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.

Remembering Richard Shelton

December 1, 2022

Dick Shelton brought Southern Arizona to the world. Again and again, we heard stories of how Going Back to Bisbee touched readers near and far, from the person who moved here from across the country, inspired by the book, to the job candidate from Connecticut who went to their local library to see what the Press had published and discovered this literary gem. He was a brilliant storyteller.

In Crossing the Yard, he chronicled what was perhaps his life’s work—teaching writing in the Arizona State prisons. As publishers, it was incredibly moving to work on this book. It is a testament to the transformative power of writing and our common humanity. As one of his students, facing relocation to another prison, wrote to him, “I am not afraid, dear Richard. I am singing.”

Shelton’s exploration of our common humanity continued in his final work of nonfiction, Nobody Rich or Famous, a quietly profound memoir of his upbringing in Boise, Idaho. Evoking both the beauty of the natural world and the sorrows of poverty, it stands alongside the greatest of contemporary memoirs.

Richard Shelton’s legacy will be detailed by many—and it will take many to document his transformative contributions to the University of Arizona, to literature, and to so many lives. When we remember Dick, however, we will remember him through these books, books that let us know him and that touched us all.

***
Going Back to Bisbee
Crossing The Yard
Nobody Rich or Famous

Read the Remembrance from Ken Lamberton

Field Notes: What’s behind ‘Sonoran Desert Journeys, Ecology and Evolution of Its Iconic Species’ book?

November 28, 2022

By Theodore H. Fleming

I wrote Sonoran Desert Journeys during the covid-19 pandemic, which gave me an empty calendar and lots of time to concentrate on writing – a good example of making lemonade out of lemons? At any rate, it gave me time to explore three topics that have been important in my scientific career: the history of life on Earth, how we have discovered this history, and the natural history and evolution of some of the species living together in the Sonoran Desert.

This book is thus built around two major journeys: (1) our intellectual journal of discovery about how life has evolved on Earth from the time of Carl Linnaeus to the present, and (2) the evolutionary journeys that have resulted in particular reptiles, birds, mammals, and plants living together in this desert.

Here are some of the species that I discuss in this book:

Examples of Sonoran Desert reptiles

A desert tortoise
A western diamondback rattlesnake

Examples of Sonoran Desert birds

A greater roadrunner
A Costa’s hummingbird

More Sonoran Desert birds

Great horned owls
Harris’s hawks

Examples of Sonoran Desert mammals

A lesser long-nosed bat
Round-tailed ground squirrels

An iconic Sonoran Desert plant

A white-winged dove pollinating a saguaro cactus flower
Saguaro cactus flowers

All of these images are based on my photography and photo art.

In addition to describing the ecology and evolutionary history of these species, including their physiological adaptations and how they are likely to cope with a changing climate, I explore evolutionary topics of particular interest to me that are associated with them. Examples of these topics include how an individual’s sex or gender is determined in the desert tortoise; how male diamondback rattlesnakes deal with an operational sex ratio of three adult males to one adult female; how hummingbirds perceive their world; why adult female hawks and owls are always larger than their mates; why Harris’s hawks are social breeders and hunters; the importance of columnar cacti and century plants in the lives of lesser long-nosed bats; the evolution of warning calls in round-tailed ground squirrels; and why the saguaro cactus is considered to be a keystone species in the Sonoran Desert.

I’m also concerned with the conservation status of these and many other Sonoran Desert species so I end the book discussing this topic in considerable detail with particular emphasis on threats posed by invasive species, including Homo sapiens, and climate change. Finally, I highlight Pima County’s Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan as a model of how to use our scientific knowledge to develop a rational plan for preserving this unique habitat and its wildlife.

***
Theodore H. Fleming is a professor emeritus of biology at the University of Miami. He spent thirty-nine years in academia at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and the University of Miami, teaching ecology courses and conducting research on tropical rodent populations and plant-visiting bats and their food plants in Panama, Costa Rica, Australia, Mexico, and Arizona. He lives in Tucson.

Excerpt: Cornerstone at the Confluence

November 22, 2022

This week marks the one hundredth anniversary of the signing of the Colorado River Compact. “The Compact,” writes Jason Anthony Robison in the introduction to the new volume Cornerstone at the Confluence, “is the cornerstone of a proverbial pyramid—an elaborate body of laws colloquially called the “Law of the River” that governs how human beings use water from the river system dubbed the ‘American Nile.’ ”

Robison is just one of a chorus of expert voices that emerge in this important new book, published this week. Today we offer an excerpt from Robison’s introduction to the work.

The American West is on fire—and, no doubt, it is not alone. 

Not a day has gone by this summer without new media coverage of unrelenting drought, drained reservoirs, record-shattering temperatures, all-consuming forest fires, busted or busting farms, bullets-sweating cities, and so on down the line. Glancing at the U.S. drought monitor, a blood-red octopus hovers over much of the arid region’s heart—the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin—with elastic tentacles splaying hundreds of miles in every direction. And it’s not as though the news or drought monitor are needed to glean what’s going on. You can feel it—from suffocating afternoon rays trapped by urban heat islands to post-apocalyptic, smoky air jetting up in bomb-like plumbs over the ridgeline (or closer). It all feels smothering and smoldering. Something is off, beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

 The Colorado River Compact’s centennial arrives in this surreal space. No fewer than forty million people have come to rely on the life-giving, prosperity-yielding flows controlled by this document. Signed in the colonial city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, on November 24, 1922, the Compact is the cornerstone of a proverbial pyramid—an elaborate body of laws colloquially called the “Law of the River” that governs how human beings use water from the river system dubbed the “American Nile.”

 History was made with the Compact’s drafting a century ago. Never before had Western states finessed their tense, frequently contentious relationships over coveted interstate rivers via negotiations under the U.S. Constitution’s Compact Clause. Before the Compact’s drafting, the Supreme Court and its “equitable apportionment doctrine” had been the only place to go. The 1922 negotiations changed that game. And the Law of the River has amassed since.

 It’s actually amassing right now, and in ways that will shape the Colorado River Basin and its vast environs for a generation, possibly longer. The Compact’s centennial could not be more serendipitous in timing. In 2000, the most severe drought in recorded history began in the basin. More than two decades later, it’s still here. “Drought” is too tame a word to be clear— “megadrought” or “aridification” better capture what’s happening—but the cause is the same regardless: climate change. Again, you can feel it. What it requires of human relationships with the river system is often difficult for our species. We have to adapt. We, too, have to change. The serendipity lies there. Spurred by the megadrought, new management rules for the river system are being negotiated as the Compact turns a century old—a process that must conclude by 2026. While it does not involve Compact renegotiation in a formal sense, the process nonetheless holds monumental importance for everyone connected to the river system. 

And there have never been more of us, accounting for all of human history, than at the Compact’s centennial. The dependent population of forty million people entails a form of record breaking that parallels the climate related events setting new bars across the Colorado River Basin and the globe. The trends are inseparable. Not only does this population inhabit the 244,000-square-mile basin proper—including cities such as Phoenix, Tucson, and Las Vegas—it stretches into urban centers tens and hundreds of miles away. Witness twenty-first-century Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver, Salt Lake, and Albuquerque. Extensive agricultural areas, too, flourish from the basin’s flows. Imperial Valley and Mexicali Valley irrigators turn the Sonoran Desert green year-round along the U.S.-Mexico border, and they have countless counterparts. And lest we forget those whose ancestors had been in the basin for centuries or millennia—since time immemorial— before the modern cities and farms sprouted: Native peoples. They consist of thirty federally recognized tribes, including the Navajo Nation residing on a 27,413-square-mile reservation slightly larger than West Virginia. 

These people see the Colorado River system through different eyes. If we’re being honest, some don’t see it at all, tapping flows from vast, out-of sight hinterlands for daily use without any sense of where their water comes from. Its origin is a living river system. Whether we’re mindful of that connection or not, it exists, placing us in community—a “basin community” — a character as diverse as the Grand Canyon’s dynamic colors and landforms. There’s no universal vision within this community. Rather, peoples’ wide-ranging reasons for appreciating, enjoying, even loving the river system have broadened considerably since 1922. Our values are plural. That, too, defines the centennial year. 

Cornerstone is anchored in this soil. A body of writing about the Compact would be fitting based on its centennial alone—again, a pathbreaking document, warts and all. As fate would have it, however, this milestone arrives at an epic confluence. Climate change and the ongoing megadrought are the elephant in the room—unprecedented in recorded history and forcing that often anxiety-inducing thing for human beings: change. That applies in full force to negotiations over new management rules for the river system during the next several years. An inflection point of generational significance, these negotiations involve dynamics as challenging as any the basin community has faced. Never before have forty million people depended on the river system. Never before has the Law of the River amassed its existing girth and complexity. And never before has the river system been valued for so many diverse, potentially irreconcilable reasons. In a nutshell, there is the centennial itself, and there is the uncanny confluence of events merging with the centennial. Both considerations point in the same direction. . . . 

The time is ripe for conversations about the Compact and broader Law of the River. 

***

Jason Anthony Robison is a professor of law at the University of Wyoming. Reflecting his deep love of the American West, Professor Robison’s writing and teaching revolve around water, public lands, and Native peoples. He was lead editor of the sesquicentennial volume, Vision and Place: John Wesley Powell and Reimagining the Colorado River Basin, and he authors the long-running treatise, Law of Water Rights and Resources.

Celebrating Tai Edwards and Farina King: Recipients of the Association of University Presses’ StandUP Award

November 21, 2022

University presses are deeply embedded in the communities they serve. This weekend, members of the University of Kansas community gathered to celebrate Tai Edwards and Farina King, recipients of the Association of University Presses‘ StandUP Award, for their powerful advocacy on behalf of the University Press of Kansas.

Edwards and King spoke of community and reciprocity as the principles that compelled them to speak out in support of the University Press of Kansas.

We are grateful to Edwards and King for their advocacy on behalf of university presses. And we are grateful for all the authors we have the privilege of working with.  

Edwards and King spoke about community and reciprocity as the principles that motivated their advocacy efforts.
Interim Faculty Director Mike Haddock with University of Arizona Press Director Kathryn Conrad.
The University Press of Kansas was founded in 1946 and joined the Association of University Presses that same year.
The StandUP Award honors those who through their words and actions have done extraordinary work to support, defend, and celebrate the university press community.

Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration wins 2022 Edward M. Bruner Book Award

November 15, 2022

We are thrilled that Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration by Keri Vacanti Brondo is the winner of the 2022 Edward M. Bruner Book Award from the Anthropology of Tourism Interest Group! The committee noted: This is a remarkable book that moves beyond the study of human tourism on the island of Utila (Honduras) to examine how other species exhibit/display/articulate alternative values to life and death. By de-centering the experiences of individual voluntourists, she foregrounds collaboration as a basis for conservation while also paying close attention to the neoliberal structure of voluntourism and the intersections of questions of race, gender, and whiteness on the island. The book is extremely well-written, weaving together ethnographic vignettes, local histories, oral narratives, fiction, and social media postings. Dr. Brondo combines a sophisticated theoretical analysis and a detailed review of relevant literature with a well-told story. In sum, this is an excellent book which committee members agree is suitable for both undergraduate and graduate discussions. 

Congratulations, Keri!

American Anthropological Association 2022: Recent Books, Discounts, and More

November 7, 2022

We are thrilled to be attending the annual American Anthropological Association conference in Seattle, Washington this year! Make sure to stop by our booth to browse and buy our latest anthropology titles and speak with our Senior Editor, Allyson Carter, Ph.D. We are offering a 30% discount on all books at the conference, and you can also receive this discount when you order online with the code AZAAA22 at checkout. Enjoy 30% off all titles, plus free shipping in the continental U.S. from now until 12/15/22.

If you aren’t attending AAA 2022 in person, make sure to learn about our latest anthropology titles below. If you have any questions about our publishing program, visit this page, or contact Allyson Carter at acarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

In Corporate Nature, Sarah Milne draws from personal experience to look inside the black box of mainstream conservation NGOs and finds that corporate behavior and technical thinking dominate global efforts to save nature, opening the door to unethical conduct and failure on the ground.

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

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

Read field notes from the author here.

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

Gardening at the Margins 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.

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

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

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Running After Paradise 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.

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.

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

Read an excerpt from the book here.

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.

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

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Returning Home Wins 2022 Donald L. Fixico Award

November 3, 2022

We are thrilled to announce that Returning Home, edited by Farina King, Michael P. Taylor, and James R. Swensen is the winner of the 2022 Donald L. Fixico Award from the Western History Association!

The Donald Fixico Book Award recognizes innovative work in the field of American Indian and Canadian First Nations History that centers Indigenous epistemologies and perspectives. The award honors Dr. Fixico’s prolific scholarly legacy and celebrates the vibrant future of the field. Books that address Indigenous history in the United States and Canada are eligible for the award.  

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.

Learn more about the book and watch book trailer videos from the editors here.

Congratulations, Farina, Michael, and James!

Field Notes: Guarded by Two Jaguars

November 1, 2022

In Guarded by Two Jaguars author Eric Hoenes Del Pinal examines the role of language and embodied behaviors in producing a congregational split in a Catholic parish serving Guatemala’s Q’eqchi’ Maya people. Drawing on a range of methods from linguistic and cultural anthropology, author Hoenes del Pinal examines how the introduction of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement in the parish produced a series of debates between parishioners that illustrate the fundamentally polyvocal nature of Catholic Christianity. Today, he’s provided us with field notes and insights into his work.

Xeel

Guests who have been invited to eat at Q’eqchi’-Maya ninq’e  (fiesta or celebration) will always leave with a bag of xeel. Xeel aren’t leftovers in the sense that North Americans usually mean by that term; they are not the remnants of a meal meant to be tucked away at the back of the fridge for later snacking. They are, in fact, typically much more food than one has personally consumed at the celebratory event itself, and they are meant to be shared with one’s family and friends so that they, too, can participate, if only at a distance, in the sacred act of convivial eating.

I share these photos and a few brief comments on them with you as a kind of xeel.  What I’ve chosen to include as the “Field Notes” may not be the main meal of my book, but I hope that these images and the words that accompany will give you a small taste of life in Cobán, Alta Verapaz and share in the generosity with which my Q’eqchi’-Maya interlocutors received me in their homes and churches.

Two Jaguars and a Cross

This is one of four niches along the walkway up to San Felipe. If you look closely at the details of this photo you can see representations of two visions of Catholicism that bookend the story that I tell in this book. Carved just above the opening of the niche are the figures of the two jaguars that legend says stood guard when a miraculous image of Jesus appeared in this hill. Over the years many layers of lime-based whitewash have accumulated over them and now occlude some of their features, but the sooty smoke from the candles lit beneath them ensures that their unmistakable silhouette can still be seen. Behind the niche is a cross commemorating the first anniversary of Las santas misiónes en la Verapaz (The Holy Missions in Verapaz). While some people clearly relish the new opportunities for religious agency that this new, modernizing vision of Catholicism fosters, others worry that it may lead to the loss of the distinctive spiritual sensibility handed down through generations of Q’eqchi’-Maya elders and ancestors. 

Prayer candles on New Years Day

New Year’s Day is undoubtedly the busiest day at San Felipe. Mayas and Ladinos make it a point to come to the church to offer prayers and light candles for prosperity in the coming year. The church’s sacristans take shifts making sure that there is space for the candles and progressively remove rows of pews to accommodate them. Votive candles sometimes explode due to the heat, and so they must also keep a watch out for any unexpected fires. For the next few days, the sacristans will clean out any remainders of wax in the votive cups, wash them out, and sell them as well as any wax remnants back to candle makers. That small influx of cash from that projects as well as the offerings collected that day help sustain the parish during the lean months it experiences after Holy Week. Sometimes they will find a votive cup with an attractive design that is also particularly good shape and will keep it to use as a drinking glass.

Carismáticos at Work

Although there are many reasons that people are first attracted to La Renovación, there is no doubt that the intercessory prayers they offer on behalf of their members is an important benefit of being part of the congregation. The Holy Spirit was perhaps slow to move when I first went to San Felipe in 2004, but in the intervening years its spiritual gifts (dones) have come with more frequency and several individuals are now recognized as particularly efficacious at facilitating all manner of healing through prayer. They offer their expertise both at both the groups semi-weekly prayer meetings and will also travel to people’s homes to help.

Catequistas at Work

Although most San Felipe’s catechists are men, several of the women who serve in that role have emerged as strong community leaders. They work diligently as lay religious leaders and though it can be difficult to balance the demands of home and church, are amongst the most dedicated lay leaders in the parish. Here we see several of San Felipe’s catequistas are taking the Eucharist to be venerated in private homes during Corpus Christi. That feast day is meant to be an opportunity for Catholics to reflect on the mystery of the transubstantiation of the communion host and wine into Jesus’ body and blood. It is also an opportunity to bridge the spaces of home and church and cultivate a sense of intimacy with the divine.    

Friends

No ethnographer can do their job alone. I include this picture in gratitude of the time, energy, and interest that people in Cobán gave to me. Of the six of us in the picture (I am second from the right), only the two at the far ends still live in Cobán. Two of my friends pictured here have passed away, and I fear that Father Augustine may have as well shortly after he returned to his native country. The advent of social media, though, means that I am in regular (if not exactly frequent) contact with others, and we are able to share in each other’s lives at least a little bit from a distance. 

Eric Hoenes del Pinal was born in Guatemala. He has earned a BA from Boston University and a PhD from the University of California, San Diego. He is currently an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the co-editor (with Kristin Norget and Marc Roscoe Loustau) of Mediating Catholicism: Religion and Media in Global Catholic Imaginaries (Bloomsbury 2022), and his work has appeared in Anthropological Quarterly, Contemporary Religion, and the Journal of Global Catholicism.

All images in the post are are copyrighted. Do no reproduce without permission.

American Studies Association 2022: Recent Books, Discounts, and More

October 31, 2022

We are thrilled to be participating in the annual American Studies Association meeting in New Orleans, LA this year! If you are attending the conference in person, make sure to stop by our booth to browse our latest titles and chat with our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles! Use the code AZASA22 at checkout to receive 30% off all of our titles, plus free shipping in the continental U.S., through 12/15/22.

If you can’t make it to New Orleans for this year’s meeting, take a look at some of our newest books below. If you have questions about our publishing program, visit this page, or send Kristen a note at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

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

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

In 1981, Chicana feminist intellectuals Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa published what would become a foundational legacy 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.

Read an excerpt from the book here. We’re thrilled that La Bloga featured the book 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.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Latinx Teens 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.

Read a brief interview with authors Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera here. We are thrilled that Latinx Teens received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards!

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.

Watch editor Frederick Luis Aldama (aka Professor Latinx) and Mighty Peter discuss their top 5 Latinx TV shows here, then watch a special conversation series with some of the contributors 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.

Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas is a book about hope, struggle, and possibility in the context of gendered violences of racial capitalism on the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border.

New Books Network interviewed author Michelle Téllez about the book: listen here. We are thrilled that Border Women received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards! We held a fantastic book release event in Tucson for this book, read about it 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.

KUOW NPR’s Soundside host Libby Denkmann interviewed Christopher Chávez about the book: listen here. NiemanLab’s Hanaa’ Tameez also interviewed Chávez about the book: listen here. New Books Network featured the book on their podcast here. Chávez was part of a PubWest event that featured a Q&A with three authors, watch it here. Current shared an excerpt from the book, read it here. The Latinx Project at New York University shared an op-ed from the author, read it here. We are thrilled that The Sound of Exclusion received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards!

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

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

Read a brief interview with the author here.

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

Read an excerpt from the book here.

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

Read a brief interview with authors Marianne O. Nielsen and Barbara M. Heather here.

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. In American Indian Studies, Native PhD recipients share their journeys of pursuing and earning the doctorate, and its impact on their lives and communities.

Read an excerpt from the book here, then watch a book celebration for the book here.

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.

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.

Read a brief interview with the author here.

Five Questions with Myrriah Gómez

October 18, 2022

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

What was your intention in writing this book?

There have been a lot of histories written about the Manhattan Project and Los Alamos, in particular. However, the presence of Nuevomexicanos, or the Spanish-speaking peoples of New Mexico and their descendants, is always an afterthought. The history books like to repeat a line that New Mexicans “gave up their land for the good of the nation,” and that just isn’t true. I originally wanted to write this book to tell the story about the takeover of the Pajarito Plateau, but the deeper I went, the more I realized how Nuevomexicanos across New Mexico have been affected by the nuclear industry. It is difficult to write a contemporary history, especially when things are still evolving, particularly the efforts to amend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) and the HOLTEC proposal to bring a high-level nuclear waste facility to southern New Mexico, but I needed to get this out there. There was an urgency in this project from the time I began and it may be even more urgent now. I want people to get this book in their hands so that they can assist in some of the efforts that Nuevomexicanos are currently engaged.

People often think they know the story of nuclear New Mexico. But that just isn’t the case. Why has the impact the nuclear program had on Nuevomexicanas/os and Indigenous people been overlooked for so long?

