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.

Five Questions with Poet Valerie Martínez

September 16, 2021

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

What inspired you to write this collection?

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

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

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

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

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

In Count, you write “How old are they? How much does it weigh to be 25 years in the world at this fateful witnessing?” Do you have any thoughts on how young people should navigate a world that is being drastically and rapidly shaped by climate change, and how they might be able to advocate for and enact change?

O, I think it’s the obligation of my generation, 50’s and older, to bear the brunt of making change. Many younger people are incredibly active and their activism is crucial, but they deserve to know and feel that their elders are doing everything to mitigate what we have wrought on the planet. They are seeing, like we, the more devastating hurricanes and flooding and wildfires and they will feel it more than anyone. They will HAVE to act. But their elders need to dig in and use our expertise and long-lived experience and resources to make things better for them.

What are you working on now?

Actually, nothing much. I have a day job, like most poets (leading a truth, healing, and reconciliation project in the City of Santa Fe, New Mexico) and it occupies much of my time. But I continue to work and travel and read and live and these well themselves in me and eventually lead to new work.

Valerie Martínez is the author of six books of poetry. Her work has been awarded the Larry Levis Prize, a Greenwall Grant from Academy of American Poets, an Arizona Book Award, and received nominations for the Pulitzer Prize, William Carlos William Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, PEN Open Book Award, and Ron Ridenhour Prize, as well as honorable mention in the 2011 International Latino Book Awards. She was the poet laureate of Santa Fe, New Mexico, from 2008 to 2010.

Academy of American Poets Announces Ambroggio Prize 2021 Winner: ‘Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on its Beak’

September 15, 2021

The Academy of American Poets announced today the winner of the Ambroggio Prize 2021, Carlos Aguasaco’s Cardenal en mi ventana con una máscara en el pico / Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on its Beak, translated by Jennifer Rathbun.

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

From the Academy:

Carlos Aguasaco is the Professor of Latin American Cultural Studies and Chair of the Department of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences at the City College of the City University of New York (CUNY). He has edited eleven literary anthologies and published seven books of poems, most recently The New York City Subway Poems (Ashland Poetry Press, 2020). He has also published a short novel and an academic study of Latin America’s prime superhero, El Chapulín Colorado. He is the editor of Transatlantic Gazes: Studies on the Historical Links between Spain and North America (IF-UAH, 2018). Carlos is the founder and director of Artepoetica Press (artepoetica.com). He is also director of The Americas Poetry Festival of New York (poetryny.com) and coordinator of The Americas Film Festival of New York (taffny.com). His poems have been translated into English, French, Portuguese, Romanian, Galician, and Arabic.

Jennifer Rathbun is a Spanish Professor and Chair of the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at Ball State University. She’s published fourteen books of poetry in translation by Hispanic authors such as Alberto Blanco, Minerva Margarita Villarreal, Fernando Carrera and Juan Armando Rojas Joo; two anthologies of poetry denouncing femicide along the US-Mexico border; and the poetry collection El libro de las traiciones / The Book of Betrayals (Artepoetica Press, 2021). Rathbun completed her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Spanish, specializing in contemporary Latin American Literature. She’s a member of The American Literary Translators Association and she’s the Associate Editor of Ashland Poetry Press. 

About Aguasaco’s winning manuscript, judge Rigoberto González said: “Cardenal en mi ventana con una máscara en el pico / Cardinal in My Window with a Mask on its Beak takes the reader on a journey through the surreal and the melancholic, to inventive scenarios like an encounter between Stein and Vallejo going to the movies, to the heartbreaking stories of sideshow attractions where bodies are stripped of their humanity. Yet this book reaches beyond surprising premises and literary inspirations to arrive at a place where the poet also finds wonder in everyday encounters and solace in the sobering knowledge that everything comes to an end, but not before dispelling its magic upon the world: like that red bird mirroring the masked face during the pandemic, like the arresting language of the poet that will eventually succumb to silence. Each poem in this exquisite collection brings a startling (and necessary) revelation about our aches, follies, and mortality, to light.” 

Watch: Mara Pastor Read from New Poetry Collection ‘Deuda Natal’

September 13, 2021

The University of Arizona Press, in partnership with the Academy of American Poets, presented poet Mara Pastor, who read from her new collection, Deuda Natal, in a virtual book celebration on Wednesday, September 9, 2021.

Deuda Natal won the Academy of American Poets’ 2020 Ambroggio Prize, the only annual award of its kind in the United States that honors American poets whose first language is Spanish. The poems in Deuda Natal were translated from Spanish to English by María José Giménez and Anna Rosenwong.

During this virtual book celebration, Pastor, and translators Giménez and Rosenwong, were introduced by Nicole Cecilia Delgado, a poet, translator, and book artist. Pastor read her poems in Spanish, while Giménez and Rosenwong read the same poems in English. Delgado interviewed the poet and translators about the project, and how they delicately worked together to capture the poet’s words, spirit, and motivations.

Deuda Natal finds the beauty within vulnerability and the dignity amidst precariousness. As one of the most prominent voices in Puerto Rican poetry, Pastor uses the poems in this new bilingual collection to highlight the way that fundamental forms of caring for life—and for language—can create a space of poetic decolonization. The poems propose new ways of understanding as they traverse a thematic landscape of women’s labor, the figure of the nomad and immigrant, and the return from economic exile to confront the catastrophic confluence of disaster and disaster capitalism.

John-Michael Rivera Awarded by the Carolyn Woodward Pope Endowment for Undocuments

September 10, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that John-Michael Rivera was awarded by the Carolyn Woodward Pope Endowment for UNDOCUMENTS! This award was established in 1999 to recognize University of Colorado Boulder English Department faculty, and comes with a cash prize for the author.

UNDOCUMENTS is an expansive multi-genre exploration of Greater Mexican documentality that reveals the complicated ways all Latinx peoples, including the author, become objectified within cultures. John-Michael Rivera remixes the Florentine Codex and other documents as he takes an intense look at the anxieties and physical detriments tied to immigration.

John-Michael Rivera is an associate professor and writer at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he serves as director of the Program for Writing and Rhetoric. He has published memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, and scholarship. He is the curator of El Laboratorio, a literary space for Latinx writers, and was co-founder of Shadowbox Magazine, a literary journal for creative nonfiction.

Watch: William Sheehan Joins Discussion on Our Love of the Red Planet

September 3, 2021

Mars Furor, a recent virtual event for the Lowell Observatory‘s Pluto Circle donors, featured University of Arizona Press authors William Sheehan, as well as Jennifer Putnam, PhD Student, Birkbeck College, University of London. The two discussed our fascination with the red planet from Schiaparelli and Lowell through the Mars rovers of 2021.

Sheehan’s new book, Discovering Mars, A History of Observation and Exploration of the Red Planet, with co-author Jim Bell, delves in to the history of the study and exploration of Mars.

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

Podcast Features Sara Sue Hoklotubbe on ‘Betrayal at the Buffalo Ranch’

September 3, 2021

On The Joys of Binge Reading podcast, Jenny Wheeler recently interviewed University of Arizona Press author Sara Sue Hoklotubbe on writing and her book, Betrayal at the Buffalo Ranch, the fourth in Hoklotubbe’s Sadie Walela mystery series.

“She recounts how a book that started out being about how women got a bad rap in banking turned into a bank robbery mystery. And she recalls the day she got stopped at Heathrow for having an American Indian name, believe it or not.”

Listen to the podcast here.

Five Questions with Thomas Maroukis

September 1, 2021

In We Are Not a Vanishing People, historian Thomas Maroukis describes the early twentieth-century roots of modern American Indian protest and activism. He tells the history of Native intellectuals and activists who joined together to establish the Society of American Indians, a group of Indigenous men and women united in the struggle for Indian self-determination. Today we ask the author five questions about his work:

What was the inspiration for this work?
In my Native American course, I cover activism and protest. When discovering that one the first all-Indian activist organization was founded in Columbus, Ohio where I live and teach, I decided to research its origins and subsequently its full history. My early research was to prepare a paper on its on its Columbus origins which I presented at the Ohio Academy of History. I had known about the Society of American Indians (SAI) since I had written The Peyote Road: Religious Freedom and The Native American Church (University of Oklahoma Press, 2010) on the history of peyote and the Native American Church. The use of peyote was controversial and it was one of the issues that led to the demise of the SAI. This added to my interest to pursue the SAI.

One of the interesting details about this work is the role The Ohio State University played. What was it?
In the first decade of the twentieth century The Ohio State University employed sociologist Fayette McKenzie. He wrote a doctoral dissertation on American Indians and began to teach such a course. In 1908 he invited several prominent Native Americans to OSU. They began discussing the need for an all-Indian national organization. Meanwhile several American Indians intellectuals, such as Carlos Montezuma and Charles Eastman, had been discussing such a need for almost a decade. The meeting at OSU was the impetus to establish such an organization. McKenzie was able to get OSU to sponsor the initial conference in 1911. As all went well it was agreed to hold a second conference in 1912: thus, the founding at OSU.

 In order to commemorate the founding, OSU held a three-day centennial conference in 2011, It was titled “Society of American Indian: Centennial Symposium, 1911-2011.” It was attended by hundreds of scholars and activists. The organizers of the conference followed with a volume of essays: “The Society of American Indians and Its Legacies,” 2013. I wrote an essay for the volume: “The Peyote Controversy and the Demise of The Society of American Indians.” This conference inspired me to continue my research on the SAI.

Very little has been written about the SAI. What is the significance of the organization?
It was an organization by Indians for Indians. They were determined to reduce or eliminate federal control over the reservation system so Indians could control their own future.  They fought for U.S. citizenship, challenged the stereotypes of Indians held by the American public, and wanted to demonstrate they were not a “vanishing race.”

They used a variety of strategies to challenge federal control. They protested through lobbying, writing and publicizing their plight. They held annual conferences, published their own journal, wrote books and articles, and spoke all over the country. They fought for quality education for Indian youth. They opposed the federal boarding school system. They helped initiate a century-long tradition of protest and did so without surrendering their cultural heritage.

What surprised you most during your research?
The amount of research material available. They wrote thousands of letters, many published speeches and articles for their journal. There are also many newspapers stories and interviews in the local press in the cities where their conferences were held.

What can today’s activists learn from this history?
As a non-Indian I would not suggest anything for today’s activists. I would recommend buying the book and take from it what may be relevant or not.

***
Thomas Constantine Maroukis is professor emeritus in the Department of History at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio.

Five Questions about ‘Science Be Dammed’ with Eric Kuhn and John Fleck

August 25, 2021

Science Be Dammed is an alarming reminder of the high stakes in the management—and perils in the mismanagement—of water in the western United States.  It seems deceptively simple: even when clear evidence was available that the Colorado River could not sustain ambitious dreaming and planning by decision-makers throughout the twentieth century, river planners and political operatives irresponsibly made the least sustainable and most dangerous long-term decisions.

This month we are releasing Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River in paperback. Today we ask authors Eric Kuhn and John Fleck five questions:

Why did you embark on this project?
We wanted to provide a resource that would contribute to better decision making. In the next few years, the Colorado River basin water managers and other stakeholders will be facing difficult decisions, including renegotiating the river’s fundamental operating rules – questions about who gets water, and how much. We recognized that the river has been legally overallocated for decades. We wanted to understand how this happened–how science was used/misused in the decision-making process and how that misuse of science has become embedded in the river’s governance structure. We believed that with the impacts of climate change adding a new level of deep uncertainty and complexity to an already overused river, it was important to understand how we got here.

This summer we’ve seen record setting drought. For the first time, users on the Colorado River are receiving drought-restricted water. Was this inevitable?
This is a debatable question.  In theory, had basin decision-makers been more curious and more willing to accept the views of the scientists, the legal overallocation of the river could have been avoided. As a practical matter though, the political benefits of ignoring the “inconvenient” science dominated the decision-making process.

Since publication, your book has received a lot of notice. What have you heard from readers since the book was published?
Almost all the feedback and input we’ve received from readers has been positive.  For example, retired USBR Lower Colorado Regional Director Terry Fulp told us that he read the final chapter first, liked our positive tone and message, then went back and read the rest of the book.

Policymakers are making critical decisions about the coming decades of water and the West right now. What do you hope they learn from past?
Seek the active input and perspective of science on all decisions, especially given the expected impacts of climate change on the Colorado River.

Collectively, you have more than 60 years of experience in western water management and reporting. What do you hope decision makers of the future take into account?
Climate change is a game changer. It is adding deep uncertainty to a governance system designed for a variable, but in the long-term a stationary river system. New management approaches will be needed to meet future challenges.

***

Eric Kuhn, recently retired, worked for the Colorado River Water Conservation District from 1981 to 2018, including twenty-two years as general manager. The district is a water utility and policy agency covering most of the Colorado River basin within Colorado.

John Fleck is director of the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program. He wrote Water Is for Fighting Over and Other Myths About Water in the West.

Multiple UA Press Books Receive Honorable Mentions for International Latino Book Awards

August 25, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that several of our recent titles received an honorable mention for the International Latino Book Awards! Federico by Federico Jiménez Caballero and Shelby Tisdale received an honorable mention in the Best Autobiography category, Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities, edited by Arturo J. Aldama and Frederick Luis Aldama, received an honorable mention in the Best Non-Fiction Multi-Author category, and Activist Leaders of San José by Josie Méndez-Negrete received an honorable mention in the Best History Book category.

The awards ceremony will be held virtually on October 16 and 17, 2021.

Congratulations to Federico, Shelby, Arturo, Frederick, and Josie!

Intersectional Chicana Feminisms Chosen as Finalist for International Latino Book Awards

August 25, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Intersectional Chicana Feminisms by Aída Hurtado was chosen as a finalist in the Victor Villaseñor Best Latino Focused Nonfiction Book category of the International Latino Book Awards!

The International Latino Book Awards are now by far the largest Latino cultural awards in the USA. The 2021 Finalists for the 23rd Annual International Latino Book Awards are a reflection of the growing quality of books by and about Latinos.

The awards ceremony will be held virtually on October 16 and 17, 2021.

Congratulations, Aída!

Five Things You Need to Know About Poet Raquel Salas Rivera

August 13, 2021

Raquel Salas Rivera, a Puerto Rican poet who writes in Spanish and English, is featured in the University of Arizona Press Fall 2021 catalog with his collection x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación that poet Willie Perdomo deftly describes as poetry “… guided by an almost surreal imagery, [that] teaches us how to write from the silence of captivity with a nuanced bilingualism. The lines in these poems work off Salas Rivera’s beautifully decolonized logic and turn until they ultimately construct a nation of truth or cut you until you bleed into a new body.”

One: Salas Rivera’s x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación is the first recipient of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize, a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. Ambroggio Prize winners are now published by the University of Arizona Press. x/ex/exis was selected by Alberto Álvaro Ríos in 2018.

Written in the early days of the rise of world-wide fascism and the poet’s gender transition, x/ex/exis accepts the invitation to push poetic and gender imaginaries beyond the bounds set by nation. From teen dysphoria, to the incarceration of anticolonial activists Oscar López and Nina Droz Franco, to the entanglement of church and state, these poems acknowledge the violence of imposed binaries. For Salas Rivera, the marks Puerto Rican transness in a world that seeks trans death, denial, and erasure. Instead of justifying his existence, he takes up the flag of illegibility and writes an apocalyptic book that screams into an uncertain future, armed with nothing to lose.

Two: Salas Rivera was Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, 2018-2019. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania.

“Many people who immigrate to the U.S. have more than one home,” said Rivera a few weeks ago during an interview at the Free Library of Philadelphia, just before jetting off to visit family in Puerto Rico. “They have multiple allegiances. My home is Philadelphia, and my home is Puerto Rico.”

Three: Salas Rivera is part of a collective of Puerto Rican authors and poets with El proyecto de la literatura puertorriqueña/ The Puerto Rican Literature Project, with the University of Houston’s U.S. Latino Digital Humanities and support from a three-year Mellon Foundation grant. Salas Rivera is currently creating the projects online archive of Puerto Rican literature. Alongside Claire Jiménez, Ricardo Maldonado, Enrique Olivares, and the University of Houston’s USLDH team, he serves as investigator and head of the translation team. The archive is a free, bilingual, user-friendly open access digital portal that users within and outside academia can use to learn about and teach Puerto Rican poetry.

“So often, Puerto Rican poets and writers are forced to share our various knowledges and archive these without the necessary resources, keeping alive precarious traditions, driven by our love of literature and sheer force of will, carving out time where there is none to create, document, and uplift each other. The PRLP is a long overdue post-curational archival project that we can all access, which we hope will aid us in a centuries-long mission to celebrate our literary achievements.”

Four: Besides being named a Poet Laureate, Salas Rivera has an impressive list of awards and grants in his work as a poet. He is also the author of five full-length poetry books besides x/ex/exis. His sixth book, antes que isla es volcán/before island is volcano, is an imaginative leap into Puerto Rico’s decolonial future and is forthcoming from Beacon Press in 2022.

Awards: 2020 Firecracker Award in Poetry Finalist; 2019 Big Other Book Award for Poetry and Translation Finalist; 2020 Pen America Open Book Award Longlist2019 Premio Nuevas Voces del Festival de la Palabra de Puerto Rico; 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Transgender Poetry; 2018 National Book Award Longlist: Poetry; 2018 Ambroggio Prize from the Academy of American Poets; 2018-2019 Poet Laureate of Philadelphia; 2010 First and Second Place in the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico’s Literary Contest; y/and 2010 First Place in the University of Puerto Rico’s Queer Festival’s Poetry Contest. 

Grants and fellowships: 2021-2024 Mellon Foundation grant for El proyecto de la literatura puertorriqueña/ The Puerto Rican Literature Project; 2021 NEA Translation Fellowship; 2019-2021 Writer for the Art for Justice Fund at the University of Arizona Poetry Center; 2020 University of Houston and Arte Publico Press US Latino Digital Humanities USLDH Grant-In-Aid; 2020 Nadya Aisenberg MacDowell Colony Fellowship; 2020 La Impresora Poet in Residency; 2019 Playwright Fellow at the Sundance Institute Playwrights and Composer Retreat; 2019 Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets; 2018-2019 Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Jazz Residency; 2018 CantoMundo Fellow; y/and 2004 Scholarship to attend Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program.

Five: Salas Rivera’s roots are poetry.

His grandfather Sotero Rivera Avilés was a poet, and with the support of a 2021 NEA Translation Fellowship, he is translating his grandfather’s poetry.

“On April 28, 1933, my grandfather, Sotero Rivera Avilés, was born in Añasco, Puerto Rico. Like most Puerto Rican towns, Añasco was built around the production of sugar cane. Rivera Avilés was the descendant of enslaved sugarcane workers. … Rivera Aviles’ work is extraordinary in its scope. He most often writes within the more traditional lyrical style that was typical of the Guajana Generation. Yet he wrote about being a post-war veteran in a rural Puerto Rican town and the broken promises of Luis Muñoz Marín’s populist modernization projects. He demystified the jíbaro archetype of the naïve, but good-hearted field laborer saved by mass migration to urban centers, such as San Juan and New York. He wrote openly about his disabilities, delved into the seldom described experience of post-war return migration, and left a record of regionalisms from a world that no longer exists. His is some of the only poetry written about Humatas, and the breadth of his work never overshadowed the importance of the life he led before acquiring a formal education.”

Currently, Salas Rivera writes and teaches in Puerto Rico.

OLLI Fall Speaker Series Includes Press Authors for Virtual Book Discussions

August 6, 2021

Big thanks to the University of Arizona’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute for including several University of Arizona Press authors to be part of their Online Fall 2021 Speaker Series to discuss their new books. OLLI is a membership-based program that offers informal and educational community programming for all adults over the age of 50. Go here for more info on membership and programming. The Fall Speaker Series takes place on Mondays, 1 p.m. Pacific Time beginning in September.

University of Arizona Press authors:

November 1 – William Sheehan
Discovering Mars: A History of Observation and Exploration of the Red Planet

November 15 – James H. Creechan
Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds: The Transformations of Mexico’s Narco Cartels

November 29 – Miriam Davidson
Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land

December 13 – Seth Schindler
Sowing the Seeds of Change: The Story of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona

Children of the Dragonfly: The Literature of Boarding Schools

July 26, 2021

By Robert Bensen

The recent discoveries of over 1,000 Indigenous children’s graves near boarding and residential schools are the latest developments in the story of assimilative, arguably genocidal education in the U.S. and Canada.  In poetry, fiction, and memoir, the boarding school experience is represented in Children of the Dragonfly, the first anthology of Indian literature devoted to Indian child education and welfare. The anthology also includes literature on adoption and foster care, when some 35 percent of Indian children were raised in non-Indian settings during the Sixties Scoop in Canada and the U.S. crisis that led to passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.  Dragonfly is an ancient spirit in the Zuni story that saves two abandoned children and restores them to their people.  That spirit is infused in the literature collected in Children of the Dragonfly.

            Boarding schools were created to assimilate Indian children to the white world, which required the loss of cultural traditions. The literature tells us, however, that children kept their stories and practices as much as they could. U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo’s “The Woman Who Fell from the Sky” (1994) retells the ancient creation story in the story of Johnny and Lila. Together they endured the rigors and privations of boarding school, but afterward went their separate ways. Johnny joined the army. Lila worked at Dairy Queen and cleaned houses until she entered the story that had been her refuge at school. She married one of the stars and lived in the Sky World, where she was sure “she could find love in a place that did not know the disturbance of death.”  One day, however,

a song climbed up her legs from far away, to the rooms of her heart. Later she would tell Johnny it was the sound of destiny, which is similar to a prayer reaching out to claim her. You can’t ignore these things, she would tell him, and it led her to the place her husband had warned her was too sacred for women. She looked into the forbidden place and leaped.

Lila fell from the sky world into Johnny’s arms in the parking lot of a Safeway store. The poem enacts what boarding school had not destroyed: the strength of survivorship in him, and in her, knowing that the old story she first heard in her mother’s womb would guard and nurture her all her life long.  

            By separating children from their tribe and family, the boarding school created problems in parenting and in inter-generational relations. The anthology includes an excerpt of the 1891 War Department propaganda novel Stiya, ghost-written to discourage Carlisle graduates from returning to their families and tribal ways.  Other fiction by Lee Maracle (“Black Robes”) and Luci Tapahonso (“The Snakeman”) trace generational conflicts and social relations created by removal. Black Bear’s memoir “Who Am I?” portrays the extreme emotional, physical, and spiritual damage to parent-child relations and to identity from boarding school life, and the cost of rebuilding what had been lost.

            Many boarding schools were operated by religious organizations to convert as well as assimilate Native children. E. Pauline Johnson’s 1913 story “As It Was in the Beginning” reveals the hypocrisy beneath the promise that the Black Robe Father made to Esther’s Cree father to “save her from hell” and make of her a “noble woman.”  Esther grows to womanhood in the school of the Black Robe Father, whose nephew falls in love with her and asks his uncle for permission to marry her. The Black Robe is horrified and says that despite her upbringing she “comes of uncertain blood…[and] you can never tell what lurks in a caged animal that has once been wild.” Esther overhears him denying her everything he had promised plus the love of her life because of her race, calling her a “strange snake.”  She thinks,

What were his years of kindness and care now? What did I care for his God, his heaven, his hell? He had robbed me of my native faither, of my parents, of my people, of this last, this life of love that would have made a great, good woman of me. God! how I hated him!

She remembers the arrow-head tipped with snake venom that her mother had given her years before and warned her not to touch. She steals into her beloved’s room when he’s asleep and scratches his wrist twice, like a snake bite. Then she leaves and returns to her family, only to dream nightly her nightmare “of the white man’s hell. Why did they teach me of it, only to fling me into it?”   

            Children were often punished brutally for speaking their Native language, since language is the repository of culture and collective memory. Gordon D. Henry, Jr’s short story “The Prisoner of Haiku” (1992) is at once a horrific and lyrical imagining of a cruel but ultimately unsuccessful repression for The Prisoner’s speaking his language:

Two strong men with the force of God and Jesus who knows what else dragged him outside on a bitter wind-chilled Minnesota day and tied him to an iron post. They left him then without food, without water, through the night. Somehow the men believed the force of the cold, the ice hand of winter would reach out and take the boy by the throat and silence his native language. The other boys heard the punished boy screaming in defiance all night, defending the language, calling wind, calling relatives, singing, so he wouldn’t forget. The screaming went on all night, and in the morning, on a bright, winter day, when the school fathers went out to untie him, the boy could speak no more. When he opened his mouth to try, less than a whisper stirred air. Boys who were close to him then said that though they heard nothing, they felt something: a coolness floated out of his mouth and went directly to their ears to the point where—the boys claimed—their hearing was frozen in time. They felt the breath-held syllables melt in their heads later, in the words of the Anishinaabe language, and still later in Native translations of circumstances and relationships that they never would have thought of without remembering the cold in their ears. Moreover, boys who went to the same boarding school, years later, testified to hearing Native words whirling up with every snow from sundown to sunrise in their winters at that place.

            New revelations about the Boarding School Movement will continue to come to light and add to our factual knowledge. The effects of the schools will also continue to be represented in poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and other imaginative literature by Indigenous writers. The work collected in Children of the Dragonfly is part of that legacy. 

***
Robert Bensen is co-editor of Iroquois Voices, Iroquois Visions: A Celebration of Contemporary Six Nations Arts and has authored numerous essays on Native literature and child custody. He is Professor Emeritus and Director of Writing (1978-2017) at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, where he taught American Indian law and literature.  His poems have been published in six collections and in numerous journals. His work has been recognized with fellowships and awards from the NEA, the NEH, Harvard University, NYSCA, Illinois Arts Council, and others. He is the director of Woodland Arts Editions and of the Seeing Things community workshop at Bright Hill Press and Literary Center.  https://robertbensen.com/

Watch: Borderlands Scholars on Research, Identity, and Life in Virtual Roundtable Discussion

July 22, 2021

On Wednesday, July 22, the University of Arizona Press presented a virtual panel discussion, From the Border: An Open Book Summer Roundtable, on borderlands studies with noted scholars and authors Maurice S. Crandall, Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, and Yvette J. Saavedra.

The panelists reflected on the state of borderland studies today, its importance, their own works, and what “open” borderlands scholarship looks like. The event caps a three-year publishing project from the Press called Open Arizona. Open Arizona is a collection of open-access University of Arizona Press titles made available through the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The scholarship, histories, and approaches in the selected titles emphasize the relevance of the southwestern United States to understanding contemporary American life. Several works in Open Arizona include new original essays by leading scholars, offering contemporary reflections on these once out-of-print works, including some foundational works in Border Studies.

Panelists:

Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez is an assistant professor of English at Arizona State University. Fonseca-Chávez is the author of Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture: Looking Through the Kaleidoscope. She is the author of the essay “Reflections on Reconstructing a Chicano/a Literary Heritage: Hispanic Colonial Literature of the Southwest,” which was published as part of Open Arizona.

Maurice S. Crandall is an assistant professor of Native American Studies at Dartmouth. He is the author of These People Have Always Been a Republic: Indigenous Electorates in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands, 1598–1912. He is the author of the essay “Reflections on The Social Organization of the Western Apache and Grenville Goodwin Among the Western Apache: Letters from the Field,” which was published as part of Open Arizona.

Yvette J. Saavedra is an assistant professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Oregon. Saavedra is the author of Pasadena Before the Roses: Race, Identity, and Land Use in Southern California, 1771–1890. She is also the author of the essay “Spanish Colonial Tucson: Shifting the Paradigms of Borderlands History,” which was published as part of Open Arizona.

MALCS 2021: Browse Our Latest Chicana and Latina Studies Titles

July 22, 2021

We are excited to be offering a special discount on our new and recent Chicana and Latina studies titles for the MALCS 2021 Summer Institute! The MALCS 2021 Summer Institute’s theme is: Abriendo caminos, abriendo corazones: Renewing Mind, Body, and Spirit in the Time of COVID. Temporarily moving to a virtual format, the MALCS Executive and Coordinating Committees are pleased to bring you a wonderful week of programming meant to bridge the distance by bringing love, healing, and community to you—wherever you are. Fraught with loss, sadness, and worry—exacerbated by continued social injustice, social inequity, and political unrest, the pandemic and its accompanying uncertainties wreaked havoc on our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. 

Use the code AZMALCS21 for 40% off all titles, with free U.S. shipping. If you have questions about our publishing program, click here to learn more, or contact our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles, at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Pre-order these titles now!

Letras y Limpias is the first book to explore the literary significance of the curandera. It offers critical new insights about how traditional medicine and folk healing underwrite Mexican American literature. Amanda Ellis traces the significance of the curandera and her evolution across a variety of genres written by Mexican American authors such as Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Manuel Munoz, ire’ne lara silva, and more.

Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas tells the story of the community’s struggle to carve out space for survival and thriving in the shadows of the U.S.-Mexico geopolitical border. This ethnography by Michelle Téllez demonstrates the state’s neglect in providing social services and local infrastructure. Téllez shows that in creating the community of Maclovio Rojas, residents have challenged prescriptive notions of nation and belonging. Through women’s active participation and leadership, a women’s political subjectivity has emerged—Maclovianas. These border women both contest and invoke their citizenship as they struggle to have their land rights recognized, and they transform traditional political roles into that of agency and responsibility.

Currently Available

Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa provides pedagogical applications of Anzaldúa’s noted theories, including la facultad, the path of conocimiento, and autohistoria, among others. This text provides examples, lesson plans, and activities for scholars, professors, teachers, and community members in various disciplines—such as history, composition, literature, speech and debate, and more—and for those interested in teaching the theories of Gloria Anzaldúa.

Watch a recording of a fantastic virtual event celebrating the release of Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa here.

Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture traces the development of Chicana/o literature and cultural production from the Spanish colonial period to the present. In doing so, it challenges us to look critically at how we simultaneously embody colonial constructs and challenge their legacies.

Read an excerpt from the book here, then listen to author Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez discuss topics from the book on NPR here.

Cultura y Corazón is a cultural approach to research that requires a long-term commitment to community-based and engaged research methodologies. This book presents case studies in the fields of education and health that recognize and integrate communities’ values, culture, and funds of knowledge in the research process.

Challenging stereotypes, Activist Leaders of San José unearths and makes visible lived experiences of Chicana and Latino activists from San José, California, who made contributions to the cultural and civic life of the city. Through oral histories, we see a portrait of grassroots leadership in the twentieth century.

 Watch a book release event with author Josie Méndez-Negrete here. Congratulations to Josie for being honored as the 2021 NACCS Scholar!

Advocating for and demonstrating the importance of an intersectional, multidisciplinary, activist understanding of Chicanas, Intersectional Chicana Feminisms provides a much-needed overview of the key theories, thinkers, and activists that have contributed to Chicana feminisms.

Congratulations to author Aída Hurtado for winning an AAHHE Distinguished Author Award, and for receiving an honorable mention for the 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize!

The Chicana M(other)work Anthology is a call to action for justice within and outside academia. This volume brings together emerging scholarship and testimonios by and about self-identified Chicana and Women of Color mother-scholars, activists, and allies who, using an intersectional lens, center mothering as transformative labor.

Read an excerpt from the book here, and read more about our Feminist Wire Book Series here.

Mexican Workers and the Making of Arizona expands our understanding of the critical role played by Mexican and Mexican American laborers in making Arizona a prominent and influential state in the Southwest and beyond.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

In Pasadena Before the Roses, historian Yvette J. Saavedra shows how Indigenous, Spanish, Mexican, and American groups each have redefined the meanings of land use to build their homes and their lives. This social and cultural history illustrates the interconnectedness of power, ideas of land use, and the negotiation of identity within multiple colonial moments.

Congratulations to author Yvette Saavedra for winning the 2019  WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship!

Silviana Wood’s teatro has elicited tears and laughter from audiences young and old. Barrio Dreams brings together for the first time the plays of Wood, one of Arizona’s foremost playwrights. Wood is acclaimed locally, regionally, and nationally as a playwright, actor, director, and activist.

Silviana Wood was featured on the New Books Network Podcast. Listen here. Borderlands Theater honored the lifetime achievements of Silviana Wood through a series of virtual events. Learn more here.

The decolonial approaches found in Writing the Goodlife provide rich examples of mutually respectful relations between humans and nature. Ybarra’s book takes on two of today’s most discussed topics: environmentalism and Latina/o population growth. Ybarra shines a light on long-established traditions of environmental thought that have existed in Mexican American literary history for at least 150 years.

Fleshing the Spirit brings together established and new writers to explore the relationships between the physical body, the spirit and spirituality, and social justice activism. The anthology incorporates different genres of writing—such as poetry, testimonials, critical essays, and historical analysis—and stimulates the reader to engage spirituality in a critical, personal, and creative way.

“A comprehensive collection of feminist spirituality will be incomplete without this volume.”—Publishers Weekly

¿Qué Onda? analyzes the construction of Mexicana/o and Chicana/o identities through a four-year ethnographic study in a representative American high school. It reveals how identity politics impacts young people’s forms of communication and the cultural spaces they occupy in the school setting. By showing how identities are created and directly influenced by the complexities of geopolitics and sociocultural influences, it stresses the largely unexplored divisions among youths whose identities are located along a wide continuum of “Mexicanness.”

Stephen Pyne on Arizona’s Fire Problem in Az Republic

July 12, 2021

In a special opinion piece for the Arizona Republic Stephen Pyne writes that Fires in the West–and the world, for that matter, is not a problem solved with a once-and-done project:

“Places that historically had fire are having more and nastier outbreaks. Places without routine fire are experiencing it. An equal reality is that we need more landscape fire to dampen fuels and enhance ecological integrity. All in all, too much bad fire, too little good.”

Read the Op Ed

***

Stephen J. Pyne is an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. Best known for his research into the history of fire, he is the author of Between Two Fires and To The Last Smoke, along with several other works on fire. He has also written a suite of studies that orbit around the concept of three ages of discovery: The Ice: A Journey to Antarctica; How the Canyon Became Grand; Voyager: Exploration, Space, and the Third Great Age of Discovery; and The Great Ages of Discovery.

Open Arizona: Essays Offer Critique of Spicer and Kessell

July 9, 2021

We are pleased to announce the publication of two important new essays on our open access platform, Open Arizona. The essays bring together leading contemporary scholars to add perspective to formerly out-of-print works that have been republished on the site.

A key component of the Open Arizona project, which was funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation to make out-of-print books available as open access, is to add contemporary context to these works, some decades old. The newest essays are by Natasha Varner and Ignacio Martínez. These scholars offer perspectives framed by their expertise in history, Indigenous studies, and border studies. In thoughtful, individual essays, they address the works of Edward Spicer and John Kessell.

Varner’s essay “Social Science as a Tool for Surveillance in World War II Japanese American Concentration Camps,” addresses Spicer’s work Impounded People: Japanese-Americans in the Relocation Centers. The essay examines Spicer’s role during WWII in the community analyst program and his influence on applied anthropology, as well as some of the conundrums that emerged through this work.

Martínez’s essay “The Mission Frontier: A Universal Story of Human Engagement” addresses Kessell’s work Friar’s, Soldiers, and Reformers: Hispanic Arizona and the Sonora MIssion Frontier, 1767-1856. In the essay, Martínez explains why Kessell’s grand narrative of the Sonoran frontier requires updating.

Both essays are puplished open access and freely available.

