emergence as political actors—from revolutionary guerillas to civil rights activists.
Karen Kampwirth is a renowned scholar of the Nicaraguan Revolution, who has been writing at the intersection of gender and politics for decades. In this chronological telling of the last fifty years of political history in Nicaragua, Kampwirth deploys a critical new lens: understanding politics from the perspective of the country’s LGBTQ community.

Challenging the distinctions between “old” and “new” media and narratives about the deprecation of orality in favor of inscribed forms, The Maya Art of Speaking Writing by Tiffany D. Creegan Miller draws from Maya concepts of tz’ib’ (recorded knowledge) and tzij, choloj, and ch’owen (orality) to look at expressive work across media and languages.

Running After Paradise by Colleen M. Scanlan-Lyons looks at social-environmental activism in one of the world’s most important and threatened tropical forests—Southern Bahia, Brazil. It explores what it means to be in and of a place through the lenses of history, environment, identity, class, and culture. It uncovers not only what separates people but also what brings them together as they struggle and strive to create their individual and collective paradise.

The book takes an intersectional approach to the study of anti-mining struggles and explains how campesino communities and their allies identified with and redeployed Indigenous cosmologies to defend their water as a life-sustaining entity. Pachamama Politics by Teresa A. Velásquez shows why progressive change requires a shift away from the extractive model of national development to a plurinational defense of community water systems and Indigenous peoples and their autonomy.

Now in Paperback!

Soldiers, Saints, and Shamans by Nathaniel Morris documents how and why the Indigenous Náayari, Wixárika, O’dam, and Mexicanero peoples took part in the Mexican Revolution as they struggled to preserve their cultures, lands, and political autonomy in the face of civil war, bandit raids, and radical political reform. In unpacking the ambiguities that characterize their participation in this tumultuous period, it sheds light on the inner contradictions of the revolution itself.

Watch Nathaniel Morris discuss the book with UCLAmericas here, then read field notes from the book here.
 

Roberto Rodriguez Featured in 5 CALÓ Questions

April 28, 2022

CALÓ News, a groundbreaking news initiative of the Latino Media Collaborative (LMC), featured University of Arizona Press author Roberto Cintli Rodríguez on his work with the Raza Killings Database Project to find a more accurate number on how many Latinos are being killed by law enforcement nationwide.

Rodriguez’s book, Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World: Testimonios on Violence, describes his own experience one night in March 1979 after a brutal beating at the hands of L.A. County sheriffs. It also includes testimonies from other victims and survivors of police brutality and state-sponsored violence.

From CALÓ News:

When I researched, I went to the 1950s, 1940s and 1930s. You’re talking about mass lynchings, you’re talking about mass deportations of Latinos. All that history most people don’t know. All that land belonged to Mexican peoples or Native peoples. How did they lose it? A lot of it was literally by force. It’s an ugly history for African Americans, Native peoples and Mexicanos. That’s our history. 

So it’s not a recent thing. We’ve all been fighting it and the media in a way is clueless because they think it’s a competition or something new.

Our struggles are not only related, but we’re related to other struggles, too. The connections were already there, the American Indian Movement, the Black Power Movement, the Chicano Movement, and you go back, also in Mexico with the Mexican student movement, the Mexican liberation movements at the time. 

In this country, there’s three groups that have always been under attack. For the longest time, it was indigenous, Black, and Brown people. Now, it’s Asian again. So for me, that is like a natural alliance.

Read the entire interview here.

Watch: Christopher Chávez’s ‘The Sound of Exclusion’ Featured in PubWest Event

April 27, 2022

PubWest recently teamed up with Vancouver, B.C.’s Massy Books for an author reading and Q&A event with three authors focusing on history and biography, especially titles from underrepresented authors. Included was University of Arizona Press author Christopher Chávez and his new book, The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public.

Food Bank News Shares Story of ‘Sowing the Seeds of Change’

April 26, 2022

A leading newsletter for America’s food banks has shared word of Seth Schindler’s Sowing the Seeds of Change. In an article published by Food Bank News Schindler explains how he came to write about the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (CFB) and why it was so important to chronicle the history of this important community organization.

“I realized that the story of the CFB was much bigger, more complex and intriguing than I originally thought. I learned about the enormity of the problem of food insecurity in the U.S. and in Arizona, which shocked me; then the surprising massive scale and diversity of the CFB’s operations throughout southern Arizona; and finally its reputation as a national leader and innovator in the food bank movement, admired for its groundbreaking work in attacking the root causes of food insecurity,” says Schindler.

Read the complete article.

Sara Sue Hoklotubbe Featured on OsiyoTV

April 25, 2022

University of Arizona Press author Sara Sue Hoklotubbe was featured on the Cherokee Nation’s OsiyoTV, speaking about her mystery novel series and her process as a writer. About Sara 5and her books, Osiyo TV said this:

Sara Hoklotubbe is a mystery writer whose books earn high praise from readers and critics alike. She aims to dispel myths often written about Natives while staying true to Cherokee culture through her characters. Her protagonist, Sadie Walela, does just that as a sharp Cherokee woman with an eye for solving crimes.

Watch the video below!

Watch: Professor Latinx Brings ‘Latinx TV’ Contributors Together to Celebrate Book in Special Conversation Series

April 19, 2022

Yesterday, Frederick Luis Aldama, aka Professor Latinx, celebrated the launch of Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century with a virtual convo emceed by Ben Lopez, considered a huge champion of diversity, inclusion and belonging in the entertainment and media industries (and happens to be a University of Arizona graduate).

Joining Aldama and Lopez was Cristina Rivera and William “Memo” Nericcio, Latinx TV contributors. The new book, published by the University of Arizona Press and edited by Aldama, brings together leading experts who show how Latinx TV is shaped by historical, social, cultural, regional, and global contexts. Contributors address head on harmful stereotypes in Latinx representation while giving key insights to a positive path forward.

The launch was part of a virtual countdown of conversations between Aldama and Latinx TV contributors posted on the University of Arizona Press’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. Latinx TV is also part of the Press’s Latinx Pop Culture Series, co-edited by Aldama and Arturo J. Aldama. The first chat of the launch series, begn Thursday, April 14 with Mauricio Espinoza and Jim Miranda:

Next on the countdown with Aldama on Friday, April 15 were contributors Irma J. Zamora Fuerte and Carlos Gabriel Kelly González:

Stacey Alex, Mathew Sandoval, and Katlin Sweeny joined Aldama on Monday, April 18 for another Latinx TV convo:

On Tuesday, April 19, followers were given some extra with a bonus convo featuring contributors José Muñoz and Ryan Rashotte before the official launch:

Aldama also got to the heart of the goals and purpose of Latinx TV in an article that came out yesterday in Latinx Spaces:

At the Academy Awards 2022 Ariana DeBose steps up to receive one of those coveted gold statuettes. She invites the audience to celebrate with her as “an openly queer Afrolatina who found strength in life and art.” She opens her arms to everyone who has been forced to “live in those gray spaces.” Audiences around the country let leak tears of joy, celebrating Ariana, LGBTQ+, and Afrolatinx representation. 

We did the same when Afrolatino Jharrel Jerome gave his “te quiero” shout outs to his mamá and papá at the 2019 Emmys. On both occasions, we replenished our wells of hope, thinking that maybe now the Media Industrial Complex would finally pay attention to representation of Latinx peoples in all our richness and complexity.

While optimistic, we remain rightfully weary as we continue to carry the huge weight of our continued skepticism. 

Read the entire article here.

Big thanks to Professor Latinx for bringing these brilliant contributors together to celebrate the book’s publication!

The Space Review on ‘Discovering Mars’

April 19, 2022

Discovering Mars provides a broad history of the Red Planet. The online journal The Space Review recently published a review of the new book:

“Earlier this month, NASA marked the first anniversary of the successful landing of the Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars. Since that landing the rover has explored part of the floor of Jezero Crater, collecting several samples intended to be returned to Earth on future missions, and is heading towards the remains of a river delta. The Ingenuity helicopter, a technology demonstration that NASA planned to fly up to five times last spring just completed its 20th flight, having become an aerial scout for the rover.

Perseverance is the latest in a long line of NASA missions to the planet, which itself in an extension of terrestrial studies of the planet dating back millennia. That long arc of observations of the Red Planet is the subject of Discovering Mars, a thorough history of how our understanding of the planet has changed over time.” Read more.

SAA 2022 Recap!

April 14, 2022

We really enjoyed attending SAA in Chicago this spring! We got to reconnect with so many authors we haven’t seen in years, meet new archaeologists, and talk about our beautiful books with so many scholars. We also had the great honor of attending the award ceremony, where Becoming Hopi was awarded the SAA Scholarly Book Award! We got some great photos of our authors with their books. Take a look below.

Wesley Bernardini with his SAA Scholarly Book Award-winning book, Becoming Hopi!
Paul Minnis posed with ALL of his UA Press books, including his newest book Famine Foods.
Patricia Gilman with her co-edited volume, Birds of the Sun.
Christopher Schwartz with his co-edited volume, Birds of the Sun.
Todd Surovell with his new UA Press book, Barger Gulch.
Alexandra McCleary with a poster of her new UA Press book, The Community-Based PhD.
John Douglass with his co-edited volume, The Global Spanish Empire.
You can’t visit Chicago without snapping a picture of the Bean! (And yes, we know it’s actually called Cloud Gate.)
The views from Lake Michigan are stunning. Thanks, Chicago!

Why Does the Desert Smell Like Rain? New UA Research Suggests the Diverse “Osmocosm” of the Sonoran Desert

April 13, 2022

In the upcoming fall 2022 season, the University of Arizona Press will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Gary Paul Nabhan’s beloved classic, The Desert Smells Like Rain, about nature, how to respect it, and what transplants can learn from the longtime residents of the Sonoran Desert, the Tohono O’odham people. This new edition includes a new introduction by the loved ethnobotonist. In this article below, Nabhan digs into UA research on the smell of the desert, and its goodness.

In the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Northwest Mexico, many long-time residents claim that with the onset of the summer’s monsoonal rains, a feeling of elation and relief comes as fragrances fill the air in a way that makes it seem as though “the desert smells like rain.”

For decades, geologists, botanists, atmospheric scientists, and ecologists have debated the causes and triggers of this euphoric sensation. Some scientists have focused on fragrances emitted by cryptogamic or biological soil crusts during rains, while other have focused on the terpentine-like smell of the creosote bush known in Sonoran Spanish as hediondilla, ‘the little stinker.” But now two scientists from the University of Arizona have teamed up with an herbalist-author and owner of an herb nursery (the Desert Canyon Farm) in Southern Colorado to propose a novel, but more comprehensive answer:

The Sonoran Desert flora is one of the richest in the world in plants that emit fragrant volatile oils, and many of those fragrances confer stress-reducing health benefits to humans, wildlife, and the plants themselves. What’s more, the biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) that evolved to protect plants from damaging solar radiation, heat waves, drought stress and herbivores may also have protective value for humans as climate change turns the Earth into “Planet Desert.”

Initially, desert scientists focused their attention on an earthy fragrance called petrichor that is emitted from the biological soil crusts by a compound called geosmin. Geosmin underlies the earthy taste of beetroots, with notes like eucalyptus, cinnamon, and cloves and can be detected by the human nose at concentrations as low as 400 parts per trillion. It is secreted from dead microbes in the soil crusts of many different kinds of landscapes but is now known to be emitted only sporadically in Sonoran Desert soils after summer rains.

Ecologists who studied the North American deserts then tried to explain this phenomenon through a “single cause” focus on one of the most common plants in the Mohave, Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert: Larrea tridentata, known in English as the creosote-bush.  Curiously, it emits more than 35 distinct terpenes and other BVOCs, some of which (like trans-caryophyllene) are generated by an endophytic fungus growing “hidden” within the plant’s tissues. With the onset of monsoons, the high density of shrubs forming creosote flats emit terpentine-like fragrances (like isoprene) as potent as any botanical emissions into the atmosphere. Nevertheless, this dominant plant is by no means the only major emitter of BVOCs that give Sonoran Desert habitats their renowned fragrances.

The new research from the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill has found more than 60 species of 178 native plants in the ancient ironwood-giant cactus forests of the Sonoran Desert which emit fragrant biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs) immediately before, during and after rainstorms.  storms.  From these desert species, more than 115 volatile oils have been identified, as high a number as is known from any biogeographic region in the world. In particular, the researchers Gary Nabhan, Eric Dougherty and Tammi Hartung identified more than 60 potent fragrances emitted from the foliage and flowers of desert plants during the monsoonal rainy season of the iconic “Sonoran Desert summer.”

The authors hypothesize that the a “suite” of 15 particular BVOCs emitted from this diversity of desert plants during the monsoons may function synergistically to generate tangible health benefits. Just 5 of these fragrances confer most of the health benefits now amply documented half-way around the world along the “forest bathing” (Shinrin-Roku) trails used by millions of Japanese and Korean dwellers to reduce the stresses of their urban lifestyles.

Many of these BVOCs can be readily absorbed by the human body through inhalation, so that they register within the brain in as little time as 22 seconds. It then takes less than 90 more seconds more for them to be released into the bloodstream. Within a half hours’ time, they may be found present in every cell of the body and reach all the body’s organs. It takes two and a half hours or less for most of therapeutical aerosol inhalation of volatile oils to be metabolized in ways that may potentially affect human health in a more lasting manner.

The fragrant BVOCs from desert plants may in many ways contribute to improving sleep patterns, stabilizing emotional hormones, enhancing digestion, heightening mental clarity, and reducing depression or anxiety. Their accumulation in the atmosphere immediately above desert vegetation can reduce exposure to damaging solar radiation in ways that protect the desert plants themselves, the wildlife which use them as food and shelter, and the humans who dwell among them. As climate change accelerates, regular exposure to these BVOC health benefits may become more important to prevent or mitigate diseases of oxidative stress and other climate maladies in a hotter, drier world.

The lead author, Gary Paul Nabhan of the University of Arizona Southwest Center, has recently been co-designing “desert smells like rain gardens” in public spaces like the Sonoran Desert Inn and Conference Center in Ajo, Arizona; the base of Tumamoc Hill at the University of Arizona Desert Laboratory in downtown Tucson; and the Seri Indian (Comcaac) fishing village of Punta Chueca, Sonora Mexico. These public gardens will not only produce nutritious foods, but offer residents, out-of-town guests, and hikers a powerful opportunity to sense how the desert smells like rain.  Nabhan’s classic natural history book by the same title was first published 40 years ago this spring and will be re-released in a 40th anniversary edition with a new introduction this year by the University of Arizona Press.

Watch: Book Celebration for ‘American Indian Studies: Native PhD Graduates Gift Their Stories’

April 11, 2022

The University of Arizona Press hosted a virtual book celebration on Wednesday, April 6, 2022 with the editors and contributors of American Indian Studies: Native PhD Graduates Gift Their Stories, an important book on the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies (AIS) doctoral program, the first such program of its kind detailing student stories of endurance and resiliency, hardship and struggle, and accomplishment and success

Joining the editors and contributors was Kristen Buckles, University of Arizona Press editor-in-cheif, and Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert, head of Department of American Indian Studies. The event was a beautiful reunion, full of emotional stories that link each graduate and this PhD program.

Field Notes: Inside the Images of ‘The Greater San Rafael Swell’

April 6, 2022

The new book The Greater San Rafael Swell showcases the stunning natural beauty of Utah’s red rock country. It also relays the important story of how people worked for more than two decades to develop a shared vision of the future of the Swell and its protection. Today, co-author Jonathan Bailey shares images from the work along with extended captions.


1 Aerial of the San Rafael Reef

Guiding the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office over the topography of the Greater San Rafael Swell. The most prominent feature shown during this flight, the San Rafael Reef, forms the eastern and southern boundaries of the true San Rafael Swell. This geological feature was formed as an oceanic plate slid beneath the North American continental crust, dragging the land that would become the San Rafael Swell upward and eastward. While this period of mountain building happened some 60 million years ago, the geology that was uplifted (and consequently carved via wind and water erosion) is much older, dating as far back as 359-323 million years ago in Redwall Limestone. Flight courtesy of Ecoflight.

Greater San Rafael Swell from above
Image copyright Jonathan Bailey

2 Aerial of Hondu Country

 On the coastlines of the supercontinent Pangea, before the continents split and shifted to their present-day positions, the Moenkopi Formation was deposited 252-237 million years ago. The Moenkopi Formation was formed after a great extinction event at the end of the Permian period, resulting in a substantial decline in aquatic and terrestrial biodiversity, and consequently fewer fossiliferous deposits in the Moenkopi Formation. Flight courtesy of Ecoflight.

aerial view of Utah landscape
Image copyright Jonathan Bailey


3 Archaic period petroglyphs

The Archaic period began around 8,000 years ago and lasted until 2500 years ago. People who lived in the Greater San Rafael Swell during this time hunted game animals using a spear throwing instrument known as an atlal and gathered plants that grew in the region’s unique semi-arid desert environments. Some of the Swell’s most iconic rock art is attributed to this period, including both pictographs (painted imagery) and petroglyphs (carved imagery).

ancient petroglyphs
Image copyright Jonathan Bailey

4 Fremont complex petroglyphs

Spanning about AD 300 to AD 1300, the Fremont complex manifests in diverse rock art; use of the bow and arrow; agricultural practices, although perhaps more peripatetic than their Ancestral Pueblo neighbors; ceramics, primarily Emery grayware in the San Rafael Swell; and the preference for wearing moccasins over sandals. As the Fremont were generally more mobile through the heartlands of the Swell, rock art in the region is consequently more widely distributed, particularly in the vicinity of important routes.

ancient petrogphys under starry sky
Image copyright Jonathan Bailey


5 Pediocactus winkleri in the Molen Reef

The Greater San Rafael Swell supports two federally listed endangered cacti species within the Pediocactus genus. These plants are remarkable in that they live almost entirely beneath the ground, rising only to flower and fruit. This poses inherent challenges to managing the species successfully, as the plants may not be visible before the area is deemed compatible with off-highway vehicles, livestock grazing, or oil and gas development. Over the last ten years, myself and Diane Orr, with the backing of the Utah Rock Art Research Association, have successfully safeguarded vast habitats for Pediocactus winkleri and Pediocactus despainii, among other rare and at-risk species. 

flowring cacti
Image copyright Jonathan Bailey


6 Aquilegia flavescens var rubicunda

 Endemic to the Greater San Rafael Swell and environs, the Link Trail columbine is a beautiful member of the Aquilegia genus, often growing in shaded seep springs in Mesa Verde Group sandstones. As a plant that prefers higher elevation environments in ponderosa, spruce-fir, and aspen communities, A. flavescens var rubicunda exemplifies the broad ecotonal shifts through the Greater San Rafael Swell, spanning 4,000 to nearly 11,000 feet in elevation.  

flower
Image copyright Jonathan Bailey

***
Jonathan T. Bailey is a photographer and conservationist who specializes in rock art. His work has contributed to the preservation of areas like the Bears Ears National Monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, the Uintah Basin, and the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Since 2013, he has partnered with the Utah Rock Art Research Association to record and protect Emery County’s fragile archaeological resources. He is most recently the author of When I Was Red Clay and. His work has appeared in numerous places such as Landscape Photography Magazine, NBC News, Arizona Highways, and High Country News. Originally from Emery County, Utah, he now lives in Tucson, Arizona, with his partner, Aaron.

A Look at Me?: An Overview of My Books Re-released by the University of Arizona Press in 2022

By Hihdruutsi, who is also known as Simon J. Ortiz

The desk on which the laptop I use to write poems and stories and letters sits side by side with a bird kennel that houses two parakeets. Gorgeous feathers color the birds. One is a soft but pronounced green and yellow and gray. The other is mostly gray tinged with a bluish glow and has a long black tail. They talk and sing in chirps and trills almost all the time. We—a poet-writer and two birds—keep good company. They know I’m aware we’re companions. No kidding. And they roll their bright little eyes when I try to “sing and chirp and trill” with them in high airy efforts—sounds of song I surely want them to be!—I somehow make in my throat. We make and keep good company. Like above, no kidding!

The parakeets make me look at myself to some degree, causing me to think about the fact I am an Indigenous (Native) poet and writer. As they swivel beaks and heads to look at me, yes, they make me think. About what? they and you might say. About me. In speculation or wonderment. Yes, in bird perception and language. Hmmm. I mean, perhaps they do. Of course. Parakeet chirps and trills seem to be pondering noises, mixing and intermingling with my thoughts.

A few days ago, I was re-reading a story based on a fourth-grade boyhood memory from my collection of short fiction stories, Men on the Moon. I could almost hear the green and yellow one say, “When he sits at the table, he usually starts tapping away on that contraption on the table. But this time, he is reading.” Actually, I call my table that my laptop sits on a desk. I usually don’t talk directly at her or him, but I do glance at the parakeets more than a time or two in our moments together.

The short story I was reading at the moment is about Kaiser refusing to be drafted into the U.S. army. World War II was going on at the time. The federal government wanted him to gladly serve in the armed forces. But Kaiser was determined not to do so. The parakeets would have understood Kaiser, I think. Why go into the army and be sent off to war? It made sense to me that Kaiser didn’t want no part of any war far, far away in Europe or far, far away in Japan and the South Pacific.

The fiction story was set in the 1940s when I was born into the negative and constrained dynamic of WWII. I, an Indigenous (Native) American like Kaiser, was no stranger to war and conflict since we were still in a real and, at times, constant social-cultural-economic struggle for our existence as Indigenous peoples of the Americas. And we still are, needless to say. It is a struggle for recognition as the original and Indigenous population of the northern and southern American continents; U.S. public rubric was—and still is—provoked usually and simply and openly by racism against us and our stance.

Indigenous peoples of the Americas are, in a sense, like the above mentioned parakeets that are present-day descendants of their parental generations existent in past lifetimes. Perhaps that’s why at times or moments I’ve felt like I’m empowered personally by a cultural awareness that makes me “feel” a shared contextual knowledge and identity that we—the parakeets and me—have between ourselves.

My social-cultural-intellectual awareness is fostered by literature such as the short fiction stories in my aforementioned book, and it is supplemented by poetry that I read and also compose. And I shall now address the presence, function, and personal roles of poetry like those found in Woven Stone, which is a compendium consisting of three of my poetry collections: A Good Journey, Going for the Rain, and Fight Back: For the Sake of the People, For the Sake of the Land.

I have said language use came to me some time after birth, just as it does for all human beings as far as I know. My language experience also comes from mind and body dynamics that I have had. And I have acquired language and knowledge use conceptually from the very act of reading and listening. And, most of all, I believe my work has benefited from the utilization of oral tradition from two languages, namely the Indigenous Keres language that the Aacqu’meh hanoh speak, and the English language from school and other sources.

Language is an essential and obvious part of the conscious and subconscious imprint of our humanity. And we, as human beings, organically and naturally know of language before physical birth, I believe. Abiding awareness of communication is part of an implantation mechanism given us by our creator faculty as an instinct. Or something like it. A remembrance instinct? Or intuition? Who knows? But it’s there within our brain or nervous system or soul or heart, and it is also countered by a powerful and subjective stance spurred or urged mostly by Western academia, science, economy, and art. And language is there for our use to think with, to learn, to feel, to grow, to evolve with, and to be eventually aware of the creative evolution of our lives.

In all of life—this is the origin and home place of poetry. Poetry is at the core of our human existence, purpose, and intention to learn, to explore, to evolve, even to develop beyond ourselves, to appreciate, to question, and to express ourselves and the depth and purpose of our lives. And, yes, in fact, even to strive to be beyond ourselves, never mind the “troubles” that may be caused.

Poetry lives because humanity lives—that is what, in short, I mean to say. I shall also add that poetry and its capacity to go forward is beyond measure. As human beings, we must respectfully value our capacity to live completely as loving human beings with appreciation and gratitude for all of life that we can express. Yes, wholesome, simple, and straightforward as responsible and obligated humans living with each other on Planet Mother Earth. Is that possible to do? Yes. Absolutely and ultimately, I believe it is possible. Yes, I do assert that belief.

I was born and raised within the Aacqu’meh hanoh and its social and cultural tribal community and its linguistic, philosophical, and more or less traditional ways of Indigenous life purpose and intention. When I was born, Indigenous peoples of the twentieth-century era (1901–1999) were living then in the social-cultural-economic conditions of colonization since AD 1492 when America was “discovered.” Literally that means their Indigenous homelands in North, Central, and South America had been settled and taken over by the Spanish, British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, etc.—all of them from Europe.

The arrival and settlement of non-Indigenous peoples from Europe had tremendous impact on Indigenous peoples of the Americas. Things obviously didn’t change overnight or suddenly, but in retrospect, change has felt like it happened traumatically and suddenly. Columbus landed his ships on a small island in the Caribbean in 1492. And then by the 1590s Francisco Coronado led a Spanish expedition of conquistadores to what is now New Mexico. His soldiers sacked and destroyed the Aacqu’meh tribal community, killing many of the inhabitants of Aacqu per orders from Commander Coronado. To some Aacqu’meh hanoh hundreds of years later, those events almost feel resultant of traumatic change yesterday or last week—not in the past, some five hundred years ago.

Today’s Indigenous (Native) American peoples’ need for more education, better health, and sufficient income, plus peace of mind-heart-soul—and their need and quest for authentic, genuine, and sincere recognition of their Indigenous sovereignty—still constantly straddles their present-day lives from the northern Arctic regions to the southern tip of the Americas. To have obtainable and sensible practical goals like that I believe is necessary because they all make practical sense. Today’s world is not a dream; it is a practical reality. In the belief we gain from our experience in all of life, we live our lives as best we can. Sometimes we live well, and other times we do not. Presently, the whole world that Indigenous peoples know as the Planet Mother Earth is bound in a pandemic spurred by the COVID-19 virus. What the eventual outcome will be is not known yet. I compose poetry and write stories by believing in and living in all of life. I shall therefore continue composing in all of life. Wish me well. Thank you.

–Hihdruutsi, who is also known as Simon J. Ortiz

Copyright February 17, 2022 All Rights Reserved

Virtual NACCS 2022: Recent Books, Conference Discounts, and More

March 30, 2022

We are thrilled to be participating in the virtual NACCS annual conference from April 20-23, 2022! This conference will be celebrating 50 years of activist scholarship, and we have some incredible new books from these scholars for you to browse. Use the code AZNACCS22 for 30% off all titles, plus free U.S. shipping, through 5/31/22.

If you have questions about our publishing program, please visit this page, or contact our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles, at KBuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

We have an exciting new series at the University of Arizona Press! BorderVisions engages the U.S.-Mexico borderlands’ dynamic histories and cultures and expands our understanding of the borderlands beyond a site of geopolitical inquiry. 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. To learn more about the series from editors Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez and Yvette J. Saavedra, watch this video.

We are incredibly honored to announce that two University of Arizona Press books received honorable mentions for the NACCS Book Award this year! Congratulations to Aída Hurtado with Intersectional Chicana Feminisms: Sitios y Lenguas and Lorena V. Márquez with La Gente: Struggles for Empowerment and Community Self-Determination in Sacramento. You can learn more about their books below.

Intersectional Chicana Feminisms provides a much-needed overview of the key theories, thinkers, and activists that have contributed to Chicana feminist thought. Aída Hurtado, a leading Chicana feminist and scholar, traces the origins of Chicanas’ efforts to bring attention to the effects of gender in Chicana and Chicano studies. Highlighting the innovative and pathbreaking methodologies developed within the field of Chicana feminisms—such as testimonio, conocimiento, and autohistoria—this book offers an accessible introduction to Chicana theory, methodology, art, and activism.

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. Historian Lorena V. Márquez documents early community interventions to challenge the prevailing notions of desegregation by barrio residents, providing a look at one of the first cases of outright resistance to desegregation efforts by ethnic Mexicans.

New and Recent Books

Weaving together archaeology, mathematics, history, and astronomy, Calculating Brilliance brings to light the discovery by a female Mayan astronomer, which is recorded in the Venus Table of the Dresden Codex. As the book demonstrates, this brilliant discovery reverberated throughout Mayan science. But it has remained obscured to modern eyes.

Postcards have a magical pull. They allow us to see the past through charming relics that allow us to travel back in time. Daniel D. Arreola’s Postcards from the Baja California Border offers a window into the historical and geographical past of storied Mexican border communities. Once-popular tourist destinations from the 1900s through the 1950s, the border communities explored in Postcards from the Baja California Border used to be filled with revelers, cabarets, curio shops, and more. The postcards in this book show the bright and dynamic past of California’s borderlands while diving deep into the historic and geographic significance of the imagery found on the postcards.

In The Sound of Exclusion, Christopher Chávez critically examines how National Public Radio conceptualizes the Latinx listener, arguing that NPR employs a number of industry practices that secure its position as a white public space while relegating Latinx listeners to the periphery. These practices are tied to a larger cultural logic. Latinx identity is differentiated from national identity, which can be heard through NPR’s cultivation of an idealized dialect, situating whiteness at its center.

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.

Latin American Immigration Ethics advances philosophical conversations and debates about immigration by theorizing migration from the Latin American and Latinx context. The volume, which includes contributions that explore the moral challenges of immigration that either arise within Latin America, or when Latin Americans and Latina/o/xs migrate to and reside within the United States, is now available Open Access.

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.

Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak takes readers on a journey through poetic portraits, exploring the lives of passionate social justice advocates and historical migrants such as Ota Benga, Sarah Baartman, Isidro Marcelino Orbés, César Vallejo, and Gertrude Stein, among others. Raw and unapologetic, the poems in this bilingual collection ask readers to question their role in today’s society. The verses press the reader to examine what it means to have social justice in our globalized world, as Carlos Aguasaco confronts how society treats the Other—be that the immigrant, the Indigenous person, or anyone who embodies Otherness.

Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century offers an expansive and critical look at contemporary television by and about U.S. Latinx communities. This volume is comprehensive in its coverage while diving into detailed and specific examples as it navigates the complex and ever-changing world of Latinx representation and creation in television. In this volume, editor Frederick Luis Aldama brings together leading experts who show how Latinx TV is shaped by historical, social, cultural, regional, and global contexts.

What can Latinx youth contribute to critical conversations on culture, politics, identity, and representation? Latinx Teens answers this question and more by offering an energetic, in-depth look at how Latinx teenagers influence twenty-first-century U.S. popular culture. In this exciting new book, Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera explore the diverse ways that contemporary mainstream film, television, theater, and young adult literature invokes, constructs, and interprets adolescent Latinidad. Latinx Teens shows how coming-of-age Latinx representation is performed in mainstream media, and how U.S. audiences consume Latinx characters and stories.

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. In The Book of Wanderers 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.

In 1981, Chicana feminist intellectuals Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa published what would become a touchstone work for generations of feminist women of color—the seminal This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color. To celebrate and honor this important work, editors gloria j. wilson, Joni B. Acuff, and Amelia M. Kraehe offer new generations A Love Letter to This Bridge Called My Back. In A Love Letter, creators illuminate, question, and respond to current politics, progressive struggles, transformations, acts of resistance, and solidarity, while also offering readers a space for renewal and healing. The central theme of the original Bridge is honored, exposing the lived realities of women of color at the intersections of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality, advancing those early conversations on what it means to be Third World feminist conscious.

AWP 2022 Recap!

March 30, 2022

We had a truly wonderful time at AWP in Philadelphia, our first in-person conference in a very long time! Getting to spend time with our authors, meet new writers, and talk about our amazing books with conference goers is always the perfect way to spend a week. We got some great photos of our authors with their books. Take a look below.

It was wonderful to see Reyes Ramirez, who held a signing at our booth for his new work, The Book of Wanderers!
We were so happy to see Esther Belin, who is pictured here with The Diné Reader.
We had a great time hosting Carlos Aguasaco and Jennifer Rathbun’s book signing at our booth!
We loved talking to Julie Swarstad Johnson, co-editor of Beyond Earth’s Edge.
It was great to see Casandra López again, author of Brother Bullet.
We were happy to say hello to Carmen Giménez Smith, author of Milk and Filth!
Philadelphia was a gorgeous city for AWP.
If you can’t find us, we’re probably at the bookstore!