Put simply, New Mexico finds itself in a precarious situation because we are in the federal government’s stranglehold. The number of jobs that the Los Alamos National Laboratory (and Sandia National Laboratory) creates for Nuevomexicanas/os and Indigenous people is undeniable, and people are afraid of what would happen to northern New Mexico, especially, if the Labs “shut down.” I always tell people I am not outright advocating for the Labs to shut down, but they need to stop creating nuclear weapons. Also, Nuevomexicano and Indigenous perspectives have not always been represented accurately even when they have been discussed. For example, the recent WGN show Manhattan portrays both Indigenous people and Nuevomexicanos in a poor light. The only Nuevomexicano who appears in the show is depicted as a rapist. This show aired in the last decade. These racist depictions of our peoples are despicable. I think it has been easy to overlook or incorrectly depict our communities in these ways in part because people have been asking the wrong questions. For a long time, they wanted to know what the scientists were like who the Nuevomexicanas and Indigenous women worked for instead of asking the women about their own work on the Hill. Those themes (colonialism, racism, and others) resonate throughout the examples I discuss in the book.

You grew up in New Mexico, intimately aware of the impacts of the nuclear industrial complex had on everyday people. Was there anything that surprised you in researching this book?

There were many things that surprised me, but the magnitude of people who are sick with cancer and other illnesses associated with radiation exposure as the result of the Trinity test was shocking to me. I took a break from working on this manuscript to work on the Health Impact Assessment project for the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, which we released in February 2017. As we met with people from communities between Socorro and Tularosa, especially, I was saddened and angered by the high incidences of cancer and the total disregard for New Mexicans by the federal government. The fact that RECA has not been amended to include New Mexico downwinders (and others, like people in the Marshall Islands, for example) and that the government has not even issued an apology to the people of New Mexico should be shocking to all Americans.

Another thing that shocked me, in a good way, is the amount of coalitional work that occurs around anti-nuclear issues in New Mexico, across the country, and throughout the world. That is why I dedicate the book to the activists. There is a large network of people doing grassroots organizing, who have dedicated their lives to seeking justice around these issues. I respect and admire these people, many whom know far more about these issues than I do. I have never called myself an activist, but one day I hope I can dedicate all my time to working on these issues and be more than an advocate. Only then would I dare call myself an activist.

How could instructors teaching about colonialism and racism incorporate this work into their classes?

I wrote the introduction to this book to stand on its own, but also, the chapters illustrate the points I lay out in the introduction, especially in terms of settler colonialism and environmental racism. Each individual chapter is a case study of sorts. I also wrote it for a wide audience, meaning that high school teachers could use this in addition to the college professors that I hope will assign it. As I have already mentioned, much of this is contemporary history, meaning that these are ongoing issues and the battles against the nuclear industrial complex are still being fought. I would hope that those reasons alone would encourage instructors to teach this book to try to engage students in community-engaged research or participatory action research. What is the point of reading about all this twenty years from now if you have the chance to engage in what is happening right now to try to make an impact.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a new manuscript on nuclear literature written by and about people of color, tentatively titled Atomic Bomb Culture. This continues some of the testimonio work that I started with this project, only now I’m removing myself as interlocuter to analyze work that has already been published. What I hope to demonstrate is how the “fiction” is actually nonfiction and is modeled after what happened or is ongoing in communities of color affected by the nuclear industrial complex, and anything nonfiction, especially memoir and poetry, reflects intense experiences that remain mostly unfamiliar to the general public.

Vox.com Features Interview with John Fleck

October 14, 2022

Vox.com recently featured Science Be Dammed and an interview with author John Fleck and Benji Jones in their article “How a 100-year-old miscalculation drained the Colorado River”.

“…this was a stunning revelation for me. The very bottom of the river, where it leaves the United States and enters Mexico, used to be this vast delta — wild and wet and full of beavers and marshes and estuaries. But the river now stops at a place called Morelos Dam, on the US-Mexico border. Downstream from the dam there’s a little trickle of water that’s maybe 10 to 15 feet wide, and then it peters out into the sand. Then you just have dry riverbed. That’s because we’ve taken all the water out of the river upstream to use in our cities and farms.”

John Fleck

Read the entire article here.

Western History Association 2022: Discounts, New Books, and More

October 12, 2022

We are thrilled to be participating in the 2022 Western History Association meeting in San Antonio, Texas this week! Make sure to stop by our booth to browse our latest history titles, and meet with our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles. If you aren’t attending the meeting in person, check out some of our recent history titles below!

Use the code AZWHA22 for 30% off with free continental U.S. shipping through 11/15/22. To learn more about our publishing program, click here.

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

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

Watch a recording of the series launch for BorderVisions here.

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

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

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

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.

Read a brief interview with the author here.

A New Deal for Navajo Weaving by Jennifer McLerran 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.

The Greater San Rafael Swell by Stephen E. Strom and Jonathan T. Bailey offers the story of how citizens of a small county in the rural West – Emery County, Utah—resolved perhaps the most volatile issue in the region – the future of public lands.

Explore field notes from Jonathan T. Bailey here, and explore field notes from Stephen E. Strom here.

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

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

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

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

Esther Belin Accepts Before Columbus Foundation’s 2022 American Book Award for The Diné Reader

October 11, 2022

Esther Belin accepted the Before Columbus Foundation’s 2022 American Book Award for The Diné Reader at their virtual awards ceremony on October 9, 2022 on behalf of the editors and contributors to the volume. You can watch her acceptance speech below. Congratulations to all of the editors and contributors to this incredible work!

Devon Mihesuah on Native American Calling

October 10, 2022

Native American Calling (NAC), the live call-in program that offers thought-provoking national conversation about issues specific to Native communities, included author Devon Mihesuah and her newest work Dance of the Returned in their New on the Native Bookshelf feature. In this new detective novel, Mihesuah (Choctaw) puts tribal tradition into a suspenseful contemporary light. The episode also includes conversations with Chelsea Hicks (Wazhazhe) and Tiffany Midge (Hunkpapa Lakota), who discuss their new works.

Mihesuah tells NAC host Shawn Spruce, “I like to create positive role models. As a writer, I have a responsibility to project positivity and strength and accuracy in how Native women really are and can be. So I created Monique Blue Hawke because she’s a problem solver. I’m looking to create someone people say ‘I really like her. I want to be like her!’ “

Listen to the full episode:
https://www.nativeamericacalling.com/friday-october-7-2022-new-on-the-native-bookshelf/#

Watch: Robert Davis Hoffman Discusses and Reads from New Poetry Collection ‘Raven’s Echo’

October 3, 2022

We are thrilled to be joined by Robert Davis Hoffmann for a discussion about and a reading from his new poetry collection, Raven’s Echo.

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.

Robert Davis Hoffmann imagines the mythical and historical life of his Tlingit people. He addresses historical and cultural loss, confused identity as the result of growing up in two cultures and being half-Native, and ultimately moving toward catharsis and integrity. He now enjoys retirement in Sitka, Alaska, where does his artwork and helps his wife, Kris, with her fantastical garden. His latest work is Village Boy: Poems of Cultural Identity.

Elizabeth Torres wins 2022 Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize with Lotería: Nocturnal Sweepstakes

September 20, 2022

Elizabeth Torres’s La Lotería: Sorteo Nocturno / The Lottery: Nocturnal Sweepstakes has won the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize, which 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, a nationally recognized publisher of award-winning works of emerging and established voices in Latinx and Indigenous literature, as well as groundbreaking scholarship in Latinx and Indigenous studies. Established in 2017, the Ambroggio Prize is the only annual award of its kind in the United States that honors American poets whose first language is Spanish. This year’s judge was Raina J. León.

Elizabeth Torres (Madam Neverstop) is a poet, literary translator, and multimedia artist. She is the author of over twenty books of poetry published in Spanish, English, Danish, and German. Her poetry has also been translated into Ukrainian, Serbian, Finnish, and Swedish. She is the founder and director of the arts and culture quarterly publication Red Door Magazine, host of the Red Transmissions Podcast, initiator of the international audio collection Poetic Phonotheque, and coordinator in the Nordic region of the Red Thread network. Her work intertwines poetry, visuals, and soundscapes with language and performance, focusing on the subjects of identity, migration, grief, resilience, environmental awareness, and the representation of neurodivergent, BIPOC, and LGBTQI+ communities. She now resides in Copenhagen, where she is pursuing an MFA in performing arts with a writing specialization at the Danish National School of Performing Arts.

About Torres’s winning manuscript, judge Raina J. León said: “In every beginning, there is a river that entices with its generational wisdom, its own invocations, its own knowledge that what will come is what has been. La Lotería: Sorteo Nocturno alchemizes lotería symbology as vessels for myth, migration, and becoming. What belongs to centuries of play and divination is also seen anew in this text; we learn how even a sound can cause a room to wither. Poems arise from archetypical cards blazon out with new relevance; ‘The Milk’ and ‘The Customs Office’ have as much to say as ‘The Wall,’ as much about chaos and loss as they offer moments when the human experience, its fullness, becomes universal. ‘But how do I tell the builders / I don’t want grey cement / attaching me to the ground?’ This book reminds us that the drums of war continue to beat their fear and devastation into one’s bones even after the body has risen to the sky, leaving runways of scattered articles of life. What we leave behind in hopes of peace! Injustice waits when you land and caws your name in front of its crow ‘collection of panicked deer eyes.’ The game plays on and these poems invite a gamble: read and you just might change your life. The river will be there, at the beginning, and it may become the rain within you.

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

Ask UP & Ask the University of Arizona Press

September 15, 2022

We’re thrilled to announce that this fall the University of Arizona Press is hosting the Association of University Presses popular site Ask UP. The site is a resource for authors looking to learn more about scholarly publishing, university presses, and the publishing process in general. Hosted each quarter by a different member of the AUP community, the University of Arizona Press looks forward to answering your questions!

In addition to an “Ask A Question” feature, the site also includes resources related to teaching, promotion, copyright and intellectual property, and preparing materials for publication. It also provides links to describe the life cycle of a book, from the perspective of a variety of university presses.

Learn more about Ask Up here.

Excerpt from ‘Children Crossing Borders’

September 13, 2022

In the new work Children Crossing Borders, contributors explore the different meanings of the lives of borderland children in the Americas. 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. Today we offer an excerpt of this important new work:

***
This book on children on the borders in the Americas was planned and structured before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it has been completed and will be published in a changed world, one in which considerations of the health and well-being of children in the Americas have become even more relevant and in which inequalities related to race, citizenship, ethnicity, social class, and gender have become even more intense and unavoidable. In 2020 millions of children in Latin America and the Caribbean suffered poverty, violence, and a lack of adequate health services. Over 154 million children in Latin America and the Caribbean were out of school during 2020. Serious consequences ensued for the most vulnerable, who depended on schools to access food and sanitary services as well
as psychosocial support (UNICEF 2020a). Many have been denied their
minimum needs and rights, such as food and adequate housing. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), owing to the impact of COVID-19, the number of children living in poor households will increase by 21.7 percent, from 71.6 million to 87.1 million children (UNICEF 2020b). At the same time, even those that enjoy relatively better economic positions suffer depression, isolation, and loneliness as rising unemployment, inflation, and the loss of millions of lives take a toll on all families across the Americas. Hate speech, racism, and intolerance have risen, too, amplifying the reverberation of racist and xenophobic discourses online as well as off-line (UN 2019). As a result many children in the Americas have experienced the same physical and psychological instability that migrant children suffer.

