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.

Blast Off Into Space With Our Books

September 24, 2020

We are the proud publishers of a wide range of space science titles that inspire wonder and allow readers to delve into the universe. With poetry, art, photographs, history, and beyond, our space-centered books are out of this world! Through 11/1/2020, enjoy a 35% discount on all of our space titles when you use the code AZOUTERSPACE20 at checkout.

Beyond Earth’s Edge vividly captures through poetry the violence of blastoff, the wonders seen by Hubble, and the trajectories of exploration to Mars and beyond. 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.

Attend our virtual book release event for Beyond Earth’s Edge on October 8, 2020 at 7:00 P.M. MST! This free event will be co-hosted by the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium. Register here!

“Only two of the contributors to this soaring, adroitly curated anthology actually traveled in space, but nothing stops the rest of them from vaulting skyward on a pillar of words, with a potent gravity-assist from their emotions.”—Dava Sobel, author of Galileo’s Daughter and The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars

Planetary Astrobiology represents the combined efforts of more than seventy-five international experts consolidated into twenty chapters and provides an accessible, interdisciplinary gateway for new students and seasoned researchers who wish to learn more about this expanding field. Readers are brought to the frontiers of knowledge in astrobiology via results from the exploration of our own solar system and exoplanetary systems.

Explore other titles in our Space Sciences Series here.

In Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science, Derek W. G. Sears describes the life of a man who lived through some of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century and ended up creating a new field of scientific research, planetary science. As NASA and other space agencies explore the solar system, they take with them many of the ideas and concepts first described by Gerard P. Kuiper.

We are so thrilled that Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science won a Foreword Indies Award! Read an excerpt from the book here.

In Discovering Pluto, Dale P. Cruikshank and William Sheehan recount the grand story of our unfolding knowledge and exploration of Pluto, its moons, and the outer Solar System. They explain the efforts of scientists, mathematicians, and researchers over the centuries to understand the outer Solar System, leading to the discovery and detailed exploration of Pluto as the premier body in the Kuiper Belt, the so-called third zone of our Solar System.

Read five questions with William Sheehan here, and read the Wall Street Journal review of the book here.

The most outstanding and uniquely curated selection of Mars orbital images ever assembled in one volume. With explanatory captions in twenty-four languages and a gallery of more than 200 images, Mars: The Pristine Beauty of the Red Planet brings a timely and clear look at the work of an active NASA mission.

“For scientists, this book may be a record of Martian geology, history, and even a search for possible future landing sites, while astronomy enthusiasts will find a snapshot of our current scientific understanding of the planet. Dreamers will use it as a tool for a journey through time and space.”—Sky at Night Magazine

Under Desert Skies describes how a small lunar- and planetary-focused laboratory at the University of Arizona forged the field of planetary science at a time when few people studied the solar system. Spanning six decades, the book records the stories of the scientists who, with telescopes and spacecraft, transformed single points of lights into worlds that we can see, touch, study, and compare to Earth.

“A fascinating story of how a small university department became a major powerhouse in our exploration of the solar system, and of how our knowledge of the solar system blossomed with the space age.” —Derek Sears, Space Science and Astrobiology Division, NASA Ames Research Center

Human Spaceflight lays out a new model for the future of humans in space, where robotic technologies extend human presence beyond the solar system. Louis Friedman argues for settlement of Mars, serving as a base for humans to explore the rest of the universe with an expanding arsenal of technology.

“Most books about our future in space are written by dreamers. But Human Spaceflight: From Mars to the Stars is written by an aerospace engineer, Dr. Louis Friedman, who details exactly how exploration needs to unfold if our species is to value it at all.”—Neil deGrasse Tyson, Astrophysicist, American Museum of Natural History

Earth and Mars relates the life story of two planets, celestial siblings in space. The book is a fusion of art and science, a blend of images and essays celebrating the successful creation of our life-sustaining planet. A collection of simple and profoundly beautiful forms, Earth and Mars provides a context to appreciate the common forces responsible for these haunting shapes as well as the divergent paths that led to an Earth teeming with life-forms, while its sibling, Mars, is seemingly devoid of all life.

Academy of American Poets Announces 2020 Ambroggio Prize Recipient

September 23, 2020

The Academy of American Poets announced today the winners of the 2020 American Poets Prizes, including the Ambroggio Prize.

In May 2020, the Academy and the University of Arizona Press announced a new partnership. Beginning this year, recipients of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize will have their winning manuscript published in Spanish with the English translation by Press. The Ambroggio Prize is a $1,000 publication award given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish with an English translation.

The 2020 Ambroggio Prize recipient is Mara Pastor’s Deuda Natal/Natal Debt, which will be published by the Press in its fall 2021 season. The 2019 Ambroggio Prize recipient, Gloria Muñoz’s Danzirly, will be published by the Press in the spring 2021 season.

From the Academy:

MARA PASTOR‘s Deuda Natal / Natal Debt, co-translated by MARÍA JOSÉ GIMÉNEZ and ANNA ROSENWONG, has won the AMBROGGIO PRIZE, which is a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by the University of Arizona Press, a nationally recognized publisher of award-winning works of emerging and established voices in Latinx and Indigenous literature, as well as groundbreaking scholarship in Latinx and Indigenous studies. Established in 2017, the Ambroggio Prize is the only annual award of its kind in the United States that honors American poets whose first language is Spanish. This year’s judge was Pablo F. Medina.

Mara Pastor is a leading Puerto Rican poet, editor, and scholar. She has authored six full-length poetry books in Spanish as well as the bilingual chapbooks As Though the Wound Had Heard (Cardboard House Press, 2017), translated by María José Giménez, and Children of Another Hour (Argos Books, 2014), translated by Noel Black. Her latest book, Natal Debt, translated by María José Giménez and Anna Rosenwong, was selected for the 2020 Ambroggio Prize and is forthcoming from The University of Arizona Press in 2021. Her work has appeared in journals such as The Puerto Rico Review, The Common, The Offing, Connotation Press, Latin American Literature Today and Seedings. She is an Associate Professor of Spanish at the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico in Ponce.

María José Giménez is a poet, translator, and editor whose work has received support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Studios at MASS MoCA, the Breadloaf Translators’ Conference, Canada Council for the Arts, and Banff International Literary Translators’ Centre. Assistant translation editor of Anomaly and a former Board member of the American Literary Translators Association, Giménez works between English and Spanish, and from the French, and is the translator of Tilting at Mountains by Edurne Pasaban (Mountaineers Books, 2014), the novel Red, Yellow, Green by Alejandro Saravia (Biblioasis, 2017), and the chapbook As Though The Wound Had Heard  by Mara Pastor (Cardboard House Press, 2017). Her translated and creative work is featured at The Brooklyn Rail, Lunch Ticket, The Common, Prelude, Asymptote, and elsewhere, and in the anthologies Aftermath: Explorations of Loss & Grief (Radix Media, 2018), Cloudburst: An Anthology of Hispanic Canadian Short Stories (University of Ottawa Press, 2013), and Cuentos de nuestra palabra en Canadá: Primera hornada (Editorial nuestra palabra, 2009). Among other awards and honors, Giménez has been named the 2019–2021 Poet Laureate of Easthampton, Massachusetts.

Anna Rosenwong is a translator and editor. Her publications include Rocío Cerón’s Diorama (Phoneme Media, 2014), winner of the Best Translated Book Award, and here the sun’s for real (Autumn Hill Books, 2018), selected translations of José Eugenio Sánchez. She has won fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Banff International Literary Translation Centre, the University of Iowa, and the American Literary Translators Association. Her scholarly and creative work has been featured in such venues as World Literature Today, The Kenyon Review, and Modern Poetry Today.

About Pastor’s winning manuscript, judge Pablo F. Medina said: “Deuda natal es un libro de una sencillez y una profundidad extraordinarias. Busca y (re)busca muchas verdades y las encuentra no en valores absolutos, sino en los quehaceres diarios–el hogar, el amor romántico y maternal, los caminos que dan al mar y el ir y venir de la migración, mundo en que vivimos muchos de nosotros. Deuda natal es un libro para todos los que vienen, los que van y los que permanecen. / Natal Debt is a book of extraordinary simplicity and depth. It searches and (re)searches many truths and finds them, not in absolute values, but in the objects and acts of daily life: the home, romantic and maternal love, the roads that lead to the sea, and the comings and goings of migration, a world many of us inhabit. Natal Debt is a book for everyone, those who come, those who go, and those who stay.”

Read the Academy’s entire announcement here.

We Love the Southwest, Explore it Through Our Books!

September 18, 2020

At the University of Arizona Press, we have a long history of celebrating and adoring the southwest. A truly special region filled with unique flora and fauna, food, and traditions, we want to highlight some of our titles that explore our local Sonoran desert and beyond. Use the code AZSOUTHWEST20 for 35% off the titles mentioned in this post until 9/30/2020!

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 a video about the book here. Osher Lifelong Learning Institute will feature Carolyn Niethammer as part of their fall speaker series on Monday, September 21, 2020. Other events to watch for include Carolyn’s appearance on the Tucson Festival of Books Authors in Conversation series on October 7, 2020, and a virtual book release event on December 2, 2020. Make sure to register for these events!

Coming soon— preorder now!

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. Gary Paul 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. We observe the spines and spears, stings and songs of the desert anew. Unexpected. Surprising. Enchanting. Like the desert itself, each essay offers renewed vocabulary and thoughtful perceptions.

Keep an eye out for these upcoming events! Gary Paul Nabhan and Francisco Cantú will be featured on the Tucson Festival of Books Authors in Conversation series on November 18, 2020, and on December 9, 2020, as part of its ongoing lecture series, the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill will host a virtual book release celebration for The Nature of Desert Nature, edited by Gary Paul Nabhan. Make sure you register for these events!

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.

The Southwest Center is launching a new event series titled Food for Thought with David Yetman and Chef Janos Wilder. David Yetman will be featured on the program on October 9, 2020. Click here to learn more! Read an excerpt from the book here.

In Saints, Statues, and Stories, beloved folklorist James S. Griffith introduces us to the roadside shrines, artists, fiestas, saints, and miracles of northern Mexico. Full-color images add to the pleasure of this delightful journey through the churches and towns of Sonora.

Watch a video about author James “Big Jim” Griffith here, and see some lovely photos we took at our book release party last fall here. We are thrilled that Saints, Statues, and Stories was honored as a Southwest Book of the Year!

Daniel D. Arreola’s Postcards from the Chihuahua Border is a colorful and dynamic visual history of Mexico’s northern border. Drawing on more than three decades of archival work, Arreola invites the reader to time travel, to revisit another era—the first half of the last century—when the border towns of Ciudad Juárez, Ojinaga, and Palomas were framed and made popular through picture postcards.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Through twenty individual stories, Voices from Bears Ears 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.

Published in 1986, Blue Desert was Charles Bowden’s third book-length work and takes place almost entirely in Arizona, revealing Bowden’s growing and intense preoccupation with the state and what it represented as a symbol of America’s “New West.” With a thoughtful new foreword by Francisco Cantú, Blue Desert is a critical piece of Bowden’s oeuvre.

Read about Charles Bowden and Blue Desert in Harper’s Magazine here, and read a brief reflection on Blue Desert here.

When first published in 1987, Frog Mountain Blues documented the creeping sprawl of new development up the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Today, that development is fully visible, but Charles Bowden’s prescience to preserve and protect a sacred recreational space remains as vivid as ever. Accompanied by Jack W. Dykinga’s photographs from the original work, this book conveys the natural beauty of the Catalinas and warns readers that this unique wilderness could easily be lost.

“A beautifully written, handsomely illustrated love poem to a mountain range that has the fatal curse of being not merely too awesome in its beauty for its own good but, worse, too accessible to man.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review

The Mojave Desert has a rich natural history. Despite being sandwiched between the larger Great Basin and Sonoran Deserts, it has enough mountains, valleys, canyons, and playas for any eager explorer. A Natural History of the Mojave Desert shares how the geology, geography, climate, and organisms, including humans, have shaped and been shaped by this fascinating desert.

Read an excerpt from the book here. We are thrilled that A Natural History of the Mojave Desert was selected as a Southwest Book of the Year!

No Species Is an Island describes the surprising results of Theodore H. Fleming’s eleven-year study of pollination biology in Sonora, Mexico, in the most biologically diverse desert in the world. These discoveries serve as a primer on how to conduct ecological research, and offer important conservation lessons for us all. Fleming offers an insightful look at how field ecologists work, and the often big surprises that come from looking carefully at a natural world where no species stands alone.

Read an excerpt from the book selected by the Arizona Daily Star here.

Between 1900 and the late 1950s, Mexican border towns came of age both as centers of commerce and as tourist destinations. Postcards from the Sonora Border reveals how images—in this case the iconic postcard—shape the way we experience and think about place. Making use of his personal collection of historic images, Daniel D. Arreola captures the evolution of Sonoran border towns, creating a sense of visual “time travel” for the reader. Supported by maps and visual imagery, the author shares the geographical and historical story of five unique border towns—Agua Prieta, Naco, Nogales, Sonoyta, and San Luis Río Colorado.

Excerpt: Reflections from Transborder Anthropologist Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez

September 16, 2020

In his new book Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist, Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez explores his development as a scholar and in so doing the development of the interdisciplinary fields of transborder and applied anthropology. He shows us his path through anthropology as both a theoretical and an applied anthropologist whose work has strongly influenced borderlands and applied research. Importantly, he explains the underlying, often hidden process that led to his long insistence on making a difference in lives of people of Mexican origin on both sides of the border and to contribute to a “People with Histories.” Today we share an excerpt from this important new book:

We carried into anthropology departments a penchant for looking at our own or culturally equivalent populations. We entered graduate departments despite our unease with most anthropologically oriented works, learned earlier from the pointed critical analysis by Octavio Ignacio Romano-V in his series of articles (1968, 1969a, 1969b). Anthropology had long believed that fieldwork demanded complete divorce from the anthropologist’s own cultural baggage and that an anthropologist must spend at least a year in the field becoming totally absorbed and immersed in the “new” culture and learning the language.

Most of us didn’t need a year to learn the language, we only needed to renew it. We felt for the most part that the global processes since World War II did not allow for the idea of pristine peoples; also, we strongly felt our own discontent with the loss of land, language, and expectations of relations, and with American educational institutions’ strong insistence on replacing the abhorrent identity of “Mexican.” The term was associated basically with impurity of racial mixing, low IQ and great brawn, and a predilection for not delaying gratification, favoring partying, fiestas, and merriment at the expense of education, learning, and planning for the future.

Many of us had observed our parents working two jobs, fighting in wars— with some not returning— and, of those who remained, achieving when they should not have been able to do so. We also observed and participated in thick networks of relatives that could mostly be depended on in times of crisis.

What we read was mostly in opposition to what we knew to be true, and this opposition was certainly congealed in educational institutions where all things allegedly “Mexican” could be driven out. Thus, of this initial generation, most were male, many were veterans and some tried in combat, some were politically practiced, and all were tired of the status quo for too many Mexican-origin populations on both sides of the bifurcation we call the border.

For me, what beckoned was south of the border, and it is there I began my own quest.

Anne García-Romero Featured on New Books Network Podcast

September 15, 2020

University of Arizona Press author Anne García-Romero was featured on a recent episode of the New Books Network podcast for her book, The Fornes Frame.

“In The Fornes Frame: Contemporary Latina Playwrights and the Legacy of Maria Irene Fornes (University of Arizona Press, 2016) playwright and theatre scholar Anne García-Romero traces the career and legacy of Maria Irene Fornes.

Fornes was one of the most significant American playwrights of the twentieth century, and her legacy is evident in the dozens of playwrights she mentored over the course of her long career. García-Romero shows how her unique pedagogy and her example as a successful Latina experimental playwright continue to inspire playwrights like Caridad Svich, Cusi Cram, Elaine Romero, Quiara Alegría Hudes, and Karen Zacarías.”

Listen to the podcast and read more here.

Frederick Luis Aldama Featured on New Books Network Podcast

September 15, 2020

University of Arizona Press author Frederick Luis Aldama was featured on a recent episode of the New Books Network podcast to discuss his new volume, which he co-edited with Arturo J. Aldama, Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities.

“In this episode we sit down with Frederick Luis Aldama, Distinguished University Professor at the Ohio State University and co-editor of Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities (University of Arizona Press), to discuss some of the cutting-edge research in this new edited volume.

This rich collection of work from eighteen contributors approaches the topic of masculinities from a diversity of perspectives and methodologies. With special emphasis on the plurality of Latinx masculinities, the essays reveal the divergent manifestations of masculinity across a broad spectrum including politics, social movements, literature, media, popular culture, personal experience, and other analytical angles. The pernicious effect of stereotypes and toxic Latinx masculinity is laid bare throughout the text in chapters that challenge the derogatory performances and reification of machismo in mainstream U.S. culture and society.”

Listen to the podcast and read more here.

Meditación Fronteriza Receives an International Latino Book Award Honorable Mention

September 14, 2020

We are thrilled that Meditación Fronteriza by Norma Elia Cantú received an honorable mention for the Juan Felipe Herrera Best Poetry Book Award section of the International Latino Book Awards!

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

Reel Latinxs Wins International Latino Book Award

September 14, 2020

We are so thrilled to announce that Reel Latinxs by Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher González won first place for the Best Nonfiction- Multi-Author section of the 2020 International Latino Book Awards!

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.

Frederick Luis Aldama is University Distinguished Professor, Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor of English, University Distinguished Scholar, and Alumni Distinguished Teacher at The Ohio State University. He is the 2018 recipient of the Rodica C. Botoman Award for Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring and the Susan M. Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award. He is the award-winning author, co-author, and editor of more than forty books.

Christopher González is an associate professor of English and director of the Latinx Cultural Center at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

Congratulations, Frederick and Christopher!

Think Deeper About Pop Culture with Our Latinx Pop Culture Series

September 11, 2020

This week, we are focusing on books that are part of our Latinx Pop Culture series. Latinx Pop Culture is a new 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.

Use the code AZLATINX20 at checkout to receive 35% off any of the titles mentioned in this post through 9/20/20!

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 a Q&A with the editors of Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities, Arturo J. Aldama and Frederick Luis Aldama, here.

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.

Read a conversation between Frederick and Christopher here, then watch a video on why Latinx pop culture matters with Frederick Luis Aldama, Christopher González, and Ilan Stavans here. We are thrilled that Reel Latinxs was nominated as a finalist for the International Latino Book Award!

Latinx Ciné in the Twenty-First Century is a timeless volume that offers 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.

“An engaging collection that demonstrates both the advances Latinx filmmaking has made in the 2000s, and the acumen of the scholars who appraise them.”—Ryan Rashotte, author of Narco Cinema

Food Fight! contributes to urgent discussions around the problems of cultural misappropriation, labeling, identity, and imaging in marketing and dining establishments. Not just about food, restaurants, and coffee, this volume employs a decolonial approach and engaging voice to interrogate ways that mestizo, Indigenous, and Latinx peoples are objectified in mainstream ideology and imaginary. 

“Every essay will fill a reader—millennial mestizo or just plain old Chicano—with joyous smiles at the zingers. Advertencia! This book is not one for idle consumption, it’s not fast food. Paloma Martinez-Cruz dishes up a scholarly dissertation of substantial complexity with a heaping portion of humor, verbal sleight-of-hand, and barely-restrained ire.”—La Bloga

Sor Juana: Or, The Persistence of Pop encapsulates the life, times, and legacy of seventeenth-century Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Ilan Stavans provides a biographical and meditative picture of how popular perceptions of her life and work both shape and reflect Latinx culture.

Read an excerpt from Sor Juana here, and watch a video about why Latinx pop culture matters with Ilan Stavans, Frederick Luis Aldama, and Christopher González here.

Interweaving discussions about the ethnic, racial, and linguistic representations of Latinas/os within network television comedies, Isabel Molina-Guzmán‘s Latina’s and Latinos On TV probes published interviews with producers and textual examples from hit programs like Modern Family, The Office, and Scrubs to understand how these prime-time sitcoms communicate difference in the United States.

Read an excerpt from the book here, then watch a video where Isabel Molina-Guzmán and Frederick Luis Aldama talk about Latinx pop culture here.

Latino Placemaking and Planning offers a pathway to define, analyze, and evaluate the role that placemaking can have with respect to Latino communities in the context of contemporary urban planning, policy, and design practices. Jesus J. Lara illustrates the importance of placemaking as a pathway to sustainable urban revitalization.

“Lara’s work on Latino urbanism both contributes to the rapid evolution of the field and strengthens an epistemic community around it. With this book, Lara both meta-analyzes the field and propels it forward.”—Clara Irazábal-Zurita, Director of Latinx and Latin American Studies, University of Missouri–Kansas City

In Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics, the foremost expert on Latinx comics, Frederick Luis Aldama, guides us through the full archive of all the Latinx superheros in comics since the 1940s. Aldama takes us where the superheroes live—the barrios, the hospitals, the school rooms, the farm fields—and he not only shows us a view to the Latinx content, sometimes deeply embedded, but also provokes critical inquiry into the way storytelling formats distill and reconstruct real Latinos/as.

We are very proud that Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics was the 2018 Eisner Award Winner for Best Scholarly/ Academic work, as well as the 2018 International Latino Book Award winner for Best Latino-Focused Non-Fiction Book. To watch Frederick talk about Latinx streaming during the coronavirus lockdown, visit here.

Center for Sacramento History Interviews ‘La Gente’ Author about Community History

September 8, 2020

Lorena V. Márquez, author of La Gente: Struggles for Empowerment and Community Self-Determination in Sacramento, was recently interviewed about her upcoming book by Center for Sacramento History archivist William Villano.

In the interview, Márquez shares how the rise of the Chicana/o Movement in Sacramento brought everyday people together to seek lasting and transformative change during the 1960s and 1970s.

This important work shows that the Chicana/o Movement was not solely limited to a handful of organizations or charismatic leaders. Rather, it encouraged those that were the most marginalized—the working poor, immigrants and/or the undocumented, and the under-educated—to fight for their rights on the premise that they too were contributing and deserving members of society.

Book Riot on Author Marquis Bey and Black Anarchism

September 5, 2020

Book Riot recently talked with University of Arizona Press author Marquis Bey on anarchism, their writing, and essential reads on Black trans anarchism.

Bey’s book with the Press, Them Goon Rules: Fugitive Essays on Radical Black Feminism, is a collection of personal essays on radical feminism, Blackness, nonnormative gender, and more.