Birds of the Sun: An Excerpt

March 30, 2022

Birds of the Sun explores the many aspects of macaws, especially scarlet macaws, that have made them important to Native peoples living in this region for thousands of years. Although macaws have been noted and marveled at through the decades, new syntheses of early excavations, new analytical methods, and new approaches to understanding the past now allow us to explore the significance and distribution of scarlet macaws to a degree that was previously impossible. The expertise offered in this stunning new volume, which includes eight full color pages, will lay the groundwork for future research for years to come. The volume is edited by Christopher W SchwartzStephen Plog, and Patricia A. Gilman, and includes contributions from leading experts in their fields. Enjoy this excerpt from the book’s foreword, which was written by Charmion R. McKusick:

George H. Pepper was the first trained archaeologist to excavate Pueblo Bonito. Little could he have imagined that the macaws he placed in neatly labeled brown paper bags in 1896 would be removed seventy years later for species identification, aging, and illustration of pathologies; and then, fifty years later, they would be reanalyzed using current scientific methods, as part of this study. This examination illustrates the way in which avian studies can contribute to ongoing research. Pepper’s Room 38 macaws were unusual in that they had deeper crania and longer wings than the main body of archaeological macaws, and they appear to have been inbred. The available data suggest that at Chaco Canyon, a special group of humans bred scarlet macaws for some important purpose, over a long period of time.

Although the question of the relationships among Mesoamerica and the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico (SW/NW) has a long history in archaeological research, various studies in the twenty- first century have sought to trace the provenance of objects and materials that originated in Mesoamerica and were acquired and circulated interregionally. The study of scarlet macaws (Ara macao) and, to a lesser extent, military macaws (Ara militaris) and thick- billed parrots (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha; plate 1) has received a particular emphasis due to their multifaceted significance, which stretches throughout the Americas. The presence of living macaws and other parrots in settlements of the SW/NW for months and occasionally years not only requires us to understand the cultural significance of these birds but also allows us to address key questions using new analytical techniques that target skeletal material. Some of these studies employ previously underutilized analytical techniques such as isotopic analyses (Schwartz 2020; Schwartz et al. 2021; Somerville et al. 2010), radiocarbon dating (Gallaga et al. 2018, 2021; George et al. 2018; Watson et al. 2015), and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) analysis (Bullock 2007; Bullock and Cooper 2002; George et al. 2018).

New research on macaws is not limited to these types of analyses, however. Others have reviewed the historical issues in SW/NW macaw studies, focusing on key matters such as reassessing the likelihood of macaw breeding at Paquimé and determining the ages at which each macaw from archaeological deposits died (Abramson 1995; Crown 2016; Whalen, this volume). Still other analyses have examined previously gathered collections of macaws and other parrots to identify skeletal pathologies (Fladeboe and Taylor, this volume), clarify frequencies of the macaws and parrots in particular museum collections, and determine whether complete or only partial birds were recovered (e.g., Bishop 2019; Gilman, this volume; Lyons and Crown, this volume; Plog et al., this volume; Schwartz, this volume; Szuter, this volume), or explore the spatial distribution of macaws and parrots within sites relative to other birds and animals (Bishop and Fladd 2018; Plog et al., this volume). This recent spate of complementary research provided the impetus for an Amerind Foundation seminar on macaws and other parrots in April 2019, which in turn has led to the collection of studies presented in the following chapters.

In the archaeological record of the greater Southwest/Noroeste (SW/NW), the presence of macaws and other parrots dates back to at least 600 CE, in the Hohokam area, and to the Ancestral Pueblos in the Mimbres and Chaco regions at least by the tenth century CE (Gilman et al. 2014; Szuter, this volume; Vokes and Gregory 2007:328– 334; Watson et al. 2015). For the protohistoric Pueblos, macaw images are common on kiva murals in the Hopi and Rio Grande regions and on Sikyatki Polychrome by the fourteenth century (Crown 2016; Schaafsma, this volume). Pre- Columbian, historical, and present uses of macaw feathers in Pueblo ritual are profuse (Ladd 1963; Parsons 1939; Tyler 1991). At Hopi, for example, “there is archaeological evidence that parrots were sometimes kept alive by the Hopi for ceremonial purposes. . . . Parrot- bones have also been found in ruined villages of the Hopi not far from their present pueblos. . . . Parrot- feathers are highly prized by the Hopi for the ornamentation of their masks, and in former times were brought from the [O’odham and/or Maricopa] settlements on the Rio Gila and from the northern states of Mexico, where they were obtained by barter” (Fewkes 1900:691– 692, emphasis added). In this connection, sometimes the Hopi Parrot/Macaw Katsina (Kyarkatsina) performs as a huuyan, “bartering,” Katsina (Stephen 1936:282), seemingly encoding the earlier material practice.

The behavioral and genetic characteristics of parrots, including macaws, offer hints as to why human cultures have been so interested in them: “Like humans, parrots as a group have large brains relative to body size, a high density of neurons in the forebrain, advanced cognitive abilities including object permanence and tool use, complex social organization, vocalizations learned through cultural transmission using specialized brain circuits, cooperative problem solving, extended developmental and rearing periods, and exceptional longevity” (Wirthlin et al. 2018:4001). Add the beauty and polychromaticism of their feathers, susceptibility to domestication, and capacity to mimic human speech, and it is no wonder that macaws and parrots— throughout Europe, the Middle East, South and East Asia, and the Americas— have served as symbols, partners, and metonyms of their human “masters” globally: “The Maharajah of Nawanagar had a parrot, one hundred and fifteen years old, which traveled in a Rolls Royce and possessed an international passport; George V’s parrot, Charlotte, used to peruse state and confidential documents over his master’s shoulder. . . . As early as Ctesias, the parrot was praised for its bright plumage and its ability to speak. . . . A fine- looking parrot, wearing a collar and evidently a household pet, still remains on the walls of Pompeii” (Rowland 1978:120–121).

Becoming Hopi Wins the 2022 SAA Scholarly Book Award

March 29, 2022

We are so thrilled to announce that Becoming Hopi, edited by Wesley Bernardini, Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa, Gregson Schachner, and Leigh L. Kuwanwisiwma, is the 2022 SAA Scholarly Book Award winner!

About Becoming Hopi, the SAA award committee wrote the following:

Becoming Hopi shows a masterful interwoven collective work of conventional archaeological data and Hopi traditional knowledge to carefully study the Hopi Mesas of Arizona. In this volume, the voices of the Hopi are integrated with archaeological and ethnographic work conducted over two decades to show an important Indigenous group of the American Southwest with its rich and diverse historical tradition dating back more than 2,000 years. This tradition is deeply rooted in time, and the voices of the Hopi can be heard by scholars and non-experts. In addition, the collaborative effort resulted in a book that can be used by members of the Hopi community to learn about their own past.”

Congratulations to Wesley, Stewart, Gregson, and Leigh!

Danzirly Chosen as 2021 Foreword INDIES Finalist

March 28, 2022

We are so thrilled to announce that Danzirly was chosen as a 2021 Foreword INDIES Finalist in the Poetry category!

Danzirly is a striking bilingual poetry collection that fiercely examines the nuances of the American Dream for Latinx people in the United States. With a backdrop of stringent immigration policies, the #MeToo movement, and the increasingly tangible threat of climate change, this collection considers multigenerational Latinx identities in a rapidly changing country and world. Through the author’s Colombian American lens, the poems explore the intersections of culture, gender, history, and intergenerational grief.

Gloria Muñoz is a Colombian American writer and translator. She is the author of Danzirly, winner of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize, and the chapbook Your Biome Has Found You. Her work has won a Lumina multilingual award, a New York Summer Writers Fellowship, a Creative Pinellas Grant, and a USF Humanities Poetry Prize. She holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and the University of South Florida, and she teaches at Eckerd College.

Congratulations, Gloria!

Society for Linguistic Anthropology: Recent Books, Discounts, and More

March 28, 2022

We are excited to participate in the Society for Linguistic Anthropology spring conference! You can browse our books at an un-staffed table at the in-person conference in Boulder, Colorado, or you can learn more about our recent titles by visiting our virtual booth or reading the information below. Use the code AZSLA22 for 30% off all titles, plus free U.S. shipping, until 5/15/22.

If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page or contact our Senior Editor, Allyson Carter, PhD, at ACarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

Revitalization Lexicography by Patricia M. Anderson is a unique look under the hood of lexicography in a small community, highlighting how the creation of the Tunica dictionary was intentionally leveraged to shape the revitalization of the Tunica language. It details both the theoretical and the practical aspects that contributed to the Tunica dictionary in manner compelling to readers from all walks of life.

Why can’t a Quechua speaker wear pants? Anna M. Babel uses this question to open an analysis of language and social structure at the border of eastern and western, highland and lowland Bolivia. Between the Andes and the Amazon opens new ways of thinking about what it means to be a speaker of an indigenous or colonial language—or a mix of both.

Naming the World by Andrew M. Cowell is an ethnography of language shift among the Northern Arapaho. It focuses on the often subtle continuities and discontinuities in the society produced by the shift, as well as the diversity of community responses.

Talking Indian explores community, tribal identity, and language during rapid economic and demographic shifts in the Chickasaw Nation. These shifts have dramatically impacted who participates in the semiotic trends of language revitalization, as well as their motivations. Jenny L. Davis uncovers how such language processes are intertwined with economic growth.

Talking Indian won the Beatrice Medicine Award for Best Monograph in American Indian Studies in 2019!

Language, Coffee, and Migration on an Andean-Amazonian Frontier by Nicholas Q. Emlen takes us to remote Amazonian villages, dusty frontier towns, roadside bargaining sessions, and coffee traders’ homes to offer a new view of settlement frontiers as they are negotiated in linguistic interactions and social relationships. The book brings together a fine-grained analysis of multilingualism with urgent issues in Latin America today. It is a timely on-the-ground perspective on the agricultural colonization of the Amazon, which has triggered an environmental emergency threatening the future of the planet.

Divided Peoples addresses the impact border policies have on traditional lands and the peoples who live there—whether environmental degradation, border patrol harassment, or the disruption of traditional ceremonies. Anthropologist Christina Leza shows how such policies affect the traditional cultural survival of Indigenous peoples along the border. The author examines local interpretations and uses of international rights tools by Native activists, counter-discourse on the U.S.-Mexico border, and challenges faced by Indigenous border activists when communicating their issues to a broader public.

Preparing Native Graduate Students for Success: An Excerpt from American Indian Studies

March 18, 2022

In American Indian Studies, Native graduates of the University of Arizona’s American Indian studies (AIS) doctoral program, the first of its kind, share their personal stories about their educational experiences and how doctoral education has shaped their identities, lives, relationships, and careers. Essayists share the benefits of having an AIS program at a mainstream academic institution—not just for the students enrolled, but also for their communities. American Indian Studies also offers Native students aspiring to a PhD a realistic picture of what it takes. While each student has their own path to walk, these stories provide the gift of encouragement and serve to empower Native students to reach their educational goals, whether it be in an AIS program or other fields of study. Read the excerpt below for a glimpse into the experiences of the essayists.  

The editors asked Native UArizona AIS PhD graduates to write about their educational experiences earning their doctorates using storytelling, a traditional means of passing knowledge and information for Native Peoples. In the resulting chapters, nine Native graduates who hold the highest scholarly degree in the academy from the first AIS program highlight their personal voices and stories, sharing their messages, lessons, and advice as gifts to future American Indian graduate students.

Personal stories of mentorship, networking, relationships, reciprocity, sacrifices, commitment, challenges, and triumphs shape this book. These stories are unique to the individuals, their families, and their communities. Their narratives provide insight into the journeys of American Indian graduate students pursuing advanced degrees and their experiences after earning the degree. We (co-editors) hope that giving voice to the AIS Native doctoral graduates in these stories will inspire future generations of American Indian students to follow in their footsteps—stories that are realistic so Native students are better prepared to succeed.

The personal narratives of struggle and success shared throughout this book help to reduce the invisibility of Native doctoral students and graduates in the larger mainstream dialogue that result from such statistics (Blair 2015; Brayboy et al. 2012; Shotton et al. 2013). While each student has their own path to walk, these stories can also serve to empower others to reach their own educational goals, whether it be in an AIS program or other field of study.

American Indian Studies: Native PhD Graduates Gift Their Stories is a collection of personal narratives from nine Native graduates of the UArizona AIS doctoral program. Here, these alumni tell their own stories of endurance and resiliency, hardship and struggles, and accomplishment and success in their own words. Not only do their perspectives provide insight into the diverse and dynamic experiences of Native doctoral students but they also serve as role models of encouragement for those following in their footsteps. In all ways, they illustrate the extensive benefits of having an AIS program at a mainstream academic institution, not just for the students enrolled but for Native communities as well.

Danzirly Wins Gold in the Florida Book Awards Poetry Section

March 4, 2022

We are so thrilled to announce that Danzirly by  Gloria Muñoz won gold in the 2021 Florida Book Awards poetry section!

The Florida Book Awards, established in 2006, is an annual awards program that recognizes, honors and celebrates the literature by Florida authors and books about Florida published in the previous year. The awards program is coordinated by the Florida State University Libraries and co-sponsored by the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Florida Humanities, the Florida Literary Arts Coalition, the Florida Library Association, Friends of the Florida State University Libraries, the Florida Writers Association, and the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. Florida Book Award-winning books are on permanent display in the library at the Governor’s Mansion in Tallahassee, and in an exhibit case on the third floor of Florida State University’s Strozier Library.

Danzirly is a striking bilingual poetry collection that fiercely examines the nuances of the American Dream for Latinx people in the United States. With a backdrop of stringent immigration policies, the #MeToo movement, and the increasingly tangible threat of climate change, this collection considers multigenerational Latinx identities in a rapidly changing country and world. Through the author’s Colombian American lens, the poems explore the intersections of culture, gender, history, and intergenerational grief.

Gloria Muñoz is a Colombian American writer and translator. She is the author of Danzirly, winner of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize, and the chapbook Your Biome Has Found You. Her work has won a Lumina multilingual award, a New York Summer Writers Fellowship, a Creative Pinellas Grant, and a USF Humanities Poetry Prize. She holds degrees from Sarah Lawrence College and the University of South Florida, and she teaches at Eckerd College.

Congratulations, Gloria!

2022 Tucson Festival of Books: Panels, Signings, and Discounts

March 2, 2022

The University of Arizona Press is gearing up for the Tucson Festival of Books (TFOB), to be held Saturday, March 12, and Sunday, March 13, on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson, Arizona!

TFOB is a major literary event, regularly drawing more than 400 authors from across the country and more than 135,000 attendees. Panels, readings, and other author activities present a fantastic opportunity to hear from talented authors on a wide range of subjects. Visit the TFOB website and the official panel grid to browse the offerings by participant or genre. There are also plenty of book and food vendors, plus lots of family and entertainment activities.

The Press will have a large booth on the mall, and we’ll be selling a wide selection of books at a discount! Make sure to come visit us at booth 238, across from the Modern Languages building. Below, find a list of author signings we’ll be hosting at our booth throughout the weekend of the festival. Plus, see a list of panels that our authors will be participating in. Staff members are moderating panels, as well. We are thrilled that so many of our authors are participating in this year’s Tucson Festival of Books!

Book Signings on Saturday, March 12:

10:00am to 10:30am: David Yetman signing Natural Landmarks of Arizona
11:00am to 11:30am: Daniel Olivas signing The King of Lighting Fixtures
12:00pm to 12:30pm: Miriam Davidson signing The Beloved Border
1:00pm to 1:30pm: Stephen Pyne signing The Great Ages of Discovery
2:00pm to 2:30pm: Editor and contributors of The Diné Reader
3:00pm to 3:30pm: Carlos Aguasaco signing Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak and Gloria Muñoz signing Danzirly

Book Signings on Sunday, March 13:

10:00am to 10:30am: Carolyn Niethammer signing A Desert Feast and Seth Schindler signing Sowing the Seeds of Change
11:00am to 11:30am: Editors and contributors of Becoming Hopi

Panels on Saturday, March 12:

10:00am to 11:00am: The Diné Reader in the Student Union Kiva Room
10:00am to 11:00am: Finding Hope on the Border in the Integrated Learning Center Room 150
11:30am to 12:30pm: Two Views of the Sonoran Desert in the Student Union Tucson Room
11:30am to 12:30pm: Our Climate Counts in the Student Union Kiva Room
11:30am to 12:30pm: Hopi History in the Student Union Santa Rita Room
11:30am to 12:30pm: Reporting from the Homelands on the Nuestras Raíces Stage
1:00pm to 2:00pm: Diné Bizaad is Poetry on the Nuestras Raíces Stage
2:30pm to 3:30pm: Fire! at the Science City Main Stage
2:30pm to 3:30pm: Parables for Our Times at the Integrated Learning Center Room 150

Panels on Sunday, March 13:

10:00am to 11:00am: Exploring Space at the Science City Main Stage
10:00am to 11:00am: Can We Talk About the Border? at the UA Bookstore
11:30am to 12:30pm: Poems from Diné Bikeyah: Navajo Poets and the Land at the Student Union Tucson Room
11:30am to 12:30pm: Arizona Foodways at the Koffler Room 216
11:30am to 12:30pm: Prize-Winning Poets in the Student Union Kiva Room
1:00pm to 2:00pm: Poetry as Protest in the Integrated Learning Center Room 141
1:00pm to 2:00pm: Hopi Voices on Nuestras Raíces Stage
2:30pm to 3:30pm: Our Search for Identity in the Student Union Kiva Room
2:30pm to 3:30pm: To Live and Die en La Ciudad: Chicanx Short Fiction in the Urban Southwest on the Nuestras Raíces Stage

For more details, visit the Festival’s panel grid!

Paul Minnis on the Foodie Pharmacology Podcast

March 2, 2022

Throughout human history, humans have faced periods of intense food shortages and even famines. The cause of famines can differ, and whether it is due to poor economic policy, drought, crop disease, or pests, one thing remains the same: humans seek out alternative food sources to fill the gap. This week, on the Foodie Pharmacology Podcast, ethnobotanist Dr. Cassandra Quave talks with author Paul Minnis about his book Famine Foods. Minnis is an ethnobiologist and expert on famine foods. Quave and Minnis talk about the role of famine foods in history and their importance to the future of food security. 

Foodie Pharmacology is a science podcast built for the food curious, the flavor connoisseurs, chefs, science geeks, plant lovers, and adventurous taste experimenters out in the world. On the podcast, Quave discusses history, medicine, cuisine, and molecules to explore the amazing pharmacology of our foods.

Listen to the interview with Paul Minnis.

AISA 2022: New and Recent American Indian Studies Titles, Conference Discounts, and More

February 25, 2022

American Indian Studies Association 22nd Annual Conference is going virtual! The new conference dates are March 3rd and 4th, and you can register for the conference here: https://specialevents.asu.edu/asu-aisa-2022. This year’s theme is Indigenous Survivance and Resilience in the age of COVID-19. We are excited to offer a 30% conference discount with free U.S. shipping on our new and recent American Indian Studies titles with the code AZAISA22 at checkout. This discount is good through 4/1/2022.

If you have any questions about our publishing program, please visit our proposal guidelines here, or contact our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles, at KBuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

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.

While this book looks deeply at multiple generations of unnecessary and ongoing pain and violence, it also recognizes that this is a time of uncertainty and hope. The movement to abolish racial injustice and racially motivated violence has gained fierce momentum. Our Fight Has Just Begun shows that racism, hate speech, and hate crimes are ever present and offers recommendations for racial justice.

In American Indian Studies, Native American doctoral graduates of American Indian Studies (AIS) at the University of Arizona, the first AIS program in the United States to offer a PhD, gift their stories. The Native PhD recipients share their journeys of pursuing and earning the doctorate, and its impact on their lives and communities.

“Native Americans are chronically and severely underrepresented in graduate education in the United States. This collection of autobiographical essays by former Native American doctoral students (all graduates of the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies program) offers a compelling and poignant portrait of the challenges that Native peoples face on the road to, through, and beyond graduate education. At the same time, the essays affirm the enduring value of Indigenous knowledge and relationships to family and land.”—N. Bruce Duthu, author of Shadow Nations: Tribal Sovereignty and the Limits of Legal Pluralism

On the heels of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Department of Diné Education, A History of Navajo Nation Education is an important education history that 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.

“Well written and well thought out, this book illustrates what is happening within the Navajo Nation School System. I would strongly recommend this book be added to your personal or professional library.”―Geraldine Garrity, Provost of Diné College

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.

Transforming Diné Education is a valuable addition to Navajo educational literature. It presents the ideas and experiences of Navajo educators working with Navajo students who believe traditional Navajo values and beliefs have central role to play in improving the lives of Navajo students and decolonizing Navajo education.”—Jon Reyhner, co-author of American Indian Education: A History, Second Edition

Returning Home features and contextualizes the creative works of Diné (Navajo) boarding school students at the Intermountain Indian School, which was the largest federal Indian boarding school between 1950 and 1984. Diné student art and poetry reveal ways that boarding school students sustained and contributed to Indigenous cultures and communities despite assimilationist agendas and pressures.

Read an excerpt from the book here. Make sure to check out the great book trailer videos from authors Farina King and Michael P. Taylor on the book’s page here!

For the first time, Navigating CHamoru Poetry focuses on Indigenous CHamoru (Chamorro) poetry from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). In this book, poet and scholar Craig Santos Perez navigates the complex relationship between CHamoru poetry, cultural identity, decolonial politics, diasporic migrations, and native aesthetics.

“This book takes the reader on a transoceanic journey, ranging from Guåhan to the heart of the American empire and to the many seas that the poets of the CHamoru diaspora have sailed. Weaving together groundbreaking archival research, subtle literary analysis, and decolonial Indigenous methodologies, Craig Santos Perez demonstrates how CHamoru poets have transformed their experience of cultural colonialism into weapons of resistance. A must-read for everyone invested in fighting for decolonization, demilitarization, and Indigenous sovereignty.”—Anaïs Maurer, author of Oceania First: Climate Warriors and Post-Apocalyptic Nuclear Stories

Learn more about the Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies series here.

The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature is a comprehensive collection of creative works by Diné poets and writers. This anthology is the first of its kind.

“This collection is essential to American literature and should be required for anyone studying American, First Nations, or world literature.”—Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate

Read an excerpt from the book here, then watch a recording of the virtual book release event for The Diné Reader here. Read the Publisher’s Weekly of this book here, then listen to an interview with editor Esther G. Belin on Native America Calling Radio Program here.

Becoming Hopi is a comprehensive look at the history of the people of the Hopi Mesas as it has never been told before. The product of more than fifteen years of collaboration between tribal and academic scholars, this volume presents groundbreaking research demonstrating that the Hopi Mesas are among the great centers of the Pueblo world.

“How did Hopi farmers sustain large, stable communities in an area that previous scientific models predicted could not support a substantial population? How did waves of migration shape Hopi social organization and ritual calendars? Archaeologists, ethnographers, and Hopi cultural specialists worked collaboratively to answer these and other compelling questions.”—Kelley Hays-Gilpin, co-editor of Color in the Ancestral Pueblo Southwest

Make sure to watch the book trailer video on the book’s page here!

Duane Champagne and Carole Goldberg are leading experts in Native sovereignty policies and histories. They worked in collaboration with members of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians to illustrate how the community formed and persisted. A Coalition of Lineages is not only the story of a Native Southern California community, it is also a model for multicultural tribal development for recognized and nonrecognized Indian nations in the United States and elsewhere.

Make sure to watch the book trailer video on the book’s page here!

The early twentieth-century roots of modern American Indian protest and activism are examined in We Are Not a Vanishing People. It tells the history of Native intellectuals and activists joining together to establish the Society of American Indians, a group of Indigenous men and women united in the struggle for Indian self-determination.

“This is an essential book for everyone who is interested in modern American Indian history. Thomas Maroukis examines how American Indian leaders organized, used their education (sometimes disagreed with each other), and addressed critical issues in Indian Country in the early twentieth century. He convincingly argues that these new activists pushed back against the government and voiced a clear message that Indians had not vanished!”—Donald L. Fixico, author of Indian Resilience and Rebuilding: Indigenous Nations in the Modern American West

Read a brief interview with author Thomas Constantine Maroukis here.

Five Questions with Reyes Ramirez

February 24, 2022

In Reyes Ramirez’s dynamic short story collection’s new lineages of Mexican and Salvadoran diasporas traverse 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. As such, each story becomes increasingly further removed from our lived reality, engaging numerous genres from emotionally touching realist fiction to action-packed speculative fiction, as well as hallucinatory realism, magical realism, noir, and science fiction.

Here are five questions from Reyes Ramirez on Houston, writing, and, of course, The Book of Wanderers:

Houston is home to The Book of Wanderers. Is there an otherworldly vibe in this Texas city we don’t know about?

Houston is one of the most diverse, if not the most diverse, cities in America; that along with being the fourth largest city in America in the crux of Southern, Southwestern, Western, and Borderlands identities along the Gulf Coast, you encounter some unique things that couldn’t exist anywhere else just by sheer probability, size, and historical precedence. You could drive down a street with a health clinic, an ice cream shop, a nail salon, a video store, a payday loan service, a bar, and a gun store next to each other and across the street have a row of restaurants from different nations, ethnicities, and combinations thereof that would make the United Nations blush. Meanwhile, a car with golden rims the size of a five-year-old child just cut you off and a horse stares at you from its trailer. It’s a blue city in a red state, meaning the person in the Prius you just parked next to blasting a chopped and screwed version of a new pop song, the one with a decal of an anime character and one of those equality bumper stickers, could be strapped with a .38 special revolver so you have to be careful since it’s 96 degrees as a hurricane makes landfall and the potable water you both came for is almost gone. I hope The Book of Wanderers captures as much of that as possible.

What influences do you turn to in your writing?

I love to draw from different sources, whether it be films, books, or personal experience, to inform my writing and individual projects. For example, anime was super influential to me growing up; the story “The Latinx Paradox within Joaquín Salvatierra” is heavily inspired by Gundam Wing and Neon Genesis Evangelion with their mecha suits and the use of young people to pilot them. This, in turn, is mixed with my exploration of scientific research that found Latinxs “live longer than Caucasians,” and my family’s history as being children during war. Roberto Bolaño’s 2666, Jean-Luc Goddard’s 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her, Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, historical research, and my own experiences cleaning houses and buildings with my mom growing up were some influences on and references for “The Many Lives and Times of Aransa de la Cruz.” Just all the things, really.

The Book of Wanderers and its characters are so cinematic. Is that something you’d like to see happen with these people, creatures and lives—have them on a big or small screen?

Films, TV shows, and video games are pretty important sources for me to draw from since they offer narratives through means unique from literature. For example, I originally saw “Xuxa, La Ultima” as a third-person video game in my head, informing much of the action and scope of the story. I could also see “Xitlali Zaragoza, Curandera” as a TV show where she solves spiritual and supernatural mysteries in each episode a la Yu Yu Hakusho or X-Files. I suppose “The Fates of Maximiliano Mondragón and Yzobeau Ponce Intersect in Acapulco” could be expanded into a noir parody/dramedy film directed by Pedro Almodóvar (I can dream!). But I think I’m too intimidated by the whole movie-making process. 

Do you have a favorite character in The Book of Wanderers that we might see again in another Reyes Ramirez book?

I don’t know if I have a favorite character since I imbue each one with a bit of me, whether it be through lived experiences, insecurities, hopes, or desires. I won’t say which is which, but an example I can give is that most of the characters have a unique and/or dramatic name that kind of mirror mine since I’ve always gotten comments on the peculiarity of my own. Many of the stories are written as snapshots in each character’s life since I wanted my characters to feel like full human beings, that what you’re seeing in each story is a defining moment with reverberations continuing off the page. In fact, there’s a version of ‘The Three Masks of Iturbide Villalobos’ as a 90-page novela! But I definitely see Xuxa in her own novel, traversing zombie-infested wastelands and encountering different communities to learn about, such as a settlement that worships turtles and how’d she be weirded out at first but grow to find it adorable. Or whatever.

What’s your dream for The Book of Wanderers? Do you have one?

To win all the awards and be loved by everyone! But seriously, I hope The Book of Wanderers is enjoyed by those looking for something unique in contemporary fiction, to affirm that there’s no one way to tell a story, that we as a community must continuously reflect on our past and know there’s no singular way to be. For example, the characters in The Book of Wanderers will speak in different ways, some purposefully outside conceptions of how we experience English, Spanish, Spanglish, all of it, because I want to disrupt the status quo of language in America. I hope that the playfulness in The Book of Wanderers with language, narrative, and form inspires someone to write their own ridiculous truths, to cast aside White ideations of ‘proper’ stories and speaking to create a work of their own, an unrestricted extension of their hopes and fears. My dream for The Book of Wanderers is to connect me to you and you to me, reader.

NiemanLab Interviews Christopher Chávez on Future of NPR and ‘Sound of Exclusion’

February 23, 2022

NiemanLab’s Hanaa’ Tameez recently interviewed University of Arizona Press author Christopher Chávez on his new book, Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public.

From the interview:

The American public looks different now. When we look at the world, demographically, we’re changing. We’re becoming much more diverse in really beautiful and interesting ways. There are all kinds of important stories to tell. During my research, I found that some of the policing [over what can be on NPR] comes from executives and broadcast-level producers, news directors who make small choices. But some of the policing comes from audience members themselves. Some people would react negatively when they heard somebody speaking in an accent, for example, or when a lot of time was spent on a Latinx-oriented story.

Consumers are very vocal, and in today’s digital environment, that feedback can be given to institutions immediately. And it can be swift and severe. That often came up and it was really profound in terms of the range of stories in Los Angeles, where I grew up. L.A. is a predominantly Latinx city. The radio station KPCC’s motto is “We speak Angeleno,” but it’s really speaking in English, speaking without an accent, excluding people that are primarily Spanish-dominant, not telling their stories, and just not showing the breadth of the reality that I know there to be in Los Angeles.

Read the entire interview here.

Watch: Susan Crate’s ‘Once Upon the Permafrost’ Featured in Royal Anthropological Institute Event

February 22, 2022

University of Arizona Press author Susan Crate and her new book, Once Upon the Permafrost: Knowing Culture and Climate Change in Siberia, was recently featured in a Royal Anthropological Institute Research Seminar and Book Launch.

Once Upon the Permafrost is a longitudinal climate ethnography about “knowing” a specific culture and the ecosystem that culture physically and spiritually depends on in the twenty-first-century context of climate change. Crate has spent three decades working with Sakha, the Turkic-speaking horse and cattle agropastoralists of northeastern Siberia, Russia. In her new book, she reveals Sakha’s essential relationship with alaas, the foundational permafrost ecosystem of both their subsistence and cultural identity. Sakha know alaas via an Indigenous knowledge system imbued with spiritual qualities. This counters the scientific definition of alaas as geophysical phenomena of limited range. Climate change now threatens alaas due to thawing permafrost, which, entangled with the rural changes of economic globalization, youth out-migration, and language loss, make prescient the issues of ethnic sovereignty and cultural survival.

New Books Network Podcast Features Christopher Chávez on ‘Sound of Exclusion’

February 21, 2022

Susan Liebell of the New Books Network recently interview University of Arizona Press author Christopher Chávez on his new book, The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public.

How is power enacted in everyday broadcast practices? National Public Radio has a “rhetoric of impartiality” but this obscures the ideological work done by the network.” In The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public (The University of Arizona Press, 2021), Dr. Christopher Chavez interrogates how NPR determines what it means to be American and what is deemed American news. NPR’s original mandate included engaging listeners in civic discourses and representing the diversity of the nation. Yet Chavez argues that NPR has created a “white public space” that pushes Latinx listeners to the periphery. As a result, NPR promotes the cultural logic that Latinx identity is separate from national identity – hindering Latinx participation in civic discourses. But Chavez maintains that the shared act of listening might facilitate the ways in which Latinx listeners negotiate and resist norms of what it means to belong, also known as sonic citizenship. He writes that through the act of listening, “… those without sustained access to political power might imagine alternative political possibilities in which they are included.”

Listen to the podcast here.