Understanding Multisensory Realms: An Excerpt from ‘Flower Worlds’

July 2, 2021

Flower Worlds reaches into multisensory realms that extend back at least 2,500 years, offering many different disciplines, perspectives, and collaborations to understand these domains. Today, Flower Worlds are expressed in everyday work and lived experiences, embedded in sacred geographies, and ritually practiced both individually and in communities. This volume stresses the importance of contemporary perspectives and experiences by opening with living traditions before delving into the historical trajectories of Flower Worlds, creating a book that melds scientific and humanistic research and emphasizes Indigenous voices.

Below, read an excerpt from Michael Mathiowetz and Andrew Turner ‘s introduction to the volume.

The identification of flower world as a floral spiritual domain represents one of the most important breakthroughs in the study of Indigenous belief systems in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. Nearly three decades of scholarship devoted to this topic have demonstrated that while many of the cultures of both regions share in fundamental aspects of these beliefs, there are also key differences among a plurality of flower worlds. Furthermore, as these realms are multisensory and reach back at least 2,500 years, efforts to understand them extend well beyond the capabilities of any particular academic discipline and require the collaboration of scholars and religious specialists who bring a variety of perspectives. Far more than religious movements or cults, flower worlds form vital and dynamic cores of the cosmologies, histories, rituals, and everyday lives of Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica and the Southwest, past and present.

In her influential 1992 article “The Flower World of Old Uto-Aztecan,” Jane Hill noted prevalent patterns of floral metaphors and chromatic symbolism in the oral canons, particularly songs, of Uto-Aztecan speech communities and their neighbors (including the Zuni and Tzotzil Maya) ranging geographically from Arizona to Chiapas (maps 1, 2). According to Hill, this suite of linguistic metaphors evokes a spirit land or paradise, often a land of the dead, that is “a timeless world, parallel to our own” (Hill 1992:127). She coined the term Flower World to describe the sacred landscapes referenced and invoked in this cross-cultural and cross-historical phenomenon, which includes sea ania of the Yoeme (Yaqui); Tamoanchan, Tlalocan, and the Sun’s Heaven of the Mexica (Aztecs); and Wirikuta of the Wixárika (Huichol). Within this linguistic complex, flowers invoke not only the flower world but a constellation of concepts including song, the human spirit, and vital forces (such as blood and hearts, fire, and often “male strength and spirituality”) (Hill 1992:122). Hill (1992:136– 38) suggested that these concepts originated with an ancestral “Old Uto-Aztecan” speech community that spread from north to south with Uto-Aztecan linguistic expansion, but she also raised the possibility that a “flower world complex” could have originated in Mesoamerica and spread north with maize agriculture.

In 1992 Louise Burkhart also published an article in which she noted similar patterns of floral metaphors in early colonial Nahua Christian literature, especially Fray Bernardino de Sahagún’s Psalmodia christiana (1993 [1583]) and the Cantares mexicanos (Bierhorst 1985). Burkhart points out that the process of conversion to Christianity in postconquest Mexico was also a process of mutual accommodation in which Spanish friars and Nahua interpreters sought parallels between Indigenous conceptions of paradise and the Christian heaven and Eden. Nahua converts aestheticized and translated the otherwise remote heaven and Eden into their own terms as paradise gardens accessible through ritual and song (Burkhart 1992:90). Within this context, Nahua conceptions of flower world not only survived but thrived and in turn modified New World Christianity.

Pursuing questions raised by Hill’s (1992) original study, Kelley Hays-Gilpin and Jane Hill (1999, 2000) expanded on the flower world as a linguistically based phenomenon to encompass material culture by investigating its historical spread into the Southwest through ancient iconographic motifs. The authors associated imagery such as butterflies, flowers, rainbows, and colorful birds with the flower world, noting that evidence is particularly prevalent in the Southwest after A.D. 1300. They add that rather than a cult or religion, flower world “constituted ‘part ideologies’ or a set of symbolic tools that remained available, either separately or in combination, to the ritual practice and thought of Southwestern peoples over a long period of time” (Hays-Gilpin and Hill 1999:16).

Karl Taube (2004) provided the first in-depth study of the flower world in ancient Mesoamerica. Focusing primarily on the Classic Maya, Taube discussed conceptions of breath, jewels, flowers, music, the soul, and a celestial solar paradise, including how these notions place humans in relation to the life- giving environmental forces of wind, rain, and sun that promote agricultural abundance (Taube 2004:91– 93). Through analysis of artwork in relation to ethnographic and ethnohistoric sources, Taube (2004:79– 91) drew attention to Flower Mountain, a place of origin and celestial ascent of the sun and apotheosized ancestors and found parallels in the cosmologies of Teotihuacan, the contemporary Tzutujil Maya (Carlsen and Prechtel 1991) and Hopi, among other cultures. The emergence of the first people, often aided by deities, from a Flower Mountain or Flower Mound, is a central theme in origin stories of Mesoamerica and the American Southwest (Saturno et al. 2005:48– 50; Taube 2010b:111– 18; Taube, this volume). Taube noted the early appearance of flower world imagery among the Middle Formative (900– 400 B.C.) Olmec, exposing the deep roots of flower world concepts in Mesoamerica (Taube 2004:90). In focusing on the Classic Maya, this work also demonstrates that, while strongly prevalent among Uto-Aztecan speakers as Hill (1992) observed, the flower world is not tied to a particular language group.

Building on Hill’s (1992) original recognition and description of the flower world and the foundational works that demonstrated its resilience and flexibility in times of social upheaval (Burkhart 1992), its correlates in visual culture (Hays-Gilpin and Hill 1999), and its antiquity and pervasiveness among the cultures of Mesoamerica (Taube 2004), we continue to refine and add nuance to our understanding of the flower worlds of past and present cultures of Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. Oswaldo Chinchilla Mazariegos (this volume) urges us to consider a plurality of flower worlds, as multiple distinct floral realms coexist within certain traditions and, while sharing important characteristics, the various manifestations of this phenomenon are distinct and culturally and environmentally situated. Since Hill’s (1992) assessment of the geographical range of this phenomenon as extending from Arizona to Chiapas, subsequent studies have recognized its presence at the easternmost boundaries of Mesoamerica. However, while widespread and diverse in representation, flower worlds are not present among all cultures at all times in these regions.

Learn more about the book by watching its book trailer here.

Flower Worlds is a part of our Amerind Studies in Anthropology series. Learn more about the series here.

Devon Mihesuah on Importance of Native Heroes in Fiction

June 25, 2021

In a recent interview with the Lawrence-Journal World, University of Arizona Press author Devon A. Mihesuah talks about her new title, The Hatak Witches, and her writing life.

Mihesuah, the Cora Lee Beers Price Teaching Professor in International Cultural Understanding at the University of Kansas, reflected on her research and fiction:

“You still have to do research for both,” she said. “I’m a staunch believer that Native fiction should be written by Native people. Those are the writers who have lived experiences. They know their community, and they understand their culture. You have to be true to your culture when you write Native fiction. Otherwise the audience that I write to – who are Natives primarily — are going to know if the writer has fabricated something or doesn’t understand some cultural nuance. That’s easy to spot.”

Mihesuah’s novel continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in her award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations. In Hatak Witches, a security guard is found dead and another wounded at the Children’s Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma, Detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson are summoned to investigate. They find no fingerprints, no footprints, and no obvious means to enter the locked building. Monique discovers that a portion of an ancient and deformed skeleton had also been stolen from the neglected museum archives. Her uncle, the spiritual leader Leroy Bear Red Ears, concludes that the stolen remains are those of Hatak haksi, a witch and the matriarch of the Crow family, a group of shape-shifting Choctaws who plan to reestablish themselves as the powerful creatures they were when the tribe lived in Mississippi.

Read the full interview here.

Savor the Southwest turns to ‘Famine Foods’ for Answers on Indigenous Survival in the Sonora Desert

June 24, 2021

In the Tucson blog, Savor the Southwest: Forage, Raise, Cook, University of Arizona Press author Carolyn Niethammer asks: When drought led to famine, what did people eat in our desert?

Niethammer’s recent book, A Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson’s Culinary Heritage, covers more than 4,000 years of food history, from the hunter-gatherers, to the Early Agriculturalists to today’s farmers. However, to answer her question, the celebrated food writer turned to another University of Arizona author Paul Minnis and his recent title, Famine Foods: Plants We Eat to Survive.

In Famine Foods, Minnis focuses on the myriad plants that have sustained human populations throughout the course of history, unveiling those that people have consumed, and often still consume, to avoid starvation. This book offers a fascinating overview of famine foods—how they are used, who uses them, and, perhaps most importantly, why they may be critical to sustain human life in the future.

From Niethammer’s review:

“Another way Native Americans faced food shortages is what Minnis calls “social banking.” In 1939, the town chief of Acoma, a New Mexico Pueblo said, “The people of Zuni are coming. They have no crops. They are coming to work for us. Some day we might have to go to them when our crops are small.” The Tohono O’odham when facing food shortages would sometimes go visit their cousins the Akimel O’odham who had an easier time growing crops with the Gila River water. Because there were no draft animals, it was easier to move the people to the food rather than try to transport large quantities of food.”

Read the full review here.

The Press is Open: Eight More Titles Now Open Access

June 23, 2021

The University of Arizona Press is pleased to announce that a new selection of titles in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, and Indigenous Studies are now available as open access (OA). Thanks to financial support from Knowledge Unlatched, we have been able to move eight titles to OA format. The titles are available either via link on our website or directly through the OAPEN Foundation.

Now Available as OA:

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

Decolonizing “Prehistory”
Deep Time and Indigenous Knowledges in North America
Edited by Gesa Mackenthun and Christen Mucher
This is a critical investigation of the documentation of the American deep past with perspectives from Indigenous traditional knowledges and attention to ongoing systems of intellectual colonialism. Bringing together experts from American studies, archaeology, anthropology, legal studies, history, and literary studies, this interdisciplinary volume offers essential information about the complexity and ambivalence of colonial encounters with Indigenous peoples in North America, and their impact on American scientific discourse. Learn more.

Footprints of Hopi History
Hopihiniwtiput Kukveni’at
Edited by Leigh J. KuwanwisiwmaT. J. Ferguson , and Chip Colwell
Footprints of Hopi History: Hopihiniwtiput Kukveni’at focuses on a powerful historical metaphor that the Hopi people use to comprehend their tangible heritage. The editors and contributors offer fresh and innovative perspectives on Hopi archaeology and history, and demonstrate how one tribe has significantly advanced knowledge about its past through collaboration with archaeologists and cultural anthropologists. Learn more.

The Global Spanish Empire
Five Hundred Years of Place Making and Pluralism
Edited by Christine Beaule and John G. Douglass
The Spanish Empire was a complex web of places and peoples. Through an expansive range of essays that look at Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, this volume brings a broad range of regions into conversation. The contributors focus on nuanced, comparative exploration of the processes and practices of creating, maintaining, and transforming cultural place making within pluralistic Spanish colonial communities. Learn more.

The Nature of Spectacle
On Images, Money, and Conserving Capitalism
Jim Igoe
In The Nature of Spectacle, Jim Igoe embarks on multifaceted explorations of how we imagine nature and how nature shapes our imaginations. The book traces spectacular productions of imagined nature across time and space—from African nature tourism to transnational policy events to green consumer appeals in which the push of a virtual button appears to initiate a chain of events resulting in the protection of polar bears in the Arctic or jaguars in the Amazon rainforest. These explorations illuminate the often surprising intersections of consumerism, entertainment, and environmental policy. Learn more.

Moral Ecology of a Forest
The Nature Industry and Maya Post-Conservation
José E. Martínez-Reyes
This book offers an ethnographic account of conservation politics, particularly the conflict between Western conservation and Mayan ontological ecology. The difficult interactions of the Maya of central Quintana Roo, Mexico, for example, or the Mayan communities of the Sain Ka’an Biosphere, demonstrate the clashing interests with Western biodiversity conservation initiatives. The conflicts within the forest of Quintana Roo represent the outcome of nature in this global era, where the forces of land grabbing, conservation promotion and organizations, and capitalism vie for control of forests and land.
Learn more.

Silent Violence
Global Health, Malaria, and Child Survival in Tanzania
Vinay R. Kamat
Silent Violence engages the harsh reality of malaria and its effects on marginalized communities in Tanzania. Vinay R. Kamat presents an ethnographic analysis of the shifting global discourses and practices surrounding malaria control and their impact on the people of Tanzania, especially mothers of children sickened by malaria. Learn more.

Tourism Geopolitics
Assemblages of Infrastructure, Affect, and Imagination
Edited by Mary MostafanezhadMatilde Córdoba AzcárateRoger Norum
In Tourism Geopolitics, contributors show enacted processes such as labor migration, conservation, securitization, nation building, territorial disputes, ethnic cleansing, heritage revitalization, and global health crisis management, among others. These contended societal processes are deployed through tourism development initiatives that mobilize deeply uneven symbolic and material landscapes. The chapters reveal how a range of experiences are implicated in this process: museum visits, walking tours, architectonical evocations of the past, road construction, militarized island imaginations, gendered cultural texts, and official silences. Learn more.

Watch: Urayoán Noel In Conversation at New York Public Library’s World Literature Festival

June 22, 2021

The New York Public Library’s first World Literature Festival included a recent conversation with University of Arizona Press author Urayoán Noel, as well as fellow poet Dunya Mikhail with NYPL librarians Grace Yamada and Leanna Frankland. In the panel discussion, Languages of Poetry, the poets discussed poetry in translation, their writing process, and other poets they look up to.

Noel’s new poetry collection, Transversal, seeks to disrupt standard English and Spanish, and it celebrates the nonequivalence between languages. Inspired by Caribbean poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant, the collection celebrates Caribbean practices of creolization as maximalist, people-centered, affect-loaded responses to the top-down violence of austerity politics. This groundbreaking, modular approach to poetic translation opens up alternative ways of reading in any language.

Cultivating Knowledge Shortlisted for the ICAS Book Prize

June 22, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Andrew Flachs’ recent title, Cultivating Knowledge, was shortlisted for the International Convention of Asian Scholars’ Book Prize 2021 English- Best Book in the Social Sciences!

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

Andrew Flachs is an assistant professor of anthropology at Purdue University. Trained as an environmental anthropologist, his research spans sustainable agriculture, food studies, the anthropology of knowledge, and political ecology.

Congratulations, Andrew!

Girl of New Zealand and La Raza Cosmética Honored as Finalists for NAISA’s 2021 Best First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies Prize

June 21, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that two University of Arizona Press books, Girl of New Zealand by Michelle Erai and La Raza Cosmética by Natasha Varner, were honored as finalists for the 2021 NAISA Best First Book in Native American and Indigenous Studies Prize!

“The committee expresses its deep admiration for the two finalists, Michelle Erai and Natasha Varner, for their outstanding work excavating and analyzing discourses of gender and power in relation to Indigenous women in different contexts.”—NAISA Book Prize Committee

Girl of New Zealand and La Raza Cosmética are both a part of our Critical Issues in Indigenous Studies series. This series anchors intellectual work within an Indigenous framework that reflects Native-centered concerns and objectives. Series titles expand and deepen discussions about Indigenous people beyond nation-state boundaries, and complicate existing notions of Indigenous identity. Learn more here.

Girl of New Zealand presents a nuanced insight into the way violence and colonial attitudes shaped the representation of Māori women and girls. Michelle Erai examines more than thirty images of Māori women alongside the records of early missionaries and settlers in Aotearoa, as well as comments by archivists and librarians, to shed light on how race, gender, and sexuality have been ascribed to particular bodies.

La Raza Cosmética examines postrevolutionary identity construction as a project of settler colonialism that at once appropriated and erased indigeneity. In its critique of Indigenous representation, it also shows how Indigenous women strategically engaged with and resisted these projects as they played out in beauty pageants, films, tourism, art, and other realms of popular culture.

Congratulations, Michelle and Natasha!

Five Questions with Daniel A. Olivas

June 17, 2021

Daniel A. Olivas is the author of nine books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry including two volumes published by the University of Arizona Press: The Book of Want: A Novel (2011), and The King of Lighting Fixtures: Stories (2017). In 2019, Daniel was inspired to write his first full-length play, Waiting for Godínez, which addresses the absurdity and horror of family separation and anti-immigrant government policies. That play was selected for the Playwrights’ Arena’s Summer Reading Series (2020) and The Road Theatre Company’s 12th Annual Summer Playwrights Festival (2021). Waiting for Godínez was also a semi-finalist in the 2021 Blue Ink Play Award sponsored by American Blues Theater.

Now bitten by the playwriting bug, Daniel searched for another project. Last fall, he found it in Circle X Theatre Company’s inaugural Evolving Playwrights Group. In applying for this program, Daniel had proposed adapting his novel, The Book of Want, for the stage. He was eventually informed that he had been selected to be one of the five playwrights for this program. Each playwright was assigned a mentor. Daniel’s mentor was the playwright, Donald Jolly.

After many months of virtual evening workshops, Daniel completed his play and now has a Zoom reading set for June 21, 7:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Directed by Dr. Daphnie Sicre of Loyola Marymount University, the play has a cast of 12 actors playing 18 roles. The virtual event is free, but tickets are required and may be obtained by emailing rsvp@circlextheatre.org to reserve your spot.

Daniel agreed to answer a few questions about adapting his novel for the stage.

What was it like to turn your novel, The Book of Want, into a theater production?

It was both exhilarating and intimidating. I loved the characters in my novel, but the book’s structure was not traditional in form. It consisted of interconnected short stories told in various styles. Also, I don’t have an MFA. I am self-taught when it comes to fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and now playwriting. I had to teach myself what a play looks like. But with one play under my belt, I had the belief that I could do this. And with a lot of help from my mentor, fellow playwrights, the actors, and my director, I transformed my novel into what looks like a real play.

The project paired you with a mentor to create “the play you were scared to write.” What were the challenges for you?

Donald Jolly was my assigned mentor. I was so lucky! Donald is so thoughtful and kind, and also a great playwright. Donald understood my apprehension in writing a play that I knew would entail a tremendous amount of thought and creativity. The toughest part of adapting my novel was “killing my little darlings” all over again. That is, some things work in a novel that don’t work in a play. A novel can be very interior and focused on characters’ thoughts. How do I translate that to the stage so that I don’t have a bunch of talking heads and no action? What did I have to abandon? Also, because I had so many characters in the novel, I simply could not keep all of them in the play. So, I had to take about three dozen characters of the novel and trim that number. I ended up with 18 characters, which is larger than many plays, but it works. And the biggest device I created for the play was to take the novel’s late matriarch, Belén—who appears as a spirit through much of the novel—and turn her into the play’s host, if you will. She introduces the scenes with commentary all while smoking a fat, hand-rolled cigarette and drinking coffee. She really holds the play together.

Your writing is infused with wit, surprises, and humor. Are there differences in how humor is depicted on the page from how it comes to the stage?

My novel—as with most of my writing—is deeply steeped in Chicano culture, especially as centered in the urban setting of Los Angeles. I wanted to keep that spirit in the play. And yes, my novel uses a lot of humor which was actually the easier element to translate into a theatrical piece. But the biggest surprises came in working with the actors as they rehearsed for our June 21st virtual reading. When actual people read the lines and interacted with each other, it was easier to see what made people laugh, and what fell flat. I had such generous, smart actors and a great director who helped refine and shape the humor of my play. I owe them so much for their input and observations.

The Book of Want is a family story that explores what it means to be human. What does that look like on the stage?

Beautiful! My actors are magnificent in their interpretation of the text. They bring my play to life, and it would not be much of anything without them.

What are you working on now?

During the pandemic, I had a chance to review a lot of my past writing, and I decided to pull together many of my favorite stories along with a couple new pieces for a collection I’ve titled, How to Date a Flying Mexican: New and Collected Stories. It will be published by the University of Nevada Press sometime next year. The collection includes stories published in different volumes over the years including in books published by the University of Arizona Press and Bilingual Press. I am very excited about it, and I dedicate that book to my late father, Michael Augustine Olivas, who passed away last September. My father had wanted to be a writer, but he was never published in his lifetime. He was very proud that I became a published author even as I juggled a very busy day job as a government attorney. He was also excited that I started to write plays. I think that a lot of his spirit is in my adaptation of The Book of Want for the stage.

‘Desert Feast’ and ‘A Good Map’ Top Picks for Southwest Books of the Year 2021

June 15, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Carolyn Niethammer‘s A Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson’s Culinary Heritage, and and Alberto Álvaro Ríos‘s A Good Map of All Things: A Picaresque Novel were selected as top picks for the Pima County Library’s Southwest Books of the Year 2021.

Gregory McNamee: “Tucson is a food city, boasting, as Carolyn Niethammer writes, the best 23 square miles of Mexican food north of Mexico. It is also the first US venue designated as a City of Gastronomy by the United Nations. Why should that be? Niethammer explains: the honor grows from having a food tradition that extends back thousands of years, making use of hundreds of desert plants, and then adding on to it, like so many ingredients in a good bowl of cocido, elements from many other food traditions and cultures. We can eat food from just about every corner of the world here, and we’ve made it part of an almost inexhaustible culinary lexicon. You’ll want to try Niethammer’s carefully curated recipes—and develop a greener thumb by growing ingredients yourself and a broadened geography by visiting the growers and chefs she highlights. Every Southwestern city—every city, period—needs a book like hers, and it’s Tucson’s good fortune to have this.

From Helene Woodhams: “A small town nestled in the Pimería Alta of northern Mexico is home to folks as warmly engaging as they are idiosyncratic in this delightful novel by award-winning poet and author Alberto Álvaro Ríos. Midway through the 20th century, modern ways have just begun to creep into lives long accustomed to swaying in time to the rhythms of tradition, and as a result the local public science society has few members. Far from mundane, the simplicity of the town’s everyday-ness is rendered exquisite in Ríos’s able hands: love emerges and endures, faith is uncompromising, and a good day is one in which nothing much happens. The characters glide in and out of each other’s orbit, weaving their individual stories into a communal chronicle. The narrative is particularly elegant, marked by a poetic charm that makes this memorable work both a comfort and a joy to read–but this is not surprising, coming as it does from Arizona’s first Poet Laureate.

Carolyn Niethammer’s ‘Desert Feast’ Receives 2021 Independent Publisher Book Award

June 14, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Carolyn Niethammer‘s recent title, A Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson’s Culinary Heritage, placed in the 2021 Independent Publisher Book Awards with a Silver for Best Regional Non-Fiction in the in the West-Mountain regional category.

A Desert Feast tells the expansive story of Tucson foodways, and why the desert city of Tucson became America’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy. White Sonora wheat, tepary beans, and criollo cattle steaks make Tucson’s cuisine unique. In A Desert Feast, you’ll see pictures of kids learning to grow food at school, and you’ll meet the farmers, small-scale food entrepreneurs, and chefs who are dedicated to growing and using heritage foods. It’s fair to say, “Tucson tastes like nowhere else.”

Open Arizona Offers Nine More Classic Titles as Open Access

June 14, 2021

Nine new open access titles are now available in Open Arizona, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Selected by an advisory board of scholars and community members, the new additions include Empire of Sand, Friars Soldiers and Reformers, and Impounded Peoples.

The nine new titles round out the collection of books funded by Mellon, bringing the total number of works published in Open Arizona to thirty-two. The project has also published six original essays, which provide contemporary commentary on the once-out-of-print works now re-published in Open Arizona. The essays are also available as Open Access works. Three more essays will be published in July.

The new books include:

Empire of Sand
The Seri Indians and the Struggle for Spanish Sonora, 1645-1803
Thomas E. Sheridan
This is a documentary history of Spanish attempts to convert, control, and ultimately annihilate the Seris. These papers of religious, military, and government officials attest to the Seris’ resilience in the face of numerous Spanish attempts to conquer them and remove them from their lands. Thomas Sheridan’s introduction puts the documents in perspective and clarify their significance. In a superb analysis of contact history, Sheridan shows through these documents that Spaniards and Seris understood one another well, and it was their inability to tolerate each other’s radically different societies and cultures that led to endless conflict. By skillfully weaving the documents into a coherent narrative of Spanish-Seri interaction, he has produced a compelling account of empire and resistance that speaks to anthropologists, historians, and all readers who take heart in stories of resistance to oppression.

Friars, Soldiers, and Reformers
Hispanic Arizona and the Sonora Mission Frontier 1767-1856
John L. Kessell
The Franciscan mission San José de Tumacácori and the perennially undermanned presidio Tubac become John L. Kessell’s windows on the Arizona–Sonora frontier in this colorful documentary history. His fascinating view extends from the Jesuit expulsion to the coming of the U.S. Army. This authoritative chronicle offers an engrossing picture of the continually threatened mission frontier. Reformers championing civil rights for mission Indians time and again challenged the friars’ “tight-fisted paternalistic control” over their wards. Expansionists repeatedly saw their plans dashed. Frairs, Soldiers, and Reformers brings into sharp focus the long, blurry period between Jesuit Sonora and Territorial Arizona.

History of the Triumphs of Our Holy Faith amongst the Most Barbarous and Fierce Peoples of the New World
Andrés Pérez de Ribas
Contributors: Daniel T. Reff, Maureen Ahern, and Richard K. Danford
Considered by historian Herbert E. Bolton to be one of the greatest books ever written in the West, Andrés Pérez de Ribas’s history of the Jesuit missions provides unusual insight into Spanish and Indian relations during the colonial period in Northern New Spain. First published in Madrid in 1645, it traces the history of the missions from 1591 to 1643 and includes letters from Jesuit annual reports and other correspondence, much of which has never been found or cataloged in historical archives. Daniel T. Reff, Maureen Ahern, and Richard K. Danford have prepared the first complete, scholarly, and fully annotated edition of this important work in English.

Impounded People
Japanese-Americans in the Relocation Centers
Edward H. Spicer, Asael T. Hansen, Katherine Luomala, and Marvin K. Opler
This final report of the War Relocation Authority, written in 1946 describes the growth and changes in the community life and how attitudes of Japanese-American relocatees and WRA administrators evolved, adjusted, and affected one another on political, social, and psychological levels.

Northern New Spain
A Research Guide
Thomas C. Barnes, Thomas H. Naylor, and Charles W. Polzer
This research guide was first concieved to fulfill multiple needs of the research team of the Documentary Relations of the Southwest (DRSW) project at the Arizona State Museum. In performing research tasks, it became evident that reference material was scattered throughout scores of books and monographs. A single complete source book was simply not available. Hence, the editors of the DRSW project compiled this guide. The territory under study comprises all of northern Mexico in colonial times.

Pedro de Rivera and the Military Regulations for Northern New Spain, 1724-1729
A Documentary History, Volume I, 1570-1700
Edited by Thomas H. Naylor and Charles W. Polzer
Philip V ordered an inspection of the presidios in the northern provinces, which resulted in the reglamento of 1729. The study was done and documented by Pedro de Rivera Villalon. Includes Rivera’s report to the Viceroy of New Spain, the Reglamento of Havana , the inspection, Alvarez Barreiro’s map and descriptions. The documents are presented in their original Spanish and in translation, provide a detailed background by which modern scholars can better assess the status and role of Spain’s military outposts


The Presidio and Militia on the Northern Frontier of New Spain
A Documentary History, Volume I, 1570-1700
Edited by Thomas H. Naylor and Charles W. Polzer
Reports, orders, journals, and letters of military officials trace frontier history through the Chicimeca War and Peace (1576-1606), early rebellions in the Sierra Madre (1601-1618), mid-century challenges and realignment (1640-1660), and northern rebellions and new presidios (1681-1695).

The Presidio and Militia on the Northern Frontier of New Spain
A Documentary History, Volume Two, Part One: The Californias and Sinaloa-Sonora, 1700-1765
Edited by Charles W. Polzer and Thomas E. Sheridan
The two-part second volume looks at the Spanish expansion as occurring in four north-south corridors that carried the main components of social and political activity. Divided geographically, materials in this book (part 1) relate to the two westernmost corridors. Covering Sinaloa and Sonora, the mainland of the west coast of New Spain, records in the book reveal how the Sinaloa coastal forces differed from those in the interior and how they were depended upon for protection in the northern expansion, both civil and missionary. Because documents on the presidios in northern New Spain are vast in number and varied in content, these selections are meant to provide for the reader or researcher a framework around which more elaborate studies might be constructed.


The Presidio and Militia on the Northern Frontier of New Spain

A Documentary History, Volume Two, Part Two: The Central Corridor and the Texas Corridor, 1700-1765
Edited by Diana Hadley, Thomas H. Naylor, and Mardith K. Schuetz-Miller
Joining an acclaimed multivolume work funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, this volume stand alone in their translation and publication of a wide variety of documents that describe the Spanish exploration and conquest of what is now the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The presidial system of northern New Spain’s Central and Texas Corridor was an evolving institution used for exploration, military presence and defense against foreign powers, local militia duty, mission support, personal service, and penal obligations. The new volume, which covers parts of what is now Texas, New Mexico, and Mexico, includes letters, diaries, judicial papers, military reports, and interrogations. Difficult for researchers to access and sometimes to decipher, the records are presented in Spanish and in English translation, annotated and introduced by the volume editors.

NAISA 2021: New & Recent Indigenous Studies Titles

June 9, 2021

Hello, virtual NAISA attendees! We are excited to share our new and recent Indigenous studies titles with you, and we think you’ll enjoy our conference discount as well. From now until July 15, 2021, use the code AZNAISA21 at checkout to receive 40% off all titles, plus free U.S. shipping. We hope to see you all again at a future NAISA conference.

If you have any questions about our publishing program, please visit this page. Alternatively, please contact our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles, at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu or our Senior Editor, Allyson Carter, at acarter@uapress.arizona.edu. If you have questions about course adoptions, please visit this page and/or send an email to shicks@uapress.arizona.edu.

“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

Watch an incredible book release celebration for The Diné Reader here, which features many of the contributors. Then, read a Publishers Weekly review of the book here, and read an excerpt from the book here.

Becoming Hopi is a comprehensive look at the history of the people of the Hopi Mesas as it has never been told before, and is the product of more than fifteen years of collaboration between tribal and academic scholars.

Watch a book trailer for Becoming Hopi on the book’s web page to learn more.

A Coalition of Lineages by Duane Champagne and Carole Goldberg shows how the experience of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians is an instructive model for scholars and provides a model for multicultural tribal development that may be of interest to recognized and nonrecognized Indian nations in the United States and elsewhere.

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

Watch a recorded book release event here, in which Federico recounts many details from his remarkable life.

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

Carrying the Burden of Peace weaves together stories of Indigenous life, love, eroticism, pain, and joy to map the contours of diverse, empowered, and non-dominant Indigenous masculinities. It is from here that a more balanced world may be pursued.

This book was co-published in collaboration with the University of Regina Press.

A baffling museum murder that appears to be the work of twisted human killers results in an unexpected and violent confrontation with powerful shape-shifters for Choctaw detective Monique Blue Hawk. Blending tribal beliefs and myths into a modern context, The Hatak Witches continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in Devon A. Mihesuah’s award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations.

Read a Publisher’s Weekly review of the book here, then read an interview with Devon Mihesuah here. Sign up for the virtual book release event here!

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

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

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Revitalization Lexicography 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.

Horsefly Dress is a meditation on the experience and beauty of suffering. Rich in the imagery of autumnal foliage, migrating birds, and frozen landscapes, Heather Cahoon’s collection calls forth the sensory experience of grief and metamorphosis. The transformative powers associated with the human experience of loss belong to the past, present, and future, as do the traditional Salish-Pend d’Oreille stories that create the backbone of these intricate poems.

Watch a recorded virtual book release with Heather Cahoon here, then read her interview with Poetry Northwest here, and her interview with us here.

Narrating Nature opens up dialogue that counters traditional conservation narratives. It offers conservation efforts that not only include people as beneficiaries but also demonstrate how they are essential and knowledgeable members of the conservation landscape itself.

Soldiers, Saints, and Shamans 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.

Read Nathaniel Morris’ field notes and see some photos from his research here, then watch Nathaniel Morris discuss the book with UCLAmericas here.

Chie Sakakibara shows how knots of connection came into being between humans and nonhuman others and how such intimate and intense relations will help humans survive the Anthropocene. Whale Snow offers an important and thought-provoking look at global climate change as it manifests in the everyday life of the Iñupiat in Arctic Alaska.

We are so thrilled that Whale Snow won the 2020 AAG Meridian Award! Read an interview with author Chie Sakakibara here.

La Raza Cosmética examines postrevolutionary identity construction as a project of settler colonialism that at once appropriated and erased indigeneity. In its critique of Indigenous representation, it also shows how Indigenous women strategically engaged with and resisted these projects as they played out in beauty pageants, films, tourism, art, and other realms of popular culture.

Read the introduction here.

Spiral to the Stars offers a critical and concrete map for community making that leverages Mvskoke way-finding tools of energy, kinship, knowledge, power, and spaces. It is must-have book for community organizers, radical pedagogists, and anyone wishing to empower and advocate for their community.

If you are attending the virtual NAISA conference, there will be a live roundtable about Spiral to the Stars at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

We are thrilled that Spiral to the Stars won the 2020 Beatrice Medicine Award! Read an excerpt from the book here.

Update from Bears Ears: Summer 2021

June 7, 2021

In 2018 we published the book Voices from Bears Ears by Rebecca Robinson with photographs by Stephen E. Strom. The book captures the passions of the debate that led to the creation of Bears Ears National Monument, a land of unsurpassed natural beauty and deep historical significance. The story of this place reflects the cultural crosscurrents that roil our times: maintaining tradition and culture in the face of change, healing the pain of past injustices, creating shared futures, and protecting and preserving lands for future generations. Today author Rebecca Robinson provides an update.

By Rebecca Robinson

It’s been four years since former President Barack Obama established Bears Ears National Monument, and a new chapter in the ongoing debate over the future of a sacred landscape has begun. Here’s what you need to know about all things Bears Ears as the Biden administration prepares to make key decisions about its future.

Where is Bears Ears?

Bears Ears National Monument is located in southeast Utah, not far from the “four corners” where Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet. Encompassing 1.35 million acres of public land managed by the federal government, and named for twin buttes visible for 60 miles in every direction, Bears Ears is adjacent to the Navajo Nation and Ute Mountain Ute tribal lands, and contains the ancestral homelands of the Hopi, Zuni, Ute Indian Tribe, and other Pueblo tribes. Their cultural and spiritual connection to the landscape is profound; to them, the land is sacred.

Descendants of Mormon pioneers who were the first Anglo settlers in the region also call Bears Ears country home, and similarly feel a strong spiritual attachment to the land their Heavenly Father called them to settle and steward. 

Why was Bears Ears National Monument established?

The Bears Ears region has long been eyed for protection by conservationists drawn to its natural wonders and archaeologists who view the region as historically significant due to the abundance of Indigenous cultural resources: stone structures, tools, pottery, and petroglyphs documenting more than a millennium of human habitation. 

The region’s Indigenous peoples have always had a strong interest in protecting this land, which they have called home since time immemorial. But it was not until the formation of the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition in 2015 that Native American Tribes successfully petitioned a presidential administration to protect their sacred lands. The Coalition’s proposal laid the foundation for the national monument established by Obama in December 2016, just before he was succeeded as President by Donald J. Trump.

Dark Canyon Aerial by Steve Strom

What happened to Bears Ears during the Trump administration?