Migrants and refugees across the region have been particularly exposed to the virus, as practicing social distancing is challenging for vulnerable communities. At the same time, border closures and increasing xenophobia have left many migrant families and children stranded when they are in need of protection and humanitarian assistance. Just like migrant families, children experiencing this pandemic have lost their sense of security, challenged by economic, political, spatial, or educational instabilities.

This book intends to reflect on children on the borders in the Americas through theoretical as well as empirical perspectives; it seeks to serve as a toolbox for those who work with children on the borders and to point out and challenge ways in which the media, literature, legislation, public policies, and everyday practices construct and deconstruct migrant childhoods. We seek to provide theoretical and practical tools for better understanding the way in which refugee and immigrant children are represented in different kinds of cultural and literary productions. One of our goals is to offer tools to help educators, social workers, policy makers, and advocates accompany
immigrant children in their journeys of self-recognition, their searches for empowerment, and their struggles for rights and citizenship. We examine the way education, legislation, public policies, literature, and culture are potential tools for combating racism, nationalism, sexism, and xenophobia and for providing opportunities for children and their families to become aware of the experience of immigrants and refugees.

A Decolonial Perspective on Migrant Childhoods in the Americas

In this volume we approach migrant childhoods in the Americas through a decolonial perspective—that is, by considering the structure of social and economic inequalities that go back to the history of European imperialism and colonialism, which have shaped the circulation of children throughout the region at least since colonial times (Mignolo 2002; Rabello de Castro 2020). The main implication of this decolonial perspective is that we resist erasing differences between North and South or adhering to a notion of a prototypical (white, Anglo-Saxon, middle-class), definitive model of American or Latin American childhood against which other children would be compared. Our decolonial perspective on childhood migration in the Americas means that we seek to articulate North and South America through the unifying theme of migrant children, looking at children at the crossroads between colonialism and postcolonialism, diversity and oppression, invisibility and othering, and reappraising difference in migrant childhoods in the Americas in structural power relationships.

Our decolonial approach also has strong implications for our political
economy of knowledge production: we incorporate theories and scholarship written in languages other than English and situated in North and South, as we reject essentializing difference and avoid reaffirming preferences, themes, and concepts that already circulate in international knowledge markets. We seek to create an egalitarian, collaborative space in which horizontal political and epistemic relations are possible regarding the international division of scientific labor. Our book strives to create bonds where long-standing structural and imperial divisions between North and South America exist, ones that have separated and interconnected these parts of the world. Thus, we assume the costs of dissenting and producing theory on children from within North and South.

***

Alejandra J. Josiowicz is professora adjunta and Prociencia Fellow (2021–2024) at the Institute of Languages and Literatures of the Universidade Estadual do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ). She earned her MA and PhD from Princeton University and was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the School of Social Sciences of the Getulio Vargas Foundation (CPDOC-FGV) in Brazil. She has published articles, chapters, and a book on childhood studies, children’s literature, and Latin American cultural studies.

Irasema Coronado received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Florida. She has an MA in Latin American studies and a PhD in political science from the University of Arizona. She is director of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University and co-author of Fronteras No Mas: Toward Social Justice at the U.S.-Mexico Border and Políticas: Latina Public Officials in Texas.

Arizona Crossroads Series Launch

September 12, 2022

Below, find a recording of the Arizona Crossroads series launch. Arizona Crossroads explores the history of peoples and cultures, events and struggles, ideas and practices in the place we know today as Arizona. Open to any topic within any time period of Arizona history, the series will publish scholarship that is cutting-edge and innovative, yet generally accessible and readable to an educated general audience. We are open to a variety of book formats: monographs, multi-authored works, and edited collections, as well as broader more synthetic works. Interdisciplinary projects that engage the past are encouraged.

Learn more about Arizona Crossroads here.

Learn more about the Arizona Historical Society here.

Many thanks to David Turpie, Vice President of Education, Exhibitions, and Publications at the Arizona Historical Society; Kristen Buckles, Editor-in-Chief at the University of Arizona Press; and the Arizona Crossroads series editors: Katherine G. Morrissey, Eric V. Meeks, and Anita Huizar-Hernández for joining us for this discussion!

The Diné Reader Receives a 2022 Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award

September 8, 2022

We are so thrilled to announce that The Diné Reader has received a 2022 Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award!

The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.

From Joy Harjo:

The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature opens with the writings of Blackhorse Mitchell whose first novel Miracle Hill was published in 1967. This was the year I first discovered Native writers, as a student at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Blackhorse Mitchell had been a student there, as was Grey Cohoe. There were many Navajo student poets who published in the yearly literature publication funded by Vincent Price specifically highlighting the writing of IAIA students. Navajo literature was and is predominately oral, with classic texts like The Blessing Way that have profoundly influenced American literature, including the Kiowa writer and poet N. Scott Momaday who would be honored with a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for his novel House Made of Dawn. The title is a direct reference from Navajo literature. The Diné Reader confirms the prominent and influential position that Diné writings hold in American letters today.  

This valuable collection holds the poetry, prose, and thoughts of several generations of Diné, or Navajo, writers, with numerous foundational heavy hitters in literature alongside emerging writers and fresh voices. I appreciate seeing Gloria Emerson here. She is one of the contemporary matriarchs of philosophical thought and cultural continuance. She was a force for Navajo language and assisted in language being seen as necessary to cultural flourishing. Nia Francisco was one of the first of the poets that was around in my generation as we came up as poets in New Mexico. The two Navajo Nation poet laureates, Luci Tapahonso and Laura Tohe, feature in this collection. Both were students at the University of New Mexico in the 70’s, a time of Native rights movements and the discussion and implementation of tribal nation sovereignty. Liz Woody was a student at the Institute of American Arts, as it moved from being a Bureau of Indian Affairs high school to a full-fledged arts college. She was honored recently as the State of Oregon’s poet laureate. Rex Lee Jim’s first book was published by Princeton University Press, in Navajo. He has continued as a cultural leader. You will also find so many of the younger generations of poets who have established Native poets as important artists to watch in the larger American culture. They include Esther Belin, Sherwin Bitsui, Orlando White, Bojan Louis, Tacey Atsitty, and Jake Skeets. Many have won major American literary prizes and write bilingually.

Every one of these writers and poets mark a fresh era of thought and becoming.

This anthology proves that Diné writers are at the heart of not just contemporary Native literature but the canon of American literature. These writers are defining their own literature, which means defining the future as they stand as the next generations of literary ancestors. They are being their own cultural critics and are moving away from the generic term of being a Native or Native American writer. This finely edited groundbreaking collection is essentially a statement of sovereignty and proof of continuance of the songs and thoughts of their ancestors. It is destined to become a classic of American and world literature. 
— Joy Harjo, Mvskoke Nation, September 1, 2022

The 2022 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 9, 2022, from 2:00–4:30 p.m., online. You can view the ceremony at any of these links:

Zoom: https://sfpl-org.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_1sjnvBOwSEmOO_tRmBbeyw
Sfpl.org page: https://sfpl.org/events/2022/10/09/celebration-columbus-foundation-43rd-
annual-american-book-award
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KsYomnsMdJY

We are sending a huge and sincere congratulations to the editors of The Diné Reader, Esther G. Belin, Jeff Berglund, Connie A. Jacobs, and Anthony K. Webster, as well as all of the contributors within.

Four Questions with Author Devon A. Mihesuah

September 6, 2022
Today marks the publication of Devon A. Mihesuah’s newest release Dance of the Returned. In this newest work, the disappearance of a young Choctaw leads Detective Monique Blue Hawk to investigate a little-known ceremonial dance. As she traces the steps of the missing man, she discovers that the seemingly innocuous Renewal Dance is not what it appears to be. After Monique embarks on a journey that she never thought possible, she learns that the past and future can converge to offer endless possibilities for the present. She must also accept her own destiny of violence and peacekeeping.

To celebrate the new release, we’ve republished our interview with Devon, where she discusses writing life and even gives us a glimpse at Dance of the Returned. Enjoy!

April 20, 2021

In Devon A. Mihesuah’s new novel, The Hatak Witches, readers are introduced to Detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson when they are summoned to the Children’s Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma, where one security guard is dead and another wounded. Her uncle, the spiritual leader Leroy Bear Red Ears, concludes that the stolen remains from the museum 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.

In a recent review from Publisher’s Weekly: “As informative as it is gripping, this supernatural mystery from Mihesuah—the 88th installment of Sun Tracks: An American Indian Literary series—is rooted in Choctaw cosmology and contemporary Native American life. Readers looking for intelligent, diverse supernatural fiction will be captivated.”

Below, Mihesuah answers several questions on writing life and what’s next for Detective Monique Blue Hawk:

You have a wonderful reputation as an Indigenous Studies scholar, what brought you to fiction?

I write and teach about racism, colonization, genocide, boarding schools, repatriation, bias in the academy, stereotypes, violence against Natives, activism, and ethnic fraud. These are heavy topics and any Native in the academy will tell you that we don’t stop thinking about them when the work day is over. We carry around a lot of emotional baggage. I don’t care for downer themes in fiction and I have a hard time watching movies that reenact past horrors. That trauma trope is not entertaining to me. Writing stories is a way to create endings that I want. Writing fiction is also a way to express myself in ways that I can’t in non-fiction. I prefer off-beat, odd stories with strong Native protagonists who could be role models.

Have you ever had any concerns sharing Choctaw culture and cosmology in your fiction?

I first wrote about Choctaw creation stories, witches, shampes, Kowi Anukasha (Little People), and time travel in Roads of My Relations. That was published in 2000 and no one has voiced concerns. I explain in the epilogue of that novel and in Hatak Witches that I never write about real ceremonies and that the entities in my stories are profiled on multiple online sites and even on the Choctaw Nation site. I’ve written a lot about Choctaw culture, foodways, and politics. My great-great-grandfather was murdered in 1884 by men from the rival political party. Many Choctaws don’t want the world to know that we have a complex history of violent intertribal factionalism based on cultural differences, wealth inequities, and religious adherences. They become more upset with the truth telling in my book Choctaw Crime and Punishment: 1884-1907 (2010) than they have with my fiction.

What do you hope your readers get from The Hatak Witches and Detective Blue Hawk?