Watch: Miriam Davidson Talks ‘Beloved Border’ with OLLI Members

February 18, 2022

The University of Arizona’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute hosted University of Arizona Press author Miriam Davidson to talk about her new book, Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land.

Kids in cages, family separations, thousands dying in the desert. Police violence and corruption. Environmental devastation. These are just some of the dramatic stories recounted by veteran journalist Davidson in The Beloved Border. This groundbreaking work of original reporting also gives hope for the future, showing how border people are responding to the challenges with compassion and creativity.

Watch: Professor Latinx and Mighty Peter Talk Top Five Latinx TV Shows

February 16, 2022

We’re so excited about Frederick Luis Aldama‘s latest book debut, Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, an edited volume that brings together leading experts who show how Latinx TV is shaped by historical, social, cultural, regional, and global contexts. Contributors address head on harmful stereotypes in Latinx representation while giving key insights to a positive path forward.

The final chapter in the book is a fascinating interview with Peter Murrieta by Aldama. Murrieta is described as “one of the most significant of Latinx creators, writers, and producers actively shaping a Brown-ocular twenty- first-century TVLandia. His scroll-long resume includes countless accolades, accomplishments, and awards, including multiple Emmys for Wizards of Waverly Place and an Imagen Award for Mr. Iglesias. He is also the creator of the comic book Rafael Garcia: Henchman. He is a Latinx pop cultural creative without measure.”

Latinx TV, which hits the shelves in April, is part of the University of Arizona Press’s Latinx Pop Culture series, co-edited by Frederick Luis Aldama and Arturo J. Aldama.

For a bit of insight, check out this discussion with Mighty Peter (Peter Murrieta) and Professor Latinx (Frederick Luis Aldama) on their respective top 5 Latinx TV picks of all time:

Miriam Davidson’s New Op-Ed in Progressive Calls for Protections of Mexican Journalists

February 15, 2022

The Progressive Magazine recently published a new op-ed by University of Arizona Press author Miriam Davidson, calling for the Mexican government to protect Mexican journalists. Mexico continues to rank as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for the press.

Davidson’s new book, The Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land, shares the history of sanctuary and argues that this social movement and others that have originated on the border are vanguards of larger global movements against the mistreatment of migrant workers and refugees, police brutality, and other abuses of human and natural rights. She gives concrete examples of positive ways in which border people are promoting local culture and cross-border solidarity through health care, commerce, food, art, and music.

From the op-ed:

Not only is the Mexican government failing to protect journalists, it has been using spyware to monitor their activities, watchdog groups have determined. Some of the surveilled reporters have later turned up dead.

In response to this situation, some Mexican reporters have gone into exile in other countries. A few have applied for asylum in the U.S., though most are denied, even after receiving death threats. 

But there’s only so much they can do. In Mexico, as in the United States, politicians enjoy fomenting public distrust of the press. The media are a suspect class. Yet reporters in both countries perform an essential service in keeping the public informed.

AMLO needs to do more. He must stand up for a free press by putting attention and resources toward actually protecting people, preventing attacks and combatting official corruption. With those words and deeds, he can help end the scourge of journalist murders.

Read the entire op-ed here.

Watch: A Virtual Conversation with BorderVisions Series Editors

February 14, 2022

BorderVisions series editors Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez and Yvette J. Saavedra discussed the new University of Arizona Press series with the Press’s Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles during a virtual event on Friday, February 11, 2022.

BorderVisions seeks new projects that engage with the U.S.-Mexico borderlands’ dynamic histories and cultures and expand 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.

Learn about the series, and what Fonseca-Chávez and Saavedra are looking for from future authors:

Southwest Books of the Year 2022 Recognize University of Arizona Press Titles

February 11, 2022

Thank you to Pima County Public Library’s Southwest Books of the Year for once again choosing new titles from the University of Arizona Press: The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature, Becoming Hopi: A History, and Natural Landmarks of Arizona.

The Southwest Books of the Year are chosen by a panel of reviewers who examine new books focused on Southwest subjects or by Southwest authors. Pima County Public Library has published Southwest Books of the Year for more than four decades, helping us celebrate the best of literature, nonfiction, and regional books.

From Gregory McNamee on The Diné Reader:

… The editors of this splendid collection of Diné writing proceed in that spirit. Their pages are full of delights and surprises, beginning with excerpts from Blackhorse Mitchell’s Miracle Hill, which appeared a year before N. Scott Momaday’s House Made of Dawn, the novel credited with starting the modern Native literary renaissance. Many roads here lead to Luci Tapahonso, an inspiration to generations of Diné poets; the editors’ literary genealogies (with Esther Belin citing Nia Francisco as the first Diné writer she read) and interviews with writers lend special value to the collection. The Diné Reader belongs in every collection of Native American letters, and every Native literature deserves an anthology so thoughtful and well constructed.

Bruce Dinges chose Becoming Hopi:

The product of fifteen years of collaborative research among archaeologists, anthropologists, and tribal consultants conducted under the auspices of the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, Becoming Hopi describes the dynamic evolution of society and culture from scattered precontact villages to large, complex, stable communities intimately connected to the land. Hopi resiliency, the authors convincingly argue, is a testament to the people’s adaptability to constant change and the expression of a lifeway that is always in the process of becoming. Appendices include site descriptions and maps, clan migration routes, and radiocarbon dates. To their credit, the contributors avoid academic jargon in an effort to make their conclusions accessible to a broad Native and non- Native audience. Fact-filled and lavishly illustrated, this landmark study sets an exemplary standard for future tribal histories.

Gregory McNamee chose Natural Landmarks of Arizona:

Arizona has a lot of mountains—3,928 of them, in fact, with nary a horizon without at least a peak or two. David Yetman, intrepid explorer and host of In the Americas, writes that he came to Arizona as a child from flatland New Jersey and, with brief sojourns here and there, has never left it, at least in part because of his fascination with our state’s geography and geology. In this compendium, he runs the mountainous gamut from Agathla, with its “touch of Mount Doom,” to Yarnell Hill, a good place to scope out the Harquahalas, which harbor the same geological sequence that can be seen in the Grand Canyon and which constitute “perhaps the Sonoran Desert’s most impressively purely desert range.” Geology is a notoriously difficult subject to write about, but Yetman—something of a landmark himself—handles it with skill and flair. Lovers of mountains, whether as things to climb or to behold, will delight in traveling alongside him.

Abalone Mountain Press Podcast on ‘Diné Reader’

February 3, 2022

Abalone Mountain Press Podcast interviewed Esther Belin, co-editor of The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature, published by the University of Arizona Press. Also interviewed were Byron Aspaas, Nia Francisco and Laura Tohe. Together they discussed what it is like growing up on the Navajo Reservation, writing poems in Navajo, and hopes for The Diné Reader.

Listen to the podcast here.

Frederick Aldama to be Inducted in Texas Institute of Letters

February 3, 2022

University of Arizona Press author and editor Frederick Luis Aldama will be inducted in the Texas Institute of Letters (TIL) at the organization’s annual meeting and banquet in El Paso, Texas on April 22-23, 2022. The event will also include the Annual TIL Literary Awards.

Founded in 1936 to celebrate Texas literature and recognize distinctive literary achievement, TIL’s membership consists of the state’s most respected writers–including winners of the Pulitzer Prize, National Book Award, PEN/Faulkner Award, Academy Award, Americas Award, International Latino Book Award, Lambda Literary Award, MacArthur Fellowship, and Guggenheim Fellowship.

Membership is based on ongoing and exceptional literary accomplishment. Aldama is one of 15 new members approved for 2022 fiction and nonfiction authors.

Sergio Troncoso, president of the Texas Institute of Letters states, “The Texas Institute of Letters continues to identify and honor outstanding writers from all literary genres. Our newest members have expanded literary audiences to include diverse voices and readers, and have opened minds with books that reconsider history and scholarship. We are extremely proud of the outstanding work that these writers represent: children’s stories full of empathy and humor, poetry that breaks open the heart to imagine new perspectives, prose that challenges narrative forms and explores
psychological complexities, and publishing that finds and amplifies voices on the margins of society. These fifteen masters of the word include novelists, short-story writers, poets, memoirists, publishers, children’s authors, and scholars.”

Aldama is the author of over forty books, which he has authored, co-authored, and edited, including Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands and Eisner Award-winner Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics, both published by the University of Arizona Press. Aldama is also co-editor of the University of Arizona Press’s Latinx Pop Culture Series.

In his newest book with the Press, Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, Aldama brings together leading experts who show how Latinx TV is shaped by historical, social, cultural, regional, and global contexts. Contributors address head on harmful stereotypes in Latinx representation while giving key insights to a positive path forward. TV narratives by and about Latinx people exist across all genres. In this century, we see Latinx people in sitcoms, sci-fi, noir, soap operas, rom-coms, food shows, dramas, action-adventure, and more. Latinx people appear in television across all formats, from quick webisodes, to serialized big-arc narratives, to animation and everything in between. The diverse array of contributors to this volume delve into this rich landscape of Latinx TV from 2000 to today, spanning the ever-widening range of genres and platforms.

Most Anticipated 2022 Latinx Books List Includes Reyes Ramirez’s ‘Book of Wanderers’

February 2, 2022

Reyes Ramirez’s The Book of Wanders is No. 10 on the Most Anticipated 2022 Latinx Books.

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. As such, each story becomes increasingly further removed from our lived reality, engaging numerous genres from emotionally touching realist fiction to action-packed speculative fiction, as well as hallucinatory realism, magical realism, noir, and science fiction.

To read the entire list from Latinos in Publishing, go here.

Esther Belin Talks Poetry and Social Justice on PEN South Africa Podcast

February 1, 2022

Esther G. Belin, co-editor of The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature, was featured in the sixth and final episode of Season Two of The Empty Chair from PEN South Africa.

The conversation included PEN South Africa president Nadia Davids and Toni Giselle Stuart, a South African poet, performer and educator. Her work includes Krotoa-Eva’s Suite in collaboration with filmmaker Kurt Orderson; I Come to My Body as a Question with dotdotdot dance and forgetting. and memory with vangile gantsho & Vusumzi Ngxande.

Belin, a citizen of the Navajo Nation and lives on the Colorado side of the 4 corners region, has two poetry collections, From the Belly of My Beauty, and Of Cartography, all published by the University of Arizona Press.

To learn more about the podcast, Pen South African, and listen to the podcast, visit here.

Latinx Project Shares Op-Ed from Author of ‘Sound of Exclusion’ on NPR

January 31, 2022

The Latinx Project at New York University recently published an op-ed from Christopher Chavez on the themes and issues shared in his new book, Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public, that dives into National Public Radio’s history of centering white listeners and relegating Latinx listeners to the side.

An except from the op-ed:

This is not NPR’s first public reckoning on race. Over the course of its fifty-year history, the network has frequently felt pressure to defend the ways in which it serves the needs of Black and Latinx listeners. NPR’s history tells us that the network has been caught up in a continuous cycle of public critique followed by internal reflection. Rarely, however, has this self-examination resulted in meaningful change. The network may make moves to hire Latinx journalists to headline its flagship programs, but the institution itself is never under question. Nor is there a wholesale reconceptualization of the public that it is tasked with serving.

And herein lies the problem. NPR’s inaction on diversity issues reflects a failure of imagination that prohibits the network from seeing Black and Latinx listeners as truly being members of the public for whom it creates programming. This complacency comes at an important time in American democracy, in which there are growing systematic efforts to exclude Latinx voters. The book calls for a reimagining of NPR as a public good that is meant to be accessed by the broader spectrum of the American public, not just the country’s most elite.

Read the entire op-ed here.

Tucson Weekly Honors Big Jim Griffith in Special Issue

January 28, 2022

In “Adios, Big Jim: Saying Goodbye to the Man Who Stirred Tucson’s Melting Pot,” the Tucson Weekly recently honored the life and work of the late University of Arizona Press author James S. Griffith.

Friends and colleagues shared stories, including University of Arizona Press author and editor Noma E. Cantú:

My world would’ve been different had I not been blessed with meeting Jim Griffith. I learned from him; he supported my work; and offered advice when I didn’t even know I needed it. 

One memorable trip across to Sonora began in Nogales, Arizona. I am a border dweller from Texas, but I didn’t know the Arizona-Sonora border and despite having close friends and family in Nogales, I had not ventured south of Nogales until I went with Big Jim. His encyclopedic knowledge of the folklore of the region was almost as rich as his love for the land and the people. On that memorable trip, I met some of the folks he had been working with for decades, learned about particular folk saints from that borderland, like Malverde—he had been working on what would become his book Folk Saints of the Borderlands: Victims, Bandits, and Healers (2003)—and I learned of his penchant for telling tall tales. 

He could sure spin a yarn and only an experienced raconteur would notice the glimmer in his eye that signaled you were in for a treat! Most people believed him until his grin would turn to laughter as the listener figured out Jim had been telling a tall tale. 

At American Folklore Society (AFS) meetings, he would jam with the best of them, deliver brilliant papers with powerful images, and chat with budding folklorists, listening intently and offering sources from his vast knowledge. I remember such a conversation after a paper I delivered on the Texas border saints sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

His and Loma’s home filled with folk objects and books was a welcoming space for many of us and he never tired of sharing his space and his stories. I will miss him at AFS, and on my infrequent visits to Tucson. 

Read the entire tribute here.

Here’s a video by Abraham Cooper with excerpts from his final conversation Jim Griffith on August 12, 2021:

Elizabeth Wilder Named Assistant Editor at University of Arizona Press

January 27, 2022

Elizabeth Wilder was recently named assistant editor in the University of Arizona Press’s Acquisitions Department. Wilder first joined the Press in April 2020 as editorial assistant.

As assistant editor, Wilder oversees the Press’s two award-winning literary series, Camino del Sol and Sun Tracks, the annual Ambroggio Prize, and supports the lists of the University of Arizona Press Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles. She holds a PhD in English from Stanford University.

Aldama Included in USA Today Debate on Importance, Growing Use of ‘Latinx’

January 26, 2022

A recent article in USA Today featured University of Arizona Press author and editor Frederick Luis Aldama, exploring the growing use of Latinx, a gender-neutral term for all who claim a Latinx identify.

Aldama, co-editor of the Press’s Latinx Pop Culture Series, has a new book out with the Press this May, Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, which takes an expansive and critical look at contemporary television by and about U.S. Latinx communities. This volume is comprehensive in its coverage while diving into detailed and specific examples as it navigates the complex and ever-changing world of Latinx representation and creation in television.

In the USA Today article on Latinx:

Frederick Luis Aldama, whose family is Irish, Guatemalan and Mexican, loved Latinx when he first learned of the term from his students. It acknowledged the complexity of his own cultural and geographic identities. The X reminded him of Professor X, who provides refuge for other X-Men in Marvel Comics. It also recalled Malcolm X, whose new identity denounced his slave name.

“There’s so much power for me in Latinx,” he said. “I just love that it feels fresh and new and future-looking.”

Aldama is the Jacob & Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin, and is known as Professor Latinx by other comic book aficionados. His works include the book “Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics” and “Latinographix,” a trade press that publishes graphic stories.

He said he gets attacked on social media whenever he brings up Latinx. And at Christmas, one of his cousins demanded to know why he used Latinx.

“I was like, ‘Why are you so fired up?’” Aldama said. “He was like, ‘You are destroying the language!”

Read the entire article here.

Five Questions with Wendy Shelly Greyeyes

January 25, 2022

On the heels of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Department of Diné Education, A History of Navajo Nation Education 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. Today, Dr. Greyeyes answers our questions.

What inspired you to work on this book?

I worked for the Navajo Nation and one of the biggest challenges of my job was explaining what type of educational system is in place. There are many systems operating on the Navajo Nation and it gets confusing for families and for tribal leaders. I felt that a book was necessary to help clarify the history of education and how it has grown. I’ve also been fortunate to have worked with some amazing Navajo educational leaders and through much of the work, I also talk about how the Navajo Nation could unify a system that would be more meaningful for our students and community.

Why is Navajo education at a pivotal moment?

Navajo Nation has discussed the idea of unifying an educational system since the 1970s. We have been at a pivotal moment for nearly fifty years. The next step is getting the approval of the Navajo Nation council for a 638 plan that has been drafted and developed. But presently, the main driver of this movement had a lot of turnover with staffing. So it maybe a few more years before this action takes place.

What is the work that’s happening now for educational sovereignty?

Currently, Navajo Nation has been seeking a superintendent for a long time. They finally have found a leader that will drive this initiative forward, and we are looking forward to what the future holds for the Navajo Nation.

What is the lesson of this book?

I believe we should not be afraid of taking the power back from the federal government and the states that educate our children. We gave the right to educate our children with the treaty of 1868. We have the power and the authority to take it back.

What are you working on now?

I’m finishing up a co-edited book on the Martinez-Yazzie lawsuit, here in New Mexico. We have contributions from some of the great minds focused on Indian education and we hope this book comes out in 2023.

***

Wendy Shelly Greyeyes (Diné) is an assistant professor of Native American studies at the University of New Mexico and a former research consultant with the Department of Diné Education.

Five Questions with Seth Schindler

January 18, 2022

In Southern Arizona, one in six residents, and one in four children, are food insecure. The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona (CFB) is one of the oldest and most respected food banks in America. It is a widely recognized leader not simply in providing hunger relief but in attacking the root causes of hunger and poverty through community development, education, and advocacy. In Sowing the Seeds of Change author Seth Schindler tells the story of this remarkable organization’s sustained, compassionate response to food insecurity. The success of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona demonstrates that the war against hunger, however difficult, is winnable. Today, author Seth Schindler answers five questions.

What drew you to the story of the CFB?

I realized that the story of the CFB was much bigger, more complex and intriguing than I originally thought. I learned about the enormity of the problem of food insecurity in the U.S. and in Arizona, which shocked me; then the surprising massive scale and diversity of the CFB’s operations throughout Southern Arizona; and finally its reputation as a national leader and innovator in the food bank movement, admired for its groundbreaking work in attacking the root causes of food insecurity. The zeal of staff, volunteers, and other participants in the CFB’s programs also impressed me. Finally, conversations with Charles “Punch” Woods, the CFB’s leader during the first decades of its evolution into the remarkable organization we know today, inspired me, convincing me that this was an engaging original story that needed to be told.

To my knowledge, there was no book about a food bank in the U.S. I hope that by writing one, I’ve helped illuminate the organizations like CFB that do such critical work!

How did the CFB get started?

The founders’ mission was an ambitious one—to end hunger in Tucson. They believed that the Food Stamp Program was poorly managed, that too many food-insecure people fell through the cracks, and that too much food was going to waste in the city. Mark Homan, Barry Corey, and Dan Duncan sensed that there had to be a more efficient way to distribute food and reach more of the hungry, as well as make better use of salvaged food.

Their strategy was two-fold: to distribute emergency food boxes (a three-day supply of the most basic food staples) through Tucson’s many nonprofits—both welfare and faith-based agencies—already serving the hungry; secondly, to make it as easy for individuals and commercial operators to donate the food as to throw it out.

The CFB began in a tiny primitive warehouse in South Tucson, with one employee, director Dan Duncan, one volunteer, Arnie Salverson, one delivery truck donated by a local business, a few boxes of canned food, and a $7,000 grant from the city. Yet in the first year alone the CFB distributed 10,544 emergency food boxes and 80,000 pounds of salvaged food! This clearly surprised the founders. They initially underestimated the demand for their services. Those in need, they discovered, included not just the homeless and the unemployed, but the underemployed, the working poor struggling to put food on the table for their families.

Today, operating out of its Tucson headquarters, the enormous Punch Woods Multi-Service Center, and its several branches throughout southern Arizona, with the help of thousands of staff and volunteers, and an annual budget exceeding 125 million dollars, the CFB distributes tons of food through 375 partner agencies to 200,000 food-insecure people.

This story of the CFB’s incredible growth to meet an ever-increasing need over the past half century is at the heart of Sowing the Seeds of Change.   

How did your work as an anthropologist shape your research for this book?

Apart from archival research, in-depth interviews with staff, volunteers, donors, clients, and other CFB participants, along with activities that anthropologists call “participant observation” became essential as the book progressed. Getting out into the field to directly study CFB operations, sometimes working along with staff and volunteers, such as at warehouses, pantries, soup kitchens and the CFB’s community farm, put me in touch with what was really happening in their programs. These traditional techniques used by ethnographers helped, I believe, distinguish this book from conventional institutional histories.

Early on I also realized I wanted the book to reach a wide audience, including the CFB’s clients, and to develop a writing style and a book design—incorporating, for example, substantial graphic material—that would more easily help achieve that goal. I would then also take advantage of my experience as a storyteller and in writing about a variety of topics for the general reader.

Perhaps the most important feature of the book, and my biggest breakthrough in developing it, was the decision to include profiles of a diverse group of CFB participants through the years, and not just the organization’s leaders. These reveal their thoughts about their roles, presented in their own words. In recent years, anthropologists have been criticized rightly for not doing this adequately when researching and writing about the people and cultures they study. Sowing the Seeds of Change contains dozens of sidebar quotes from those individuals who have created the CFB’s culture of caring, sharing and innovating, and contributed to the organization’s success. Their voices personalize the story of the organization and help to distinguish the publication by adding a crucial human dimension not typically found in history books.  

What surprised you the most during your research?

I have to say I was shocked by several things I learned in the process of researching this book—many decidedly positive but some alarmingly negative and hard to comprehend. How do you explain, for example, that in the U.S., the richest country in the world, there are over 35 million food-insecure people?

Unfortunately, I never found an easy answer to this paradox. What I did discover, however, is that Tucson is filled with people who care deeply about the plight of the hungry among us, and who help them routinely. In this respect, the passion of CFB staff, volunteers and others in the community, directed at helping the less fortunate, continues to amaze and lift me. 

I also discovered that the CFB today is far more than a hunger-relief organization, a fact that many in Tucson do not know, and one I emphasize in the second half of the book called “It Takes More Than Food.” The mission today is not just to “shorten the food line” but ultimately to eliminate it through education, community development and advocacy. Several hunger-prevention programs have been developed in recent years with this goal in mind, all directed at empowering the poor and breaking the cycle of poverty that is the cause of food insecurity, especially among the most vulnerable groups—children and seniors.

The CFB, for example, has developed its own demonstration/learning garden; classes in cooking and healthy eating for both adults and school children; a community farm with plots for clients, two farmers’ markets, a culinary training program aimed at providing careers for the unemployed and underemployed; and the Gabrielle Giffords Resource Center that offers social services to clients. It has also drastically increased the amount of fresh produce in its food boxes, including ones designed for seniors and to combat diet-related disease.

In 2018, Feeding America—the national organization of food banks—named the CFB “Food Bank of the Year” in recognition of its achievements in attacking the root causes of hunger.

Why are volunteers so essential at the CFB?

Today there are over 6000 volunteers working with the CFB’s staff of about 140. Such a large number is essential because of the CFB’s diverse activities and ever-expanding programming in a very large service area—23,000 square miles. Distributing food to over 200,000 people in several counties is no easy task, but that’s not all the CFB’s volunteers help with. They contribute importantly, for example, at the CFB’s farmers’ markets, Caridad Community Kitchen, Nuestra Tierra Learning Garden, Las Milpitas Community Farm, and in its many food drives, the Ambassador Program and the Produce Rescue Program.      

Volunteers are the heart of most nonprofits, and the CFB is no exception. However, based on what I observed conducting fieldwork, the CFB’s volunteers are a truly exceptional group—highly dedicated and competent. This take on the CFB’s volunteer work force was corroborated by the food bank experts I interviewed who also believe there’s always been something special about the Tucson community and its compassionate residents who work selflessly for the common good. In this respect, it should be pointed out that Tucson and the southern Arizona region generally does have an advantage over most other food banks in the US. The CFB can draw on this area’s very large retirement community of seniors with the leisure time to volunteer.

Nevertheless, I believe that the success of the CFB’s volunteer work force can also be explained in light of the CFB’s legendary, distinctive culture of caring, sharing and innovating, which is contagious. This culture, marked by the spirit of egalitarianism, was first shaped by its charismatic leader, Charles “Punch” Woods who guided the CFB through its most challenging early phase of evolution, and it remains intact and vital today. It doesn’t hurt either that the CFB continues to offer volunteers well-run programs in which to work and a friendly, family-like atmosphere where respect for others, and clients especially, is the name of the game. Finally, the nature of this volunteer work itself–whether in the warehouse, the pantry or the garden –is innately very appealing.

What can be more satisfying than seeing the smiles on the faces of the people you help?       

***                                                                           .

Seth Schindler is an anthropologist and former NEH Research Fellow and Weatherhead Resident Scholar. He has contributed articles to the American Anthropologist and The Encyclopedia of Anthropology, among many others.

‘Once Upon the Permafrost’ Excerpt Printed in Sapiens Magazine

January 14, 2022

Sapiens, an anthropology magazine of the Wenner‑Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, recently published an excerpt from Susan Alexandra Crate‘s new book, Once Upon the Permafrost: Knowing Culture and Climate Change in Siberia.

Crate has spent three decades working with Sakha, the Turkic-speaking horse and cattle agropastoralists of northeastern Siberia, Russia. In her book, she reveals Sakha’s essential relationship with alaas, the foundational permafrost ecosystem of both their subsistence and cultural identity. Sakha know alaas via an Indigenous knowledge system imbued with spiritual qualities. This counters the scientific definition of alaas as geophysical phenomena of limited range. Climate change now threatens alaas due to thawing permafrost, which, entangled with the rural changes of economic globalization, youth out-migration, and language loss, make prescient the issues of ethnic sovereignty and cultural survival.

From the excerpt:

“Our ancestors lived by the alaas, the round fields with forests shaped like an alaaji (small round pancake) with a lake,” Agrafina Vasilyevna Nazarova, a veteran preschool teacher, told me. Agrafina described the alaas as “a small world in and of itself” and a “birthplace” where a person could find fish and game, pasture and hay, and berries—everything needed to live.

These carefully articulated testimonies cast the alaas as an otherworldly place imbued with a lush, abundant, and vibrant nature. Yes, alaas is a physical place, but it is also a sacred vow with the ancestors—an entangled, interdependent set of relationships between human and nonhuman animals, plants, lakes, glades, and spirits.

Sakhas’ identity is founded upon their intimate human-environment relationship with alaas. What are the implications when they lose their alaas?

Across the planet, communities are witnessing the transformation of their significant cultural places, similar to how Sakha are losing alaas. What can forefronting these ways of knowing bring to the table in global climate policy configurations?

Botanist and Indigenous scholar Robin Wall Kimmerer offers her reflections on the matter in Braiding Sweetgrass. She contemplates the “energetic reciprocity” between the complementary colors of purple asters and goldenrod, likening it to the complementarity of Indigenous knowledge and scientific knowledge.

As humans, we live interdependently within not only a planetary biosphere but what anthropologist Wade Davis terms the “ethnosphere,” or “the sum total of all the thoughts, dreams, ideals, myths, intuitions, and inspirations brought into being by the imagination since the dawn of consciousness.” Our common future depends not only on ameliorating the biophysical consequences of climate change but also on facilitating multiple cultural transformations, with a greater awareness of how different peoples are affected by and responding to unprecedented change.

We need both the goldenrod and the asters.

Metaphorically speaking, we all live on permafrost. Only by integrating scientific knowledge with Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge can we fully grasp the depth and breadth of our common plight and have any hope of finding our way out of the existential crisis of climate change.

To read the entire excerpt and check out Sapiens, visit here.

Diné Creativity and Identity: An Excerpt from ‘Returning Home’

January 14, 2022

Returning Home features and contextualizes the creative works of Diné boarding school students at the Intermountain Indian School, which was the largest federal Indian boarding school between 1950 and 1984. Diné student art and poetry reveal ways that boarding school students sustained and contributed to Indigenous cultures and communities despite assimilationist agendas and pressures. Below, read an excerpt from the book.

In the twentieth century, Diné students attended an array of school programs, including (but not exclusively) the program at Intermountain. Returning Home contextualizes the various dynamic forms through which Native American students continued to define their identities in relation to their homelands, urban settings, and new spaces—in this case, at Intermountain. Such forms of Indigenous revitalization and innovation came through ceremony, prayer, music, song, speech, art, dance, and poetry, to name only a few examples and other forms of expression. In an analysis of the media through which boarding school students speak for themselves, this book delves into the intricacies of Indian boarding school experiences. While students faced forces to eradicate, manipulate, and diminish their Diné cultures and identities at the Intermountain boarding school during the late twentieth century, student artists and writers also harnessed their educational experiences for their empowerment and revival as Indigenous youth. By collaborating with Diné communities such as the Navajo Intermountain Alumni Association, and then by centering on student experiences, this book underscores Indigenous living histories that continue to revitalize and affect many Indigenous families and communities.

We seek to bridge different communities and primarily serve Diné Intermountain alumni by “returning home” their creative works and acknowledging their pains and joys lived in colonizing systems of boarding school education. Ho- Chunk scholar Amy Lonetree exemplifies the significance of “shared authority” in Decolonizing Museums: Representing Native America in National and Tribal Museums, which we have sought to emulate by working with Diné communities, families, and professionals. Lonetree also stresses “speaking the hard truths of colonialism”: “It is time for us communities to acknowledge the painful aspects of our history along with our stories of survivance, so that we can move toward healing, well-being, and true self-determination.” This work pays tribute to Intermountain students’ lives and stories, for their posterity and for all to remember what they endured and created in some of the hardest circumstances that power dynamics and injustices of colonialism set. Because we are trying to reach a spectrum of audiences, including the general public and Diné communities, we pursue a balance that prioritizes the students’ own voices over academic terms, theories, and frameworks. This book is based on our co-curated exhibit, Returning Home: The Art and Poetry of Intermountain Indian School, 1954–1984, which carried home the arts and creative writing of former Intermountain students to the Navajo Nation. The traveling exhibit featured the students’ learning journey and expressions of home, family, school, and global consciousness, paralleling Diné teachings of the seasons of life that align with the Four Sacred Mountains from East, South, West, and North.

‘Discovering Mars’ Explored and Praised

January 8, 2022

Discovering Mars: A History of Observation and Exploration of the Red Planet, by William Sheehan and Jim Bell, was recently featured on the Planetary Society’s Planetary Radio podcast, and reviewed by Leonard David’s Inside Outer Space.

From the Planetary Radio interview:

Mat Kaplan: I already shared what Bill Nye said about the book. Here’s a quote from our friend, Andy Chaikin, the author of the Man in the Moon. “Read and understand why we will never be done with Mars,” which is a short and sweet, I would say. Bill, I think you and I got our first small telescopes in the same mid-’60s year and we both immediately turned them toward the Red Planet. Did that begin your passion for Mars?

Bill Sheehan: Certainly did. I mean, Mars was the main act really back then as in many ways it still lives. So as a kid getting everything I could out of the branch library and all of the books being several years out of date. So the idea that Mars might still be inhabited even by intelligent beings had not completely been exorcized from our imagination. So I was a believer at the time in the canals of Mars and had hoped against hope that that might all pan out. I certainly remember looking at Mars through a small telescope, one of those department store telescopes that everybody pretty much says they’re worthless. But tell that to a kid of about 10 and seeing that little red disc up there, even though it was little bit bigger than a pin’s head, it still was infinitely evocative to the imagination. So, yeah, that was 1965, March 1965. That was the opposition I got started.

Mat Kaplan: Just about the time I got my little department store refractor and that belief, that wanting to believe in the canals of Mars and that we might just find somebody up there to welcome us. That is a theme that runs through this book, how belief sometimes got in the way almost… Well, right from the start of the science, of the actual facts about the planet Mars. Jim, do you also see that thread?

Jim Bell: Yeah, absolutely. And it really starts with Bill taking the historical perspective and part of this book is an update to Bill’s book from ’96, I want to say. Yeah.

Mat Kaplan: ’96. Right. The Planet Mars?

Jim Bell: The Planet Mars. Yeah. A lot has happened since then, of course, on the mission side, but a lot has happened on the historical side as well. Lots of research, lots of new photos and manuscripts uncovered, et cetera. And so yes, that thread of belief winds all the way through the historical side that Bill has researched so expertly and you know, it also runs through the spacecraft side. Right. We wanted to believe that the ALH84001 meteorite was loaded with Martian micro fossils. Some people want to believe there are human faces carved into the rocks of Mars. Right? Some people want to believe that we can do sample return in the next decade. Right? You know? And so yes, there’s scientific facts. Yes, there’s engineering reality, but yes, it’s also a very human endeavor, this exploration of Mars.