Following the establishment of Bears Ears, a small but vocal group of local residents (mostly Anglo, many Mormon pioneer descendants) and key members of Utah’s state and Congressional delegation (all Republican) lobbied the Trump administration to reduce or abolish the monument. In their view, Obama’s establishing the monument using the Antiquities Act – an executive order, as opposed to legislation – was a prime example of federal overreach that would devastate the local economy by preventing drilling and mining on monument land. 

Other locals and advocates nationwide applauded Obama’s decision, viewing it as a victory for the Tribes and the environment and an opportunity to invest in an economic future based on outdoor recreation instead of mineral extraction.

The opponents had Trump’s ear, however, and in December 2017, Trump reduced Bears Ears by 85% and reopened lands protected by Obama to extractive industries. Conservation organizations, recreation companies, and Tribes filed multiple lawsuits, claiming a president does not have the right to reduce a monument created by a predecessor. Those suits are still pending in federal court.

Will anything change now that Joseph R. Biden is president?

While on the campaign trail in 2020, Biden pledged to undo Trump’s “assaults on America’s natural treasures,” including reducing Bears Ears. On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order directing the new Secretary of the Interior to conduct a review of Trump’s monument reductions and recommend actions Biden can take. 

Who is the new Interior Secretary?

In March 2021, the Senate confirmed former New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland (D) to lead the Interior Department. Haaland, who is from the Pueblos of Laguna and Jemez, is the first-ever Indigenous Interior Secretary. 

Her appointment would seem to bode well for Bears Ears. Through her past legislative work and in public statements, she has sent a clear message that she is and will continue to be a strong advocate for Native-led efforts to protect and steward public lands.

Last month, Haaland visited southeast Utah and spoke with residents of communities adjacent to Bears Ears about their thoughts, concerns, and visions for the future of the monument. She is expected to make a recommendation to Biden in the coming months.

The Bears Ears Coalition underscored the significance of Haaland’s appointment:

“Historically, the [Interior Department] has maintained a tumultuous and painful relationship with Native peoples. As such, uplifting an Indigenous Pueblo woman to lead in this role is a monumental moment for Indian Country.”

Bears Ears Aerial by Steve Strom

What about the opposition?

Many of Utah’s Republican state and Congressional leaders oppose undoing Trump’s actions, and even want to pass legislation preventing any future president from using the Antiquities Act to establish national monuments in Utah.  

However, all signs point to the Biden administration restoring and perhaps expanding the original boundaries—and a resounding victory for Bears Ears advocates and Tribes.

Rebecca Robinson is a Portland, Oregon–based writer. Her work has been widely published, and she has received numerous awards for her work in print, radio, and online media.

Cathead Biscuits and the Warmth of Home: An Excerpt from Moveable Gardens

June 4, 2021

Moveable Gardens, edited by Virginia D. Nazarea and Terese Gagnon, highlights itineraries and sanctuaries in an era of massive dislocation, addressing concerns about finding comforting and familiar refuges in the Anthropocene. The worlds of marginalized individuals who live in impoverished rural communities, many Indigenous peoples, and refugees are constantly under threat of fracturing. Yet, in every case, there is resilience and regeneration as these individuals re-create their worlds through the foods, traditions, and plants they carry with them into their new realities.

Below, read an excerpt from contributor Taylor Hosmer’s chapter in Moveable Gardens, titled “The Tale of Cathead Biscuits”.

In most cases, as in my own, southerners never stop to consider why we prefer White Lily over other flours. At first, I staked it all on the traditions and rituals of cross- generational beliefs, but its taste may have even more to do with the cultural, regional, and historical connotations. To be considered a cathead, a biscuit must have a crisp crust and a soft inside. Soft winter wheat has been used to achieve this most desired effect. Since the beginning of the cathead, White Lily has been passed down as the type of flour one uses. Years have passed, and few other flours have found themselves embedded in southern biscuit ideals. Expectations of how a biscuit should look and taste have led to a strict dedication to soft red winter wheat. Ultimately, what may have started off as a regional and historical identity soon ingrained its importance as traditional and cultural markers as well. White Lily has undoubtedly had a role in producing and reproducing southern foodways as a hallmark ingredient that has defined what a biscuit should be.

Without fail the cathead’s taste of place has brought the warmth of my home to me time and time again. In college and far from home, I have often found myself lost in the present moment and at times prone to forgetting connections to my roots. Despite this, no true difficulty presents itself during my efforts to bring forth the warmth of home when I am assisted by a fresh biscuit. That being said, it cannot be just any biscuit. Like champagne, it must meet the requirement to be called a cathead. If it is not a true cathead, it cannot evoke the many rich meanings that are wrapped up inside each bite, and it would not have the power to bring forth the sense of home across hundreds of miles to wherever I might be. A true cathead is, for me, a portable sanctuary in moments such as these. It can transform any reality into the likeness of my home.

With every smell, taste, and texture consumed, memories and feelings present themselves. It is funny to think of a biscuit no larger than a cat’s head as a boundless haven. But it has, without fail, provided a direct link to my home each time I have caught myself drifting away. A central feature in the memories it evokes, the biscuit is vital in the moment of recall. Without it, certain memories may have been forgotten, and feelings may have faded. Instead, it has allowed connections to be made between the people and places associated with it, creating an integrated system of meaning that is steady and at the same time ever changing. Layers of meaning can be added with every new memory made, and even old memories can be altered in light of something newly learned. The cathead biscuit, however, will always be the catalyst for me when I am looking to produce this very particular meaning system.

Cathead biscuits represent a tradition that was a constant throughout my childhood. My brother and I spent every summer roaming the land around Mema’s house, accompanied by the smells and tastes of biscuits. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, you could easily claim your fill of biscuit without any true difficulty. Whether we were determined explorers or nature survivalists, we would always give in to our hunger when Mema yelled out “fresh biscuits!” Knapsacks in hand, we would fill them with all sorts of treasures. This, of course, included the delicious golden rounds, which would later be eaten deep inside the woods. We would strike off into the wilderness with our renewed supplies to conduct feasts at our many secret fortresses and hideouts. As children, we associated biscuits with long summer days spent at Mema’s, early morning breakfasts with our cousins, and the knowledge that this food could always fill whatever need we had that day. The biscuit contains within it memories we draw on with each bite taken. In an instant I can travel through space and time to find myself a young child again sitting at my mema’s table. With biscuit in hand, I can close my eyes and hear the laughter of cousins, while the soothing warmth of nostalgia floods my senses. As Sutton explains in his book Remembrance of Repasts (2001), food is so much more than simply a source of energy. Food can be symbolic, and in that symbolism, it can contain countless layers of meaning. Our relationship to the food we eat reflects our cultural beliefs, regional preferences, and socio-economic status, among other things. Most importantly, it can provide us with a link to our past.

***

Taylor Hosmer hails from a small town in southern Georgia. She is an anthropology and geography major at the University of Georgia, with a focus on disaster management. Her ethnobiography takes a new and more personal approach to the history of resilience. Her time spent volunteering at UGArden and William’s Farm, two local community gardens in Athens, Georgia, has taught her that knowing one’s food can have powerful positive impacts from the community level down to each individual.

Paul E. Minnis Receives the Society of Ethnobiology’s 2021 Distinguished Ethnobiologist Award

May 21, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Paul E. Minnis is the recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Ethnobiologist Award from the Society of Ethnobiology! The Society of Ethnobiology announces its Distinguished Ethnobiologist award to honor an ethnobiologist who has made outstanding contributions to the field of ethnobiology and advancing the goals of the Society. In recognition of these contributions, the recipient will be awarded a lifetime honorary membership to the Society of Ethnobiology.

Paul E. Minnis (PhD, University of Michigan) is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma, now living in Tucson, Arizona, where he is a visiting scholar in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. He conducts research on the prehispanic ethnobotany and archaeology of the northwest Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. His recent University of Arizona Press books include Famine Foods: Plants We Eat to Survive and The Prehispanic Ethnobotany of Paquimé and Its Neighbors, which he co-authored with Michael E. Whalen.

Congratulations, Paul!

LASA 2021: Explore Our Latest Latin American Studies Titles and Enjoy a Conference Discount

May 24, 2021

We are excited to be participating in the second virtual LASA congress! Below, browse and learn more about our recent Latin American studies titles. Through 6/15/2021, use the code AZLASA21 for 40% off all titles, including free U.S. shipping.

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

By the start of the century, nearly one billion international travelers were circulating the globe annually, placing tourism among the worlds’ most ubiquitous geopolitical encounters. While the COVID-19 pandemic brought the industry to a sudden halt, its geopolitical significance remained. With striking clarity, tourism desires and reinvented mobilities revealed the impermanence of Old World orders as new global alliances were forged. Tourism Geopolitics offers a unique and timely intervention into the growing significance of tourism in geopolitical life as well as the intrinsically geopolitical nature of the tourism industry.

Read an excerpt from the book here, and look at the table of contents on the book’s web page.

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

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

David Barton Bray has spent more than thirty years researching and studying Mexican community forest enterprises (CFEs). In Mexico’s Community Forest Enterprises he shares the scientific evidence for Mexico’s social and environmental achievements and how, in its most successful manifestations, it became a global model for common-property forest management, sustainable social-ecological systems, and climate change mitigation in developing countries.

Mexico’s Community Forest Enterprises is the culmination of a lifetime of research on how community forests in Mexico are successful and why some of them fail. Bray captures the complexity of Mexican forestry in a masterful way. Amidst all the negative news about global deforestation, Bray makes a compelling case for understanding the stories that we don’t get to hear much on the media, the success of common property regimes in Mexican forests can be a source of hope to the future of community forests.”—José E. Martínez-Reyes, author of Moral Ecology of a Forest: The Nature Industry and Maya Post-Conservation

Soldiers, Saints, and Shamans 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.

Read some field notes from author Nathaniel Morris, complete with stunning photographs, here. Then, watch Morris discuss the book in a recorded virtual book launch event here.

Binational Commons focuses on whether the institutions that presently govern the U.S.-Mexico transborder space are effective in providing solutions to difficult binational problems as they manifest themselves in the borderlands. The volume addresses key binational issues and explores where there are strong levels of institutional governance development, where it is failing, how governance mechanisms have evolved over time, and what can be done to improve it to meet the needs of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands in the next decades.

 “This excellent book addresses border governance institutions and documents how dynamic events have outgrown institutional capabilities for governance. Exceptional chapters on institutions and governance that address transportation, data generation, planning, energy, health, security, the environment, and other areas of the border reality make this book essential reading for border students, researchers, and practitioners.”—Paul Ganster, author of The U.S.-Mexican Border Today: Conflict and Cooperation in Historical Perspective

La Raza Cosmética examines postrevolutionary identity construction as a project of settler colonialism that at once appropriated and erased indigeneity. In its critique of Indigenous representation, it also shows how Indigenous women strategically engaged with and resisted these projects as they played out in beauty pageants, films, tourism, art, and other realms of popular culture.

Natasha Varner’s book insightfully traces how nationalists used the female Indigenous body to construct settler colonialism in postrevolutionary Mexico. In the process, it creatively bridges Indigenous studies in the United States and Latin America.”—Rick A. López, author of Crafting Mexico: Intellectuals, Artisans and the State After the Revolution

Read the book’s introduction here.

Taking us on a journey of remembering and rediscovery, anthropologist Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez shares important insights into his development as a scholar and in so doing the development of the interdisciplinary field of transborder anthropology. Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist shows how both Vélez-Ibáñez and anthropology have changed and formed over a fifty-year period. Throughout, he has worked to understand how people survive and thrive against all odds. Vélez-Ibáñez has been guided by the burning desire to understand inequality, exploitation, and legitimacy, and, most importantly, to provide platforms for the voiceless to narrate their own histories.

We are thrilled that Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez was honored with the 2020 Franz Boas Award, as well as the inaugural AAHHE Distinguished Author Award. Read an excerpt from the book here, then watch a recording of a virtual book launch and discussion here.

Explore New Titles from the University of Arizona Press Fall 2021 Catalog

May 24, 2021

Here’s a preview of our upcoming Fall 2021 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. Tuck in.

Discovering Mars: A History of Observation and Exploration of the Red Planet is a timely epichistory from William Sheehan and Jim Bell. This is an ambitious first draft as the latest chapters continue to be added both by researchers on Earth and our robotic emissaries on and around Mars, including the latest: the Perseverance rover and its Ingenuity helicopter drone, which set down in Mars’s Jezero Crater in February 2021.

In The Beloved Border: Humanity and Hope in a Contested Land, Tucson-based writer Miriam Davidson 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. While death and suffering continue to occur, The Beloved Border shows us how the U.S.-Mexico border could be, and in many ways already is, a model for peaceful coexistence worldwide.

Water in the desert, or the current decrease in the Colorado River is what makes Eric Kuhn and John Fleck‘s Science Be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River an important history, as well as a needed message for a desert in the midst of climate change. The book returns this season in paperback detailing the clear evidence that the Colorado River could not sustain ambitious dreaming and planning by decision-makers throughout the twentieth century. Those decision makers knew this, yet continued to make the least sustainable decisions.

Count is a powerful book-length poem from Valerie Martínez that reckons with the heartbreaking reality of climate change. Forty-three sections of myth-gathering, flora and fauna, accounts of climate devastation, personal narratives, witnessing, references to works of eco-art, and evocations of children unfold over the course of the book, creating a deeply nuanced image of the current climate crisis. Central to this vital work of ecopoetry is the idea of counting—counting down to the extinction of a species, counting the wonders of the natural world, counting our way back to the balance that is required to save ourselves from climate destruction.

Mara Pastor is one of the most prominent voices in Puerto Rican poetry. Her new collection Deuda Natal translated by María José Giménez and Anna Rosenwong, is the 2020 Ambroggio Prize winner from the Academy of American Poets. Deuda Natal finds the beauty within vulnerability and the dignity amidst precariousness. Pastor uses the poems in this bilingual collection to highlight the way that fundamental forms of caring for life—and for language—can create a space of poetic decolonization. The poems propose new ways of understanding as they traverse a thematic landscape of women’s labor, the figure of the nomad and immigrant, and the return from economic exile to confront the catastrophic confluence of disaster and disaster capitalism.

The poetry collection, x/ex/exis: poemas para la nación by Raquel Salas Rivera, is the 2018 Ambroggio Prize winner. 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 accepts the invitation to push poetic and gender imaginaries beyond the bounds set by nation. In today’s post-disaster Puerto Rico and a world shaped by the recurring waves of an ecological apocalypse, Salas Rivera’s words feel visionary, mapping a decolonizing territory, a body, and identity of both soil and heart. 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.

If you’re going to turn to anyone to point you to the best of what Arizona has to offer, David Yetman is the perfect authority. In his new book, Natural Landmarks of Arizona, this celebrated storyteller who has called Arizona home for most of his life 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, they locate us, and they are steadfast through generations.

Baja California’s Coastal Landscapes Revealed: Excursions in Geologic Time and Climate Change, expert geologist and guide Markes E. Johnson‘s third installment on the Gulf of California’s coastal setting. This new title reveals a previously unexplored side to the region’s five-million-year story beyond the fossil coral reefs, clam banks, and prolific beds of coralline algae vividly described in his earlier books. Through a dozen new excursions, in Baja California’s Coastal Landscapes Revealed, Johnson returns to these yet wild shores to share his gradual recognition of another side to the region. Looking closely, Johnson shows us how geology not only helps us look backward but also forward toward an uncertain future.

The Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona is one of the oldest and most respected food banks in America. Sowing the Seeds of Change: The Story of the Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, by Seth Schindler, tells its story as 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 2018, Feeding America—the national organization of food banks—named it “Food Bank of the Year.” The CFB serves as a model for all nonprofits to follow, no matter their mission.

Daniel D. Arreola‘s Postcards from the Baja California Border: Portraying Townscape and Place, 1900s–1950s, 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

As a network that claims to represent the nation, NPR asserts unique claims about what it means to be American. In The Sound of Exclusion, by Christopher Chávez, critically examines how National Public Radio conceptualizes the Latinx listener, arguing that NPR employs a number of industry practices that secures 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. 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.

Near Tijuana, Baja California, the autonomous community of Maclovio Rojoas 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. In Border Women and the Community of Maclovio Rojas: Autonomy in the Spaces of Neoliberal Neglect, Michelle Téllez‘s tells the story of this community’s struggle to carve out space for survival and thriving in the shadows of the U.S.-Mexico geopolitical border. 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.

In Drug Wars and Covert Netherworlds: The Transformations of Mexico’s Narco Cartels, sociologist and criminologist James H. Creechan draws on decades of research to paint a much more nuanced picture of the transformation of Mexico’s narco cartels. Creechan details narco cartel history, focusing on the decades since Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs. With sobering detail, Creechan unravels a web of government dependence, legitimate enterprises, covert connections, and violent in-fighting. He details how drug smuggling organizations have grown into powerful criminal mafias with the complicit involvement of powerful figures in civil society to create covert netherworlds.

Latin American Immigration Ethics advances philosophical conversations and debates about immigration by theorizing migration from the Latin American and Latinx context. Edited by Luis Rubén Díaz Cepeda and Amy Reed-Sandoval, 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.

Returning Home: Diné Creative Works from the Intermountain Indian School 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. Authors Farina Noelani KingMichael P. Taylor, and  James R. Swensen intend 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.

Navigating CHamoru Poetry: Indigeneity, Aesthetics, and Decolonization focuses on Indigenous CHamoru (Chamorro) poetry from the Pacific Island of Guåhan (Guam). Poet and scholar Craig Santos Perez brings critical attention to a diverse and intergenerational collection of CHamoru poetry and scholarship. Throughout this book, Perez develops an Indigenous literary methodology called “wayreading” to navigate the complex relationship between CHamoru poetry, cultural identity, decolonial politics, diasporic migrations, and native aesthetics. Perez argues that contemporary CHamoru poetry articulates new and innovative forms of indigeneity rooted in CHamoru customary arts and values, while also routed through the profound and traumatic histories of missionization, colonialism, militarism, and ecological imperialism.

Letras y Limpias: Decolonial Medicine and Holistic Healing in Mexican American Literature is the first book to explore the literary significance of the figure of the curandera within Mexican American literature. Amanda V. 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. Letras y Limpias shows how the figure of the curandera offers us ways to heal that have nothing to do with copays or medical professionals refusing care, and everything to do with honoring the beauty and complexity of any, every, and all humans.

To the modern eye, the architects at Chich’en Itza produced some of the most mysterious structures in ancient Mesoamerica. The purpose and cultural influences behind this architecture seem left to conjecture. The people who created and lived around this stunning site may seem even more mercurial. Near the structure known today as the Great Ball Court and within the interior of the Lower Temple of the Jaguar, a mural depicts a female Mayan astronomer called Ilaj K’uk’il Ek’. In Calculating Brilliance: An Intellectual History of Mayan Astronomy at Chich’en Itz, Gerardo Aldana brings to light the discovery by this Mayan astronomer, and critically reframes science in the pre-Columbian world.

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

In Once Upon the Permafrost; Knowing Culture and Climate Change in Siberia, author, anthropologist Susan Alexandra Crate, details her three decades working with Sakha, the Turkic-speaking horse and cattle agropastoralists of northeastern Siberia, Russia. Crate 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.

In Voluntourism and Multispecies Collaboration: Life, Death, and Conservation in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, anthropologist Keri Vacanti Brondo provides a pioneering theoretical framework that conceptualizes conservation voluntourism as a green industry. Brondo argues that the volunteer tourism industry is the product of coloniality and capitalism that works to produce and sustain an economy of affect while generating inequalities and dispossession. Employing a decolonizing methodology based on landscape assemblage theory, Brondo offers “thinking-like-a-mangrove” to attend to alternative worldings in Utila beyond the hegemonic tourist spectacle–dominated world attached to the volunteer tourism industry. Readers journey through the mangroves and waters alongside voluntourists, iguanas, whale sharks, turtles, lionfish, and islanders to build valuable research experience in environmental management while engaging in affective labor and multispecies relations of care.

More than twenty-five years after the end of apartheid, water access remains a striking reminder of racial inequality in South Africa. This book compellingly argues that in the post-apartheid period inequality has not only been continuously reproduced but also legitimized. In Michela Marcatelli‘s Naturalizing Inequality: Water, Race, and Biopolitics in South Africa, Marcatelli unravels this inequality paradox through an ethnography of water in a rural region of the country. The Waterberg Plateau is a space where agriculture, conservation, and extraction coexist and intersect. Marcatelli examines the connections between neoliberalism, race, and the environment by showing that racialized property relations around water and land are still recognized and protected by the post-apartheid state to sustain green growth.

The Archaeology of Refuge and Recourse: Coast Miwok Resilience and Indigenous Hinterlands in Colonial California explores the dual practices of refuge and recourse among Indigenous peoples of California. From the eighteenth to the twentieth century, Indigenous Coast Miwok communities in California persisted throughout multiple waves of colonial intrusion. But to what ends? Applying theories of place and landscape, social memory, and mobility to the analysis of six archaeological sites, Tsim D. Schneider argues for a new direction in the archaeology of colonialism. This book offers insight about the critical and ongoing relationships Indigenous people maintained to their homelands despite colonization and systematic destruction of their cultural sites.

Field Notes: David DeJong Shares Images from the Florence-Casa Grande Project

May 18, 2021

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans assumed the land and water resources of the West were endless. Water was as vital to newcomers to Arizona’s Florence and Casa Grande valleys as it had always been to the Pima Indians, who had been successfully growing crops along the Gila River for generations when the white settlers moved in. In Diverting the Gila: The Pima Indians the Florence-Casa Grande Project, 1916-1928 author David DeJong explores the complex web of tension, distrust, and political maneuvering to divide and divert the scarce waters of the Gila River.

Today the author shares photos and extended captions that help highlight the history in Diverting the Gila.

Courtesy Museum of Casa Grande

New England Grading Machine. In 1912 the Casa Grande Valley Water Users Association (CGVWUA) purchased a New England Grading Machine for the purpose of excavating the channel of the Casa Grande Canal (present-day Florence-Casa Grande Canal). The CGVWUA was formed in 1911 to construct a canal parallel and upstream to the Florence Canal to convey water to the small agricultural town of Casa Grande. The task was daunting and the CGVWUA managed to construct but half of the canal by 1915. The project failed to be completed and the canal was purchased by the United States for $50,000 and incorporated into the new Indian Irrigation Service constructed and operated Florence-Casa Grande Project (FCGP) to convey water to the Gila River Indian Community and non-tribal growers in the Florence-Casa Grande Valley.

Courtesy of Pinal County Historical Museum in Florence

The men of the Florence-Casa Grande Project. The FCGP was authorized in May 1916 but construction did not begin until 1921. In the post-World War One years, the Arizona economy slowed, leaving many people out of work. Local towns encouraged the Indian Service to begin construction as soon as possible to provide employment, but because a landowners’ agreement took time to negotiate, construction was delayed. When work commenced in January 1921, Charles Olberg and his Indian Service engineers hired over 600 employees to construct the diversion dam. Most of the workers were unskilled men earning $2.50 a day while skilled workers were paid $3.00 to $5.00 per day. Nearly all of these men are lost to antiquity but the project they constructed continues to serve its purpose today.

Courtesy of Pinal County Historical Museum in Florence

Entire families lived at the diversion dam site. While most of the men who worked at the Florence diversion dam were single, many brought their families. The construction camp at the diversion dam (present-day Ashurst Hayden Diversion Dam) became a small city, complete with a water and sewer system, a telegram and post office, fire department, dry-goods store and a school. Most of the facilities were simple shade structure or tents, with many of the men sleeping outside under ramadas. The engineers and other skilled workers live in more permanent facilities, including chief engineer Charles Olberg who lived in a three-room cottage on site. Olberg’s wife Eloise was the only death, as she died of a stroke in October 1921.

Courtesy of Pinal County Historical Museum in Florence

Fresno scrapers. Most of the earthwork at the diversion dam was conducted by four-team Fresno scrapers. Men providing their own horses were paid $20 per month. Scores of locals hired out their wagons (paid $10 to $15 per month) and teams to move rock, cement and other supplies brought in by the Arizona Eastern Railroad, seen on the north side of the Gila River. Challenges with moving cement and dynamite from the railhead on the north side of the river to the south side occurred when the river flooded, as it did on July 4, 1921. A pedestrian bridge was constructed over the river for men but supplies from the north side remained stranded until the river flow diminished.

Courtesy of Pinal County Historical Museum in Florence

Intake Gates at the diversion dam. The dam across the river was an East Indian Weir that “floated” on the sandy surface of the riverbed. The nine intake gates (right on photo) were located on the south side of the river and were designed to skim water from the river while allowing sediment to go downstream. The design worked poorly as the front of the intake gates was continually choked with sediment. Construction of the vertical wall leading to the top of the inlet gates and the dam tenders house to the south (left side of photo) was without any safety features. Concrete mixed on the north side of the river was conveyed across the river on a narrow gauge trestle with three-quarter cubic yard cars pulled by “dinkies,” or small Ford motor-powered engines. Amazingly, no one was injured during the pouring of the cement walls.

Courtesy of Pinal County Historical Museum in Florence

Completed Florence (Ashurst-Hayden) Diversion Dam. The diversion dam consists of an upstream articulated slab of concrete 142 feet wide and 396 feet long and two to five feet thick. Then there was the “floating” weir 396 feet across the river with a downstream 70 feet wide by 396 feet long concrete slab and talus rock blanket to protect the structure from eroding. Over six hundred men poured the slab working in three shifts 24-hours a day, completing it in twelve days. A gasoline engine provided the power to operate the hydraulic gates inside the inlet structure at the center of the photo. A small building behind the dam housed the engine and supplies. A dam tender’s house was later constructed on the hill to the right of the engine room.

Courtesy of Keith Dindinger

The Dindinger family. Paul Dindinger was the dam tender at the Florence Diversion Dam. He and his wife Olga resided at the dam until the late 1940s. Grandsons Keith (5) and Lee (1) were born in Florence and grew up around the dam and headworks of the Florence-Casa Grande Canal.  Keith now resides in San Diego and travels to the site regularly. The dam tenders house was abandoned in the early 1980s. It was burned to the ground in 2004. Ashurst-Hayden Diversion Dam was rehabilitated under the authority of the Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004. While no longer requiring a dam tender on site, the dam is still an integral part of the San Carlos Irrigation Project.

David H. DeJong holds MA and PhD degrees in American Indian policy studies from the University of Arizona. He has published seven books, including Stealing the Gila, as well as dozens of articles about federal Indian policy. DeJong is director of the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project, a construction project funded by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and designed to deliver water—from the Central Arizona Project, the Gila River, and other sources—to the Gila River Indian Reservation.

Mexican Waves Awarded Honorable Mention from LASA’s México Section

May 13, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that historian Sonia Robles‘s book, Mexican Waves: Radio Broadcasting Along Mexico’s Northern Border, 1830-1950, received an honorable mention for the Best Book in the Humanities 2021 award from the Latin American Studies Association’s México section.

Mexican Waves is the fascinating history of how borderlands radio stations shaped the identity of an entire region as they addressed the needs of the local population and fluidly reached across borders to the United States. In so doing, radio stations created a new market of borderlands consumers and worked both within and outside the constraints of Mexican and U.S. laws.

Watch: Paul Minnis with Nancy Turner Discuss ‘Famine Foods’

May 11, 2021

The University of Arizona Press celebrated the launch of Famine Food: Plants We Eat to Survive, by Paul E. Minnis on Wednesday, May 5. Minnis is the author or editor of fourteen books, and is a professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma. Now living in Tucson, Arizona, he is a visiting scholar in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. The virtual event included author Nancy Turner, an ethnobotanist and Distinguished Professor Emerita with the School of Environmental Studies, University of Victoria, Canada.

In conversation, Turner asked Minnis about his book, inspirations, his work as an ethnobotonist, and of course, Famine Foods, which includes fourteen short case studies that examine the use of alternative foods in human societies throughout the world, from hunter-gatherers to major nations. When environmental catastrophes, war, corrupt governments, annual hunger seasons, and radical agricultural policies have threatened to starve populations, cultural knowledge and memories of food shortages have been crucial to the survival of millions of people.

Excerpt: Tourism Geopolitics and Assemblages of Infrastructure, Affect, and Imagination

May 4, 2021

By the start of the century, nearly one billion international travelers were circulating the globe annually, placing tourism among the worlds’ most ubiquitous geopolitical encounters. While the COVID-19 pandemic brought the industry to a sudden halt, its geopolitical significance remained. With striking clarity, tourism desires and reinvented mobilities revealed the impermanence of Old World orders as new global alliances were forged. While scholars have critically examined tourism in the contexts of development, cultural change, and environmental crisis, much less attention has been paid to the geopolitical drivers and consequences of the world’s largest industry. In Tourism Geopolitics contributors home in on tourism and its geopolitical entanglements by examining its contemporary affects, imaginaries, and infrastructures. It develops the concept of tourism geopolitics to reveal the growing centrality of tourism in geopolitical life, as well as the geopolitical nature of the tourism encounter. Today we offer a brief excerpt from the introduction:

Introduction by Mary MostafanezhadMatilde Córdoba Azcárate, and Roger Norum

In May 2019, a fire ravaged the cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris, one of Western civilization’s most iconic cultural symbols and most visited tourist sites. Within a matter of hours, the blaze turned parts of the historic monument into smoking cinders. Exposing cracks in the French capital’s global image as the “City of

Lights,” the fire also threatened to shake the monument’s signification of modernity. Reactions across the globe were immediate and vocal. International headlines accentuated grief and shock over the potential loss of this quintessential Western cultural asset. Commenters described how the fire left “a hole in the heart of Paris” and how “watching Notre Dame burn, the entire world was in pain.” Within a few days, private individuals—primarily French citizens and international celebrities—had donated more than $1 billion to the building’s reconstruction. Many of these donations were made in the name of the “spiritual, cultural, and historical treasure from Paris to the world,” in the words of Salma Hayek.

One year prior to the Notre-Dame fire, the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro, the largest natural history museum in Latin America, also was caught in a blaze. International reactions to the losses incurred in the conflagration and investments in reconstruction were fewer and markedly less enthusiastic than those that accompanied the Notre-Dame case. The fire was described as “an announced tragedy.” Although the loss for cultural heritage has been estimated to be more extensive than at Notre-Dame, the Brazilian building has yet to be restored and the search for remnants of historical objects lost to the blaze continues amid governmental cuts to science and education, not to mention broad national and international neglect. Comparing the aftermath of the two fires, Samuel Breslow notes that “the loss of Latin American cultural heritage simply does not capture the world’s attention the way the loss of Western European cultural heritage does.”5 The disparate reactions of the international community to these two fires reveal the contested geographies and political nature of what counts as heritage, for whom, and how. It also speaks to how tourism mobilizes or precludes the formation of collective and state responses to disaster.

Narratives and institutional actions like those surrounding the burning of emblematic religious, national, and global tourism infrastructures such as the Notre-Dame cathedral are mediated by historically and geographically informed power relations. An investigation into tourism infrastructures and the discourses, representations, and affects that constitute them reveals the geographically uneven socioeconomic terrain upon which cities, buildings, symbols, and affects are made meaningful and circulate; it also underscores how global tourism reifies differences between the Global North and Global South, rich and poor, and culture and nature. A quick glance at the geography of UNESCO-designated world heritage sites reveals just such distinctions. The formation of tourism’s narratives is contingent on myriad power relations that are historically and geographically mediated. Tourism narratives intersect with tourism infrastructures in ways that are subject to symbolic and affective transformation and contestation. In exceptional circumstances, tourism sites such as island archipelagos (see Mimi Sheller, this volume) might become geopolitical experiments of alternative political action. Yet, more often than not, in the aftermath of destruction and crisis, when the window opens for the expression of alternative narratives, hegemonic discourses are reconsolidated in ways that stabilize existing structures of power and geopolitical orders.

Read the Full Introduction

Publisher’s Weekly Reviews ‘The Diné Reader’

April 27, 2021

Publisher’s Weekly, an international news platform for book publishing and bookselling, recently reviewed The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature.

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

From Publisher’s Weekly:

“Navajo artist and writer Esther Belin and her coeditors compile a marvelously comprehensive anthology of Navajo literature, comprising a mix of familiar authors and bright new voices. Readers will come away with a sense of the tremendous diversity in a seemingly small corner of the Native literary world.”

Read the entire review here.

Salvador González: Cuba’s Arts Defender and Believer, Recently Died in Havana

April 27, 2021

In Tom Miller’s Cuba, Hot and Cold, the University of Arizona Press author wrote about Cuban life, but he also included a reverential revival in Afro-Cuban arts, music, and community led by Salvador Gonzalez.

The artist, cultural promoter, and manager of the Callejón de Hamel Community Socio-Cultural Project in the Havana neighborhood of Cayo Hueso, passed away recently in Havana, leaving a remarkable legacy on Cuban culture, essentially in the visual arts and traditional popular culture, to which he was closely linked until his last days, according to TeleSUR. You can read their story on Gonzalez here.

To better understand this Cuban arts defender and believer, read the following excerpt from Miller’s book:

On the Street

No slice of Cuban life is less understood by outsiders than its African-based religions—not its athletic prowess nor its government’s colossal miscalculations nor the power of a machete during the sugar harvest nor its devotion to José Martí. You could visit here for weeks and not encounter Afro-Cuban religion, go home, and be none the wiser. But it’s here, it’s in the air, people wear it on their bodies, you can hear it if you listen, you can see it if you want. It’s even in my family, and I’m not confident I entirely understand it either.

Until recent decades polite society considered Afro-Cuban religions something to dismiss, practiced only by la chusma—the lowest of the low—tucked away out of sight. Gradually, however, the religions surfaced—their music assertive, their rituals open, their societies and deities accessible to all. Brought to the Caribbean by slaves and prac-ticed under cover of Catholicism, these religions now draw domes-tic respectability and worldwide attention. The easiest way to catch a comfortable glimpse of them is on a small side street in Cayo Hueso, a working-class barrio of Centro Habana. On Sundays neighbors start gathering on Callejón de Hamel before noon, joined by habaneros from other parts of town and, now, a considerable turnout of visitors from abroad.

Since 1990 Hamel has grown from an unkempt back alley to a site for impressionistic Afro-Cuban art, music, dance, and drumming. Salvador González deserves credit for this, beginning the transition when he was in his forties with a block-long mural overpowering in theme, presence, and execution. Spinning smoke, water, limbs, eyes, and roots surround feathers, goddesses, and serpents. Yemayá and Ochun, both deities of the Yoruba sect, entwine; others from the Abakuá dominate adjoining segments of the mural. The most recent addition is a thematic paint job on the back sides of the run-down five-story apartment houses that line the callejón, all the way up to the rooftop water tanks hundreds of feet above street level.

The Jovellanos, a musical group from Matanzas, had already begun when I arrived. They played on the sweltering street, shaded beneath corrugated tin. The group’s four drummers could be heard blocks away, and soon the crowd grew to two hundred sweaty onlookers, mesmerized by the full-throttle beat as first the singers chanted Yoruba and other incantations, then danced a wild yet precise ritual whose increasing momentum summoned just the right frenzy. The first number was a soft yambú in which a couple acted out in slow motion a rooster and his hen circling and pecking, lunging and leaning. It was meant to be erotic and provocative, and it was both. Next came a faster rumba with rattling maracas that crescendoed as the dancers acted out a fight, then made up as the woman pushed off the man with a turn of the torso, coyly drawing him under her spell. The conga and the batá drums were the lead instruments, accompanied by rhythmic clatter from gourds, a cowbell, and well-defined non-Western free-form singing.