I try to create inspirational characters. My other novels feature strong females. Monique is traumatized from the death of her brother and frustrated with tribal factionalism. She might be slightly addicted to her beer and has a hair-trigger temper, but she doesn’t wallow around in angst. In two future books she most certainly puts that anger to use. She is proactive and I am hopeful she can serve as a role model.

Can we say this will be an ongoing series? (wink wink, nudge nudge)

Yes! I have completed the next Monique story, Na Yukpa-The Blessed. It picks up a thread in Roads of My Relations and explores the possibilities of Indigenous futurisms. Here is the synopsis:

The disappearance of a young Choctaw leads Detective Monique Blue Hawk to investigate a little-known ceremonial dance. As she traces the steps of the missing man, she discovers that the seemingly innocuous Renewal Dance is not what it seems 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. And that she must accept her destiny of violence and peacekeeping to become one of the Blessed

NPR’s Books We Love Featured ‘Book of Wanderers’

August 31, 2022

National Public Radio’s Books We Love recently featured Reyes Ramirez‘s The Book of Wanders on its Best Books 2022 list.

On Wanderers:

It’s tempting to describe the tales in this masterful debut collection of short stories as both of and for our current moment. But this painterly illumination of culture, heritage, language and humanity isn’t of the zeitgeist; rather, it tells a profound truth about the many realities constituting Latino/a/Hispanic life in the Americas. Hop on the surrealist bus to understanding that Reyes Ramirez conjures for us, and you’ll hear echoes of Dashiell Hammett, Gabriel García Márquez and Alfonsina Storni. But ultimately, Ramirez’s short story collection is singular, and the real deal.

Read the entire list here.

‘Returning Home’ Finalist for Best Book in Utah History

August 30, 2022

Congratulations to University of Arizona Press author’s Farina Noelani KingMichael P. Taylor, and James R. Swensen for their book Returning Home: Diné Creative Works from the Intermountain Indian School placing as finalist for Best Book in Utah History from the Utah Division of State History and Utah State Historical Society.

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.

This book works to recover the lived experiences of Native American boarding school students through creative works, student interviews, and scholarly collaboration. It shows the complex agency and ability of Indigenous youth to maintain their Diné culture within the colonial spaces that were designed to alienate them from their communities and customs. 

Western National Parks Association Event Celebrated New Book from Michael Chiago

August 29, 2022

Michael Chiago speaking to attendees at the WNPA event about his work as an artist.

On Thursday, August 25, 2022, the Western National Parks Association and the University of Arizona Press co-hosted an event to celebrate the launch of Michael Chiago: O’odham Lifeways Through Art with Tohono O’odham artist Michael Chiago at the WNPA headquarters in Oro Valley, Arizona.

From left to right: Wade C. Sherbrooke, Joanna Johnson, and Michael Chiago.

Joanna Johnson, WNPA operations manager, welcomed the audience of book and art lovers, and introduced Wade C. Sherbrooke, a herpetologist who wrote the book’s forward and helped make it a reality.  Chiago spoke to the audience about his work as an artists, the many experiences he’s had in teaching and traveling, and even recalled his military service in Vietnam.

A full-house at the WNPA,enjoying Michael Chiago talking about his work as an artist.

The book, by Chiago and ethnobiologist Amadeo M. Rea, offers an artistic depiction of O’odham lifeways through the paintings of the internationally acclaimed Chiago. 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.

Terrain.org Features Review of Valerie Martínez’s ‘Count’

August 18, 2022

Literary and arts magazine Terrain.org recently featured a review of Valarie Martínez’s book-length poem Count.

From the review:

Martínez’s brilliance, beyond her lyrical lines, is her querencia, her deep love of people and place, which moves us to a deep longing. Through the poet’s personal narration, science, and mythic story, we also understand even more deeply the drastic impacts of climate change.

… Can we also, in our own disintegrating world, find lasting balance and beauty? Through a powerful poetry both of sorrow and hope, Count helps us believe we can—if we are collective in our response. If we too have a deep love of people and place.

Read the entire review here.

‘Beyond Earth’s Edge’ Co-editor Julies Swarstad Johnson Talks Stars and Poetry with Lowell Observatory

August 16, 2022

The Lowell Observatory’s Star Stuff Podcast recently featured an interview with University of Arizona Press co-editor and poet Julie Swarstad Johnson, who recently served as Lowell Observatory’s Poet in Residence this summer.

Swarstad Johnson is co-editor of Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, a trailblazing anthology of poetry that spans from the dawn of the space age to the imagined futures of the universe. The anthology offers a fascinating record of both national mindsets and private perspectives as poets grapple with the promise and peril of U.S. space exploration across decades and into the present. Tracing an arc of literary skepticism during the Apollo era and before to a more curious, and even hopeful, stance today, Beyond Earth’s Edge includes diverse perspectives from poets such as Robert Hayden, Rae Armantrout, N. Scott Momaday, Adrienne Rich, Tracy K. Smith, Ray Bradbury, May Swenson, Pablo Neruda, and many other engaging poetic voices.

Listen to the interview here.

August 12, 2022

EcoTheo Collective recently featured an interview with The Book of Wanderers‘ author Reyes Ramirez on his debut short story collection, Houston, and writing life.

From the interview:

Each story presented its own challenges and joys. The earliest stories were completed about 9 years ago when I was about 23 years old, an incredibly different writer and person than I am now but still holds a spirit of rebellion and passion that I’ve honed a bit more since, I hope. The latest stories were completed about 3 or 4 years ago, before I turned 30, but still a person honing language and narrative. I guess this all to say that the idea of accomplishment has changed so much within the context of this collection that I oscillate between a grand feeling of success for making it this far and utter disgust of what I’d written at such an elementary level in the larger scope of my career. Obviously, the joy wins out or else I wouldn’t be doing this!

Read the entire interview here.

New Lit Hub Series Features Two University of Arizona Press Titles

August 11, 2022

A new Lit Hub series by Diana Arterian features books currently on poet Tatiana Luboviski-Acosta’s night stand, which happens to include two University of Arizona Press titles, Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities co-edited by our Latinx Pop Culture series editors Frederick Luis Aldama and Arturo J. Aldama, and Rewriting the Chicano Movement: New Histories of Mexican American Activism in the Civil Rights Era co-edited by Mario T. García and Ellen McCracken.

On Decolonizing:

Considering the attention Luboviski-Acosta gives to gender in their work, it’s not surprising there are multiple texts that address it directly in their pile. This edited collection considers more specifically the cultural impacts of capitalism in conjunction with Latinx masculinity (what’s been fed to us on television and film for decades, what pops up on social media). Beyond this, however, some of the contributors explore the nourishing and “healing masculinities,” including queer Latinx rodeos, food, music, and more.

On Rewriting:

As the title suggests, this collection of essays attempts to give further nuance to the most powerful civil rights work enacted by Mexican Americans up until that time in the United States. “The essays in this volume broaden traditional views of the Chicano Movement that are too narrow and monolithic,” as the book’s description states. Also known as “El Movimiento,” the Chicano Movement involved thousands of activists fighting for civil rights denied them since the end of the Mexican-American War in 1848, and claiming Chicano identity as one of empowerment. The contributors to this collection give insight into the many varied members and methods of activism otherwise left out of the history books.

Read the entire story here.

NYT Magazine Recently Featured ‘Sister Song’ By Casandra López

July 26, 2022

Casandra López‘s poem “Sister Song,” from her collection Brother Bullet published by the University of Arizona Press, was recently featured in New York Times Magazine.

Poet Victoria Chang, who selected the poem, had this to say about the format of “Sister Song”:

The ghazal is a formal poem that has roots in seventh-century Arabia and was often sung by musicians. The poet Agha Shahid Ali introduced the form to America. “Ghazal” literally means “the cry of a gazelle” as it is being chased and about to die. Like many formal poems such as the sonnet, the ghazal, with its restrictions, can paradoxically illuminate and parse difficult emotions. In López’s poem, the emotion is grief — a longing for and memory of a murdered brother. This poem mostly follows the parameters of a ghazal with its repeated end word, “song,” and the inside rhyme of “forever,” “far,” “marred,” etc., as well as the poet’s name or reference to the poet (“Sister”) in the final line. One way this poem breaks the rules is that each couplet doesn’t stand alone as if it were its own poem. Instead, the end of the couplets often bleed into the next stanza, linking the narratives.

Read the entire poem here.

MALCS 2022: Recent Books, Discounts, and More

July 27, 2022

We are thrilled to be participating in the 2022 MALCS Summer Institute! While we can’t make it to the meeting in-person, you’ll be able to find some of our new and recent books on display, our latest catalogs, and special discount slips. Were offering a 30% discount plus free U.S. shipping on all titles when you use the code AZMALCS22 at checkout through 8/31/22.

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

We’re excited to highlight our new series, BorderVisions! 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. Read more about the series here, and hear about BorderVisions from series editors Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez and Yvette J. Saavedra in a recorded event here.

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.

We are thrilled that author Aída Hurtado won the AAHHE Distinguished Author Award, and received an honorable mention for the 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize. Intersectional Chicana Feminisms also won a bronze medal for the International Latino Book Awards.

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 speak about the book on NPR here.

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.

Learn more about the collection 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.

We are thrilled that author Yvette Saavedra was awarded the 2019 WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship!

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.

Read an article by the author here.

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 author Josie Méndez-Negrete and Lorena V. Márquez discuss the book and other topics here. We are thrilled that Josie Méndez-Negrete was chosen as the 2021 NACCS Scholar!

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.

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 editors and contributors to the volume discuss the book here.

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.

Author Silviana Wood was featured on New Books Network podcast. You can listen here.

Meditación Fronteriza is a beautifully crafted exploration of life in the Texas-Mexico borderlands. Written by award-winning author Norma Elia Cantú, the poems flow from Spanish to English gracefully as they explore culture, traditions, and solidarity.

Read a brief interview with the author here, then watch a conversation with her here. We are thrilled that Meditación Fronteriza won the NACCS Tejas Book Award and that it received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Award!

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.

To offer testimonio is inherently political, a vehicle that counters the hegemony of the state and illuminates the repression and denial of human rights. Claiming Home, Shaping Community offers the testimonios from and about the lives of Mexican-descent people who left rural agricultural valles, specifically the Imperial and the San Joaquín Valleys, to pursue higher education at a University of California campus. Through telling their stories, the contributors seek to empower others on their journeys to and through higher education.

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.

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.

Reclaiming and reconstructing one’s spirituality based on non-Western epistemologies is central to the process of decolonization. Voices from the Ancestors brings together reflective writings and spiritual practices by Chicanx, Latinx, and Afro-Latinx womxn and male allies in the United States who seek to heal from the historical traumas of colonization by returning to ancestral traditions and knowledge.