To listen to the entire interview, please visit here.

Space journalist Leonard David recently offered this praise and more on Discovering Mars:

“This epic and one-of-a-kind volume is best read with a mind in full-inquisitive mode and why our technologies have provided decade-after-decade of astounding and captivating reveals … and what awaits us.”

Read the entire review here.

La Bloga Highlights Titles from Spring 2022 Catalog

January 7, 2022

Big thanks to Manuel Ramos, author of Angels in the Wind: A Mile-High Noir, and La Bloga for featuring several books from the University of Arizona Press Spring 2022 catalog: The Book of Wanderers, Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on its Beak, A Love Letter to This Bridge Called My Back, Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, and Latinx Teens: U.S. Popular Culture on the Page, Stage, and Screen.

Go here to read the post, and more on La Bloga.

Tohono O’odham Poet Ofelia Zepeda Delivers Keynote at Vaquero Awards Ceremony

December 23, 2021

Tohono O’odham poet and University of Arizona linguistics professor Ofelia Zepeda recently delivered the keynote speech at Central Arizona College’s Vaquero Awards, given to college alum who’ve made an impact within the community.

According to the Casa Grande Dispatch, Zepeda read two poems, and shared the value education had on her and her family:

“Sometimes I think that maybe I’m not supposed to be here,” Zepeda said. “I tell myself, ‘You shouldn’t have made it.’ That’s always the type of conflict I have. I’m still in disbelief sometimes. It’s a miracle, I believe in miracles.”

Read the entire story here.

Author Esther G. Belin talks ‘Diné Reader’ on Native America Calling Radio Program

December 22, 2022

Tara Gatewood, producer and host of Native America Calling, recently interviewed Diné multimedia artist and writer Esther G. Belin about The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature.

Belin is one of four editors of this powerful new anthology of Navajo literature with a range of contributors including Shonto Begay, Sherwin Bitsui, Luci Tapahonso, Laura Tohe, and many others.

Listen to the interview here.

Frederick Luis Aldama on MSNBC’s American Voices Talking ‘Marvel’s Voices: Communidades’

December 21, 2021

Frederick Luis Aldama, aka Professor LatinX, recently shared the small-screen with writer Daniel José Older on the MSNBC show American Voices hosted by Alicia Menendez to talk about Marvel Comics’ Marvel’s Voices: Communidades, a one-shot in the groundbreaking Marvel’s Voices series highlighting the cultural richness of Marvel Comics and uplifting new voices in the comic book industry. Communidades turns the spotlight to Latinx heroes and creators from the Marvel Universe

Aldama, author of Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics, the 2018 Eisner Award Winner for Best Scholarly/Academic Work, wrote the issue’s introduction about the history of Latinx heroes and creators in the comic book industry. Older is featured in the issue, revisiting the legacy of Marvel’s first super hero of Latino descent, Hector Ayala aka White Tiger, in an inspiring story rooted in real history.

Aldama is co-editor of the University of Arizona Press Latinx Pop Culture series. The series, which includes Latinx Superheroes among many other award-winning titles, aims to shed light on all aspects of Latinx cultural production and consumption, as well as the Latinx presence globally in popular cultural phenomena in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

A Remembrance for Borderlands Folklore Icon James S. “Big Jim” Griffith

December 20, 2021

BY GARY PAUL NABHAN

No one can fill Big Jim Griffith’s shoes, for he—more than any other Tucsonan—triggered enormous and lasting community pride in our “folk” traditions of music, food, santos, architecture, and border culture.

From the co-founding of the Tucson Meet Yourself Folklife Festival in 1974 with his equally-talented wife Loma Griffith, to initiating the first national tour of Cowboy Poets, Jim left an indelible mark on Western folklore both in content and in inclusiveness. His pioneering scholarship of the folk architecture and music of the Tohono O’odham—his neighbors who surrounded his home near San Xavier Mission—is one example of his many academic achievements. Fortunately, several of his most memorable books and recordings will be around forever. As he often said about his extensive archives, “Our chivos are your chivos.”

At the University of Arizona Press, some of that research translated into three books: Beliefs and Holy Places: A Spiritual Geography of the Pimería Alta; Hecho a Mano: The Traditional Arts of Tucson’s Mexican American Community; and his most recent book published in 2019, Saints, Statues, and Stories: A Folklorist Looks at the Religious Art of Sonora.

Big Jim’s role in stimulating community-based participatory folklore studies, festivals, and archives spread far beyond Southern Arizona. Furthermore, his banjo-playing, singing and tall-storytelling made him a full participant in these traditions, from playing music at Sunday masses in New Pascua Pueblo, to sitting in with other musicians at the National Cowboy Poetry Festival in Elko, to winning a banjo contest at Uncle Dave Macon Days Music and Dance Competition at a Roots Rendezvous festival. He was the anchor folklorist/mentor for the multiple-year Sonoran Heritage Programming that Kathy Dannruether managed for the Pima County Public Library System. And none of us who were involved in forwarding Tucson as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy in 2016 could have achieved that designation without the groundwork that Big Jim had developed though years of food folklore celebrations sponsored by the Southwest Folklore Alliance and the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center.  

I first met Big Jim back in the 1970s while he was co-starring with the band Summer Dog in a series of performances of the saloon musical Diamond Studs—the Life of Jesse James. We soon began doing fieldwork together on the Tohono O’odham reservation where he researched folk Catholic chapels for his University of Arizona dissertation, in bootleg distilleries in Eastern Sonora, in ranching towns where he recorded cowboy recitations, and in the Comccac (Seri) Indian villages while he recorded  Sonoran corridos for the Western Folklife Center. We ate more tepary beans and chiltepins together than most human beings could (or should) ever swallow. We hopped from bar to bar, and cruised cantinas in South Phoenix searching for Norteño conjuntos who could play the following fall at Tucson Meet Yourself. We dialogued at conferences of the American Folklore Society, Association for Living History, Farm and Agricultural Museums and the Western Folklife Center where it was clear that he not only had many friends and admirers, but disciples and fans who worshipped the dusty ground his big boots walked upon.

James “Big Jim” Griffith with his new book, Saints, Statues, and Stories, hanging out at the Tucson Meet Yourself store book in 2019.

Because Big Jim could comfortably talk and listen to nearly anyone of any ethnic background, it was hard for those of us who were his local friends to remember that he was also a national celebrity. Over the decades, he attracted to Tucson many musicians and musicologists who regarded him as an esteemed peer, from Lalo Guerrero, Alan Lomax, Mike Seeger, Linda Ronstadt, Dom Flemons, Nick Spitzer, and Tommie Vennum.

Those of us who knew Big Jim at his home savored the late summer Club Pimatleño outdoor barbecue that Loma and Jim annually hosted, where dozens of friends came to hear his barking vocals and banjo, his punishing puns, and his bilingual tall tales. With one eye closed, and the brow on the other raised high like it was about to touch the mole on his forehead, his facial expressions, gestures, and mimes could entertain us for hours. But most of what he did also had a higher purpose: To remind all borderlands residents in Arizona that our shared heritage is multi-cultural, trinational—involving Mexico, U.S., and the Tohono O’odham Nation—and the best antidote against the divisiveness that threatens to pull us asunder. In everything he did and said and sang, Big Jim built bridges, not walls.

Urayoán Noel’s ‘Transversal’ on 2022 PEN Open Book Award Longlist

December 15, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Urayoán Noel‘s poetry collection, Transversal, has been selected for the Longlist of the 2022 PEN America Open Book Award. Finalists will be announced in early 2022 and the winner will be honored at the 2022 PEN America Literary Awards Ceremony.

“These Longlists are a ‘who’s who’ of the most exceptional writers of our generation and the next,” said Clarisse Rosaz Shariyf, senior director of literary programs at PEN America. “Reading their names evokes memories of some of our all-time favorite works that brought us comfort during this strange year.”

Transversal takes a disruptive approach to poetic translation, opening up alternative ways of reading as poems get translated or transcreated into entirely new pieces. Noel masterfully examines his native Puerto Rico and the broader Caribbean as sites of transversal poetics and politics. Transversal seeks to disrupt standard English and Spanish, and it celebrates the nonequivalence between languages. Inspired by Caribbean poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant, the collection celebrates Caribbean practices of creolization as maximalist, people-centered, affect-loaded responses to the top-down violence of austerity politics. This groundbreaking, modular approach to poetic translation opens up alternative ways of reading in any language.

The Longlists represent 11 PEN America literary awards. The PEN Open Book Award, formerly the Beyond Margins Awards, invites book submissions by authors of color, published in the United States during the applicable calendar year. The Open Book Award was created by PEN America’s Open Book Committee, a group committed to racial and ethnic diversity within the literary and publishing communities. Works of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir, poetry, and other works of literary character are strongly preferred.

From Pen America:

In an era of publishing consolidation, more than half (53 percent) of the longlisted titles come from independent and university presses. Almost a quarter come from small independent publishers (12 percent) and university presses (nine percent).

“Our Longlists highlight the groundbreaking and vital work produced by independent publishers, many of which continue to face significant challenges in today’s publishing market,” Shariyf said. “These publishers are often leaders in promoting diverse voices and stories not just along racial and gender lines, but showcasing cultural and geographic diversity, too. The Awards ceremony allows writers and publishers to gather with readers and champions of creative free expression and celebrate the power of storytelling as an inclusive literary community.”

Check out all literary award Longlists, including the Open Book Award, here. You can also read the press release here.

Simón Ventura Trujillo Receives Honorable Mention for MLA Prize for Land Uprising

December 13, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Simón Ventura Trujillo received an honorable mention for the MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies for his recent book, Land Uprising! The MLA prize committee wrote the following statement about Trujillo’s book:


In Land Uprising: Native Story Power and the Insurgent Horizons of Latinx Indigeneity, Simón Ventura Trujillo both broadens the parameters and reassesses the foundations of Latinx literary and cultural studies. Placing Latinx and Indigenous writers, activists, and scholars into conversation, he critically foregrounds the significance of Latinx indigeneity—a term he carefully distinguishes from Indigenous peoples and from the appropriative indigenismos—in ongoing struggles for land and self-determination. Land Uprising displays impressive breadth and nuance, offers a crucial intervention into the conversation between Latinx and Indigenous studies, and engages seriously with gender, foregrounding the voices and perspectives of feminist scholars in reexamining historical events often remembered through masculine heroes and masculinist ideologies.

Congratulations, Simón!

Current Shares ‘Sound of Exclusion’ Excerpt on How NPR Overlooked Latinx Listeners

December 10, 2021

Current, a nonprofit news organization covering public media in the U.S for professionals in the industry, recently shared an excerpt of Christopher Chávez‘s The Sound of Exclusion: NPR and the Latinx Public.

The Sound of Exclusion examines how National Public Radio conceptualizes the Latinx listener, arguing that NPR employs a number of industry practices that secure its position as a white public space while relegating Latinx listeners to the periphery. These practices are tied to a larger cultural logic. Latinx identity is differentiated from national identity, which can be heard through NPR’s cultivation of an idealized dialect, situating whiteness at its center. Pushing Latinx listeners to the edges of public radio has crucial implications for Latinx participation in civic discourses, as identifying who to include in the “public” audience necessarily involves a process of exclusion.

Here’s part of the excerpt from Current:

When I spoke with NPR’s Bill Siemering about how the network originally conceived of its listener, he affirmed that NPR was initially designed to serve ethnically diverse audiences. However, Siemering’s conception of diversity was centered primarily on Black and Indigenous communities. This orientation came largely from his own professional experiences. Siemering had previously served as general manager of college radio station WBFO-FM in Buffalo. There, he spent his first years at the station learning about the local community, conducting interviews with the African American community, which were used to develop a series called To Be Negro. Siemering also worked with Indigenous communities living at nearby Niagara Falls to produce a series of programs on the Iroquois Confederacy called Nation Within a Nation.

Siemering admitted that Latinxs were not much of a consideration when he wrote his mission statement, stating, “At that time, there wasn’t much awareness about Latinos.” This is to be expected. In 1970, when the network first aired, Latinxs accounted for only 4.5 percent of the total U.S. population.1 But when I asked Siemering how a single network was meant to appeal to the broad spectrum of the nation, he stated that a unifying trait of NPR’s audience is curiosity. “Being curious is very important,” Siemering told me. “That cuts across all divides.”

The notion of curiosity has been a defining characteristic of the NPR audience over the course of its history and is reflected in the marketing materials NPR uses to sell its audiences to corporate underwriters. For example, NPR markets a number of products under its “Curious Listener” series, which educates listeners on how to appreciate music and culture. However, Siemering was firm in his belief that NPR should not consider the economic value of its listeners to be its paramount consideration. When we spoke, he read aloud a sentence in the mission statement that he felt was particularly important: “NPR would not regard its audience as a market.” Yet, this is exactly how the network regards the listener. The research conducted by Audience Research Analysis was designed to cultivate a listening audience that would support the network financially. This strategy has, in turn, informed how NPR conceives of, and pursues, its ideal Latinx listener.

Read the entire excerpt here.

Explore New Titles from the University of Arizona Press Spring 2022 Catalog

December 9, 2021

Here’s a preview of our upcoming Spring 2022 season with the best the University of Arizona Press has to offer, from Latinx poetry, to Indigenous studies, space sciences, as well as the variety of the unique global scholarship the Press has committed to bring to readers worldwide. You know the drill. Tuck in.

Michael Chiago: O’odham Lifeways Through Art, by Michael Chiago Sr., and Amadeo M. Rea, offers an artistic depiction of O’odham lifeways through the paintings of internationally acclaimed O’odham artist Michael Chiago Sr. Ethnobiologist Amadeo M. Rea collaborated with the artist to describe the paintings in accompanying text, making this unique book a vital resource for cultural understanding and preservation. A joint effort in seeing, this work explores how the artist sees and interprets his culture through his art. By combining Chiago’s paintings of his lived experiences with Rea’s ethnographic work, this book offers a full, colorful, and powerful picture of O’odham heritage, culture, and language, creating a teaching reference for future generations.

Completely revised and expanded, this fourth edition of Mineralogy of Arizona, Fourth Edition, by Raymond W. GrantRon GibbsHarvey JongJan Rasmussen, and Stanley Keith, covers the 986 minerals found in Arizona, showcased with breathtaking new color photographs throughout the book. The new edition includes more than 200 new species not reported in the third edition and previously unknown in Arizona. Arizona’s rich mineral history is well illustrated by the more than 300 color photographs of minerals, gemstones, and fluorescent minerals that help the reader identify and understand the rich and diverse mineralogy of Arizona. Anyone interested in the mineralogy and geology of the state will find this the most up-to-date compilation of the minerals known to occur in Arizona.

The Greater San Rafael Swell: Honoring Tradition and Preserving Storied Lands, by Stephen E. StromJonathan Bailey, chronicles hopeful stories for our times: how citizens of Emery and three other counties in the rural West worked to resolve perhaps the most volatile issue in the region–the future of public lands. Both their successes and the processes by which they found common ground serve as beacons in today’s uncertain landscape–beacons that can illuminate paths toward rebuilding our shared democracy from the ground up. Authors Strom and Bailey paint a multi-faceted picture of a singular place through photographs, along with descriptions of geology, paleontology, archaeology, history, and dozens of interviews with individuals who devoted more than two decades to developing a shared vision of the future of both the Swell and the County.

Trickster Academy, by Jenny L. Davis, is a collection of poems that explore being Native in Academia—from land acknowledgement statements, to mascots, to the histories of using Native American remains in anthropology. Davis’ collection brings humor and uncomfortable realities together in order to challenge the academy and discuss the experience of being Indigenous in university classrooms and campuses. Organized around the premise of the Trickster Academy—a university space run by, and meant for training, Tricksters—this collection moves between the personal dynamics of a Two-Spirit/queer Indigenous woman in spaces where there are few, if any, others and a Trickster’s critique of those same spaces.

Reyes Ramirez’s The Book of Wanderers is a dynamic short story collection that 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. As such, each story becomes increasingly further removed from our lived reality, engaging numerous genres from emotionally touching realist fiction to action-packed speculative fiction, as well as hallucinatory realism, magical realism, noir, and science fiction.

Carlos Aguasaco, a first-generation immigrant to the United States, embraces his transborder/transnational/intercultural identity by building a bridge across time and distance to unite the great voices of the Renaissance with his lyrical poems in his new collection, Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak. The collection offers bold and fascinating dialogue with Spanish authors such as Juan Boscán, Francisco de Quevedo, Garcilaso de la Vega, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. The poems examine the fundamental liberties inherent to humanity through stunning verse. In a quest for freedom, the poems openly criticize the treatment of immigrants in the United States, drawing poignant parallels with human rights abuses throughout history.

A Love Letter to This Bridge Called My Back, edited by gloria j wilsonJoni Boyd Acuff, and Amelia M Kraehe, recognizes the challenges faced by women of color in a twenty-first-century world of climate and economic crises, increasing gun violence, and ever-changing social media constructs for women of color. It also retains the clarion call Bridge set in motion, as Moraga wrote: “A theory in the flesh means one where the physical realities of our lives—our skin color, the land or concrete we grew up on, our sexual longing—all fuse to create a politic born of necessity.”  The central theme of the original Bridge is honored, exposing the lived realities of women of color at the intersections of race, class, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality, advancing those early conversations on what it means to be Third World feminist conscious.

Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, edited by Frederick Luis Aldama, argues that Latinx TV is not just television—it’s an entire movement. Digital spaces and streaming platforms today have allowed for Latinx representation on TV that speaks to Latinx people and non-Latinx people alike, bringing rich and varied Latinx cultures into mainstream television and addressing urbanization, immigration, family life, language, politics, gender, sexuality, class, race, and ethnicity. Once heavily underrepresented and harmfully stereotypical, Latinx representation on TV is beginning to give careful nuance to regional, communal, and familial experiences among U.S. Latinx people. This volume unpacks the negative implications of older representation and celebrates the progress of new representation, recognizing that television has come a long way, but there is still a lot of important work to do for truly diverse and inclusive representation.

Latinx Teens: U.S. Popular Culture on the Page, Stage, and Screen, by Trevor Boffone, and Cristina Herrera, answers this question: What can Latinx youth contribute to critical conversations on culture, politics, identity, and representation? This book offers an energetic, in-depth look at how Latinx teenagers influence twenty-first-century U.S. popular culture. Boffone and Herrera explore the diverse ways that contemporary mainstream film, television, theater, and young adult literature invokes, constructs, and interprets adolescent Latinidad. As the first book that specifically examines Latinx adolescence in popular culture, Latinx Teens insists that we must privilege the stories of Latinx teenagers in television, film, theater, and literature to get to the heart of Latinx popular culture. Exploring themes around representation, identity, gender, sexuality, and race, the works explored in this groundbreaking volume reveal that there is no single way to be Latinx, and show how Latinx youth are shaping the narrative of the Latinx experience for a more inclusive future.

A History of Navajo Nation Education: Disentangling Our Sovereign Body, by Wendy Shelly Greyeyes, 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. 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.

Transforming Diné Education: Innovations in Pedagogy and Practice, edited by Pedro Vallejo, and Vincent Werito, gathers the voices of Diné scholars, educators, and administrators to offer critical insights into contemporary programs that place Diné-centered pedagogy into practice. Bringing together decades of teaching experience, contributors offer perspectives from school- and community-based programs, as well as the tribal, district, and university level. They address special education, language revitalization, wellness, self-determination and sovereignty, and university-tribal-community partnerships.

A New Deal for Navajo Weaving: Reform and Revival of Diné Textiles, by Jennifer McLerran, provides a detailed history of early to mid-twentieth-century Diné weaving projects by non-Natives who sought to improve the quality and marketability of Navajo weaving but in so doing failed to understand the cultural significance of weaving and its role in the lives of Diné women. McLerran details how government officials sought to use these programs to bring the Diné into the national economy; instead, these federal tactics were ineffective because they marginalized Navajo women and ignored the important role weaving plays in the resilience and endurance of wider Diné culture.

Postindian Aesthetics: Affirming Indigenous Literary Sovereignty, edited by Debra K. S. Barker, and Connie A. Jacobs, is a collection of critical, cutting-edge essays on Indigenous writers who are creatively and powerfully contributing to a thriving Indigenous literary aesthetic. This book argues for a literary canon that includes Indigenous literature that resists colonizing stereotypes of what has been and often still is expected in art produced by American Indians. The works featured are inventive and current, and the writers covered are visionaries who are boldly redefining Indigenous literary aesthetics. The artists covered include Orlando White, LeAnne Howe, Stephen Graham Jones, Deborah Miranda, Heid E. Erdrich, Sherwin Bitsui, and many others.

Finding Right Relations: Quakers, Native Americans, and Settler Colonialism, by Marianne O. Nielsen, and Barbara M. Heather, centers on the relationship between Quaker colonists and the Lenape people, exploring the contradictory position of the Quakers as both egalitarian, pacifist people, and as settler colonists. Quakers were one of the early settler colonist groups to invade northeastern North America. William Penn set out to develop a “Holy Experiment,” or utopian colony, in what is now Pennsylvania. Here, he thought, his settler colonists would live in harmony with the Indigenous Lenape and other settler colonists. This book explores major challenges to Quaker beliefs and resulting relations with American Indians from the mid-seventeenth century to the late nineteenth century. It shows how the Quakers not only failed to prevent settler colonial violence against American Indians but also perpetuated it.

Our Fight Has Just Begun: Hate Crimes and Justice in Native America, by Cheryl Redhorse Bennett, is a timely and urgent work. The result of more than a decade of research, it revises history, documents anti-Indianism, and gives voice to victims of racial violence. Navajo scholar Cheryl Redhorse Bennett reveals a lesser-known story of Navajo activism and the courageous organizers that confronted racial injustice and inspired generations. Illuminating largely untold stories of hate crimes committed against Native Americans in the Four Corners region of the United States, this work places these stories within a larger history, connecting historical violence in the United States to present-day hate crimes.

The Community-Based PhD: Complexities and Triumphs of Conducting CBPR, edited by Sonya Atalay, and Alexandra C McCleary, brings together the experiences of PhD students from a range of disciplines discussing CBPR in the arts, humanities, social sciences, public health, and STEM fields. They write honestly about what worked, what didn’t, and what they learned. Essays address the impacts of extended research time frames, why specialized skill sets may be needed to develop community-driven research priorities, the value of effective relationship building with community partners, and how to understand and navigate inter- and intra-community politics.

In American Indian Studies: Native PhD Graduates Gift Their Stories, edited by Mark L. M. BlairMary Jo Tippeconnic Fox, and Kestrel A. Smith, Native PhD graduates share their personal stories about their educational experiences and how doctoral education has shaped their identities, lives, relationships, and careers. This collection of personal narratives from Native graduates of the University of Arizona’s American Indian Studies (AIS) doctoral program, the first such program of its kind, gifts stories of endurance and resiliency, hardship and struggle, and accomplishment and success. It provides insight into the diverse and dynamic experiences of Native graduate students. The narratives address family and kinship, mentorship, and service and giving back. Essayists share the benefits of having an AIS program at a mainstream academic institution—not just for the students enrolled but also for their communities.

The Maya Art of Speaking Writing: Remediating Indigenous Orality in the Digital Age, by Tiffany D. Creegan Miller, challenges the distinctions between “old” and “new” media and narratives about the deprecation of orality in favor of inscribed forms, drawing from Maya concepts of tz’ib’ (recorded knowledge) and tzij, choloj, and ch’owen (orality) to look at expressive work across media and languages. Based on nearly a decade of fieldwork in the Guatemalan highlands, Creegan Miller discusses images that are sonic, pictorial, gestural, and alphabetic. She reveals various forms of creativity and agency that are woven through a rich media landscape in Indigenous Guatemala, as well as Maya diasporas in Mexico and the United States. Miller discusses how technologies of inscription and their mediations are shaped by human editors, translators, communities, and audiences, as well as by voices from the natural world.

Pachamama Politics: Campesino Water Defenders and the Anti-Mining Movement in Andean Ecuador, by Teresa A. Velásquez, provides a rich ethnographic account of the tensions that follow from neoextractivism in the southern Ecuadorian Andes, where campesinos mobilized to defend their community-managed watershed from a proposed gold mine. Positioned as an activist-scholar, Velásquez takes the reader inside the movement—alongside marches, road blockades, and river and high-altitude wetlands—to expose the rifts between social movements and the “pink tide” government. Ecuador became the first country in the world to grant the Pachamama, or Mother Earth, constitutional rights in 2008. This landmark achievement represented a shift to incorporate Indigenous philosophies of Sumak Kawsay or Buen Vivir (to live well) as a framework for social and political change.

LGBTQ Politics in Nicaragua: Revolution, Dictatorship, and Social Movements, by Karen Kampwirth, explores the untold stories of the LGBTQ community of Nicaragua and its role in the recent political history of the country. Kampwirth is a renowned scholar of the Nicaraguan Revolution, who has been writing at the intersection of gender and politics for decades. In this chronological telling of the last fifty years of political history in Nicaragua, Kampwirth deploys a critical new lens: understanding politics from the perspective of the country’s LGBTQ community. Kampwirth details the gay and lesbian guerrillas in the 1960s and 1970s, Nicaragua’s first openly gay television wizard in the 1980s, and the attempts by LGBTQ revolutionaries to create a civil rights movement and the subsequent squashing of that movement by the ruling Sandinista party.

Anthropologist Colleen M. Scanlan Lyons brings the eye of a storyteller to present this complex struggle, weaving in her own challenges of balancing family and fieldwork alongside the stories of the people who live in this dynamic region in Running After Paradise: Hope, Survival, and Activism in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Southern Bahia is at a crossroads: develop a sustainable, forest-based economy or run the risk of losing the identity and soul of this place forevermore. Through the lives of environmentalists, farmers, quilombolas, and nativos—people who are in and of this place—this book brings alive the people who are grappling with this dilemma. Intertwined tales, friendships, and hope emerge as people both struggle to sustain their lives in a biodiversity hotspot and strive to create their paradise.

Birds of the Sun; Macaws and People in the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest, edited by Christopher W SchwartzStephen Plog, and Patricia A. Gilman, explores the many aspects of macaws, especially scarlet macaws, that have made them important to Native peoples living in this region for thousands of years. Leading experts discuss the significance of these birds, including perspectives from a Zuni author, a cultural anthropologist specializing in historic Pueblo societies, and archaeologists who have studied pre-Hispanic societies in Mesoamerica and the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest. Scarlet macaws are native to tropical forests ranging from the Gulf Coast and southern regions of Mexico to Bolivia, but they are present at numerous archaeological sites in the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest. Although these birds have been noted and marveled at through the decades, new syntheses of early excavations, new analytical methods, and new approaches to understanding the past now allow us to explore the significance and distribution of scarlet macaws to a degree that was previously impossible.

Through the analysis of more than 75,000 pieces of chipped stone, archaeologist Todd A. Surovell is able to provide one of the most detailed looks yet at the lifeways of hunter-gatherers from 12,800 years ago in Barger Gulch: A Folsom Campsite in the Rocky Mountains. At the end of the last Ice Age in a valley bottom in the Rocky Mountains, a group of bison hunters overwintered. The best archaeological sites are those that present problems and inspire research, writes Surovell. From the start, the Folsom site called Barger Gulch Locality B was one of those sites; it was a problem-rich environment. Many Folsom sites are sparse scatters of stone and bone, a reflection of a mobile lifestyle that leaves little archaeological materials. The people at Barger Gulch left behind tens of thousands of pieces of chipped stone; they appeared to have spent quite a bit of time there in comparison to other places they inhabited.

Indigenous Archaeology in the Philippines: Decolonizing Ifugao History, by Stephen Acabado, and Marlon Martin, highlights how collaborative archaeology and knowledge co-production among the Ifugao, an Indigenous group in the Philippines, contested (and continue to contest) enduring colonial tropes. Acabado and Martin explain how the Ifugao made decisions that benefited them, including formulating strategies by which they took part in the colonial enterprise, exploiting the colonial economic opportunities to strengthen their sociopolitical organization, and co-opting the new economic system. The archaeological record shows that the Ifugao successfully resisted the Spanish conquest and later accommodated American empire building.

Keep in touch with us regarding Spring 2022 events, special sales, and author and book news! Sign-up here to receive our newsletters. Happy reading!

Field Notes: Landscape Gems on Mexico’s Sea of Cortéz

December 7, 2021

We recently published Baja California’s Coastal Landscapes Revealed by Markes E. Johnson. In this new work, expert geologist and guide Johnson takes us on a dozen rambles through wild coastal landscapes on Mexico’s Gulf of California. Descriptions of storm deposits from the geologic past conclude by showing how the future of the Baja California peninsula and its human inhabitants are linked to the vast Pacific Basin and populations on the opposite shores coping with the same effects of global warming. Today we share a reflection from the author about his time observing this amazing coastal landscape.

By Markes E. Johnson

Conventional wisdom says that the physical act of making a journey often surpasses the traveler’s aim in reaching a chosen destination. More than 80 years have passed since the celebrated voyage in 1940 to Mexico’s fertile Sea of Cortéz by marine biologist Ed Ricketts (1897-1948) and writer John Steinbeck (1902-1968) aboard the chartered fishing vessel Western Flyer. The resulting narrative published as The Log from the Sea of Cortez become a cult classic much admired for the pair’s holistic view of nature clearly expressed well before the word ecology achieved the common usage it enjoys today.

It has been my good fortune to travel on a regular basis to the islands and peninsular shores bordering the Gulf of California over a span of 30 years, most often as a guide to college students studying geology and biology. During the 1990s, our trips were made overland from San Diego in rented vehicles that entailed long drives on the narrow, winding road of Mexico Highway 1. Later on, the logistics of air travel between Los Angeles and Loreto became more attractive, particularly in light of discounts for group travel. As a teacher, the most important advice offered to my students was to remain observant at all times, even while passing between destinations where studies were planned.  The same can be said for the exceptional opportunities afforded by flights over the Gulf of California, during which I have been known to provide students with a running commentary on the landscapes passing below us under invariably sunny skies.

The most casual of travelers cannot fail to be awed by extraordinary sights as viewed from high above that reveal the bare rocks of a desert landscape juxtaposed against the aquamarine tones of a bountiful sea. To and from Loreto, I find myself glued to the window (left side of the aircraft on south-bound flights and right side on north-bound flights). I am eager to seek out places where I have personal experience or where I know from the published literature that others such as Ricketts and Steinbeck visited and commented on. Much of the attraction is the realization that our knowledge of a landscape grows through a collective process accumulated through generations of explorers, researchers, and students. Many astonishing clues are there to be found in the landscape that inform us about how the Gulf of California was formed and how it evolved through geologic time to become the stupendous physical backdrop it is for such a productive body of water. Several of my favorite localities pop up between the coastal towns of San Felipe in the north and Loreto further south. 

Volcán Prieto: Located near Puertecitos, well south of San Felipe, the volcanic edifice of the extinct Volcán Prieto rises 850 feet above sea level with its central crater marked by a beige dot representing a shallow pond deposit of clay washed from the sides of the crater during rare rain events brought north by subtropical depressions. On the northwest side of the volcano, the equally large Playa Costello Delta emerges from the mouth of Heme Canyon. A large salt flat is reflected in a flat white tone on the volcano’s southeast flank.

Punta Chivato:  Midway between Santa Rosalia and Mulegé, the promontory (or atravasada) of Punta Chivato rises like a “cross piece” thrust eastward into the Gulf of California.  It is the region where my students and I made our first studies in the early 1990s. Red colored volcanic rocks are partially surrounded by beige limestone that define a cluster of islands roughly four million years old during the early flooding of the gulf.  Telltale “Hammer-head Point” as some locals call it (upper right) is formed by a ridge of resistant limestone left in place on one flank of a former island.