From Book Riot:

Marquis Bey is the author of Them Goon Rules, published by the University of Arizona Press in 2019 while they were a doctoral candidate at Cornell University. They have since graduated and now hold the position of Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English at Northwestern University. Bey’s new book,  Anarcho-Blackness: Notes Toward a Black Anarchism, was published by AK Press in August of 2020.

Them Goon Rules is a collection of personal essays and critical examinations of Black American life with pieces such as “On Being Called a Thug,” “Scenes of Illegible Shadow Genders,” “Flesh Werq,” and many others. The book is personal, humanizing, and easy to read while having a level of depth that forces the reader to dwell on Bey’s writings days after reading.

To read the Book Riot feature in its entirety, please visit here.

Southwest Center Presents Food for Thought Program with David Yetman and Janos Wilder

September 3, 2020

Hosted by James Beard award-winning chef Janos Wilder and David Yetman, host of the PBS travel/adventure series In the Americas and a University of Arizona Press author, Food for Thought is an interactive, multidisciplinary lecture series.

The series, brings the Southwest Center together with Wilder, The Learning Curve, and the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill, with presentations on topics that define the Sonoran Desert, as well as engaging culinary demonstrations.

  • Gary Nabhan, Sept. 25, Prehistoric Menus are New Again: Ancestral Desert Foods as a Springboard to Our Future
  • Jennifer Jenkins, Oct. 2, Small Town and the Big Screen: The Early History of Tucson in Cinema
  • David Yetman, Oct. 9, Mountains and Saguaros: Why the Plants Love the Hills
  • Emma Pérez, Oct. 16, From Translator to Traitor: La Malinche as a Feminist Icon in the Borderlands
  • Ben Wilder, Oct. 23, Cactus-studded Coasts: Reconnecting to the Gulf of California
  • Robin Reineke, Oct. 30, Documenting the Dead: Forensics, Mourning, and Testimony along the US-Mexico Border

Registration is required. Please go here to register and for more information.

Embrace Indigenous Poetry with Our Recent Sun Tracks Titles

September 2, 2020

Launched in 1971, Sun Tracks was one of the first publishing programs to focus exclusively on the creative works of Native Americans. The series has included more than eighty volumes of poetry, prose, art, and photography by distinguished artists.

This week, we are featuring our recent Sun Tracks titles— a variety of stunning collections by Indigenous poets. Use the code AZSUNTRACKS20 to receive 30% off all Sun Tracks titles through 9/15/2020.

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 Séliš and Qĺispé stories that create the backbone of these intricate poems.

Get an in-depth look at Horsefly Dress by reading an interview with poet and scholar Heather Cahoon here.

Our Bearings is a collection of narrative poetry that examines and celebrates Anishinaabe life in modern Minneapolis. The poems offer a beautifully layered discourse between landscapes, stories, and the people who inhabit them. Through keen observation and a deep understanding of Native life in Minneapolis, poet and scholar Molly McGlennen has created a timely collection, which contributes beautifully to the important conversation about contemporary urban Native life in North America and globally.

Watch a virtual poetry reading with Molly McGlennen, Casandra López, and Laura Da’ here, then read an interview with McGlennen here, and watch her read a poem from Our Bearings here.

Aurum is a fiercely original poetry collection that reveals the marginalized and estranged Native American experience in the wake of industrial progress. With unforgettable imagery and haunting honesty, these poems are powerfully resonant.

Read an interview with Santee Frazier about Aurum here, and explore his previous collection with us, Dark Thirty, here.

Speaking to both a personal and collective loss, in Brother Bullet Casandra López confronts her relationships with violence, grief, trauma, guilt, and, ultimately, survival. Revisiting the memory and lasting consequences of her brother’s murder, López traces the course of the bullet—its trajectory, impact, wreckage—in poems that are paralyzing and raw with emotion, yet tender and alive in revelations of light.

Watch a virtual poetry reading with Molly McGlennen, Casandra López, and Laura Da’ here, then read a Los Angeles Review of Books interview with López here.

When it was first released in 1982, When It Rains was one of the earliest published literary works in the O’odham language. Speakers from across generations shared poems that showcased the aesthetic of the written word and aimed to spread interest in reading and writing in O’odham. When It Rains is an intuitive poetry collection that shows us how language connects people. With the poems in both O’odham and English, the volume serves as a reminder of the beauty and changeability of the O’odham language.

Read Ofelia Zepeda’s new foreword here.

Instruments of the True Measure charts the coordinates and intersections of land, history, and culture. Lyrical passages map the parallel lives of ancestral figures and connect dispossessions of the past to lived experiences of the present.

Watch a virtual poetry reading with Molly McGlennen, Casandra López, and Laura Da’ here, and read an interview with Laura Da’ here.

OLLI Hosts Press Authors in Fall Online Speaker Series

September 1, 2020

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute‘s online fall speaker series includes many University of Arizona Press authors from our fall 2020 catalog. We’re grateful to OLLI-UA for the invitation to be part of their noncredit learning program open to all adults over the age of 50.

Here are the Press authors featured:

Over 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.

The Global Lives of Indian Cotton: A Digital Storymap by Andrew Flachs

September 3, 2020

Through cotton, farmers, weavers, scientists, and wearers imagine Others across an ancient global commodity chain. It begins with a seed.

Five to ten million years ago, a member of the Malvacea plant family, which includes okra (Abelmoschus esculentus L.) and ornamental hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) branched off from its relatives and evolved twisting, waxy hairs along its seed coat. The fibers of this new Gossypium genus may have been intended to enlist birds in dispersing seeds, they may have been a ploy to sail along the wind like dandelions (Taraxacum officinale L.), or the hairs might have acted like an umbrella to keep the rain off the seeds. Yet as cotton continued to evolve, it attracted an unexpected helper drawn to those threads – human beings.

In a project conceived and designed by University of Arizona Press author Andrew Flachs, with contributions from Elizabeth Brite, Maura Finkelstein, Meena Menon, Robert N. Spengler III, the Udaanta Trust, Jonathan Wendel, and Emily A. Wolff, you can learn a wide range of valuable information about global cotton production via an interactive map. This map is best viewed on a computer, and can be found here.

Cultivating Knowledge highlights the agency, creativity, opportunism, and performance of individuals and communities carving out successful lives in a changing agricultural landscape. The practice of sustainable agriculture on the farm—let alone the global challenge of feeding or clothing the world—is a social question, not a technological one. Farmers do not make simple cost-benefit analyses when evaluating new technologies and options. Their choices have dire consequences, sometimes leading to death. Through an ethnography of seeds, Andrew Flachs investigates the human responses to global agrarian change.

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.

Free e-Book: Download Stephen Pyne’s California through Sept. 4

August 27, 2020

Two months ago as the Bighorn Fire was overtaking the mountains north of Tucson, we offered Stephen J. Pyne’s The Southwest as a free e-Book. Now, as California’s wild lands are on our minds and in our hearts, we are making Pyne’s To the Last Smoke volume on California available for free download from our website.

Since 2015, we have been publishing Pyne’s fire histories, which illuminate the regional and national history of wildfire in the United States.

California explores the ways the region has approached fire management and what sets it apart from other parts of the country. Pyne writes that what makes California’s fire scene unique is how its dramatically distinctive biomes have been yoked to a common system, ultimately committed to suppression, and how its fires burn with a character and on a scale commensurate with the state’s size and political power.

California is part of the multivolume series describing the nation’s fire scene region by region. The volumes in To the Last Smoke serve as an important punctuation point to Pyne’s 50-year career with wildland fire—both as a firefighter and a fire scholar. These unique surveys of regional pyrogeography are Pyne’s way of “keeping with it to the end,” encompassing the directive from his rookie season to stay with every fire “to the last smoke.”

Download here using code AZCA20. Available until 9/4/2020.

Learn more about the book

Time for ‘A Desert Feast’ Video: Niethammer’s New Book Explores Tucson’s Rich Culinary Heritage

August 26, 2020

Desert foods expert Carolyn Niethammer‘s new book celebrates Tucson and the region’s unique food cultures, telling the story of how this desert city became America’s first UNESCO City of Gastronomy.

A Desert Feast: Celebrating Tucson’s Culinary Heritage is a celebration of all that makes our desert community special. Sharing Southwest food traditions and cultures, this book showcases the foodways of a unique city in the Sonoran Desert. It features innovative uses for native desert plants and dishes incorporating ancient agricultural staples.

A Desert Feast comes out Tuesday, September 22, 2020, until then enjoy and share this introduction from Niethammer filmed at Mission Garden:

Stephen Pyne’s Op-Ed in The Los Angeles Times Warns of a Wildfire Contagion

August 25, 2020

Stephen Pyne’s Op-Ed in The Los Angeles Times addresses the current wildfire explosion in California and across the globe in recent times, offering a warning of the very fire-inflicted future ahead of us.

“The big payoff against contagion comes from systemic preparations. Emergency medicine can cope with a coronavirus surge only if other work flattens the curve of infection. Emergency firefighting can cope with outbreaks on the scale of California’s only if we address that fraction of climate, fuels and ignitions that remain within our reach.

We can eliminate obvious points of contact, such as powerline failures during Santa Ana and Diablo winds. We must tend to landscapes with pre-existing conditions — drained by drought, covered in feral fuels, buffeted by high winds — that can push mundane outbreaks toward lethal outcomes. We must promote community fire-wellness programs and practice routine watchfulness to reduce vulnerability.”

Read the entire piece here.

Stephen J. Pyne is an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. He is the author of more than 30 books, mostly on wildland fire and its history but also dealing with the history of places and exploration.

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Pyne’s latest volume with the University of Arizona Press is To the Last Smoke, which 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 anthology functions as a color-commentary companion to the play-by-play narrative offered in Pyne’s Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America. The series is Pyne’s way of “keeping with it to the end,” encompassing the directive from his rookie season to stay with every fire “to the last smoke.”

See the Conversation: Beaule and Douglass Discuss ‘Global Spanish Empire’

August 20, 2020

On August 15, more than 200 peopled tuned in to watch editors Christine Beaule and John G. Douglass discuss their edited volume The Global Spanish Empire: Five Hundred Years of Place Making and Pluralism, a free virtual lecture offered by the Amerind Foundation.

Watch the video.

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.

Viewers of the virtual conversation will learn about several key topics in the book, including the role of place-making in Spanish colonialism, the role of pluralism in the colonial experiment, and gain new understanding of Indigenous-Spanish interactions. Beaule and Douglass also explain how their Amerind Studies in Anthropology series book (published by the University of Arizona Press) came together.

To see upcoming Amerind events, please visit the foundation’s website.

Meditación Fronteriza Nominated as a Finalist for the International Latino Book Award

August 20, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Meditación Fronteriza by Norma Elia Cantú is a finalist for the International Latino Book Awards Juan Felipe Herrera Poetry Book section! At the Virtual Awards Ceremony on September 12, the first, second, and honorable mention will be announced. The virtual and free program starts with entertainment at 2:30pm Pacific Time and the ceremony begins at 3:00 pm Pacific Time. Visit the International Latino Book Awards website for more details.

“Again, healer, teacher, foremother Norma Cantú stitches together the art of documentation. Here, she weaves together mediations on the literal/spiritual/intellectual/metaphorical borderlands. A gathering of love poems carving a space to grieve and to celebrate, these poems honor the land, the people in it, and women’s bodies in bloom and in decay in all the places we exist and in all our forms—algebra teachers and poets and pecan shellers and lovers. Like the tendrils of a vine, each poem sprouts its own delicate truth.”—Laurie Ann Guerrero

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

Congratulations on this wonderful news, Norma!

Gloria E. Anzaldúa Reads Uncollected and Unpublished Poems in 1991 Recording

August 14, 2020

We are so thrilled to share a new volume with you, Teaching Gloria E. Anzaldúa, this season! We thought this reading from Gloria herself was incredible, so we wanted to share it with you. This reading is available thanks to 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. Listen here.

Gloria Evangelina Anzaldúa—theorist, Chicana, feminist—famously called on scholars to do work that matters. This pronouncement was a rallying call, inspiring scholars across disciplines to become scholar-activists and to channel their intellectual energy and labor toward the betterment of society. Scholars and activists alike have encountered and expanded on these pathbreaking theories and concepts first introduced by Anzaldúa in Borderlands/La frontera and other texts.

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.

Urayoán Noel Featured on the Poetry Centered Podcast

August 13, 2020

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. Our inaugural season includes episodes hosted by Hanif Abdurraqib, Alison Hawthorne Deming, Ada Limón, Urayoán Noel, Maggie Smith, and TC Tolbert.

In this episode, Urayoán Noel introduces recordings of Ai engaging with war through necessary fury (“The Root Eater”), Lehua M. Taitano composing a lifeline to communities living with the legacies of colonialism (“A Love Letter to the Chamoru People in the Twenty-first Century”), Ofelia Zepeda on the untranslatability of song (“Ñeñe’i Ha-ṣa:gid / In the Midst of Songs”), and a fable of radical imagination by Gloria E. Anzaldúa (“Nepantla”). Noel ends the episode with his poem “Molecular Modular,” built around open-ended questions considering virality and modes of community.

Urayoán Noel is the author of Buzzing Hemisphere/ Rumor Hemisférico, a playful and irreverent mash-up of voices and poetic traditions from across the Americas, which imagines an alternative to the monolingualism of the U.S. literary and political landscape, and proposes a geo-neuro-political performance attuned to damaged or marginalized forms of knowledge, perception, and identity. Urayoán Noel has been a fellow of CantoMundo and the Ford Foundation, and he is currently the poetry editor of NACLA Report on the Americas. Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Noel lives in the Bronx and is an assistant professor of English and Spanish at New York University.

Keep an eye out on our website for a forthcoming collection from Urayoán Noel!

Fred Arroyo and Daniel Chacón Share Their Work And Writing Life

Aug. 14, 2020

We recently brought authors Fred Arroyo and Daniel Chacón together for an online event that turned into a creative writing and philosophy cocktail. In other words, it was super cool.

Arroyo and Chacón also read excerpts from their recent University of Arizona Press books — Sown in Earth and Kafka in a Skirt.

Arroyo, in Sown in Earth, recounts his youth through beautiful lyrical prose to humanize and immortalize the hushed lives of men like his father, honoring their struggle and claiming their impact on the writers and artists they raised. Chacón’s Kafka, his first book with the Press, is a short-story collection set in El Paso and other Latinx-dominant urban spaces disregarding boundaries and transporting readers into a world merely parallel to our own.

We are grateful to the authors for their time.

Bundle Sale: 20% Off Print Books & the E-Book Free

August 13, 2020

Now through the end of the month, we’re offering a bundle sale perfect for stocking up for the semester! We are offering 20% off titles, plus you can add the e-Book free with code AZBUNDLE in our shopping cart.

Every print book is available at 20% off with this code, but unfortunately not all University of Arizona Press books are available in e-Book format. To find out how you can help us digitize more of our backlist, please visit our Support page.

Reel Latinxs Nominated as a Finalist for the International Latino Book Award

August 20, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Reel Latinxs by Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher González is a finalist for the International Latino Book Awards Best Nonfiction— Multi-Author section! At the Virtual Awards Ceremony on September 12, the first, second, and honorable mention will be announced. The virtual and free program starts with entertainment at 2:30pm Pacific Time and the ceremony begins at 3:00 pm Pacific Time. Visit the International Latino Book Awards website for more details.

In Reel Latinxs, Aldama and González blaze new paths through Latinx cultural phenomena that disrupt stereotypes, breathing complexity into real Latinx subjectivities and experiences. In this grand sleuthing sweep of Latinx representation in mainstream TV and film that continues to shape the imagination of U.S. society, these two Latinx pop culture authorities call us all to scholarly action.

Frederick Luis Aldama is University Distinguished Professor, Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor of English, University Distinguished Scholar, and Alumni Distinguished Teacher at The Ohio State University. He is the 2018 recipient of the Rodica C. Botoman Award for Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring and the Susan M. Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award. He is the award-winning author, co-author, and editor of more than forty books. He is editor and co-editor of eight academic press book series as well as editor of Latinographix, a trade press series that publishes Latinx graphic fiction and nonfiction.

Christopher González is an associate professor of English and director of the Latinx Cultural Center at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.

Congratulations, Frederick and Christopher!

Alberto Álvaro Ríos Talks Poetry, Fiction, And Border Life In Recent Interview

August 7, 2020

In a recent interview with the SanTan Sun News, Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Álvaro Ríos talks about poetry, and his new book with the University of Arizona Press:

A Good Map of All Things” has a similar theme and the story takes place just south of the border, in northern Sonora.

“It’s a compendium of all the small towns that I grew up either visiting or hearing about or my great aunts lived in,” he said. “There is no one main character; the town itself is the character. Everybody comes in and they tell their story, creating again their own community. There’s no one way to describe their community. Everybody has their version.”

Rios values the lifelong experience that makes us singular as authors and poets. 

“We each, every one of us as human beings, have an innately particular story to tell,” he said.

Read the entire interview here.

Fonseca-Chávez On NPR Urges Reflection On Southwest Colonial History

August 6, 2020

University of Arizona Press author Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez was recently on NPR affiliate KJZZ discussing the Confederate monument removals and the monuments recently removed in New Mexico of Spanish conquistador Juan de Oñate:

… it’s complicated because the issue with the Oñate statues is that they were met with protests from the moment that they were going up. And the larger argument that I make with that is the funding that’s attached to these almost are always people of, you know, people that want to celebrate this legacy. People that are from a different sort of socioeconomic status. Even the statue in El Paso, for example, which is the largest equestrian statue in the world, this was put up after the one that went up in Alcalde, New Mexico, after the one that went up in Albuquerque. And so it’s sort of just interesting to think about, you know, if the argument is that these statues really celebrate our history, how many statues do you want? And are you willing to listen to detractors or folks that feel differently about that history. If you’re not willing to listen to that, but you’re also part of the socioeconomic class that can make it happen, then that’s where sort of the power imbalance happens when you’re really talking about whether or not this is OK.

Fonseca-Chávez’s new book, 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.

To listen or read the full interview with Fonseca-Chávez, go here.

Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities: Five Questions with Frederick and Arturo Aldama

August 5, 2020

In Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities, eighteen contributors explore how legacies of colonization and capitalist exploitation and oppression have created toxic forms of masculinity that continue to suffocate the lives of Latinx people. And while the authors seek to identify all cultural phenomena that collectively create reductive, destructive, and toxic constructions of masculinity that traffic in misogyny and homophobia, they also uncover the many spaces—such as Xicanx-Indígena languages, resistant food cultures, music performances, and queer Latinx rodeo practices—where Latinx communities can and do exhale healing masculinities.

Below, editors Arturo J. Aldama and Frederick Luis Aldama answer five questions about their new volume.

 What inspired you to create this edited volume?

The short answer: It’s the right moment. Of course, there’s been much important work done already within different critical (street and ivory tower) spaces to trouble, overturn, and break from stagnant, stagnating, straightjacketing behaviors (thought and feeling systems), policies, and cultural imaginaries. In our introduction to the volume, we mention a whole slew of such powerfully transformative creators, writers, and activist-thinkers. Too many to list here.

We are both very inspired and transformed by Xicana, indigenous and women of color feminist thought and queer of color critique so we thought it is important to bring a decolonial gaze into the constructions and performance of Latinx masculinities.

By moment, we mean that there’s today un gran Latinx tsunami pushing up from seafloors with a hereto unimagined potent kinetic energy. Young gen Latinxs creator-scholars are leading the charge, modeling vital and vigorous twenty-first century decolonizing ontological and epistemological practices. It’s more than a moment. It’s a movement. The legion of extraordinary activist creator-scholars that make up Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities are its avantgarde.

What do you think the long-term implications of negative masculine stereotypes in the popular media—from fictional TV shows to political news coverage— are for Latinx youths?

From TV shows like Narcos and Borderforce and films such as Sicario to the Chief Executive Cheeto’s racist, sexist, and hetero-thuggish Tweets, mainstream media continues to give free license to retrograde social and economic policies. Arguably, as never before the mainstream media functions to justify Klansman-like terrorist actions against LGBTQ+ and Brown, Black, and Indigenous communities in this country. The mainstream media filled with images of Latinxs as a Brown horde threat that threatens White civilization justifies the intensification of violence and surveillance within our carceral state.  That results in the curtailing—no, the destruction—of the full flourishing of complex, non-binaristic Latinx thought, feeling, and action systems.  That allow us to be in ways far more expansive than erstwhile concepts of gender and sexuality captured.

This said, and as the work in this volume attests, we’re not sitting around on our hands. We never have. We never will. We’re using our pens as our machetes. We continue to work hard to resist the onslaught of destructive media, wrenching tight tourniquets to stop culturacidal hemorrhages.

The transformative work seen by the scholar-creator activists in this volume are testament to this fact. They not only re-act. They open new spaces for us to inhale multispectrumed identities and exhale multifarious experiences. They clear new affirming paths that invite us to move powerfully forward.

With Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities we hope that millennial Latinx subjects will begin to truly question and decolonize the practices of toxic masculinities and learn to love each other and others without the straitjackets of misogyny and homophobic/transphobic violence(s) perpetuated by the capitalist media congloms.

Do you think the young adult literature, shows, films, podcasts, and music of today are opening the conversation for healthier masculinities, or do you think all of these industries still have a long way to go?

Everywhere we turn, Latinx creators are opening eyes to the resplendent spectrum of liberatory modes that we exist—and can exist. We think readily of queer author Alex Sanchez’s breathtaking coming of age and out Aqualad superhero graphic novel for DC. (See Fred’s “Anatomy of a Panel with Alex Sanchez”.). We think of Latinx-helmed TV shows like the rebooted One Day at a Time, Vida, and Gentefied that variously trouble simplistic and stifling ways of being in terms of language, culture, gender and sexuality. (See Fred’s “Love Victor: Brown Queer Teen Tvlandia Watershed; or Hollywood Brown Flavored Bubblegum”.) We think of the vital new audioscapes created by new gen nonbinary Latinx musicians such as Dominican Latinx Rubby and Afro-Boricua Nitty Scott. It’s in these Latinx-grown cultural spaces that we see the pop happening when it comes to waking the world to the vibrant, multispectrumed non-binary ways that we can and do feel, think and perceive in the world.

Recognizing that many aspects of toxic masculinity are rooted in colonialism, how do you think communities should work toward more Indigenous ways of thinking about and performing gender?