Read brief interviews with the editors here and here.

Through in-depth interviews and focus groups with both Mexicana/o and Chicana/o students, Cynthia Bejarano explores such topics as the creation of distinct styles that reinforce differences between the two groups; the use of language to further distinguish themselves from one another; and social stratification perpetuated by internal colonialism and the “Othering” process. These and other issues are shown to complicate how Latinas/os ethnically identify as Mexicanas/os or Chicanas/os and help explain how they get to this point.

Poem from Raquel Salas Rivera’s ‘x/ex/exis’ Used in Pride Month Event Celebrating Brahms

July 27, 2022

Byron Schenkman and Friends’ Pride Month event, “A Double Portrait: Johannes Brahms & Jonathan Woody”, premiered on June 26. This concert, an intimate, Pride-friendly celebration of Brahms’ music, features two of Jonathan Woody’s works, including the world premiere of ‘nor shape of today’ for voice, viola, and piano set to text by poet Raquel Salas Rivera from his Ambroggio Prize-winner x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación.

Written in the early days of the rise of world-wide fascism and the poet’s gender transition, x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación/poems for the nation 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.

For more on the celebration:

Here is the concert:

This is Tucson Summer Reading Challenge Includes Four University of Arizona Press Books

July 25, 2022

Big thanks to the Arizona Daily Star‘s This is Tucson for including four University of Arizona Press books and authors in its summer reading challenge.

Press books featured:

When It Rains: Tohono O’odham and Pima Poetry edited by Ofelia Zepeda, “When it was first released in 1982, ‘When It Rains’ was one of the earliest published literary works in the O’odham language. Speakers from across generations shared poems that showcased the aesthetic of the written word and aimed to spread interest in reading and writing in O’odham. The poems capture brief moments of beauty, the loving bond between family members, and a deep appreciation of Tohono O’odham culture and traditions, as well as reverent feelings about the landscape and wildlife native to the Southwest. A motif of rain and water is woven throughout the poetry in ‘When It Rains,’ tying in the collection’s title to the importance of this life-giving and sustaining resource to the Tohono O’odham people. With the poems in both O’odham and English, the volume serves as an important reminder of the beauty and changeability of the O’odham language.”

The Desert Smells Like Rain: A Naturalist in O’odham Country by Gary Paul Nabhan, “This year marks the book’s 40th anniversary. On Aug. 30, the University of Arizona Press will publish a special 40th anniversary edition of the book, complete with a new introduction by Nabhan dedicated to the O’odham people who changed his life.”

Sowing the Seeds of Change: The Story of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, by Seth Schindler, “This is the story of a remarkable organization’s sustained, compassionate response to a problem of staggering proportions: there are about 35 million food-insecure people in America today. The numbers are no less shocking in Southern Arizona: one in six residents, and one in four children, are food insecure. How can this be in the richest country in the world? This book explores that paradox and the innovative solutions that one organization has developed to create a healthier, more secure tomorrow for the less fortunate among us. 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.”

Natural Landmarks of Arizona by David Yetman, “Natural Landmarks of Arizona celebrates the vast geological past of Arizona’s natural monuments through the eyes of a celebrated storyteller who has called Arizona home for most of his life. David Yetman shows us how Arizona’s most iconic landmarks were formed millions of years ago and sheds light on the more recent histories of these landmarks as well. These peaks and ranges offer striking intrusions into the Arizona horizon, giving our southwestern state some of the most memorable views, hikes, climbs and bike rides anywhere in the world. They orient us,  locate us, and they are steadfast through generations.”

To read the entire challenge, go here.

Congratulations to Carmen Giménez on New Position with Graywolf Press

July 21, 2022

Carmen Giménez has been named Graywolf Press’s new executive director and publisher, succeeding Fiona McCrae, who retired after leading the press for 28 years.

Giménez has published three poetry collections with the University of Arizona Press: Bring Down the Little Birds, Milk and Filth, and Odalisque in Pieces.

From Publisher’s Weekly:

Giménez, 51, a queer Latinx poet and editor, holds an MFA from the University of Iowa’s Writers Workshop. She is a professor in the English department at Virginia Tech University in Blacksburg, where she teaches creative writing in the MFA program.

She was also, until recently, publisher of Noemi Press, which announced on July 5 that Giménez was stepping down 20 years after she and Evan Lavender-Smith founded the press in 2002 with the release of a single chapbook. Noemi’s mission is to promote both emerging voices and established writers with an emphasis on writers from under-represented communities, including women, BIPOC writers, and LGBTQ writers. Noemi Press, a nonprofit organization, now publishes eight books each year in the fiction, nonfiction, drama, and criticism categories. Its authors have been winners of, and finalists for, such awards as the National Book Award, the Whiting Award, the PEN America Literary Awards, and the Lambda Literary Awards.

Graywolf published Giménez’s most recent collection of poetry, Be Recorder, in 2019. Be Recorder was a finalist for the National Book Award in Poetry, the PEN/Open Book Award, the Audré Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Giménez also is the author of five other collections of poetry, including Milk and Filth, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry. Her lyric memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds, won an American Book Award.

Read the entire announcement here.

Farina King and Tai Edwards Receive 2022 AUPresses Stand UP Award

July 19, 2022

At last month’s Association of University Press (AUPresses) annual meeting, historians Farina King and Tai Edwards received the prestigious Stand UP Award for their work in defense of the University Press of Kansas.

The Stand UP Award honors those who through their words and actions have done extraordinary work to support, defend, and celebrate the university press community. The award is intended to recognize advocates who stand up from within the communities that presses work with, speak to, and serve.

King (Diné) is an associate professor of history at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, and the author of The Earth Memory Compass: Diné Landscapes and Education in the Twentieth Century (University Press of Kansas, 2018) and coauthor of Returning Home: Diné Creative Works from the Intermountain Indian School (University of Arizona Press, 2021).

Edwards is an associate professor of history and directs the Kansas Studies Institute at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, and is the author of Osage Women and Empire: Gender and Power (University Press of Kansas, 2018) as well as articles that have appeared in Kansas History and the Journal of American History.

Edwards and King were recognized for their powerful advocacy last year in support of the University Press of Kansas (UPK), a consortial press founded in 1946 and guided by a Board of Trustees comprised of the provosts of its six parent universities. Early in 2021, in light of budgetary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this board initiated an independent review to propose direction for UPK’s future, including a consideration of closure. Specialists in Indigenous history who each had published their first books with UPK, Edwards and King sprang into action to advocate in tandem for this imperiled press, successfully rallying others through grassroots efforts and promoting the work of university presses in general.

“By keeping the challenges faced by UPK in national context, these two scholars helped many in our community have valuable conversations on our home campuses about the significance of institutional support for the important work that we do,” said Stand UP Award nominators Kelly Chrisman Jacques, UPK’s managing director, and Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press.

Read the complete announcement.

An Excerpt From ‘Postindian Aesthetics’

July 18, 2022

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 book’s foreword from Robert Warrior, gets to the heart of Postindian Aesthetics, and the importance of the scholarship and joy from Indigenous literature:

Veterans of those decades of literary and critical work have become adept at admitting that the attention we as scholars have paid to five or six incredibly accomplished and talented contemporary authors can create a misimpression that those five or six writers are the only ones worthy of scholarly attention. In pulling together this book, Barker and Jacobs have provided page after page of engaging examples of some of what we have been missing.


For instance, I have been a big fan of Heid E. Erdrich’s work for a long time but realized in Denise Low’s essay about her poetry that I had never read an article that gives me a deeper understanding of what makes Erdrich’s work so powerful. Low explicates Erdrich’s richly rendered poems in a way that for me became an invitation to be in dialogue with both the critic and the poet, luxuriating in the poet’s love for language and exquisite crafting and also the critical insights that Low educes in her chapter.


Something similar is true of Susan Scarberry-García’s chapter focused on Luci Tapahonso’s poetry. The chapter shows how Tapahonso brings together a deliberate sense of craft, intense quotidian images, spare language, and straightforward, yet often raw, emotion. Scarberry-García focuses on poems Tapahonso has called “traveling songs,” showing the depth, delicacy, and generosity that she argues are hallmarks of the poet’s work. Similar to my response to Bitsui’s book, reading this chapter had me looking for A Breeze Swept Through, my favorite of Tapahonso’s books. Scarberry-García doesn’t write about it, but nonetheless the chapter had me remembering how I had been mesmerized by A Breeze Swept Through when I first read it and returned to it over and over for well over a year. My search for my copy ended with me realizing it is in my campus office, which because of COVID I have barely spent any time in over the past year. The next time I am there, I am going to find it and bring it home to read.
I could go on and on about these essays, but will let you find your own gems among them, and I will hope that you will also find yourself looking for work by the terrific authors featured here when you are done.


Beyond the salutary work these essays do of showing us how much wonderful work by Native authors remains for readers, critics, and students to read, study, and enjoy, I would be remiss not to add something about the important intervention the book makes in addressing what have been some-times contentious arguments in Native literary studies. In a smart and wel-come way, Barker and Jacobs and the other scholars in this book demonstrate that close readings of literary texts that highlight their formal and stylistic qualities and readings that emphasize the social and political contexts from which these texts emerge are not necessarily at odds.


This important aspect of the book is evident, of course, from its title, in which the terms “aesthetic” and “sovereignty” both appear. The editors do more than propose a truce between partisans of these two critical orientations or suggest that the argument has been much ado about not that much. Instead, the authors of these chapters show us how much we as readers and critics of Native writing need to be able to pay attention to their transcendent language and beautiful crafting while also understanding the importance of the particular contexts from which Indigenous literature transcends. The critical essays collected here do an excellent job of showing how sometimes we can learn more about a particular poem, novel, or essay by paying primary attention to the way its author put it together, while other times we won’t be able to understand where it transcends from without some careful contextualization.
To return to where I started, what I admire and appreciate most is that Barker and Jacobs have managed to make this critical intervention while also giving us an entire volume of essays by readers and for readers. So, if you have grown weary of trying to locate yourself within current debates with Indigenous literary studies, run out of explanations for how Indigenous literature works, or have surrounded yourself with stacks of critical, historical, and other academic books and articles and are starting to feel hemmed in, do yourself a favor and keep turning these pages and reading what these scholars have to say. As you go, make some new stacks of books and a list of new books to look for. Most of all, keep reading.

University of Arizona Press Announces New Series: Arizona Crossroads

July 18, 2022

The University of Arizona Press is thrilled to announce Arizona Crossroads, a new series celebrating Arizona’s history in partnership with the Arizona Historical Society. For more info on the series, please visit the series page here.