Next, the guaguancó, sweat-drenched dancers’ hips and groins gyrating in sync inches from each other, moving forward, sideways, backward, arms flailing, bodies slowing, building up again, thrusting, almost brushing each other, then pausing, the dancers impressing each other and the captivated crowd.

It was wonderfully suggestive; you can get hot just writing about it. During a break in the dancing, people strolled the alley reading Salvador’s philosophical graffiti, admiring the elaborate structures he’s built. He has a storefront art gallery and a regular work crew, and on weekdays he paces the street, remote phone in hand. He’s built a crude temple inspired by palo monte, a religion with its roots in the Congo and its branches in the New World. It’s a lean-to made with sticks from the Zapata swampland on Cuba’s south coast, with a lifelike couple seated in front of jungle growth. Salvador stopped to explain his complex composition. “It symbolizes the powerful force of nature,” he said, “the waters of the sea, the strength of the rivers, and the volcanic energy we feel from the land. This temple is alive. Look.” He reached far back into the altar, pulled out a machete, and hacked out eyes, a nose, and a mouth in what obviously was not volcanic rock at all. It was the outer growth of a tree stump, still very much alive with thousands of termites that erupted as Salvador sculpted his work.

As for the turnout, Alba Rodríguez a, hospital janitor who lives around the corner, said she’s been coming to the Sunday rumbas faith-fully ever since they began. “I tell people at work to come, but some of them say no, they’re not interested in this, they don’t like it. For me, it’s tranquilo. Tranquilo.”

The crowd eventually thinned out, carrying with it the energy of the rumba. On their way out they passed an empty herb stand, then one of the many dictums painted on the wall: I can wait longer than you, because I am time itself.

Watch: Book Release Celebration for The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature

April 22, 2021

A book release celebration for The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature featured celebrated Diné poets and writers, as well as a special visit from Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and First Lady Phefelia Nez.

The online event on Wednesday, April 21, presented by the University of Arizona Press and Birchbark Books, also included the anthology’s editors Esther G. Belin, Jeff Berglund, Connie A. Jacobs, and Anthony Webster. Contributors Sherwin Bitsui, Luci Tapahonso, Laura Tohe, Bojan Louis, Irene Hamilton, Tina Deschenie, Jake Skeets, and Orlando White honored the event reading their work.

The Diné Reader was developed as a way to demonstrate both the power of Diné literary artistry and the persistence of the Navajo people. The volume opens with a foreword by Bitsui, who offers insight into the importance of writing to the Navajo people. The editors then introduce the volume by detailing the literary history of the Diné people, establishing the context for the tremendous diversity of the works that follow, which includes free verse, sestinas, limericks, haiku, prose poems, creative nonfiction, mixed genres, and oral traditions reshaped into the written word.

Please check out the following links to learn more about the work of the contributors:

Of Cartography by Esther Belin https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/of-cartography

Tseyi: Deep in the Rock by Laura Tohe https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/tseyi-deep-in-the-rock

A Radiant Curve by Luci Tapahonso https://uapress.arizona.edu/book/a-radiant-curv

Dissolve by Sherwin Bitsui https://www.coppercanyonpress.org/books/dissolve-by-sherwin-bitsui/

Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers by Jake Skeets https://milkweed.org/book/eyes-bottle-dark-with-a-mouthful-of-flowers

Currents by Bojan Louis https://www.spdbooks.org/Products/9781943491117/currents.aspx

LettERRS by Orlando White https://nightboat.org/book/letterrs/

Arizona History Convention 2021: Explore Our New and Recent Titles About Arizona and the Southwest

April 22, 2021

We are thrilled to be participating in the first virtual Arizona History Convention! We are offering 40% off all titles with free U.S. shipping, just use the code AZHISTORY21 at checkout. Below, take a look at our new and recent Arizona and the Southwest titles.

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

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

Read an excerpt from the book 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.

Make sure to watch the book trailer to learn more about the book from editor Wesley Bernardini.

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Americans assumed the land and water resources of the West were endless. Water was as vital to newcomers to Arizona’s Florence and Casa Grande valleys as it had always been to the Pima Indians, who had been successfully growing crops along the Gila River for generations when the white settlers moved in.

Diverting the Gila explores the complex web of tension, distrust, and political maneuvering to divide and divert the scarce waters of Arizona’s Gila River among residents of Florence, Casa Grande, and the Pima Indians in the early part of the twentieth century. It is the sequel to David H. DeJong’s 2009 Stealing the Gila, and it continues to tell the story of the forerunner to the San Carlos Irrigation Project and the Gila River Indian Community’s struggle to regain access to their water.

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

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

Empowered! focuses on the legacy of Latino activism within politics. It raises important arguments about those who stand to profit financially and politically by stoking fear of immigrants and how resilient politicians and grassroots organizers have worked to counteract that fear mongering. Recognizing the long history of disenfranchisement and injustice surrounding minority communities in the United States, this book outlines the struggle to make Arizona a more just and equal place for Latinos to live. 

Watch Empowered! authors Lisa Magaña and César S. Silva discuss the book here, then read an interview with Lisa 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

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

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture exposes the ways in which colonialism is expressed in the literary and cultural production of the U.S. Southwest, a region that has experienced at least two distinct colonial periods since the sixteenth century. Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez traces how Spanish colonial texts reflect the motivation for colonial domination. She argues that layers of U.S. colonialism complicate how Chicana/o literary scholars think about Chicana/o literary and cultural production. She brings into view the experiences of Chicana/o communities that have long-standing ties to the U.S. Southwest but whose cultural heritage is tied through colonialism to multiple nations, including Spain, Mexico, and the United States.

Read an excerpt from the book here, then listen to her talk about Southwest colonial history on NPR here.

In The Nature of Desert Nature, one of our best writers on desert places, Gary Paul Nabhan, challenges traditional notions of the desert. Beautiful, reflective, and at times humorous, Nabhan’s extended essay also called “The Nature of Desert Nature” reveals the complexity of what a desert is and can be. He passionately writes about what it is like to visit a desert and what living in a desert looks like when viewed through a new frame, turning age-old notions of the desert on their heads.

Watch editor Gary Paul Nabhan and contributor Francisco Cantú discuss the collection here, then watch the Tumamoc Desert Lab book release here. Read an excerpt from the book that Tucson Weekly featured here!

White Sonora wheat, tepary beans, and criollo cattle steaks make Tucson’s cuisine unique. In A Desert Feast, you’ll see pictures of kids learning to grow food at school, and you’ll meet the farmers, small-scale food entrepreneurs, and chefs who are dedicated to growing and using heritage foods. It’s fair to say, “Tucson tastes like nowhere else.”

We are thrilled that A Desert Feast won a Pubwest Book Design Award, as well as a Southwest Books of the Year Award! Watch author Carolyn Niethammer give an overview of A Desert Feast here, and discuss the book with food writer Andi Berlin here. Then, read an excerpt from the book that Zócalo Magazine featured here.

A Marriage Out West is an intimate biographical account of two fascinating figures of twentieth-century archaeology. Frances Theresa Peet Russell, an educator, married Harvard anthropologist Frank Russell in June 1900. They left immediately on a busman’s honeymoon to the Southwest. Their goal was twofold: to travel to an arid environment to quiet Frank’s tuberculosis and to find archaeological sites to support his research.

Make sure to check out the book trailer here, where co-author Don Fowler gives a preview of the book. Then, read an excerpt from the book here.

In Diné Identity in a Twenty-First Century World, Lloyd L. Lee, a citizen of the Navajo Nation and an associate professor of Native American studies, takes up and provides insight on the most essential of human questions: who are we? Finding value and meaning in the Diné way of life has always been a hallmark of Diné studies. Lee’s Diné-centric approach to identity gives the reader a deep appreciation for the Diné way of life. Lee incorporates Diné baa hane’ (Navajo history), Sa’ą́h Naagháí Bik’eh Hózhǫ́ǫ́n (harmony), Diné Bizaad (language), K’é (relations), K’éí (clanship), and Níhi Kéyah (land) to address the melding of past, present, and future that are the hallmarks of the Diné way of life.

Watch Lloyd Lee discuss his new book here.

This anthology offers a unique and sweeping view of the nation’s fire scene by distilling observations on Florida, California, the Northern Rockies, the Great Plains, the Southwest, the Interior West, the Northeast, Alaska, the oak woodlands, and the Pacific Northwest into a single, readable volume. The essays offer a color-commentary companion to the play-by-play narrative offered in Pyne’s Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America.

To the Last Smoke is Stephen J. Pyne’s way of “keeping with it to the end,” encompassing the directive from his rookie season as a wildland firefighter to stay with every fire “to the last smoke.”

Read Stephen Pyne’s op-ed in the Los Angeles Times here, then read his piece in the Wall Street Journal here.

The saguaro, with its great size and characteristic shape, has become the emblem of the Sonoran Desert of southwestern Arizona and northwestern Mexico. The Saguaro Cactus offers a complete natural history of this enduring cactus, the largest and tallest in the United States. From its role in Sonoran Desert ecology, to its adaptations to the desert climate, to its sacred place in Indigenous culture, this book offers a definitive source on a distinguished desert plant.

We’re thrilled that The Saguaro Cactus received a Southwest Books of the Year Award!

We miss hosting in-person book releases. Take a look at some great photos from this one! Then, read an excerpt from The Saguaro Cactus here.

A Diné History of Navajoland brings much-needed attention to Navajo perspectives on the past and present. It is the culmination of a lifelong commitment from the authors, and it is an exemplary work of Diné history through the lens of ceremonial knowledge and oral history. Kelley and Francis present an in-depth look at how scholars apply Diné ceremonial knowledge and oral history to present-day concerns of Navajo Nation leaders and community members. All readers are invited to come along on this exploration of Diné oral traditions.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

In Saints, Statues, and Stories James S. Griffith shares stories of nearly sixty years of traveling through Sonora. As we have come to expect through these journeys, “Big Jim”—as he is affectionately known by many—offers nothing less than the living traditions of Catholic communities. Themes of saints as agents of protection or community action are common throughout Sonora: a saint coming out of the church to protect the village, a statue having a say in where it resides and paying social calls to other communities, or a beloved image rescued from destruction and then revered on a private altar. A patron saint saves a village from outside attackers in one story—a story that has at least ten parallels in Sonora’s former mission communities. Details may vary, but the general narrative remains the same: when hostile nonbelievers attack the village, the patron saint of the church foils them.

We are thrilled that Saints, Statues, and Stories received a Southwest Books of the Year Award! We threw a fabulous party to celebrate Big Jim’s book, take a look at the photos here. This book was also celebrated at Tucson Meet Yourself!

Four Questions with Author Devon A. Mihesuah

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

Listen: Carwil Bjork-James Featured on Media Indigena Podcast

April 20, 2021

University of Arizona Press author Carwil Bjork-James was recently featured on a Media Indigena podcast episode entitled “Bolivia for Beginners.”

Imagine what it would be like to live in a country where roughly half the population is Indigenous, said to be the highest such proportion in all of South America. Imagine too that, for over a decade, your president was himself Indigenous. Well, in Bolivia, that’s been the reality—and a fascinating one at that. A reality we delve into further with a special guest who’s written extensively about the ways in which Indigenous-led social movements have dramatically and fundamentally altered the mainstream political landscape.

Joining host/producer Rick Harp are roundtable regular Brock Pitawanakwat, Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at York University, and Carwil Bjork-James, author of The Sovereign Street: Making Revolution in Urban Bolivia.

Listen to the podcast here.

Watch: Spatialities of Andean Extractivism with Carwil Bjork-James

April 20, 2021

Recently, University of Arizona Press author Carwil Bjork-James presented a talk on Andean extraction at the American Association of Geographers meeting. Taking the streets of Cochabamba, Sucre, and La Paz as its vantage point, Carwil’s new book The Sovereign Street offers a rare look at political revolution as it happens. It documents a critical period in Latin American history, when protests made headlines worldwide, where a generation of pro-globalization policies were called into question, and where the indigenous majority stepped into government power for the first time in five centuries

“As part of an extended panel on the Corporation on at the American Association of Geographers meeting, I presented the following talk on Concession blocks, spiraling pits, and wily start-ups: Spatialities of Andean extractivism (AAG members only). The talk is a deep dive in the technologies and policies that connect open-pit mining w/ speculative capital, built around Sumitomo Corporation’s San Cristobal mine in Potosí, Bolivia and Bear Creek Mining’s failed Santa Ana silver mine project in Puno, Peru.”— Carwil Bjork-James

Carwil Bjork-James is an assistant professor of anthropology at Vanderbilt University. His research, both ethnographic and historical, concerns disruptive protest, grassroots autonomy, state violence, and indigenous collective rights in Bolivia.

Watch: Gloria Muñoz Read from New Poetry Collection

April 16, 2021

The Academy of American Poets and the University of Arizona Press presented a reading and book release celebration with Gloria Muñoz on Wednesday, April 14.

Winner of the Ambroggio Prize, Muñoz read from Danzirly, a striking bilingual poetry collection that fiercely examines the nuances of the American Dream for Latinx people in the United States. The evening included the poet’s father Al Muñoz, who read several of the Spanish versions of the English translations his daughter read.

To say this was a special event is understated, but thrilled to offer this opportunity to watch the poetry magic as often as possible.

Andrew Flachs Receives Honorable Mention for the ISA Global Development Section Book Award

April 15, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Andrew Flachs received an honorable mention for the International Studies Association Global Development Section Book Award for his recent University of Arizona Press title, Cultivating Knowledge!

“This research addresses key issues in global development: genetic modification, agribusiness, environment destruction, etc.; but it does so from a particular vantage point: how people live global change on the level of the farm field, and how we might assess “rural well-being” from that perspective. The methodology is a political economy of knowledge and thick ethnographic work, examining the role of knowledge in people’s lived experiences and how that knowledge is utilized.”—ISA Global Development Section

Congratulations, Andrew!

Aída Hurtado Wins AAHHE Distinguished Author Award

April 15, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Aída Hurtado won a 2021 AAHHE Distinguished Author Award for her recent University of Arizona Press book, Intersectional Chicana Feminisms!

“AAHHE is honored to extend to Aída Hurtado our inaugural Distinguished Author Award. AAHHE does so in recognition of your exceptional academic and scholarly contributions to the advancement of Latinos and Latinos in higher education, a set of contributions made exceedingly richer by Intersectional Chicana Feminisms. This ground-breaking work provides in elegant and eloquent fashion an informative discussion of a very important subject, one that you have been addressing over the course of your extraordinary academic career. We are delighted to be able to add our modest recognition and kudos to the host of awards and honors of which you have been a recipient.”—Patricia Arredondo, Chair, AAHHE Board of Directors

Congratulations, Aída!

SAA 2021: Learn About Our New and Recent Archaeology Titles

April 15, 2021

We are thrilled to be participating in the first virtual SAA meeting! We have an incredible selection of new and recent titles that we hope you will enjoy. Use the code AZSAA21 at checkout here on our website to receive 40% off all titles, plus free U.S. shipping.

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

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

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

From the day he was born, Federico Jiménez Caballero was predicted to be a successful man. As a child growing up in a small rural town in southern Mexico, Federico Jiménez Caballero faced challenges that most of us cannot imagine, let alone overcome. So, how exactly did a young boy from Tututepec, Oaxaca, become a famous Indigenous jewelry artist and philanthropist in Los Angeles? Federico tells the remarkable story of willpower, curiosity, hard work, and passion coming together to change one man’s life forever.

Watch a book release event for Federico here, in which author Federico Jiménez Caballero tells the story of his life alongside editor Shelby Tisdale, and answers questions from the audience.

Decolonizing “Prehistory” critically examines and challenges the paradoxical role that modern historical-archaeological scholarship plays in adding legitimacy to, but also delegitimizing, contemporary colonialist practices. Bringing together experts from American studies, archaeology, anthropology, legal studies, history, and literary studies, this interdisciplinary volume offers essential information about the complexity and ambivalence of colonial encounters with Indigenous peoples in North America, and their impact on American scientific discourse.

Discover more books in, and information about, the Archaeology of Indigenous-Colonial Interactions in the Americas series here.

Flower Worlds reaches into multisensory realms that extend back at least 2,500 years, offering many different disciplines, perspectives, and collaborations to understand these domains. Today, Flower Worlds are expressed in everyday work and lived experiences, embedded in sacred geographies, and ritually practiced both individually and in communities. This volume stresses the importance of contemporary perspectives and experiences by opening with living traditions before delving into the historical trajectories of Flower Worlds, creating a book that melds scientific and humanistic research and emphasizes Indigenous voices.

This book is part of the Amerind Studies in Anthropology series. Amerind Studies in Anthropology is a series that publishes the results of the Amerind Seminars, annual professional symposia hosted by the Amerind Foundation in Dragoon, Arizona, and cosponsored by the Society for American Archaeology.

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

Join our book release celebration and discussion with Paul Minnis on his new book, Famine Foods: Plants We Eat to Survive on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. This event is free, but requires registration. Register here!

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

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

Oysters in the Land of Cacao delivers a long-overdue presentation of the archaeology, material culture, and regional synthesis on the Formative to Late Classic period societies of the western Chontalpa region (Tabasco, Mexico) through contemporary theory. It offers a significant new understanding of the Mesoamerican Gulf Coast.

This book is part of our Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona series. The Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona is a peer-reviewed monograph series sponsored by the School of Anthropology. Learn more here.

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. The authors 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.

Explore photographs and field notes from editors Paul Minnis and Michael Whalen‘s excavations of Paquimé’s Site 204 here.

A Marriage Out West is an intimate biographical account of two fascinating figures of twentieth-century archaeology. Frances Theresa Peet Russell, an educator, married Harvard anthropologist Frank Russell in June 1900. They left immediately on a busman’s honeymoon to the Southwest. Their goal was twofold: to travel to an arid environment to quiet Frank’s tuberculosis and to find archaeological sites to support his research.

A Marriage Out West provides a detailed insight into the intrigue of the early scramble by federal, state, and private organizations for access to Indigenous archaeological sites (almost universally lacking tribal input or consent) as well an exceptional woman’s personal account of her experiences as a neophyte frontiersperson.”—Thatcher A. Rogers, Albuquerque Archaeological Society Newsletter

Read an excerpt from the book here.

The Global Spanish Empire tackles broad questions about indigenous cultural persistence, pluralism, and place making using a global comparative perspective grounded in the shared experience of Spanish colonialism. Through an expansive range of essays that look at Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, this volume brings often-neglected regions into conversation.

“The volume maps the haphazard development of the colonial Spanish Empire, focusing on how indigenous and enslaved populations carved and crafted their own spaces through persistence and imaginative place-making strategies.”—Mariah F. Wade, author of Missions, Missionaries, and Native Americans: Long-Term Processes and Daily Practices

Watch a conversation about the book with editors Christine Beaule and John Douglass here, then read an interview with the editors here.

Tewa Worlds offers an archaeological history of eight centuries of Tewa Pueblo history in the Rio Chama Valley through the lens of contemporary Pueblo philosophical and historical discourse. The result gives weight to the deep past, colonial encounters, and modern experiences. It challenges archaeologists to both critically reframe interpretation and to acknowledge the Tewa’s deep but ongoing connection with the land.

… Tewa Worlds … stands out as exemplary in its investigative scope, rich and thought-provoking interpretations, and focus on establishing a deep history from the archaeological and ethnographic record.”—Thatcher A. Rogers, New Mexico Archeological Council

More than a history of coveted commodities, the unique story that unfolds in John R. Gust and Jennifer P. Mathews’s new history Sugarcane and Rum is told through the lens of Maya laborers who worked under brutal conditions on small haciendas to harvest sugarcane and produce rum in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

“This book is an exciting and innovative contribution to the history of Yucatán. It challenges us to think carefully about the role of commodities in the production of social relations.”—Elizabeth Terese Newman, author of Biography of a Hacienda: Work and Revolution in Rural Mexico

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Narratives of Persistence charts the remarkable persistence of California’s Ohlone and Paipai people over the past five centuries. Lee M. Panich draws connections between the events and processes of the deeper past and the way the Ohlone and Paipai today understand their own histories and identities.

“Panich draws connections between the events and processes of the deeper past and the way the Ohlone and Paipai today understand their own histories and identities, offering a model for how scholars of Indigenous histories should think about the connections between the past and the present.”—Ashley Riley Sousa, Middle Tennessee State University

Read an interview with author Lee M. Panich about the book here.

The second of a two-volume series, Moquis and Kastiilam tells the story of the encounter between the Hopis, who the Spaniards called Moquis, and the Spaniards, who the Hopis called Kastiilam, from the Pueblo Revolt through 1781. Balancing historical documents with oral histories, it creates a fresh perspective on the interface of Spanish and Hopi peoples in the period of missionization.

“The editors have offered a fascinating study that will change the way scholars plan and execute community-based research with tribes and tribal people. This volume is a good read and a triumph, offering a model for future research on American Indian people.”—Clifford Trafzer, author of American Indian Medicine Ways

A Diné History of Navajoland brings much-needed attention to Navajo perspectives on the past and present. It is the culmination of a lifelong commitment from the authors, and it is an exemplary work of Diné history through the lens of ceremonial knowledge and oral history. Kelley and Francis present an in-depth look at how scholars apply Diné ceremonial knowledge and oral history to present-day concerns of Navajo Nation leaders and community members. All readers are invited to come along on this exploration of Diné oral traditions.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

How “Indians” Think 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.

Author Gonzalo Lamana was featured on the New Books Network podcast. Listen to it here.

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. The increasingly militarized U.S.-México border is an intensely physical place, affecting the bodies of all who encounter it. The essays in this volume explore how crossing becomes embodied in individuals, how that embodiment transcends the crossing of the line, and how it varies depending on subject positions and identity categories, especially race, class, and citizenship.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Watch: Federico Jiménez Caballero and Shelby Tisdale Discuss New Memoir

April 13, 2021

Author Federico Jiménez Caballero and editor Shelby Tisdale discussed Jiménez Caballero’s new book, Federico: One Man’s Remarkable Journey from Tututepec to L.A., a memoir that documents his intriguing life.

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

Watch: John-Michael Rivera Read from UNDOCUMENTS

April 12, 2021

Frederick Luis Aldama, University of Arizona Press author and co-editor of the Latinx Pop Culture series, welcomed John-Michael Rivera at a book launch and celebration for his new book, UNDOCUMENTS on Wednesday, March 31.

Rivera, director of the Program for Writing and Rhetoric at the University of Colorado Boulder, read from UNDOCUMENTS, which documents and scrutinizes what it means to seek opportunities in America. With a focus on the poetics of Latinx documentality itself, this book is concerned with the complicated and at times contradictory ways peoples of Greater Mexico have been documented and undocumented within systems of colonial knowledges, and how these peoples have been rendered as specters of the bureaucratic state.

UNDOCUMENTS is from the University of Arizona Press’s Latinx Pop Culture series that 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.

NACCS 2021: Explore Our New and Recent Chicana/o/x Studies Titles

April 8, 2021

We are excited to participate in the first virtual NACCS meeting! We have an incredible selection of new and recent titles that we hope you will enjoy. Use the code AZNACCS21 at checkout here on our website to receive 40% off all titles, plus free U.S. shipping.

If you have questions about our publishing program, please view our guidelines here, and don’t hesitate to reach out to our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles. She can be reached at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Congratulations to Josie Méndez-Negrete, 2021 NACCS Scholar!

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.

We are thrilled to announce that Josie Méndez-Negrete was chosen as the 2021 NACCS Scholar! “The NACCS Scholar Award is a recognition of work – publications, pedagogical, leadership praxis, and personal commitment, Dr. Méndez-Negrete exemplifies this quality among the professoriate of NACCS.” Read more here.

Watch Josie Méndez-Negrete and Lorena V. Márquez discuss California Chicana/o/x community histories here.

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

Watch a book release event with editors Mario T. García and Ellen McCracken here, then read five questions with the editors here. Read an interview about the book from University of California Santa Barbara’s news site, The Current here, then read an excerpt from the book here.

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

“A remarkable narrative telling of Indigenous origins, transformation in the city, and eventual migration to the United States, Federico by Federico Jiménez Caballero brings life to a unique story beginning in rural Oaxaca and ending in Los Angeles.”—Anna M. Nogar, author of Quill and Cross in the Borderlands: Sor María de Ágreda and the Lady in Blue, 1628 to the Present

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

Watch authors Lisa Magaña and César S. Silva discuss the book and answer questions here, then read an interview with Lisa Magaña here.

“This book is a fascinating historical account of how Latinos in Arizona have faced political disenfranchisement and outright hostility to their rights and even their very presence in the state and their recent mobilization to push back. It is a book that comes to add substantially to our understanding of how the largest minority in the United States, Latinos, is helping to realign politics—in Arizona, the Southwest, and beyond. This book is a text that shows the reader a microcosm of how minorities have had to struggle to expand political rights through history—first African Americans in the South and now Latinos in the Southwest.”—Tony Payan, author of The Three U.S.-Mexico Border Wars: Drugs, Immigration, and Homeland Security

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 a recording of a Tucson Festival of Books virtual book panel with poets Gloria Muñoz and Felicia Zamora here. Sign up for our virtual book release event for Danzirly on April 14 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.

We are thrilled to announce that UNDOCUMENTS won a 2021 Kayden Book Award! Read more about the award here. Read an excerpt from the book here, then watch a recording of a virtual book release event with John-Michael Rivera and Latinx Pop Culture series editor Frederick Luis Aldama here.

With unity of heart and mind, the creative and the scholarly, Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities opens wide its arms to all non-binary, decolonial masculinities today to grow a stronger, resilient, and more compassionate new generation of Latinxs tomorrow.

Read an interview with the editors, Arturo J. Aldama and Frederick Luis Aldama, here. Then, listen to a New Books Network podcast with Frederick here, and watch a video about Latinx streaming during lockdown here.

Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities bristles with original insights and illuminating takes on an impressive array of expressive culture. A refreshing and pathfinding collection that leaves behind exhausted considerations of Latinx masculinity, the essays collected here focus our attention on the ever-shifting terms of debate concerning racialized genders and sexualities.”—Richard T. Rodríguez, author of Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics

Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa provides pedagogical applications of Anzaldúa’s noted theories, including la facultad, the path of conocimiento, and autohistoria, among others. This text provides examples, lesson plans, and activities for scholars, professors, teachers, and community members in various disciplines—such as history, composition, literature, speech and debate, and more—and for those interested in teaching the theories of Gloria Anzaldúa.

Watch a recording of a book release event with the editors of this volume here, then listen to a 1991 recording of Gloria Anzaldúa reading uncollected and unpublished poems here.

Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture traces the development of Chicana/o literature and cultural production from the Spanish colonial period to the present. In doing so, it challenges us to look critically at how we simultaneously embody colonial constructs and challenge their legacies.

Read an excerpt from the book here, then listen to author Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez talk about the book on NPR here.

Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture does the difficult work of placing pre-Chicano texts such as Jovita González’s Dew on the Thorn in dialogue with later Chicanx, Indigenous, and Chicana texts. Doing so allows Fonseca-Chávez to directly address the politics and power of memory, representation, and canon. Fonseca-Chávez argues that by addressing literary heritages with eyes wide open, we can produce honest critiques of the canon. Only by doing so will we be able to account for the very diverse body that is Chicanx literature. In relation, only by doing so will we be able to form the critical coalitions we need as we move into the twenty-first century.”—Linda Heidenreich, author of “This Land Was Mexican Once”: Histories of Resistance from Northern California

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.

Cultura y Corazón is a book we have all been waiting for. Deliberate in its descriptions of how to do ethical community engaged participatory research, the authors provide an excellent model for anyone serious about changing the way we work WITH communities of color. This is mandatory reading for researchers who are invested in providing a symbiotic relationship with communities of color and who no longer abide by helicopter culture-vulture approaches in research relationships.”—Sujey Vega, author of Latino Heartland: Of Borders and Belonging in the Midwest

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.

Watch a recording of Josie Méndez-Negrete and Lorena V. Márquez discussing California Chicana/o/x community histories here. Watch a recording of an Educators for Anti-Racism interview La Gente author Lorena V. Márquez here. Read an interview with Lorena about the book with the Center for Sacramento History here.

In Alberto Ríos’s new picaresque novel, momentous adventure and quiet connection bring twenty people to life in a small town in northern Mexico. A Good Map of All Things is home to characters whose lives are interwoven but whose stories are their own. Whether your heart belongs to a small town in Mexico or a bustling metropolis, Alberto Ríos has crafted a book overflowing with comfort, humor, warmth, and the familiar embrace of a tightly woven community.

Watch a recording of a Tucson Festival of Books virtual book panel with Lydia Otero and Alberto Álvaro Ríos here, then read an interview with Alberto for High Country News here. We’re thrilled to announce that A Good Map of All Things was chosen as a Southwest Book of the Year!

La Raza Cosmética examines postrevolutionary identity construction as a project of settler colonialism that at once appropriated and erased indigeneity. In its critique of Indigenous representation, it also shows how Indigenous women strategically engaged with and resisted these projects as they played out in beauty pageants, films, tourism, art, and other realms of popular culture.

Natasha Varner’s book insightfully traces how nationalists used the female Indigenous body to construct settler colonialism in postrevolutionary Mexico. In the process, it creatively bridges Indigenous studies in the United States and Latin America.”—Rick A. López, author of Crafting Mexico: Intellectuals, Artisans and the State After the Revolution

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

We are thrilled that Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez was awarded the inaugural AAHHE Distinguished Author Award! Watch Carlos and his colleagues discuss the book at a virtual book release event here, then read an excerpt from the book here.

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

Aída Hurtado, 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. Hurtado also looks at the newest developments in the field and the future of Chicana feminisms.

We’re thrilled that Aída Hurtado won an AAHHE Distinguished Author Award, and received an honorable mention for the 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize!

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.

“Trujillo explores the ongoing process of insurgent history making by examining an ever-widening array of relevant texts that in their origin and topic spiral out from the New Mexican heartland of the Alianza to encompass kindred indigenous insurgencies as far afield as the Zapatistas of Chiapas in southern Mexico. This is an insightful, complex, and sometimes whimsical musing on land, race, indigeneity, and storytelling.”—P. R. Sullivan, Choice

Watch Simón Trujillo and Vick Quezada Discuss the borderlands of Latinx Indigeneity here.

This timeless volume is a significant analysis of the burgeoning field of Latinx filmmaking. Editor Frederick Luis Aldama has gathered together some of the best writing on Latinx ciné in the twenty-first century. Today’s filmmakers show the world a rich Latinidad informed by a complexly layered culture replete with history, biography, and everyday experiences.

“(Latinx Ciné in the twenty-first century) is a tour-de-force in Latinx-Brown film studies, unswervingly challenging, countering, deconstructing, irrupting and disrupting the conscious and contrived Latinx xenophobic and maligned racism, sexism, classism, and cultural invisibility promoted in the Trump era of political expediency and moral despondency.”—Theodoric Manley, Ethnic and Racial Studies

In Reel Latinxs, experts in Latinx pop culture Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher González explain the real implications of Latinx representation in mainstream TV and film. They also provide a roadmap through a history of mediatized Latinxs that rupture stereotypes and reveal nuanced reconstructions of Latinx subjectivities and experiences.

Reel Latinxs is an invitation to re-think the problematic history of misrepresentations, to evaluate contemporary texts, and to imagine possible future in which Latinx are represented in yet more complex and nuanced ways.”—Manuel G. Aviles-Santiago, The Journal of Arizona History

We’re thrilled to announce that Reel Latinxs won an International Latino Book Award! Watch a video on Latinx streaming during lockdown with author Frederick Luis Aldama 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.

“Norma Cantú offers us a prescient and poignant sweep of la fronteriza. These are poems celebrating border life in song, hushed ruminations, elegant verse. Cantú’s offering is one that gives us hope and strength in the midst of difficult times.”—Amelia M. L. Montes  

We’re thrilled that Meditación Fronteriza received an honorable mention for an International Latino Book Award! Watch a reading and discussion with poet Norma Elia Cantú here, and read an interview with Norma here.

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.

“This is an innovative and powerful collection that crosses the border between ­academic and artistic styles. Each contribution works to decolonize the mind and the soul. It is necessary reading for all who are interested in the anti-imperial project.”—Luis D. León, author of The Political Spirituality of Cesar Chavez: Crossing Religious Borders

Latinx Talk interviewed co-editor Lara Medina, you can read it here. Ofrenda Magazine also featured Voices from the Ancestors here.

Yolqui is a testimonio, a historia profoundo of the culture of extralegal violence against the Red-Black-Brown communities in the United States that operates with impunity. Framed by Roberto Cintli Rodríguez’s personal testimony of police violence, this book is a clarion call to end that violence and those philosophies that permit such violence to flourish.

Yolqui is at once a book of mourning and an ultimatum written against the great silencing, against misleading statistics, and against outright lies designed to keep centuries of genocide in place. This book was written for the white supremacist witching hour: an unholy ritual guided by racist doctrine, blood-drenched law, and police executions. This book is written against corruption and coverups, conquest and canon, the past five hundred years recurring every next day.”—Matt Sedillo, Public Intellectuals

Remember the days of in-person events? Read about the great book release event we planned for Yolqui here, then read an excerpt from the book here.

New in Paperback!

Chicano Communists and the Struggle for Social Justice traces the early roots of the Chicano Movement. It follows the thread of radical activism of the 1930s and 1940s to today, showing the depth of its influence on Mexican Americans struggling to achieve social justice and equality. 

“This well-researched study contributes to the fields of California history, Mexican American history, labor history, and race and ethnic studies. The exploration of radical activism by a Mexican American leader is especially significant.” —Ricardo Romo, author of East Los Angeles: History of a Barrio

Based on more than twenty years of border activism in San Diego–Tijuana and El Paso–Ciudad Juárez, this book is an interdisciplinary examination that considers the 1984 McDonald’s massacre, Minutemen vigilantism, border urbanism, the ongoing murder of women in Ciudad Juárez, and anti-border music. It is a theoretical and pragmatic analysis of the future of violence at—and because of—national territorial borders, and it offers a call for epistemic and cartographic disobedience.

Hernández has produced a stunningly brilliant call to action and an intellectually vibrant interdisciplinary interrogation of the origins, nature, and extent of borderlands violence.”—Choice

Calling the Soul Back considers how Chicanx literary narrative creatively maps vital connections between mind, body, spirit, and soul. Christina Garcia Lopez reveals the healing potential of narratives, showing how they can reposition one’s conscious ways of knowing and how spirituality can incite radical transformation.

“In this important new work, Garcia Lopez unpacks the significance of Chicanx narratives that center embodied knowledge as a route toward understanding the interrelationships among humans and between humans and earth, shedding light on the shape of ‘environmental consciousness’ in contemporary Chicanx narratives.” —Theresa Delgadillo, Latina/o Studies, Ohio State University

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 about the Great Copper Strike here.