Unfortunately, the colonial legacy is still with us. From generation to generation, we’ve passed down a colonial mentality; we’ve passed down centuries of destructive and restrictive ways of thinking and feeling as colonized peoples. The result: we Latinxs act from fear—a fear that divides us from one another—that atomizes us—and that ultimately destroys our families and communities. It’s hate that we see rear its ugly head when a family member fires pejorative bullets at us like puto, maricón, chavala, puta, crybaby, lloroncito, bitch, pussy, niñita. Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities offers the many different ways we can begin to unlearn this hate and fear. It’s the work of those who have come before us and new gen Latinx scholar-creator activists like those in this volume that can and do show us how to decolonize minds,  bodies—spirits. They can and do invite us to struggle free from those straightjackets of binary and polarized models of existence. They welcome us into new dynamic and multispectrumed modes of existing as genders, sexualities—as expansively loving masculinities.

What are you working on now?

We have our individual projects, of course. Fred’s working on the animation adaptation of his debut kid’s lit book, The Adventures of Chupacabra Charlie and continues his work Latinx-diversifying the otherwise white space of comics studies. As Chair of Ethnic Studies, Arturo is focused on doing outreach to the Latinx community through the funded Latinx history projects and continue work with the lyripeutics project to bring decolonial spoken word and hip hop pedagogy to Latinx and other youth of color who are surviving the school to prison pipeline.

We love working together, not only on editing volumes such as Decolonizing Latinx Masculinities but also the work of shepherding new visions and voices through our Latinx Pop Culture book series with you all, the University of Arizona Press. We have some extraordinary books to look forward to seeing on library bookshelves, classroom desks, and ruffled up in backpacks and back-pockets, so be sure to keep an eye out for them in the future.

Arturo J. Aldama is an associate professor and chair of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, and affiliate faculty in Gender and Women’s Studies. He received his doctorate in ethnic studies from University of California, Berkeley, in 1996. He is co-editor of the University of Arizona Press’s series Latinx Pop Culture. He is the author of Disrupting Savagism: Intersecting Chicanalo, Mexican Immigrant and Native American Struggles for Representation and author and curator of Moments in Mexican American History: Racism and Resistance, a forty-panel traveling exhibit on the histories of racism, violence, and activism in Mexican American and Chicanx communities of the Southwest. He is co-editor of numerous volumes, including Comparative lndigeneities of the Américas: Toward a Hemispheric Approach.

Frederick Luis Aldama is University Distinguished Professor, Arts & Humanities Distinguished Professor of English, University Distinguished Scholar, and Alumni Distinguished Teacher at The Ohio State University. He is the 2018 recipient of the Rodica C. Botoman Award for Distinguished Teaching and Mentoring and the Susan M. Hartmann Mentoring and Leadership Award. He is the award-winning author, co-author, and editor of more than forty books. In 2018 his Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics won the International Latino Book Award and the Eisner Award for Best Scholarly Work. He is editor and co-editor of eight academic press book series, including Latinx Pop Culture, as well as editor of Latinographix, a trade press series that publishes Latinx graphic fiction and nonfiction. His other University of Arizona Press books include Latinx Ciné in the Twenty-First Century, Long Stories Cut Short, and Reel Latinxs.

‘Divided Peoples’ Author on Border Policy and Its Impacts on Indigenous Communities

July 31, 2020

Christina Leza, author of Divided Peoples: Policy, Activism, and Indigenous Identities on the U.S.-Mexico Border, recently asked in an essay published in Yes!, ‘What is the U.S.-Mexico border to indigenous peoples who have lived there?’ especially during this latest border wall construction.

An excerpt from the essay:

The Indigenous Alliance has long advocated for the development of comprehensive legislation that would address Indigenous border rights at both the Canada-U.S. and U.S.-Mexico borders, and has envisioned summits that include both tribal government and grassroots community leaders. Recent tribal border summits in Tucson, Arizona, organized by the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, the Tohono O’odham Nation, and the National Congress of American Indians are building toward this vision. The Indigenous Alliance has also advocated for the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples by U.S. tribal governments on the U.S.-Mexico border to help build a common reference for Indigenous border rights.

While Indigenous leaders work to address issues they face with U.S.-Mexico border policy, Indigenous members must continue to grapple with the everyday impacts of increasing border enforcement, including the growing presence of Border Patrol and surveillance technology on reservation lands, as well as the disruption of their lands by border barrier construction.

Read the entire essay in Yes! here.

Daniel Olivas Pays Tribute to Father of Chicano Literature

July 29, 2020

University of Arizona Press author Daniel Olivas, author of King of Lighting Fixtures and Book of Want, recently paid tribute to Rudolfo Anaya, who passed away on June 28.

In the Fall 2013, Olivas did a two-question interview for the Los Angeles Review of Books. The interview was only in the LARB print edition, and not online. Olivas asked if that could change, and LARB in return asked if Olivas could write an intro.

Here’s an excerpt of the intro:

On June 28, Rudolfo Anaya died in his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The man commonly referred to as the Father of Chicano literature had been suffering from ill health for a while. For many of us who shared in some or all of his cultural touchstones—and who therefore embraced his literature—it felt as though a family member had passed.

Two generations of Latinx writers had been inspired by Anaya to become writers themselves because he proved that our stories matter and could be published and read and appreciated. I can say without a doubt that his trailblazing 1972 novel, Bless Me, Ultima, convinced me to start telling my own stories in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Eleven books and one full-length play later, Rudy still inspires me to write.

Yes, I just called the great writer “Rudy.” And that is because I reached out to him seven years ago to propose a short, email interview for LARB regarding his new novel, The Old Man’s Love Story (University of Oklahoma Press). In response, on June 7, 2013, at 12:14 p.m., he responded with a short email: “Ese, email me questions & thanks. Rudy.”

Read the entire intro, as well as Olivas’s interview with Anaya here.

Buelna News Book Review On Chicano Communists

July 28, 2020

Gabriel Buelna gave some positive attention to Chicano Communists and the Struggle for Social Justice, published by the University of Arizona Press, on his online program, Buelna News. Buelna, a Chicano studies professor in Los Angeles, focuses on Latinos and Latin American issues and interests.

Chicano Communists, by Enrique M. Buelna, follows the thread of radical activism and the depth of its influence on Mexican Americans struggling to achieve social justice and equality.

Q & A with Heather Cahoon Offers Deeper Look at Horsefly Dress

July, 2020

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.

Below, Heather Cahoon answers a few questions about her beautiful new poetry collection.

The poems in Horsefly Dress are influenced by traditional Séliš and Qĺispé stories. How do you think these stories guide and impact the contemporary lives of Salish-Kalispel peoples?

I think it varies a lot from individual to individual and depends on each person’s exposure—or lack thereof—to the stories.  There are many reasons for the lack of exposure but among the foremost are federal Indian policies of assimilation that were designed to acculturate American Indians.  These policies were very aggressive and included on- and off-reservation boarding schools for Native youth, the banning of sacred spiritual practices, and the forced allotment of reservations, among other collateral outcomes from these policies.  Federal assimilation efforts were obviously never fully successful, however, and many people managed to maintain their traditions to varying degrees.  As a result of both of these sort of countervailing efforts by federal officials and tribal people, American Indians today may have more or less access to their cultural traditions, including their traditional stories.  That said, there are definitely segments of my community whose contemporary lives are very much guided and impacted by our traditional stories.  These stories are hyperlocal and relevant; they are located right here where we live out our daily lives and they continue to have so much to teach us about inhabiting this place and about being human.

Avian symbolism plays a powerful role in this collection. Could you please tell us more about the significance of birds in your work?

Some of the significance is tied to tribal symbolism but most of it, in this collection, is personal.  Whenever I’m out trail walking or hiking there are birds present—you can hear them, you often see them moving about the forest and so much of the time they seem to be just part of the scenery.  But every so often, one steps out of that in a way that penetrates my experience or perception of being the primary observer and suddenly I am aware that I am being perceived by something just as alive and sentient as I am.  Some of these exchanges or interactions are longer and more drawn out while some are very brief.  Each one is unique but they are all so poignant and meaningful that they’ll often make their way into my poems.

The poems in Horsefly Dress are bursting with vivid foliage, animals, and natural elements. What is your process for weaving nature so intimately into your poetry?

My family has spent so much time outdoors in the mountains.  Growing up, my father made a living by hunting and by selling things he could harvest from around our reservation and we often helped him in these endeavors.  He sold Christmas trees, firewood, landscaping stones and even dropped deer and elk antlers, which sometimes he would make into antler lamps and chandeliers.  We also spent time as a family just driving to pretty places for either camping or fishing or just to enjoy the peacefulness and smell of the mountains.  It has been my father’s belief that for whatever ails a person, all they need is to retreat into the mountains in order to become well.  Needless to say, I continue to spend time in the outdoors and the experiences I have with local places, flora and fauna inevitably end up in my poems. 

Dreams are featured prominently in this collection. How do dreams affect your creative process?

I occasionally have dreams that are so vivid and powerful that I think about them off and on for days, sometimes even years, until I understand their meaning.  Interestingly, it’s often the creative process of making them into poems—the act of writing about them in such detail—that helps me fully understand them, to see or hear or decode their messages for me. 

What are you working on now?

I am working on and off on a longer-term project that involves revising and expanding my 2005 poetry chapbook Elk Thirst into a full-length collection.  Besides this, I recently launched and direct the American Indian Governance and Policy Institute at the University of Montana and am working to develop a comprehensive tribal public policy needs assessment for each of the tribal governments located our state.  I can get mentally caught up in my policy research and writing, which is very cerebral, but this state is countered by writing poetry, which brings me back to into the present and helps ground me in a bodily experience of time and place.

Read a poem from Horsefly Dress, included below.

RENDER

May I be worthy 
   of my most embattled moments.
          May I find a way    to render meaning 
from the blood marbled-memories
          cached inside
the carcass of the past. 

© 2020 by Heather Cahoon

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.

Charles Bowden’s Blue Desert Featured in Harper’s Magazine

7/24/2020

In the August 2020 issue of Harper’s Magazine, Wes Enzinna writes an essay on Charles Bowden that praises, criticizes, and recognizes Bowden as a shrewd predictor of the current chaos surrounding the United States borderlands. Below, read an excerpt from the essay which pertains to our book Blue Desert, originally published in 1986 and recently re-released with a new forward by Fransciso Cantú in 2018.

“For all his cynicism, Bowden’s response to this crisis was never a desire to strengthen the border, but rather to destroy it. ‘There aren’t any Mexican stars or American stars,’ he once said in a radio profile, as he hiked with the correspondent through the Buenos Aires wildlife refuge in southern Arizona, a popular route for migrants sneaking into the United States. ‘It’s like a great biological unity with a meat cleaver of law cutting it in half.’ His work was an attempt to heal this cleavage, and to remind us how our hunger, pollution, and violence connected us all, especially in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts, where nature was a stingy mother and death ruled over everything. ‘We are becoming more and more aware that our civilization destroys the foundations that support it by devouring the earth and the things of the earth,’ he wrote in Blue Desert. ‘But we don’t have the courage to back away, to stop, to restrain ourselves. I know I don’t.’

Like the beasts and criminals he admired, Bowden was a complicated, contradictory creature. He loved dogs, dirt, wine, worms, Cadillacs, cacti. He held backyard parties to watch summer cereus flowers bloom at midnight, and owned scores of guns but was reluctant to shoot them lest they scare the birds. In Most Alarming, a priest named Gary Paul Nabhan reports that the last time he saw Bowden the surly old tough guy was weeping for a cottonwood tree that had died. Bowden’s teeth were falling out. He was poor and owned little more than a laptop, a Le Creuset pot, a sleeping bag, a Honda Fit, and a pair of binoculars. If in life he sometimes failed to be a decent man, in his writing he tried to be a better animal. ‘The whippoorwill’s name reflects the sounds we hear it make,’ he once wrote in a letter to a friend.”

Read the entire essay here.

Published in 1986, Blue Desert was Charles Bowden’s third book-length work and takes place almost entirely in Arizona, revealing Bowden’s growing and intense preoccupation with the state and what it represented as a symbol of America’s “New West.” In a thoughtful new foreword, Francisco Cantú writes, “In Blue Desert, we follow Bowden in the processes of becoming. We see the version of Bowden that he would likely most want us to remember—someone who did their best to be an honest witness, someone who was haunted by modernity and his place in it, someone who grappled with his demons by gazing deeply into the desert.”

Charles Bowden (1945–2014) was the author of many acclaimed books about the American Southwest and U.S.-Mexico border issues. He was a contributing editor for GQ, Harper’s, Esquire, and Mother Jones. His honors include a PEN First Amendment Award and the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.

Diana Negrín on Cracking the Silence on Racism in Mexico

July 23, 2020

Recently author Diana Negrín published a piece in Medium about racism in Mexico. Negrín is the author of Racial Alterity, Wixarika Youth Activism, and the Right to the Mexican City, which examines the legacy of the racial imaginary in Mexico with a focus on the Wixarika (Huichol) Indigenous peoples.

In the piece in Medium, Negrín writes, “A few years back it would have been very difficult to find platforms through which to discuss race and racism in Mexico. When I began sharing my writing and research detailing the contemporary experiences of Indigenous youth as they confronted and challenged structural and everyday forms of discrimination, few people I encountered, beyond the Wixarika university students who collaborated and protagonized my research, seemed interested. Within Mexico, the fact of racism has often been downplayed by the country’s long tradition of centering the mestizo identity as one that is composed of various racial and ethnic lineages. European cultural mannerisms, political economic orders, language, and general world views were to replace or, at the least, hybridize with Indigenous heritages.”

See the complete piece here.

The University of Arizona Press Fall 2020 Catalog

July 21, 2020

Every season with the availability of our new catalog our staff takes a collective moment to reflect proudly and fondly on what we are presenting to you. The Fall 2020 season is no different.

These works are months and even years in the making. They illuminate the commitment, passion, and generosity of our authors, editors, peer reviewers, and above all you, our readers. These books bring new perspectives to our world, looking deeply, hopefully, critically, and thoughtfully.

Essays, history, poetry, ethnography, archaeology, and so much more are showcased in the Fall 2020 Season. It is with great pride we offer you this look at what we will be publishing in coming months!

Browse and enjoy!

Carlos Velez-Ibáñez Honored with the 2020 Franz Boas Award

July 15, 2020

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.

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez is a Regents Professor and the Motorola Presidential Professor of Neighborhood Revitalization in the School of Transborder Studies and a Regents Professor of in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University. His numerous honors include the 2004 Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology and the 2003 Bronislaw Malinowski Medal. Vélez-Ibáñez was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1994 and was named as a corresponding member of the Mexican Academy of Sciences (Miembro Correspondiente de la Academia Mexicana de Ciencias) in 2015, the only American anthropologist so selected.

Carlos is the author of five University of Arizona Press books, including Border Visions, Hegemonies of Language and Their Discontents, An Impossible Living in a Transborder World, and The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region. His forthcoming book, Reflections of a Transborder Anthropologist, explores Vélez-Ibáñez’s development as a scholar and in so doing the development of the interdisciplinary fields of transborder and applied anthropology.

Congratulations, Carlos!

Explore Our Exciting Space Science Titles

July 9, 2020

For six decades, the University of Arizona Press has published exceptional works in the field of space science. Below, we’ve highlighted some of our recent space science titles.

Under Desert Skies is currently available as our free e-book of the week until 7/16/2020. Use the code AZSKY20 at checkout!

Planetary Astrobiology represents the combined efforts of more than seventy-five international experts consolidated into twenty chapters and provides an accessible, interdisciplinary gateway for new students and seasoned researchers who wish to learn more about this expanding field. Readers are brought to the frontiers of knowledge in astrobiology via results from the exploration of our own solar system and exoplanetary systems.

This book is a part of our incredible Space Science Series.

Enceladus and the Icy Moons of Saturn brings together nearly eighty of the world’s top experts to establish what we currently understand about Saturn’s moons, while building the framework for the highest-priority questions to be addressed through ongoing spacecraft exploration.

This book is also a part of our Space Science Series.

Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science describes the life of a man who lived through some of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century and ended up creating a new field of scientific research, planetary science. As NASA and other space agencies explore the solar system, they take with them many of the ideas and concepts first described by Gerard P. Kuiper.

Read an excerpt from Derek W. G. Sears’ book here. We are thrilled to announce that Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science won a Foreword Indies Award!

Mars: The Pristine Beauty of the Red Planet is the most outstanding and uniquely curated selection of Mars orbital images ever assembled in one volume. With explanatory captions in twenty-four languages and a gallery of more than 200 images, this distinctive volume brings a timely and clear look at the work of an active NASA mission.

Don’t forget, all e-books are 40% right now with the code AZEBOOK40!

Free E-Book of the Week: Under Desert Skies

July 8, 2020

Since March, we have featured a free e-Book almost every week. For this week’s Free e-Book of the Week, we’re pleased to offer Melissa Sevigny’s Under Desert Skies: How Tucson Mapped the Way to the Moon and Planets for free download.

Under Desert Skies describes how a small lunar- and planetary-focused laboratory at the University of Arizona forged the field of planetary science at a time when few people studied the solar system. Spanning six decades, the book records the stories of the scientists who, with telescopes and spacecraft, transformed single points of lights into worlds that we can see, touch, study, and compare to Earth.

Melissa L. Sevigny grew up in Tucson, Arizona, with a deep love of the geology, ecology, and the clear desert skies of the Southwest. She is a science and technology reporter for KNAU (Arizona Public Radio) in Flagstaff. Minor Planet (15624) Lamberton is named in her honor.

Download Under Desert Skies here using code AZSKY20. Available until 7/16/2020.

“Beyond their awe-inspiring accomplishments, these UA faculty epitomize the ‘inexhaustible sense of wonder’ that Sevigny considers the heart of planetary science.”—The Journal of Arizona History

“Tells the story of how a small corner of Arizona became Earth’s ambassador to space.”—Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin

Under Desert Skies presents an institutional history of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) at the University of Arizona in Tucson: a key center for planetary sciences today and throughout its sixty-year history.” —Isis Review

More books about space and science

Need Some Summer Reads? We Got You

July 7, 2020

We recently asked several University of Arizona Press authors to recommend a book from the Press that makes for a good read, and beautiful literature. Enjoy!

Bryan Allen Fierro’s Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul

We may not have baseball this year (fingers still crossed), but we do have Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul. Of course this collection is about more than baseball. Bryan Allen Fierro‘s debut is a series of searing tales set in the barrios of Los Angeles that was rightly recognized as being a testament to all of our shared humanity.

Luis Alberto Urrea, author of In Search of Snow, Wandering Time and Nobody’s Son

Melissa L. Sevigny’s Under Desert Skies: How Tucson Mapped the Way to the Moon and Planets

Summer evenings are for stargazing. And our desert skies make for some of the best seeing anywhere. Just ask any astronomer or backyard telescope enthusiast. You probably know one or two because Tucson is full of them. Chances are you’ve visited Kitt Peak National Observatory or the Mount Lemmon SkyCenter or the Whipple Observatory on Mount Hopkins, just a few of the telescope collections that dot the peaks of our sky islands.

Indeed, Tucson is the astronomy capital of the world. But we also have a long, fascinating history of planetary science. Melissa L. Sevigny’s 2016 book, Under Desert Skies: How Tucson Mapped the Way to the Moon and Planets, tells the stories of how space pioneers like Gerard Kuiper and Ewen Whitaker founded the UA’s Lunar and Planetary Lab (LPL) and made Tucson the epicenter of exploration of our solar system.

Ken Lamberton, author of Chasing Arizona: One Man’s Yearlong Obsession with the Grand Canyon State

Tom Holm’s The Osage Rose

Want to know more about the Tulsa Race Massacre that’s been in the news recently? Tom Holm‘s novel provides a nuanced examination of this event and two others that happened nearly simultaneously: the Osage Oil Murders and Prohibition, through the actions of believable characters. This is the best work in print that addresses these issues which still have consequences nearly a century since they occurred.

Frances Washburn, author of The Red Bird All-Indian Traveling Band

Carmen Giménez Smith’s Milk and Filth

With so little time, I pick cautiously the guests I invite to share my imagination. I want my VIP guests to tingle flesh and zing my body electric. I want them to stop me in my tracks to hear new contrapuntal melodies and to shiver with pleasure as I lick air that wraps anew words and images—actions and thoughts. I want them to peel back that thick glaze coating the surface of my mind. I want them to jumper-cable shock me out of Twitter bubbles and FB echo chambers. I want a lot. Today, I invite Carmen Giménez Smith and her exquisite Milk and Filth to share my soul.

Frederick Luis Aldama, author of Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics

Sara Sue Hoklotubbe’s Sadie Walela Mystery series

I recommend Sara Sue Hoklotubbe‘s award winning Sadie Walela Mystery series. There are precious few Native mystery writers and it is refreshing indeed to read stories authored by writers who know the culture and the territory.

Devon A. Mihesuah, author of The Roads of My Relations

Emmy Pérez’s, With the River on Our Face

Emmy Pérez’s With the River on Our Face, is more than a love letter to the Peoples and ecologies long nourished beyond the cut banks of the Rio Grande. This vital collection is a divining rod. With precise music in her language, Pérez is intentional and patient, and informed. With the River on Our Face is a meditation, border gravity pulling the reader to culturally fertile and voice sustaining, emerald waters. 

Bryan Allen Fierro, author of Dodger Blue Will Fill Your Soul

Six More Open Access Titles Now Available

July 6, 2020

The University of Arizona Press is constantly working toward innovative, forward-thinking ways to connect our scholarship with readers worldwide. We are pleased to announce a new selection of titles in the fields of anthropology, archaeology, border studies, and Latin American studies are now available as open access (OA).

Thanks to financial support from Knowledge Unlatched, we have been able to move an additional six titles to OA format. The titles are available either via link on our website or directly through the OAPEN Foundation.