Throughout its history, Arizona has long served as a crossroads between Native peoples, settler colonists, and immigrants from around the world. It has been a contested site among peoples, nations, and empires; it is also a place where events, decisions, and struggles have had far-reaching consequences beyond its shifting borders. As the series title suggests, series editors Anita Huizar-Hernández, Eric V. Meeks, and Katherine G. Morrissey, welcome books that deepen our understanding of Arizona as a diverse crossroads and meeting ground within broad national and transnational contexts, whether topical, thematic or geographic (the region, the nation, the borderlands).

Open to any topic within any time period of Arizona history, the series will publish scholarship that is cutting-edge and innovative, yet generally accessible and readable to an educated general audience. We are open to a variety of book formats: monographs, multi-authored works, and edited collections as well as broader more synthetic works. Interdisciplinary projects that engage the past are encouraged.

Series editors:

Anita Huizar-Hernández is Associate Professor of Spanish in the School of International Letters and Cultures at Arizona State University. She is a literary critic whose teaching and research focus on the literatures and cultures of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands with a particular emphasis on the Arizona borderlands. Her book, Forging Arizona: A History of the Peralta Land Grant and Racial Identity in the West (Rutgers 2019), examines a nineteenth-century land grant scheme in which a con artist falsified archives around the world to steal part of the Arizona and New Mexico Territories. Other publications include articles in the Journal of Arizona History, MELUS (Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States), SAIL (Studies in American Indian Literatures), and English Language Notes. Her current book project investigates the early-twentieth century writings of Mexican Catholic political exiles in the United States. She is also engaged in multiple digital public-facing projects centered in Arizona, including “Reporting on Race and Ethnicity in the Borderlands (1882-1924): A Data-Driven Digital Storytelling Hub” and “DETAINED: Voices from the Migrant Incarceration System.”

Eric V. Meeks is Professor of History at Northern Arizona University. His research and teaching focus primarily on the history of the US-Mexico borderlands and race and ethnicity in North America. His book, Border Citizens: The Making of Indians, Mexicans, and Anglos in Arizona, examines how racial classifications and identities of the diverse indigenous, mestizo, and Euro-American residents of Arizona’s borderlands evolved as the region was politically and economically incorporated into the United States. A new updated edition was published by University of Texas Press in 2020. Other publications include articles in the Journal of Arizona History, Western Historical Quarterly, Journal of the Southwest and the Latin American Research Review. His current book project is a history of the US-Mexico borderlands from the late eighteenth century to the present, under contract with Yale University Press in cooperation with the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University.

Katherine G. Morrissey is Department Head and Associate Professor of History at the University of Arizona. Her research and teaching focus on cultural, environmental, borderlands/Southwest and North American West history. Her books include Mental Territories: Mapping the Inland Empire and two co-edited books with the University of Arizona Press, Border Spaces: Visualizing the U.S.-Mexico Frontera, with John-Michael H. Warner and Picturing Arizona: The Photographic Record of the 1930s, with Kirsten Jensen. Publications also include book chapters as well as articles in the Journal of Arizona History, Pacific Historical Review, Global Environment, and Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. Her current book project, Visual Legacies: Reimagining the US/Mexico Borderlands, traces efforts to mark and visually represent the meanings of the border through the long 20th century. She is co-PI for the “Reporting on Race and Ethnicity in the Borderlands (1882-1924)” digital project.

To learn more, register for our virtual series launch on Friday, September 9, 2022, 12:30 p.m. For event info, go here. For questions or to submit a proposal, please contact University of Arizona Press Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles, kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Features ‘Science Be Dammed’

July 15, 2022

On the June 26, 2022 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River by Eric Kuhn, and John Fleck was featured in a segment on water shortage in the American west.

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.

Field Notes: Preparing for the Next Hurricane over Mexico’s Sea of Cortéz

July 15, 2022

Baja California’s Coastal Landscapes Revealed by Markes E. Johnson was published in November 2021. Therein, 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. In this update on his work on storm deposits, the author shares new experiences and new images from fieldwork conducted in June 2022.

By Markes E. Johnson

Whether or not another storm of similar magnitude can be expected to reach these same shores is not in contention, but rather how soon such an event is likely to occur.  The current state of affairs in which we find ourselves living through accelerated global warming was the main reason for writing my book on the region’s coastal landscapes.  In part, the book’s goal was to relate the much smaller Gulf of California to the vast Pacific Ocean basin where major hurricanes are far more prevalent and reach across to Asian shores on the opposite side, where much damage is done to places in the Philippines, mainland China, Taiwan, and Japan.  After my isolation due to the covid-19 pandemic during the last two years, the opportunity arose for me to make my first excursion back to Baja California for a two-week visit in June 2022.  The objective was to proceed directly to the region around San Basilio Bay (subject of Chapter 4 in the book), where a team was assembled to produce a video focused on the area’s most interesting geological features.

I have described the San Basilio area with its ancient Pliocene volcanic islets as one of the best-kept secrets hidden by a remote landscape.  For me, it was like a long-delayed home-coming to finally reach the safe-haven of the Spanish Contessa’s former house overlooking the embayment.  Much of the bay is surrounded by massive cliffs of rhyolite, which emerged from volcanic eruptions roughly four million years ago just as they did at Clam Bay nearby to the north.  Two of the goals for the visit were to include drone footage with the video under production and to affix a set of tags to some of the boulders in the deposit at Clam Bay.  The metal tags are small and unobtrusive (only an inch in diameter) but numbered and cut with a notch to point in an upward direction after attachment to a boulder’s vertical surface.  The drone footage captured not only a spectacular overview of the entire deposit, but hovered overhead as I recorded dialog for the video and then worked with the crew to implant a few tags on selected boulders near the water’s edge.

Clam Bay and its coastal boulder deposit: Located on a normally placid bay a short distance north of the larger San Basilio embayment, the storm deposit at Clam Bay (Ensenada Almeja) forms an arc-shaped pattern that encloses an area of 3.25 acres behind a high wall of loosely piled boulders and cobbles.  The drone image reflects the darker sub-surface extent of the deposit, which borders the source of erosion at the tip of the peninsula (center-right part of the image) and curves off to the far end where a small sandy beach appears (upper-center left part of the image).  The overall shape of the deposit is due to the refraction of storm waves arriving from the east (left) and turning southward into the bay.  The bottom of the image faces to the north.  A 30-foot sailboat anchored in the bay (center-left part of the image) gives a sense of scale to the deposit.

Rocky shoreline at Clam Bay:  The view in this image was captured overhead by the drone as author Markes Johnson (center in blue shirt) is video-taped explaining how strong wave action eroded large boulders from the jointed rhyolitic cliffs at the shore.

Preparations to affix a boulder tag:  Hovering closely overhead, the drone captures action as the author (right) works with team member Norm Christie (left) to prepare epoxy for attachment of a boulder tag.

Big shore boulder:  Taken at ground level, this image shows the author standing next to one of the larger rhyolite boulders in the Clam Bay storm deposit (left).  Based on its dimensions and the relative density of the rock, the boulder is estimated to weigh about four metric tons.

Tag placement:  In this image, the author holds a numbered metal tag with a notch pointing upward against the vertical side of a small rhyolite boulder.  The surface was prepared prior to fixing the tag in place with epoxy. 

More video action:  Ground view with more video action showing the author (right) speaking about the storm deposit at Clam Bay.  A colony of pelicans sat on an offshore rock (upper left) as the only audience in attendance.

The general climate in the American southwest and adjacent Mexico is currently in transition between a La Niña phase and the next episode of El Niño years when hurricanes in the eastern Pacific basin are expected to be more numerous due to excessive heating of surface waters stretching over the equatorial Pacific Ocean.  After the next big storm enters the Sea of Cortéz, Professor Johnson will return to Clam Bay to assess the degree to which a series of tagged boulders have been displaced.  The coastal boulder deposit at Clam Bay is regarded as very young in age due to its unconsolidated nature, meaning that individual rocks are loosely aggregated and not cemented together as a solid conglomerate.  Moreover, it is an unfinished deposit meaning that more erosion is likely to occur in the near future as big storms lash the shoreline.  The coastal landscapes at San Basilio Bay and elsewhere all along the eastern coast of the Baja California peninsula suggest that the El Niño pattern of weather was far more prevalent in the past than today, and that global warming may be returning us to a comparable time of more severe coastal erosion and coastal flooding.  Time will prove the veracity of such a prediction, perhaps sooner than one might guess.

***

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.

20 New OA Titles Featuring Archaeology

July 11, 2022

The University of Arizona Press is thrilled to announce that twenty backlist archaeology books are now available Open Access thanks to a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The titles, which include classics as well as some newer works, are available for online reading or downloading from Open Arizona, the press’s OA portal. These works include works by leading archaeologists. Learn more about each title:

Ancestral Landscapes of the Pueblo World
by James E. Snead
This revolutionary study makes an important contribution to landscape archaeology and explains how the Precolumbian Pueblo landscape was formed.

Ancestral Zuni Glaze-Decorated Pottery
by Deborah L. Huntley
This research explores interaction networks among residents of settlement clusters in the Zuni region of westcentral New Mexico during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries AD.

Canals and Communities
by Jonathan B. Mabry
Canals and Communities can serve as a sourcebook for social scientists and development planners investigating the cultural ecology of irrigated agriculture, the ethnology of cooperative social formations, the politics of collective-resource institutions, and the sociology of rural development.

Ceramic Ethnoarchaeology
Edited by William A. Longacre
Drawing on projects undertaken around the world, in the Phillipines, East Africa, Mesoamerica, India, in both traditional and complex societies, the contributors focus on identifying social and behavioral sources of ceramic variation to show how analogical reasoning is fundamental to archaeological interpretation.

Ceramic Production in the American Southwest
Edited by Barbara J. Mills and Patricia L. Crown
This volume covers nearly 1000 years of southwestern prehistory and history, focusing on ceramic production in a number of environmental and economic contexts.

Hinterlands and Regional Dynamics in the Ancient Southwest
Edited by Alan P. Sullivan III and James M. Bayman
This work was the first volume dedicated to understanding the nature of and changes in regional social autonomy, political hegemony, and organizational complexity across the entire prehistoric American Southwest.

Landscapes and Social Transformations on the Northwest Coast
by Jeff Oliver
The Fraser Valley in British Columbia has been viewed historically as a typical setting of Indigenous-white interaction. Jeff Oliver reexamines the social history of this region from pre-contact to the violent upheavals of nineteenth and early twentieth century colonialism.

Lifeways in the Northern Maya Lowlands
Edited by Jennifer P. Mathews and Bethany A. Morrison
This book was the first volume to focus entirely on the northern Maya lowlands, presenting a broad cross-section of research projects in the region by a wide range of scholars.