Mexican Workers and the Making of Arizona presents the paradoxical history where Mexicana and Mexicano workers are recruited and desired as laborers who contribute to the wealth and well-being of key sectors in Arizona’s economy, yet simultaneously are racialized as invaders who negatively impact society. The anthology features the work of women contributors and beautifully illustrates the stories of Mexicans’ resilience and resistance.”—Patricia Zavella, Professor Emerita, Latin American and Latino Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz

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.

“Yvette J. Saavedra shows how issues of race and class and gender made and remade local society in Southern California, and how power and politics shaped this region across the long nineteenth century.”—Stephen Pitti, Department of History, Yale University

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

The Diné Reader: An Excerpt

April 8, 2021

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

Below, read an excerpt from Sherwin Bitsui‘s foreword to The Diné Reader.

“I’ve met young Navajo college students attending universities throughout the United States who are surprised to discover that Navajos have been writing books for decades—Blackhorse Mitchell’s Miracle Hill was published decades ago, in 1967. The students, excited about stories and poems that reflect their own experiences, ask for the names of Navajo authors and their book titles with hopes of finding them in their local bookstores and libraries. Such works invoke memories of their families, reservation life, and cultural concerns. They also capture the red rock panoramas of their homeland, where stories and everyday life are perpetually intertwined. Each book contains an entire world and gives voice to Navajo thought and worldview with the utmost care and respect for language and ancestral knowledge.

Navajo poets and writers often refer to Diné bizaad as the source for their written work. Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe writes, “Diné bizaad is medicine for healing, was used as a secret code during World War II by the Navajo Code Talkers, and has blessed me in writing poetry, stories, essays, and now writing librettos for operas. It has grounded me to Navajo spirituality and community.”

Whether Diné bizaad was forcibly repressed at boarding schools, or because a generation of traumatized parents were convinced not to teach their children, these writers rediscover it in their written work. The layers of each line, image, or word carry not only personal story but the entirety of a people’s history and worldview. These stories restore memory and reconnect a people, some of whom have moved beyond the sacred mountains to work and live in distant cities. These stories are doorways opening inward, back into the world that is always home.

This anthology will aid in making known to readers the incredible diversity Navajo literature offers. These poems and stories are as vast and dynamic as the land on which they were imagined and created. The editors of this anthology have presented the works in a format that honors culture. They have provided interviews with the authors and resources for teachers to aid in the teaching of these works, elucidating the cultural context to bring greater depth to the reader’s understanding. Elizabeth Woody, in her interview, gracefully sums up the thesis of this collection: “I write from the core belief the word of our ancestors still reverberates in our present. It is a whisper in the grasses moving in all directions.” With the publication of this book, the whisper has grown louder and cannot be ignored any longer. The songs and memories of our ancestors continue to reverberate in these contemporary stories and poems; they bridge worlds and restore beauty within all things.”

Sherwin Bitsui

Watch: Authors Discuss How Latinos in Arizona Have Transformed Politics

March 26, 2021

Authors Lisa Magaña and César S. Silva discussed their new book, Empowered!: Latinos Transforming Arizona Politics, taking an online audience on a tour of Arizona’s Latino immigrant, political, and organizing history.

The online event on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, further explained how that history eventually transformed Arizona into a more inclusive and progressive state then ever before. During the book launch, past students of Magaña’s shared in-depth details of the organizing work taking place in Maricopa County that especially helped increase registered voters in record-breaking numbers this past election season—turning Arizona from a red to a blue state.

Steve Pyne on Persevering to Mars

March 25, 2021

In a new essay published this week on the History News Network, Steve Pyne explains the link between last months Mars landing by Perseverance and the Great Ages of Discovery, which he details in his new book. Here’s a brief excerpt from the essay:

“There is a lot to marvel at Perseverance’s February 18 landing on Mars, beyond robotic exploration as an extreme sport.  Only half of attempted missions to Mars have succeeded, and the sheer technical audacity that stuck Perseverance’s landing is guaranteed to dazzle. But America’s latest endeavor joins two other missions from civilizations re-emerging as global actors after centuries of exploring quietude. Perhaps more deeply, Perseverance’s first-contact photo, a shadow selfie, raises questions about the very nature of discovery and the character of an explorer.”

Read more

Watch: Urayoán Noel Read From New Poetry Collection Transversal

March 22, 2021

Celebrated poet Urayoán Noel read from his new poetry collection, Transversal, joined by Camino del Sol series editor Rigoberto González in an online event on Wednesday, March 17.

Transversal is part of the critically acclaimed Camino del Sol series, a literary series published by the University of Arizona Press to spotlight poetry, fiction, and essays from both emerging and established voices in Latinx literature.

Noel’s reading took the whole pandemic-era online-reading to a new level. He was powerful, head-spinning, and took the audience on a rollercoaster of translation, politics, and poetics.

TransversalUrayoán Noel’s newest poetry collection, 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.

Society for Applied Anthropology 2021: Discover Recent Titles, Discounts, and More

March 18, 2021

We are excited to be participating in the first ever virtual Society for Applied Anthropology meeting! The SfAA Annual Meeting provides an invaluable opportunity for scholars, practicing social scientists, and students from a variety of disciplines and organizations to discuss their work and brainstorm for the future. It is more than just a conference: it’s a rich place to trade ideas, methods, and practical solutions, as well as enter the lifeworld of other professionals. SfAA members come from a variety of disciplines — anthropology, sociology, economics, business, planning, medicine, nursing, law, and other related social/behavioral sciences.

If you have any questions about our publishing program, please contact ACarter@uapress.arizona.edu, and visit here to learn more. Use the code AZSFAA21 for 40% off all titles, plus free continental U.S. shipping. Check out our most recent applied anthropology titles below!

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

On Wednesday, April 7, learn about Federico Jiménez Caballero’s remarkable life and work during this online book release celebration and discussion with author Federico Jiménez Caballero and editor Shelby Tisdale. Register here.

How people eat today is a record of food use through the ages, and Famine Foods offers the first ever overview of the use of alternative foods during food shortages. Paul E. Minnis explores the unusual plants that have helped humanity survive throughout history.

Preorder your copy today!

On Wednesday, May 5, Join our book release celebration and discussion with Paul Minnis on his new book, Famine Foods: Plants We Eat to Survive. Register here.

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

Preorder your copy today!

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

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

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. Revitalization Lexicography details both the theoretical and the practical aspects that contributed to the Tunica dictionary in manner compelling to readers from all walks of life.

David Barton Bray has spent more than thirty years researching and studying Mexican community forest enterprises (CFEs). In Mexico’s Community Forest Enterprises he shares the scientific evidence for Mexico’s social and environmental achievements and how, in its most successful manifestations, it became a global model for common-property forest management, sustainable social-ecological systems, and climate change mitigation in developing countries.

Narrating Nature by Mara J. Goldman opens up dialogue that counters traditional conservation narratives by providing space for local Maasai inhabitants to share their ways of knowing and being with nature. It moves beyond standard community conservation narratives that see local people as beneficiaries or contributors to conservation, to demonstrate how they are essential knowledgeable members of the conservation landscape itself.

Cultura y Corazón is a research approach and practice that is rooted in the work of Latinx and Chicanx scholars and intellectuals. The book documents best practices for Community Based and Participatory Action Research (CBPAR), which is both culturally attuned and scientifically demonstrated. This methodology takes a decolonial approach to engaging community members in the research process and integrates critical feminist and indigenous epistemologies.

A Marriage Out West is an intimate biographical account of two fascinating figures of twentieth-century archaeology. Frances Theresa Peet Russell, an educator, married Harvard anthropologist Frank Russell in June 1900. They left immediately on a busman’s honeymoon to the Southwest. Their goal was twofold: to travel to an arid environment to quiet Frank’s tuberculosis and to find archaeological sites to support his research.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

What is a beautiful garden to southern Ethiopian farmers? Anchored in the author’s perceptual approach to the people, plants, land, and food, The Edible Gardens of Ethiopia opens a window into the simple beauty and ecological vitality of an ensete garden. Based on prolonged engagement with this “virtuous” plant of southwestern Ethiopia, this book provides a nuanced reading of the ensete ventricosum (avant-)garden and explores how the life in tiny, diverse, and womanly plots may indeed offers alternative visions of nature, food policy, and conservation efforts.

Chie Sakakibara shows how knots of connection came into being between humans and nonhuman others and how such intimate and intense relations will help humans survive the Anthropocene. Whale Snow offers an important and thought-provoking look at global climate change as it manifests in the everyday life of the Iñupiat in Arctic Alaska.

Read an interview with Chie here.

Taking us on a journey of remembering and rediscovery, anthropologist Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez shares important insights into his development as a scholar and in so doing the development of the interdisciplinary field of transborder anthropology.

Read an excerpt from Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist here. We are thrilled that Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez was honored with the inaugural AAHHE Distinguished Author Award, as well as the 2020 Franz Boas Award. Recently, we hosted a book release event for Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist. You can watch a recording of the event here.

The Sovereign Street offers a rare look at political revolution as it happens, showing how mass street protest can change national political life.  It documents a critical period in twenty-first century Bolivia, when small-town protests made headlines worldwide, where a generation of pro-globalization policies were called into question, and where the indigenous majority stepped into government power for the first time in five centuries.

Listen to author Carwil Bjork-James talk about the book here.

Tewa Worlds by Samuel Duwe offers an archaeological history of eight centuries of Tewa Pueblo history in the Rio Chama Valley through the lens of contemporary Pueblo philosophical and historical discourse. The result gives weight to the deep past, colonial encounters, and modern experiences. It challenges archaeologists to both critically reframe interpretation and to acknowledge the Tewa’s deep but ongoing connection with the land.

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

Mexico and Peru are widely regarded as two great centers of Latin American civilization. In State Formation in the Liberal Era, a diverse group of historians and anthropologists from the United States, the United Kingdom, and Latin America compare how the two countries advanced claims of statehood from the dawning of the age of global liberal capitalism to the onset of the Cold War. Chapters cover themes ranging from foreign banks to road building and labor relations. The introductions serve as an original interpretation of Peru’s and Mexico’s modern histories from a comparative perspective.

Despite its tiny size and seeming marginality to world affairs, the Central American republic of Costa Rica has long been considered an important site for experimentation in cutting-edge environmental policy. From protected area management to ecotourism to payment for environmental services (PES) and beyond, for the past half-century the country has successfully positioned itself at the forefront of novel trends in environmental governance and sustainable development. The Ecolaboratory frames Costa Rica as an “ecolaboratory” and asks what lessons we can learn for the future of environmental governance and sustainable development both within the country and elsewhere.

Fighting for Andean Resources offers a singular contribution to the literature critiquing monolithic views of nation-state dynamics and globalization. Vladimir R. Gil Ramón examines the protocols of accountability and the social critique of the application of environmental impact assessments and safeguard policies. His analysis reveals the complex mechanisms for legitimizing decision-making and adds to an understanding of everyday state-nation conflicts and negotiations.

Excerpt: Strong Hearts and Healing Hands

March 17, 2021

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

Today, we offer a brief excerpt from the preface of this important new work:

From 1928 to 1948, field nurses served the Indian people of the Mission Indian Agency on every Indian reservation. Their work with the people ultimately led to the decline of morbidity and mortality among tribal people. Field nurses helped improve Indian health, but they did not do it alone. They could not have been successful without the support and cooperation of Native American leaders, families, communities, and tribes. Indian people allowed field nurses, physicians, and hospital employees into their lives. Indians helped health-care providers fight invisible enemies that were then sickening and killing their people. Indians worked in partnership with field nurses to improve the health of their people because, as tribal elders have testified, it was to their advantage to cooperate with field nurses and other health care providers. At the time, Indian people were dying of illnesses brought to Southern California by settlers, soldiers, and government policy makers. Settlers had introduced infectious diseases among the people. Indians reasoned that newcomers had knowledge about the causation and prevention of “traveling” sickness or infectious diseases that moved indiscriminately from person to person, place to place.

During the 1920s, American Indian students had some knowledge about germs and disease prevention from their boarding-school days. When students returned home from Indian schools, they shared public-health knowledge and practical information about unseen enemies attacking their people. For many years, Southern California Indians had lived with bacterial and viral diseases. Indigenous people had their own medical traditions, but the medicine ways of Native Americans generally did not address serious infectious diseases.

For centuries, Native Americans had learned about health and healing from traditional indigenous nurses who lived in every Indian village and community in Southern California. Indigenous women had learned the art of nursing from their elders and their own practical experiences. Indigenous women were experts (and remain so today) in the use of herbal medicines. They used plant medicines to treat symptoms of infectious diseases, but often could not cure disease caused by pathogens. Some shamans claimed the ability to kill infectious diseases caused by microorganisms. Since the time of creation, every tribe had consulted indigenous nurses to help them maintain physical, mental, and spiritual health. Tribal use of Native nurses made it easier for indigenous people to accept treatment and advice from white nurses—all women—working for the Indian Service.

While indigenous nurses expertly used herbal medicines, tribal shamans cured people of staying sickness that existed only within specific tribal communities. However, neither indigenous nurses nor shamans could consistently address new illnesses caused by viruses and bacteria. As a result, and with time, the first people of Southern California agreed to incorporate Western medicine into their own medicine ways. During the early twentieth century, Southern California Indians gradually used Western medicine and integrated new medicine ways into their cultural circles. Once Western medicine proved effective in preventing and curing illnesses, Indians incorporated new medicine into their lives. They slowly brought Western medicine into their own cultural circles and adopted new ways of healing without abandoning their own medicine ways. In essence, Native Americans gradually chose to incorporate Western medicine into their cultures and use it to their advantage. At the same time, they kept their traditional medicine ways. They used both ways to achieve better health. They continued to consult traditional tribal nurses and shamans, drawing on expertise of traditional and new medicine to benefit their people. This form of integrated medicine has continued to this day through community-based and Native-controlled contemporary Indian health centers located throughout Southern California. However, in the 1920s, the Indians of Southern California were just learning about field nurses and important national changes brought to the Indian Service.

***
Clifford E. Trafzer is Distinguished Professor of History and Rupert Costo Chair in American Indian Affairs at the University of California, Riverside. Since the 1980s, he has researched the history of Southern California Indians, visiting reservations and learning from their people. He served on the California Native American Heritage Commission, Board of Native American Land Conservancy, and University of California President’s Native American Council.

Alberto Ríos on Nogales, the Borderlands, and Joy in High Country News

March 17, 2021

High Country News recently featured an essay by Alberto Álvaro Ríos, author of A Good Map of All Things, published by the University of Arizona Press. A Good Map, Ríos honors his family between the chapters, but the new picaresque novel presents brightly unique characters who love fiercely and nurture those around them in a whimsical yet familiar town in the Pimería Alta

The High Country News essay, “In Nogales, joy endures,” Ríos shares a snapshot of his hometown, Nogales, Arizona, and the true joy that exists on the border.

From the essay:

“In all the talk of the border, that word is used as if it defined this place. But the far greater truth and the more apt word for this place is desert. It was true when I was growing up, and it’s just as true now. We lived in the desert more than, or at least as much as, we lived at the border. Nature was so often louder in its quietude than people giving orders in uniforms, or fences keeping us and the cows from wandering where we weren’t supposed to go. The border made Nogales a major international port of entry, giving us the foundation for produce and tourism, both of which moved through town, but the desert gave us actual place, a geography on which to stand and find a steady footing. For those who live there, the desert, too, has always been a place of scarcity, of sparseness. Making do with what you had was a regular way of life. It was constant invention.”

Read the entire essay here.

Whale Snow Wins the AAG 2020 Meridian Book Award

March 17, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Whale Snow by Chie Sakakibara is the winner of the AAG 2020 Meridian Book Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work in Geography! This award is given for a book written by a geographer that makes an unusually important contribution to advancing the science and art of geography.

“In Whale Snow, Chie Sakakibara pioneers a vision of surviving humankind and kin safely segueing a conjoined path in the future. On the frontier between tundra and ocean, she engaged in the kind of years-long fieldwork that exemplary geographers have pursued for generations in an effort to understand the why of where. Recognizing that whales and whaling remain integral to Inupiat lifeways, despite the onslaught of globalization and climate change, her work explores and elucidates the significance of bowhead whales to the persistence of Inupiaq culture and community.

This book offers a rare, qualified, and yet substantiated optimism to readers around the world. Hers is a vision of “being in a togetherness” that perseveres against myriad adversities on the near horizon, and that can continue to do so far into the future. This research is exemplary in its
sustained commitment to the community. It demonstrates the best of embedded, ethically-driven, and collaborative knowledge production. Those who seek, through their own studies with diverse cultural communities of practice, to overcome – as do the whaling Inupiat of Alaskan North Slope Borough, in unity with their animal kin — the existential threats of our unprecedented and contingent present will be inspired and transformed by reading this book.

In so many ways, Whale Snow epitomizes the essence of geography as an art, science, method, literary practice, and a way of understanding and relating to the world.”— The American Association of Geographers

Chie Sakakibara is an assistant professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College. She was trained in cultural geography, art history, and Indigenous studies. Her work explores human dimensions of global environmental change among Indigenous peoples. Native to Japan, Sakakibara is a proud adoptive member of the Iñupiaq whaling community. Her love of humans and nonhuman animals manifests in her academic work as well as in her life with one human daughter and two canine sons.

Congratulations, Chie!

Francisco X. Alarcón Featured in Latest Poetry Centered Podcast

March 16, 2021

In the season premiere of Poetry Centered, the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s podcast, Francisco Aragón shares poems alive with the vibrancy of a particular voice addressed to a particular audience.

Included in the podcast is Francisco X. Alarcón’s bittersweet homage to a poetic ancestor, “Hernando Ruiz de Alarcón.” The late Alarcón is co-editor of Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice with Odilia Galván Rodríguez, and author of Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation, among others published by the University of Arizona Press.

The podcast also features poems from Thom Gunn, and Denise Levertov, mythic. Aragón concludes the episode with a direct address of his own that challenges Arizona’s SB 1070, “Poem with a Phrase of Isherwood.”

Poetry Centered features curated selections from Voca, the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s online audiovisual archive of more than 1,000 recordings of poets reading their work during visits to the Center between 1963 and today. In each episode, a guest poet introduces three poems from Voca, sharing their insights about the remarkable performances recorded in our archive. Each episode concludes with the guest poet reading a poem of their own.

To listen to this episode and past episodes, please go here.

Flachs Examines Cotton Cultivation in India in Anthro Magazine Sapiens

March 15, 2021

Andrew Flachs, author of Cultivating Knowledge: Biotechnology, Sustainability, and the Human Cost of Cotton Capitalism in India, recently contributed a story for SAPIENS, an online anthropology magazine, edited by Chip Colwell.

Excerpt from the story by Flachs:

“Organic agriculture also offers an agrarian way of life for younger, educated generations in Telangana at a time when many young people have moved away to find work in larger cities, such as Hyderabad and Bangalore, leaving behind or even selling family land. Staff members recruited from farming communities by various organic projects in Telangana have found a way to give back to their agrarian roots while achieving a new form of rural professionalism.

It would be wrong to frame the success of these programs as either the triumph of eco-friendly clothing sales or as evidence of the inherent superiority of certified organic agriculture. Those perspectives miss the crucial efforts of NGOs and organic companies that make it easier to be a small farmer. They also hide the efforts of charismatic, opportunistic, and earnest farmers and rural professionals who take up the local cause.”

SAPIENS began in 2016 with a mission to bring anthropology to the public, and make a difference in how people see themselves and the people around them. An editorially independent magazine of the Wenner‑Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research Published in partnership with the University of Chicago Press.

You can read the entire story, and check out SAPIENS here.

UNDOCUMENTS Wins a 2021 Kayden Book Award

March 15, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that UNDOCUMENTS by John-Michael Rivera won a 2021 Eugene M. Kayden Book Award!

The Kayden awards, which are funded from the Eugene M. Kayden endowment, are intended to promote the completion of research and creative work in the arts and humanities, research leading to publication, and the celebration and dissemination of excellent arts and humanities research. The Kayden awards come with funding for the author’s department to organize a symposium, which will involve both the author and experts in the author’s field who will present critiques of the book to which the author will respond. The symposium will be open to the wider academic community and the public.

Employing a broad range of writing genres and scholarly approaches, UNDOCUMENTS catalogs, recovers, and erases documents and images by and about peoples of Greater Mexico from roughly the first colonial moment. This brave and bracing volume organizes and documents ancient New World Mexican peoples from the Florentine Codex (1592) to our current technology-heavy age, wherein modern lawmakers and powerful global figures desire to classify, deport, and erase immigrants and their experiences.

John-Michael Rivera is an associate professor and writer at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he serves as director of the Program for Writing and Rhetoric. He has published memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, and scholarship. He is the curator of El Laboratorio, a literary space for Latinx writers, and was co-founder of Shadowbox Magazine, a literary journal for creative nonfiction.

Congratulations, John-Michael!

Missed the Book Fest? TFOB Digital Author Events Remain Online

March 15, 2021

If you missed your favorite University of Arizona Press authors at the Tucson Festival of Books 2021 virtual festival, fear not! All author events remain available on the TFOB website.

Go to the TFOB 2021 Author Presenting Schedule, click on the event title, and then click on “watch broadcast.” You’ll be asked to register, and then directed to the panel.

Big thanks to Tucson Festival of Books organizers for including several University of Arizona Press authors, including Lydia Otero, Alberto Álvaro Ríos, Stephen J. Pyne, and Gloria Muñoz.

Watch: A Conversation with Transborder Anthropologist Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez

March 12, 2021

On Wednesday, March 10, celebrated anthropologist Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez joined Roberto Alvarez, Patricia Zavella, Joe Heyman, and Luis Plascencia in an online event to celebrate Vélez-Ibáñez’s latest book, Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist: From Netzahualcóyotl to Aztlán.

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

Cuba, Hot and Cold Featured in The Wall Street Journal

March 12, 2021

Tom Miller’s University of Arizona Press book, Cuba, Hot and Cold, was featured in a recent article from The Wall Street Journal: Dreaming of Cuba? Here’s How to Feel Like You’re in Havana Anytime You’d Like.

Jon Lee Anderson, author of Che: A Revolutionary Life, offers four books that reveal a Havana beyond the clichés. One of the books he chose is Miller’s Cuba, Hot and Cold, about which Anderson writes, “If you had to pick one great introduction to Havana, it’d be this slender, readable work. It hits all the touchstones of history, art and literature with a healthy sense of humor—and you can finish it in an hour and a half.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Since his first visit to the island thirty years ago, Miller has shown us the real people of Havana and the countryside, the Castros and their government, and the protesters and their rigor. His first book on Cuba, Trading with the Enemy, brought readers into the “Special Period,” Fidel’s name for the country’s period of economic free fall. Cuba, Hot and Cold brings us up to date, providing intimate and authentic glimpses of day-to-day life.

Tom Miller has been writing about Latin America and the American Southwest for more than four decades. His articles have appeared in outlets including the New York Times, Smithsonian, LIFE, Rolling Stone, and Natural History. He is affiliated with the University of Arizona’s Center for Latin American Studies, and at a 2008 ceremony, the City of Quito proclaimed Miller Un Huésped Ilustre (An Illustrious Guest).

Heather Cahoon Interviewed for Poetry Northwest

March 11, 2021

Horsefly Dress author Heather Cahoon was interviewed for Poetry Northwest by Shriram Sivaramakrishnan. Below, read an excerpt from this thoughtful interview and find a link to read the entire discussion.

Shriram Sivaramakrishnan: I would like to kickstart our discussion with the first thing that caught my attention when I was reading your book: the use of Salish words. In your recent reading for The University of Arizona Press, you spoke about weaving Salish into your poems as an act of reclaiming, among other things, the land. It reminded me of a quote by Maurice Merleau-Ponty (I came across it while reading Maggie Nelson’s Bluets), “words do not look like the things they designate.” In the same reading, you also mentioned that you do not speak Salish. Given that your poems are firmly situated in the realities of the land, its people, and their tradition, how does language inform your creative practice?

Heather Cahoon: My poems are definitely rooted in place and reflective of my personal relationships with the landscape, people, flora, and fauna where I live. In terms of how language, specifically my use of Salish, informs my creative practice, I would start by noting that the level of Salish that appears in Horsefly Dress roughly mirrors my speaking ability. Growing up, everyone learns a handful of words and in college I took Salish from one of our elders but I certainly never came close to being fluent. As a result, my decision to include Salish in my poems was very intentional and serves a sort of dual purpose. On a basic level it connects me to my community and reaffirms those ties but it also calls attention, at least momentarily, to American Indians generally and, by extension, the settler colonial history of America. This is why I say that the use of Salish is an act of reclaiming space, not only as a presence on the physical lands where Salish-speaking people have been living for thousands of years, but the non-physical landscapes as well, including the broader American psyche and the mainstream narratives that have largely omitted tribal people. 

To read the entire interview, click here.

Horsefly Dress is a meditation on the experience and beauty of suffering, questioning its triggers and ultimate purpose through the lens of historical and contemporary interactions and complications of Séliš, Qĺispé, and Christian beliefs. Heather Cahoon’s collection explores dark truths about the world through first-person experiences, as well as the experiences of her family and larger tribal community. As a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Cahoon crafts poems that recount traditional stories and confront Coyote’s transformation of the world, including his decision to leave certain evils present, such as cruelty, greed, hunger, and death.

Heather Cahoon, PhD, earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Montana, where she was the Richard Hugo Scholar. She has received a Potlatch Fund Native Arts Grant and Montana Arts Council Artist Innovation Award. Her chapbook, Elk Thirst, won the Merriam-Frontier Prize. She is an assistant professor of Native American studies at the University of Montana. She is from the Flathead Reservation and is a member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.

Watch: Book Release Celebration for Rewriting the Chicano Movement

March 9, 2021

On Wednesday, March 3, 2021, editors Mario T. García and Ellen McCracken of Rewriting the Chicano Movement: New Histories of Mexican American Activism in the Civil Rights Era, joined contributors Holly Barnet-Sanchez, Jesús Jesse Esparza, Tiffany Jasmín González, Andrea Muñoz, and Michael Anthony Turcios, in an online book launch and discussion.

Together, they explained the essays in the book that cover a range of untold histories albeit important in Chicano Movement history in communities across the country, and further discussed the importance of the Chicano Movement today.

Watch: Stephen J. Pyne Discusses His New Book and Exploration Studies

March 8, 2021

On Thursday, February 25, the University of Arizona Press presented an online event with historian and MacArthur Fellow Stephen J. Pyne to discuss and celebrate his new book, The Great Ages of Discovery: How Western Civilization Learned About a Wider World.

Joining Pyne was event moderator Kevin J. Fernlund, author of William Henry Holmes and the Rediscovery of the American West. Together they discussed Pyne’s inspiration and interest in exploration, history, and how Pyne identifies three great ages of discovery in his fascinating new book.

The first age of discovery ranged from the early 15th to the early 18th century, sketched out the contours of the globe, aligned with the Renaissance, and had for its grandest expression the circumnavigation of the world ocean. The second age launched in the latter half of the 18th century, spanning into the early 20th century, carrying the Enlightenment along with it, pairing especially with settler societies, and had as its prize achievement the crossing of a continent. The third age began after World War II, and, pivoting from Antarctica, pushed into the deep oceans and interplanetary space. Its grand gesture is Voyager’s passage across the solar system. Each age had in common a galvanic rivalry: Spain and Portugal in the first age, Britain and France—followed by others—in the second, and the USSR and USA in the third.

Latinos Transforming Arizona Politics: Five Questions with Lisa Magaña

March 8, 2021

Empowered!: Latinos Transforming Arizona Politics examines Arizona’s recent political history and how it has been shaped and propelled by Latinos. It also provides a distilled reflection of U.S. politics more broadly, where the politics of exclusion and the desire for inclusion are forces of change. Co-authors Lisa Magaña and César S. Silva argue that the state of Arizona is more inclusive and progressive then it has ever been. Draconian immigration policies have plagued Arizona’s political history. Empowered! shows innovative ways that Latinos have fought these policies.

Here, Magaña answers five questions about her new book.

With the elections, this book sure is timely. How does the book help us understand the recent elections in Arizona?

Well, the focus of this book is on Maricopa County or the Phoenix-Metropolitan area. Because it is the most populated area in Arizona, how the county voted is how the election turned out.  This county was seen as a pivotal one in the presidential election, because of recent migration from other states, a growing suburban voting bloc and Latinos coming of age. This county is a great case study for other states that are changing demographically.

Why is it important to note how immigrants have changed our political landscape?

Latinos in Arizona are predominately born in the United States. However, in the Maricopa County there are some fierce immigrant advocates and immigrant political players. In some cases, Latino immigrants, that cannot vote, worked and canvassed in areas and encouraged other Latinos to vote.  I once had a DACA student tell me “we may not be able to vote, but this is what democracy looks like.”  Seeing immigrant activists involved in electoral politics is democracy at its most beautiful and basic form.

For years folks have been talking about Latinos being the Sleeping Giant. Did it take Donald Trump to wake that giant?

Donald Trump did not wake up the Sleeping Giant.  In the case of Arizona, it was one-on-one activism and outreach that got first-time voters to come out and vote. And the Latino and first-time voters in Arizona have been growing. In fact, I think Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda did not work in Arizona, as evidenced by his loss.

Organizers and activists have been through so much in Arizona. What have been the biggest challenges?

That is a great question. Not sure what challenges there are that just doesn’t make them stronger and more formidable.

What are your hopes for the book and its readers?

This book is a story about how anti-immigrant rhetoric mobilized Latinos into a dynamic, political force. The demographics are changing. The story in Maricopa County is what is going on in America today.

SCA 2021: Browse Our Latest Books, Discounts, and More

March 4, 2021

We are excited to be participating in the first ever virtual Society for California Archaeology meeting! If you are attending the meeting, make sure to visit our virtual booth and visit the book room to see our latest titles. From March 4 to March 15, 2021, use the code AZSCA21 at checkout on our website to receive 40% off all titles, plus free continental U.S. shipping.

The Global Spanish Empire tackles broad questions about indigenous cultural persistence, pluralism, and place making using a global comparative perspective grounded in the shared experience of Spanish colonialism. Through an expansive range of essays that look at Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, this volume brings often-neglected regions into conversation.

Read an interview with editors Christine Beaule and John Douglass here, then watch a video of the editors discussing the volume here.

Narratives of Persistence charts the remarkable persistence of California’s Ohlone and Paipai people over the past five centuries. Lee M. Panich draws connections between the events and processes of the deeper past and the way the Ohlone and Paipai today understand their own histories and identities.

Read an interview about the book with Lee Panich here.

The influx of Spanish, Russian, and then American colonists into Alta California between 1769 and 1834 challenged both Native and non-Native people to reimagine communities not only in different places and spaces but also in novel forms and practices. The contributors to Forging Communities in Colonial Alta California draw on archaeological and historical archival sources to analyze the generative processes and nature of communities of belonging in the face of rapid demographic change and perceived or enforced difference.

Listen to editors Kathleen Hull and John Douglass talk about the book on the New Books Network Podcast here.

Spring Into 2021 with a Great Discount on Books!

March 3, 2021

We are excited to kick off Spring 2021 with some incredible new books, and a great sale to match! From March 1, 2021 to March 15, 2021, use the code AZSPRING21 for 40% off ALL titles, plus free shipping in the continental U.S.

The Great Ages of Discovery is a fascinating conceptual framework for understanding the past 600 years of exploration by Western civilization and its relationship to contemporary society. Stephen J. Pyne expertly organizes the vast narrative of Western exploration into three distinctive ages of discovery.

On Saturday, March 6, Stephen Pyne will be presenting at the Tucson Festival of Books! Authors Simon Winchester and Stephen Pyne will discuss how the quest for land, ownership and discovery have shaped the modern world. . Learn more about this panel. You can also watch a book trailer for The Great Ages of Discovery 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

On Wednesday, April 21, tune into a virtual event with editors Esther G. Belin, Jeff Berglund, Connie A. Jacobs, and contributors to celebrate this ground-breaking anthology. Read more about the event and register here.

A baffling museum murder that appears to be the work of twisted human killers results in an unexpected and violent confrontation with powerful shape-shifters for Choctaw detective Monique Blue Hawk. Blending tribal beliefs and myths into a modern context, The Hatak Witches continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in Devon A. Mihesuah’s award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations.

“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.”—Publisher’s Weekly

Read the entire Publisher’s Weekly review of The Hatak Witches 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.

On Saturday, March 6, Gloria will be presenting at the Tucson Festival of Books! What does the American Dream look like for Latinx people living in the United States? What does it feel like? Felicia Zamora and Gloria Muñoz explore those questions in their award-winning poetry. They will share their thoughts, and some of their poems, with all of us. Learn more about this panel.

On Wednesday, April 14, Gloria Muñoz will read from her new collection, Danzirly, presented by the American Academy of Poets and the University of Arizona Press. Registration is required. Learn more here.

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.

Learn more about the collection by reading an interview with Urayoán here. On Wednesday, March 17, celebrated poet Urayoán Noel will read from his new poetry collection, Transversal, joined by Camino del Sol series editor Rigoberto González for an online event. Registration is required. Learn more here.

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

On Wednesday, April 7, learn about Federico Jiménez Caballero’s remarkable life and work during this online book release celebration and discussion with author Jiménez Caballero and editor Shelby Tisdale. Registration is required. Learn more about the event 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 UNDOCUMENTS here.

On Wednesday, March 31, join a special virtual event to celebrate the book release of UNDOCUMENTS with a reading a discussion with its author John-Michael Rivera. Registration is required. Learn more about the event here.

“Editors Johnson and Cokinos have created a profoundly stirring evocation of the glory and tragedy of spaceflight that lets us better see not only worlds beyond but also ourselves.”—Lee Billings, Scientific American

Mark McLemore, host and producer of Arizona Public Media’s Arizona Spotlight, recently interviewed Christopher Cokinos and Julie Swarstad Johnson, co-editors of Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight. Listen to the interview here. PBS’ The Open Mind featured Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflights co-editors Julie Swarstad Johnson and Christopher Cokinos talking about the new poetry anthology and this celebration of poetics and the space sciences. Watch here.

The poetry anthology was also featured on Planetary Radio, the Planetary Society’s weekly podcast brilliantly hosted by Mat Kaplan. Listen here. Then, watch an incredible event with the editors and some contributors to the volume here! Ready to take your own space poetry journey? Read Swarstad Johnson’s post and writing prompts.

“Ríos’s finely crafted chronicle brings great depth to the vicissitudes of life in a small Mexican village.”—Publishers Weekly

Alberto Álvaro Ríos is presenting at the Tucson Festival of Books on Sunday, March 7! Arizona authors Alberto Álvaro Ríos and Lydia R. Otero will discuss their newest books, both of which explore the power of place and community along the border. Learn more about this panel.

We are thrilled that A Good Map of All Things was chosen as a Southwest Book of the Year! Listen to a KJZZ interview with Alberto Álvaro Ríos here, then read an interview with him here.

“The writings in this collection echo, each in their own ways, the surprising declaration made by contributor Paul Mirocha in ‘Staring at the Walls,’ an essay on Southern Arizona public art: “The desert is succulent—it’s downright juicy out there.”—Kristine Morris, Foreward Reviews

Watch editor Gary Nabhan and contributor Francisco Cantú discuss The Nature of Desert Nature here. The Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill hosted a special online event to celebrate the book release of The Nature of Desert Nature, watch it here. Read an excerpt from the book here.