Now Available as OA:

The Border and Its Bodies
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 on the most basic social unit possible: the human body.
OA Link

Activist Biology
Activist Biology is the story of a group of biologists at the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro who joined the drive to renew the Brazilian nation, claiming as their weapon the voice of their fledgling field. It offers a portrait of science as a creative and transformative pathway. This book will intrigue anyone fascinated by environmental history and Latin American political and social life in the 1920s and 1930s.
OA Link

Before Kukulkán
This volume illuminates human lifeways in the northern Maya lowlands prior to the rise of Chichén Itzá. Using bioarchaeology, mortuary archaeology, and culturally sensitive mainstream archaeology, the authors create an in-depth regional understanding while also laying out broader ways of learning about the Maya past.
OA Link

Big Water
Big Water focuses on the uniquely overlapping character of South America’s Triple Frontier. These essays complicate the frontiers and balance the excessive weight previously given to empires, nations, and territorial expansion. Big Water’s transdisciplinary approach provides a new understanding of how space and society have developed throughout Latin America.
OA Link

Challenging the Dichotomy
Challenging the Dichotomy explores how dichotomies regarding heritage dominate the discussions of ethics, practices, and institutions. Contributing authors underscore the challenge to the old paradigms from multiple forces. The case studies and discourses, both ethnographic and archaeological, arise from a wide variety of regional contexts and cultures.
OA Link

Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change
Cooperatives, Grassroots Development, and Social Change presents examples from Paraguay, Brazil, and Colombia, examining what is necessary for smallholder agricultural cooperatives to support holistic community-based development in peasant communities. Reporting on successes and failures of these cooperative efforts, the contributors offer analyses and strategies for supporting collective grassroots interests. Illustrating how poverty and inequality affect rural people, they reveal how cooperative organizations can support grassroots development strategies while negotiating local contexts of inequality amid the broader context of international markets and global competition.
OA Link

Kathryn Conrad: ‘Our work is more important than ever’

June 30, 2020

During the Association of University Presses virtual annual meeting in June 2020, Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press, addressed AUPresses members as outgoing president of its board of directors. Conrad assumed presidency in June 2019. Niko Pfund, president of Oxford University Press USA, has assumed the presidency as Conrad remains on the board a past president.

Conrad’s statement reflects on the past challenges unique to this year, as well as the values that provide a roadmap for all academic presses:

In a normal year, I would take this time to tell you about the work of the Association’s Board of Directors and some of its accomplishments. 

But this is not a normal year. 

On March 15, just days after the World Health Organization had declared COVID-19 a pandemic, the AUPresses Board of Directors convened online for its spring meeting. We spent our first hour together sharing the state of our presses and institutions while shutting down our offices to work from home. I think all of us will remember those strange early days and what would become the first of countless virtual meetings. 

At that March meeting, we approved the Association’s Anti-Racism statement, a document developed over 18 months by the Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, chaired by Gita Manaktala and Larin McLaughlin, and its first Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Committee, chaired by Gita and Brian Halley. 

The statement recognizes the racist and exploitative practices that have shaped our institutions and our presses. It calls on us to confront the systems—the systems to which we belong–that perpetuate bias, inequalities, and white supremacy. 

Ten weeks later, the murder of George Floyd ignited a global movement for Black lives. In the midst of scrutiny of anti-Black racism in every corner of our society, our industry is called out for its inequity through the #PublishingSoWhite and #PublishingPaidMe hashtags and our own university press community is called out for our failure to support inclusion. It is a time of anger, hurt, and overwhelm. And here we are, at our 2020 Annual Meeting, trying to process all of this in a virtual environment that we will likely be stuck in for some time to come. 

The Association’s Annual Meeting has always been a source of inspiration for me. Last year, inspired by Chris Long’s closing plenary session in Detroit on the transformative power of values-based publishing, I led a deeper dive into our Association’s values with members of the board and staff. 

What do we mean when we say we hold Stewardship, Intellectual Freedom, Integrity, and Diversity and Inclusion as the values we strive to uphold?

The mission of AUPresses is to advance the essential role of this global community of publishers whose mission is to ensure academic excellence and cultivate knowledge. Our values are the principles that guide us–our compass. At an historical moment that feels simultaneously riveting and overwhelming, a compass feels like a good thing to have. 

In our work this year, we recommitted to our values, first developed 5 years ago under the leadership of Barbara Kline Pope and Meredith Babb, and we developed common understanding of their meaning in our everyday work. 

We demonstrate Stewardship through our mindful investment in the development and dissemination of scholarship, respecting the fundamental labor of publishing. We amplify authors’ voices as we work to advance and preserve an inclusive scholarly record. 

We embody Intellectual Freedom by promoting the emergence and evaluation of new theories, and by championing the freedom to think, research, publish, and read. These are the pillars of a democratic society. 

We demonstrate Integrity as leaders in peer review best practices and by earning the trust of our authors, our readers, and our institutions. 

We strive for equity, justice, and inclusion in our practices. And we endeavor to represent the breadth of human knowledge and experience as part of our commitment to Diversity and Inclusion.

Guided by our values and by our strategic plan, updated last year under the leadership of Jennifer Crewe, our association has accomplished much this year in support of our goals of Collaboration, Advocacy, Research, Education, 

We established an Open Access task force, led by Erich van Rijn, to help build collaboration among our members around this increasingly important issue, and we have deepened our engagement with the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communications. We have redoubled our Advocacy efforts with a new Advocacy Committee, led this year by Meredith Babb, and with the Stand UP Award, a new advocacy award, spearheaded by Greg Britton. We supported the expansion of the Lee and Low Diversity Baseline Survey to consider university presses more fully, and we increased our frequency of gathering of sales data from quarterly to monthly to help members navigate this volatile economic time. We have expanded opportunities for members to connect online to share knowledge and best practices. And we will soon launch a Global Presses Partnership Program, spearheaded by Anthony Cond. This program will bring together university presses in the Global South with AUPresses members to expand the knowledge base of our international university press community through the sharing of experience and practical education across borders.

Much of the work of this Association happens in its committees, made up of volunteers from across our membership. I cannot name them all but I would like to extend my deep thanks to the committee chairs and members for their work this year.

Serving as AUPresses president has afforded me a remarkable opportunity to see what our Association is made of. I have seen the dogged determination of our Central Office staff, led by the ever-ready Peter Berkery, who tends to the myriad concerns of members, both individually and collectively, each day. I have seen the fierce support of our members for one another. I have seen the ingenuity of our marketers, who came together in recent months to support the independent bookstores that support us and to rally for the common cause of scholarship. I have seen our stellar Annual Meeting Program Committee, led by Laurie Matheson, turn on a dime to create a virtual meeting that will give our members actionable ideas, professional growth, and opportunities to meet new colleagues. I have seen a community of publishers that believes our collective efforts are greater than the sum of our parts. 

Our work is more important than ever. Thanks to the many volunteers who conducted the work of our Association this year, and thanks to each and every one of our members for the work that you do every day.

Press Receives Major Grant From the National Endowment for the Humanities

June 29, 2020

The University of Arizona Press announces the receipt of a major National Endowment for the Humanities Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act grant, which provides emergency relief to institutions and organizations working in the humanities. The $90,037 grant provides the Press ongoing support for the publication of humanities scholarship, and acknowledges, in particular, its record publishing books relevant to communities of color.

This CARES Act grant will allow the Press to dramatically increase availability of e-books in Indigenous and Latinx studies, raising the total number of available eBooks to nearly 75 percent of the total list of 1,500 titles in print published by the Press. By making works available for digital delivery, the Press can fulfill its mission regardless of social distancing requirements and help maintain financial viability during the pandemic and beyond.

“We are grateful to the U.S. Congress and the National Endowment for the Humanities for providing us with this opportunity to provide this significant scholarship to a larger audience. Since the onset of the pandemic, the circulation of print books radically decreased while the need for eBooks grew,” said Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press.

The Press’s high-profile list in Indigenous and Latinx studies, emphasizes history, comparative religion, literary criticism, media studies, and gender studies. This scholarship is part of our history of publishing books by, about, and for underrepresented communities in the United States, said Conrad.

For the highly competitive NEH CARES grant category, the Humanities Endowment received more than 2,300 eligible applications from cultural organizations requesting more than $370 million in funding for projects between June and December 2020. Approximately 14 percent of the applicants were funded. The Press is one of four organizations in Arizona to receive this funding.

“These new e-book versions of important works in Indigenous and Latinx scholarship will greatly expand the readership of these books at a time when public interest in these topics is rapidly growing,” said Shan Sutton, dean of University Libraries. “NEH support will ensure that the general public has greater access, while also enabling these books to be more easily integrated into online college courses that are increasing as well.”

About the National Endowment for the Humanities Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at neh.gov.

Free E-Book of the Week: Deception on All Accounts from the Sadie Walela Mystery Series

June 25, 2020

Since March, we have featured a free e-Book almost every week. As we look toward the long weekend coming up, what could be better than tucking into a good mystery?  

For this week’s Free e-Book of the Week, we’re pleased to offer the first of Sara Sue Hoklotubbe’s mystery series, Deception on All Accounts for free download. Set against the backdrop of small-town Oklahoma and its Native culture, Deception on All Accounts draws readers into the real lives of contemporary American Indians as it shines a light on violence, corporate corruption, and prejudice in modern America. As Sadie Walela comes to terms with murder, romance, and her hopes for a career, she finds deception on all accounts.

Deception on All Accounts is the first of four books that feature Sadie. Author Sara Sue Hoklotubbe is a Cherokee tribal citizen. She is the winner of a WILLA Literary Award, Trophy Award for Best Fiction Book by Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, a New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for best mystery/suspense, and a Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers Award for best mystery.. Read ‘Seven Questions with Sara Sue Hoklotubbe’ to learn more.

Download Deception on All Accounts here using code AZSADIE20. Available until 7/6/2020.

“It’s a pleasure to make the acquaintance of Sadie Walela, a banker in northeastern Oklahoma who is thrust into the role of amateur sleuth after a spate of branch robberies leaves several colleagues dead and her career in critical condition. . . . Hoklotubbe paints a believable picture of Indian-white relations in small-town America and crafts a series protagonist as savvy as she is sweet.”—Booklist

“Evenly paced prose, increasingly suspenseful plotting, and the emergence of a strong heroine characterize this promising first mystery.”—Library Journal

Learn more about the series

Mark Nichter’s ‘Global Health’ Now Available in e-Edition

June 23, 2020

We are pleased to announce that anthropologist Mark Nichter’s book Global Health: Why Cultural Perceptions, Social Representations, and Biopolitics Matter is now available in e-Book format, as well as print.

Since its publication in 2008, Global Health has been a key text for understanding health social science research and what this research can contribute to global health and the study of biopolitics. Nichter is Regents’ Professor Emeritus and Professor of Anthropology, Public Health, and Family Medicine at the University of Arizona.

“Nichter has written an accessible text that is both critical and constructive, an inspiration as well as a lesson plan. It should be required reading for anyone considering the relevance of social science in global health.”–Current Anthropology

The June 19, 2020 issue of the American Anthropological Association’s Anthropology News includes an essay by Regents’ Professor Emeritus Mark Nichter. “Engaging the Pandemic: How One Medical Anthropologist Is Boosting Our Capacity to Understand and Contend with COVID-19” (pp. 3–7) explores the practical collaborations a medical anthropologist can contribute during lockdown. Nichter writes, “COVID-19 provides an opportunity to build alliances and momentum for significant health care reform.”

Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science Wins a Foreword Indies Award

June 23, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science is the 2019 Bronze Winner of the Science section of the Foreword Indie Book Awards!

Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science describes the life of a man who lived through some of the most dramatic events of the twentieth century and ended up creating a new field of scientific research, planetary science. As NASA and other space agencies explore the solar system, they take with them many of the ideas and concepts first described by Gerard P. Kuiper.

Derek W. G. Sears was a professor at the University of Arkansas for thirty years and is now a senior research scientist at NASA. He has published widely on meteorites, lunar samples, asteroids, and the history of planetary science.

Congratulations, Derek!

Environmentally Focused Books to Explore this Summer

June 18, 2020

North of Tucson, the Santa Catalina Mountains have been aggressively burning for more than a week. As of today, the fire has grown to 23,892 acres, and many residents have evacuated their homes. As we watch the smoke billowing up above the mountain range, we thought it would be an appropriate time to turn our attention toward our books that focus on fire, the environment, and human impacts on the planet.

Below, we have a curated collection of environmentally focused books that dive deep into nature, the implications of human activity, and the devastation and renewal that fire can bring.

Use the code AZPLANET20 to receive 40% off with free shipping on any of the titles mentioned in this post! Don’t forget, Stephen Pyne’s The Southwest is available as a free e-book until 6/25/20 with the code AZFIRE20.

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 an excerpt from the book here, and watch a video about the series here.

Through a mixture of journalism, history, and literary imagination, fire expert Stephen J. Pyne provides a lively survey of what makes this region distinctive, moving us beyond the usual conversations of science and policy. Pyne explores the Southwest’s sacred mountains, including the Jemez, Mogollon, Huachucas, and Kaibab; its sky islands, among them the Chiricahuas, Mount Graham, and Tanque Verde; and its famous rims and borders. Together, the essays provide a cross-section of how landscape fire looks in the early years of the 21st century, what is being done to manage it, and how fire connects with other themes of southwestern life and culture.

The Southwest is part of the multivolume series describing the nation’s fire scene region by region. The volumes in To the Last Smoke also cover California, the Northern Rockies, the Great Plains, Florida, and several other critical fire regions. The series serves as an important punctuation point to Pyne’s 50-year career with wildland fire—both as a firefighter and a fire scholar.

Read six questions with Stephen J. Pyne here, then read an article on preparing for the pyrocene here. Use the code AZFIRE20 to get this e-book for free through 6/25/20.

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 offers important lessons in the age of climate change and underscores the necessity of seeking out the best science to support the decisions we make.

Watch a recorded virtual book panel with authors Eric Kuhn and John Fleck here.

Cultivating Knowledge highlights the agency, creativity, opportunism, and performance of individuals and communities carving out successful lives in a changing agricultural landscape. The practice of sustainable agriculture on the farm—let alone the global challenge of feeding or clothing the world—is a social question, not a technological one. Farmers do not make simple cost-benefit analyses when evaluating new technologies and options. Their choices have dire consequences, sometimes leading to death. Through an ethnography of seeds, Andrew Flachs investigates the human responses to global agrarian change.

View some field notes from Andrew Flachs’ research here, then watch a lecture on anthropology and agriculture here.

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.

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.

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 book here.

Through twenty individual stories, Voices from Bears Ears 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.

Naturalist John Alcock details the aftermath of a devastating wildfire in the lower reaches of Arizona’s Mazatzal Mountains. Documenting for a decade the chaparral landscape left in the wake of the Willow fire, After the Wildfire thrills at the renewal of the region as he hikes in and photographs plants and animals in a once-blackened wildland now teeming with resurgent life.

No Species Is an Island describes the surprising results of Theodore H. Fleming’s eleven-year study of pollination biology in Sonora, Mexico, in the most biologically diverse desert in the world. These discoveries serve as a primer on how to conduct ecological research, and offer important conservation lessons for us all. Fleming offers an insightful look at how field ecologists work, and the often big surprises that come from looking carefully at a natural world where no species stands alone.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Published in 1986, Blue Desert was Charles Bowden’s third book-length work and takes place almost entirely in Arizona, revealing Bowden’s growing and intense preoccupation with the state and what it represented as a symbol of America’s “New West.” With a thoughtful new foreword by Francisco Cantú, Blue Desert is a critical piece of Bowden’s oeuvre.

Read a short essay on Blue Desert here.

Don’t forget, we are offering 40% off all e-books with the code AZEBOOK40.

‘The Sins of Our Fathers’: An Excerpt from Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez’s Forthcoming Book

June 17, 2020

In New Mexico two statues of Juan de Oñate, sixteenth-century Spanish conquis­tador who founded the first Spanish town in the present-day Southwest at San Juan de los Caballeros, were removed following protests this week. In this excerpt from Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez’s forthcoming book, Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture, we learn that this action follows decades of a contested conversation:

Within the colonial kaleidoscope, everyone sees the pieces differently. There are prisms that reveal a propensity to shut out others. If one’s own privileged history or legacy is at stake, then they choose not to look or acknowledge history beyond their own perspective, for if they validate the existence of oppositional thought, it somehow diminishes their own story. Indigenous histories represent the jagged fragments that, when viewed separately, tell a more complex history that needs to be seen and acknowledged. For Indigenous people, colonization itself is a jagged edge that will never find a solid place within the kaleidoscope. But this same history represents a point of pride for people who hold on to these legacies.

Patricia Marina Trujillo, Corrine Kaa Pedi Povi Sanchez, and Scott Davis (2020) refer to Oñate as a chispa, the flyaway piece of hair that keeps resting on your face. You tuck it back, but you know it’s bound to get loose again and be bothersome. Oñate is a tired, drawn-out character in the story of New Mexico. How do we secure this chispa? And where? National debates in 2017 surrounding Confederate flags and statues in the South and monuments, more generally, suggest museums as potential locations, rather than public spaces as a site of remembrance.26 And Guthrie (2013) reminds us these sites serve as an epicenter for the politics of recognition with ties to how we celebrate multiculturalism, specifically in New Mexico. The white supremacist marches and counterprotests in Charlottesville, Virginia, prompted social media users and KUNM, a public radio station broadcasting from the University of New Mexico’s Oñate Hall (sigh), to return to the topic of Oñate’s legacy in August 2017.

As I finished this chapter, I could not find a way to break away from the controversy surrounding Oñate that was again brought to the forefront via national conversations on Confederate statues. A recent manifestation of resis­tance to this narrative was the renaming of the Oñate Monument Resource and Visitors Center as the Northern Río Grande National Heritage Center, whose vision centers on the economic sustainability of the people of the north­ern Río Grande. This marks a shift from an Oñate-centered space to one that demonstrates an investment in and recognition of the economic structures that were created through centuries of colonial violence in New Mexico and the Southwest. The rededication of this space came to my attention through a Facebook post by Patricia Marina Trujillo on March 2, 2017, where she included a photo showing a new sign posted near the Oñate monument. The sign, a conquistador hat with a line through it, was accompanied by Patricia’s hashtag, #buenobyeoñate. Though the artist was not known at the time of her posting, it marks a pattern of resistance to the Oñate narrative and a desire to move past exhausted, old arguments of former Spanish glory that fail to nuance history.

Just as 1998 prompted new conversations about Oñate’s legacy in light of the four hundredth anniversary of his arrival, so too did more recent events surrounding monuments dedicated to Confederate heroes. In 2017, on the cusp of the Entrada Pageant in Santa Fe for the annual Santa Fe Fiesta held each September, the Oñate statue located in Alcalde, New Mexico, was vandalized with red paint covering the left foot. Painted on a nearby wall were the words “Remember 1680” (Bennett 2017). This act demonstrated a continued lack of interest by some in celebrating pageantry and monuments to Spanish coloni­zation, and a reminder that this conversation may never be silenced.

Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez is an assistant professor of English at Arizona State University. Her work focuses on colonialism, place studies, and the narratives of southwestern U.S. communities. She is co-editor of Spanish Perspectives on Chicano Literature: Literary and Cultural Essays and Querencia: Reflections on the New Mexico Homeland. Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture will be published by the University of Arizona Press in October.

Thinking Like a Burned Mountain: An Excerpt from Stephen J. Pyne’s To the Last Smoke Anthology

June 16, 2020

For more than a week, the Tucson community has watched the Bighorn Fire burn its way across the Santa Catalina Mountains. Many people have been ordered to evacuate their homes as firefighters from surrounding regions fight the blaze. As of today, the fire has burned 14,686 acres with 30 percent containment. 

Since 2015, we’ve published the works of fire historian Stephen J. Pyne, starting with a narrative examination of fire in the United States Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America. Next, we published a series of regional fire surveys. This spring, Pyne brought together the best of each regional study into the anthology To the Last Smoke, which offers a unique and sweeping view of the nation’s fire scene and serves as a punctuation mark to the series.

Pyne is an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. He is the author of more than 30 books, mostly on wildland fire and its history but also dealing with the history of places and exploration, including The Ice, How the Canyon Became Grand, and Voyager.

Below, read an excerpt from the “Southwest” section of Pyne’s new anthology:

“On September 18, 1909, a young Aldo Leopold, then a ranger with the U.S. Forest Service, shot two timber wolves in Arizona’s White Mountains. He noted the episode casually in a letter home. But the incident, like embers in an old campfire, glowed in his mind, and in April 1944 he wrote one of his most celebrated meditations, ‘Thinking Like a Mountain’, in which he described standing over the dying she-wolf and watching the ‘fierce green fire’ in her eyes die and wondered if shooting the wolf had helped unhinge the larger landscape. Too much emphasis on safety, he thought, was dangerous. He quoted Thoreau’s dictum, ‘In wildness is the salvation of the world.’

The essays, or more accurately moral epistle, became one of the founding documents of 20th-century American environmentalism. It helped make the wolf the living emblem of the wild, and wolf restoration a measure of ecological enlightenment. About 10 miles of Leopold’s kill site, Mexican gray wolves were reintroduced in 1998. But his insights also helped underwrite a campaign of nature protection that focused on the preservation of pristine lands. Leopold was the architect of America’s first ‘primitive area’, the Gila, located in an adjacent national forest, which subsequently became the inspiration for a National Wilderness Preservation System 40 years later. In 1984 the system acquired the 11,000-acre Bear Wallow Wilderness, about 10 miles as the crow flies southwest from where Leopold shot is wolf. Between them the three sites from a triangle of environmental thinking transformed into action— the deed into an idea, the emblem into a restored species, the wild into a legally gazetted preserve.

A century later a mammoth wildfire boiled out of the Bear Wallow Wilderness, blew over the wolf reintroduction site, and overran Leopold’s vantage point above the Black River. The Wallow fire, kindled by an untended campfire, burned 50 times as much land as the wilderness held. An idealistic green fire met an all-too-real red one.

The contrast almost overflows with symbolism, but two themes seem most useful. One speaks to nature protection, and that preserving the wild is perhaps not just a paradox but an example of a misguided urge toward safety, in this case the security of nature, not unlike Leopold’s shooting a wolf. ‘In those days we never heard of passing up a chance to kill a wolf.’ Fewer wolves meant more deer, and no wolves meant ‘a hunter’s paradise.’ So, too, it has seemed self-evident that removing the human presence would mean a healthier land, and no people would mean paradise.

The other theme is fire. At the time Leopold killed the green fire, he was also swatting out red ones. Fire control was among the most fundamental of ranger tasks; to ignore fire could be cause for dismissal. Interestingly, posters from the era even equated fire with wolves: the fire wolf running wild through reserves was a ravenous killer that needed to be hunted down and shot. Over time this belief, too, yielded to the realization that fire’s removal, like the wolf’s, could unravel ecosystems. The difference was that fire was renewed annually, if not through human artifice then through lightning (the American Southwest is North America’s epicenter for lightning fire). The spark is always there: if wind and fuel are aligned, fire can spread.