Concepción Peninsula: Across from the town of Mulegé, the northwest directed tip of Concepción peninsula comes into sight as the aircraft flies over the 23-mile long Concepción Bay. The 2,362-ft. high Hawks Mountain (Sierra Gavilanes) is the highest peak on the peninsula (lower center). A series of merged alluvial fans (bajadas) spill into the shallows where the bay’s water is turquoises in color. Ricketts and Steinbeck viewed this shore from the Western Flyer on March 28, 1940. Further along at the closed end of the bay, extensive limestone penetrates deep into a labyrinth of inter-connected valleys to show that the peninsula was nearly breached during a higher stand in sea level some 3 million years ago.

Cerro Mencenares: On approach to Loreto, the aircraft starts its descent passing the western flank of the Cerro Mencenares volcanic complex covering an area of 58 square miles. The pattern of eroded valleys that radiate outward from the center of the complex like spokes on a wheel inform that the landscape below was once part of a small shield volcano. Seaward is Punta El Mangle (upper right), where extensive limestone was deposited against the volcano’s outer margin.

Isla Coronados: As the aircraft continues to descend, the lovely “Island of Crowns” comes into sight with its dazzling white beaches and halo of turquoise waters. The island was an active volcano only some 600,000 years ago and the low-lying apron of land extending to the south was part of an extensive lagoon that harbored a large coral reef. Today, the island is part of the protected Loreto Marine Park. The Western Flyer was anchored in the bay on the west side of the island on March 27, 1940.

North end of Isla del Carmen: During the months of November through May, a stiff northerly wind (viento norte) often blows down the axis of the gulf for days at a time. It means that aircraft landing at Loreto usually push farther south over the open Carmen Passage beyond the town before banking through a hair-pin turn to land into the wind on the airport’s tarmac. Spectacular views of Isla del Carmen are on offer during this process. One of the best views so afforded is the salt lagoon on the northeast side of the island (center), where salt was commercially extracted until 1960. The semi-circular embayment at Balandra (lower left) is more accessible to boaters from Loreto and it features the remains of a fossil coral reef that date from a time about 125,000 years ago when sea level was higher than today.

Lagoon at Puerto Escondido: After making the turn to line up with the runway at Loreto, the descending aircraft passes over the inner lagoon at Puerto Escondido. White flecks against a dark blue background are represented by sail boats at safe anchor within the inner lagoon covering an area of 125 acres sheltered by islets and natural breakwaters on its seaward rim. Stopping there on March 25, 1940, Steinbeck wrote that the hidden harbor is a place of magic. “If one wished to design a secret personal bay, one would probably build something very like this little harbor.”

Tabor Canyon: On final approach to the Loreto airport, aircraft descend to an altitude below the crest of the Sierra de la Giganta that form the spectacular backdrop to the coastal plain along this part of the Baja California peninsula.  Steinbeck and Ricketts spent a night camped out with new friends from town who invited the pair to join their hunt for the local mountain sheep (borrego).  None were encountered and Steinbeck was just as glad for that outcome.

Later in life, when John Steinbeck wrote Travels with Charley (1962), he commented that: “People don’t take trips, trips take people. For me, personally, it has rarely been the final destination on a journey to Baja California. Instead, it is about all the experiences on the way. 

***

Markes E. Johnson is the Charles L. MacMillan Professor of Natural Science, Emeritus, at Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts).  He is the author of three books on the geology and ecology of landscapes in Baja California: Discovering the Geology of Baja California (2002); Off-Trail Adventures in Baja California (2014); and most recently Baja California’s Coastal Landscapes Revealed (2021) all published by the University of Arizona Press. His last two books include color plates showing landscapes photographed during various commercial flights between Los Angles and Loreto in Mexico’s Baja California Sur.

Watch: Mara Pastor in Conversation with Siomara España at International Literature Festival

December 3, 2021, 2021

Casa Cultural de las Americas’ International Literature Festival featured a conversation with poet Mara Pastor and Ecuadorian poet Siomara España. The organization and its festival brings together diverse voices to celebrate arts of the Americas in the United States and Europe.

Pastor‘s new book with the University of Arizona Press with translators María José Giménez, and Anna Rosenwong, Deuda Natal, is the winner of the 2020 Ambroggio Prize of the Academy of American Poets. The poems in Deuda Natal propose new ways of understanding as they traverse a thematic landscape of women’s labor, the figure of the nomad and immigrant, and the return from economic exile to confront the catastrophic confluence of disaster and disaster capitalism.

Gustavo Arellano Includes ‘Rewriting the Chicano Movement’ in LA Times Column

December 1, 2021

In his recent Los Angeles Times column, “Mexicans have fought for a better California for 171 years. These books show how,” Gustavo Arellano highlights four books on Chicano and Mexican-American history in California, including Rewriting the Chicano Movement: New Histories of Mexican American Activism in the Civil Rights Era, edited by Mario T. García, and Ellen McCracken.

From Arellano:

The most moving chapter deals with el movimiento in Fresno County during the 1960s and 1970s, where students from rural towns across the Central Valley came to the big city for a college degree only to find a society out of the Deep South.

“What Mexicans encountered [there],” said author Patrick Fontes, “was an area wholly founded by whites for whites — they indeed entered a foreign land.”

But Chicanos persisted, and vowed to return to their hometowns to make them better. Today, the Central Valley is slowly turning politically purple, like grapes ripening on a vine.

Read the entire column here.

Time to Stock Up: December Sale

December 1, 2021

This winter season as we eagerly watch the desert sky for anything wet, the University of Arizona Press is pleased to offer an end-of-year discount to help you stock up for winter reading. December 1 through December 31, 2021 use code AZDEC21 on our website and receive a 40% discount on your order. You’ll also receive free shipping on all orders shipping in the U.S.

New York Public Library Includes ‘Transversal’ in Best Books of 2021 List

November 29, 2021

Urayoán Noel’s Transversal was listed in the New York Public Library’s Best Books of 2021.

Featuring Noel’s bilingual playfulness, intellect, and irreverent political imagination, Transversal contains personal reflections on love, desire, and loss filtered through a queer approach to form, expanding upon Noel’s experiments with self-translation in his celebrated collection Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico. Transversal seeks to disrupt standard English and Spanish, and it celebrates the nonequivalence between languages. Inspired by Caribbean poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant, the collection celebrates Caribbean practices of creolization as maximalist, people-centered, affect-loaded responses to the top-down violence of austerity politics.

To read the entire Best of 2021 list, visit here.

Watch: Tsim Schneider Discusses New Book on Indigenous Peoples of California

November 25, 2021

The University of California, Santa Cruz’s American Indian Resource Center recently celebrated Tsim Schneider’s new book, The Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse: Coast Miwok Resilience and Indigenous Hinterlands in Colonial California, in a virtual event.

Schneider, a member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, is an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He discussed his book and its examination of the critical and ongoing relationships Indigenous peoples maintained to their homelands despite colonization and systematic destruction of their cultural sites. Schneider was joined by Peter A. Nelson and Nick Tipon, fellow citizens of his tribe.

Schneider was also interviewed recently on KSQD, a Santa Cruz community radio station. You can find the interview here.

Watch: Creechan Talks ‘Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds’ with OLLI Members

November 24, 2021

The University of Arizona’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute recently hosted University of Arizona Press authors James H. Creechan to talk about his new book, Drug Wars and Covert Netherworld: The Transformations of Mexico’s Narco Cartels.

In Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds, Creechan draws on decades of research to paint a much more nuanced picture of the transformation of Mexico’s narco cartels. A sociologist and criminologist, Creechan details narco cartel history, focusing on the decades since Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs. With sobering detail, he unravels a web of government dependence, legitimate enterprises, covert connections, and violent infighting.

New Books Network Interviews Michelle Téllez on ‘Border Women’

November 23, 2021

Michelle Téllez was recently interviewed by David-James Gonzales, assistant professor of history at Brigham Young University, on her new book, Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas: Autonomy in the Spaces of Neoliberal Neglect.

Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas tells the story of an autonomous community near Tijuana and its struggle to carve out space for survival and thriving in the shadows of the U.S.-Mexico geopolitical border. Through women’s active participation and leadership, a women’s political subjectivity has emerged—Maclovianas. These border women both contest and invoke their citizenship as they struggle to have their land rights recognized, and they transform traditional political roles into that of agency and responsibility.

Téllez, an associate professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona, writes about transnational community formations, Chicana feminism, and gendered migration.

Listen to the interview here.

Got ‘Hatak Witches’? Louise Erdrich Thinks You Should

Nov. 22, 2021

At the end of Louise Erdrich’s newest novel, The Sentence, is a page titled “Totally Biased List of Tookie’s Favorite Books.” Under the subtitle, “Ghost-Managing Book List,” are 15 books, and between Asleep by Banana Yoshimoto, and Beloved, by Tony Morrison is Hatak Witches, by Devon A. Mihesuah.

Author shout outs to one another isn’t unusual, but that doesn’t mean this particular shoutout doesn’t need a bit of celebrating and thanks.

The Hatak Witches, published by the University of Arizona Press, follows Detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson into an investigate which begins with a security guard found dead and another wounded at the Children’s Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma. There are no fingerprints, no footprints, and no obvious means to enter the locked building. Blue Hawk, however, discovers that a portion of an ancient and deformed skeleton has also been stolen from the neglected museum archives. As this thriller unfolds, readers are introduced to Choctaw cosmology with the unexpected appearance and power of the Old Ones who guard the lands of the Choctaw afterlife.

The list of books in Erdrich’s novel isn’t the only nod of appreciation for Hatak Witches. In a recent interview on National Public Radio’s Here and Now, Erdrich refers to Mihesuah’s novel as “a compelling read.” Go here for listen, and head to minute 19:00 for Erdrich’s shoutout.

Thanks for the shoutout and the love! Erdrich, while a celebrate Pulitzer Prize-winning author, is co-owner of Birchbark Books, a Minneapolis-based independent bookstore that supports Indigenous authors and their books. During the pandemic, Birchbark helped us as a sponsor of several of our virtual events celebrating books from our Sun Tracks series, including The Hatak Witches. Thank you for the continued support!

Detective Blue Hawk recently received more adoration in The Arizona Daily Star, which included The Hatak Witches in a list of book recommendations from our friends at the Pima County Public Library of science fiction, fantasy, an horror books by Indigenous authors. Read the list here. An art blog, Sidetracks and Detours also included the book in a list of recommendations of book by Indigenous authors. That list is here.

Watch: Book Launch Event Celebrating ‘Natural Landmarks of Arizona’

November 19, 2021

On Tuesday, November 9, fans of David Yetman and Arizona’s natural beauty gathered together at the MSA Annex for an event to celebrate Yetman’s new book, Natural Landmarks of Arizona, published by the University of Arizona Press.

David Yetman sharing stories during the Nov. 9 event at the MSA Annex

The event, co-sponsored by Why I Love Where I Live, The Southwest Center and the Press, included a book signing, as well as a lifetime of stories from Yetman on the natural landmarks he first saw as a child, and those he explored as a social scientist, author, and host of his Emmy award-winning shows, The Desert Speaks and In the Americas with David Yetman.

Alex Tovar, co-owner of Why I Love Where I Live, welcoming folks to the Nov. 9 event and book signing.

Big thanks to The Southwest Center’s Carlos Quintero Herrera, outreach coordinator, for his assistance promoting and filming the events, and Jeffrey Banister, director, for sharing the publishing history of the organization and introducing Yetman. Additional thanks to Alex Tovar, co-owner of Why I Love Where I Live, for hosting the book signing.

If you didn’t have a chance to attend, please watch this event video from The Southwest Center:

AAA 2021: New and Recent Anthropology Titles, Conference Discounts, and More

November 17, 2021

We are thrilled to be participating in the virtual component of the AAA meeting! We have an incredible selection of new and recent titles that we hope you will enjoy. Use the code AZAAA21 at checkout on our website to receive 40% off all titles, plus free U.S. shipping, through December 30, 2021.

If you have any questions about our publishing program, please read our guidelines here, and feel free to contact our Senior Editor Allyson Carter at ACarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

We put together a video of a few of our recent authors highlighting their new and recent anthropology books. We hope you enjoy the video, and we are looking forward to seeing you all again in the future.

New From the University of Arizona Press

Becoming Hopi is a comprehensive look at the history of the people of the Hopi Mesas as it has never been told before. The product of more than fifteen years of collaboration between tribal and academic scholars, this volume presents groundbreaking research demonstrating that the Hopi Mesas are among the great centers of the Pueblo world.

Becoming Hopi brilliantly combines Hopi and non-Hopi voices in helping to rewrite Hopi history and the process of becoming Hopi. The coverage is extensive—both for Hopi as well as for wide swaths of the northern Southwest—and each chapter has something new to offer in terms of innovative data collection and interpretation. The combination and use of traditional, archaeological, and documentary histories unfolds a rare perspective on what it means to be Hopi.”—Barbara Mills, co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology

From the day he was born, Federico Jiménez Caballero was predicted to be a successful man. So, how exactly did a young boy from Tututepec, Oaxaca, become a famous Indigenous jewelry artist and philanthropist in Los Angeles? Federico tells the remarkable story of willpower, curiosity, hard work, and passion coming together to change one man’s life forever.

Watch a recording of a virtual book celebration for Federico here. We’re thrilled that Federico received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards!

Decolonizing “Prehistory” critically examines and challenges the paradoxical role that modern historical-archaeological scholarship plays in adding legitimacy to, but also delegitimizing, contemporary colonialist practices. Using an interdisciplinary approach, this volume empowers Indigenous voices and offers a nuanced understanding of the American deep past.

Decolonizing “Prehistory” carries readers to the rugged landscapes of the Pacific Northwest to hear how they are known by communities with millennial depth as residents. The book adds breadth with chapters on the Penobscot River People, Maya communities living at tourist destinations Coba and Tulum, and Mammoth Cave. Philip Deloria concludes the book with a reading of his father’s no-holds-barred assertion of flaws in Western science, a position that time has brought closer to anthropologists’ own critiques seen in this volume.”—Alice Beck Kehoe, author of Traveling Prehistoric Seas: Critical Thinking on Ancient Transoceanic Voyages

The recognition of Flower Worlds is one of the most significant breakthroughs in the study of Indigenous spirituality in the Americas. Flower Worlds is the first volume to bring together a diverse range of scholars to create an interdisciplinary understanding of floral realms that extend at least 2,500 years in the past.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

“The authors are coming at Flower World concepts from different directions and perspectives, and these different ideas and perspectives speak together in a way that helps further the conversation. This volume is not about concluding ideas but about continuing the conversation. I was impressed by the multitude of strong voices—both past and present—representing elements of the Flower World. This volume will be of lasting importance in the cross-cultural study of Flower Worlds.”—John G. Douglass, co-editor of The Global Spanish Empire: Five Hundred Years of Place Making and Pluralism

How people eat today is a record of food use through the ages—and not just the decadent, delicious foods but the less glamorous and often life-saving foods from periods of famine as well. In Famine Foods, Paul E. Minnis focuses on the myriad plants that have sustained human populations throughout the course of history, unveiling the those that people have consumed, and often still consume, to avoid starvation. For the first time, this book offers a fascinating overview of famine foods—how they are used, who uses them, and, perhaps most importantly, why they may be critical to sustain human life in the future.

Watch a recording of a virtual book release celebration for Famine Foods here, then read a review of the book on the Savor the Southwest blog here. We’re thrilled that Famine Foods author Paul E. Minnis Receives the Society of Ethnobiology’s 2021 Distinguished Ethnobiologist Award!

In Tourism Geopolitics, contributors show enacted processes such as labor migration, conservation, securitization, nation building, territorial disputes, ethnic cleansing, heritage revitalization, and global health crisis management, among others. These contended societal processes are deployed through tourism development initiatives that mobilize deeply uneven symbolic and material landscapes. The chapters reveal how a range of experiences are implicated in this process: museum visits, walking tours, architectonical evocations of the past, road construction, militarized island imaginations, gendered cultural texts, and official silences. Collectively, the chapters offer ethnographically rich illustrations from around the world that demonstrate the critical nature of tourism in formal geopolitical practices, as well as the geopolitical nature of everyday tourism encounters. This volume is a vital read for critical geographers, anthropologists, and political scientists, as well as scholars of tourism and cultural studies.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Moveable Gardens explores the ways people make sanctuaries with plants and other traveling companions in the midst of ongoing displacement in today’s world. This volume addresses how the destruction of homelands, fragmentation of habitats, and post-capitalist conditions of modernity are countered by the remembrance of tradition and the migration of seeds, which are embodied in gardening, cooking, and community building.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Indigenous Women and Violence offers an intimate view of how settler colonialism and other structural forms of power and inequality created accumulated violences in the lives of Indigenous women. The chapters in this book are engaged, feminist, collaborative, and activism focused, conveying powerful messages about the resilience of Indigenous women in the face of violence and systemic oppression.

“Bringing together leading Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, this volume explores the connections between structural, extreme, and everyday violence against Indigenous women across time and borders. It makes important contributions to current debates about gender violence and research methods.”—Rachel Sieder, editor of Demanding Justice and Security: Indigenous Women and Legal Pluralities in Latin America

Alluvium and Empire examines the archaeology of Indigenous communities and landscapes that were subject to Spanish colonial forced resettlement during the sixteenth century. Written at the intersections of history and archaeology, the book critiques previous approaches to the study of empire and models a genealogical approach that attends to the open-ended—and often unpredictable—ways in which empires take shape.

“This book represents a much-welcome approach to the archaeology of empire. It combines a sophisticated theoretical framework with rigorous archival and archaeological methods to shed valuable new light on the history of Spanish empire building in Peru.”—Craig Cipolla, author of Foreign Objects: Rethinking Indigenous Consumption in American Archaeology

Museum Matters traces the emergence, consolidation, and dispersal of this national museum complex by telling the stories of its objects. Objects that have been separated over time are brought back together in this book in order to shed light on the interactions and processes that have forged things into symbols of science, aesthetics, and politics. The contributors to this volume illuminate how collections came into being or ceased to exist over time, or how objects moved in and out of collections and museum spaces. They explore what it means to move things physically and spatially, as well as conceptually and symbolically.

“This exciting new volume gathers penetrating new studies on the formation of Mexico’s national collections, from antiquities to natural history specimens. The volume is essential reading for anyone interested in the formation of museums, particularly how such institutions participate in the production of knowledge over time. Filled with strikingly original and important contributions, the volume will be widely read by scholars in history, anthropology, museum studies, art history, archaeology, and other related fields.”—Joanne Pillsbury, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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.

“A truly decolonial work that strips away the Eurocentric presuppositions of a century of Mayan studies scholarship to relate new openings and possibilities in the field. Aldana masterfully crafts a new methodology and approach for understanding the development of a unique Mayan science that weaves together hieroglyphic writing, mathematics, history, and astronomy.”—Roberto D. Hernández, author of Coloniality of the U-S///Mexico Border: Power, Violence, and the Decolonial Imperative

Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration is a lively ethnographic exploration of the world of conservation voluntourism and its engagement with marine and terrestrial biodiversity on the Honduran Bay Island of Utila, located in the ecologically critical Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.

Anthropologist Keri Vacanti Brondo provides a pioneering theoretical framework that conceptualizes conservation voluntourism as a green industry. Brondo argues that the volunteer tourism industry is the product of coloniality and capitalism that works to produce and sustain an economy of affect while generating inequalities and dispossession. Readers journey through the mangroves and waters alongside voluntourists, iguanas, whale sharks, turtles, lionfish, and islanders to build valuable research experience in environmental management while engaging in affective labor and multispecies relations of care.

Once Upon the Permafrost is a longitudinal climate ethnography about “knowing” a specific culture and the ecosystem that culture physically and spiritually depends on in the twenty-first-century context of climate change. Through careful integration of contemporary narratives, on-site observations, and document analysis, Susan Alexandra Crate shows how local understandings of change and the vernacular knowledge systems they are founded on provide critical information for interdisciplinary collaboration and effective policy prescriptions.

“The Sakha people of Siberia live far from most of us in a forbidding and changing land of extreme cold and heat, underlain with permafrost. Through many years of research with them, Susan Crate brings to life how the knowledge and narratives of local people, explorers, and scientists reveal the interplay between culture and environment and why, in a profound sense, we all do ‘live on permafrost.’”―Bonnie McCay, author of Oyster Wars and the Public Trust

Naturalizing Inequality discusses the reproduction and legitimization of racial inequality in post-apartheid South Africa. Michela Marcatelli unravels this inequality paradox through an ethnography of water in a rural region of the country. She documents how calls to save nature have only deepened and naturalized inequality.

“This book takes us past generalizations about inequality to delve into the complex realities of the Waterberg. While South Africa is lauded for increasing water access, Marcatelli shows how the government’s prioritization of economic growth means that the apartheid history of unequal access to water is not only perpetuated but legitimated.”—Mary Galvin, University of Johannesburg

As an Indigenous scholar researching the history and archaeology of his own tribe, Tsim D. Schneider provides a unique and timely contribution to the growing field of Indigenous archaeology and offers a new perspective on the primary role and relevance of Indigenous places and homelands in the study of colonial encounters.


The Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse makes a powerful and convincing case that ‘a sense of place formed the glue for reassembling shattered lives.’ During the colonial era, Coast Miwoks found recourse by traveling across the water and gathering within ancient shell middens, coastal villages, and trading posts, renewing kinship ties and reconnecting with deep traditions along the way. The study offers an innovative and compelling amalgam of theory building, storytelling, and archaeological analysis.”—Martin Gallivan, Department Chair of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary

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. This neglect exacerbates the structural violence endemic to the border region—a continuation of colonial systems of power on the urban, rural, and racialized poor. Téllez shows that in creating the community of Maclovio Rojas, residents have challenged prescriptive notions of nation and belonging. Through women’s active participation and leadership, a women’s political subjectivity has emerged—Maclovianas. These border women both contest and invoke their citizenship as they struggle to have their land rights recognized, and they transform traditional political roles into that of agency and responsibility.

Read about a wonderful local event that celebrated the release of Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas here.

Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist shows how both Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez and anthropology have changed and formed over a fifty-year period. Throughout, he has worked to understand how people survive and thrive against all odds. Vélez-Ibáñez has been guided by the burning desire to understand inequality, exploitation, and legitimacy, and, most importantly, to provide platforms for the voiceless to narrate their own histories.

We are so thrilled that Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez was honored with the 2020 Franz Boas Award, the inaugural AAHHE Distinguished Scholar Award, as well as the Society for the Anthropology of North America’s 2021 Distinguished Achievement Award in the Critical Study of North America. Congratulations, Carlos!

Language, Coffee, and Migration on an Andean-Amazonian Frontier takes us to remote Amazonian villages, dusty frontier towns, roadside bargaining sessions, and coffee traders’ homes to offer a new view of settlement frontiers as they are negotiated in linguistic interactions and social relationships. The book brings together a fine-grained analysis of multilingualism with urgent issues in Latin America today. It is a timely on-the-ground perspective on the agricultural colonization of the Amazon, which has triggered an environmental emergency threatening the future of the planet.

Read a Q&A with author Nicholas Q. Emlen here.

Be sure to check out our wonderful open access titles, made available through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Read more about Open Arizona and browse titles here.

Field Notes: Susan Alexandra Crate Shares Insights on Climate Change and Permafrost

November 15, 2021

Susan Alexandra Crate has conducted ethnographic research with Viliui Sakha communities of northeastern Siberia, Russia since 1991. Her new book, Once upon the Permafrost, is a longitudinal climate ethnography that explains how her collaborators are affected by and adapting to climate change in the context of their extreme climate. Sakha’s Turkic ancestors migrated north to their present home over 500 years ago and adapted a horse and cattle subsistence to a climate that is characterized by a 100 degree Celsius temperature fluctuation (-60 to +40). They did so by holding their cows in barns nine months of the year and harvesting copious amounts of hay for fodder in the brief sweltering summer. Their adaptation is contingent upon their cosmology that ascertains everything in the world has sentience. This historical belief is also the foundation of the Indigenous knowledge system that informs their adaptation.

Today, Crate shares some notes from her time in northeastern Siberia.

Figure 1: Part of Crate’s investigation involved documenting life histories of individuals who had a certain specialty that privileged them a deeper understanding of how climate change was coming into and affecting their extreme environment. One of those life histories focuses on sylgyhyt (horse breeder) Valerian Yegorovich Afanaseyev, seen here with one of his two riding horses. Valerian’s mantra, ‘Snow is horses’ home’ exemplifies how Sakha horses need a specific climate regime that will deliver the right amount of snow and temperature conditions that allow them to ‘graze’ for fodder under the snow throughout the winter. “They are to work and dig. They need 30-40 cm of snow so they don’t freeze. If it is less than that, they can’t work and so they start going from place to place and they get thin. In short, Khaar sylgy jiete (Snow is horses’ home).” Climate change has disrupted that consistent cycle and horses can no longer prosper. Picture: Valerian Yegorovich Afanaseyev with one of his two riding horses May 21, 2019. Photo by author.

Figure 2: “Since 2005 when inhabitants first began talking about how the winters were not as cold, summers not as hot, rain was ‘wrong’, and other aspects I knew were related to climate change, I sought out a natural scientist to collaborate with to bring an understanding of the physical changes into my work. Since that time I have worked with Alexander Fedorov, permafrost scientist at the Melnikov permafrost Institute, Yakutsk. We conducted ‘knowledge exchanges’ in 2010, working in eight communities in the Viliui regions, to solicit local testimonies of change in the environment and appropriate Alexander’s scientific information for community use. We continue to work to this day, proposing other such knowledge exchange activities in other regions and finding ways to educate inhabitants about how the permafrost is thawing and the effects this has and will have on their lives.” Picture: Crate with Alexander (Sasha), during a work session. Notice the permafrost map gracing the wall. Summer 2018. Photo by Kathryn Tuyaara Yegorov-Crate.

Figure 3: “In the winter of 2018, I made a journey with Alexander to present knowledge exchanges with communities in the Central regions of the Sakha Republic. The last time I had been in these regions was fifteen years ago and I was shocked at how the once flat fields were now transformed into a patchwork of thermokarst, the above ground manifestation of the permafrost layer, found 1-3 meters underground, as it thaws. Our work in the two settlements, Khatilii and Siirdaakh, verified how inhabitants were facing similar challenges that my research communities faced on the Viliui. This included not only changes due to thawing permafrost, unpredictable weather patterns and the like, but also how inhabitants were stopping cattle breeding and young people were leaving for the city, a phenomenon I termed, the complexity of change.” Picture: View out the window as we drove to Khatilii. December, 2018. Photo by author.

Figure  4: A buluus is an underground storage area that Sakha have used since they came from the south to their northern homeland. It is nothing more than a tunnel dug down to the permafrost layer with a storage space there for perishables to be kept in the temperate seasons. The entryway typically resembles a small hut due to the need for an insulative structure to maintain the permafrost cool. The inundation of the ground with water, due to increases in precipitation and thaw water from permafrost, has flooded most buluus and rendered them useless. One of several comments on this include, “We have a buluus . . . we put our meat there . . . it is deep– but we have to watch it . . . in some places it holds the freeze and in others it doesn’t . . . we know that the permafrost is thawing . . . we can see it in the buluus! It melts now . . . it is not like before.” However, simultaneously inhabitants also have access to electric freezers, which many consider more convenient. The combination of climate change, economic development, and youth out-migration are interacting drivers of change for inhabitants, which I term ‘the complexity of change.’ Picture: “As I was returning to my host’s house after a day of interviews, I saw the juxtaposition of a long-abandoned buluus entry door against the backdrop of the modern Kutana school building and realized how perfectly it visually captured the complexity of change.” Photo by author.

Figure 5: In addition to climate change, economic transformations and demographic shifts in the rural regions, the relatively recent introduction of hi-speed internet has brought about a cultural shift. As one inhabitant put it, “I want to talk about the change in people, in people’s characters . . . now it is very rare to find receptive and interactive people here, for example, on the village streets–they are hard to find. Before people used to take the time to converse with each other. You would meet someone on the street and stop and talk and know the news from each other . . . now everyone walks along staring at their phone–no one needs anyone anymore . . . there is no interaction now . . . today people only interact over WhatsApp!” Picture: Electronic devices are increasingly present in the hands of very young children in both urban and rural settings. Elgeeii yhyakh at Ugut Kÿöl, 2018. Photo by author.

‘Beyond Earth’s Edge’ Co-Editor Makes Pitch for Space Mission Laureates

November 10, 2021

Poet and space lover Christopher Cokinos recently made a pitch for the creation of Mission Laureates, artists in all areas that would be part of the public engagement process with all space missions.

Here’s an excerpt of the pitch from the co-author of Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, an anthology of poetry that spans from the dawn of the space age to the imagined futures of the universe:

The arts have long been engaged with the night sky, astronomy, and, more recently, with space programs. Consider, in the latter case, NASA’s famed fine arts program that placed painters and illustrators such as Norman Rockwell and Robert Rauschenberg in the middle of launch facilities, training centers and recovery zones. There is a long tradition of “space art,” first popularized by Chesley Bonestell. Fine arts photographers, such as Michael Light, have given their craft over to space imagery. Many writers have turned their attention to space; in the modern era, consider Oriana Fallaci or Margaret Lazarus Dean. As co-editor of Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, I know that poets have responded vigorously—if not always enthusiastically—to the Space Age.

A fine overview of NASA, ESA, and the visual arts can be found in Dr. William A. Bezouska’s paper for The Aerospace Corporation, Space and Art: Connecting Two Creative Endeavors. His focus, as has been the focus of most art-space ventures, is strictly with the visual, from Apollo 15’s Fallen Astronaut memorial to various imagery, from large installation work to film, from classroom displays to art contests. And, of course, we await the possibility of the SpaceX dearMoon mission, in which artists will be billionaire-curated for a lunar orbital flight.

Yet other arts have gotten the short shrift: ceramicists, say, or modern dancers or textile artists. Or, in my case, poetry, though listing the number of real and fictional aerospace figures who have called on poets to be launched in space would take some time. (It’s interesting to note that at least two astronauts have come back from space to write poetry, Story Musgrave and Alfred Worden, both of whom are represented in Beyond Earth’s Edge.)

To read Cokinos’s entire pitch, visit here.

William Sheehan Talks ‘Discovering Mars’ with OLLI Members

November 9, 2021

In a recent virtual presentation for the University of Arizona’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Discovering Mars: A History of Observation and Exploration of the Red Planet co-author William Sheehan discussed this new book from the University of Arizona Press that vividly conveys the way our understanding of this other planet has grown from earliest times to the present.

The story is epic in scope — an Iliad or Odyssey for our time, at least so far largely without the folly, greed, lust, and tragedy of those ancient stories. Instead, the narrative of our quest for the Red Planet has showcased some of our species’ most hopeful attributes: curiosity, cooperation, exploration, and the restless drive to understand our place in the larger universe.

Message from Miriam Davidson’s ‘Beloved Border’ Reaches Op-Ed Pages

November 8, 2021

The Progressive Magazine recently published an editorial by Miriam Davidson, author of Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land, examining the latest statistics on border life and policy with a reminder that the problems can be resolved with “radical rethinking and deep, consistent attention.”

Davidson’s new book, published by the University of Arizona Press, shares the history of sanctuary and argues that this social movement and others that have originated on the border are vanguards of larger global movements against the mistreatment of migrant workers and refugees, police brutality, and other abuses of human and natural rights. Davidson gives concrete examples of positive ways in which border people are promoting local culture and cross-border solidarity through health care, commerce, food, art, and music. While death and suffering continue to occur, the book shows us how the U.S.-Mexico border could be, and in many ways already is, a model for peaceful coexistence worldwide.

Here’s an excerpt from the editorial:

In September, we all saw the pictures of mounted patrolmen maneuvering their horses and long reins in an attempt to corral Haitian migrants along the Texas border. These photos evoked the ugliness of 19th century “slave patrols” in the United States, as well as the enslavement of Haitians under French colonial rule in the 18th century. 

Less well known is that, so far this year, at least 190 sets of human remains have been found in Arizona’s deserts. Forty-three were found in June, the highest one-month total since July 2010. More than half of the remains were discovered within one week of death—16 were located within one day. Migrants have also died while trying to cross the Rio Grande, including a nine-year-old girl in March.