“Indispensable, Niethammer’s book is fascinating, taking us through the cultural and historical significance from 4,000 years ago at the base of “A” Mountain to the modern-day celebration of artisan growers and chefs who have all been a part of making Tucson a UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. This is not a book to finish in one sitting, but something to be savored along with the book’s many recipes, time and time again.”—Barry Infuso, President, Chefs Association of Southern Arizona

We are thrilled that A Desert Feast was chosen as a Southwest Book of the Year, and it also won a Pubwest Book Design Award! Read an excerpt from the book here, then watch a Tucson Festival of Books virtual event with Carolyn Niethammer and #ThisIsTucson food writer Andi Berlin here. Watch a fun series of videos from people featured in the book here!

“It is such a pleasure to experience so many Old Stories told in and between the lines of Heather Cahoon’s gorgeous poems.”—Chris La Tray, High Country News

Read an interview about Horsefly Dress with poet Heather Cahoon here, then watch a virtual poetry reading with Heather here.

UCSB’s The Current Features ‘Rewriting the Chicano Movement’

March 2, 2021

University of California Santa Barbara’s news site, The Current, published an interview with Rewriting the Chicano Movement: New Histories of Mexican American Activism in the Civil Rights Era‘s co-editor Mario T. García, a UCSB scholar.

In the interview, García expanded on the themes of the book:

“The essays in our book,” García continued, “bring in new historical actors to the movement that had earlier been excluded and, secondly, the book attempts to nationalize the movement in that it made Chicanos and other Latinos for the first time into national political actors and laid the foundation for today’s recognized Latino political power. It is not excluding or downplaying earlier histories of the movement but rather expanding them.”

Please read the entire interview here.

Tickets remain available for our event, Rewriting the Chicano Movement Book Celebration and Discussion. Go here for more information and to register.

Tucson Daily Praises Southern Arizona Books

February 28, 2021

In a round-up of books by Southern Arizona authors or about Southern Arizona, the Arizona Daily Star included two University of Arizona Press books—Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, and The Arizona Diary of Lily Frémont, 1878–1881.

Beyond Earth’s Edge is a groundbreaking anthology of poetry centered on space that features a beautiful line-up of 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. This book was edited by Julie Swarstad JohnsonChristopher Cokinos.

The Arizona Diary of Lily Frémont, edited by  Mary Lee Spence,  is a rich detail, and day-by-day narrative of Territorial life in Arizona. For students of western history, Lily Frémont’s diary provides a wealth of fresh information on frontier politics, mining, army life, social customs, and ethnicity. The book was recently released as a paperback.

Read the Star reviews here.

Five Questions with Poet Urayoán Noel

March 1, 2021

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

Below, read five questions with Urayoán about his latest collection.

What inspired you to write this collection?

There are many ways to answer this question. After the publication of my previous book of poetry, Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico (2015), also with Camino del Sol, I was interested in getting back to a more imbricated lyric politics, beyond that book’s intra-Americanist politics of page as hemisphere. I was also returning to writing in traditional forms such as the sonnet, partly to rethink the performative and experimental, which have defined my work for so long. At the same time, I wanted to continue my walking improvisation poems (“wokitokitekis”) and the poetics of self-translation from Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico and some of my earlier work, so I pushed forward on both and thought of the transversal line as a framing device for what I was doing, departing but connecting. A lot of this was about coping, as it tied into a whole process of mourning (the death of my father, the aftermath of Hurricane María) that on the one hand led me back to my native Puerto Rico and on the other made me commit to digging deeper into my writing practice. Paradoxically, this digging deeper manifested itself as two extremes: the formal poems where I could distill this emotional weight through a formal architecture and the improvisational poems where I could cut loose and let my mind (and walking body) wander and go to places my poet’s ego wouldn’t always let me: to be by turns mawkish and brutal, or funny and dark, sometimes in one breath.

How do you think the act of self-translation impacts the poems in this collection?

In Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico the two languages were often scored as distinct though overlapping hemispheres on the page, and I knew I wanted to do something different here. One thing about hemispheric politics is they tend to privilege the landmass of the Americas as opposed to the islands, the archipelagos, the littorals… the places I come from. I wanted Transversal to be a more defiantly Caribbean book, partly in conversation with the work of Puerto Rican poets such as Raquel Salas Rivera and Nicole Cecilia Delgado, whose work reminds me of poetry’s power to dream of and structure modes of radical community, and partly in conversation with poet-critics like Aimé Césaire and Édouard Glissant, who map the knowledges of poetry. I had audited a poetry seminar with Glissant in the mid-2000s while working on my PhD at NYU, and I carried with me the memory of his discussion of Césaire with us. Rereading both of them as I was starting to conceptualize Transversal led me to the Glissant passage which would become the book’s epigraph and give it its title. I liked the transversal as a way of thinking of how poetry “knows,” as opposed to verticality of empire (and of the corporate university); I liked that it signified both translation and versification; I liked that it worked in both languages, making the “/” in the previous book moot; and I thought it was a great fit in terms of form, since I had been playing around with arranging both languages on the page in a staggered fashion, so that they were always rubbing up against one another but not presented as linear equivalences. In a sense, this was an attempt to move beyond the “galactic” poetics of Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico, which was partly inspired by the neo-baroque babble/Babel of Brazilian poet Haroldo de Campos, and closer to a Caribbean vernacular, to my life under, across, and beyond imperial English and imperial Spanish, seeking a joy in jamming them up and jamming with them that may and need not render across the Americas. I also went back to Gloria Anzaldúa, whose “conocimiento” operates as a kind of self-translation, somewhere between inexactness and depth, and Julia de Burgos, for whom self-translation is linked to the performative construction and dissolution of the self.

Would you tell us more about the bold, experimental choices you make with poetic form in this collection?

I have always been really interested in the translatability of poetic form. One thing that happened between the previous book and Transversal is that I started getting more seriously into literary translation: publishing it, writing about it, judging it. I learned a lot from translating everything from the vanguardist 1920s sonnets of Chilean poet Pablo de Rokha to the 1970s concrete poems of Amanda Berenguer from Uruguay, written under the shadow of dictatorship, and the contemporary translingual work of Guatemalan Garifuna poet Wingston González. In all three cases, I made the innovative form of the originals central to my translation, often translating for form as much as for content, and it emboldened me even more to self-translate with an eye and ear for form, honoring the distinct properties and architectures of each form, whether an English ode, a villanelle, a concrete poem, or a free-form improvisation. There are also quieter, untranslated poems, which I wanted in order for the book to have room to breathe. Then there’s the contrasting fonts for the English and Spanish, which I had played around with in Buzzing Hemisphere/Rumor Hemisférico but is done a bit more subtly here, as if to insist less on the theatricality of it all. There’s always a lot of performance in my work, but as I’ve gotten used to self-translating (both ways and across forms) I’m less interested in having it be a statement of some kind and just content to let it be, something a poet like Salas Rivera does beautifully. By doing so, I also want to rethink the experimental as a way to center the reader: the experiment not as intent but as relation, where I figure it out for the page and you, the reader, refigure and configure on your terms. There’s one poem in the book that is all homographs (words that look the same but may mean different things in both languages): it’s actually multiple poems depending on how the reader reads. There’s a fair amount in the book that can work in modular fashion: readers can rearrange stuff to fit their layout. 

Your voice notes poems, as well as other poems in the collection, feel rooted in specific moments. Could you tell us about the importance of place and observation in your work?

As I mentioned, Transversal was meant to be a Caribbean book. It’s ethos and concept are Glissantian, right down to the striking cover image by the artist Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, who is a great reader of Glissant. The book grew out of my return to the Caribbean, not only Puerto Rico, but also the Dominican Republic, where one of the earliest poems in the book is set, and Cuba, where I began the first draft of what would become the long poem “Periodo Espacial  Spatial Period.” While some poems in the second section are ten or even 15 years years old, the book was conceived and largely written after my move to a waterfront area of the South Bronx in late 2016. Much of the improvisational poetry comes from walking along or around nearby Randalls Island Park, recording myself on video as I improvise, and then transcribing the improvisations with no editing. I noticed that after a while the islands of the Caribbean would blend with Randalls Island and Manhattan in my improvisations, all one sedimented archipelago poetics. This seemed like coming full circle, since the first of these wokitokiteki video improvisations were done while walking on a beach in Puerto Rico in early 2012. Before that, I was doing voice notes transcriptions only, since that’s what my phone at the time could handle: the poem “Unstatements,” composed while I was living and teaching in Albany, New York, is one of these early, voice-only improvisations. At some point, the poetics of statelessness (a word I play around with a lot and that resonates as a Puerto Rican) and the poetics of (un)statement just began to blur, and I went with it, letting poems become voice and movement exercises, become political or theoretical statements or meditations on the state of things (or “no state” of things, to echo the poet Victor Hernández Cruz). As a poet who plays with language a lot, I value how these durational language and walking exercises (a typical wokitokiteki is between 15 and 35 minutes with no pauses in the recording) allow for language to exhaust itself and something else to happen: a stutter, a confession, or just silence and listening to my surroundings, which generates observations or reactions that keep the exercise going. I have even applied this compositional method to conventional poems in the book, such as “Soverano,” written after I participated in the summer 2019 protests in Puerto Rico. A few days after attending the protests I was at the Macondo Writers Workshop in San Antonio studying creative nonfiction, and I wanted a more nonfictional and less conventionally poetic way to tell the story of what I saw at the protests, so I walked around my room and improvised, then transcribed and edited and added as minimally as possible. The result was “Soverano,” something like a prose poem but hopefully conveying a bit of the rawness of the experience of what I saw and felt at the event as I processed it a few days later.

Many of the poems in Transversal are rhythmic and musical, as if they are begging to be performed. Is speaking your poetry aloud a large part of your work?

Music, and the musicality of language in particular, are really important to me and to my sense of what poetry is and does. Poetry does not need to be super rhythmic (it does not need to be anything in particular) but my sense of the musicality of language is tied to how words are haunted by other words and worlds, by wordless sounds, bodies, silences. I have different influences as a performer, from the Puerto Rican décima tradition I grew up with to that of the Nuyorican poets, which I claim and write about in my critical work. I have also worked with bands and more recently incorporated phone apps into my performances: sometimes to create sound textures or loops but other times to create deliberate mistranslations, to generate found poems (anagrams, for instance), or to introduce multiple voices into my work and to complicate the immediacy of the relationship between performer and audience. As a poet and critic, I’m very interested in mediated performance, in how it shapes the politics of empire (as in the previous president) but can also sometimes unsettle them, in how the hyper-mediation and gadget-ification of everything is both a challenge and an opportunity for poetry. Poems for Transversal evolved as I performed them everywhere from the Poesiefestival Berlin and the Toronto Biennial of Art to colleges and community gardens in the South Bronx. I think of these performances as extending the sedimentation of the poems, their symbiotic relationships to the environments that birthed them. In our pandemic context, I have explored different approaches to digital performance that highlight but also push against the screened-ness of our present, whether by highlighting the space between my body and the screen, using my phone and computer simultaneously to create more weirdly stereophonic performances, or reclaiming analog forms such as the postcard. I have also done “live” wokitokiteki improvisations in my backyard over Zoom. Increasingly, all my longer readings and performances include at least a brief component of improvisation, and I anticipate that I will continue doing so for Transversal, partly to underscore that what’s in a book is not the end but just another beginning. 

Okay, I know I said five questions… but I have one more. What are you working on now?

I’m researching the history of Latinx social media, translating two artist books by Nicole Cecilia Delgado, and editing a couple of long poetic sequences, including one based on the sequence of covid-19 (the latter build off two poems in Transversal). I’m also exploring the question of mediated and found language through experiments with media art: I turned one of the anagram poems from Transversal into a series of GIFs currently on display at the Museum of the City of New York as part of its New York Responds exhibition.   

Urayoán Noel is a Puerto Rican poet, performer, translator, and critic living in the Bronx, New York. He has published seven books of poetry and the prize-winning study In Visible Movement: Nuyorican Poetry from the Sixties to Slam, and he edited and translated Architecture of Dispersed Life: Selected Poetry by Pablo de Rokha, which was a finalist for the National Translation Award. Noel teaches at New York University and at Stetson University’s MFA of the Americas.

Five Questions with Mario T. García and Ellen McCraken on Rewriting the Chicano Movement

February 26, 2021

Rewriting the Chicano Movement, edited by Mario T. García and Ellen McCraken, is a new collection of powerful new essays on the Chicano Movement that expand and revise the understanding of the movement. These essays capture the commitment, courage, and perseverance of movement activists, both men and women, and their struggles to achieve the promises of American democracy. The contributors to this book highlight the role of women in the movement, the regional and ideological diversification of the movement, and the various cultural fronts in which the movement was active.

Here, García and McCraken answer question about this new book:

Why is it important to revisit the history of the Chicano Movement through this book?

It’s important to revisit the history of the Chicano Movement through this book because the Movement represents a seminal part of the history of Chicanos (Mexican Americans) in the United States. It was the largest and most widespread civil rights and empowerment movement by people of Mexican descent up to the 1960s and 1970s. The Chicano Movement through its struggles opened up new opportunities for Chicanos in areas formerly restricted such as in education, especially higher education, politics, culture, media, and business. These opportunities were not given willingly, but had to be forced by mass peaceful struggles. The Movement for the first time made Chicanos, and by extension other Latinos, into national political actors. The roots of Latino political power, which is a reality, lie in the Chicano Movement as well as similar struggles by other Latino groups such as Puerto Ricans in the United States. It is important to know about the history of the Chicano Movement as a reminder of how power and opportunities are accessed.  It comes through people power and the organization of this power. We need to learn these lessons at a time when reactionary forces led by Donald Trump would impose an American form of totalitarianism. Chicanos and Latinos must be in the forefront of defending American democracy and civil rights and we can be inspired to do so by learning how our communities in the past have struggled for our rights such as in the Chicano Movement.

Is there a commonality worth noting that runs through the book’s essays?

The commonality that runs through the book is the commitment by Chicanos through the Chicano Movement to achieve recognition, respect, and dignity in American society through various forms of struggles including political, educational, and cultural ones. What is also common in the book is that we need to rewrite the Chicano Movement to take into consideration the diversity of the Movement. There was no one Movement but many in different regions of the country, which included both men and women.

What conversations, in community or classroom, do you hope rise from the book?

We hope that the book will be used by both educational groups and community ones to re-discover the historical importance of the Chicano Movement and its continued relevance to today’s conditions and struggles. The Chicano Movement did not eliminate racism, class discrimination, cultural discrimination, and gender discrimination for Chicanos and other Latinos. What the Movement did was to empower Chicanos to believe that they and they alone could change history and pressure the system to become more equitable and democratic. We are not there yet, but the Movement can still inspire and guide us in continuing the struggle. We hope that readers will confront the question: How is the Chicano Movement still relevant to us today?

How can telling untold stories about the Movement help the momentum of today’s activists and organizers?

Telling untold stories about the Chicano Movement, as noted, can hopefully inspire and guide today’s activists in learning that the struggles for democratic rights has a long history and with many heroic figures, male and female, who have participated in earlier struggles to empower the Chicano and Latino communities. There is a praxis involved in our book. First, we want people to read about these untold stories of the Movement. Then we want readers to reflect on the meaning and importance of these stories.  And then, and this is most important, we want readers to act on these stories. How can I take up the legacy of the Chicano Movement and apply it to my current conditions? How can I continue the struggle?

The struggle continues, does that mean the Movement continues, too?

We hope that the struggle inspired by the Chicano Movement will continue.  Does this mean that the Chicano Movement is still alive? Yes and no. As a historical movement set in the late 1960s and 1970s, the Movement no longer exists as such; it is a historical movement set in time and place.  However, the legacy of the Movement continues. It is a legacy of the struggle for democratic and human rights and for the rights of people such as Chicanos and other Latinos to define themselves and be proud of their ethnic background. That struggle has continued in the post-Movement years and still does in the new millennium.   

***

Mario T. García is Distinguished Professor of Chicano Studies and History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, specializing in Chicano history, Chicano/Latino autobiography, and Chicano/Latino religion. He is the author, co-author, and editor of more than twenty books in Chicano history, including Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational JusticeThe Making of a Mexican American Mayor, and Literature as History. He has won a number of awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Ellen McCracken is a professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at University of California, Santa Barbara, specializing in U.S. Latino and Latin American literature. Her books include New Latina NarrativeThe Life and Writing of Fray Angélico Chávez, and Paratexts and Performance in the Novels of Junot Díaz and Sandra Cisneros.

Publisher’s Weekly Reviews Mihesuah’s Supernatural Mystery ‘Hatak Witches’

February 24, 2021

Publisher’s Weekly, an international news platform for book publishing and bookselling, recently reviewed Devon A. Mihesuah’s new mystery novel, The Hatak Witches.

Set to publish in late April 2021, The Hatak Witches follows Detective Monique Blue Hawk in Norman, Oklahoma. Blending tribal beliefs and myths into a modern context, the book continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in Mihesuah’s award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations.

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. … The author’s ability to immerse the reader in the lives of her characters is prodigious, making the social realism of Monique’s life as fascinating as the supernatural elements. … Readers looking for intelligent, diverse supernatural fiction will be captivated.”—Publishers Weekly

Read the entire review here.

2021 Tucson Festival of Books: Presenting Authors

February 23, 2021

This year’s virtual Tucson Festival of Books promises two days full of interesting and fun conversations with authors from all over the world.

As long-time sponsors of the Festival, we are pleased to be participating in this year’s festivities. Join us March 6 and 7 and see our authors and staff in conversation at the following presentations:

Searching for Poetic Justice
Saturday, March 6 9 a.m.
What does the American Dream look like for Latinx people living in the United States? What does it feel like? Felicia Zamora and Gloria Muñoz explore those questions in their award-winning poetry. Today they will share their thoughts, and some of their poems, with all of us. 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, Muñoz’s collection is an unforgettable reckoning of the grief and beauty that pulses through twenty-first-century America. This panel will be moderated by Savannah Hicks, who is our Exhibits Manager. Learn more about this panel.

Authors in Conversation
Saturday, March 6, 1 p.m.
Authors Simon Winchester and Stephen Pyne discuss how the quest for land, ownership and discovery have shaped the modern world. Steve is the author of our new book The Great Ages of Discovery, which a fascinating conceptual framework for understanding the past 600 years of exploration by Western civilization and its relationship to contemporary society. Learn more about this panel.

It Takes a Pueblo
Sunday, March 7, 1 pm
Arizona authors Alberto Álvaro Ríos and Lydia R. Otero will discuss their newest books, both of which explore the power of place and community along the border. How much is lost when families are dislocated altogether? Living where we do, these are things for all of us to think about. Ríos is the author of A Good Map of All Things, a picaresque novel that describes momentous adventure and quiet connection bring twenty people in a small town in northern Mexico. Otero is the author of La Calle, which examines conflicting claims to urban space, place, and history as advanced by two opposing historic preservationist groups in Tucson. This panel will be moderated by Mari Herreras, who is our Publicity Manager. Learn more about this panel.

Visit tucsonfestivalofbooks.org to see the full schedule and list of participating authors.

Tucson Weekly Features Excerpt from ‘The Nature of Desert Nature’

February 23, 2021

The Tucson Weekly gave a bit of love to The Nature of Desert Nature, edited by Gary Paul Nabhan.

The book is a collection of essays that celebrate the bounty and the significance of desert places, including an extended essay by Nabhan. The celebrated author and ethnobiologist brought friends, colleagues, and advisors together from his more than four decades of study of deserts—to bring their own perspectives. Scientists, artists, desert contemplatives, poets, and writers bring the desert into view and investigate why these places compel us to walk through their sands and beneath their cacti and acacia.

Thank you, Jim Nintzel, Weekly editor, for the kind words and sharing a bit of Nabhan’s desert love.

Here’s some of the excerpt shared from Nabhan’s essay:

The horizon was dull edged and hazy from a recent sandstorm. Nevertheless, the sun beamed down on me with what seemed to be a preternatural force.

I stood there alone (I believed), silent enough to hear my own heart beating and the breeze brushing at my sleeves. I could not immediately figure out the patterns of the place—the relationships among weather, substrate, flora, fauna and human influence.

A dust devil, or chachipira, suddenly swept by me and then disappeared into thin air, leaving bushes rustling and empty beer cans rolling around in eddies.

Then my eyes began to tear up in brightness, and I wiped them clean with a sweep of my shirtsleeve. Instantly, I was looking at this world as if I had come to another planet for the very first time.

Josie Méndez-Negrete Chosen as 2021 NACCS Scholar

February 23, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Josie Méndez-Negrete is the 2021 NACCS Scholar!

“The NACCS Scholar Award is a recognition of work – publications, pedagogical, leadership praxis, and personal commitment, Dr. Méndez-Negrete exemplifies this quality among the professoriate of NACCS. Dr. Méndez-Negrete has supported many junior scholars who have benefitted from her tireless work assisting in writing and publishing articles, book chapters, and books.  Dr. Méndez-Negrete earned her accolades and successful transitions in academia with blood, sweat, tears, perspicacity, tenacity and true grit.  As a Professor Emerita she continues to draw on her passion focusing on her press, Conocimientos – where she is publishing women who theorize and tell their stories of struggle and survival.  She continues to support students in their academic pursuits, and her colleagues by example to be best mentors. 

The nomination of Dr. Méndez-Negrete was received from the Northern California Foco with letters of  support from the Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, and the Rocky Mountain focos.  While she is a native of northern California she is fully embedded as an activist scholar in Texas.  Her selection as NACCS scholar celebrate her multi-regional contributions which are truly embodied and celebrated as recognition for her life’s work.” —The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies

Josie Méndez-Negrete is the author of Activist Leaders of San José, which 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.

Congratulations, Josie!

Tile Martyrs: An Excerpt from John-Michael Rivera’s ‘UNDOCUMENTS’

February 22, 2021

While grappling with anxiety and the physical and mental health consequences of the way the United States treats immigrant bodies, in UNDOCUMENTS, John-Michael Rivera documents and scrutinizes what it means to seek opportunities in America. With a focus on the poetics of Latinx documentality itself, this book is concerned with the complicated and at times contradictory ways peoples of Greater Mexico have been documented and undocumented within systems of colonial knowledges, and how these peoples have been rendered as specters of the bureaucratic state. Rivera takes us through the painful, anxiety-ridden, and complex nature of what it means to be documented or undocumented, and the cruelty married to each of these states of being.

Below, read an excerpt from UNDOCUMENTS:

Tile Martyrs
Two unsolved murder mysteries remain open in Boulder: one surrounding
the murder of a young girl named JonBenét Ramsey who has received hundreds of thousands of hours of news coverage, and another surrounding the murders of six young Chicanx activists who, to Chicanxs, are known as Los Seis de Boulder, the lost children of El Movimiento. Boulder and the nation have nearly been successful in erasing the bodies of Francisco Dougherty, 20; Heriberto Terán, 24; Florencio Granado, 31; Reyes Martínez, 26; Una Jaakola, 24; and Neva Romero, 21. Their cars were blown up with professionally made car bombs two days apart in the month of May 1974. Their homicides are still listed as a cold case, but Chicanxs know it was the work of the FBI. The FBI had been trying to infiltrate El Movimiento and break down its resistance. Reports state that the blasts were so powerful that pieces of their bodies were found miles away from the explosion site.

Forty-five years later in a studio on the Boulder campus, my daughter and I join dozens of activists who are attempting to reconstruct the bodies of Los Seis and build a memorial called “Los Seis de Boulder.” She and I work on small colored tiles that will re-create the face of Reyes Martínez. With each tile we attempt to piece together his dead body and resurrect it from obscurity. The ceremony is haunting. It feels like something between a celebration of community and a somber wake that I was not invited to. We all hope, perhaps in vain, that the university will allow us to resurrect the memorial by Temporary Building 1, the place on campus where one of the cars blew up, making it a sacred site and a haunting reminder of those who lost their lives here. An older woman working on the tiles says that we should be listening to their corrido. Dad, what is a corrido? The lady smiles at me and begins to hum:

Voy a cantar un corrido,
Que . . . en Colorado pasó.
Murieron los Seis de Boulder,
Dos noches en mayo,
En setenta y cuatro
Los almas de seis soldados
Seis fusilados
Seis hijos del bien

The same month that we fight for the memorialization of these young activists, John Ramsey sits down with Dr. Oz to do yet another in-depth interview about the JonBenét murder. Let me begin by saying this is such a tragedy, Dr. Oz laments. America’s daughter is lost to us forever.

***
John-Michael Rivera is an associate professor and writer at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he serves as director of the Program for Writing and Rhetoric. He has published memoir, creative nonfiction, poetry, and scholarship. He is the curator of El Laboratorio, a literary space for Latinx writers, and was co-founder of Shadowbox Magazine, a literary journal for creative nonfiction.

OLLI Hosts Press Authors in Spring Online Speaker Series

February 19, 2021

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute‘s online spring speaker series includes many University of Arizona Press authors from our spring 2021 catalog. We’re grateful to OLLI-UA for the continued invitation to be part of their noncredit learning program open to all adults over the age of 50.

Remaining spring program featuring University of Arizona Press authors:

February 22, 2021: The Diné Reader: Celebrating the Publication of the First Anthology of Navajo Literature

March 1, 2021: Diverting the Gila: The Pima Indians and the Florence Casa Grande Project, 1916-1928

March 8, 2021: Flower Worlds in the Art and Ideology of Prehispanic and Contemporary Indigenous Societies in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest

March 15, 2021: The Fernandeños: Lineages, Neophytes, Citizens, and Tribe

March 22, 2021: Becoming Hopi: A History

April 12, 2021: From A to Z, The History of Latino Politics in Arizona

More than 1,400 people are part of OLLI-UA in Southern Arizona. Visit here to learn more about an OLLI-UA membership, program registration, and check program changes.

Watch: Daniel Chacón with Fresno Writers Live

February 17, 2021

In case you’ve missed Daniel Chacón reading from his University of Arizona Press book, Kafka in a Skirt: Stories from the Wall, here’s your chance. Chacon read as part of the Fresno Writers Live virtual reading series last year.

In Kafka in a Skirt, Chacón subverts expectation and bends the rules of reality to create stories that are intriguing, hilarious, and deeply rooted in Chicano culture. These stories explore the concept of a wall that reaches beyond our immediate thoughts of a towering physical structure. While Chacón aims to address the partition along the U.S.-Mexico border, he also uses these stories to work through the intangible walls that divide communities and individuals—particularly those who straddle multiple cultures in their daily lives.

Ofrenda Magazine Features ‘Voices from the Ancestors’

February 17, 2021

Lara Medina, co-editor of Voices from the Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices, was recently interview by Marcy Carbajal, editor of Ofrenda Magazine, a new multimedia publication that explores Xicanx and Latinx spirituality, Earth wisdoms, and healing arts.

Interview excerpt:

“Over the past 40 years, I have witnessed the reclamation of Indigenous identities and spiritual practices among many Xicanx and Latinx peoples as well as an uplifting of our African ancestries, often referred to as “the third root.” Foundational to these reclamations is the embracement of non-Western epistemologies. We have come to understand our deep interconnectivity with all of humanity as well as plant and animal life and the natural forces of the universe. So we understand that how we live our lives impacts all others and that we must live with a consciousness of balance, reciprocity, respect and gratitude. We must honor the spirits in all life forms and not consider humans to be superior. We must take care of the planet and in turn the planet will take care of us. We must also maintain our relationships with our deceased ancestors (known and unknown) who have walked this earthly journey before us “as death brings another kind of wisdom that they want to share with us.” The ancestors gain the power to continue to guide and protect us.”

Read the entire interview here.

AZPM’s Arizona Spotlight Goes to Space with ‘Beyond Earth’s Edge’

February 17, 2021

Mark McLemore, host and producer of Arizona Public Media’s Arizona Spotlight, recently interviewed Christopher Cokinos and Julie Swarstad Johnson, co-editors of Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight.

Beyond Earth’s Edge is a trailblazing anthology of poetry that vividly captures the violence of blastoff, the wonders seen by Hubble, and the trajectories of exploration to Mars and beyond through a wide array of lyric celebrations, somber meditations, accessible narratives, concrete poems, and new forms of science fiction. Included are 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.

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez Wins Inaugural AAHHE Distinguished Author Award

February 5, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that University of Arizona Press author Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez is the winner of the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education’s inaugural Distinguished Scholar Award!

AAHHE awards Carlos in recognition of his exceptional academic and scholarly contributions to the advancement of Latinos and Latinos in higher education, which is a set of contributions beautifully documented in Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist.

“This magnificent tome provides its readers with an informative and comprehensive summation of Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez’s life’s work, which has been and continues to be extraordinary. We are delighted to be able to add our modest recognition and kudos to the host of awards and honors of which Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez has been a recipient.”―Patricia Arredondo, Chair, AAHHE Board of Directors

Congratulations, Carlos!

A Desert Feast Wins a Pubwest Book Design Award

February 2, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that A Desert Feast won a silver award in the Adult Trade Book – Illustrated section of the Pubwest Book Design Awards! PubWest Book Design Awards recognize superior design and outstanding production quality of books throughout North America.

Drawing on thousands of years of foodways, Tucson cuisine blends the influences of Indigenous, Mexican, mission-era Mediterranean, and ranch-style cowboy food traditions. A Desert Feast by Carolyn Niethammer offers a food pilgrimage, where stories and recipes demonstrate why the desert city of Tucson became America’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

Spiral to the Stars Wins 2020 Beatrice Medicine Award

February 2, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that Spiral to the Stars by Laura Harjo is the winner of the 2020 Beatrice Medicine Award for Best Published Monograph! Chosen by the members of the Native American Literature Symposium and the Association for the Study of American Indian Literatures boards, this award highlights exceptional work published in the field of Indigenous studies in the year 2019.

“This country’s first philosophers, poets, artists, and knowledge keepers were Indigenous peoples. The Mvskoke were a major cultural force in the southeast. Laura Harjo’s Spiral to the Stars: Mvskoke Tools of Futurity marks a continuation of the development of our cultural knowledge. Community defines us, and we do not go forward together without the revisioning of all elements that make a living culture. Each generation makes a concentric circle that leans outward into the deepest star knowledges even as it leans inward toward the roots of earth knowledge. We are still here within the shape of this cultural geography. We keep moving forward with the tools Harjo has illuminated here. Mvto.”—Joy Harjo (Mvskoke), U.S. Poet Laureate

Congratulations, Laura!

A Desert Feast, A Good Map of All Things, and The Saguaro Cactus Picked as Southwest Books of the Year

February 2, 2021

We are thrilled to announce that A Desert Feast by Carolyn Niethammer and A Good Map of All Things by Alberto Álvaro Ríos were chosen as top picks for the 2021 Southwest Books of the Year! Additionally, The Saguaro Cactus by David Yetman, Alberto Burquez, Kevin Hultine, and Michael Sanderson, was included in Gregory McNamee’s Southwest Books of the Year picks.

Southwest Books of the Year considers titles published during the calendar year that are about Southwest subjects, or are set in the Southwest.

The Southwest Books of the Year panel of reviewers—subject specialists and voracious consumers of Southwest literature all—are pleased to offer up their personal favorite titles of the year, complete with brief reviews to whet your appetite and leave you wanting more. Books selected by two or more panelists become Southwest Books of the Year Top Picks. Their choices are published in our annual publication, Southwest Books of the Year.

Congratulations to our wonderful authors!

Field Notes: The Islanders of Chiloé

January 21, 2021

One of the more culturally distinct regions of South America is the Archipelago of Chiloé, a cluster of more than two dozen islands situated a few miles west of the Patagonian coastline. Residents of Chiloé have long resisted cultural pressures from mainland Chile, often identifying themselves as islanders (Chilotes) first and Chileans second. Anton Daughters first visited the region as an adolescent in the mid 1980s. Returning as an anthropologist two decades later, he was struck by the stark shift that much of the archipelago had undergone. Many families once reliant on rural fishing and farming had become dependent on low-wage jobs in the growing salmon-export industry. His research since 2004 has focused on those changes, emphasizing the impact that large-scale economic transformations can have on the collective identity of island communities. The images below–taken between 2006 and 2018–offer snapshots of some of the people and places in Chiloé chronicled in Memories of Earth and Sea.    

Image 1 – A young man navigates his motor boat between the islands of Llingua and Quinchao in Chiloé. For decades, many islanders relied on small-scale fishing (carried out on motor boats like this one) to supplement farming, shellfish-gathering, and the tending of livestock. The arrival of large-scale aquaculture companies in the 1990s and early 2000s triggered a shift to wage labor, pulling some islanders away from more traditional rural livelihoods and, by extension, their networks of labor reciprocity. Islands like Llingua and Quinchao—whose populations were mostly or entirely rural—were hit especially hard by the changes. While families with motorboats were able to sustain small-scale fishing ventures and fulfill agricultural labor-debts with neighbors, other families were drawn to low-wage jobs and a cash economy that often divorced them of their rural livelihoods and ultimately placed them in more tenuous economic circumstances. (Photo by Anton Daughters)
Image 2 – A fisherman scans the waters off Quinchao Island. The tallest peak in the background is Volcano Michinmahuida, located on the mainland of South America in Pumalín Park, a sector of Patagonia. Fishing boats like these form a mainstay of small-scale, artisanal fishing ventures in Chiloé, even while wild stocks of fish (hake, conger eel, and several varieties of bass) have fluctuated significantly over the years. Chile’s national fishing agency placed a series of bans on the extraction of wild hake (merluza) starting in 2014. A red tide crisis in 2016 dealt a further blow to fishing as a viable livelihood. Today, artisanal fishing is carried out only intermittently throughout the archipelago. (Photo by Anton Daughters)
Image 3 – With help from neighbors, Irene Mansilla tills the earth for the planting and fertilizing of potatoes. Irene and her husband are among 400 or so residents of the island of Llingua. For decades, their primary form of subsistence has been farming, fishing, shellfish-extraction, and the tending of a few scattered livestock on their property. Agricultural work is typically done through reciprocal arrangements with neighbors (mingas). Despite the installation of large salmon farms and processing plants along neighboring islands, the Mansillas have been able to maintain a strategy of diversified rural livelihoods, thanks largely to their ownership of a fishing boat, their association years ago with a local fishing cooperative, and the labor assistance they get from neighbors. Other rural islanders have been less fortunate, finding their subsistence livelihoods nearly impossible to maintain in the face of a growing regional cash economy. (Photo by Anton Daughters)

Image 4 – This view of Llingua Island’s steeple (built in 1912) and southern dock also shows the island of Quinchao in the backdrop. Communities on both islands have experienced significant economic shifts over the last two decades, leaving many families struggling to maintain subsistence farming and fishing and networks of labor assistance with neighbors. (Photo by Anton Daughters)
Image 5 – Danny Leviñanco searches for shellfish on the shores of Quinchao. Danny grew up in a rural household on neighboring Caguach Island. Today she works as a resident schoolteacher on the island of Chuit (population 97). She also assists rural islanders in their efforts to legally resist the expansion of large-scale aquaculture industries into their offshore space. (Photo by Danny Leviñanco)

***

Anton Daughters is an associate professor of anthropology at Truman State University.