But the deeper story was that the sparks decreased and the fuel was stripped away. Lightning fires were attacked and distinguished at their origin. People quit setting tame fires to substitute for nature’s wild ones. And overgrazing slow-metabolized on a vast scale what fire had formerly fast-burned. Cattle and sheep cleaned out the country’s combustibles. Flame might kindle in the isolated snag; it could not easily spread. Over decades, however, the removal of predatory fire allowed a woody understory to flourish, akin to the metastasizing deer population that blew up after the wolves were extinguished. Both yielded a sick, impoverished landscape.

So a campaign to restore fire ran parallel to that for reinstating wolves. Their histories are oddly symmetrical. The population of neither wolf nor fire has reached its former levels, and the landscape teeters on a metastable ridgeline. The issue is that success requires not merely the presence of wolf and flame but a suitable habitat in which they can thrive. The power of fire resides in the power to propagate, and that sustaining setting was gone. Fire, however, had other properties wolves lacked, notably a capacity not simply to recycle but to transform. A single spark could transmute thousands of acres almost instantaneously.

On Memorial Day weekend, May 2011, flames returned. This time they came as feral fire. It was certainly not a tame fire— not a controlled burn or a prescribed one suitable for wildlands. Neither was it a truly natural fire; it started from a slovenly kept campfire and burned through decades of forests whose structure had been destabilized by logging, of grazing that had destroyed their capacity to carry surface fire, and of doctrines of fire exclusion that had prevented nature’s economy from brokering fuel and flame. The Wallow fire could no more behave as it would have in presettlement times than could a wolf pack dropped into a former hunting site now remade into a Phoenix shopping mall.

Probably fires had burned as widely in the past, but through long seasons in which they crept and swept as the mutable comings and goings of local weather allowed. Undoubtedly, in the past spring winds, underwritten by single-digit humidity, had blown flame through the canopies of mixed-conifer spruce and fir and left landscapes of white ash and sticks. But it is unlikely that earlier times had witnessed a similar combination of size and intensity. The Wallow burn was not what forest officers had in mind when they sought to reintroduce the ecological alchemy of free-burning flame.

© 2020 by The Arizona Board of Regents

If you would like to read more about fire in the Southwest, we are currently offering Stephen J. Pyne’s The Southwest as a free e-book through 6/25/2020. Use the code AZFIRE20 at checkout!

Free E-Book of the Week: Wildfire in the Southwest

June 15, 2020

For more than a week, our community has watched the smoke from the Bighorn Fire float up above the Santa Catalina Mountains, which sit just north of Tucson. As of today, the fire has burned more than 14,000 acres of our beloved Sky Island.

But wildfire has been on the mind of all of us at the Press for several years. Since 2015, we have been publishing the works of fire historian Stephen J. Pyne, who has been illuminating the regional and national history of wildfire in the United States.

For this week’s free e-Book of the Week, we’re drawing attention to Pyne’s To the Last Smoke Series by offering The Southwest for free download from our website. The volume helps to explain the challenges wildland firefighters are facing right now with the Bighorn Fire, and why this is likely to be just one of many burns in the Southwest this summer.

The Southwest is part of the multivolume series describing the nation’s fire scene region by region. The volumes in To the Last Smoke serve as an important punctuation point to Pyne’s 50-year career with wildland fire—both as a firefighter and a fire scholar. These unique surveys of regional pyrogeography are Pyne’s way of “keeping with it to the end,” encompassing the directive from his rookie season to stay with every fire “to the last smoke.”

Download here using code AZFIRE20. Available until 6/25/2020.

“An elegant and informed treatise on the history and evolving nature of wildfire in our arid and rugged landscape.”—Journal of Arizona History

“This is an exceptionally readable work; the analyses of events reflect the interpretation of humans, ecology, and institutions.”—Choice

“An accessible entry point into the kaleidoscopic set of shifting interests that characterize the relationships of fire to the Southwest.”—Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Learn more about the book

Social Justice-Centered Books to Amplify Voices and Educate Allies

June 4, 2020

The University of Arizona Press is committed to publishing the voices and scholarship of Black, Indigenous, and Latinx authors. In a world filled with injustices, racism, and inequalities, we encourage people to read books that will educate them on the experiences and perspectives of people of color, furthering understanding as we move forward. The books included in this post highlight social justice, resistance, and social movements— topics which are crucially important now and always.

Use the code AZJUSTICE20 to get 40% off with free shipping on all of the titles included in this post.

Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag poses the question: how does the #BlackGirlMagic political and cultural movement translate outside of social media? The essays in this volume move us beyond the digital realm and reveals how Black girls and women foster community, counter invisibility, engage in restorative acts, and create spaces for freedom in the face of structural oppression.

Read an excerpt from Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag here.

Marquis Bey’s debut essay collection unsettles normative ways of understanding Blackness, Black feminism, and queerness. Them Goon Rules is an un-rulebook, a long-form essayistic sermon that meditates on how Blackness and nonnormative gender impact and remix everything we claim to know.

Read an excerpt from Them Goon Rules here.

Them Goon Rules is our free e-book of the week from 6/3/2020 to 6/10/2020. Use the code AZBEY20 at checkout.

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 Chicana M(other)work Anthology here.

Poetry of Resistance offers a poetic call for tolerance, reflection, reconciliation, and healing. Bringing together more than eighty writers, the anthology powerfully articulates the need for change and the primacy of basic human rights.

Alarcón and co-editor the eco-poet and activist Odilia Galván Rodríguez selected the strongest work from the hundreds of entries to shape this anthology whose communal message—a plea for social change—will remain timeless and resonant.”—NBC News

We are proud to have published this award winning collection.

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 a podcast interview with author Carwil Bjork-James 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 early 1960s are remembered for the emergence of new radical movements. One such protest movement rose in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. With large timbering companies moving in on the forested sierra highlands, campesinos and rancheros did not sit by as their lands and livelihoods were threatened. Agrarian Revolt in the Sierra of Chihuahua, 1959-1965 is the story of how they organized and demanded agrarian rights—ultimately with deadly consequences.

This 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, Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World is a clarion call to end that violence and those philosophies that permit such violence to flourish.

Read an excerpt from Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World here.

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. 

Don’t forget, all of our e-books are 40% off right now. Use the code AZEBOOK40 at checkout.

AUPresses Statement on Equity and Anti-Racism

June 3, 2020

The Association of University Presses, of which the University of Arizona Press is a member, recently released this statement on equity and anti-racism. This statement was originally proposed and drafted by the organization’s 2017-2018 Diversity & Inclusion Task Force. The Equity, Justice, and Inclusion Committee established in 2019 took the statement through a process of peer review and revision. The AUPresses Board of Directors, of which University of Arizona Press Director Kathryn Conrad currently serves as president, approved the statement in March 2020. 

The Association of University Presses and its members aspire to hold justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion as values that guide our policies, practices, and publications. Upholding these values requires introspection, honesty, and reform of our current practices, the interests they serve, and the people and perspectives they exclude.

Through the work that we publish, university presses have helped to document the histories of institutions in the United States and elsewhere. This scholarship shows that most colleges and universities were built through the exploitation of people of color and established as white and male-only institutions, on land from which indigenous peoples were and continue to be displaced. The racist and exploitative practices that shaped this history remain embedded, even within institutions that work to study and critique that history. Currently, within universities and presses, systems that perpetuate bias, inequalities, and white supremacy go unquestioned and unchecked; in this way, they are perpetuated.

Please go here to read the statement in its entirety.

Free E-Book of the Week: Them Goon Rules

June 3, 2020

For this week’s free e-Book of the Week, we’re drawing attention to our exceptional works in social justice, offering Marquis Bey’s Them Goon Rules for free download from our website.  

A series of essays that reads like a critical memoir, this work queries the function and implications of politicized Blackness, Black feminism, and queerness. Bey binds together his personal experiences with social justice work at the New York–based Audre Lorde Project, growing up in Philly, and rigorous explorations of the iconoclasm of theorists of Black studies and Black feminism. Bey’s voice recalibrates itself, creating a collection that tarries in both academic and nonacademic realms.

Download here using code AZBEY20. Available until 6/10/2020.

“Weaving pop culture, rap, literary analysis, politics, and anger, Bey challenges readers to think of the intersectionality of gender, race, and politics in a different way.”—CHOICE

“Marquis Bey has gifted us with more than a collection of essays about Blackness, feminism, and queerness—it is a tome for and with the ‘ontologically criminalized.’ Bey demonstrates a distinctive radical vulnerability that can only be the result of working in and through a Black queer feminist lens. Unapologetically, this text dances, bends, moves, breaks open and through language—an elaborated nah! There is powerful poetry here asking that we, scholars who believe in freedom, interrogate our own methods and motives again and again. This book is courageous as it dwells, a break in the break. A must-read for any scholar, poet, or (non)human seeking the spectacular possibility of taking flight.” —Kai M. Green, Assistant Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Williams College

“Bey challenges those of us who are committed to Black justice to approach every day with the force of revolution. By refiguring Black freedom-making in this way, we are able not only to ‘steal life back’ from a white fickle normativity but also to enwrap that life in the promise of escape.”—Hashim Pipkin, The Opportunity Network

Them Goon Rules is an exciting collection of essays—brimming with insight, inspiration, love, and rage, the book leads readers through an urgent set of questions about the body, identity, race, place, sex, Blackness, subversion, and gender. Offering what Bey at one point calls a ‘fugitive praxis,’ this book believes in transformation and shows us how it is done! Brilliant!”—Jack Halberstam, author of Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Guide to Gender Variance

Learn more about the book

Strong’s Book on Early Whalemen Receives Some New England Love

May 22, 2020

Big thanks to The East Hampton Star and Richard Barons for the review of University of Arizona Press author John A. Strong‘s America’s Early Whalemen: Indian Shore Whalers on Long Island, 1650–1750.

You can read the entire review here.

When Strong began teaching at Long Island University in 1964, he found little mention of the local Indigenous people in history books. The Shinnecocks and the neighboring tribes of Unkechaugs and Montauketts were treated as background figures for the celebratory narrative of the “heroic” English settlers. America’s Early Whalemen highlights the important contributions of Native peoples to colonial America.

From the review:

The world of the South and North Forks’ native people changed forever with the permanent arrival of the English in 1639, when Lion Gardiner bought the island soon to bear his name. But nothing prepared them for the broken floodgate, when in the next year there were two sizable settlements on the East End, in Southold and Southampton. By 1645, a group of Southampton residents decamped farther east to found East Hampton. The rest of Mr. Strong’s book is a look at this clash of cultures.

From reading the town records of Southampton and East Hampton, the author agrees with the historian David Goddard, who realized that Southampton’s Puritan pioneers, led by Edward Howell, John Cooper Sr., Daniel How, and Thomas Halsey, were more interested in improving their economic status than in religious piety. There were disputes about ownership of drift whales, so in 1644 Southampton drew up an ordinance that formed four wards, with 11 persons in each. By lot two of each ward were employed in cutting up the whale, and for their work they would receive a double share. The ordinance goes on to describe who gets the rest of the shares, on down to a resident and his child or servant. Such ordinances changed with new arrivals and departures. The English were in charge, but most of the work force was native.

University of Arizona Press Announces New Partnership With The Academy of American Poets

May 21, 2020

The University of Arizona Press is thrilled to announce a new partnership with the Academy of American Poets.

Beginning in 2020, recipients of the Academy of American Poets’ Ambroggio Prize will have their winning manuscript published in Spanish with the English translation by the University of Arizona Press, a nationally recognized publisher of award-winning works in Latinx and Indigenous literature. The Ambroggio Prize is a $1,000 publication award given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation.

This new partnership is part of the Academy of American Poets’ ongoing commitment to supporting American poets at all stages of their careers, fostering the appreciation of contemporary poetry, and collaborating with other poetry organizations and presses.

“The University of Arizona Press is one of the first publishers to spotlight Latinx literary voices. We are honored to be selected by the Academy of American Poets to publish annually the Ambroggio Prize-winner,” said Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press. “This prize celebrates the voices of many Latinx poets whose first language is Spanish, building on our mission to foreground voices that might otherwise not be heard.”

In addition to the 2020 Ambroggio Prize-winning manuscript, which will be announced in the fall of 2020 and published in the fall of 2021, the University of Arizona Press will publish the 2019 Ambroggio Prize-winning manuscript, Danzsirley/Dawn’s Earlyby Gloria Muñoz in the spring of 2020.

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. It is one of the American Poets Prizes, a collection of eleven major awards given by the Academy of American Poets.

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including the Teach This Poem series; administers the American Poets Prizes; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture. Through its prize program, the organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization, giving a total of $1,250,000 to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. This year, in response to the global health crisis, the Academy launched the #ShelterInPoems initiative, inviting members of the public to select poems of comfort and courage from its online collection to share with others on social media. The initiative culminated in the organization’s first-ever virtual reading, which was watched more than 25,000 times by viewers in more than 40 countries around the world. The Academy is also one of seven national organizations that comprise Artist Relief, a multidisciplinary coalition of arts grantmakers and a consortium of foundations working to provide resources and funding to the country’s individual poets, writers, and artists who are impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

About the University of Arizona Press

The University of Arizona Press is nationally recognized for its commitment to publishing the award-winning works of emerging and established voices in Latinx and Indigenous literature, as well as groundbreaking scholarship in Latinx and Indigenous studies. The Camino del Sol series has cultivated an admirable and sizeable list of distinguished contemporary authors, including Richard Blanco, Vicki Vértiz, Juan Felipe Herrera, Carmen Giménez Smith, Francisco X. Alarcon, Emmy Pérez, and Luís Alberto Urrea. The Sun Tracks series focuses exclusively on the creative works of Native American artists, such as Joy Harjo, N. Scott Momaday, Simon J. Ortiz, Casandra López, Santee Frazier, dg nanouk okpik and Luci Tapahonso.

Kafka In A Skirt: ‘Brimming With Verve And Wisdom’

May 21, 2020

Chicanx studies professor, writer and visual artist Maceo Montoyarecently penned a review of University of Arizona Press author Daniel Chacón‘s short story collection, Kafka in a Skirt: Stories from the Wall.

The review, published in the New York Journal of Books, captures Chacón’s literary landscape that pushes Chicanx literature to a bigger and ever-evolving universe.

https://www.nyjournalofbooks.com/book-review/kafka-skirt-storiesYou can read the entire review here.

Chacón has no qualms about identifying as a Chicano writer. In “The Hidden Order of Things,” he offers us a path to contextualize his work: “This is a work of Chicano literature. Most readers will know that before they buy the book or before they open it, and Chicano literature is one of the fibers of the Latinx literary fabric.”

At the same time, Chacón has created a universe all his own. Beginning with Unending Rooms: Stories (Black Lawrence Press, 2008) and Hotel Juarez: Stories, Rooms, and Loops (Arte Público Press, 2013), Chacón has refused any boundaries on what Chicanx fiction should look like. Yes, he’s interested in identity and his stories explore what it means to straddle cultures, nations, languages—all very Chicanx themes—but he pushes these concepts further, beyond the limiting dichotomy of Mexico and the U.S., Spanish and English, brown and white.

Free E-Book of the Week: Mexico in Verse

May 20, 2020

For this week’s free e-Book of the Week, we’re drawing attention to our exceptional works in Latin American studies by offering Mexico in Verse: A History of Music, Rhyme, and Power for free download from our website.  

Focusing on modern Mexico, from 1840 to the 1980s, this volume examines the cultural venues in which people articulated their understanding of the social, political, and economic change they witnessed taking place during times of tremendous upheaval, such as the Mexican-American War, the Porfiriato, and the Mexican Revolution. The words of diverse peoples—people of the street, of the field, of the cantinas—reveal the development of the modern nation. Editors Neufeld and Matthews have chosen sources so far unexplored, showing the ways that individuals interpreted—whether resisting or reinforcing—official narratives about formative historical moments.

Download from our online shopping cart here. Available until 5/28/2020. Discount code is AZVERSE20.  

“Rich in historical data and thoughts about pursuing alternative interpretations of popular lyrical expressions.”—Choice

Learn more about the book

Mexico in Verse: Contents
Foreword by William H. Beezley
Acknowledgments

Introduction: Mexico in Verse
1. Sister at War: Mexican Women’s Poetry and the U.S.-Mexican War
Christopher Conway

2. The Sly Mockeries of Military Men: Corridos and Poetry as Critical Voice for the Porfirian Army
Stephen Neufeld

3. The Track from Beyond the Grave: Challenges to Porfirian Policymaking in Popular Verse
Michael Matthews

4. “I’m Going to Write You a Letter”: Coplas, Love Letters, and Courtship Literacy
William French

5. Singing for Cristo Rey: Masculinity, Piety, and Dissent in Mexico’s Cristero Rebellion
Stephen J. C. Andes

6. El Niño Proletario: Jesús Sansón Flores and the New Revolutionary Redeemer, 1935–1938
Elena Jackson Albarrán

7. “That Mariachi Band and That Tequila”: Modernity, Identity, and Cultural Politics in Alcohol Songs of the Mexican Golden Age Cinema
Áurea Toxqui

8. Let Us Weep Among the Dust: Recycled Poems of 1968 and Operas of Earthquake
Amanda Ledwon

Conclusion
Contributors
Index

Review of Fred Arroyo’s Sown In Earth in Tennessee’s Chapter 16

May 20, 2020

Fred Arroyo‘s daring and vulnerable, Sown in Earth: Essays of Memory and Belonging, was recently celebrated in a review by Joy Ramirez for Chapter 16.

Arroyo, author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions and The Region of Lost Names: A Novel, is an assistant professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University. Chapter 16 is an amazing project with Humanities Tennessee, founded to provide comprehensive coverage of literary news and events in Tennessee.

Sown in Earth is a a collection of personal essays in which Arroyo recollects his childhood, and more specifically his father’s anger and alcohol abuse as a reflection of his place in society, in which his dreams and disappointments are patterned by work and poverty, loss and displacement, memory and belonging.

You can read the entire review here. It also ran in Nashville Scene.

In trying to convey the cruelty and complexity of his father in the only way he knows how — through writing — Arroyo acts as a witness for all of the men whose names he doesn’t remember. In these essays, he accomplishes what he sets out to do: “to work in a way that honors the struggle and dignity of their lives.” And in doing so, he sets in motion the linguistic memories that compose a life, however incomplete. “The more I delve into the memories of my father, the more I realize his life is an unfinished book; it continues to grow the more I try to write it, new pages revealing themselves day after day, as if this growing will go on without end. Even if I take the next twenty years to write it, I won’t make his life and story any more complete. The story will still be fragmented, small, minor, adrift in a turbulent sea between a kitchen and an island, between a father and son.”

Although his father’s life refuses summation in the end, Arroyo manages to reach an understanding of himself and the forces that shaped him to become the writer he is today. 

Check Out Our Recent Latin American Studies Titles

May 20, 2020

We were really excited to participate in the first virtual LASA conference last week! In case you weren’t able to participate in the virtual conference, we wanted to highlight our new Latin American Studies here on our website, and extend our LASA conference discount as well. Use the code AZLASA20 for 40% off all titles listed on this post, plus free shipping!

Our editor-in-chief, Kristen Buckles, and our senior editor, Allyson Carter, Ph.D., acquire in this field. To propose a project, contact Kristen or Allyson at KBuckles@uapress.arizona.edu or ACarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

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

Listen to a conversation between Simón Ventura Trujillo and artist Vick Quezada here.

Colonial Cataclysms explores the human and environmental consequences of the global climate event called the Little Ice Age as it played out in central Mexico during the era of Spanish imperialism. It focuses on the great floods, massive soil erosion, and human adaptations to these cataclysms.

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.

Reading Popol Wuj offers readers a path to look beyond Western constructions of literature to engage with this text through the philosophical foundation of Maya thought and culture. This guide deconstructs various translations to ask readers—scholars, teachers, and graduate and undergraduate students—to break out of the colonial mold in approaching this seminal Maya text.

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.

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.

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.

Language, Coffee, and Migration is an ethnography that 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.

In North American Borders in Comparative Perspective leading scholars provide a contemporary analysis of how globalization and security imperatives have redefined the shared border regions of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Watch an interview with Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera and Victor Konrad 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 Carwil Bjork-James talk about the book in a podcast here.

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.

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

In Transforming Rural Water Governance, Sarah T. Romano explains the bottom-up development and political impact of community-based water and sanitation committees (CAPS) in Nicaragua. Romano traces the evolution of CAPS from rural resource management associations into a national political force through grassroots organizing and strategic alliances.

Mexican Waves takes us to a time before the border’s militarization, when radio entrepreneurs, listeners, and artists viewed the boundary between the United States and Mexico the same way that radio waves did—as fluid and nonexistent. Author Sonia Robles explains how Mexican radio entrepreneurs targeted the Mexican population in the United States decades before U.S. advertising agencies realized the value of the Spanish-language market and demonstrates Mexico’s role in shaping the borderlands.

Utilizing archival and ethnographic research, Racial Alterity, Wixarika Youth Activism, and the Right to the Mexican City explores the construction of racial and ethnic imaginaries in the western Mexican cities of Guadalajara and Tepic, and the ways in which these imaginaries shape the contemporary experiences and activism of Wixarika (Huichol) Indigenous university students and professionals living, studying, and working in these two cities.

Read some thoughts on the book by Diana Negrín 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.

Read an interview with the editors here, then watch a recorded virtual event for the book here.

Building on the most recent scholarship in borderlands history, The Intimate Frontier is an intellectual and social history that explores the immensely complex web of interpersonal relationships and layers of emotional sophistication inherent among frontier communities.

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

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.

Listen to Gonzola Lamana on this podcast.

Memories of Earth and Sea explores the daily struggles of islanders living in one of South America’s most culturally distinct regions: the Chiloé Archipelago. Connecting the early history of the islands with the industrialization of the last forty years, the book presents a unique study of large-scale economic changes and the impact these can have on the memories and the collective identity of a people.

Detours is an attempt to crack cultural imperialism by bringing forth the personal as political in academia and research. Speaking from the intersection of race, class, and gender, the contributors explore the hubris and nostalgia that motivate returning again and again to a particular place. Through personal stories, they examine their changing ideas of Latin America and the Caribbean and how those places have shaped the people they’ve become, as writers, as teachers, and as activists.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Daniel D. Arreola’s Postcards from the Chihuahua Border is a colorful and dynamic visual history of Mexico’s northern border. Drawing on more than three decades of archival work, Arreola invites the reader to time travel, to revisit another era—the first half of the last century—when the border towns of Ciudad Juárez, Ojinaga, and Palomas were framed and made popular through picture postcards.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

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.