The Marana Community in the Hohokam World
Edited by Suzanne K. Fish, Paul R. Fish, and John H. Madsen
This account of Classic Period settlement in the Tucson Basin between A.D. 1100 and 1300 was the first comprehensive description of the organization of territory, subsistence, and society in a Hohokam community of an outlying region.

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

Mimbres during the Twelfth Century
By Margaret Nelson
While most scholars view abandonment in terms of failed settlements, Margaret Nelson shows that, for the Mimbres, abandonment of individual communities did not necessarily imply abandonment of regions. By examining the economic and social reasons for change among the Mimbres, Nelson reconstructs a process of shifting residence as people spent more time in field camps and gradually transformed them into small hamlets while continuing to farm their old fields.

Multidisciplinary Research at Grasshopper Pueblo, Arizona
By Edited by William A. Longacre, Sally J. Holbrook, and Michael W. Graves
This volume presents the results of research from the University of Arizona’s archaeological field school at Grasshopper Pueblo in Arizona. Contributors considered issues of environmental and climactic change; regional and interregional economics; and subsistence change.

Navajo Multi-Household Social Units
By Thomas R. Rocek
In a rigorous and innovative study, Thomas R. Rocek examines the 150-year-old ethnohistorical and archaeological record of Navajo settlement on Black Mesa in northern Arizona. Rocek’s study not only reveals a rich array of interacting factors that have helped to shape Navajo life during this period but also constructs a valuable case study in archaeological method and theory, certain to be useful to other researchers of nonurban societies.

Neighbors of Casas Grandes
By Michael E. Whalen and Paul E. Minnis
Casas Grandes, or Paquimé, in northwestern Mexico was of one of the few socially complex prehistoric civilizations in North America. Based on more than a decade of surveys, excavations, and field work, the authors provide a comprehensive look at Casas Grandes and its surrounding communities.

Of Marshes and Maize
By Bruce B. Huckell
This work presents archaeological information obtained from small-scale investigations at two deeply buried preceramic sites in Arizona’s Cienega Creek Basin. Its report on excavations at the Donaldson Site and at Los Ojitos offers a thorough description of archaeological features and artifacts, floral and faunal remains, and their geological and chronological contexts.

Sedentism and Mobility in a Social Landscape
By Mark D. Varien
Research on hunting and gathering peoples has given anthropologists a long-standing conceptual framework of sedentism and mobility based on seasonality and ecological constraints. This work challenges that position by arguing that mobility is a socially negotiated activity and that neither mobility nor sedentism can be understood outside of its social context. Drawing on research in the Mesa Verde region that focuses on communities and households, Mark Varien expands the social, spatial, and temporal scales of archaeological analysis to propose a new model for population movement.

Settlement, Subsistence, and Society in Late Zuni Prehistory
By Keith W. Kintigh
Beginning about A.D. 1250, the Zuni area of New Mexico witnessed a massive population aggregation in which the inhabitants of hundreds of widely dispersed villages relocated to a small number of large, architecturally planned pueblos. Over the next century, twenty-seven of these pueblos were constructed, occupied briefly, and then abandoned. Another dramatic settlement shift occurred about A.D. 1400, when the locus of population moved west to the “Cities of Cibola” discovered by Coronado in 1540. Keith W. Kintigh demonstrates how changing agricultural strategies and developing mechanisms of social integration contributed to these population shifts.

Sourcing Prehistoric Ceramics at Chodistaas Pueblo, Arizona
By Maria Zedeño
For decades archaeologists have used pottery to reconstruct the lifeways of ancient populations. It has become increasingly evident, however, that to make inferences about prehistoric economic, social, and political activities through the patterning of ceramic variation, it is necessary to determine the location where the vessels were made. Through detailed analysis of manufacturing technology and design styles as well as the use of modern analytical techniques such as neutron activation analysis, Zedeño here demonstrates a broadly applicable methodology for identifying local and nonlocal ceramics.

The Southwest in the American Imagination
Edited by Curtis M. Hinsley and David R. Wilcox
This work presents a cultural history of the Hemenway Expedition and early anthropology in the American Southwest, told in the voices of its participants and interpreted by contemporary scholars.

White Roads of the Yucatán
By Justine M. Shaw
Presents original field data collected with the Cochuah Regional Archaeological Survey at two ancient Maya sites, Ichmul and Yo’okop. Both centers chose to invest enormous resources in the construction of monumental roadways during a time of social and political turmoil in the Terminal Classic period. Shaw carefully examines why it was at this point—and no other—that the settlements made such a decision.

Latina/o Studies Association 2022: Recent Books, Discounts, and More

July 11, 2022

We are so thrilled to be participating in the 2022 Latina/o Studies Association conference in South Bend, Indiana! Be sure to visit our tables to browse our latest Latinx studies titles and speak with our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles! If you happen to miss her at the conference, send her a message at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu if you have questions about our publishing program.

We are happy to be offering a 30% discount with free U.S. shipping until 8/15/2022. Use the code AZLSA22 at checkout!

Winner of the 2021 Ambroggio Prize of the Academy of American Poets

Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak 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.

We are thrilled that Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on Its Beak received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards!

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.

Watch a special conversation series between the contributors to the book here, then watch editor Frederick Luis Aldama (Professor Latinx) and Mighty Peter talk about their top 5 Latinx TV shows here.

Latinx Teens 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.

Read a brief interview with authors Trevor Boffone and Cristina Herrera here.

We are so thrilled that Latinx Teens received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Award!

LGBTQ Politics in Nicaragua provides the previously untold history of the LGBTQ community’s emergence as political actors—from revolutionary guerillas to civil rights activists. This is a story of struggle and defeat, progress and joy.

The Book of Wanderers is a dynamic short story collection that shows readers what 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 can have in common. Reyes Ramirez takes readers on a journey through Houston, across dimensions, and all the way to Mars with riveting stories that unpack what it means to be Latinx in contemporary—and perhaps future—America.

Read a brief interview with the author here!

In 1981, Chicana feminist intellectuals Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa published what would become a foundational legacy 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.

Read an excerpt from 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 excerpt from the book here, then listen to two different interviews with the author here and here. Read an op-ed from the author here, then watch a recorded event that features the book here.

We are thrilled that The Sound of Exclusion received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards!

Land Uprising reframes Indigenous land reclamation as a horizon to decolonize the settler colonial conditions of literary, intellectual, and activist labor. Simón Ventura Trujillo argues that land provides grounding for rethinking the connection between Native storytelling practices and Latinx racialization across overlapping colonial and nation-state forms.

Listen to Simón Ventura Trujillo and Vick Quezada discuss the project here. We are thrilled that Land Uprising received an honorable mention for the MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies!

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.

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.

Read a brief interview wit Lisa Magaña here, then watch the authors discuss the book here.

Count is a powerful book-length poem that reckons with the heartbreaking reality of climate change. With sections that vary between poetry, science, Indigenous storytelling, numerical measurement, and narration, Valerie Martínez’s new work results in an epic panorama infused with the timely urgency of facing an apocalyptic future.

Read a brief interview with the poet here, then watch a recording of a book celebration event for Count here.

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.

Watch the poet read from her collection here!

We are thrilled that Danzirly is the gold-medal winner of the 2021 Florida Book Awards poetry section, and Danzirly also received an honorable mention for the 2021 Foreword INDIES awards!

Transversal takes a groundbreaking, disruptive approach to poetic translation, opening up alternative ways of reading as poems get translated or transcreated into entirely new pieces. In this collection, Urayoán Noel masterfully examines his native Puerto Rico and the broader Caribbean as sites of transversal poetics and politics.

Read a brief interview with the poet here, then watch him read from Transversal here and present at New York Public Library’s World Literature Festival here.

We are thrilled that Transversal was on the longlist for the 2022 PEN American Open Book Award, and that it was also chosen by New York Public Library as one of the Best Books of 2021!

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.

Watch poet Mara Pastor in conversation with Siomara España at International Literature Festival here, then watch the poet read from her collection here.

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.

Read an excerpt from the book here, then listen to other author read from the book here.

We are thrilled that UNDOCUMENTS won a 2021 Eugene M. Kayden Book Award, and that John-Michael Rivera was awarded by the Carolyn Woodward Pope Endowment for UNDOCUMENTS!

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 the author on NPR here. Watch the author, Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, in conversation with other borderlands scholars here, then learn more about her here.

Written in the early days of the rise of world-wide fascism and the poet’s gender transition, x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación/poems for the nation accepts the invitation to push poetic and gender imaginaries beyond the bounds set by nation. For Raquel Salas Rivera, the x 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.

Read a brief interview with the author here.

We are thrilled that x/ex/exis is a 2022 Lambda Literary Awards finalist!

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.

We are thrilled that Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards!

Professor Latinx Looks at Problems with Censorship in Comics and Literature

July 5, 2022

In a recent issue of Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine, Frederick Luis Aldama, aka Professor Latinx, wrote a call to action to preventing the damage caused by the growing censorship of comics and literature.

Aldama is co-editor of the University of Arizona Press’s Latinx Pop Culture series, and is editor of one it’s newest titles, Latinx TV in the Twenty-First Century, which offers an expansive and critical look at contemporary television by and about U.S. Latinx communities.

Here’s an excerpt from Aldama’s article on censorship:

As I wrap this up, I remind readers of the urgency of our call to action as Latinx educators and others – librarians, familia, and members of the broader community. Over the last decade or so, I’ve noticed the inching forward of more Latinx fiction and nonfiction in the form of comics and prose, making it to library shelves and K-12 and college classroom desks. Yet, such books are still few and far between, hovering in the low single percentages of the total amount of books published every year. And yet, at 19% of the total US population, we are the majority of historically underrepresented people in this country. The banning of the few Latinx books we have managed to get into our learning and exploring spaces will quickly result in our total absence from these spaces.

So, when librarians and teachers are forced to remove from shelves and desks books like Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, House on Mango Street, Always Running, Bless Me, Ultima, Poet X, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, and In the Dream House, among many Latinx titles that have been banned in different regions and districts across the land, what becomes cemented in their place is fear, prejudice, rigidity of thought, and the notion of who belongs and who doesn’t.

Let’s follow our common sense and science. Let’s listen to those like Bertrand Russell, who already nearly a century ago in Education and the Good Life, asked adults to be open and honest with youth about all matters, including taboo and stigmatized subjects. Let’s stop thinking of young people as passive absorptive sponges and as snowflakes easily crushed. Let’s stop acting from fear that forecloses possibilities. And let’s start thinking and treating young people as they are: actively engaged and active recreators of the world. That is, let’s act with intelligence, courage, and creativity. Let’s stand with our fellow educators and librarians to continue to open creative spaces that allow all youth to explore and grow fluid, messy, exuberant, complex patterns of thought, behaviors, identities, and experiences that will lead to their innovating in the areas of literature, art, science, and technology.

Read the entire article here.

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</