Excerpt: ‘Rewriting the Chicano Movement’

January 19, 2020

In the forthcoming book, Rewriting the Chicano Movement offers an insightful new history of the Chicano Movement that expands the meaning and understanding of this seminal historical period in Chicano history. The essays introduce new individuals and struggles previously omitted from Chicano Movement history. Today we offer a brief excerpt:

From the Introduction
By Mario T. García
The profound changes directly and indirectly attributable to the Chicano Movement have led to increased interest in the history of the Chicano Movement. It is not that historians neglected the movement in the post-movement period of the 1980s and 1990s. However, with some exceptions, historians focused on earlier periods in order to better understand the roots of the Chicano experience. This was understandable given the dearth of research in Chicano history as a whole. Moreover, the immediacy of the movement meant historical perspective was lacking.

As a result of this research, publications on Chicano history as a whole have exploded over the last fifty years. This research includes studies of the Spanish conquest of areas that became part of the United States, such as from Texas to California. Others have focused on the Mexican experience after Mexican independence in 1821 and up to the time the United States forced a war on Mexico and conquered its northern frontier—El Norte. The period following the American conquest of what became the American Southwest has also received attention. However, historians have tended to study the twentieth century more, including mass Mexican immigration to the United States during the first three decades of the century. The Great Depression years have likewise received attention, as has World War II, when thousands of Mexican Americans went to war in support of the United States. Finally, the post–World War II era, especially the 1950s, is also beginning to receive attention. Some pioneering studies on the Chicano Movement also appeared during the last two decades of the twentieth century. These include works by Juan Gómez-Quiñones, Gerald Rosen, Carlos Muñoz, Richard Santillán, Christine Marín, Ignacio García, Ernesto Chávez, and Marguerite Marín. Gómez-Quiñones wrote on the Chicano student movement, as did Carlos Muñoz with a focus on Los Angeles. Gerald Rosen examined the ideology of the movement. One of the best works in this early literature was Ignacio García’s history of La Raza Unida Party. Richard Santillán also focused on La Raza Unida Party. Ernesto Chávez and Marguerite Marín, like Muñoz, focused on Los Angeles as a key location by examining manifestations other than the student movement. Finally, Christine Marín wrote one of the first biographies of Corky Gonzales, a key movement leader in Denver.

These early studies are being significantly augmented in the new millennium. There has emerged a renaissance of Chicano Movement studies. Historians and other scholars, many of them younger professors or graduate students, are rediscovering the Chicano Movement. This new generation seems even more aware of how the movement impacted the lives of many Chicanos and other Latinos in the country. They recognize the movement as a seminal event in the long history of Mexican Americans. While they note that there were earlier civil rights and labor rights struggles, they recognize that the Chicano Movement was unprecedented in its size and impact. The Chicano Movement created the new Chicano and Chicana, and by extension the new Latino and Latina. Contemporary Latino political power is the direct result of the movement.

What distinguishes this new historiography is its focus on the diversity of the movement. Earlier views seemed to suggest that the movement was more monolithic and that the cultural nationalism of the movement was adhered to by most activists. Contemporary historians and other students of the movement see much more diversity in all movement aspects. For example, the movement is being studied in a variety of locations and spaces, not just the main centers of the movement such as California and Texas. Now movement history is being excavated in the Pacific Northwest, New Mexico, Arizona, and the Midwest.

Also, greater attention is being paid to the role of women in the movement and their key contributions. Studies of new locations and different communities reveal how the movement manifested itself regionally and locally and how it was mobilized around community issues pertinent to that locale. In other words, the Chicano Movement was not only a national movement but a local one. Moreover, beginning with Jorge Mariscal’s groundbreaking 2005 book, Brown-Eyed Children of the Sun, some scholars revealed how the cultural nationalism of the movement, Chicanismo, was not monolithic. Other ideological influences such as Third World consciousness, Marxism, and feminism also affected the mindset of Chicano activists, and we saw how the four could be combined. As a result of looking at the Chicano Movement in such a diverse way, this new literature is revisionist and critical. It is a rewriting of the Chicano Movement. This new Chicano Movement history is also impacting our understanding of American history.

***
Mario T. García is Distinguished Professor of Chicano Studies and History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, specializing in Chicano history, Chicano/Latino autobiography, and Chicano/Latino religion. He is the author, co-author, and editor of more than twenty books in Chicano history, including Blowout! Sal Castro and the Chicano Struggle for Educational JusticeThe Making of a Mexican American Mayor, and Literature as History. He has won a number of awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Book Trailer: Steve Pyne’s ‘The Great Ages of Discovery’

January 14, 2021

Coming next month, Steve J. Pyne’s newest work The Great Ages of Discovery offers a fascinating conceptual framework for understanding the past 600 years of exploration by Western civilization and its relationship to contemporary society. Pyne expertly organizes the vast narrative of Western exploration into three distinctive ages of discovery. See the new book trailer and look for the book publishing in February!

SHA 2021: Discover Our Recent and Forthcoming Historical Archaeology Titles

January 6, 2021

We are excited to participate in the first virtual Society for Historical Archaeology conference this year! You can visit our virtual exhibitor booth here.

Below, browse our recent and forthcoming historical archaeology titles, and get a 35% discount with free U.S. shipping when you use the code AZSHA21 at checkout. If you would like to know more about our publishing program, visit our proposal guidelines page here, or contact our Senior Editor, Allyson Carter, at acarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

The Global Spanish Empire tackles broad questions about indigenous cultural persistence, pluralism, and place making using a global comparative perspective grounded in the shared experience of Spanish colonialism. Through an expansive range of essays that look at Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, this volume brings often-neglected regions into conversation.

Watch a lecture with the editors, Christine D. Beaule and John G. Douglass, here, and read a Q&A with the editors here.

Tewa Worlds by Samuel Duwe offers an archaeological history of eight centuries of Tewa Pueblo history in the Rio Chama Valley through the lens of contemporary Pueblo philosophical and historical discourse. The result gives weight to the deep past, colonial encounters, and modern experiences. It challenges archaeologists to both critically reframe interpretation and to acknowledge the Tewa’s deep but ongoing connection with the land.

More than a history of coveted commodities, the unique story that unfolds in John R. Gust and Jennifer P. Mathews’s new history Sugarcane and Rum is told through the lens of Maya laborers who worked under brutal conditions on small haciendas to harvest sugarcane and produce rum in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

Read an excerpt from the book here. We are thrilled that Smithsonian Magazine chose Sugarcane and Rum for their weekly reading series!

Narratives of Persistence charts the remarkable persistence of California’s Ohlone and Paipai people over the past five centuries. Lee M. Panich draws connections between the events and processes of the deeper past and the way the Ohlone and Paipai today understand their own histories and identities.

Read a Q & A with author Lee M. Panich here.

Discover our forthcoming historical archaeology titles below.

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

How people eat today is a record of food use through the ages, and Famine Foods offers the first ever overview of the use of alternative foods during food shortages. Paul E. Minnis explores the unusual plants that have helped humanity survive throughout history.

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

Explore New Titles from the University of Arizona Press Spring 2021 Catalog

December 23, 2020

Here’s a preview of our upcoming Spring 2021 season with the best the University of Arizona Press has to offer, from Latinx poetry, to Indigenous literature and studies, as well as a variety of the unique global scholarship the Press has committed to bring to readers worldwide. Tuck in.

In The Great Ages of Discovery: How Western Civilization Learned About a Wider World, historian and MacArthur Fellow Stephen J. Pyne identifies three great ages of discovery in his fascinating new book.

“Stephen Pyne charts a new course through the history of exploration, navigating deftly among ruminations, reflections, themes, and concepts. He sees exploration as an intellectual adventure. Readers who accompany him will have a lucid, engaging, and magisterial guide. They can undertake odysseys without leaving their armchairs.”—Felipe Fernández-Armesto, author of Out of Our Minds: What We Think and How We Came to Think It.

The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature is a ground-breaking anthology of Navajo Literature that showcases the breadth, depth, and diversity of Diné creative artists and their poetry, fiction, and nonfiction prose. The collected works display a rich variety of and creativity in themes: home and history; contemporary concerns about identity, historical trauma, and loss of language; and economic and environmental inequalities.

The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature is extraordinary. It is the beauty of Diné bizaad from Creation’s horizon—K’é breath, heart, continuance—beyond measure. I advise it be read with and for Humility, Courage, Sustenance, Gratitude—always for the people, community, and land that is the source of Existence.”—Simon J. Ortiz

The Hatak Witches continues the storyline of Choctaw cosmology and cultural survival that are prominent in Devon A. Mihesuah’s award-winning novel, The Roads of My Relations.

In Hatak Witches, Detective Monique Blue Hawk and her partner Chris Pierson arrive to the Children’s Museum of Science and History in Norman, Oklahoma after a security guard is found dead and another wounded. They find no fingerprints, no footprints, and no obvious means to enter the locked building, but stolen is the portion of an ancient and deformed skeleton from the neglected museum archives.

“If you are looking for a journey into modern-day Choctaw spirituality, The Hatak Witches is a trip waiting to be taken.”—Geary Hobson, author of The Last of Ofos

Urayoán Noel‘s new collection, Tranversal, featuring Noel’s bilingual playfulness, intellect, and irreverent political imagination with 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. 

“Urayoán understands the importance of his poetry being accessible. He understands that art is for everyone, and so he communicates with everyone. For him, all the dimensions of words are indispensable and therefore phonetics become visible in his stanzas. He respects words not in a professorial way but rather in the same way one respects the standing of an old-school bichote who’s still alive. Language is not a barrier but an imaginary border that serves as a tool to fatten up the arguments of his words. In life one has to move, one has to walk even when there’s a more comfortable way to get somewhere else, to other paths, and if I were to cross over one day, I would do so with this book. The transversal is as necessary as growth.”—Residente, recording artist and filmmaker.

Winner of the Ambroggio Prize from the Academy of American Poets, Danzirly is a striking bilingual poetry collection by Gloria Muñoz, that fiercely examines the nuances of the American Dream for Latinx people in the United States, and powerfully dismantles Latinx stereotypes in poetic form, juxtaposing the promised wonders of a life in America with the harsh realities that immigrants face as they build their lives and raise their families here.

“In this utterly unique bilingual collection, Muñoz brilliantly negotiates two languages and the spaces between them, exploring the ever transient emblem of the American Dream through themes of lineage and loss, cultural and spiritual inheritance, assimilation, and racial and gender inequality.”—Richard Blanco, 2013 Presidential Inaugural Poet, author of How to Love a Country

How did a young boy from Tututepec, Oaxaca, become a famous Indigenous jewelry artist and philanthropist in Los Angeles? In Federico: One Man’s Remarkable Journey from Tututepec to L.A., Federico Jiménez Caballero tells his remarkable story of willpower, curiosity, hard work, and passion that changed his life forever. Edited by Shelby Tisdale.

“A remarkable narrative telling of Indigenous origins, transformation in the city, and eventual migration to the United States, Federico by Federico Jiménez Caballero brings life to a unique story beginning in rural Oaxaca and ending in Los Angeles.”—Anna M. Nogar, author of Quill and Cross in the Borderlands: Sor María de Ágreda and the Lady in Blue, 1628 to the Present

In UNDOCUMENTS, John-Michael Rivera remixes the forms and styles of the first encyclopedia of the New World, the Florentine Codex, in order to tell a modern story of Greater Mexico in our current technology-heavy age, wherein modern lawmakers and powerful global figures desire to classify, deport, and erase immigrants and their experiences.

“A tour de force, UNDOCUMENTS breaks rules and creates new ones. Through deft handling of texts, both theoretical and historical, Rivera offers us a compendium of diverse people and items such as documents, poems, the Florentine Codex, Anzaldúa, Bataille, [and] philosophy, along with objects like el molcajete. Using a true mestizaje of genre and approaches, he cooks up a rich poetic stew that is stimulating, intriguing, and nourishing.”—Norma Elia Cantú, author of Cabañuelas: A Novel

Edited by Mario T. García and Ellen McCracken, Rewriting the Chicano Movement: New Histories of Mexican American Activism in the Civil Rights Era is a collection of powerful new essays on the Chicano Movement that expand and revise our understanding of the movement. These essays capture the commitment, courage, and perseverance of movement activists, both men and women, and their struggles to achieve the promises of American democracy.

“Conversation about the Chicano Movement is far from over—in fact, it is continuing and getting reenergized all the time. Here, veteran and rising scholars across a variety of disciplines give us fascinating, multi-sited snapshots of this political moment in American history.”—Lori A. Flores, author of Grounds for Dreaming: Mexican Americans, Mexican Immigrants, and the California Farmworker Movement

In Empowered!: Latinos Transforming Arizona Politics, Lisa Magaña and César S. Silva argue that the state of Arizona is more inclusive and progressive then it has ever been. Following in the footsteps of grassroots organizers in California and the southeastern states, Latinos in Arizona have struggled and succeeded to alter the anti-immigrant and racist policies that have been affecting Latinos in the state for many years. Draconian immigration policies have plagued Arizona’s political history. Empowered! shows innovative ways that Latinos have fought these policies.

“This study offers a compelling account of how Latinos in Arizona organized and increased their electoral clout to change the landscape of state politics. Through grassroots networks and dogged determination, Latinos successfully pushed back on anti-immigrant and anti-Latino policies and politicians.”—Christine Marie Sierra, co-author of Contested Transformation: Race, Gender, and Political Leadership in 21st Century America

David H. DeJong‘s Diverting the Gila: The Pima Indians and the Florence-Casa Grande Project, 1916–1928, explores the complex web of tension, distrust, and political maneuvering to divide and divert the scarce waters of the Gila River. Residents of Florence, Casa Grande, and the Pima Reservation fought for vital access to water rights. As was often the case in the West, well-heeled, nontribal political interests manipulated the laws at the expense of the Indigenous community.

“The author provides a detailed study of good intentions, betrayal, and compromise to resolve the use of the Gila River by the Pima and white farmers in central Arizona. It also is the story of greed with an underlying foundation of racism on the part of white landowners against the Pima. In Arizona and the West, water is power—economic, social, and political. Its use is not neutral, and the Pima did not have it.”—R. Douglas Hurt, author of The Green Revolution in the Global South: Science, Politics, and Unintended Consequences

Carrying the Burden of Peace: Reimagining Indigenous Masculinities weaves together stories of Indigenous life, love, eroticism, pain, and joy to map the contours of diverse, empowered, and non-dominant Indigenous masculinities. Author Sam McKegney explores Indigenous literary art for understandings of masculinity that exceed the impoverished inheritance of colonialism.

“I came away from the manuscript convinced of the need for this work, as I find it exemplary of the kind of careful, ethically attentive, and deeply generous scholarship we need more of.”—Daniel Heath Justice, author of Why Indigenous Literatures Matter

Decolonizing “Prehistory”: Deep Time and Indigenous Knowledges in North America combines a critical investigation of the documentation of the American deep past with perspectives from Indigenous traditional knowledges and attention to ongoing systems of intellectual colonialism. Edited by Gesa Mackenthun and Christen MucherDecolonizing “Prehistory” brings together experts from American studies, archaeology, anthropology, legal studies, history, and literary studies, this interdisciplinary volume offers essential information about the complexity and ambivalence of colonial encounters with Indigenous peoples in North America, and their impact on American scientific discourse.

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

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

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

Strong Hearts and Healing Hands: Southern California Indians and Field Nurses, 1920–1950, tells the story of a bold program in public health that began in 1924 in the United States. The Indian Service of the United States hired its first nurses to work among Indians living on reservations. This corps of white women were dedicated to improving Indian health. In 1928, the first field nurses arrived in the Mission Indian Agency of Southern California. These nurses visited homes and schools, providing public health and sanitation information regarding disease causation and prevention. Over time, field nurses and Native people formed a positive working relationship that resulted in the decline of mortality from infectious diseases.

“Clifford Trafzer brings his many years of experience and unique set of knowledge to uncover the understudied role of field nurses from the Progressive Era to the 1950s as they collaborated closely with a multitude of Native Americans in Southern California to promote public health and counter the onslaught of tuberculosis and other Western diseases that afflicted them as a result of being confined to reservations.”—Andrae M. Marak, co-author of At the Border of Empires

In 1911, a group of Native American intellectuals and activists joined together to establish the Society of American Indians (SAI), an organization by Indians for Indians. It was the first such nationwide organization dedicated to reform. In We Are Not a Vanishing People: The Society of American Indians, 1911–1923, Thomas Constantine Maroukis show how this new organization used a strategy of protest and activism that carried into the rest of the twentieth century. Some of the most prominent members included Charles A. Eastman (Dakota), Arthur Parker (Seneca), Carlos Montezuma (Yavapai), Zitkala-Ša (Yankton Sioux), and Sherman Coolidge (Peoria).

“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 20th 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

Indigenous Women and Violence: Feminist Activist Research in Heightened States of Injustice offers an intimate view of how settler colonialism and other structural forms of power and inequality created accumulated violences in the lives of Indigenous women. Edited by Lynn Stephen and Shannon Speed, this volume uncovers how these Indigenous women resist violence in Mexico, Central America, and the United States, centering on the topics of femicide, immigration, human rights violations, the criminal justice system, and Indigenous justice.

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

Tourism Geopolitics: Assemblages of Infrastructure, Affect, and Imagination, edited by Mary MostafanezhadMatilde Córdoba Azcárate, and Roger Norum homes in on tourism and its geopolitical entanglements by examining its contemporary affects, imaginaries, and infrastructures. It develops the concept of tourism geopolitics to reveal the growing centrality of tourism in geopolitical life, as well as the geopolitical nature of the tourism encounter.

This volume is a vital read for critical geographers, anthropologists, and political scientists, as well as scholars of tourism and cultural studies.

In Famine Foods: Plants We Eat to Survive, Paul E. Minnis focuses on the myriad plants that have sustained human populations throughout the course of history, unveiling those that people have consumed, and often still consume, to avoid starvation. For the first time, this book offers a fascinating overview of famine foods—how they are used, who uses them, and, perhaps most importantly, why they may be critical to sustain human life in the future.

“This book represents decades of detailed research by one of North America’s top ethnobiologists. Minnis draws on multiple sources to create this unique compendium of plants that humans have turned to during times of food scarcity. Critically important to peoples of the past, this knowledge may be just as important to future populations.”—Nancy J. Turner, author of Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America

Moveable Gardens: Itineraries and Sanctuaries of Memory, edited by Virginia D. Nazarea and Terese Gagnon, highlights itineraries and sanctuaries in an era of massive dislocation, addressing concerns about finding comforting and familiar refuges in the Anthropocene. The worlds of marginalized individuals who live in impoverished rural communities, many Indigenous peoples, and refugees are constantly under threat of fracturing. Yet, in every case, there is resilience and regeneration as these individuals re-create their worlds through the foods, traditions, and plants they carry with them into their new realities.

“This carefully edited volume, well curated and well integrated, addresses a set of interrelated complexities critical to our current planetary era. United by two thematic threads, itineraries and sanctuaries, the chapters successfully illuminate and detail specific contexts while revealing commonalities across geographies.”—Ann Grodzins Gold, author of Shiptown: Between Rural and Urban North India

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

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

The recognition of Flower Worlds is one of the most significant breakthroughs in the study of Indigenous spirituality in the Americas. These worlds are solar and floral spiritual domains that are widely shared among both pre-Hispanic and contemporary Native cultures in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest. Flower Worlds: Religion, Aesthetics, and Ideology in Mesoamerica and the American Southwest is the first volume, edited by Michael Mathiowetz and Andrew Turner, to bring together a diverse range of scholars to create a truly multidisciplinary understanding of Flower Worlds.

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

Alluvium and Empire: The Archaeology of Colonial Resettlement and Indigenous Persistence on Peru’s North Coast uncovers the stories of Indigenous people who were subject to one of the largest waves of forced resettlement in human history, the Reducción General. In 1569, Spanish administrators attempted to move at least 1.4 million Indigenous people into a series of planned towns called reducciones, with the goal of reshaping their households, communities, and religious practices. However, in northern Peru’s Zaña Valley, this process failed to go as the Spanish had planned. In Alluvium and Empire, author Parker VanValkenburgh explores both the short-term processes and long-term legacies of Indigenous resettlement in this region, drawing particular attention to the formation of complex relationships between Indigenous communities, imperial institutions, and the dynamic environments of Peru’s north coast.

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

The Pluto System After New Horizons, edited by S. Alan SternRichard P. BinzelWilliam M. GrundyJeffrey M. Moore, and Leslie A. Young, seeks to become the benchmark for synthesizing our understanding of the Pluto system. The volume’s lead editor is S. Alan Stern, who also serves as NASA’s New Horizons Principal Investigator; co-editors Richard P. Binzel, William M. Grundy, Jeffrey M. Moore, and Leslie A. Young are all co-investigators on New Horizons. Leading researchers from around the globe have spent the last five years assimilating Pluto system flyby data returned from New Horizons. The chapters in this volume form an enduring foundation for ongoing study and understanding of the Pluto system.

Watch: Tumamoc Desert Lab Book Release Event for ‘The Nature of Desert Nature’

December 21, 2021

The Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill hosted a special online event on December 9, 2020 to celebrate the book release of The Nature of Desert Nature, edited by Gary Nabhan.

In this new collection of essays and more, Nabhan invites a prism of voices—friends, colleagues, and advisors from his more than four decades of study of deserts—to bring their own perspectives. Scientists, artists, desert contemplatives, poets, and writers bring the desert into view and investigate why these places compel us to walk through their sands and beneath their cacti and acacia.

Introduced by Desert Laboratory Director Ben Wilder, Nabhan was joined by contributors Homero Aridjis, poet and environmental leader; Exequiel Ezcurra, ecologist and science diplomat; and Alison Hawthorne Deming, poet and Regents Professor.

Girl of New Zealand Chosen as a 2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title

December 18, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Michelle Erai’s Girl of New Zealand was chosen as a 2020 Choice Outstanding Academic Title!

These outstanding works have been selected for their excellence in scholarship and presentation, the significance of their contribution to the field, and their value as an important treatment of their subject.

Girl of New Zealand presents a nuanced insight into the way violence and colonial attitudes shaped the representation of Māori women and girls. Michelle Erai examines more than thirty images of Māori women alongside the records of early missionaries and settlers in Aotearoa, as well as comments by archivists and librarians, to shed light on how race, gender, and sexuality have been ascribed to particular bodies.

Congratulations, Michelle!

Explore Our Recent Ethnobiology and Ethnobotany Titles

December 17, 2020

The University of Arizona Press publishes a wide range of fascinating ethnobiology and ethnobotany titles. Below, read about our most recent titles in these fields.

Use the code AZETHNO20 to receive 35% off all of the titles mentioned in this post, plus free U.S. shipping, until January 15, 2021.

Do you have an ethnobiology or ethnobotany manuscript? To learn more about our publishing program, visit here.

The Prehispanic Ethnobotany of Paquimé and Its Neighbors is a major ethnobotanical study for the ancient U.S. Southwest and northwestern Mexico. The results reorient our perspective in the rise of one of the most impressive communities in the international region.

See some photographs and field notes from editors Paul Minnis and Michael Whalen here.

Based on Valentina Peveri’s prolonged engagement with this “virtuous” plant of southwestern Ethiopia, The Edible Gardens of Ethiopia provides a nuanced reading of the ensete ventricosum (avant-)garden and explores how the life in tiny, diverse, and womanly plots may indeed offers alternative visions of nature, food policy, and conservation efforts.

Chie Sakakibara shows how knots of connection came into being between humans and nonhuman others and how such intimate and intense relations will help humans survive the Anthropocene. Whale Snow offers an important and thought-provoking look at global climate change as it manifests in the everyday life of the Iñupiat in Arctic Alaska.

Read a Q & A with author Chie Sakakibara here.

The desert inspires wonder. Attending to history, culture, science, and spirit, The Nature of Desert Nature celebrates the bounty and the significance of desert places.

Watch editor Gary Nabhan and contributor Francisco Cantú discuss The Nature of Desert Nature here.

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

Watch the Tucson Festival Of Books’ virtual event with Carolyn Niethammer & Andi Berlin here, then watch Carolyn introduce her new book here. Read an excerpt from A Desert Feast here, then visit our Facebook page or YouTube page to watch a video series about the book.

More than a history of coveted commodities, the unique story that unfolds in John R. Gust and Jennifer P. Mathews’s new history Sugarcane and Rum is told through the lens of Maya laborers who worked under brutal conditions on small haciendas to harvest sugarcane and produce rum in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

Read an excerpt from Sugarcane and Rum here. We are thrilled that Smithsonian Magazine selected Sugarcane and Rum for their weekly reading series!

The saguaro, with its great size and characteristic shape, has become the emblem of the Sonoran Desert of southwestern Arizona and northwestern Mexico. The Saguaro Cactus offers a complete natural history of this enduring cactus, the largest and tallest in the United States. From its role in Sonoran Desert ecology, to its adaptations to the desert climate, to its sacred place in Indigenous culture, this book offers a definitive source on a distinguished desert plant.

Read an excerpt from The Saguaro Cactus here. Read about a great book release event we hosted for The Saguaro Cactus, back in the pre-covid days, here.

WSJ: Stephen Pyne on ‘The Year Wildfires in the West Spread Like the Plague’

December 12, 2020

In the 2020 year in review issue of the Wall Street Journal, author Stephen Pyne explains why 2020 brought a better understanding of the causes of wildfires and what needs to be done. He writes:

“Surely the dominant story of 2020 will be the coronavirus pandemic and the economic upheaval and political fallout it caused. But the enduring images of the year may well be of another contagion—the fires that splashed across the globe and the havoc they wrought where humanity’s and nature’s economies met.

The fires seemed everywhere, partly because of extensive media coverage—fires are visually graphic and guaranteed to grab attention. But this wasn’t hype. The fires were real. Many occurred in the usual places—like California, African savannas and Australia—that are built to burn, though this time they came with performance enhancers. Few of such fires were individually unprecedented, but they were so many they swarmed, and they came in serial outbreaks. In their ensemble they qualify as epic.”

Read more

Watch: Nathaniel Morris with UCLAmericas Discusses Soldiers, Saints, and Shamans

December 9, 2020

The UCL Institute of the Americas held a book release celebration for University of Arizona Press author Nathaniel Morris on December 2, 2020.

Soldiers, Saints, and Shamans: Indigenous Communities and the Revolutionary State in Mexico’s Gran Nayar, 1910–1940 is Morris’ first book based on his extensive archival research and years of fieldwork in the rugged and remote Gran Nayar.

Morris shows that the Náayari, Wixárika, O’dam, and Mexicanero peoples were actively involved in the armed phase of the Mexican Revolution. This participation led to serious clashes between an expansionist, “rationalist” revolutionary state and the highly autonomous communities and heterodox cultural and religious practices of the Gran Nayar’s inhabitants.

Field Notes: Nathaniel Morris on Fiestas in the Mountains of Mexico

December 1, 2020

Leafing through documents in the archives could only ever tell historian Nathaniel Morris half of the story he was trying to piece together. He wanted to reconstruct the way in which the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1940 had unfolded in the remote, mountainous Gran Nayar region of western Mexico, and the effects this had had on the identities of its inhabitants. But few of the bandits, teachers, generals, politicians, agronomists or rebel guerrillas active there during that turbulent era left detailed records of their activities. And most of the local population – mostly Indigenous Náayari (Cora), Wixárika (Huichol), O’dam (Tepehuano) and Mexicanero people – had been illiterate, which meant their voices were also largely missing from the documentary record. It was vital, then, for Morris to travel to the Gran Nayar itself, to track down the area’s oldest remaining inhabitants and hear directly from them about how, and why, their forebears (and, in some cases, they themselves) had taken part in the peasant uprisings, military revolts, coups, agrarian reforms and radical cultural projects that swept Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century. These interviews form the core of Morris’ new book, Soldiers, Saints and Shamans, which explores the complex and often conflictive relations between Náayari, Wixárika, O’dam and Mexicanero communities and the revolutionary Mexican state.

Today we share a few of Morris’ photos and extended captions from his fieldwork, which offer insight into the stories and methods that have informed his work.

All photos and captions by Nathaniel Morris.

1: To carry out my research in the Gran Nayar – a region of mountains, canyons, pine forests and scrubland with a scattered population and few paved roads – I had to walk, hike, ride horses, and hitch rides in the backs of pick-up trucks. This sort of travel – often gruelling, sometimes scary, but always eye-opening – enabled me to track down many of the region’s surviving eyewitnesses to the revolution; and it also helped me to understand the diverse landscapes and climates in which they and their forebears have made their lives, and the routes and connections between places and people. The beliefs, practices, and the very ethnic identity of the Náayari, Wixárika, O’dam and Mexicanero peoples is completely tied up with the lands in which they live, which the gods brought into being to replace previous worlds destroyed as part of an ongoing “cosmic battle” between light and darkness, order and chaos, aridity and fertility. The story of this creation is inscribed in the geography of the Gran Nayar, which is strewn with thousands of sites identified with the gods and ancestors and their stories. In the Gran Nayar, land is simultaneously culture, identity, and history.

2: Here you can see the great-grandson of Mariano Mejía – one of the central characters in my book, and the single most powerful man in the whole Gran Nayar during the 1920s – showing me Mejía’s sword. Meeting the relatives of the historical figures I was investigating, hearing the stories that had been passed down within their families, and – as in this case – seeing and even being able to hold artefacts from the Revolutionary era, really helped me to connect to my research. While gathering this oral testimony I lived with Náayari, Wixárika, O’dam, Mexicanero and mestizo families. I ate their food, slept on their floors, learned a little (far too little) of their languages, and listened to their own stories — often sad, sometimes hilarious — of their own lives in the region. And so it became almost a personal quest for me to fill in this gaping hole in our records of the Revolution where the Gran Nayar should’ve been.

3: You can’t understand politics in the Gran Nayar – even today – without understanding local ceremonial practices, such as the Semana Santa (Holy Week) festival pictured here. Religious beliefs, rituals, prayers, fiestas and thanksgivings still permeate every aspect of Náayari, Wixárika, O’dam, and Mexicanero life, from farming and hunting to politics and warfare. And so the Mexican Revolution was locally experienced—and is today remembered—as both a political and a supernatural event: an era of widespread intercommunal and factional conflict, when the still-unfinished agrarian reform that today divides the region was first begun; but also a time when local warlords channelled occult forces to defend their communities from raiders, and when miraculous statues of Catholic saints resisted the attacks of bandits or soldiers, or even took on human form to lead the charge against their enemies. It is natural, then, to find historical narratives of the Mexican Revolution embedded in the modern ceremonial practices of the Gran Nayar’s inhabitants, whether in the form of bandolier-draped dancers demanding gold from village elders in Tuxpan de Bolaños; painted “devils” shouting their allegiance to the Carrancistas, Villistas, or cristeros in Santa Teresa; or glazed-eyed peyote pilgrims in Santa Catarina irreverently yelling “Long live the supreme government!” as they romp around their ritual dance grounds. Many of the political outcomes of the revolution are also conceived of in terms of their effects on local ethno-religious identities.

4: In order to try and really understand the relationship between rituals, politics, and history, I had to try and be an ethnologist as well as a historian. And that meant helping to prepare ritual feasts, dancing, praying, drinking, and in Santa Teresa running laps and fighting other stick-wielding “devils” during Semana Santa – here you can see me in my clay- and ash-painted finest at the climax of that exhausting four-day fiesta. Taking part in, rather than just watching, helped me to understand how local rituals express both collective memories and more far-reaching mythical-historical narratives, all of which have been inflected to some degree by local experiences of the revolution.

5: It wasn’t just strictly religious, Indigenous festivals that I found myself taking part in – here you can see cockfight – which is about as secular an event as it gets – in Huajimic, a mestizo, rather than Indigenous, community in the mountains of Nayarit. Spanish-speaking mestizo people are a minority in Gran Nayar, but make up the majority of the population in Mexico as a whole. For that reason mestizo people born and raised in the Gran Nayar often played key roles in linking the region to the rest of the country, and so have had an influence on the history of the region that belies their limited numbers. During the Revolution, political violence, exile, political manoeuvring by pro-agrarian reform factions, state-promoted shifts from subsistence agriculture to extractive industry, and the arrival of mestizo settlers from elsewhere in Mexico, also transformed a few originally Indigenous communities into mestizo settlements. And so ethnic tensions between mestizos and Indigenous people that have roots in the Revolution continue to shape politics in the Gran Nayar today.

6: As well as interviews and what ethnologists would call ‘participant observation,’ music was also essential to my research in the Gran Nayar. Here you can see a group of Náayari musicians laying down some tunes in the open air just after a fiesta. During the Revolutionary era – and still, to an extent, today – ballads known as ‘corridos’ functioned almost like newspapers in much of rural Mexico, spreading the word about important happenings, the rise and often violent fall of key local leaders, new political movements and much else of interest to a population that was largely illiterate. Today, ballads celebrating—or condemning—the paramount caciques, or telling of important battles, personal tragedies or political victories of the Revolution in the Gran Nayar, endure as popular entertainments during communal fiestas. These songs often contain key details that helped me better piece together not only the local events of the Revolution, but also the ways in which these were perceived and later remembered by the people of the Gran Nayar.

Nathaniel Morris is a historian of modern Mexico. He is currently a Research Fellow at University College London, where he is studying the participation of Indigenous militias in both the Mexican Revolution of 1910-40, and the ‘Drug War’ wracking the country today. Soldiers, Saints, and Shamans is Morris’s first book.

Watch: Gary Nabhan and Francisco Cantú Discuss the Nature of Desert Nature

November 23, 2020

Recently, editor Gary Nabhan, contributor Francisco Cantú, and University of Arizona Press marketing assistant Savannah Hicks came together virtually as part of the Tucson Festival of Books Authors in Conversation series to talk about Nabhan’s new collection, The Nature of Desert Nature.

The desert inspires wonder. Attending to history, culture, science, and spirit, The Nature of Desert Nature celebrates the bounty and the significance of desert places.

Watch their discussion below.

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A Look Inside A Marriage Out West

November 23, 2020

A Marriage Out West is an intimate biographical account of two fascinating figures of twentieth-century archaeology. Frances Theresa Peet Russell, an educator, married Harvard anthropologist Frank Russell in June 1900. They left immediately on a busman’s honeymoon to the Southwest. Their goal was twofold: to travel to an arid environment to quiet Frank’s tuberculosis and to find archaeological sites to support his research.

Below, read an excerpt from Nancy J. Parezo and Don D. Fowler’s A Marriage Out West.

We have long studied how women overcame economic and social barriers as they strove to be successful anthropologists. We have emphasized the hard work, perseverance, and resilience this required, given the asymmetrical reality in what was always considered the most welcoming of the sciences. Anthropology had its limits to the welcome, of course. Interested in the rise of professorships as a form of professional occupation in America, elsewhere we have looked at how anthropological careers compared to those of women who became professionals in the hard sciences, the natural sciences, sociology, and history, but we have never studied someone who pursued a career in English and philosophy, intentionally leaving anthropology behind. This is one reason Theresa Russell’s story is important.

Like several of our colleagues, we have focused primarily on the careers of women with a passion for anthropology who succeeded. We have used grounded methods to identify their strategies to overcome societal and professional obstacles, generate resources, and find interesting problems to tackle. This is one reason why we have both been fascinated with how women have thrived at disciplinary boundaries and margins, often espousing theories and writing programs that would take years for men to discover and exploit. From these biographies we have discovered patterns that reflect access and participation in American professions as a form of specialized work based on esoteric knowledge. One was that women gained initial recognition by writing popular accounts of their adventures in the field— that is, travelogues— and getting paid well for these works. Theresa employed this option to establish a new scholarly path, but it was not a path to an archaeological career. It is one where anthropological exploratory research was used as the entry into English, philosophy, and psychology. We welcome other scholars to look for similar instances. We are sure they exist.