Read a conversation between Christopher and Frederick here, then watch a video discussion here.

Latinx Ciné in the Twenty-First Century is a timeless volume that 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.

Unwriting Maya Literature provides an important decolonial framework for reading Maya and other Indigenous texts. Through insightful analyses of Maya cultural productions—whether textiles or poetry—this perspective offers a point of departure for the study of Maya literature and art that is situated in an Indigenous way of performing the act of reading.

We are so thrilled that Unwriting Maya Literature was awarded an honorable mention for the LASA Mexico Section award this year! Listen to these podcasts about the book.

How did men become the stars of the Mexican intellectual scene? Dude Lit examines the tricks of the trade and reveals that sometimes literary genius rests on privileges that men extend one another and that women permit. Drawing on interviews, archival materials, and critical readings, this provocative book changes the conversation on literature and gendered performance.

We are so excited that Dude Lit was also awarded an honorable mention for the LASA Mexico Section award this year!

Don’t forget that the University of Arizona Press is currently offering 40% off all ebooks with the code AZEBOOK40!

Virtual Panels Connect Authors and Readers

May 19, 2020

In March in response to stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19 the University of Arizona Press quickly and nimbly shifted focus from in-person to digital events.

We dove into the world of Zoom and live-stream events with our authors across the country. We hosted a series of conversations with our authors, where they shared their poetry, scholarship, and insights into how they crafted their work. If you didn’t have a chance to join us for our panels and conversations, here’s a rundown, really a virtual online celebration of what we love most–books and scholars:

Xicanx And Latinx Spiritual Expressions And Healing During COVID-19:

A Conversation With Norma Elia Cantú:

Five Questions with Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera and Victor Konrad:

Mapping Our Hearts: A Virtual Poetry Reading with Three Sun Tracks Poets:

Virtual Book Panel Brings Together Science Be Dammed Authors:

A Conversation With Diné Scholar Lloyd L. Lee:

Additionally, our authors have also shared with us their own content, videos, and podcasts: Simón Trujillo, Andrew Flachs, Stephen Pyne, Frederick Aldama, Ilan Stavans, Christopher González, Isabel Molina-Guzmán, Paul M. Worley, Rita M. Palacios, Carwil Bjork-James, and Molly McGlennen.

We are already planning for our next season. Take a look at our Fall 2020 catalog here. We can’t wait to continue our important work, connecting our authors with readers.

Aldama on Latinx Streaming During Lockdown Life

May 18, 2020

Latinx pop culture guru Frederick Luis Aldama, contemplates streaming platforms in his latest on Latinx Spaces.

In “I Want My Incredible Shrinking Screen: Latinx Televisual Storytelling in the Age of Our Planetary Lockdown,” the co-editor of the University of Arizona Press Latinx Pop Culture series, dives into the ever-changing ways of streaming television offerings. You can read the entire essay here.

Today’s streaming platforms, webisodes, and audio-visual narratives created to be consumed on smartphones and laptops constitute also a layer-cake moment. We have all variety of creators making webisodes with story and aesthetics front and center. And, we have those who are creating audio-visual narratives for quick-fix, drop-and-go consumption. Netflix has plenty of these, and, also those that use the streaming platform as, well, disposable gimmick. I think of that Black Mirror episode, “Bandersnatch” where viewers could click-click their laptop, tablet, or lap-top screen on the protagonists everyday decisions to alter the plot outcome. But also we have a vital cross-flow of learning across these differently willfully shaped creative spaces.

In this vital cross-flow of learning and sharing new aesthetics are emerging—as well as co-creating practices. I don’t have to wait a week for another episode of Mr. Iglesias or One Day at a Time. I can binge two, three, four episodes at a time. This also means that the cliffhanger device is no longer needed to keep us interested, freeing writers and showrunners to create bigger story arcs, for instance.

These new nodes of new creation and distribution technologies are birthing a new artform. And, with this renaissance we’re also seeing the rise in visibility of content otherwise relegated to the margins. I think readily of LGBTQ+ narratives such as The F Word, Her StoryThe Gay and Wondrous Life of Caleb Gallo. 

Of course, these non-network and non-cable spaces have proved a breath of vital air for Latinx storytelling: QUIEROHello College, It’s Me, Lupita!Brujos,and Muy Excitedfeatured in Latinx Spaces (October 17, 2017). Recall that Netflix’s Gentefied begun as the super-edgy YouTube webseries, Gente-fied. It’s in these spaces that we see complex narratives of Latinx identities, experiences, and subjectivities. 

A Conversation With Diné Scholar Lloyd L. Lee

May 15, 2020

University of Arizona Press author Lloyd L. Lee took time on Thursday, May 14, for a live-stream conversation on his work and latest book, Diné Identity in a Twenty-First-Century World.

Lee, an associate professor of Native American studies at the University of New Mexico, is the editor of three books with the Press that are part of a four-book series touching on important topics concerning Diné philosophies, nation-building, and identity.

The first book in the series, Diné Perspectives: Revitalizing and Reclaiming Navajo Thought, addresses questions on being Navajo, contemporary life and traditions, and more. The second book, Navajo Sovereignty: Understandings and Visions of the Diné People, Lee asks fellow Navajo scholars, writers, and community members to envision sovereignty for the Navajo Nation. The third and recent book, Diné Identity in a Twenty-First-Century World, explores the complexity of understanding and the richness of current Diné identities.

During the conversation, Lee shared what he anticipates to be the theme of the fourth book in the series–land and the environment. Many families and communities have experiences and stories on their connection to the land and how they live their life, he said. Similar to the book on sovereignty, Lee hopes to get many perspectives on the land and what the challenges are in a way that reflects the Diné people.

Free E-Book of the Week: Eating the Landscape

May 14, 2020

For this week’s free e-Book of the Week, we’re featuring our commitment to publishing important works in Indigenous studies by offering Eating the Landscape by Enrique Salmón for free download from our website.  

“Eating is not only a political act, it is also a cultural act that reaffirms one’s identity and worldview,” Enrique Salmon writes in Eating the Landscape. Traversing a range of cultures, including the Tohono O’odham of the Sonoran Desert and the Rarámuri of the Sierra Tarahumara, the book is an illuminating journey through the southwest United States and northern Mexico. Salmon weaves his historical and cultural knowledge as a renowned indigenous ethnobotanist with stories American Indian farmers have shared with him to illustrate how traditional indigenous foodways—from the cultivation of crops to the preparation of meals—are rooted in a time-honored understanding of environmental stewardship.

Download from our online shopping cart here. Available until 5/21/2020. Discount code is AZSALMON20.  

“Salmón’s lineage serves as the touchstone for this episodic volume, each chapter of which introduces the reader to a different mode of traditional land stewardship.”—Publishers Weekly

“An intimate geographical and cultural journey.”—AlterNative

Learn more about the book

Read a Q & A with Enrique Salmón

Browse Our Latest Titles in Indigenous Studies

May 13, 2020

NAISA had to cancel their annual conference this year, and we really miss the opportunity to meet with our Indigenous studies authors and community. Below, we’ve highlighted our latest Indigenous studies titles that we weren’t able to display at the conference this year. Use the code AZNAISA20 for 40% off all of the titles mentioned in this post, plus free shipping!

Our editor-in-chief, Kristen Buckles, and our senior editor, Allyson Carter, Ph.D., acquire in this field. To propose a project, contact Kristen at kbuckles@uapress.arizona.edu or Allyson at acarter@uapress.arizona.edu.

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

Listen to a conversation between Simón Ventura Trujillo and artist Vick Quezada 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.

Explore the first volume 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. Jeffrey M. Paige’s interviews in Indigenous Revolution in Ecuador and Bolivia, 1990-2005 present the powerful personal experiences and emotional intensity of the revolutionary leadership.

Traditional, National, and International Law and Indigenous Communities, a volume in the Indigenous Justice series, explores the global effects of marginalizing Indigenous law. The essays in this book argue that European-based law has been used to force Indigenous peoples to assimilate, has politically disenfranchised Indigenous communities, and has destroyed traditional Indigenous social institutions. The research in this volume focuses on the resurgence of traditional law, tribal–state relations in the United States, laws that have impacted Native American women, laws that have failed to protect Indigenous sacred sites, the effect of international conventions on domestic laws, and the role of community justice organizations in operationalizing international law.

The book explores the ongoing effects of colonization and emphasizes Native American tribes as governments rather than ethnic minorities. Combining elements of legal issues, human rights issues, and sovereignty issues, Indigenous Environmental Justice creates a clear example of community resilience in the face of corporate greed and state indifference.

Our Bearings is a collection of narrative poetry that examines and celebrates Anishinaabe life in modern Minneapolis. The poems offer a beautifully layered discourse between landscapes, stories, and the people who inhabit them. Through keen observation and a deep understanding of Native life in Minneapolis, McGlennen has created a timely collection which contributes beautifully to the important conversation about contemporary urban Native life in North America and globally.

Read an interview with Molly McGlennen here, then watch her read a poem from Our Bearings here and participate in a recorded virtual poetry event here.

Informed by personal experience and offering an inclusive view, Diné Identity in a Twenty-First-Century World showcases the complexity of understanding and the richness of current Diné identities.

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.

Girl of New Zealand resurrects Māori women from objectification and locates them firmly within Māori whanau/families and communities. In the wake of the Me Too movement and other feminist projects, Michelle Erai’s timely analysis speaks to the historical foundations of negative attitudes toward Indigenous Māori women in the eyes of colonial “others”—outsiders from elsewhere who reflected their own desires and fears in their representations of the Indigenous inhabitants of Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Read an excerpt from Girl of New Zealand 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 Carwil Bjork-James talk about the book on this podcast.

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 Christine D. Beaule and John G. Douglass here.

Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World 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.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Reclaiming Indigenous Governance examines the efforts of Indigenous peoples in four important countries to reclaim their right to self-govern. Showcasing Native nations, this timely book presents diverse perspectives of both practitioners and researchers involved in Indigenous governance in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States (the CANZUS states).

Utilizing archival and ethnographic research, Racial Alterity, Wixarika Youth Activism, and the Right to the Mexican City explores the construction of racial and ethnic imaginaries in the western Mexican cities of Guadalajara and Tepic, and the ways in which these imaginaries shape the contemporary experiences and activism of Wixarika (Huichol) Indigenous university students and professionals living, studying, and working in these two cities.

Read a reflection on her book by Diana Negrín here.

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

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.

Listen to Gonzalo talk about the book on this podcast.

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. Klara Kelley and Harris 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.

Aurum is a fiercely original poetry collection that reveals the marginalized and estranged Native American experience in the wake of industrial progress. With unforgettable imagery and haunting honesty, these poems are powerfully resonant.

Read an interview with Santee Frazier here.

Memories of Earth and Sea explores the daily struggles of islanders living in one of South America’s most culturally distinct regions: the Chiloé Archipelago. Connecting the early history of the islands with the industrialization of the last forty years, the book presents a unique study of large-scale economic changes and the impact these can have on the memories and the collective identity of a people.

Detours is an attempt to crack cultural imperialism by bringing forth the personal as political in academia and research. Speaking from the intersection of race, class, and gender, the contributors explore the hubris and nostalgia that motivate returning again and again to a particular place. Through personal stories, they examine their changing ideas of Latin America and the Caribbean and how those places have shaped the people they’ve become, as writers, as teachers, and as activists.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

When It Rains is an intuitive poetry collection that shows us how language connects people. With the poems in both O’odham and English, the volume serves as a reminder of the beauty and changeability of the O’odham language.

Read Ofelia Zepeda’s forward to this new edition of When It Rains here.

Unwriting Maya Literature provides an important decolonial framework for reading Maya and other Indigenous texts. Through insightful analyses of Maya cultural productions—whether textiles or poetry—this perspective offers a point of departure for the study of Maya literature and art that is situated in an Indigenous way of performing the act of reading.

Unwriting Maya Literature just received an honorable mention from the LASA Mexico Section! Read about it here. Listen to Paul M. Worley and Rita M. Palacios talk about their book on these podcasts.

Speaking to both a personal and collective loss, in Brother Bullet Casandra López confronts her relationships with violence, grief, trauma, guilt, and, ultimately, survival. Revisiting the memory and lasting consequences of her brother’s murder, López traces the course of the bullet—its trajectory, impact, wreckage—in poems that are paralyzing and raw with emotion, yet tender and alive in revelations of light.

Read an interview with Casandra here, then watch her read poems and talk about the collection in a recorded virtual poetry reading here.

Transcontinental Dialogues presents innovative discussion, argument, and insight into the interactions between anthropologists and social researchers—both Indigenous and allies—as they negotiate together the terrain of the imposition of ongoing colonialism over Indigenous lives across three countries. The essays explore how scholars can recalibrate their moral, political, and intellectual actions to meet the obligations flowing from the decolonial alliances.

“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

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Indigenous Interfaces rejects the myth that Indigeneity and information technology are incompatible through its compelling analysis of the relationships between Indigenous peoples and new media. The volume illustrates how Indigenous peoples are selectively and strategically choosing to interface with cybertechnology, highlights Indigenous interpretations of new media, and brings to center Indigenous communities who are resetting modes of communication and redirecting the flow of information. It convincingly argues that interfacing with traditional technologies simultaneously with new media gives Indigenous peoples an edge on the claim to autonomous and sovereign ways of being Indigenous in the twenty-first century.

The Continuous Path challenges archaeologists to take Pueblo concepts of movement seriously by privileging Pueblo concepts of being and becoming in the interpretation of anthropological data. The collaborative volume brings together Native community members, archaeologists, and anthropologists to weave multiple perspectives together to write the histories of Pueblo peoples past, present, and future.

We are thrilled that the book recently won the Historical Society of New Mexico’s Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Award! Read about it here.

From the Pan-Maya Movement in Guatemala and the Zapatista uprising in Mexico to the Water and Gas Wars in Bolivia and the Idle No More movement in Canada, the twenty-first century has witnessed a notable surge in Indigenous political action. Meanwhile, numerous authors use fiction and poetry to combat their invisibility and envision alternatives to coloniality. Revealing Rebellion in Abiayala provides a powerful starting point for rethinking inter-American studies through the lens of literature and Indigenous sovereignty.

The Native Americans of Long Island were integral to the origin and development of the first American whaling enterprise in the years 1650 to 1750. In American’s Early Whalemen, John A. Strong has produced the authoritative source on Indians and shore whaling.

Upstream relates the history behind the nation’s largest state-built water and power conveyance system, California’s State Water Project, with a focus on Indigenous perspectives. Author Beth Rose Middleton Manning illustrates how Indigenous history should inform contemporary conservation measures. She uses a multidisciplinary and multitemporal approach and offers a vision of policy reform that will lead to improved Indigenous futures around the U.S.

Read an interview with Beth Rose here.

In Multiple Injustices, R. Aída Hernández Castillo synthesizes twenty-four years of research and activism among indigenous women’s organizations in Latin America, offering a critical new contribution to the field of activist anthropology and anyone interested in social justice.

Global Indigenous Health is unique and timely as it deals with the historical and ongoing traumas associated with colonization and colonialism, understanding Indigenous concepts of health and healing, and ways of moving forward for health equity.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

Instruments of the True Measure charts the coordinates and intersections of land, history, and culture. Lyrical passages map the parallel lives of ancestral figures and connect dispossessions of the past to lived experiences of the present.

We are so happy that Instruments of the True Measure won the 2019 Washington Book Award! Read an interview with Laura Da’ here, then watch her read poems and talk about the collection in a recorded virtual poetry event here.

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

Don’t forget, the University of Arizona Press is offering 40% off of all ebooks with the code AZEBOOK40!

Unwriting Maya Literature and Dude Lit Awarded Honorable Mentions by the LASA Mexico Section

May 11, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that two University of Arizona Press books were awarded honorable mentions for the LASA Mexico Section Libro en Humanities award! Unwriting Maya Literature by Paul M. Worley and Rita M. Palacios and Dude Lit by Emily Hind are the recipients.

Unwriting Maya Literature provides an important decolonial framework for reading Maya and other Indigenous texts. Through insightful analyses of Maya cultural productions—whether textiles or poetry—this perspective offers a point of departure for the study of Maya literature and art that is situated in an Indigenous way of performing the act of reading.

How did men become the stars of the Mexican intellectual scene? Dude Lit examines the tricks of the trade and reveals that sometimes literary genius rests on privileges that men extend one another and that women permit. Drawing on interviews, archival materials, and critical readings, this provocative book changes the conversation on literature and gendered performance.

A big congratulations to Paul, Rita, and Emily!

Virtual Book Panel Brings Together Science Be Dammed Authors

April 11, 2020

Eric Kuhn and John Fleck, authors of Science Be Dammed, discussed water management history and the challenges facing the Colorado River during a virtual book panel presented by the University of Arizona Press on Wednesday, May 6, 2020.

This panel, moderated by Ben Wilder, director of the Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill in Tucson, Arizona, delved into the conventional wisdom that the 1922 Colorado River Compact negotiators did the best they could with a limited gauge record. The data they used happened to be during an unusually wet period

Today water managers are struggling to come to terms with the mistakes of the past. Focused on both science and policy, Kuhn and Fleck unravel the tangled web that has constructed the current crisis. With key decisions being made now, including negotiations for rules governing how the Colorado River water will be used after 2026, Science Be Dammed offers a clear-eyed path forward by looking back.

Free E-Book of the Week: A Land Apart

May 6, 2020

For this week’s free e-Book of the Week, we’re featuring our commitment to publishing the history of Arizona and the Southwest by offering a title from our Modern American West series, A Land Apart by historian Flannery Burke.

Winner of the Spur Award for Best Contemporary Nonfiction from the Western Writers of America, A Land Apart is not just a cultural history of the modern Southwest—it is a complete rethinking and recentering of the key players and primary events marking the Southwest in the twentieth century. Historian Flannery Burke emphasizes how indigenous, Hispanic, and other non-white people negotiated their rightful place in the Southwest. Burke masterfully crafts an engaging and accessible history that is for anyone interested in using the past to understand the present and the future of not only the region but the nation as a whole.

Download from our online shopping cart here.  Available until 5/13/2020. Discount code is AZBURKE20.  

“Burke’s book is a timely reminder that Hispanics, Natives, and other nonwhites have shaped the U.S. Southwest in multitudinous ways.”—Choice

A Land Apart is indeed a ‘big book’ worthy of everyone’s attention.”—Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Land Apart: The Southwest and the Nation in the Twentieth Century is a must-read for those fascinated by the region, the significance of story, and the importance of perception by those who live within its boundaries as well as those who choose simply to visit.”—H-Net Reviews

“In this eloquent book, Flannery Burke brings the issue of race to the forefront of the Southwest’s regional identity.”—The Journal of Arizona History

Learn more

Open Arizona: New Essays Discuss Classic Works

May 6, 2020

We are pleased to announce the publication of three 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 Maurice Crandall, Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, and Yvette J. Saavedra. These scholars offer perspectives framed by their expertise in history, Indigenous studies, border studies, and English, as well as women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. In thoughtful, individual essays, the address the works of Henry Dobyns, Grenville Goodwin, and María Herrera-Sobek.

The Social Organization of the Western Apache by Grenville Goodwin

In this book, Goodwin presents an in-depth historical reconstruction and a detailed ethnographic account of the Western Apache culture based on firsthand observations made over a span of nearly ten years in the field.

This project includes a new essay by Maurice Crandall, a citizen of the Yavapai-Apache Nation of Camp Verde, Arizona. He is a historian of the Indigenous peoples of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands and is currently assistant professor of Native American studies at Dartmouth College. Crandall’s essay, “Reflections on The Social Organization of the Western Apache and Grenville Goodwin Among the Western Apache: Letters from the Field” addresses the complexity of a white ethnographer’s relationship to and with the community where he worked.

Crandall is the author of These People Have Always Been a Republic published by The University of North Carolina Press.

Reconstructing a Chicano/a Literary Heritage edited by María Herrera-Sobek

Early literary works written in Spanish in what is today the American Southwest have been largely excluded from the corpus of American literature, yet these documents are the literary antecedents of contemporary Chicano and Chicana writing. This collection of essays establishes the importance of this literary heritage through a critical examination of key texts produced in the Southwest from 1542 to 1848.

This project also includes the new essay “Reflections on Reconstructing a Chicano/a Literary Heritage: Hispanic Colonial Literature of the Southwest” by Vanessa Fonseca-Chávez, an assistant professor of English at Arizona State University. She writes, “Perhaps the most salient truth made evident by the collection is that the Spanish conquest left a troubled inheritance on which to build a literary trajectory.”

Fonseca-Chávez is the author of Colonial Legacies in Chicana/o Literature and Culture, which is forthcoming from the University of Arizona Press.

Spanish Colonial Tucson by Henry F. Dobyns

This book offers a fascinating account of the ethnic development of early Tucson. Using a variety of methods and sources, Dobyns reveals how Spaniards, mestizos from New Spain, and Native people from many tribes laid the ethnic foundations for the modern city.

This project also includes a new essay by Yvette J. Saavedra, an assistant professor of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Oregon, titled “Spanish Colonial Tucson: Shifting the Paradigms of Borderlands History.” Saavedra writes, “When we review the significance of Dobyns’s work forty-three years after its publication, it becomes clear that his study marked an important shift in the field of borderlands history by further complicating our understanding of how communities develop within the processes of conquest and colonization.”

Saavedra is the author of Pasadena Before the Roses, published by the University of Arizona Press.

Excerpt From Sugarcane and Rum by John Gust and Jennifer Mathews

May 5, 2020

In Sugarcane and Rum: The Bittersweet History of Labor and Life on the Yucatán Peninsula, authors John Gust and Jennifer Mathews tell the story of sugarcane and rum production through the lens of Maya laborers who worked under brutal conditions on small haciendas to harvest sugarcane and produce rum. The book explains how rum continues to impact the Yucatán and the people who have lived there for millennia.