To read the entire editorial, go here. The editorial was picked up by The Miami Herald.

Local Love for ‘Discovering Mars’ on History of the Red Planet

November 2, 2021

Big thanks to the Tucson Weekly for featuring Discovering Mars A History of Observation and Exploration of the Red Planet on a recent cover with an excerpt on the history of the Phoenix mission:

A successful and historic Mars landing occurred during the eventful first decade of the 21st century. NASA’s Discovery program of small, competitively selected missions led by individual scientists was proving to be a success not only in terms of cost-effective science return, but also in terms of innovative ideas captured for new missions. (The program typically attracted around 25– 30 proposals from the planetary science community for each of the four open competitive opportunities that had been announced since 1994.) However, the program presented an additional hurdle for Mars exploration: while Mars missions could be proposed to Discovery, they had to compete with outstanding mission proposals to the rest of the solar system and thus had low odds of success and couldn’t be built into a more strategic component of NASA’s Mars program. G. Scott Hubbard and others thus came up with the idea of creating a low-cost and high-innovation set of missions following the Discovery model, but specifically for NASA’s long-term Mars Exploration Program. The resulting “Mars Scout” program announced its first mission proposal opportunity in 2002. Around 25 proposals were submitted, reinforcing the notion that the community had lots of great Mars-specific mission ideas to pitch to NASA.

Discovering Mars, by William Sheehan and Jim Bell, vividly conveys the way our understanding of this other planet has grown from earliest times to the present. The story is epic in scope—an Iliad or Odyssey for our time, at least so far largely without the folly, greed, lust, and tragedy of those ancient stories. Instead, the narrative of our quest for the Red Planet has showcased some of our species’ most hopeful attributes: curiosity, cooperation, exploration, and the restless drive to understand our place in the larger universe. Sheehan and Bell have written an ambitious first draft of that narrative even as the latest chapters continue to be added both by researchers on Earth and our robotic emissaries on and around Mars, including the latest: the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter drone, which set down in Mars’s Jezero Crater in February 2021.

To read the entire excerpt, visit here.

‘Science Be Dammed’ Paperback Continues Important Water Crisis Conversation

October 28, 2021

Now in paperback, Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River has continued to gain attention, especially as communities in Arizona, California, Nevada, and other states across the country wrestle with drought and how to continue to provide water for millions of residents.

On Boston’s WBUR’s On Point, co-author John Fleck reflected on the crisis:

“Being willing to have the hard conversations with communities to say, Look, that water that the Colorado River Compact promised you back in 1922, it just ain’t there. Don’t continue to expect the river to deliver that water to you because it says on a piece of paper that was signed in 1922 that that water is available, that water is not there. And, you know, one of the the truisms for me in Western water is when people have less water, they’ll use less water. We’re really adaptable. We can do that. We’ve got to recognize that.”

Have a listen here.

On Madison, Wisconsin’s community radio station WORT, co-author Eric Kuhn talked about the unprecedented megadrought in the western U.S.

Have a listen here.

Professor Latinx Gets the Marvel Treatment on Comics, Inspiration, and Scholarship

October 27, 2021

In a recent interview on marvel.com, Professor Latinx, aka Frederick Luis Aldama, was asked about his work as a Latinx comic scholar, Latinx super heroes, and of course, Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades.

Here’s a snippet of the interview with the University of Arizona Press author and co-editor of the Latinx Pop Culture series:

Speaking as a historian, who do you cite as the first Latinx hero? For Marvel Comics, Hector Ayala’s White Tiger gets the credit as our first Latino hero.

This is a topic I was just tossing around with my friends and fellow creators, Peter Murrieta [author, comics creator, and TV producer] and Alex Rivera [filmmaker]. The first Latinx Super Hero: Joaquin Murrieta—actually, Peter’s great relative. Not only was he a historically factual Super Hero (think Nat Turner) whose superhuman, epic-dimensioned feats became swiftly transformed into corrido lore, he was the inspiration for Zorro. [Writer] Johnston McCulley distilled and recreated (appropriated?) Murrieta’s super-heroic traits, leading to his quick popularization in early film, comics, and radio.

I do want to put a quick spotlight on White Tiger too, and for a couple of reasons. There was something extraordinary about Bill Mantlo and George Pérez’s Super Hero. He’s not criollo (white) Latinx and of the manor-born like Zorro. White Tiger’s working class. He’s street and book-smart. He’s Brown and Proud, firmly rooted and empowered as an Afro-Latinx Nuyorican.

Read the entire interview here.

University of Arizona Press Launches New Series: BorderVisions

October 26, 2021

The University of Arizona Press is thrilled to announce BorderVisions, a new series centering and celebrating topics reflecting both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border edited by Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez and Yvette J. Saavedra.

BorderVisions 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.

The University of Arizona Press, founded in 1959, is the premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works in the state of Arizona. Headquartered 70 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, the Press centers a variety of borderlands voices through scholarly and literary titles.

Series editors Fonseca-Chávez and Saavedra 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. They are especially interested in books that address the complexities and richness of borderlands experiences at different historical, cultural, and socio-political moments.

Fonseca-Chávez, Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and associate professor at Arizona State University, is the author of Colonial Legacies Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture: Looking Through the Kaleidoscope, published by the University of Arizona Press. Saavedra, assistant professor in the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Oregon, is the author of Pasadena Before the Roses: Race, Identity, and Land Use in Southern California, 1771–1890.

Please contact the series editors for a full series description and proposal guidelines, vfonseca@asu.edu, yjs@uoregon.edu

Reclaiming Cultural Heritage in the Borderlands: University of Arizona Press Part of $400,000 NEH Grant

October 25, 2021

The University of Arizona Press is proud and excited to be part of a $400,000 grant awarded by the National Endowment of the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan: Humanities Organizations program, aimed at providing economic relief and recovery for cultural and educational institutions affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant represents a cross-institutional collaboration at its best to create Reclaiming Cultural Heritage in the Borderlands, a new project with the Press, the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, the Alfie Norville Gem and Mineral Museum, and the Writing Skills Improvement Program.

The goals behind the grant encompass achieving greater support for research that elevates local heritage and historically excluded narratives, expanding public access to cultural spaces and resources, and strengthening academic skills programs for underrepresented student populations. The Press will receive $125,000 from the grant to digitize additional backlist Latinx and Indigenous titles to further accessibility for students and scholars. Ten percent of the newly digitalized titles will be made available for free through Open Arizona, the Press’s open access platform.

“We are grateful to the National Endowment for the Humanities for enabling us to expand the reach of borderlands studies scholarship, an emphasis of our publishing program for more than sixty years,” said Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press.

The activities of the project under this grant align with the HSI and land-grant missions of the university. In 2018, the University of Arizona was designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The designation was awarded for the success in the enrollment of Hispanic students and in providing educational opportunities to them. The annual designation is defined by the Higher Education Act as an institution of higher education with an undergraduate student enrollment that is at least 25 percent Hispanic.

A Desert Feast and Rosa’s Einstein Chosen as Finalists for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards

October 20, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that A Desert Feast by Carolyn Niethammer and Rosa’s Einstein by Jennifer Givhan were chosen as finalists for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards! A Desert Feast was chosen as a finalist in the History of Arizona category, and Rosa’s Einstein was chosen as a finalist in the Poetry of New Mexico category.

In 2007, the New Mexico Book Co-op launched an awards program for excellence in books, which is now one of the largest and most prestigious programs in the Southwest, attracting entries from across the region as well as from major national presses.

A Desert Feast offers a food pilgrimage, where stories and recipes demonstrate why the desert city of Tucson became American’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy. You’ll meet the farmers, small-scale food entrepreneurs, and chefs who are dedicated to making Tucson taste like nowhere else.

Using details both from Einstein’s known life and from quantum physics, poet Jennifer Givhan imagines Lieserl, the daughter Albert Einstein and his wife Mileva allegedly gave up for adoption at birth, in a circus-like landscape of childhood trauma and survival, guided by Rosa and her sister Nieve. Rosa’s Einstein is a Latinx retelling of the Brothers Grimm’s Snow-White and Rose-Red, reevaluating border, identity, and immigration narratives through the unlikely amalgamation of physics and fairy tale.

Congratulations, Carolyn and Jennifer!

Intersectional Chicana Feminisms Wins Bronze Medal in the International Latino Book Awards

October 20, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Intersectional Chicana Feminisms by Aída Hurtado won a bronze medal in the Victor Villaseñor Best Latino Focused Nonfiction Book Award section of the International Latino Book Awards!

Since 1997, Empowering Latino Futures has celebrated literature through its book awards. These awards have grown to become the largest Latino cultural awards in the U.S.

Chicana feminisms are living theory deriving value and purpose by affecting social change. Advocating for and demonstrating the importance of an intersectional, multidisciplinary, activist understanding of Chicanas, Intersectional Chicana Feminisms provides a much-needed overview of the key theories, thinkers, and activists that have contributed to Chicana feminist thought.

Aída Hurtado is Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Voicing Chicana Feminisms: Young Women Speak Out on Sexuality and Identity.

Congratulations, Aída!

WHA 2021: New and Recent Western History Titles, Conference Discounts, and More

October 15, 2021

We’re thrilled to be participating in the virtual component of the 2021 Western History Association conference! We’ve got fantastic new titles for you to browse, and a great conference discount to use on our website. Use the code AZWHA21 at checkout for 40% off all titles, plus free U.S. shipping through 11/30/21.

Are you interested in our publishing program? Read about the details here, and contact our Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

We are excited to announce a new series, BorderVisions, edited by Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez and Yvette J. Saavedra! BorderVisions engages the U.S. Mexico borderlands’ dynamic histories and cultures and expands our understanding of the borderlands beyond a site of geopolitical inquiry. 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. BorderVisions 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. Learn more here.

We’ve put together a video that highlights some of our recent Western History titles, thanks to the help of our authors! We hope you enjoy the video.

New from the University of Arizona Press

The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature is unprecedented. It showcases the breadth, depth, and diversity of Diné creative artists and their poetry, fiction, and nonfiction prose. This wide-ranging anthology brings together writers who offer perspectives that span generations and perspectives on life and Diné history. The collected works display a rich variety of and creativity in themes: home and history; contemporary concerns about identity, historical trauma, and loss of language; and economic and environmental inequalities.

Watch a recording of a book release celebration for The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature here, then read an excerpt from the book here, and read a review from Publisher’s Weekly here.

Becoming Hopi is a comprehensive look at the history of the people of the Hopi Mesas as it has never been told before. The product of more than fifteen years of collaboration between tribal and academic scholars, this volume presents groundbreaking research demonstrating that the Hopi Mesas are among the great centers of the Pueblo world.

Becoming Hopi brilliantly combines Hopi and non-Hopi voices in helping to rewrite Hopi history and the process of becoming Hopi…The combination and use of traditional, archaeological, and documentary histories unfolds a rare perspective on what it means to be Hopi.”—Barbara Mills, co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Southwest Archaeology

Duane Champagne and Carole Goldberg are leading experts in Native sovereignty policies and histories. They worked in collaboration with members of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians to illustrate how the community formed and persisted. A Coalition of Lineages is not only the story of a Native Southern California community, it is also a model for multicultural tribal development for recognized and nonrecognized Indian nations in the United States and elsewhere.

“Written to dispel the idea that these lineages ever ceased to exist under colonial power, this book offers a conceptual framework around the lineage that can be useful to historians and scholars.”—Lisbeth Haas, author of Saints and Citizens: Indigenous Histories of Colonial Missions and Mexican California

Diverting the Gila explores the complex web of tension, distrust, and political maneuvering to divide and divert the scarce waters of Arizona’s Gila River among residents of Florence, Casa Grande, and the Pima Indians in the early part of the twentieth century. It is the sequel to David H. DeJong’s 2009 Stealing the Gila, and it 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.

View photos and read extended captions that help highlight the history in Diverting the Gila here.

Rewriting the Chicano Movement is an insightful new history of the Chicano Movement that expands the meaning and understanding of this seminal historical period in Chicano history. The essays introduce new individuals and struggles previously omitted from Chicano Movement history.

Watch a recording of our book release celebration for Rewriting the Chicano Movement here, then read a brief interview with authors Mario T. García and Ellen McCracken here, and read an excerpt from the book here.

Empowered! examines Arizona’s recent political history and how it has been shaped and propelled by Latinos. This book shows how Latinos are mobilizing to counter proposals for Draconian immigration laws with new and innovative approaches.

Watch a recording of our book release celebration for Empowered! here, then read a brief interview with author Lisa Magaña here.

The early twentieth-century roots of modern American Indian protest and activism are examined in We Are Not a Vanishing People. It tells the history of Native intellectuals and activists joining together to establish the Society of American Indians, a group of Indigenous men and women united in the struggle for Indian self-determination.

Read a brief interview with author Thomas Maroukis here.

In 1924, the United States began a bold program in public health. The Indian Service of the United States hired its first nurses to work among Indians living on reservations. Strong Hearts and Healing Hands shows how field nurses and Native people formed a positive working relationship that resulted in the decline of mortality from infectious diseases. With strong hearts, Indians eagerly participated in the tuberculosis campaign of 1939–40 to x-ray tribal members living on twenty-nine reservations. Through their cooperative efforts, Indians and health-care providers decreased deaths, cases, and misery among the tribes of Southern California.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Museum Matters tells the story of Mexico’s national collections through the trajectories of its objects. The essays in this book show the many ways in which things matter and affect how Mexico imagines its past, present, and future.

“This exciting new volume gathers penetrating new studies on the formation of Mexico’s national collections, from antiquities to natural history specimens. The volume is essential reading for anyone interested in the formation of museums, particularly how such institutions participate in the production of knowledge over time. Filled with strikingly original and important contributions, the volume will be widely read by scholars in history, anthropology, museum studies, art history, archaeology, and other related fields.”—Joanne Pillsbury, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Postcards have a magical pull. They allow us to see the past through charming relics that allow us to travel back in time. Daniel D. Arreola’s Postcards from the Baja California Border offers a window into the historical and geographical past of storied Mexican border communities. Once-popular tourist destinations from the 1900s through the 1950s, the border communities explored in Postcards from the Baja California Border used to be filled with revelers, cabarets, curio shops, and more. The postcards in this book show the bright and dynamic past of California’s borderlands while diving deep into the historic and geographic significance of the imagery found on the postcards.

Take a look inside the book here.

The Beloved Border is a potent and timely report on the U.S.-Mexico border. Though this book tells of the unjust death and suffering that occurs in the borderlands, Davidson gives us hope that the U.S.-Mexico border could be, and in many ways already is, a model for peaceful coexistence worldwide.

Read a brief interview about the book with author Miriam Davidson here, then read an excerpt from The Beloved Border here.

Returning Home features and contextualizes the creative works of Diné (Navajo) boarding school students at the Intermountain Indian School, which was the largest federal Indian boarding school between 1950 and 1984. Diné student art and poetry reveal ways that boarding school students sustained and contributed to Indigenous cultures and communities despite assimilationist agendas and pressures.

“By bringing to light a wide collection of creative writings and artwork, this book offers an unprecedented window into the lives of Diné students at a federal boarding school in the second half of the twentieth century. Students’ words need to be heard and their artwork needs to be seen in order to better understand their schooling and personal experiences at Intermountain.”—Marinella Lentis, author of Colonized through Art: American Indian Schools and Art Education

As an Indigenous scholar researching the history and archaeology of his own tribe, Tsim D. Schneider— author of The Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse— provides a unique and timely contribution to the growing field of Indigenous archaeology and offers a new perspective on the primary role and relevance of Indigenous places and homelands in the study of colonial encounters.

“Combining the best of data-driven archaeology with the archaeologist-as-storyteller approach, Schneider blends scientific expertise with his cultural knowledge as a tribal member, resulting in a rare and powerful analysis. This outstanding case study in Indigenous archaeology productively merges archaeological and historical methods with sophisticated yet accessible social theory. The result is an engaging history and hopeful look to the future of Indigenous resiliencies.”—Sarah Cowie, co-editor of Collaborative Archaeology at the Stewart Indian School

‘Border Women’ Event Celebrated Michelle Téllez’s Work and Community

October 12, 2021

Hortensia Hernández never got a chance to hold the book, Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas: Autonomy in the Spaces of Neoliberal Neglect, but she knew the book on the community she helped lead and organize would be published in October. In August, Hernández died after a short battle with cancer, and despite her absence she was everywhere during the book celebration on Wednesday, October 8 at EXO Roast Co. in Tucson.

The book’s cover features Hernández’s likeness from a mural in the autonomous community in Baja California. Author Michelle Téllez, standing before friends, colleagues, and book lovers at the event, recalled what Hernández wrote after seeing the cover:

“You stirred my heart. It was sad, bitter, because for years I was persecuted by police and politicians. Without being a criminal, my crime was to seek a dignified life, education, health, sport. But it was worth it, today more than 12,000 inhabitants have benefited, and I am happy that my compañeros and I came out almost triumphant as we await the titles of our property. And thank you, Michel [sic], for you were part of our marginalized and you supported us to get ahead. We love you very much. And this cover moved me, but it also made me reflect and think with satisfaction that it was worth it.”

Much thanks to EXO Roast co-owners Amy and Doug Smith for hosting the event, which featured music from the Son Jarocho Collective.

Téllez, an associate professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona, is coeditor of The Chicana M(other)work Anthology, also published by the University of Arizona Press. The anthology weaves together emerging scholarship and testimonios by and about self-identified Chicana and Women of Color mother-scholars, activists, and allies who center mothering as transformative labor through an intersectional lens. 

Border Women tells the story about the autonomous community of Maclovio Rojas near Tijuana, and how it 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. Téllez shows that in creating the community of Maclovio Rojas, residents have challenged prescriptive notions of nation and belonging.

Arizona Daily Star Includes ‘Famine Foods’ in Book Review Roundup

October 12, 2021

The Arizona Daily Star recently featured reviews of books by regional authors, including University of Arizona Press author Paul Minnis and his new book, Famine Foods: Plants We Eat to Survive.

From Helene Woodhams on Famine Foods:

“‘A starving man does not sniff his food.’ Paul E. Minnis, professor emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, prefaces this volume with an old Ukrainian adage that prepares the reader for an extensive survey of comestibles you hope you’ll never have to eat — but that you probably should be aware of all the same. As Minnis ably demonstrates, the threat of starvation is as close as the next political upheaval, severe water shortage, or climate catastrophe.”

Read all the book reviews here.

Watch: Tsim Schneider Introduces the Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse

October 8, 2021

The Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse explores the dual practices of refuge and recourse among Indigenous peoples of California. From the eighteenth to the twentieth century, Indigenous Coast Miwok communities in California persisted throughout multiple waves of colonial intrusion. But to what ends?

Applying theories of place and landscape, social memory, and mobility to the analysis of six archaeological sites, Tsim D. Schneider argues for a new direction in the archaeology of colonialism. This book offers insight about the critical and ongoing relationships Indigenous people maintained to their homelands despite colonization and systematic destruction of their cultural sites.

Watch Tsim Schneider introduce his new book below.

Tsim D. Schneider is a citizen of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria and an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His archaeological and historical research investigates the lives and decision making of Indigenous peoples contending with colonialism. Schneider is co-editor of Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions: New Perspectives from Archaeology and Ethnohistory, and his research appears in such high-caliber journals as American Anthropologist, American Antiquity, and American Indian Quarterly.

Laura Harjo Wins a 2021 On the Brinck Book Award for Spiral to the Stars

October 7, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Laura Harjo won a 2021 On the Brinck Book Award!

The jury wanted to emphasize and set the tone for books that share fresh voices and integrated concepts across disciplines. They felt the winning volumes embody the spirit of J.B. Jackson and contributes to knowledge and perspectives across the design disciplines, including architecture, landscape architecture, planning, and urban design. They see these books as a collection that, when read together, can help students, faculty, and practitioners raise the bar of design discourse and open new discussions on ways of viewing and knowing.

Head juror, UNM School of Architecture + Planning (SA+P) Assistant Professor Kathleen Kambic, states: “We see these four volumes signaling an openness within design discourse. Each book deals with broad themes of race, environment, and climate through contestation and integration of existing ideas.” This academic year, the authors will be paired into conversations at UNM SA+P, where they will present their work briefly, and then have the opportunity to discuss each other’s work and take audience questions.

About Spiral to the Stars, the jurors wrote: “Spiral to the Stars, by Laura Harjo, is a remarkable and original volume. It validates indigeneity and contextualizes western thinking within it by bringing additional voices to the forefront. The ontological approaches Harjo proposes are valuable blueprints for community engagement. Harjo shares a concept of radical sovereignty that reveals the value of marginalized communities to those who may not have knowledge of them. It is a powerful and expansive view of the potentials of design. This book will be captivating for students, reinforcing the importance of new types of scholarship. This volume starts with community and grounds itself in the personal experience and accessible writing of Harjo.”

Congratulations, Laura!

Poet Santee Frazier Reads at UMass Visiting Writers Series

October 6, 2021

Poet Santee Frazier opened the University of Massachusetts Amherst visiting writers series, reflecting on his work and reading from his two collections published with the University of Arizona Press—Aurum and Dark Thirty.

From The Massachusetts Daily Collegian:

“As Frazier took the stage, he explained his decision to have his poems projected behind him. While this initially was done to accommodate Zoom events, Frazier explained that it allowed him to preserve the “visual art” of poetry while reading to the crowd.

Frazier reflected on the three distinct aspects that he explores in his writing. Frazier writes poems based on rituals, showcased in his collection Aurumwhereas some poems he finds himself “compelled to write.” Another avenue he seeks to explore is through the recurring character Mangled Creek Bed, the embodiment of Native American struggles and experiences in the Southwestern United States.”

Read more here.

ASU News Profile on Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez

October 5, 2021

ASU News recently featured University of Arizona Press author Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez regarding a $10,000 Whiting Public Engagement Seed Grant she received to jump-start a community engagement project examining how Hispanic communities in northeastern Arizona understand their idea of place focusing on the towns of Concho, St. Johns and Springerville.

Fonseca-Chávez, author of Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture, was recently promoted to tenure and is the associate professor of English and associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion in the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts at ASU.

From the story:

“Fonseca-Chávez said that while working on the ASU Public History Collaborative grant, 20 to 35 people gathered in Concho to discuss their family’s migrations from New Mexico to Arizona. She said they were invested in righting the origins of their towns, like Concho and St. Johns. Many families, including her own, were sheepherders and moved around looking for water sources, settling eventually in northeastern Arizona. While they recognize that their families came from New Mexico, they have established their own culture and distinctions about their communities, like Concho green chili and St. Johns-style tacos.”

Please go here to read the entire story.

Orion Magazine Poetry Praises for Latinx Heritage Month

September 29, 2021

Orion Magazine’s poetry editor, Camille T. Dungy, featured four University of Arizona Press poetry collections in this month’s issue celebrating Latinx Heritage Month.

At the top of the review list is Urayoán Noel‘s Transversal, from our award-winning Camino del Sol series edited by Rigoberto González.

From Dungy: “That I am writing this mini-review only in English means I will leave out huge parts of what makes Transversal such a wonder and whopper to read. Moving fluidly between English, Spanish, Spanglish, and even more, this book uses language as a tool (read: monkey wrench; read: hammer; read: carabineer clip; read: steam engine; read: love).”

Dungy also reviewed Count by Valerie Martínez and x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación by Raquel Salas Rivera, the first recipient of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize.

Dungy invited other established poets to review other Latinx collections. Gloria Muñoz, author of Danzirly, an Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize winner, reviewed Mara Pastor‘s Deuda Natal, the most recent Ambroggio Prize recipient.

From Muñoz: “Deuda Natal calls us to carry the environmental disregard and abandon of Puerto Rico and of our entire planet. It is a loss we bundle and hold with care as we look into its face and wonder how and what if and what now? Pastor’s poems are maps to help us make sense of our past and future migrations. Feminism and environmentalism intersect on pages that assess our relationship to nature, materialism, hope, and ourselves as byproducts of history and society.”

To read all the recommendations, head here.

Inside the Book: Postcards from the Baja California Border

September 28, 2021

Postcards have a magical pull. They allow us to see the past through charming relics that allow us to travel back in time. Daniel D. Arreola’s Postcards from the Baja California Border offers a window into the historical and geographical past of storied Mexican border communities. Once-popular tourist destinations from the 1900s through the 1950s, the border communities explored in Postcards from the Baja California Border used to be filled with revelers, cabarets, curio shops, and more. The postcards in this book show the bright and dynamic past of California’s borderlands while diving deep into the historic and geographic significance of the imagery found on the postcards. With 313 color images, 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. Today, we share a sample of the wonderful postcards pictured in this new work.

Fig. 2.12 Tourist group in front of Magruder’s Photo Shop, Tijuana real photo.

Fig. 2.12 Tourist group in front of Magruder’s Photo Shop, Tijuana real photo. 
Tourist group sans costumes in front of Magruder’s Photo Shop next door to the Big Curio Store in downtown Tijuana. In front of Magruder’s are panels holding sale samples of his real photo postcards. On the verso of some of his postcards, Magruder had ink stamped “Duplicates of this Photo can be had by sending 15c and mentioning Negative Number to—ROY W. MAGRUDER, SAN DIEGO, CAL.” Roy W. Magruder, 1910s.

Fig. 4.6 Greetings from Tijuana Mexico, print postcard.

Fig. 4.6 Greetings from Tijuana Mexico, print postcard. 
 “Greetings from Tijuana, Mexico.” This postcard was published for The Big Curio Store, Lower California Commercial Co., Inc., Tijuana, Mexico by Western Publishing and Novelty Co., no. 123366, Los Angeles, CA, 1920s. The Big Curio Store published additional versions of this postcard printed by Curt Teich, Chicago, IL, in 1935 (5A-H1106) and in 1950 (OC-H961).

Fig. 4.20 Honeymoon couple posed in a Tijuana burro cart, real photo postcard.

Fig. 4.20 Honeymoon couple posed in a Tijuana burro cart, real photo postcard. 
Honeymoon couple posed in a Tijuana burro cart, 1951. So-called burros pintados de cebra (burros painted to look like zebras) became all the rage by the 1950s. The burros were rented to photographers by the Lorenzo Franco family, who maintained the animals in a corral on Callejón Z, an alley off Avenida Revolución.

Fig. 9.24 Residences in Colonia Moderna, Mexicali, real photo postcard.

Fig. 9.24 Residences in Colonia Moderna, Mexicali, real photo postcard. 
Residences in Colonia Moderna. A post–World War II neighborhood in Mexicali, these housescapes mirrored those common to American middle-class suburbs with sidewalks, property setbacks, ornamental landscaping, and modern house plans. México Fotográfico 116, 1950s.

Fig. 10.5 Governors meet on Baja boundary dividing Calexico and Mexicali, real photo postcard.

Fig. 10.5 Governors meet on Baja boundary dividing Calexico and Mexicali, real photo postcard.
William Stephens, Governor of California, and Esteban Cantú, governor of the northern district of Baja California, meet on the boundary line dividing Calexico and Mexicali, June 11, 1918. Photo postcard, 1918.

Fig. 11.9 Palace Cabaret and Cantina, Mexicali, nighttime real photo postcard.

Fig. 11.9 Palace Cabaret and Cantina, Mexicali, nighttime real photo postcard.
Palace Cabaret and Cantina. Nighttime photography became something of a specialty of Mexicali postcard photographers who documented the “White Way” cabarets of the border town. Foto. Iris, 1910s.

***

Daniel D. Arreola is a cultural and historical geographer who specializes in the study of the Mexican American borderlands. He is an emeritus professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning at Arizona State University. His most recent book is Postcards from the Chihuahua Border: Revisiting a Pictorial Past, 1900s–1950s.

Watch: Virtual Book Celebration and Reading with Valerie Martínez

September 23, 2021

The University of Arizona Press hosted a virtual book launch and reading on Wednesday, September 22 with poet Valerie Martínez for her book-length poem Count. Martínez was joined by Rigoberto Gonzaléz, University of Arizona Press’ Camino del Sol Series editor.

About Count: Forty-three sections of myth-gathering, flora and fauna, accounts of climate devastation, personal narratives, witnessing, references to works of eco-art, and evocations of children unfold over the course of the book, creating a deeply nuanced image of the current climate crisis. Central to this vital work of ecopoetry is the idea of counting—counting down to the extinction of a species, counting the wonders of the natural world, counting our way back to the balance that is required to save ourselves from climate destruction. Filled with a sense of grief and sorrow for the current state of the planet, Count also offers a glimmering hope that future generations will restore our damaged environment.

Excerpt from Miriam Davidson’s ‘Beloved Border’

September 22, 2021

The Tucson Weekly recently ran a excerpt from University of Arizona Press author Miriam Davidson‘s new book, The Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land as a cover story. The excerpt features Gary Paul Nabhan, a University of Arizona Press author and ethnobotonist, on looking at the border wall differently.

Here’s a portion of the excerpt:

The Solar Wall

Ethnobotanist, nature writer and sustainable agriculture advocate Gary Nabhan was another Mexican-identified, Anglo border person with a vision for the future. Founder of Native Seeds/SEARCH, Nabhan held the Kellogg Endowed Chair in Food and Water Security for the Borderlands at the University of Arizona Southwest Center. He lived with his wife, a nurse practitioner, on a quiet ranch nestled among the rolling hills outside Patagonia, Arizona. I drove down from Tucson to interview him on a crystal-blue-sky winter morning in February 2018.

Nabhan met me at the highway in his Prius, and I followed him along a winding dirt road, past the Native Seed farm, with a sign that said “Nabhan” in Arabic (he is of Lebanese descent), then up a small hill to a comfortable, light-filled home. The living room overlooked the farm and had a sweeping view of the surrounding mountains. There we talked about the solar wall and other forward-thinking ideas for sustainable border development.

The idea for a solar wall was first proposed by Mexican poet, diplomat and environmental activist Homero Aridjis in response to Trump’s call to build a wall. A friend of Nabhan’s, Aridjis was known for his innovative, problem-solving ideas. He’d founded an organization called the Group of 100 that, among other efforts, helped fight air pollution in Mexico City, create monarch butterfly sanctuaries in Michoacán, and save endangered whales, sea turtles and vaquitas (tiny, nearly extinct porpoises) in the Gulf of California. In a December 2016 Huffington Post article, Aridjis and solar energy advocate James Ramey proposed, instead of a wall, an array of solar collectors on the border that would generate power, provide jobs, and be wildlife friendly and culturally sensitive.

The idea was later picked up in a Wall Street Journal op-ed written by Vasilis Fthenakis, director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis at Columbia University, and Ken Zweibel, then director of the Solar Institute at George Washington University. They calculated that a string of solar panels built along on the Mexican side could generate two thousand gigawatts of electricity a year, enough to power the entire border region on both sides, while being far less costly and environmentally damaging than a wall.

To read the entire excerpt, visit the Tucson Weekly here.

Five Questions with Miriam Davidson

September 20, 2021

Award-winning journalist Miriam Davidson‘s new book, Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land, draws on a variety of sources to explain how border issues intersect and how the current situation, while made worse under the Trump administration, is in fact the result of decades of prohibition, crackdowns, and wall building on the border. She also gives concrete examples of positive ways in which border people are promoting local culture and cross-border solidarity through health care, commerce, food, art, and music. While death and suffering continue to occur, The Beloved Border shows us how the U.S.-Mexico border could be, and in many ways already is, a model for peaceful coexistence worldwide.

This sensitive and heartfelt reporting is similar to Davidson’s other books published by the University of Arizona Press, such as Convictions of the Heart: Jim Corbett and the Sanctuary Movement, focused on the philosophy of Jim Corbett and how his beliefs challenged individuals and communities of faith across the country to examine the strength of their commitment to the needs and rights of others. In Lives on the Line: Dispatches from the U.S.-Mexico Border, Davidson tells five true stories to show the real-life effects that the maquiladora boom and the law enforcement crackdown have had on the people of “Ambos (Both) Nogales.”

Here are five questions from Davidson about her work and writing about the borderlands:

Why has the border captured your heart during most of your career as a journalist and author?