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Also critical for understanding the Russells’ fieldwork were the development of anthropology as a national discipline and the growth of physical anthropology/ anthropometry as a distinct subdivision of the multifaceted endeavor to understand humanity’s development and variability. This involved more than expounding interpretations and developing framing theories. Striving for professional status included demonstrating that anthropology was a natural science, with original data that could be standardized and measured. Frank was concerned with improving anthropometric and osteological techniques, inventing precise measuring tools, and standardizing methodologies as well as with how anthropology would be taught in universities.

When they made their first trip, the Russells had intended to return to Harvard University, where Frank would pursue the institutionalized academic year of teaching and a summer fieldwork schedule. Theresa could continue to study philosophy and have stimulating conversations with her peers. They did not think they would spend the next two years surveying Arizona and participating in ethnographic field work full time. They covered a phenomenal area. Frank estimated that by October 1902, they had traveled 4,000 miles exclusive of train travel each year. The undertaking was comparable to the areas covered by European scholar explorers Adolph Bandelier, who looked for sites in Arizona between 1880 and 1885; and Alphonse Pinart, who searched for sites in 1876, traveling from San Diego to Tucson and around central and southern Arizona. As J. Jefferson Reid and Stephanie Whittlesey discuss in their excellent history of Arizona archaeology, archaeologists in the 1880s and 1890s did not attempt to survey the entire state as they searched for suitable sites. Most men and women worked in a single region each season. This in itself makes Theresa and Frank’s stories memorable.

Nancy J. Parezo is a professor emerita of American Indian studies at the University of Arizona. In addition to teaching at the institution for almost forty years, she was curator of ethnology at the Arizona State Museum and loaned executive to the Arizona Board of Regents. She also participated for ten years in the Smithsonian Institution summer training program in museum anthropology. The author of more than two hundred books and articles, she is currently working through the nine large four-drawer file cabinets that are full of data for more histories of anthropologies and museums, collecting behavior, and Native American repatriation. Her next project documents missionary Henry Voth’s collecting and ethnographic activities among the Hopi and Cheyenne. With her dear friend Don D. Fowler, she is dedicated to honoring the invisible female scholars who helped develop anthropology in the American Southwest.

Don D. Fowler is the Mamie Kleberg Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Historic Preservation, Emeritus, at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). In 2019 the Don Frazier & Don Fowler Endowed Chair in Archaeology was established at UNR in his honor. His PhD is from the University of Pittsburgh. He has taught anthropology and historic preservation at UNR for forty years. He was a postdoctoral fellow in anthropology at the Smithsonian Institution in 1967–68, a research associate in anthropology for the Smithsonian Institution from 1970 to 2004, a past president of the Society for American Archaeology. He received the SAA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and the Byron Cummings Award from the Arizona Archaeological & Historical Society in 1998, among other honors. He is the author or co-author of dozens of papers and reports on southwestern and Great Basin archaeology and cultural resources management, and, with co-author and great friend Nancy Parezo, publications on the history of European and American archaeology and ethnology.

Zócalo Magazine Shares Excerpt from ‘Desert Feast’

November 18, 2020

Tucson’s Zócalo Magazine recently featured an excerpt from Carolyn Niethammer‘s new book, The Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson’s Culinary Heritage.

The Desert Feast offers a food pilgrimage, where stories and recipes demonstrate why the desert city of Tucson became America’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

The excerpt tells part of the story of Sonoran wheat and how its introduction forever changed our region’s food landscape:

The easy and quick adoption of spring wheat can be attributed to the fact that it filled an important niche in the food cycle. And, as a new crop, it came without cultural baggage. Corn was traditionally planted and curated through its lifecycle with ceremony and song; wheat, on the other hand, with no such requirements, was easier to grow. We must not overlook the fact, though, that in some mission communities, the local people had no choice but were forced to grow wheat for the padres’ sacramental wafers.

By the mid-eighteenth century, spring wheat had become the major staple crop of the Tucson basin and far beyond. Although it does better with irrigation, in a normal, non-drought year, it could also produce an excellent crop in marginal soils of low fertility and with no water other than winter rainfall. With the abundance of wheat, women began making tortillas from flour instead of corn.

Read the entire excerpt here:

KJZZ Interview with Alberto Álvaro Ríos on ‘A Good Map’

November 17, 2020

If you didn’t have a chance to join in the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing’s recent book celebration for Alberto Álvaro Ríos’s new picaresque novel, A Good Map of All Things, listen to this interview with KJZZ’s Steve Goldstein on creating art during a pandemic and his new book.

A Good Map tells stories of a Mexican town and its unique inhabitants that feel familiar to all who love and live in Arizona-Sonora borderlands.

From the interview:

You know, I think this particular book is about quiet in its own way, and quiet is not an easily told story. You know, loud — everybody turns toward loud, and we’re living in very loud times. Loud is a magnet. Loud, you know, people are drawn to it. Quiet — that’s a much harder sell. And while I use guise or the setting of the mid-20th century, I think really what I’m trying to write is to the quiet, to the dark side of the moon, if you will — you know, equally there, absolutely there. But getting little attention. And what I’m especially trying to, to make a point of is saying that all of the loud around the border. Well, it’s just loud. The 98% of the rest of people’s lives is this quiet, everyday kind of experience. I was on a panel many years ago with Ursula Le Guin, the great science-fiction writer, and she said something that has always stayed with me. She said, “You know, science fiction,” She said. “It’s, it’s 98% regular, everyday. And 2% on Mars.” And what she was trying to say is the 2% on Mars got all the attention, but it wasn’t accurate to the actual way that we live. And I think in this book, I’m trying to get to the depth of the everyday, which is that 98% of how we actually get through life. And the ’50s happens to be  — you know, I was born in the ’50s. That’s when I was growing up. These, the particular adventures, if I can call them that, came from all of the towns that I grew up visiting and spending time in, and that my grandmother and her sisters had been teachers and mercantile workers in these towns. So they were always being talked about and remembered, and they were towns like Rayón and Cucurpe and Ímuris and especially Magdalena, all in the corridor of northern Sonora. And it’s a corridor that’s traditionally been called the Pimería Alta, and it extends from certainly Tucson, you could argue Phoenix — but certainly Tucson all the way to Hermosillo and Guaymas. That corridor, which was a longtime historic trading corridor. That ancientness, that oldness, that old-fashionedness is inherently in the place. And that’s what I’m trying to write to.

Listen here.

‘Beyond Earth’s Edge’ Co-Editor Cokinos Turns to the Moon in Recent Space Writings

November 13, 2020

When Christopher Cokinos isn’t talking about his love of poetry that celebrates spaceflight, the poet and author shares his interest in space sciences.

The co-editor of Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, Cokinos recently examined NASA’s discovery of water on the moon in Sky News.

From Cokinos:

The discovery suggests a greater distribution of water on the Moon, an environment that astronomers in centuries past thought might have surface water but Apollo-era science suggested was bone dry. Since then, new laboratory techniques have cracked open previously-unstudied Apollo samples and found water molecules. Meanwhile, missions to the Moon over the past three decades found evidence of lunar water ice in permanently shadowed regions of the Moon, clustered around the poles.

Read the entire Sky News post here.

For The Space Review, Cokinos makes an argument for the next NASA lunar mission to head to the moon’s south pole, and not follow in the footsteps of the Apollo missions.

From his report:

In any case, if we can’t get to the pole on Artemis 3, go forward to a new location and don’t return to an Apollo site—not yet. Lunar sustainability can’t indulge in the appearance of expensive nostalgia that could risk turning off shaky public support.

Read the entire Space Review post here.

Rigoberto González Appointed Editor of Award-Winning Camino del Sol Series

November 12, 2020

The University of Arizona Press recently announced Rigoberto González’ editorship of its Camino del Sol Series. The award-winning and critically acclaimed series of poetry, fiction, and essays publishes emerging and established voices in Latinx literature, such as Juan Felipe Herrera, Carmen Giménez Smith, Luis Alberto Urrea, Richard Blanco, Alberto Ríos, Pat Mora, Tim Z. Hernandez, Emmy Pérez, and Francisco X. Alarcón.

González is the author of eighteen books of poetry and prose. His awards include Guggenheim, NEA, NYFA, and USA Rolón fellowships, the PEN/Voelcker Award, the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation, the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets, and the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America. A critic-at-large for The LA Times and contributing editor for Poets & Writers Magazine, he is currently Distinguished Professor of English and Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers-Newark, the State University of New Jersey.

“Camino del Sol has been essential to our Latinx literary legacy. For over 25 years this series has provided a home for the stories and voices that amplify, celebrate, and nuance the diverse experiences of our communities,” González said.

“I owe much of my college literary education to the books published by the University of Arizona Press, and in the same spirit of service to all readers, I am honored to continue its mission to seek out and highlight the remarkable work of both seasoned and promising Latinx writers.”

Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press, said González’ editorship and the caliber of the Camino del Sol advisory board furthers the Press’s mission to center Latinx and Indigenous literary voices.

“The University of Arizona Press is one of the first publishers to spotlight Latinx literary voices. We are honored Rigoberto has joined us to grow and care for this important series.”

Camino del Sol was established in 1994 by writer and poet Ray Gonzalez. The Camino del Sol series advisory board includes Francisco Cantú, Sandra Cisneros, Eduardo C. Corral, Jennine Capó Crucet, Angie Cruz, Natalie Diaz, Aracelis Girmay, Ada Limón, Jaime Manrique, Justin Torres, Luis Alberto Urrea, and Helena María Viramontes.

“With a spectacular Advisory Board composed of this country’s most notable talent in American letters, I expect Camino del Sol will maintain its exceptional reputation and to rise into further prominence by reflecting the growth and changes in our cultural and political landscapes,” González said.

Urayoán Noel‘s forthcoming poetry collection Transversal will be the first book under González’ editorship.

Buzzfeed News Puts ‘A Good Map’ on Books to Read List

November 11, 2020

BuzzFeed News featured A Good Map of All Things, the new novel by Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Álvaro Ríos on a good reads recommendation list of 15 smaller presses.

From 15 Books From Smaller Presses You Won’t Be Able To Put Down:

A Good Map of All Things by Alberto Álvaro Ríos (University of Arizona Press, out now)

Billed as a “picaresque” novel — a style that typically follows a rogue or antihero and often has some elements of satire — A Good Map is set in the borderlands of Arizona and Sonora. The people in this fictional, small Mexican town are incorrigible gossips, true believers, and utterly charming. This is a book that feels like a classic, with characters who feel like family.

Read the list here.

Aída Hurtado Receives Honorable Mention for the 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize

November 10, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Aída Hurtado received an honorable mention for the 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize for her recent University of Arizona Press title, Intersectional Chicana Feminisms!

The 2020 NWSA Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize offers recognition for groundbreaking monographs in women’s studies that make significant multicultural feminist contributions to women of color/transnational scholarship. The prize honors Gloria Anzaldúa, a valued and long-active member of the National Women’s Studies Association.

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.

Aída Hurtado is the Luis Leal Endowed Chair and a professor in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is co-author of Chicana/o Identity in a Changing U.S. Society and co-author of Beyond Machismo: Intersectional Latino Masculinities.

Congratulations, Aída!

Whale Snow: Five Questions with Author Chie Sakakibara

November 10, 2020

In Whale Snow: Iñupiat, Climate Change, and Multispecies Resilience in Arctic Alaska author Chie Sakakibara uses multispecies ethnography to explore how the relatedness of the Iñupiat of Arctic Alaska and the bowhead whale forms and transforms “the human” through their encounters. Sakakibara shows how people of Arctic Alaska live in the world that intersects with other beings, how these connections came into being, and, most importantly, how such intimate and intense relations help humans survive the challenges of climate change. Today, Chie answers our questions.

The artwork on the cover of your book is stunning. Please tell us more about the artist Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson.

Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson is an Iñupiaq artist and writer who was born and raised on the North Slope of Alaska. She is someone who I heartily admire for her deep commitment to her community through the promotion of Iñupiaq values, aesthetics, and environmentalism. As a dear friend, mentor, and collaborator, Nasuġraq kindly contributed the cover art, X-ray Whale, along with the original frontispiece and three illustrations included in Whale Snow. Her creations eloquently tell many stories, and they often point to a positive reciprocal relationship that goes across the boundary of humans and nonhuman animals, which gets intensified in our times of global climate change. This dynamism is the subject of Whale Snow.  

Nasuġraq calls Anaktuvuk Pass (AKP) home, a beautiful village nestled in the foothills of the Brooks Range, and her days are filled with adventures with her daughter, husband, a small flock of chickens, a variety of types of artistic expression, and writing. She is also known as a groundbreaking Arctic gardening guru, and is the founder of America’s northernmost gardening project called “Gardens in the Arctic,” which has successfully grown fresh produce for her community since 2016. Visit Nasuġraq’s website, Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson: Iñupiaq Artist and Writer, to learn more about her career: https://www.nasugraqhopson.com/.

Portrait of Chie Sakakibara and Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson in Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska. Photo by Aaron A. Fox.

In the Arctic, climate, culture, and human resilience are connected through bowhead whaling. You write that climate change has disrupted this ancient practice. What are some of the implications of this disruption?

In Whale Snow, I explored how Iñupiat live their values in the midst of pervading modernity in relation to colonial encounters and ongoing social and environmental transformations. Each of their social principles is now threatened by myriad ramifications of climate change. For so many times, on so many occasions, and in so many places, I have witnessed how the joy of getting a whale has worked a miracle to transform human lives, experiences, and relations. At the same time, it suggests the costs of not getting any whales. Without the whales, social tensions rise. Without the whales, the meaning and order the whales bring to sustain the community gets diluted—no whale means no harmony and no assurance of community integrity. When the ocean rises, sea ice deteriorates, and the tundra thaws, the devastation of not having any whales is immeasurable, and at times results in social rupture through violence, alcoholism, substance abuse, depression, and unexpected death, just to name a few. This is why whaling remains the central idiom of Iñupiaq well-being and sovereignty. Whaling maintains social health and solidarity as the foundation of survival. This is why the responsibility of the whalers is so immense.

At this time of further uncertainties for subsistence, the temptation of not observing the community norms gets much closer to the surface of their social fabric. At the same time, however, in the face of heightening anxiety and stress, development of interpersonal and interspecies bonds fosters resilience that ultimately strengthens the people. Such resilience can be invigorated through proactive adaptation to change, which leverages tradition and culture in modernity. This process of adaptation often manifests in a form of multispecies reciprocity in Arctic Alaska, which deeply intertwines the humans with humans, humans with animals, and humans with the environment. In the face of heightening anxiety and stress, development of interpersonal and interspecies bonds creates resilience that ultimately sustains the people.

Aerial View of Utqiaġvik, Alaska – Photo by Chie Sakakibara

Global environmental change is all around us. In this time of ecological transition, why is exploring multispecies relatedness important?

As the COVID-19 pandemic and its interspecies origins underscore, we all live in the Anthropocene, an age in which humans and other animals are forced to live in closer proximity, share viruses, and confront new ones. Interspecies entanglements have increased their significance due to accelerating ecological dilemmas. My Iñupiaq mentors and collaborators taught me the importance of interspecies togetherness, or multispecies solidarity. Togetherness cultivates resilience, the capacity of individuals and communities to adapt, recover, and survive challenges and uncertainties. In this context, as Donna Haraway says, we must make kin as we are not the only important actors, and kin-making is a multispecies affair to cultivate resilience and mitigate vulnerability for survival. The Iñupiaq way of life clearly embodies this philosophy. Whale Snow is a journey to unpack such relations to better comprehend further entanglements between humans and nonhuman others as we are increasingly forced to live together.

Kaleak Crew, successful whaling crew, celebrates the end of whaling season in Utqiaġvik, Alaska. Photo by Flossie Nageak.

You open the acknowledgements by describing a promise you make to a community member to “not disappear” once you completed your fieldwork. Why was this so important?

Academic researchers in Indigenous communities have a fraught relationship with Indigenous communities with data mining, and this history remains inseparable from the legacy of colonialism and colonization. It was this reputation for outsider extraction that my mentor Martha Aiken was afraid of. She had seen how local knowledge and experience were conveniently extracted, simplified, and plugged into the market economy as medicine, books, popular music, and designs, or when they were instantly turned into private property after being detached from their appropriate cultural contexts. Rarely was a plan to benefit the community part of this enterprise. On my first day in her community as a graduate student, Martha asked me to swear that I would commit myself to cultivate a long-term relationship with her and her community before starting to work on my dissertation research. I agreed to make the commitment. Now, many years later, I am still in the process of earning my place. The process of relationship-building has opened many doors to me that would have otherwise stayed closed; it is obvious but not an exaggeration to say that this study could not have been written without community participation and co-authorship. Martha has since passed away, but as a faculty member at Oberlin College, I continue to share her wisdom with my students to educate future generations of scholars—both Indigenous and non-Indigenous—about the importance of social justice, research ethics, community benefit, collaboration, and reciprocity so the future scholars will never disappear. Whale Snow is a token of my humble reciprocity with Martha and the community that adopted me and considered and cared for me as their own. As a partial fulfillment of Martha’s mandate, I wrote this book to offer insights into the depth of Iñupiaq-whale relations, and especially how they intersect with Iñupiaq struggles to achieve cultural sovereignty through the whaling cycle, and in so doing exhibit resilience in the face of unrelenting impacts of global climate change.

What do you hope people take away from your work?

Indigenous vulnerability to climate change has been discussed extensively in the fields of public policy, political science, anthropology, and geography, but comparatively few studies have actually shed light on the ways in which people emotionally invest themselves in their entanglements with animals and environments to nurture resilience. In contrast, Whale Snow shares powerful and positive stories about Indigenous experiences coping with climate change. As climate change increases environmental and cultural uncertainties, it also intensifies Iñupiaq emotions and relatedness with the bowhead whale to seek out cultural activities that strengthen social identities and a politics of Indigenous sovereignty. In this sense, my narrative departs from studies that emphasize human vulnerability and instead serves as an ethnography of hope cultivated and entangled with interspecies relations.

This book lies at the intersection of my personal life and stories of America’s northernmost Indigenous society. My narrative is steeped in a deep long-term relationship between a culturally adopted Japanese woman in the two Iñupiaq villages and her adoptive family members, relatives, mentors, collaborators, colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. This is the story of the people and the bowhead whale, and at the same time, the story of my own life. My fieldwork has become synonymous with my personal growth and fulfillment as an adopted member of whaling crews through participation in everyday life in contemporary rural Alaska. In many different ways and contexts, my adoptive families and kin taught me that the Iñupiaq-whale relationship is a force of innovation and adaptation that now serves as a way to cope with social stress and the unforeseeable future. In other words, this book was germinated in my own process of becoming an Iñupiaq (meaning “a complete person”) through building a relationship with Iñupiat and their nonhuman kin, and I present this book as a humble offering for the people and whales who are connected through emotive bonds, words, stories, and songs that they have so generously bestowed upon me.

Whale Snow Frontispiece – By Nasuġraq Rainey Hopson.

Chie Sakakibara is an assistant professor of environmental studies at Oberlin College. She was trained in cultural geography, art history, and Indigenous studies. Her work explores human dimensions of global environmental change among Indigenous peoples. Native to Japan, Sakakibara is a proud adoptive member of the Iñupiaq whaling community. Her love of humans and nonhuman animals manifests in her academic work as well as in her life with one human daughter and two canine sons.

All royalties accruing from sale of this publication go to the North Slope Borough Iñupiat History, Language, and Culture Commission.

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

PBS’ The Open Mind Features ‘Beyond Earth’s Edge’ Co-Editors

November 9, 2020

A recent episode of the PBS’ The Open Mind featured Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflights co-editors Julie Swarstad Johnson and Christopher Cokinos talking about the new poetry anthology and this celebration of poetics and the space sciences.

Hosted by Alexander Heffner, The Open Mind is a series that explores national interests in politics, media, technology, the arts and civic life.

Beyond Earth’s Edge is an anthology 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.

Radio Survivor Podcast Features ‘Mexican Waves’ Author Sonia Robles

November 6, 2020

Radio Survivor celebrated border radio in a recent podcast with Sonia Robles, author of Mexican Waves: Radio Broadcasting Along Mexico’s Northern Border, 1930-1950.

From the podcast:

Border radio is one of our favorite topics at Radio Survivor and on this week’s episode we dig into the history of radio broadcasting on the northern border of Mexico. Scholar Sonia Robles shares the stories of some of the lesser-known, small broadcasters whose histories are often overshadowed by the wild tales of higher power border blaster stations.

Listen to the interview.

Latinx Talk Interviews ‘Voices from the Ancestors’ Co-editor Lara Medina

November 5, 2020

In a recent interview on Latinx Talk, Lara Medina, co-editor of Voices from the Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices, talks about her own spiritual journal and current trends in Latinx studies.

From the interview:

“The knowledges in this book come from deep places in our hearts, bodies, and minds and is intended for personal, familial, and community well-being. The writings reflect wisdom passed on through the oral tradition and lived experiences, research applied to our lives, or from our own intuitive creativity. As we learn from each other in a variety of ways, we have gathered reflections and practices in the form of short essays, poetry, visual art, ritual guidelines, and songs. It is wisdom based on the ancient knowledge received from Indigenous and African ancestors who understood their interconnectedness with one another and all life forms, with nature, and with the sacred cosmic forces. We and the contributors to this volume believe that it is time our cultural capital be documented and shared as we carry medicine in reclaiming ancestral teachings, in rethinking imposed religious beliefs, and in learning from diverse spiritual traditions.”

Read the full interview.

Ready to Take Your Own Space Poetry Journey?

November 4, 2020

What can poetry teach us about science? Inspired by this question five years ago, Julie Swarstad Johnson embarked on a journey that celebrated spaceflight and poetry at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. In September 2016 Swarstad Johnson, a librarian at the renowned poetry center, organized an exhibit aptly titled “The Poetry of Spaceflight.”

That exhibit inspired the new poetry anthology co-edited by Swarstad Johnson and Christopher Cokinos, Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight. Recently, Swarstad Johnson recalled the inspiration for the exhibit and the book on the University of Arizona Poetry Center’s blog 1508. She also provides ideas for writing your own poems inspired by spaceflight.

Read Swarstad Johnson’s post and writing prompts.

Beyond Earth’s Edge Inspires a Celebrity Space Poetry Jam

October 29, 2020

If your deep Start Trek nerdom had you fantasizing about the Doctor from Star Trek: Voyager reading you some Pablo Neruda, you can thank Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight.

The poetry anthology, recently published by the University of Arizona Press, was featured on Planetary Radio, the Planetary Society’s weekly podcast brilliantly hosted by Mat Kaplan.

Beyond’s editors Julie Swarstad Johnson and Christopher Cokinos joined the podcast in what was truly a space-nerd delight with Picardo, of Star Trek: Voyager fame and a Planetary Society board member, reading a Pablo Neruda poem, as well as Bill Nye, Sasha Sagan, astronauts Nicole Stott and Leland Melvin, and others, all reading poems featured in the anthology celebrating poetry and outer space.

Listen to the podcast here, and revel further in the podcast and anthology getting some love from Daily Star Trek News–yes, Beyond Earth’s Edge is on the Federation’s radar! Read about it here. ?

AAA 2020: Browse Our Latest Anthropology Books, Discounts, and More

October 29, 2020

We are excited to be participating in the American Anthropological Association Raising Our Voices 2020 fall event series! As always, we are pleased to offer a conference discount. Use code AZAAA20 to receive 40% off all of our titles, and get free domestic shipping (good through 12/15/2020).

If you are participating in the virtual AAA event series, make sure to visit our virtual exhibit and chat with us. If you have questions about submitting a manuscript for our anthropology list, contact our senior editor Allyson Carter, Ph.D. at acarter@uapress.arizona.edu and view our guidelines here. To learn about requesting exam copies, visit here. We look forward to seeing all of you in person again in the future.

Taking us on a journey of remembering and rediscovery, anthropologist Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez shares important insights into his development as a scholar and in so doing the development of the interdisciplinary field of transborder anthropology.

We are thrilled to announce that Carlos Velez-Ibáñez is the recipient of the American Anthropological Association’s 2020 Franz Boas Award for Exemplary Service to Anthropology! This award is presented annually by the AAA to its members whose careers demonstrate extraordinary achievement that have well served the anthropological profession.

Read an excerpt from Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist here.

Revitalization Lexicography 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. Patricia M. Anderson details both the theoretical and the practical aspects that contributed to the Tunica dictionary in manner compelling to readers from all walks of life.

David Barton Bray has spent more than thirty years researching and studying Mexican community forest enterprises (CFEs). In Mexico’s Community Forest Enterprises he shares the scientific evidence for Mexico’s social and environmental achievements and how, in its most successful manifestations, it became a global model for common-property forest management, sustainable social-ecological systems, and climate change mitigation in developing countries.

Narrating Nature opens up dialogue that counters traditional conservation narratives. In this book, Mara J. Goldman offers conservation efforts that not only include people as beneficiaries but also demonstrate how they are essential and knowledgeable members of the conservation landscape itself.

The Prehispanic Ethnobotany of Paquimé and Its Neighbors is a major ethnobotanical study for the ancient U.S. Southwest and northwestern Mexico. The results reorient our perspective in the rise of one of the most impressive communities in the international region.

Check out some photos and field notes from the project here.

Based on prolonged engagement with this “virtuous” plant of southwestern Ethiopia, The Edible Gardens of Ethiopia provides a nuanced reading of the ensete ventricosum (avant-)garden and explores how the life in tiny, diverse, and womanly plots may indeed offers alternative visions of nature, food policy, and conservation efforts.

A Marriage Out West is an intimate biographical account of two fascinating figures of twentieth-century archaeology. Frances Theresa Peet Russell, an educator, married Harvard anthropologist Frank Russell in June 1900. They left immediately on a busman’s honeymoon to the Southwest. Their goal was twofold: to travel to an arid environment to quiet Frank’s tuberculosis and to find archaeological sites to support his research.

Chie Sakakibara shows how knots of connection came into being between humans and nonhuman others and how such intimate and intense relations will help humans survive the Anthropocene. Whale Snow offers an important and thought-provoking look at global climate change as it manifests in the everyday life of the Iñupiat in Arctic Alaska.

The Sovereign Street offers a rare look at political revolution as it happens, showing how mass street protest can change national political life.  It documents a critical period in twenty-first century Bolivia, when small-town protests made headlines worldwide, where a generation of pro-globalization policies were called into question, and where the indigenous majority stepped into government power for the first time in five centuries.

Listen to author Carwil Bjork-James discuss the topics in this book on the Howard Zinn Bookfair Podcast here.

The Global Spanish Empire tackles broad questions about indigenous cultural persistence, pluralism, and place making using a global comparative perspective grounded in the shared experience of Spanish colonialism. Through an expansive range of essays that look at Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific, this volume brings often-neglected regions into conversation.

Watch a virtual Amerind Foundation lecture with editors Christine D. Beaule and John G. Douglass here. Then, read a brief interview with the editors here.

Tewa Worlds offers an archaeological history of eight centuries of Tewa Pueblo history in the Rio Chama Valley through the lens of contemporary Pueblo philosophical and historical discourse. The result gives weight to the deep past, colonial encounters, and modern experiences. It challenges archaeologists to both critically reframe interpretation and to acknowledge the Tewa’s deep but ongoing connection with the land.

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

State Formation in the Liberal Era transforms our understanding of post-colonial Latin America. The volume spans disciplinary and geographic boundaries and offers an insightful look at the tensions between disparate circuits of capital, claims of statehood, and the contested nature of citizenship.

Despite its tiny size and seeming marginality to world affairs, the Central American republic of Costa Rica has long been considered an important site for experimentation in cutting-edge environmental policy. The Ecolaboratory frames Costa Rica as an “ecolaboratory” and asks what lessons we can learn for the future of environmental governance and sustainable development both within the country and elsewhere.

Fighting for Andean Resources offers a singular contribution to the literature critiquing monolithic views of nation-state dynamics and globalization. Vladimir R. Gil Ramón examines the protocols of accountability and the social critique of the application of environmental impact assessments and safeguard policies. His analysis reveals the complex mechanisms for legitimizing decision-making and adds to an understanding of everyday state-nation conflicts and negotiations.

More than a history of coveted commodities, the unique story that unfolds in John R. Gust and Jennifer P. Mathews’s new history Sugarcane and Rum is told through the lens of Maya laborers who worked under brutal conditions on small haciendas to harvest sugarcane and produce rum in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

In the fifteen-year span from 1990 to 2005 uprisings of the indigenous peoples of Ecuador and Bolivia changed their societies forever. The combination of mass mobilization, elections, and indigenous socialism created a new form of twenty-first-century revolution that applies to cultures far beyond the Andes. In Indigenous Revolution in Ecuador and Bolivia, 1990-2005, Jeffrey M. Paige’s interviews present the powerful personal experiences and emotional intensity of the revolutionary leadership.

The second of a two-volume series, Moquis and Kastiilam tells the story of the encounter between the Hopis, who the Spaniards called Moquis, and the Spaniards, who the Hopis called Kastiilam, from the Pueblo Revolt through 1781. Balancing historical documents with oral histories, it creates a fresh perspective on the interface of Spanish and Hopi peoples in the period of missionization.

Video: Chicanx Studies Scholars and Teachers Discuss Anzaldúa in the Classroom

October 28, 2020

Editors Margaret Cantú-Sánchez, Candace de León-Zepeda, and Norma Elia Cantú, as well as several contributors of the new book, Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa: Pedagogy and Practice for Our Classrooms and Communities, came together on Thursday, October 22, in an online panel to discuss this volume’s practical and inspiring ways to deploy Anzaldúa’s transformative theories with real and meaningful action.

The event, also livestreamed on the University of Arizona Press Facebook, was not only a celebration of Anzaldúa and scholarship, but brought together an audience of students, community, and other Chicanx Studies scholars. We are grateful to the editors and contributors for sharing their time.

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

Watch: Community Histories with Josie Méndez-Negrete and Lorena V. Márquez

October 21, 2020

Authors Josie Méndez-Negrete and Lorena V. Márquez discussed the community and activist histories of San Jose and Sacramento, California as part of a virtual book release celebration on Thrusday, October 15.

La Gente: Struggles for Empowerment and Community Self-Determination in Sacramento by Márquez, 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.

Méndez-Negrete’s Activist Leaders of San José: En sus propias voces, narrates how parents—both mothers and fathers—were inspired to work for the rights of their people. Workers’ and education rights were at the core, but they also took on the elimination of at-large elections to open city politics, labor rights, domestic abuse, and health care.

‘Beyond Earth’s Edge’ Co-Editor Celebrates Cosmic Life in LA Times’ Op-Ed

October 20, 2020

Christopher Cokinos, co-editor of Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, reveled in science’s recent discovered of phospine in the clouds of Venus, a sign that may signal life in a recent Op-Ed published by the Los Angeles Times.

From the op-ed:

“It means that life arose more than once in our backwater solar system. It means that life is common, and its tenacity is cosmic. For me, that puts our struggles in a grand context. Not by way of diminishing the hard work of problem-solving that faces us. Rather, the possibility that swaths of airborne microbes are going about their business in the skies above Venus reminds me that life finds a way. We can find our way too.”

Read the entire op-ed here.

Beyond Earth’s Edge, co-edited by Cokinos and Julie Swarstad Johnson (Editor), Christopher Cokinos, is 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.

Watch: Poets, Editors, & Flandrau Celebrate ‘Beyond Earth’s Edge’

October 19, 2020

Under the dome of the Flandrau Science Center‘s planetarium, co-editors Julie Swarstad Johnson and Christopher Cokinos introduced a virtual audience to Beyond Earth’s Edge: The Poetry of Spaceflight, a poetry anthology that celebrates spaceflight and vividly captures the violence of blastoff, the wonders seen by Hubble, and the trajectories of exploration to Mars and beyond through a wide array of lyric celebrations, somber meditations, accessible narratives, concrete poems, and new forms of science fiction.

During the virtual event, Swarstad Johnson and Cokinos social distanced aptly in the planetarium, reading sections of the book and explaining their own passions for space. Between their discussions, video clips were shown of contemporary poets.

Poets featured: Frank Paino, Forrest Gander reading his translation of Pablo Neruda, Alyse Bensel, Donna Kane, Dan Beachy-Quick reading a collaboration written with Srikanth Reddy, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Kyle Dargan, Tawahum Justin Bige, and C. S. E. Cooney.

Heartfelt thanks to the team at Flandrau for co-hosting this remarkable event, and to the book’s editors, for sharing their time with us to celebrate the wonders of space—through poetry.

Watch: Educators for Anti-Racism Interview ‘La Gente’ Author

October 16, 2020

University of Arizona Press author Lorena V. Márquez, was recently interviewed by Educators for Anti-Racism about her work and new book La Gente: Struggles for Empowerment and Community Self-Determination in Sacramento.

The grass-roots organization is committed to anti-racist and abolitionist teaching principles with the mission to learn, connect, and contribute. From their website: ‘You can learn by watching videos from our Anti-Racism conference and a soon to come video series of anti-racism conversations. You can connect by discussing the lessons in the comments section, or joining one of the groups listed on our website. You can contribute by sending us anti-racism lessons or resources. Visit us at www.edantiracism.com.”

Márquez’s book 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.

Cultivate Community with Our Latest Latinx and Chicanx Studies Books

October 13, 2020

At the University of Arizona Press, we have published a wide range of books that celebrate Latinx and Chicanx communities, document community histories, and record the histories and lives of civil rights movements and activists. We want to share our most recent community and activism-focused titles with you, and invite you to use the discount code AZCOMMUNITY20 for 35% off these titles through 11/15/2020.

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.

On Thursday, October 15, 2020 join University of Arizona Press authors Josie Méndez-Negrete and Lorena V. Márquez for a virtual discussion on their recent University of Arizona Press books that focus on community and activist histories in San Jose and Sacramento, California. This event is currently full, but watch our website to see a recording of the event in coming days.

Challenging stereotypes, Activist Leaders of San José by Josie Méndez-Negrete book 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.

Don’t forget to check out the event mentioned above!

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.

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.

On Thursday, October 22, 2020 we are hosting an event with the editors of this book! Registration is currently full, but be sure to check back on our website for a recording of the event. Listen to a recording of Gloria reading some of her uncollected and unpublished poems here.

Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture traces the development of Chicana/o literature and cultural production from the Spanish colonial period to the present. In doing so, it challenges us to look critically at how we simultaneously embody colonial constructs and challenge their legacies.

Listen to an NPR interview with author Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez here. Then, read an excerpt from the book here.

With unity of heart and mind, the creative and the scholarly, Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities opens wide its arms to all non-binary, decolonial masculinities today to grow a stronger, resilient, and more compassionate new generation of Latinxs tomorrow.

Listen to Frederick Luis Aldama talk about the book on the New Books Network podcast here, then read an interview with editors Arturo J. Aldama and Frederick Luis Aldama here. On Thursday, October 22, 2020, there will be a virtual book release celebration for Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities. Register 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.

“Hurtado once again offers a brilliant analysis of Chicana feminisms that is hi