Below, read an excerpt on the Maya of Quintana Roo:

SUGAR AND RUM PRODUCTION ON THE YUCATAN PENINSULA

Sugar and rum production in Yucatan were influenced by two major factors: (1) the long growing cycle that affected when and how much labor was needed, and (2) the social relationship between the owner and working class that influenced where sugar was produced. This chapter explores the interrelationship of these factors through a discussion of how sugar growing moved from the central and southeastern portions of the peninsula to the wilds of the northeastern coast. The final section details the authors’ work investigating the small site of Xuxub and the larger site of San Eusebio near the northeastern coast of Yucatan.

THE WILD NORTH COAST OF QUINTANA ROO

The historical trajectory of the northern coast of Quintana Roo, including the Yalahau region, where the authors’ ongoing archaeological investigations are focused (see map 2), is quite different from the rest of the Yucatan Peninsula. Within the century following contact, European-introduced diseases resulted in a massive population reduction, perhaps as high as 90 percent. The surviving native peoples were concentrated into settlement regions across the peninsula, but Quintana Roo became a bastion for Maya rebelling against the Spanish.2 Because of this unstable social environment, in the mid-1500s only six encomiendas were established in Quintana Roo. These were located at the sites of Kantunilkin, Conil, Cozumel, Ecab, Pole, and Zama (Tulum/Tancah).

In 1546, the Maya of what is today Quintana Roo initiated the “Great Revolt” to protest their treatment by the Spanish. Although this uprising was squelched by 1547, the Spanish still regarded the area as hostile. A combination of low population density and little supervision by the Spanish along the northeastern tip of the peninsula fostered the development of piracy in the area.5 Legends recall pirates hiding their booty along the coast, and by the mid-1600s they began extracting the logwood tree (known locally as palo de tinte or palo tinto) near Ecab. The Spanish virtually abandoned the region to a small population of Maya and pirates by the mid-1600s because of the difficulty of maintaining the area. This lack of attention continued for the next two centuries, making the region a place of escape for those fed up with the colonial and early postcolonial system.

INDEPENDENCE, LAND LOSS, AND REVOLUTION

The previous chapter discussed the failure of the elites to live up to their promises of reform and betterment for Indigenous peoples after the war for Mexican independence. The result was loss of land and the Indigenous populations, including Yucatan’s Maya, being treated as nothing more than cheap labor instead of full participants in efforts to modernize Yucatan and grow its economy. Haciendas continued to expand, and by 1840, hacienda owners were buying up property, virtually land-locking Maya villages and making it impossible for them to sustain themselves, develop infrastructure, or have access to education.

When the Caste War of the Yucatan Peninsula (Guerra de Castas) started in 1847, the rebels began specifically targeting sugar-producing haciendas for destruction. The war raged on for several years, resulting in massive casualty losses of approximately 40 percent on both sides. By 1850, the armies of Yucatan had secured the western part of the peninsula. The Caste War ended with the defeat of the remaining rebels in most of the Mexican Yucatan by the mid-1850s. The exception was in the southeast, where war raged until finally ending in 1901, when the remaining rebels (the cruceros) were defeated by General Ignacio Bravo and his soldiers. Throughout the conflict, many Maya retreated to the remote “uncontrollable wilds” of the east.

The razing of sugar plantations not only devastated some of the Yucatan’s most profitable enterprises, but also led to sugar shortages and curtailed the production of cane alcohol. Those looking to restart production in the 1870s looked to the isolated north coast of Quintana Roo, which had soils suitable for sugarcane. Although the area had once been abandoned to pirates and hostile Maya, the inhabitants of the largest Maya town in the area, known as Kantunilkin, agreed to cease hostilities circa 1855, and instead helped local authorities keep the peace. The region was isolated and lacked infrastructure but was relatively safe and became the best option for sugar production. This region, which includes our study area, still contains historic ruins of several of these sugar operations.

Mapping Our Hearts: A Virtual Poetry Reading with Three Sun Tracks Poets

May 4, 2020

On Wednesday, April 29th, the University of Arizona Press partnered with Birchbark Books for a National Poetry Month event featuring three poets from the University of Arizona Press Sun Tracks series: Molly McGlennen, Casandra López, and Laura Da’.

Molly McGlennen read from her first book with the Press, Our Bearings, a collection of narrative poetry that examines and celebrates Anishinaabe life in modern Minneapolis. Crafted around the four elements—earth, air, water, and fire— the poems are a beautifully layered discourse between landscapes, stories, and the people who inhabit them.

Casandra López, read from her book, Brother Bullet, which speaks to both a personal and collective loss, as López confronts her relationships with violence, grief, guilt, and ultimately, endurance. Revisiting the memory and lasting consequences of her brother’s murder, López traces the course of the bullet—its trajectory, impact, wreckage—in lyrical narrative poems.

Laura Da’, has two books published with the Press, Instruments of True Measure, and Tributaries. Her newest book, Instruments of True Measure, charts the coordinates and intersections of land, history, and culture. Lyrical passages map the parallel lives of ancestral figures and connect dispossessions of the past to lived experiences of the present.

Big thanks to Birchbark Books in Minneapolis. Please consider ordering our poets’ books from their website to help support this important independent bookstore. Use this link.

Five Questions with Beaule and Douglass on ‘The Global Spanish Empire’

May 4, 2020

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. Edited by Christine Beaule, and John G. Douglass, the volume’s eleven case studies include regions often neglected in the archaeology of Spanish colonialism. The time span under investigation is extensive as well, transcending the entirety of the Spanish Empire, from early impacts in West Africa to Texas during the 1800s. The contributors examine the making of a social place within a social or physical landscape.

Here, Beaule and Douglass discuss the book, and the unique approach of looking at Spanish colonization globally.

This book has a unique wide scale approach in looking at the colonial Spanish empire beyond the Americas. What drove you to bring this book together?

Christine Beaule: John and I proposed an electronic symposium for the SAA meetings in 2018 on ethnogenesis because we were both very interested in identity formation processes in Spanish colonial contexts. We ended up with 16 papers, and a very well attended symposium. The discussion between the participants and audience members that day was highly engaging and interesting. Winning the SAA-Amerind Foundation prize meant hard decisions about how to winnow the papers down to ten (plus an introduction), but our workshop at Amerind was one of the most personally and professionally rewarding experiences we have ever had. Everyone learned so much from each other, particularly about case studies and regions that we rarely bring into conversations about the archaeology of Spanish colonialism. Moreover, it quickly became apparent on day 1 of the workshop that our ethnogenesis theme was not going to work for the book. The opportunity to talk it through in person, and to put our heads together to work out new themes and a different organizational schema, was invaluable. We believe that the volume is much more cohesive and focused because of the process. From the electronic symposium through several days of working together in person on our chapters, without interruptions or distractions, the process was ideal.

John Douglass: Christine and I went to grad school together many years ago and had wanted to collaborate on something. We both have been researching different aspects of Spanish colonialism for quite some time in different parts of the world from one another, so it seemed like a good match to work on this project together. We both wanted to learn more about other parts of the Spanish Empire than what we were familiar with because, in the end, we wanted to learn more about the parts of the world we did know through comparison. The group of colleagues we worked with on this project really were fantastic as their work spans close to 500 years, and is situated all across the globe.

Why is it important to look at colonialism on a global scale?

Christine Beaule: There is much to learn from in-depth analyses of the impacts of colonialism in a single community or region. However, a comparative approach allows us to see patterns over a longer span of time, as well as bringing disparate regions into conversation with each other. In doing so, we gain perspective on local impacts and local agencies that would not be visible otherwise. As Americanists, John and I do not always have time to keep up with the abundant literature produced by our regional colleagues, let alone cutting edge scholarship about other colonized regions of the world. Comparative projects like this one help us see those all-important similarities and differences in the ways that Indigenous cultures were impacted by and responded to colonialism. Although we often speak of colonists and Indigenous communities in binary terms, each of these groups was itself multicultural, so identity categories such as native and Spanish are problematized when we take a global perspective. Finally, I think that it is important to include cases in which strong Spanish footholds were not successfully established, or where efforts to incorporate peoples in regions outside colonies failed. Although they’re harder to see archaeologically, they remind us that Spanish colonialism was not monolithic or homogeneous, and that its impacts on local religious practices, political organization, and economies were similarly varied in scope and kind. Scholarship in regions such as Central America, Africa, the U.S. southeast, Pacific and Caribbean islands, and the Philippines help us all see the full range of impacts and responses, in ways that focusing on single colonies or heartlands of colonialism do not.

John Douglass: This book focuses not just on the global scale, but the global scale through time, which is an important piece of the puzzle. Chris DeCorse’s chapter looks at the very early spread of Spanish colonialism in west Africa in the 1400s and the last chapter is Steve Tomka’s work looking at what is now southern Texas and northeastern Mexico, and all the other chapters in the book are in other portions of the globe between these two points in time. To me, one of the main utilities of looking globally is that we are able to have comparative viewpoints on the ebb and flow of Spanish colonialism and the diverse actions and reactions by indigenous peoples the Spanish worked hard to colonize (with mixed results). I was also so impressed at the way different chapters were able to communicate with one another due to this global approach. The cultural, linguistic, and social historical connections between the Pacific and South America, between the Philippines and Mexico, between Colombia and west Africa, and many more such examples in the book, all led to extremely interesting conversations.

How does this approach possibly change the way we look at the studies of colonization?

Christine Beaule: Work on this project and others like it has taught me to question assumptions and generalizations about colonialism and colonization. Living in Hawaiʼi, an island archipelago that was colonized and overthrown relatively recently by the U.S., colloquial conversations about colonialism and indigeneity are part of daily public life. The opportunities I have had to work with so many brilliant archaeologists studying Spanish colonialism around the world have equipped me to challenge others’ generalizations about European and American imperial histories. When we are able to see the failures of colonization efforts, the pluricultural actors in these histories, and patterns of cultural persistence through time, it teaches us to talk about colonialism in more nuanced ways. For me, that more nuanced understanding is a gift, one that I try to share with family, friends, students and colleagues here in Hawaiʼi, and one that I look forward to developing further in our next academic project. 

John Douglass: Again, to me, the comparative approach of our volume helps bring us to fresh and new ideas about Spanish colonialism and indigenous actions and reactions to it. I’ve done a lot of research on Spanish colonialism in Alta California over the years and my eyes have been opened up in numerous ways by learning more the Spanish colonial experience – including both successes and failures – in other parts of the world. California was relatively late in the sequence and by then the Spanish has honed their models significantly. At the same time, we see some of the same difficulties and gains that were previously experienced in other parts of the world.

Was the Spanish approach to colonization the same globally? How?

Christine Beaule: Oh my goodness, no! Like all imperial powers, the Spanish borrowed an imperfect model from others (in this case, the Portuguese in west Africa), and modified it over time. There were certainly patterns that colonial decision-makers in Europe and in local contexts outside of Iberia tried to impose. Spatial patterns in planned colonies in Central America and missions in Texas and Guam provide one set of examples. Restricted access to sartorial and other material goods under racialized sociopolitical hierarchies are another category. These impositions, like ideological elements of Catholicism, were imperfectly adopted or enforced. The realities of each situation throughout the empire, and through time, meant that translations of beliefs and practices were incomplete. Local geographies and resources (material, capital, and human) meant that outside ideals, categories and standards required modifications. And, of course, Indigenous resistance and cultural persistence meant that, like many other non-colonial cases of intercultural interaction, people did not simply passively substitute one culture for another. The Spanish approach to colonization, as a result of these and many other axes of variability, had to adapt. Even then, they often failed, or some of their successes (e.g., with planned communities) were short lived and incomplete.

John Douglass: To parallel Christine here, while the Spanish did try to adapt in different ways through time, it was a mixed bag in terms of methods and results. I think the Spanish were good, in some ways, in approaching their goals through the lens of the local perspective and situation, although, again, there were varied actions and courses within the same general region. In the case of the Maya, for example, early on the general theme was to do whatever the Spanish could to destroy Maya culture through, among other things, burning almost all examples of their bark paper books. Several hundred years later, the way the Spanish taught local indigenous populations in the highlands of Guatemala about Christianity was through understanding the local oral and written traditions and belief systems, and then recasting Christianity through those same local perspectives.  At the same time, like Laura Matthews and Bill Fowler’s example of Ciudad Vieja in San Salvador in the book, the Spanish did try to recreate colonies as they had elsewhere, with poor results.

Looking at all the contributions to this book, were there any surprises that surfaced in Spanish colonization?

Christine Beaule: … our journey began with a focus on documenting variability in processes of ethnogenesis. Once we got a subset of the original symposium’s participants together in a room, we collectively realized that our case studies (with only one exception) did not address ethnogenesis at all the way we were defining it narrowly! The two themes of the edited volume, place making and pluralism, emerged in the course of an intensive discussion of the points of overlap between chapter drafts. That rapid shift in focus informed the workshop discussions for the rest of our time together in Dragoon. I do not believe it would have been possible without the opportunity to work through these issues together, and so the book’s focus turned out to be the first big surprise.

The other surprise was just how powerful the concept of place making turned out to be for our comparative study of Spanish colonialism. We wrestled with conceptions of space and place that incorporated geographic, social, and agency considerations. What we all came up with is a theoretically powerful framework that helped us all to understand and explain patterns in material culture, diverse conceptions and uses of space, and the roots of Indigenous resistance and resiliency.

Because there were so many points of connection between all of the different case studies, despite big differences in their foci and details in their historical trajectories, we came to deeply appreciate how the two related themes wove all of the chapters together into a coherent whole. John and I are proud of both the journey and the final product. We treasure the friendships we fostered and the joy of pure intellectual exchange and growth that this book represents.

John Douglass: I think Christine makes good points. The only other thing I would add is that I was surprised as we discussed our draft chapters during our workshop at the Amerind Foundation how many interesting and pointed connections there were between papers: geographically, thematically, culturally, and the list goes on. This relates to one of my answers above. These connections were clear between the inhabitants of colonies and expeditions even in situations where they were separated vastly geographically or temporally. As one example of many, the papers by Chris DeCorse (west Africa) and Juliette Wiersema (western Colombia) are focused on two regions of the world thousands of miles apart and their papers analyze events hundreds of years apart. Yet, as we discussed the papers in the workshop, we all came to realize that the enslaved, and later freed, Africans working in mines and along the rivers of western Colombia Juliet wrote about were from the region Chris detailed in his paper. These kinds of surprising connections help us better understand the deep, and poignant, history of colonialism across the globe which have created complicated webs of relationships both in the past and present.

Escape the News with University Press Books

May 1, 2020

The university press community has compiled an “Escape the News” reading list! The escape theme was interpreted broadly: submissions range from music history and poetry, graphic novels, photography and illustrated books, short stories, novels, memoirs, and natural history. There is also an international flavor to the list—especially in the areas of creative literature, fiction, poetry, and fine arts—indicating the global nature of the university press community. The goal for the list is to offer readers a way to entertain and inform in a time when reading allows us a portal to other worlds, when we can’t quite get there in person.

Our book picks for this “Escape the News” reading list are Kafka in a Skirt by Daniel Chacón and Ladies of the Canyons by Lesley Poling-Kempes.

“Daniel Chacón’s collection of stories challenges convention and resolution, offering us thought-provoking insights into our current (and oftentimes surreal) political climate. Kafka in a Skirt breaks new ground in the art of social commentary that highlights the strangeness of our human condition and the follies of the skewed perceptions we maintain of ourselves, our neighbors, and the troubled world we live in.”—Rigoberto González

Poling-Kempes has done an admirable job scouring archives for these women, who have been largely left out of the historical record of the West. It’s a kind of prequel to our common history of the Southwest, peopled by women with long skirts and cinched waists in the desert heat, riding cowboy style, trying to do right by the land they all loved.”—Los Angeles Times

Discover more books from this reading list here.

Smithsonian Magazine Selects Sugarcane and Rum for Their Weekly Reading Series

April 30, 2020

We are thrilled that Sugarcane and Rum was selected for the latest installment of Smithsonian magazine’s “Books of the Week” series!

Here’s what Smithsonian had to say about Sugarcane and Rum:

Gust and MathewsSugarcane and Rum looks beyond the Yucatán Peninsula’s reputation as an idyllic getaway spot to expose the harsh conditions faced by its 19th-century Maya laborers.

Hacienda owners implemented punitive economic systems where workers became deeply indebted to their bosses, only to see their freedoms curtailed as a result. At the same time, the authors note, these men and women enjoyed a certain level of autonomy as an indispensable source of labor come harvest time.

‘What this history shows,’ according to the book’s introduction, ‘is that sugarcane and rum are produced on a massive scale to satisfy the consumptive needs of the colonizers, which only compounds its exploitative nature as the products became available to the middle and working class.’

Meilan Solly for Smithsonian magazine

Read the full list of book recommendations here.

Free E-Book of the Week: Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico

April 28, 2020

For this week’s free e-Book of the Week, we’re wrapping up National Poetry Month by featuring a collection from our award-winning Camino del Sol Series, which spotlights poetry, fiction, and essays from both emerging and established voices in Latinx literature. A work of global urgency that maps across spaces and between and across languages, this week we are pleased to offer Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico by poet Urayoán Noel as a topical, critical work of poetic artistry.

In Buzzing Hemisphere / Rumor Hemisférico, poet Noel creates a hemispheric poetics that is both broadly geopolitical and intimately neurological. We hear the noise of cities such as New York, San Juan, and São Paulo abuzz with flickering bodies and the rush of vernaculars as untranslatable as the murmur in the Spanish rumor. Oscillating between baroque textuality and vernacular performance, Noel’s bilingual poems experiment with eccentric self-translation, often blurring the line between original and translation as a way to question language hierarchies and allow for translingual experiences.

Download from our online shopping cart here. Available until 5/6/2020. Discount code is AZBUZZ20.  

“Noel succeeds in creating a new kind of compilation, a testament to the limits of genre, and a compelling endeavor for any reader up to the challenge.”—Booklist

“A book of daring, cheeky, trendy Nuyorican poetry.”—Virtual Boricua

“Along with such rigorous structural framework and play, the collection is pleasingly grounded at each turn in a sensibility able to alternate not only between languages but also between personal and social purpose.”—The Volta Blog

Learn more 

Molly McGlennen Reads ‘Ode To Prince’ from Our Bearings

April 27, 2020

University of Arizona Press author Molly McGlennen shared a video she did recently of her reading her poem “Ode To Prince,” a poem she dedicated to the late Minneapolis musician and read to honor the recent four-year anniversary of Prince’s passing.

The poem is in McGlennen’s new collection, Our Bearings, published by the University of Arizona Press.

Emmy Pérez Selected for The Big Texas Read

April 27, 2020

Readers in Texas now have the opportunity to be part of statewide book clubs, which have started recently as a way for readers to connect while they are staying home and staying safe. We are thrilled that Texas Poet Laureate and University of Arizona Press author Emmy Pérez is one of the featured authors in The Big Texas Read! Her collection, With the River on Our Face, will be one of the books bringing Texans from all over the state together during these stressful times.

“In Texas, the organizations Writing Workshops Dallas and Gemini Ink have joined forces for The Big Texas Read, a statewide book club that will take place over Zoom every two weeks from April 29 through June 10. As described on Writing Workshops Dallas’s site, “[W]e’ll be reading ONE work of prose or poetry written by a Texas author every 1-2 months from now until the bug is squashed…Think of it as a big virtual book club, only you get to stay home, mix a cocktail, eat a big piece of chocolate cake, and snuggle up on the sofa.” Organizer Blake Kimzey told The Dallas Morning News, “Most people are siloed at home with their families, or they’re by themselves. The goal of this is to bring back interactivity with people. Not just to read the books, but to have a release from the current moment.” Independent bookstore partners of the event include Dallas’s Interabang Books and San Antonio’s The Twig Book Shop, where readers can order the titles for home delivery or curbside pickup.”

Rachel Kramer Bussel for Forbes

Read the entire article for Forbes here.

Emmy Pérez’s poetry collection With the River on Our Face flows through the Southwest and the Texas borderlands to the river’s mouth in the Rio Grande Valley/El Valle. The poems celebrate the land, communities, and ecology of the borderlands through lyric and narrative utterances, auditory and visual texture, chant, and litany that merge and diverge like the iconic river in this long-awaited collection.

 “In divided times, Emmy Pérez’s voice speaks not only from America, but from the Americas, north and south. A wise, healing poetry.”—Sandra Cisneros

 “Emmy Pérez is a word musician and magician. This book has a powerful pull—it has secret places where part of you will reside. It is a good season when work like this is in bloom.”—Luis Alberto Urrea

Free E-Book of the Week: Prehistory, Personality, and Place

April 22, 2020

In this time to read, we will be featuring one free e-Book each week. This week we’re highlighting our books in archaeology and offering Prehistory, Personality, and Place: Emil W. Haury and the Mogollon Controversy as the free e-Book of the week.

When Emil Haury defined the ancient Mogollon in the 1930s as a culture distinct from their Ancestral Pueblo and Hohokam neighbors, he triggered a major intellectual controversy in the history of southwestern archaeology, centering on whether the Mogollon were truly a different culture or merely a “backwoods variant” of a better-known people. In this book, archaeologists Jefferson Reid and Stephanie Whittlesey tell the story of the remarkable individuals who uncovered the Mogollon culture, fought to validate it, and eventually resolved the controversy.

Download from our online shopping cart here. Available until 4/30/2020. Discount code is AZHAURY20.  

“Archeologists Jefferson Reid and Stephanie Whittlesey ably chronicle this controversy and the personalities who drove it.”—American Archeology

Learn more 

Explore Our Recent Titles in Archaeology

April 22, 2020

We are missing the annual Society for American Archaeology meeting right now, so we are highlighting our recent archaeology titles that would have been displayed front-and-center at the meeting.

Use the code AZARCH20 to get 40% off all University of Arizona Press titles, plus free shipping! The code is valid through 7/11/2020.

Our senior editor, Allyson Carter, Ph.D., acquires in this field. To propose a project, contact her 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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Read about the first volume in the series here.

The increasingly militarized U.S.-México border is an intensely physical place, affecting the bodies of all who encounter it. The essays in The Border and Its Bodies explore how crossing becomes embodied in individuals on the most basic social unit possible: the human body.

Read an excerpt from the volume here.

The Continuous Path challenges archaeologists to take Pueblo concepts of movement seriously by privileging Pueblo concepts of being and becoming in the interpretation of anthropological data. The collaborative volume brings together Native community members, archaeologists, and anthropologists to weave multiple perspectives together to write the histories of Pueblo peoples past, present, and future.

Congratulations to the editors of the book, Samuel Duwe and Robert Preucel, as well as all of the contributors to the volume on winning the Historical Society of New Mexico’s 2020 Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Award!