My first job out of college was at The Laredo News, in Laredo Texas, and other than a few years in New York City and Los Angeles, I’ve been living near, and writing about, the border ever since. Most of that time I’ve been in Tucson, covering the region as a freelancer for a variety of publications. The border interests me as a subject because, while there is great tragedy and suffering, especially in recent years, there’s also great natural beauty and social activism. There’s so much to write about.

Who do you hope or want to read Beloved Border?

I want this book to be read by as many people as possible! My hope is that it explains border issues and presents solutions in language that is available to all readers.

What advice would you give to young journalists and authors wanting to write about the borderlands?

Be careful! Seriously. Learn Spanish, study history, and seek out alternative voices. Don’t be naïve about the dangers, but don’t let your fear keep you from telling the stories of those who are in much greater danger than you. Also, be prepared for rejection. As I often say, if the world cared about the border, the world wouldn’t be the way it is.

Often, especially for those close to the border, life seems dire and change impossible. However, you note optimism and that change is possible, why?

There is a lot of dynamism on the border, a lot of youthful energy, and young people give me hope. Border people are striving for a better life, and through their struggles, they show that transformation is possible. They’re on the leading edge of some of the most important social movements of our time, from the fights against gun violence, police brutality and ecological destruction to the struggle for dignity and decent treatment of migrants and refugees.

Is there a border story you want to tell next?

I’m interested in researching and writing about ways in which migrants could be legalized and integrated into small towns across America that need agricultural workers. It could be a win for everyone, and a lot of them would probably end up being Republicans! I also hope to keep reporting on day-to-day happenings on the border, and keep trying to call national attention to the region, since it’s not being covered as well as it should be.

Five Questions with Poet Valerie Martínez

September 16, 2021

Count is a powerful book-length poem that reckons with the heartbreaking reality of climate change. Forty-three sections of myth-gathering, flora and fauna, accounts of climate devastation, personal narratives, witnessing, references to works of eco-art, and evocations of children unfold over the course of the book, creating a deeply nuanced image of the current climate crisis. Below, read five questions with poet Valerie Martínez about her new work, Count.

What inspired you to write this collection?

Climate change is one of the issues I follow closely, so an abiding concern and sense of responsibility for the planet–and our own survival– is very important to me. Also, in 2011 or so, I started to be bothered by a daydream/vision that kept coming to me. A young girl (who appears in the poem) standing on a beach, facing the ocean. I saw her from behind, always. The sky was overcast, gray, foreboding. I didn’t know where she came from but she kept visiting me, insistent. Finally, I had a Visiting Professor position at the University of Miami during the 2012-2013 academic year. Traveling back and forth from Florida, water everywhere, to the New Mexico high desert, where I live, sparked and sustained the poem.

In Rigoberto Gonzaléz’s forward to the collection, he writes “She scaffolds story with the language of the scientific community, the knowledge of the land’s Indigenous peoples, and the insights of a socially conscious speaker.” Could you tell us more about your research process for Count, and your process for artfully weaving these different perspectives together?

Since 2005 or so, I have been working in the long poem form. My previous book, Each and Her, is also a book-length work. It, too, weaves in facts as well as lyric fragments, pieces of narrative, and more. That book is about the women of Juárez, among other things, and demanded a level of witnessing that is also present in Count. Because Count attempts to grapple with the now extremely obvious effects of human-made climate change, and the impending disasters we will face if we don’t change our ways, I wanted to weave together many threads–facts about the remarkable characteristics of flora and fauna, stories about “the deluge” from peoples and communities around the world, details about how creatures and plants are trying to adapt to climate change, snippets about the children in my life, stories of water, and more. My “research process” is more about weaving together what I imagine, what I know, what I read in books, magazines, and newspapers, what I see in art, what I watch on TV, and more. My writing desk and files are full of information I’ve gathered over many, many years. Overall, I think I’m interested in how much a poem can “hold.” How much can it “manage”?

One of the lines in Count that deeply resonates with me is, “reality numbed by the force of exhilarating velocity.”, which is in reference to Sigalit Landau’s piece titled Barbed Hula. Could you tell us about the impact that various artworks had on your creation of Count?

As I wrote the book, I became more laser-focused on works of art that address climate change and others that struck me as related. When I’m deep in a book of poetry, everything seems connected to it. While in Paris, long before I started writing Count, I saw Landau’s video at the Centre Pompidou. It came back to me as I was writing. I saw “A Needle Woman,” by Kim Sooja, at the Miami Museum of Art. I had known of Basia Irland’s ice books for a long time. As the poem unfolded, these and others began to weave themselves in. I have a particular interest in contemporary work by artists who are grappling with climate change in the ways that a poem does–less didactically, less directly, and more by association. What I love about good poetry is what I call the “language of indirection.” I believe that we are changed, deeply, when this kind of language alters our consciousness.

In Count, you write “How old are they? How much does it weigh to be 25 years in the world at this fateful witnessing?” Do you have any thoughts on how young people should navigate a world that is being drastically and rapidly shaped by climate change, and how they might be able to advocate for and enact change?

Oh, I think it’s the obligation of my generation, 50’s and older, to bear the brunt of making change. Many younger people are incredibly active and their activism is crucial, but they deserve to know and feel that their elders are doing everything to mitigate what we have wrought on the planet. They are seeing, like we, the more devastating hurricanes and flooding and wildfires and they will feel it more than anyone. They will HAVE to act. But their elders need to dig in and use our expertise and long-lived experience and resources to make things better for them.

What are you working on now?

Actually, nothing much. I have a day job, like most poets (leading a truth, healing, and reconciliation project in the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico) and it occupies much of my time. But I continue to work and travel and read and live and these well themselves in me and eventually lead to new work.

Valerie Martínez is the author of six books of poetry. Her work has been awarded the Larry Levis Prize, a Greenwall Grant from Academy of American Poets, an Arizona Book Award, and received nominations for the Pulitzer Prize, William Carlos William Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, PEN Open Book Award, and Ron Ridenhour Prize, as well as honorable mention in the 2011 International Latino Book Awards. She was the poet laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico, from 2008 to 2010.

Academy of American Poets Announces Ambroggio Prize 2021 Winner: ‘Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on its Beak’

September 15, 2021

The Academy of American Poets announced today the winner of the Ambroggio Prize 2021, Carlos Aguasaco’s Cardenal en mi ventana con una máscara en el pico / Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on its Beak, translated by Jennifer Rathbun.

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, 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 Rigoberto González.

From the Academy:

Carlos Aguasaco is the Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies and Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at the City College of the City University of New York (CUNY). He has edited eleven literary anthologies and published seven books of poems, most recently The New York City Subway Poems (Ashland Poetry Press, 2020). He has also published a short novel and an academic study of Latin America’s prime superhero, El Chapulín Colorado. He is the editor of Transatlantic Gazes: Studies on the Historical Links between Spain and North America (IF-UAH, 2018). Carlos is the founder and director of Artepoetica Press (artepoetica.com). He is also director of The Americas Poetry Festival of New York (poetryny.com) and coordinator of The Americas Film Festival of New York (taffny.com). His poems have been translated into English, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Galician, and Arabic.

Jennifer Rathbun is a Spanish Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at Ball State University. She’s published fourteen books of poetry in translation by Hispanic authors such as Alberto Blanco, Minerva Margarita Villarreal, Fernando Carrera and Juan Armando Rojas Joo; two anthologies of poetry denouncing femicide along the US-Mexico border; and the poetry collection El libro de las traiciones / The Book of Betrayals (Artepoetica Press, 2021). Rathbun completed her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Spanish, specializing in contemporary Latin American Literature. She’s a member of The American Literary Translators Association and she’s the Associate Editor of Ashland Poetry Press. 

About Aguasaco’s winning manuscript, judge Rigoberto González said: “Cardenal en mi ventana con una máscara en el pico / Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on its Beak takes the reader on a journey through the surreal and the melancholic, to inventive scenarios like an encounter between Stein and Vallejo going to the movies, to the heartbreaking stories of sideshow attractions where bodies are stripped of their humanity. Yet this book reaches beyond surprising premises and literary inspirations to arrive at a place where the poet also finds wonder in everyday encounters and solace in the sobering knowledge that everything comes to an end, but not before dispelling its magic upon the world: like that red bird mirroring the masked face during the pandemic, like the arresting language of the poet that will eventually succumb to silence. Each poem in this exquisite collection brings a startling (and necessary) revelation about our aches, follies, and mortality, to light.” 

Watch: Mara Pastor Read from New Poetry Collection ‘Deuda Natal’

September 13, 2021

The University of Arizona Press, in partnership with the Academy of American Poets, presented poet Mara Pastor, who read from her new collection, Deuda Natal, in a virtual book celebration on Wednesday, September 9, 2021.

Deuda Natal won the Academy of American Poets’ 2020 Ambroggio Prize, the only annual award of its kind in the United States that honors American poets whose first language is Spanish. The poems in Deuda Natal were translated from Spanish to English by María José Giménez and Anna Rosenwong.

During this virtual book celebration, Pastor, and translators Giménez and Rosenwong, were introduced by Nicole Cecilia Delgado, a poet, translator, and book artist. Pastor read her poems in Spanish, while Giménez and Rosenwong read the same poems in English. Delgado interviewed the poet and translators about the project, and how they delicately worked together to capture the poet’s words, spirit, and motivations.

Deuda Natal finds the beauty within vulnerability and the dignity amidst precariousness. As one of the most prominent voices in Puerto Rican poetry, Pastor uses the poems in this new bilingual collection to highlight the way that fundamental forms of caring for life—and for language—can create a space of poetic decolonization. The poems propose new ways of understanding as they traverse a thematic landscape of women’s labor, the figure of the nomad and immigrant, and the return from economic exile to confront the catastrophic confluence of disaster and disaster capitalism.

John-Michael Rivera Awarded by the Carolyn Woodward Pope Endowment for Undocuments

September 10, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that John-Michael Rivera was awarded by the Carolyn Woodward Pope Endowment for UNDOCUMENTS! This award was established in 1999 to recognize University of Colorado Boulder English Department faculty, and comes with a cash prize for the author.

UNDOCUMENTS is an expansive multi-genre exploration of Greater Mexican documentality that reveals the complicated ways all Latinx peoples, including the author, become objectified within cultures. John-Michael Rivera remixes the Florentine Codex and other documents as he takes an intense look at the anxieties and physical detriments tied to immigration.

John-Michael Rivera is an associate professor and writer at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he serves as director of the Program for Writing and Rhetoric. He has published memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, and scholarship. He is the curator of El Laboratorio, a literary space for Latinx writers, and was co-founder of Shadowbox Magazine, a literary journal for creative nonfiction.

Watch: William Sheehan Joins Discussion on Our Love of the Red Planet

September 3, 2021

Mars Furor, a recent virtual event for the Lowell Observatory‘s Pluto Circle donors, featured University of Arizona Press authors William Sheehan, as well as Jennifer Putnam, PhD Student, Birkbeck College, University of London. The two discussed our fascination with the red planet from Schiaparelli and Lowell through the Mars rovers of 2021.

Sheehan’s new book, Discovering Mars, A History of Observation and Exploration of the Red Planet, with co-author Jim Bell, delves in to the history of the study and exploration of Mars.

Discovering Mars vividly conveys the way our understanding of this other planet has grown from earliest times to the present. The story is epic in scope—an Iliad or Odyssey for our time, at least so far largely without the folly, greed, lust, and tragedy of those ancient stories. Instead, the narrative of our quest for the Red Planet has showcased some of our species’ most hopeful attributes: curiosity, cooperation, exploration, and the restless drive to understand our place in the larger universe. Sheehan and Bell have written an ambitious first draft of that narrative even as the latest chapters continue to be added both by researchers on Earth and our robotic emissaries on and around Mars, including the latest: the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter drone, which set down in Mars’s Jezero Crater in February 2021.

Podcast Features Sara Sue Hoklotubbe on ‘Betrayal at the Buffalo Ranch’

September 3, 2021

On The Joys of Binge Reading podcast, Jenny Wheeler recently interviewed University of Arizona Press author Sara Sue Hoklotubbe on writing and her book, Betrayal at the Buffalo Ranch, the fourth in Hoklotubbe’s Sadie Walela mystery series.

“She recounts how a book that started out being about how women got a bad rap in banking turned into a bank robbery mystery. And she recalls the day she got stopped at Heathrow for having an American Indian name, believe it or not.”

Listen to the podcast here.

Five Questions with Thomas Maroukis

September 1, 2021

In We Are Not a Vanishing People, historian Thomas Maroukis describes the early twentieth-century roots of modern American Indian protest and activism. He tells the history of Native intellectuals and activists who joined together to establish the Society of American Indians, a group of Indigenous men and women united in the struggle for Indian self-determination. Today we ask the author five questions about his work:

What was the inspiration for this work?
In my Native American course, I cover activism and protest. When discovering that one the first all-Indian activist organization was founded in Columbus, Ohio where I live and teach, I decided to research its origins and subsequently its full history. My early research was to prepare a paper on its on its Columbus origins which I presented at the Ohio Academy of History. I had known about the Society of American Indians (SAI) since I had written The Peyote Road: Religious Freedom and The Native American Church (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010) on the history of peyote and the Native American Church. The use of peyote was controversial and it was one of the issues that led to the demise of the SAI. This added to my interest to pursue the SAI.

One of the interesting details about this work is the role The Ohio State University played. What was it?
In the first decade of the twentieth century The Ohio State University employed sociologist Fayette McKenzie. He wrote a doctoral dissertation on American Indians and began to teach such a course. In 1908 he invited several prominent Native Americans to OSU. They began discussing the need for an all-Indian national organization. Meanwhile several American Indians intellectuals, such as Carlos Montezuma and Charles Eastman, had been discussing such a need for almost a decade. The meeting at OSU was the impetus to establish such an organization. McKenzie was able to get OSU to sponsor the initial conference in 1911. As all went well it was agreed to hold a second conference in 1912: thus, the founding at OSU.

 In order to commemorate the founding, OSU held a three-day centennial conference in 2011, It was titled “Society of American Indian: Centennial Symposium, 1911-2011.” It was attended by hundreds of scholars and activists. The organizers of the conference followed with a volume of essays: “The Society of American Indians and Its Legacies,” 2013. I wrote an essay for the volume: “The Peyote Controversy and the Demise of The Society of American Indians.” This conference inspired me to continue my research on the SAI.

Very little has been written about the SAI. What is the significance of the organization?
It was an organization by Indians for Indians. They were determined to reduce or eliminate federal control over the reservation system so Indians could control their own future.  They fought for U.S. citizenship, challenged the stereotypes of Indians held by the American public, and wanted to demonstrate they were not a “vanishing race.”

They used a variety of strategies to challenge federal control. They protested through lobbying, writing and publicizing their plight. They held annual conferences, published their own journal, wrote books and articles, and spoke all over the country. They fought for quality education for Indian youth. They opposed the federal boarding school system. They helped initiate a century-long tradition of protest and did so without surrendering their cultural heritage.

What surprised you most during your research?
The amount of research material available. They wrote thousands of letters, many published speeches and articles for their journal. There are also many newspapers stories and interviews in the local press in the cities where their conferences were held.

What can today’s activists learn from this history?
As a non-Indian I would not suggest anything for today’s activists. I would recommend buying the book and take from it what may be relevant or not.

***
Thomas Constantine Maroukis is professor emeritus in the Department of History at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

Five Questions about ‘Science Be Dammed’ with Eric Kuhn and John Fleck

August 25, 2021

Science Be Dammed is an alarming reminder of the high stakes in the management—and perils in the mismanagement—of water in the western United States.  It seems deceptively simple: even when clear evidence was available that the Colorado River could not sustain ambitious dreaming and planning by decision-makers throughout the twentieth century, river planners and political operatives irresponsibly made the least sustainable and most dangerous long-term decisions.

This month we are releasing Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River in paperback. Today we ask authors Eric Kuhn and John Fleck five questions:

Why did you embark on this project?
We wanted to provide a resource that would contribute to better decision making. In the next few years, the Colorado River basin water managers and other stakeholders will be facing difficult decisions, including renegotiating the river’s fundamental operating rules – questions about who gets water, and how much. We recognized that the river has been legally overallocated for decades. We wanted to understand how this happened–how science was used/misused in the decision-making process and how that misuse of science has become embedded in the river’s governance structure. We believed that with the impacts of climate change adding a new level of deep uncertainty and complexity to an already overused river, it was important to understand how we got here.

This summer we’ve seen record setting drought. For the first time, users on the Colorado River are receiving drought-restricted water. Was this inevitable?
This is a debatable question.  In theory, had basin decision-makers been more curious and more willing to accept the views of the scientists, the legal overallocation of the river could have been avoided. As a practical matter though, the political benefits of ignoring the “inconvenient” science dominated the decision-making process.

Since publication, your book has received a lot of notice. What have you heard from readers since the book was published?
Almost all the feedback and input we’ve received from readers has been positive.  For example, retired USBR Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp told us that he read the final chapter first, liked our positive tone and message, then went back and read the rest of the book.

Policymakers are making critical decisions about the coming decades of water and the West right now. What do you hope they learn from past?
Seek the active input and perspective of science on all decisions, especially given the expected impacts of climate change on the Colorado River.

Collectively, you have more than 60 years of experience in western water management and reporting. What do you hope decision makers of the future take into account?
Climate change is a game changer. It is adding deep uncertainty to a governance system designed for a variable, but in the long-term a stationary river system. New management approaches will be needed to meet future challenges.

***

Eric Kuhn, recently retired, worked for the Colorado River Water Conservation District from 1981 to 2018, including twenty-two years as general manager. The district is a water utility and policy agency covering most of the Colorado River basin within Colorado.

John Fleck is director of the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program. He wrote Water Is for Fighting Over and Other Myths About Water in the West.

Multiple UA Press Books Receive Honorable Mentions for International Latino Book Awards

August 25, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that several of our recent titles received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards! Federico by Federico Jiménez Caballero and Shelby Tisdale received an honorable mention in the Best Autobiography category, Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities, edited by Arturo J. Aldama and Frederick Luis Aldama, received an honorable mention in the Best Non-Fiction Multi-Author category, and Activist Leaders of San José by Josie Méndez-Negrete received an honorable mention in the Best History Book category.

The awards ceremony will be held virtually on October 16 and 17, 2021.

Congratulations to Federico, Shelby, Arturo, Frederick, and Josie!

Intersectional Chicana Feminisms Chosen as Finalist for International Latino Book Awards

August 25, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Intersectional Chicana Feminisms by Aída Hurtado was chosen as a finalist in the Victor Villaseñor Best Latino Focused Nonfiction Book category of the International Latino Book Awards!

The International Latino Book Awards are now by far the largest Latino cultural awards in the USA. The 2021 Finalists for the 23rd Annual International Latino Book Awards are a reflection of the growing quality of books by and about Latinos.

The awards ceremony will be held virtually on October 16 and 17, 2021.

Congratulations, Aída!

Five Things You Need to Know About Poet Raquel Salas Rivera

August 13, 2021

Raquel Salas Rivera, a Puerto Rican poet who writes in Spanish and English, is featured in the University of Arizona Press Fall 2021 catalog with his collection x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación that poet Willie Perdomo deftly describes as poetry “… guided by an almost surreal imagery, [that] teaches us how to write from the silence of captivity with a nuanced bilingualism. The lines in these poems work off Salas Rivera’s beautifully decolonized logic and turn until they ultimately construct a nation of truth or cut you until you bleed into a new body.”

One: Salas Rivera’s x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación is the first recipient of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize, a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. Ambroggio Prize winners are now published by the University of Arizona Press. x/ex/exis was selected by Alberto Álvaro Ríos in 2018.

Written in the early days of the rise of world-wide fascism and the poet’s gender transition, x/ex/exis accepts the invitation to push poetic and gender imaginaries beyond the bounds set by nation. From teen dysphoria, to the incarceration of anticolonial activists Oscar López and Nina Droz Franco, to the entanglement of church and state, these poems acknowledge the violence of imposed binaries. For Salas Rivera, the marks Puerto Rican transness in a world that seeks trans death, denial, and erasure. Instead of justifying his existence, he takes up the flag of illegibility and writes an apocalyptic book that screams into an uncertain future, armed with nothing to lose.

Two: Salas Rivera was Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, 2018-2019. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Many people who immigrate to the U.S. have more than one home,” said Rivera a few weeks ago during an interview at the Free Library of Philadelphia, just before jetting off to visit family in Puerto Rico. “They have multiple allegiances. My home is Philadelphia, and my home is Puerto Rico.”

Three: Salas Rivera is part of a collective of Puerto Rican authors and poets with El proyecto de la literatura puertorriqueña/ The Puerto Rican Literature Project, with the University of Houston’s U.S. Latino Digital Humanities and support from a three-year Mellon Foundation grant. Salas Rivera is currently creating the projects online archive of Puerto Rican literature. Alongside Claire Jiménez, Ricardo Maldonado, Enrique Olivares, and the University of Houston’s USLDH team, he serves as investigator and head of the translation team. The archive is a free, bilingual, user-friendly open access digital portal that users within and outside academia can use to learn about and teach Puerto Rican poetry.

“So often, Puerto Rican poets and writers are forced to share our various knowledges and archive these without the necessary resources, keeping alive precarious traditions, driven by our love of literature and sheer force of will, carving out time where there is none to create, document, and uplift each other. The PRLP is a long overdue post-curational archival project that we can all access, which we hope will aid us in a centuries-long mission to celebrate our literary achievements.”

Four: Besides being named a Poet Laureate, Salas Rivera has an impressive list of awards and grants in his work as a poet. He is also the author of five full-length poetry books besides x/ex/exis. His sixth book, antes que isla es volcán/before island is volcano, is an imaginative leap into Puerto Rico’s decolonial future and is forthcoming from Beacon Press in 2022.

Awards: 2020 Firecracker Award in Poetry Finalist; 2019 Big Other Book Award for Poetry and Translation Finalist; 2020 Pen America Open Book Award Longlist2019 Premio Nuevas Voces del Festival de la Palabra de Puerto Rico; 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry; 2018 National Book Award Longlist: Poetry; 2018 Ambroggio Prize from the Academy of American Poets; 2018-2019 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia; 2010 First and Second Place in the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico’s Literary Contest; y/and 2010 First Place in the University of Puerto Rico’s Queer Festival’s Poetry Contest. 

Grants and fellowships: 2021-2024 Mellon Foundation grant for El proyecto de la literatura puertorriqueña/ The Puerto Rican Literature Project; 2021 NEA Translation Fellowship; 2019-2021 Writer for the Art for Justice Fund at the University of Arizona Poetry Center; 2020 University of Houston and Arte Publico Press US Latino Digital Humanities USLDH Grant-In-Aid; 2020 Nadya Aisenberg MacDowell Colony Fellowship; 2020 La Impresora Poet in Residency; 2019 Playwright Fellow at the Sundance Institute Playwrights and Composer Retreat; 2019 Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets; 2018-2019 Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Jazz Residency; 2018 CantoMundo Fellow; y/and 2004 Scholarship to attend Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program.

Five: Salas Rivera’s roots are poetry.

His grandfather Sotero Rivera Avilés was a poet, and with the support of a 2021 NEA Translation Fellowship, he is translating his grandfather’s poetry.

“On April 28, 1933, my grandfather, Sotero Rivera Avilés, was born in Añasco, Puerto Rico. Like most Puerto Rican towns, Añasco was built around the production of sugar cane. Rivera Avilés was the descendant of enslaved sugarcane workers. … Rivera Aviles’ work is extraordinary in its scope. He most often writes within the more traditional lyrical style that was typical of the Guajana Generation. Yet he wrote about being a post-war veteran in a rural Puerto Rican town and the broken promises of Luis Muñoz Marín’s populist modernization projects. He demystified the jíbaro archetype of the naïve, but good-hearted field laborer saved by mass migration to urban centers, such as San Juan and New York. He wrote openly about his disabilities, delved into the seldom described experience of post-war return migration, and left a record of regionalisms from a world that no longer exists. His is some of the only poetry written about Humatas, and the breadth of his work never overshadowed the importance of the life he led before acquiring a formal education.”

Currently, Salas Rivera writes and teaches in Puerto Rico.

OLLI Fall Speaker Series Includes Press Authors for Virtual Book Discussions

August 6, 2021

Big thanks to the University of Arizona’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for including several University of Arizona Press authors to be part of their Online Fall 2021 Speaker Series to discuss their new books. OLLI is a membership-based program that offers informal and educational community programming for all adults over the age of 50. Go here for more info on membership and programming. The Fall Speaker Series takes place on Mondays, 1 p.m. Pacific Time beginning in September.

University of Arizona Press authors:

November 1 – William Sheehan
Discovering Mars: A History of Observation and Exploration of the Red Planet

November 15 – James H. Creechan
Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds: The Transformations of Mexico’s Narco Cartels

November 29 – Miriam Davidson
Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land

December 13 – Seth Schindler
Sowing the Seeds of Change: The Story of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

Children of the Dragonfly: The Literature of Boarding Schools

July 26, 2021

By Robert Bensen

The recent discoveries of over 1,000 Indigenous children’s graves near boarding and residential schools are the latest developments in the story of assimilative, arguably genocidal education in the U.S. and Canada.  In poetry, fiction, and memoir, the boarding school experience is represented in Children of the Dragonfly, the first anthology of Indian literature devoted to Indian child education and welfare. The anthology also includes literature on adoption and foster care, when some 35 percent of Indian children were raised in non-Indian settings during the Sixties Scoop in Canada and the U.S. crisis that led to passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.  Dragonfly is an ancient spirit in the Zuni story that saves two abandoned children and restores them to their people.  That spirit is infused in the literature collected in Children of the Dragonfly.

            Boarding schools were created to assimilate Indian children to the white world, which required the loss of cultural traditions. The literature tells us, however, that children kept their stories and practices as much as they could. U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s “The Woman Who Fell from the Sky” (1994) retells the ancient creation story in the story of Johnny and Lila. Together they endured the rigors and privations of boarding school, but afterward went their separate ways. Johnny joined the army. Lila worked at Dairy Queen and cleaned houses until she entered the story that had been her refuge at school. She married one of the stars and lived in the Sky World, where she was sure “she could find love in a place that did not know the disturbance of death.”  One day, however,

a song climbed up her legs from far away, to the rooms of her heart. Later she would tell Johnny it was the sound of destiny, which is similar to a prayer reaching out to claim her. You can’t ignore these things, she would tell him, and it led her to the place her husband had warned her was too sacred for women. She looked into the forbidden place and leaped.

Lila fell from the sky world into Johnny’s arms in the parking lot of a Safeway store. The poem enacts what boarding school had not destroyed: the strength of survivorship in him, and in her, knowing that the old story she first heard in her mother’s womb would guard and nurture her all her life long.  

            By separating children from their tribe and family, the boarding school created problems in parenting and in inter-generational relations. The anthology includes an excerpt of the 1891 War Department propaganda novel Stiya, ghost-written to discourage Carlisle graduates from returning to their families and tribal ways.  Other fiction by Lee Maracle (“Black Robes”) and Luci Tapahonso (“The Snakeman”) trace generational conflicts and social relations created by removal. Black Bear’s memoir “Who Am I?” portrays the extreme emotional, physical, and spiritual damage to parent-child relations and to identity from boarding school life, and the cost of rebuilding what had been lost.

            Many boarding schools were operated by religious organizations to convert as well as assimilate Native children. E. Pauline Johnson’s 1913 story “As It Was in the Beginning” reveals the hypocrisy beneath the promise that the Black Robe Father made to Esther’s Cree father to “save her from hell” and make of her a “noble woman.”  Esther grows to womanhood in the school of the Black Robe Father, whose nephew falls in love with her and asks his uncle for permission to marry her. The Black Robe is horrified and says that despite her upbringing she “comes of uncertain blood…[and] you can never tell what lurks in a caged animal that has once been wild.” Esther overhears him denying her everything he had promised plus the love of her life because of her race, calling her a “strange snake.”  She thinks,

What were his years of kindness and care now? What did I care for his God, his heaven, his hell? He had robbed me of my native faither, of my parents, of my people, of this last, this life of love that would have made a great, good woman of me. God! how I hated him!

She remembers the arrow-head tipped with snake venom that her mother had given her years before and warned her not to touch. She steals into her beloved’s room when he’s asleep and scratches his wrist twice, like a snake bite. Then she leaves and returns to her family, only to dream nightly her nightmare “of the white man’s hell. Why did they teach me of it, only to fling me into it?”   

            Children were often punished brutally for speaking their Native language, since language is the repository of culture and collective memory. Gordon D. Henry, Jr’s short story “The Prisoner of Haiku” (1992) is at once a horrific and lyrical imagining of a cruel but ultimately unsuccessful repression for The Prisoner’s speaking his language:

Two strong men with the force of God and Jesus who knows what else dragged him outside on a bitter wind-chilled Minnesota day and tied him to an iron post. They left him then without food, without water, through the night. Somehow the men believed the force of the cold, the ice hand of winter would reach out and take the boy by the throat and silence his native language. The other boys heard the punished boy screaming in defiance all night, defending the language, calling wind, calling relatives, singing, so he wouldn’t forget. The screaming went on all night, and in the morning, on a bright, winter day, when the school fathers went out to untie him, the boy could speak no more. When he opened his mouth to try, less than a whisper stirred air. Boys who were close to him then said that though they heard nothing, they felt something: a coolness floated out of his mouth and went directly to their ears to the point where—the boys claimed—their hearing was frozen in time. They felt the breath-held syllables melt in their heads later, in the words of the Anishinaabe language, and still later in Native translations of circumstances and relationships that they never would have thought of without remembering the cold in their ears. Moreover, boys who went to the same boarding school, years later, testified to hearing Native words whirling up with every snow from sundown to sunrise in their winters at that place.

            New revelations about the Boarding School Movement will continue to come to light and add to our factual knowledge. The effects of the schools will also continue to be represented in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and other imaginative literature by Indigenous writers. The work collected in Children of the Dragonfly is part of that legacy. 

***
Robert Bensen is co-editor of Iroquois Voices, Iroquois Visions: A Celebration of Contemporary Six Nations Arts and has authored numerous essays on Native literature and child custody. He is Professor Emeritus and Director of Writing (1978-2017) at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, where he taught American Indian law and literature.  His poems have been published in six collections and in numerous journals. His work has been recognized with fellowships and awards from the NEA, the NEH, Harvard University, NYSCA, Illinois Arts Council, and others. He is the director of Woodland Arts Editions and of the Seeing Things community workshop at Bright Hill Press and Literary Center.  https://robertbensen.com/

Watch: Borderlands Scholars on Research, Identity, and Life in Virtual Roundtable Discussion

July 22, 2021

On Wednesday, July 22, the University of Arizona Press presented a virtual panel discussion, From the Border: An Open Book Summer Roundtable, on borderlands studies with noted scholars and authors Maurice S. Crandall, Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, and Yvette J. Saavedra.

The panelists reflected on the state of borderland studies today, its importance, their own works, and what “open” borderlands scholarship looks like. The event caps a three-year publishing project from the Press called 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 scholarship, histories, and approaches in the selected titles emphasize the relevance of the southwestern United States to understanding contemporary American life. Several works in Open Arizona include new original essays by leading scholars, offering contemporary reflections on these once out-of-print works, including some foundational works in Border Studies.

Panelists:

Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez is an assistant professor of English at Arizona State University. Fonseca-Chávez is the author of Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture: Looking Through the Kaleidoscope. She is the author of the essay “Reflections on Reconstructing a Chicano/a Literary Heritage: Hispanic Colonial Literature of the Southwest,” which was published as part of Open Arizona.

Maurice S. Crandall is an assistant professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth. He is the author of These People Have Always Been a Republic: Indigenous Electorates in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1598–1912. He is the author of the essay “Reflections on The Social Organization of the Western Apache and Grenville Goodwin Among the Western Apache: Letters from the Field,” which was published as part of Open Arizona.

Yvette J. Saavedra is an assistant professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Oregon. Saavedra is the author of Pasadena Before the Roses: Race, Identity, and Land Use in Southern California, 1771–1890. She is also the author of the essay “Spanish Colonial Tucson: Shifting the Paradigms of Borderlands History,” which was published as part of Open Arizona.

MALCS 2021: Browse Our Latest Chicana and Latina Studies Titles

July 22, 2021

We are excited to be offering a special discount on our new and recent Chicana and Latina studies titles for the MALCS 2021 Summer Institute! The MALCS 2021 Summer Institute’s theme is: Abriendo caminos, abriendo corazones: Renewing Mind, Body, and Spirit in the Time of COVID. Temporarily moving to a virtual format, the MALCS Executive and Coordinating Committees are pleased to bring you a wonderful week of programming meant to bridge the distance by bringing love, healing, and community to you—wherever you are. Fraught with loss, sadness, and worry—exacerbated by continued social injustice, social inequity, and political unrest, the pandemic and its accompanying uncertainties wreaked havoc on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. 

Use the code AZMALCS21 for 40% off all titles, with free U.S. shipping. If you have questions about our publishing program, click here to learn more, or contact our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles, at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Pre-order these titles now!

Letras y Limpias is the first book to explore the literary significance of the curandera. It offers critical new insights about how traditional medicine and folk healing underwrite Mexican American literature. Amanda Ellis traces the significance of the curandera and her evolution across a variety of genres written by Mexican American authors such as Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Manuel Munoz, ire’ne lara silva, and more.

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. Téllez shows that in creating the community of Maclovio Rojas, residents have challenged prescriptive notions of nation and belonging. Through women’s active participation and leadership, a women’s political subjectivity has emerged—Maclovianas. These border women both contest and invoke their citizenship as they struggle to have their land rights recognized, and they transform traditional political roles into that of agency and responsibility.

Currently Available

Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa provides pedagogical applications of Anzaldúa’s noted theories, including la facultad, the path of conocimiento, and autohistoria, among others. This text provides examples, lesson plans, and activities for scholars, professors, teachers, and community members in various disciplines—such as history, composition, literature, speech and debate, and more—and for those interested in teaching the theories of Gloria Anzaldúa.

Watch a recording of a fantastic virtual event celebrating the release of Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa here.

Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture traces the development of Chicana/o literature and cultural production from the Spanish colonial period to the present. In doing so, it challenges us to look critically at how we simultaneously embody colonial constructs and challenge their legacies.

Read an excerpt from the book here, then listen to author Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez discuss topics from the book on NPR here.

Cultura y Corazón is a cultural approach to research that requires a long-term commitment to community-based and engaged research methodologies. This book presents case studies in the fields of education and health that recognize and integrate communities’ values, culture, and funds of knowledge in the research process.

Challenging stereotypes, Activist Leaders of San José unearths and makes visible lived experiences of Chicana and Latino activists from San José, California, who made contributions to the cultural and civic life of the city. Through oral histories, we see a portrait of grassroots leadership in the twentieth century.

 Watch a book release event with author Josie Méndez-Negrete here. Congratulations to Josie for being honored as the 2021 NACCS Scholar!

Advocating for and demonstrating the importance of an intersectional, multidisciplinary, activist understanding of Chicanas, Intersectional Chicana Feminisms provides a much-needed overview of the key theories, thinkers, and activists that have contributed to Chicana feminisms.

Congratulations to author Aída Hurtado for winning an AAHHE Distinguished Author Award, and for receiving an honorable mention for the 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize!

The Chicana M(other)work Anthology is a call to action for justice within and outside academia. This volume brings together emerging scholarship and testimonios by and about self-identified Chicana and Women of Color mother-scholars, activists, and allies who, using an intersectional lens, center mothering as transformative labor.

Read an excerpt from the book here, and read more about our Feminist Wire Book Series here.

Mexican Workers and the Making of Arizona expands our understanding of the critical role played by Mexican and Mexican American laborers in making Arizona a prominent and influential state in the Southwest and beyond.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

In Pasadena Before the Roses, historian Yvette J. Saavedra shows how Indigenous, Spanish, Mexican, and American groups each have redefined the meanings of land use to build their homes and their lives. This social and cultural history illustrates the interconnectedness of power, ideas of land use, and the negotiation of identity within multiple colonial moments.

Congratulations to author Yvette Saavedra for winning the 2019  WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship!

Silviana Wood’s teatro has elicited tears and laughter from audiences young and old. Barrio Dreams brings together for the first time the plays of Wood, one of Arizona’s foremost playwrights. Wood is acclaimed locally, regionally, and nationally as a playwright, actor, director, and activist.

Silviana Wood was featured on the New Books Network Podcast. Listen here. Borderlands Theater honored the lifetime achievements of Silviana Wood through a series of virtual events. Learn more here.

The decolonial approaches found in Writing the Goodlife provide rich examples of mutually respectful relations between humans and nature. Ybarra’s book takes on two of today’s most discussed topics: environmentalism and Latina/o population growth. Ybarra shines a light on long-established traditions of environmental thought that have existed in Mexican American literary history for at least 150 years.

Fleshing the Spirit brings together established and new writers to explore the relationships between the physical body, the spirit and spirituality, and social justice activism. The anthology incorporates different genres of writing—such as poetry, testimonials, critical essays, and historical analysis—and stimulates the reader to engage spirituality in a critical, personal, and creative way.

“A comprehensive collection of feminist spirituality will be incomplete without this volume.”—Publishers Weekly

¿Qué Onda? analyzes the construction of Mexicana/o and Chicana/o identities through a four-year ethnographic study in a representative American high school. It reveals how identity politics impacts young people’s forms of communication and the cultural spaces they occupy in the school setting. By showing how identities are created and directly influenced by the complexities of geopolitics and sociocultural influences, it stresses the largely unexplored divisions among youths whose identities are located along a wide continuum of “Mexicanness.”

Stephen Pyne on Arizona’s Fire Problem in Az Republic

July 12, 2021

In a special opinion piece for the Arizona Republic Stephen Pyne writes that Fires in the West–and the world, for that matter, is not a problem solved with a once-and-done project:

“Places that historically had fire are having more and nastier outbreaks. Places without routine fire are experiencing it. An equal reality is that we need more landscape fire to dampen fuels and enhance ecological integrity. All in all, too much bad fire, too little good.”

Read the Op Ed

***

Stephen J. Pyne is an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. Best known for his research into the history of fire, he is the author of Between Two Fires and To The Last Smoke, along with several other works on fire. He has also written a suite of studies that orbit around the concept of three ages of discovery: The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica; How the Canyon Became Grand; Voyager: Exploration, Space, and the Third Great Age of Discovery; and The Great Ages of Discovery.

Open Arizona: Essays Offer Critique of Spicer and Kessell

July 9, 2021

We are pleased to announce the publication of two important new essays on our open access platform, Open Arizona. The essays bring together leading contemporary scholars to add perspective to formerly out-of-print works that have been republished on the site.

A key component of the Open Arizona project, which was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to make out-of-print books available as open access, is to add contemporary context to these works, some decades old. The newest essays are by Natasha Varner and Ignacio Martínez. These scholars offer perspectives framed by their expertise in history, Indigenous studies, and border studies. In thoughtful, individual essays, they address the works of Edward Spicer and John Kessell.

Varner’s essay “Social Science as a Tool for Surveillance in World War II Japanese American Concentration Camps,” addresses Spicer’s work Impounded People: Japanese-Americans in the Relocation Centers. The essay examines Spicer’s role during WWII in the community analyst program and his influence on applied anthropology, as well as some of the conundrums that emerged through this work.

Martínez’s essay “The Mission Frontier: A Universal Story of Human Engagement” addresses Kessell’s work Friar’s, Soldiers, and Reformers: Hispanic Arizona and the Sonora MIssion Frontier, 1767-1856. In the essay, Martínez explains why Kessell’s grand narrative of the Sonoran frontier requires updating.

Both essays are puplished open access and freely available.

Understanding Multisensory Realms: An Excerpt from ‘Flower Worlds’

July 2, 2021

Flower Worlds reaches into multisensory realms that extend back at least 2,500 years, offering many different disciplines, perspectives, and collaborations to understand these domains. Today, Flower Worlds are expressed in everyday work and lived experiences, embedded in sacred geographies, and ritually practiced both individually and in communities. This volume stresses the importance of contemporary perspectives and experiences by opening with living traditions before delving into the historical trajectories of Flower Worlds, creating a book that melds scientific and humanistic research and emphasizes Indigenous voices.

Below, read an excerpt from Michael Mathiowetz and Andrew Turner ‘s introduction to the volume.

The identification of flower world as a floral spiritual domain represents one of the most important breakthroughs in the study of Indigenous belief systems in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. Nearly three decades of scholarship devoted to this topic have demonstrated that while many of the cultures of both regions share in fundamental aspects of these beliefs, there are also key differences among a plurality of flower worlds. Furthermore, as these realms are multisensory and reach back at least 2,500 years, efforts to understand them extend well beyond the capabilities of any particular academic discipline and require the collaboration of scholars and religious specialists who bring a variety of perspectives. Far more than religious movements or cults, flower worlds form vital and dynamic cores of the cosmologies, histories, rituals, and everyday lives of Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica and the Southwest, past and present.

In her influential 1992 article “The Flower World of Old Uto-Aztecan,” Jane Hill noted prevalent patterns of floral metaphors and chromatic symbolism in the oral canons, particularly songs, of Uto-Aztecan speech communities and their neighbors (including the Zuni and Tzotzil Maya) ranging geographically from Arizona to Chiapas (maps 1, 2). According to Hill, this suite of linguistic metaphors evokes a spirit land or paradise, often a land of the dead, that is “a timeless world, parallel to our own” (Hill 1992:127). She coined the term Flower World to describe the sacred landscapes referenced and invoked in this cross-cultural and cross-historical phenomenon, which includes sea ania of the Yoeme (Yaqui); Tamoanchan, Tlalocan, and the Sun’s Heaven of the Mexica (Aztecs); and Wirikuta of the Wixárika (Huichol). Within this linguistic complex, flowers invoke not only the flower world but a constellation of concepts including song, the human spirit, and vital forces (such as blood and hearts, fire, and often “male strength and spirituality”) (Hill 1992:122). Hill (1992:136– 38) suggested that these concepts originated with an ancestral “Old Uto-Aztecan” speech community that spread from north to south with Uto-Aztecan linguistic expansion, but she also raised the possibility that a “flower world complex” could have originated in Mesoamerica and spread north with maize agriculture.

In 1992 Louise Burkhart also published an article in which she noted similar patterns of floral metaphors in early colonial Nahua Christian literature, especially Fray Bernardino de Sahagún’s Psalmodia christiana (1993 [1583]) and the Cantares mexicanos (Bierhorst 1985). Burkhart points out that the process of conversion to Christianity in postconquest Mexico was also a process of mutual accommodation in which Spanish friars and Nahua interpreters sought parallels between Indigenous conceptions of paradise and the Christian heaven and Eden. Nahua converts aestheticized and translated the otherwise remote heaven and Eden into their own terms as paradise gardens accessible through ritual and song (Burkhart 1992:90). Within this context, Nahua conceptions of flower world not only survived but thrived and in turn modified New World Christianity.

Pursuing questions raised by Hill’s (1992) original study, Kelley Hays-Gilpin and Jane Hill (1999, 2000) expanded on the flower world as a linguistically based phenomenon to encompass material culture by investigating its historical spread into the Southwest through ancient iconographic motifs. The authors associated imagery such as butterflies, flowers, rainbows, and colorful birds with the flower world, noting that evidence is particularly prevalent in the Southwest after A.D. 1300. They add that rather than a cult or religion, flower world “constituted ‘part ideologies’ or a set of symbolic tools that remained available, either separately or in combination, to the ritual practice and thought of Southwestern peoples over a long period of time” (Hays-Gilpin and Hill 1999:16).

Karl Taube (2004) provided the first in-depth study of the flower world in ancient Mesoamerica. Focusing primarily on the Classic Maya, Taube discussed conceptions of breath, jewels, flowers, music, the soul, and a celestial solar paradise, including how these notions place humans in relation to the life- giving environmental forces of wind, rain, and sun that promote agricultural abundance (Taube 2004:91– 93). Through analysis of artwork in relation to ethnographic and ethnohistoric sources, Taube (2004:79– 91) drew attention to Flower Mountain, a place of origin and celestial ascent of the sun and apotheosized ancestors and found parallels in the cosmologies of Teotihuacan, the contemporary Tzutujil Maya (Carlsen and Prechtel 1991) and Hopi, among other cultures. The emergence of the first people, often aided by deities, from a Flower Mountain or Flower Mound, is a central theme in origin stories of Mesoamerica and the American Southwest (Saturno et al. 2005:48– 50; Taube 2010b:111– 18; Taube, this volume). Taube noted the early appearance of flower world imagery among the Middle Formative (900– 400 B.C.) Olmec, exposing the deep roots of flower world concepts in Mesoamerica (Taube 2004:90). In focusing on the Classic Maya, this work also demonstrates that, while strongly prevalent among Uto-Aztecan speakers as Hill (1992) observed, the flower world is not tied to a particular language group.

Building on Hill’s (1992) original recognition and description of the flower world and the foundational works that demonstrated its resilience and flexibility in times of social upheaval (Burkhart 1992), its correlates in visual culture (Hays-Gilpin and Hill 1999), and its antiquity and pervasiveness among the cultures of Mesoamerica (Taube 2004), we continue to refine and add nuance to our understanding of the flower worlds of past and present cultures of Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos (this volume) urges us to consider a plurality of flower worlds, as multiple distinct floral realms coexist within certain traditions and, while sharing important characteristics, the various manifestations of this phenomenon are distinct and culturally and environmentally situated. Since Hill’s (1992) assessment of the geographical range of this phenomenon as extending from Arizona to Chiapas, subsequent studies have recognized its presence at the easternmost boundaries of Mesoamerica. However, while widespread and diverse in representation, flower worlds are not present among all cultures at all times in these regions.

Learn more about the book by watching its book trailer here.

Flower Worlds is a part of our Amerind Studies in Anthropology series. Learn more about the series here.

Devon Mihesuah on Importance of Native Heroes in Fiction

June 25, 2021

In a recent interview with the Lawrence-Journal World, University of Arizona Press author Devon A. Mihesuah talks about her new title, The Hatak Witches, and her writing life.

Mihesuah, the Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professor in International Cultural Understanding at the University of Kansas, reflected on her research and fiction:

“You still have to do research for both,” she said. “I’m a staunch believer that Native fiction should be written by Native people. Those are the writers who have lived experiences. They know their community, and they understand their culture. You have to be true to your culture when you write Native fiction. Otherwise the audience that I write to – who are Natives primarily — are going to know if the writer has fabricated something or doesn’t understand some cultural nuance. That’s easy to spot.”

Mihesuah’s novel continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in her award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations. In Hatak Witches, a security guard is found dead and another wounded at the Children’s Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma, Detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson are summoned to investigate. They find no fingerprints, no footprints, and no obvious means to enter the locked building. Monique discovers that a portion of an ancient and deformed skeleton had also been stolen from the neglected museum archives. Her uncle, the spiritual leader Leroy Bear Red Ears, concludes that the stolen remains are those of Hatak haksi, a witch and the matriarch of the Crow family, a group of shape-shifting Choctaws who plan to reestablish themselves as the powerful creatures they were when the tribe lived in Mississippi.

Read the full interview here.

Savor the Southwest turns to ‘Famine Foods’ for Answers on Indigenous Survival in the Sonora Desert

June 24, 2021

In the Tucson blog, Savor the Southwest: Forage, Raise, Cook, University of Arizona Press author Carolyn Niethammer asks: When drought led to famine, what did people eat in our desert?

Niethammer’s recent book, A Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson’s Culinary Heritage, covers more than 4,000 years of food history, from the hunter-gatherers, to the Early Agriculturalists to today’s farmers. However, to answer her question, the celebrated food writer turned to another University of Arizona author Paul Minnis and his recent title, Famine Foods: Plants We Eat to Survive.

In Famine Foods, Minnis focuses on the myriad plants that have sustained human populations throughout the course of history, unveiling those that people have consumed, and often still consume, to avoid starvation. This book offers a fascinating overview of famine foods—how they are used, who uses them, and, perhaps most importantly, why they may be critical to sustain human life in the future.

From Niethammer’s review:

“Another way Native Americans faced food shortages is what Minnis calls “social banking.” In 1939, the town chief of Acoma, a New Mexico Pueblo said, “The people of Zuni are coming. They have no crops. They are coming to work for us. Some day we might have to go to them when our crops are small.” The Tohono O’odham when facing food shortages would sometimes go visit their cousins the Akimel O’odham who had an easier time growing crops with the Gila River water. Because there were no draft animals, it was easier to move the people to the food rather than try to transport large quantities of food.”

Read the full review here.

The Press is Open: Eight More Titles Now Open Access

June 23, 2021

The University of Arizona Press is pleased to announce that a new selection of titles in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and Indigenous Studies are now available as open access (OA). Thanks to financial support from Knowledge Unlatched, we have been able to move eight titles to OA format. The titles are available either via link on our website or directly through the OAPEN Foundation.

Now Available as OA:

Cultivating Knowledge
Biotechnology, Sustainability, and the Human Cost of Cotton Capitalism in India
Andrew Flachs
Anthropologist Andrew Flachs shows how rural farmers come to plant genetically modified or certified organic cotton, sometimes during moments of agrarian crisis. Interweaving ethnographic detail, discussions of ecological knowledge, and deep history, Flachs uncovers the unintended consequences of new technologies, which offer great benefits to some—but at others’ expense. Flachs shows that farmers do not make simple cost-benefit analyses when evaluating new technologies and options. Their evaluation of development is a complex and shifting calculation of social meaning, performance, economics, and personal aspiration. Only by understanding this complicated nexus can we begin to understand sustainable agriculture. Learn more.

Decolonizing “Prehistory”
Deep Time and Indigenous Knowledges in North America
Edited by Gesa Mackenthun and Christen Mucher
This is a critical investigation of the documentation of the American deep past with perspectives from Indigenous traditional knowledges and attention to ongoing systems of intellectual colonialism. Bringing together experts from American studies, archaeology, anthropology, legal studies, history, and literary studies, this interdisciplinary volume offers essential information about the complexity and ambivalence of colonial encounters with Indigenous peoples in North America, and their impact on American scientific discourse. Learn more.

Footprints of Hopi History
Hopihiniwtiput Kukveni’at
Edited by Leigh J. KuwanwisiwmaT. J. Ferguson , and Chip Colwell
Footprints of Hopi History: Hopihiniwtiput Kukveni’at focuses on a powerful historical metaphor that the Hopi people use to comprehend their tangible heritage. The editors and contributors offer fresh and innovative perspectives on Hopi archaeology and history, and demonstrate how one tribe has significantly advanced knowledge about its past through collaboration with archaeologists and cultural anthropologists. Learn more.

The Global Spanish Empire
Five Hundred Years of Place Making and Pluralism
Edited by Christine Beaule and John G. Douglass
The Spanish Empire was a complex web of places and peoples. Through an expansive range of essays that look at Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, this volume brings a broad range of regions into conversation. The contributors focus on nuanced, comparative exploration of the processes and practices of creating, maintaining, and transforming cultural place making within pluralistic Spanish colonial communities. Learn more.

The Nature of Spectacle
On Images, Money, and Conserving Capitalism
Jim Igoe
In The Nature of Spectacle, Jim Igoe embarks on multifaceted explorations of how we imagine nature and how nature shapes our imaginations. The book traces spectacular productions of imagined nature across time and space—from African nature tourism to transnational policy events to green consumer appeals in which the push of a virtual button appears to initiate a chain of events resulting in the protection of polar bears in the Arctic or jaguars in the Amazon rainforest. These explorations illuminate the often surprising intersections of consumerism, entertainment, and environmental policy. Learn more.

Moral Ecology of a Forest
The Nature Industry and Maya Post-Conservation
José E. Martínez-Reyes
This book offers an ethnographic account of conservation politics, particularly the conflict between Western conservation and Mayan ontological ecology. The difficult interactions of the Maya of central Quintana Roo, Mexico, for example, or the Mayan communities of the Sain Ka’an Biosphere, demonstrate the clashing interests with Western biodiversity conservation initiatives. The conflicts within the forest of Quintana Roo represent the outcome of nature in this global era, where the forces of land grabbing, conservation promotion and organizations, and capitalism vie for control of forests and land.
Learn more.

Silent Violence
Global Health, Malaria, and Child Survival in Tanzania
Vinay R. Kamat
Silent Violence engages the harsh reality of malaria and its effects on marginalized communities in Tanzania. Vinay R. Kamat presents an ethnographic analysis of the shifting global discourses and practices surrounding malaria control and their impact on the people of Tanzania, especially mothers of children sickened by malaria. Learn more.

Tourism Geopolitics
Assemblages of Infrastructure, Affect, and Imagination
Edited by Mary MostafanezhadMatilde Córdoba AzcárateRoger Norum
In Tourism Geopolitics, contributors show enacted processes such as labor migration, conservation, securitization, nation building, territorial disputes, ethnic cleansing, heritage revitalization, and global health crisis management, among others. These contended societal processes are deployed through tourism development initiatives that mobilize deeply uneven symbolic and material landscapes. The chapters reveal how a range of experiences are implicated in this process: museum visits, walking tours, architectonical evocations of the past, road construction, militarized island imaginations, gendered cultural texts, and official silences. Learn more.

Watch: Urayoán Noel In Conversation at New York Public Library’s World Literature Festival

June 22, 2021

The New York Public Library’s first World Literature Festival included a recent conversation with University of Arizona Press author Urayoán Noel, as well as fellow poet Dunya Mikhail with NYPL librarians Grace Yamada and Leanna Frankland. In the panel discussion, Languages of Poetry, the poets discussed poetry in translation, their writing process, and other poets they look up to.

Noel’s new poetry collection, Transversal, seeks to disrupt standard English and Spanish, and it celebrates the nonequivalence between languages. Inspired by Caribbean poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant, the collection celebrates Caribbean practices of creolization as maximalist, people-centered, affect-loaded responses to the top-down violence of austerity politics. This groundbreaking, modular approach to poetic translation opens up alternative ways of reading in any language.

Cultivating Knowledge Shortlisted for the ICAS Book Prize

June 22, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Andrew Flachs’ recent title, Cultivating Knowledge, was shortlisted for the International Convention of Asian Scholars’ Book Prize 2021 English- Best Book in the Social Sciences!

In Cultivating Knowledge anthropologist Andrew Flachs shows how rural farmers come to plant genetically modified or certified organic cotton, sometimes during moments of agrarian crisis. Interweaving ethnographic detail, discussions of ecological knowledge, and deep history, Flachs uncovers the unintended consequences of new technologies, which offer great benefits to some—but at others’ expense. Flachs shows that farmers do not make simple cost-benefit analyses when evaluating new technologies and options. Their evaluation of development is a complex and shifting calculation of social meaning, performance, economics, and personal aspiration. Only by understanding this complicated nexus can we begin to understand sustainable agriculture.

Andrew Flachs is an assistant professor of anthropology at Purdue University. Trained as an environmental anthropologist, his research spans sustainable agriculture, food studies, the anthropology of knowledge, and political ecology.

Congratulations, Andrew!

Girl of New Zealand and La Raza Cosmética Honored as Finalists for NAISA’s 2021 Best First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies Prize

June 21, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that two University of Arizona Press books, Girl of New Zealand by Michelle Erai and La Raza Cosmética by Natasha Varner, were honored as finalists for the 2021 NAISA Best First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies Prize!

“The committee expresses its deep admiration for the two finalists, Michelle Erai and Natasha Varner, for their outstanding work excavating and analyzing discourses of gender and power in relation to Indigenous women in different contexts.”—NAISA Book Prize Committee

Girl of New Zealand and La Raza Cosmética are both a part of our Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies series. This series 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. Learn more here.

Girl of New Zealand presents a nuanced insight into the way violence and colonial attitudes shaped the representation of Māori women and girls. Michelle Erai examines more than thirty images of Māori women alongside the records of early missionaries and settlers in Aotearoa, as well as comments by archivists and librarians, to shed light on how race, gender, and sexuality have been ascribed to particular bodies.

La Raza Cosmética examines postrevolutionary identity construction as a project of settler colonialism that at once appropriated and erased indigeneity. In its critique of Indigenous representation, it also shows how Indigenous women strategically engaged with and resisted these projects as they played out in beauty pageants, films, tourism, art, and other realms of popular culture.

Congratulations, Michelle and Natasha!

Five Questions with Daniel A. Olivas

June 17, 2021

Daniel A. Olivas is the author of nine books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry including two volumes published by the University of Arizona Press: The Book of Want: A Novel (2011), and The King of Lighting Fixtures: Stories (2017). In 2019, Daniel was inspired to write his first full-length play, Waiting for Godínez, which addresses the absurdity and horror of family separation and anti-immigrant government policies. That play was selected for the Playwrights’ Arena’s Summer Reading Series (2020) and The Road Theatre Company’s 12th Annual Summer Playwrights Festival (2021). Waiting for Godínez was also a semi-finalist in the 2021 Blue Ink Play Award sponsored by American Blues Theater.

Now bitten by the playwriting bug, Daniel searched for another project. Last fall, he found it in Circle X Theatre Company’s inaugural Evolving Playwrights Group. In applying for this program, Daniel had proposed adapting his novel, The Book of Want, for the stage. He was eventually informed that he had been selected to be one of the five playwrights for this program. Each playwright was assigned a mentor. Daniel’s mentor was the playwright, Donald Jolly.

After many months of virtual evening workshops, Daniel completed his play and now has a Zoom reading set for June 21, 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Directed by Dr. Daphnie Sicre of Loyola Marymount University, the play has a cast of 12 actors playing 18 roles. The virtual event is free, but tickets are required and may be obtained by emailing rsvp@circlextheatre.org to reserve your spot.

Daniel agreed to answer a few questions about adapting his novel for the stage.

What was it like to turn your novel, The Book of Want, into a theater production?

It was both exhilarating and intimidating. I loved the characters in my novel, but the book’s structure was not traditional in form. It consisted of interconnected short stories told in various styles. Also, I don’t have an MFA. I am self-taught when it comes to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and now playwriting. I had to teach myself what a play looks like. But with one play under my belt, I had the belief that I could do this. And with a lot of help from my mentor, fellow playwrights, the actors, and my director, I transformed my novel into what looks like a real play.

The project paired you with a mentor to create “the play you were scared to write.” What were the challenges for you?

Donald Jolly was my assigned mentor. I was so lucky! Donald is so thoughtful and kind, and also a great playwright. Donald understood my apprehension in writing a play that I knew would entail a tremendous amount of thought and creativity. The toughest part of adapting my novel was “killing my little darlings” all over again. That is, some things work in a novel that don’t work in a play. A novel can be very interior and focused on characters’ thoughts. How do I translate that to the stage so that I don’t have a bunch of talking heads and no action? What did I have to abandon? Also, because I had so many characters in the novel, I simply could not keep all of them in the play. So, I had to take about three dozen characters of the novel and trim that number. I ended up with 18 characters, which is larger than many plays, but it works. And the biggest device I created for the play was to take the novel’s late matriarch, Belén—who appears as a spirit through much of the novel—and turn her into the play’s host, if you will. She introduces the scenes with commentary all while smoking a fat, hand-rolled cigarette and drinking coffee. She really holds the play together.

Your writing is infused with wit, surprises, and humor. Are there differences in how humor is depicted on the page from how it comes to the stage?

My novel—as with most of my writing—is deeply steeped in Chicano culture, especially as centered in the urban setting of Los Angeles. I wanted to keep that spirit in the play. And yes, my novel uses a lot of humor which was actually the easier element to translate into a theatrical piece. But the biggest surprises came in working with the actors as they rehearsed for our June 21st virtual reading. When actual people read the lines and interacted with each other, it was easier to see what made people laugh, and what fell flat. I had such generous, smart actors and a great director who helped refine and shape the humor of my play. I owe them so much for their input and observations.

The Book of Want is a family story that explores what it means to be human. What does that look like on the stage?

Beautiful! My actors are magnificent in their interpretation of the text. They bring my play to life, and it would not be much of anything without them.

What are you working on now?

During the pandemic, I had a chance to review a lot of my past writing, and I decided to pull together many of my favorite stories along with a couple new pieces for a collection I’ve titled, How to Date a Flying Mexican: New and Collected Stories. It will be published by the University of Nevada Press sometime next year. The collection includes stories published in different volumes over the years including in books published by the University of Arizona Press and Bilingual Press. I am very excited about it, and I dedicate that book to my late father, Michael Augustine Olivas, who passed away last September. My father had wanted to be a writer, but he was never published in his lifetime. He was very proud that I became a published author even as I juggled a very busy day job as a government attorney. He was also excited that I started to write plays. I think that a lot of his spirit is in my adaptation of The Book of Want for the stage.

‘Desert Feast’ and ‘A Good Map’ Top Picks for Southwest Books of the Year 2021

June 15, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Carolyn Niethammer‘s A Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson’s Culinary Heritage, and and Alberto Álvaro Ríos‘s A Good Map of All Things: A Picaresque Novel were selected as top picks for the Pima County Library’s Southwest Books of the Year 2021.

Gregory McNamee: “Tucson is a food city, boasting, as Carolyn Niethammer writes, the best 23 square miles of Mexican food north of Mexico. It is also the first US venue designated as a City of Gastronomy by the United Nations. Why should that be? Niethammer explains: the honor grows from having a food tradition that extends back thousands of years, making use of hundreds of desert plants, and then adding on to it, like so many ingredients in a good bowl of cocido, elements from many other food traditions and cultures. We can eat food from just about every corner of the world here, and we’ve made it part of an almost inexhaustible culinary lexicon. You’ll want to try Niethammer’s carefully curated recipes—and develop a greener thumb by growing ingredients yourself and a broadened geography by visiting the growers and chefs she highlights. Every Southwestern city—every city, period—needs a book like hers, and it’s Tucson’s good fortune to have this.

From Helene Woodhams: “A small town nestled in the Pimería Alta of northern Mexico is home to folks as warmly engaging as they are idiosyncratic in this delightful novel by award-winning poet and author Alberto Álvaro Ríos. Midway through the 20th century, modern ways have just begun to creep into lives long accustomed to swaying in time to the rhythms of tradition, and as a result the local public science society has few members. Far from mundane, the simplicity of the town’s everyday-ness is rendered exquisite in Ríos’s able hands: love emerges and endures, faith is uncompromising, and a good day is one in which nothing much happens. The characters glide in and out of each other’s orbit, weaving their individual stories into a communal chronicle. The narrative is particularly elegant, marked by a poetic charm that makes this memorable work both a comfort and a joy to read–but this is not surprising, coming as it does from Arizona’s first Poet Laureate.

Carolyn Niethammer’s ‘Desert Feast’ Receives 2021 Independent Publisher Book Award

June 14, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Carolyn Niethammer‘s recent title, A Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson’s Culinary Heritage, placed in the 2021 Independent Publisher Book Awards with a Silver for Best Regional Non-Fiction in the in the West-Mountain regional category.

A Desert Feast tells the expansive story of Tucson foodways, and why the desert city of Tucson became America’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy. White Sonora wheat, tepary beans, and criollo cattle steaks make Tucson’s cuisine unique. In A Desert Feast, you’ll see pictures of kids learning to grow food at school, and you’ll meet the farmers, small-scale food entrepreneurs, and chefs who are dedicated to growing and using heritage foods. It’s fair to say, “Tucson tastes like nowhere else.”

Open Arizona Offers Nine More Classic Titles as Open Access

June 14, 2021

Nine new open access titles are now available in Open Arizona, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Selected by an advisory board of scholars and community members, the new additions include Empire of Sand, Friars Soldiers and Reformers, and Impounded Peoples.

The nine new titles round out the collection of books funded by Mellon, bringing the total number of works published in Open Arizona to thirty-two. The project has also published six original essays, which provide contemporary commentary on the once-out-of-print works now re-published in Open Arizona. The essays are also available as Open Access works. Three more essays will be published in July.

The new books include:

Empire of Sand
The Seri Indians and the Struggle for Spanish Sonora, 1645-1803
Thomas E. Sheridan
This 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 Ser