In The Davis Ranch Site, the results of Rex Gerald’s 1957 excavations at the Davis Ranch site in southeastern Arizona’s San Pedro River Valley are reported in their entirety for the first time. Annotations to Gerald’s original manuscript and newly written material place Gerald’s work in the context of what is currently known regarding the late thirteenth-century Kayenta diaspora and the relationship between Kayenta immigrants and the Salado phenomenon.

Challenging Colonial Narratives pushes postcolonial thinking in archaeology in socially and politically meaningful directions. Matthew A. Beaudoin calls for more nuanced interpretive frameworks and encourages archaeologists and scholars to focus on the different or similar aspects among sites to explore the nineteenth-century life of contemporaneous Indigenous and settler peoples.

Painting the Skin brings together exciting research on painted skins—human, animal, and vegetal—in Mesoamerica. It offers physicochemical analysis and interdisciplinary understandings of the materiality, uses, and cultural meanings of the colors applied on a multitude of skins, including bodies, codices, and even building “skins.”

The archaeological record of the Northern Rio Grande exhibits the hallmarks of economic development, but Pueblo economies were organized in radically different ways than modern industrialized and capitalist economies. Contributors to Reframing the Northern Rio Grande Pueblo Economy explore the patterns and determinants of economic development in pre-Hispanic Rio Grande Pueblo society, building a platform for more broadly informed research on this critical process.

Don’t forget, the University of Arizona Press is offering 40% off all e-books right now! If you would prefer an e-book instead of a physical copy, use the code AZEBOOK40 at checkout. Also, keep an eye on our social media for a different free e-book of the week every week!

Carwil Bjork-James Talks Social Movements in Bolivia on the Howard Zinn Book Fair Podcast: Books to the Barricades

April 20, 2020

In a new podcast series, Books to the Barricades, Carwil Bjork-James discusses his new book, The Sovereign Street. This podcast series is hosted by the Howard Zinn Book Fair, which is an annual celebration of the people’s history— past, present, and future. Listed to the podcast here.

In the early twenty-first century, Bolivian movements made streets, plazas, and highways into the decisively important spaces for acting politically, rivalling and at times exceeding voting booths and halls of government. The Sovereign Street documents this important period, showing how indigenous-led mass movements reconfigured the politics and racial order of Bolivia from 1999 to 2011.

Taking the streets of Cochabamba, Sucre, and La Paz as its vantage point, 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.

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.

The Continuous Path Wins the Historical Society of New Mexico’s Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Award

April 20, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that The Continuous Path: Pueblo Movement and the Archaeology of Becoming is the winner of the 2020 Gaspar Pérez de Villagrá Award for an outstanding publication in New Mexico or Southwest borderlands history!

Dennis Reinhartz, President of the Historical Society of New Mexico, said, “Reviewers recognized the book for its significant contributions to scholarship of New Mexico history, archaeology and anthropology. In particular, the emphasis on collaboration between Natives and non-Native scholars in the research and writing was seen as a real strength. The multiple perspectives presented in the texts add tremendous value to the volume as a whole and are recognized to have “the potential to foster understanding between and among Natives and non-Natives alike. … We congratulate you, and all the contributing authors, on this wonderful work.”

The Continuous Path challenges archaeologists to take Pueblo notions of movement seriously by privileging Pueblo concepts of being and becoming in the interpretation of anthropological data. In this volume, archaeologists, anthropologists, and Native community members weave multiple perspectives together to write histories of particular Pueblo peoples. Within these histories are stories of the movements of people, materials, and ideas, as well as the interconnectedness of all as the Pueblo people find, leave, and return to their middle places. What results is an emphasis on historical continuities and the understanding that the same concepts of movement that guided the actions of Pueblo people in the past continue to do so into the present and the future.

Many congratulations to the editors, Samuel Duwe and Robert Preucel, as well as all of the contributors to the volume!

Two Podcasts with the Authors of Unwriting Maya Literature

April 17, 2020

Paul M. Worley and Rita M. Palacios discussed their new book, Unwriting Maya Literature, in two podcasts. If you’ve been wanting to hear more about their work, here is your chance!

The first podcast is for SECOLAS’s Historias series can be listened to here.

Historias is a SECOLAS (Southeastern Council of Latin American Studies) production and it has been around for a little while. Until recently, their focus has been History, but its shifting to include other disciplines.

The second podcast is available in both Spanish and English, and was recorded for Mesoamerican Studies Online’s On Air series. The English version can be listened to here and the Spanish version can be listened to here.

Mesoamerican Studies Online and On Air is a fairly new project by Catherine Nuckols-Wilde, a PhD student of Art History and Latin American Studies from Tulane University. She began the podcast a short while ago, and she interviews experts on Mesoamerica from all different disciplines.

As Rita M. Palacios says, “Listening to these podcasts is like going to a conference but with the ability to space out the talks you attend. That, and you can do it in your PJs. So, do yourself a favor and subscribe to Mesoamerican Studies On Air and Historias.” So, enjoy listening!

Unwriting Maya Literature places contemporary Maya literatures within a context situated in Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Through the Maya category ts’íib, the authors propose an alternative to traditional analysis of Maya cultural production that allows critics, students, and admirers to respectfully interact with the texts and their authors. Unwriting Maya Literature offers critical praxis for understanding Mesoamerican works that encompass non-Western ways of reading and creating texts.

To learn more, visit Rita’s website and Paul’s website.

We Can All Use Some Daniel Chacón Right Now, You’re Welcome

April 17, 2020

University of Arizona Press author Daniel Chacón was recently interviewed by poet and authors ire’ne lara silva for The Rumpus on Kafka in a Skirt and more:

The characters in Daniel Chacón’s Kafka in a Skirt: Stories from the Wall® live at the intersection of technology and the unfathomable nature of time and existence. It’s not that the rules of physics cease to exist but that we, as readers, are allowed to peer into all of the ways that they’ve never really existed. Unexpectedly tender and inquisitive, these stories explore identity, life on the border, childhood, maturity, creation, and connection.

The interview dives into metaphor and metaphysics, and is a delightful read and window into Chacón’s world as an artist. Find the interview here.

Like many of us, Chacón, a creative writing professor at the University of Texas, El Paso, is home with his family. He’s making the most of this COVID-19 life posting “a new story a day, every day, five days a week throughout the month of April or until this virus passes and we are free to wander again.”

The stories are posted on Chacón’s website: Lockdown Stories During the Quarantine. (Seeing the Elephants), are like The Rumpus interview, another great ride inside Chacón’s writing mind.

Isabel Molina-Guzmán Talks Latinx TV & Pop Culture with Frederick Aldama in a New Video

April 16, 2020

In this new video, Isabel Molina-Guzmán— author of Latinas and Latinos on TV— talks with Latinx Pop Culture series co-editor Frederick Luis Aldama about the significance of Latinx representations in TV and mainstream culture. View their discussion below, or watch it on YouTube here.

Latinas and Latinos on TV provides crucial insights into understanding Latinx representation. Interweaving discussions about the ethnic, racial, and linguistic representations of Latinas/os within network television comedies, Isabel Molina-Guzmán probes published interviews with producers and textual examples from hit programs like Modern Family, The Office, and Scrubs to understand how these primetime sitcoms communicate difference in the United States.

Understanding the complex ways that audiences interpret these programs, Molina-Guzmán situates her analysis within the Obama era, a period when ethnicity and race became increasingly grounded in “hipster racism”, and argues that despite increased inclusion, the feel-good imperative of TV comedies still inevitably leaves racism, sexism, and homophobia uncontested.

Isabel Molina-Guzmán is an associate professor of media and cinema studies and Latina/Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

Los Angeles Review of Books: A Conversation with Casandra López

April 15, 2020

In a recent interview with University of Arizona Press author and poet Casandra López published in the Los Angeles Review of Books , author Isabel Quintero asked López about grief and more specifically about navigating the space of grief and violence as an Indigenous and Chicana woman.

López ‘s book with the Press, Brother Bullet, is a deeply personal collection of poetry revisiting the memory and lasting consequences of her brother’s murder in lyrical narrative poems that are haunting and raw with emotion, yet tender and alive in revelations of light.

From the interview:

I think a lot about the ethics of writing about trauma. My own grief is very much linked to experiences of trauma. It’s something that I think about so much because I’m writing about my family, and my brother who is no longer here. So, I think it’s important to always be aware of that privilege and the responsibilities I have. In a very literal sense, I want my family to be physically protected but also protected emotionally.

In the memoir, I’m not just writing about myself. I’m writing intimately about my family, bringing in the history of California and the Inland Empire, along with some community stories. So, I do feel more of a weight to not retraumatize others or to make sure what I’m writing is going to be of service to those in my community and family.

I sometimes hear criticism that too many Native writers write about tragedies or that readers don’t want to read stories about gun violence. But this is part of my reality, as well as of many others in my communities, so it is not something I am going to turn away from.

It has been useful to think about some key questions that Daniel Heath Justice asks in his book Why Indigenous Literatures Matter (2018)He poses certain questions to analyze Native literature, but I have used his questions to guide me as a writer:

1) How do I represent the complexities of my contemporary Indigenous life? What does my work say about what it is to be human?

2) What responsibilities do I have to others when I write about myself, my communities, my family, my ancestors, and the nonhuman world? What meaning can be explored in these relationships and kinships?

3) What can my work provide to my future kin?

4) How can my work encourage balance and healing?

Read the full interview here.

The Latest in Latinx Studies from the University of Arizona Press

April 15, 2020

We are really missing the NACCS annual meeting right now, so here is a roundup of our latest titles in Latinx studies that we would have been proudly displaying at the conference this year.

Use the code AZNACCS20 to receive 30% off and free shipping on all of the titles mentioned in this post!

Our editor-in-chief, Kristen Buckles, acquires in this field. To propose a project, contact her atKBuckles@uapress.arizona.edu.

Latinx Ciné in the Twenty-First Century is a timeless volume and 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.

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.

Read a conversation between the editors here, and watch a video on the topic here.

Daniel D. Arreola’s Postcards from the Chihuahua Border is a colorful and dynamic visual history of Mexico’s northern border. Drawing on more than three decades of archival work, Arreola invites the reader to time travel, to revisit another era—the first half of the last century—when the border towns of Ciudad Juárez, Ojinaga, and Palomas were framed and made popular through picture postcards.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

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

Read an interview with the author 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.

Watch a conversation between Norma Cantú and our publicity manager, Mari Herreras, here. Then, read an interview about the collection and a poem here.

Kafka in a Skirt is not your ordinary short story collection. In his newest work, Daniel Chacón subverts expectation and breaks down the walls of reality to create stories that are intriguing, hilarious, and deeply rooted in Chicano culture.

Read an interview with Daniel Chacón by Tim Z. Hernandez here.

Indigenous Interfaces rejects the myth that Indigeneity and information technology are incompatible through its compelling analysis of the relationships between Indigenous peoples and new media. The volume illustrates how Indigenous peoples are selectively and strategically choosing to interface with cybertechnology, highlights Indigenous interpretations of new media, and brings to center Indigenous communities who are resetting modes of communication and redirecting the flow of information. It convincingly argues that interfacing with traditional technologies simultaneously with new media gives Indigenous peoples an edge on the claim to autonomous and sovereign ways of being Indigenous in the twenty-first century.

In Saints, Statues, and Stories, beloved folklorist James S. Griffith introduces us to the roadside shrines, artists, fiestas, saints, and miracles of northern Mexico. Full-color images add to the pleasure of this delightful journey through the churches and towns of Sonora.

Listen to an interview with “Big Jim” Griffith here.

Reading Popol Wuj offers readers a path to look beyond Western constructions of literature to engage with this text through the philosophical foundation of Maya thought and culture. This guide deconstructs various translations to ask readers—scholars, teachers, and graduate and undergraduate students—to break out of the colonial mold in approaching this seminal Maya text.

The early 1960s are remembered for the emergence of new radical movements. One such protest movement rose in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. With large timbering companies moving in on the forested sierra highlands, campesinos and rancheros did not sit by as their lands and livelihoods were threatened. Agrarian Revolt in the Sierra of Chihuahua, 1959-1965 is the story of how they organized and demanded agrarian rights—ultimately with deadly consequences.

How did men become the stars of the Mexican intellectual scene? In Dude Lit, Emily Hind examines the tricks of the trade and reveals that sometimes literary genius rests on privileges that men extend one another and that women permit.

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.

Explore other books in the Mexican American Experience series here.

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

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.

Watch a recording of a live Zoom event with the editors and several contributors of Voices from the Ancestors here, then read an interview with the editors, Lara Medina and Martha R. Gonzales, here.

Mexican Waves takes us to a time before the border’s militarization, when radio entrepreneurs, listeners, and artists viewed the boundary between the United States and Mexico the same way that radio waves did—as fluid and nonexistent. Author Sonia Robles explains how Mexican radio entrepreneurs targeted the Mexican population in the United States decades before U.S. advertising agencies realized the value of the Spanish-language market and demonstrates Mexico’s role in shaping the borderlands.

Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World 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.

Read an excerpt from the book here, and read summaries of two book events held on the University of Arizona campus here and here.

The increasingly militarized U.S.-México border is an intensely physical place, affecting the bodies of all who encounter it. The essays in The Border and Its Bodies explore how crossing becomes embodied in individuals on the most basic social unit possible: the human body.

Read an excerpt from the book here.

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

Listen to a conversation between Simón Trujillo and New York City-based artist Vick Quezada here.

Unwriting Maya Literature provides an important decolonial framework for reading Maya and other Indigenous texts. Through insightful analyses of Maya cultural productions—whether textiles or poetry—this perspective offers a point of departure for the study of Maya literature and art that is situated in an Indigenous way of performing the act of reading.

Listen to two podcasts about the book here.

New in paperback!

Based on more than twenty years of border activism in San Diego–Tijuana and El Paso–Ciudad Juárez, Coloniality of the US/Mexico Border 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.

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.

Don’t forget, the University of Arizona Press is offering 40% off all e-books right now! Use the code AZEBOOK40 at checkout. Also, keep an eye on our social media for a different free e-book of the week every week!

Free E-Book of the Week: Crossing with the Virgin

April 14, 2020

In this time to read, we will be featuring one free e-Book each week. This week we’re highlighting our books about the border and offering Crossing with the Virgin: Stories from the Migrant Trail as the free e-Book of the week.

When it was published exactly ten years ago this week, the book was the first of it’s kind. Not only did it share thirty-nine first-hand accounts of migrants crossing the Arizona desert, it also shared the stories of the Samaritans involved in humanitarian work in the borderlands.

Crossing with the Virgin is not only a window into the migrants’ plight but also a look at the challenges faced by volunteers in sometimes compromising situations—and at their own humanizing process. This is a story that is more poignant than ever as we hear stories of Samaritans all around us.

Download from our online shopping cart here. Available until 4/21/2020. Discount code is AZCROSS20.  

“Trading off chapters, the authors deliver immigrants’ stories calmly and objectively, but their compassionate message is clear, and especially timely. Though difficult to read, this important collection provides vital, humanizing perspective on a divisive issue, with stories that will stick with readers for a long time.”—Publishers Weekly starred review

Learn more 

Michelle Erai’s Girl of New Zealand “Talks Back” to Colonization: An Excerpt

April 13, 2020

Girl of New Zealand presents a nuanced insight into the way violence and colonial attitudes shaped the representation of Māori women and girls. In the wake of the Me Too movement and other feminist projects, Michelle Erai’s timely analysis speaks to the historical foundations of negative attitudes toward Indigenous Māori women in the eyes of colonial “others.” Erai resurrects Māori women from objectification and locates them firmly within Māori whānau and communities.

Below, read an excerpt from Girl of New Zealand.

Images, steeped with symbols of empire, literally circled the globe, inscribing and reiterating pre-imagined notions of the Native woman. For the Māori woman in particular, her imagined automatic acquiescence began to really take hold in the early days of contact with the whalers and commercial entrepreneurs that soon followed behind the explorers, and only slightly preceded the missionaries. Within about sixty years that imagined acquiescence became the optical alibi for an arm of capitalist primitive accumulation particularly well-suited to South Pacific islands— tourism.

Using “The Souvenir” as a metaphor, it is possible to discern how and why bodies of women are sites of constant scrutiny based on their beauty and how such implications are deeply institutional and directed by expectations derived from power. Celeste Olaquiaga writes, “It is the demiurgic desire for immortality, the secret of creation held in the palm of one hand, the ability to gaze, unfettered, into the unknown otherness of an imprisoned creature that cannot escape its imposed rigor mortis or our voracious demands.” This fetishism of immortality being held within the powers of one’s palm translates into the desire for immortality that is imposed upon the bodies of women. This powerful fetishization that resides within the realms of imagination creates expectations of the feminized body, to fight against the natural paths of nature, and to create a firm utopian imagination that fixes the conditions of living. The bodies of women then also become the site of this fetishization through the commodification of our imaginations. The consequences for Māori women of this performance is a kind of violence that Jasbir Puar identified: “Violence is naturalized as the inexorable and fitting response to nonnormative [or perhaps fetishized] sexuality.”

The use of images to attract a new middle-class traveler began in earnest when in 1901 New Zealand became the first country to dedicate a government department to tourism. In terms of how advertising can help us think about the impact of an advertising image, Margaret Werry argues, “As a nation, Aotearoa New Zealand is a community not so much imagined as imagineered. It is a state production and a participatory drama, the work of culture agents across business, civil society, policy, and entertainment. Index and agent of a broader synergy, tourism is implicated in virtually every industry sector.”

Where this becomes important is in the construction of “taste” for the modern neoliberal citizen subject through tourism and touristic imaging; this had a special impact for Māori in that the “imagineers” suggested Māori culture “might offer the nation what advertising guru Kevin Roberts called a Lovemark, lending the brand distinction, authenticity, and affective charge.”

When Bourdieu draws the connection between how an intellect may be trained to produce “taste”. that a distinction reproduces a classed hierarchy invisibly, he is circling the operations of hegemony. Hegemony relies upon the existence of some state prior to the one that draws distinctions, and that within that state there must be an innocence upon which distinctions can become imprinted. Or hailed. Called into being. And that hailing— learning the violence of the word— replaces innocence. Not with knowledge, but with approved knowledge; not with a vista existing in a native savage state, but a constant reiteration of the conditions of the status quo. I suggest there are two notable sources of images that directly challenge the fixity of that presumed innocence— first, advertising, and second, religious iconography. In these two fields, with their explicit goal of effecting a metamorphosis in the viewer through an image, lie, I think, the imperative to fully consider the impact of colonial optics: of what it means to assume an innocent eye, and therefore the consequences of choosing not to train a knowing eye; also, the transformative possibilities of images consciously employing metamorphoses to “talk back” to colonization.

© 2020 by The Arizona Board of Regents

Michelle Erai was an assistant professor of gender studies at University of California, Los Angeles. She is originally from Whangarei, Aotearoa, and is descended from the tribes of Ngāpuhi and Ngati Porou.

Five Questions with Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera and Victor Konrad

April 13, 2020

According to Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera and Victor Konrad, if ever there was a time to better understand the borders of North America, it’s now during a global pandemic crisis.

The editors of North American Borders in Comparative Perspective, recently published by the University of Arizona Press, said the pandemic has the potential to further change policies and life along both borders. Correra-Cabrera and Konrad, took time from their work, to talk about these growing border issues, their book, and the importance of learning more about both borders, not only our southern borderlands.

In North American Borders in Comparative Perspective, leading experts provide a contemporary analysis of how globalization and security imperatives have redefined the shared border regions of Canada, the United States, and Mexico.

This volume offers a comparative perspective on North American borders and reveals the distinctive nature first of the over-portrayed Mexico-U.S. border and then of the largely overlooked Canada-U.S. border. The perspectives on either border are rarely compared. Essays in this volume bring North American borders into comparative focus; the contributors advance the understanding of borders in a variety of theoretical and empirical contexts pertaining to North America with an intense sharing of knowledge, ideas, and perspectives.

A Conversation With Norma Elia Cantú

April 11, 2020

Maestra Norma Cantú, author, activist, and scholar, took time to talk with the University of Arizona Press from her San Antonio home about life during COVID-19, community, family, and her poetry collection, Meditación Fronteriza: Poems of Love, Life, and Labor.

Life in Cantú’s Texas-Mexico borderlands is centered in these poems, a collection that celebrates culture, tradition, love, solidarity, and political transformation from Spanish to English.

Cantú, author of Canícula: Snapshots of a Girlhood en la Frontera, currently serves as the Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University. She is founder and director of the Society for the Study of Gloria Anzaldúa.

Xicanx And Latinx Spiritual Expressions And Healing During COVID-19

April 13, 2020

Lara Medina and Martha Gonzales, editors of Voices from the Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual and Healing Practices, published by the University of Arizona Press, were joined by contributors Sandra Pacheco, Marta Lopez-Garza, and Berenice Dimas in a recent online discussion on the book’s themes, wisdom, and importance during this challenging time.

Voices from the Ancestors brings together the reflective writings and spiritual practices of Xicanx, 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.

The editors and contributors want to share these practices from the book that relate to the online discussion on dreaming, one and two; on house blessings; on spiritual limpias; rituals and remedies; and honoring the Four Directions.

More information on Voices editors and contributors:

Berenice Dimas shared information on herbs and wellness practices. Dimas is a queer writer, community-based herbalist, health educator, wellness promotora, and full-spectrum birth doula. Find out more about Berenice’s work by visiting her website and her Instagram pages @hoodherbalism y @brujatip.

Martha R. Gonzales, whose partner is currently battling COVID-19, shared her experience caring for her partner and turning to traditional ways to help him fight the virus and heal. Gonzales was raised in East Los Angeles, earned her bachelor’s degree in philosophy and literature from University of California, Santa Cruz, and her doctorate in literature from University of California, San Diego. She lectures in the Ethnic Studies Department at Glendale Community College, Glendale, California.

Marta López-Garza, shared information on how to do a blessing for a house or sacred space. López-Garza is a professor in gender and women’s studies and Chicana/o studies departments at California State University, Northridge. She co-facilitates Revolutionary Scholars, an organization of formerly incarcerated students and is a cofounder of Civil Discourse and Social Change, a campus-wide initiative combining education, community involvement, and sustained activism. Her scholarship focuses on formerly incarcerated womxn.

Lara Medina (Xicanx) was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, earned an
MA in theology from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, and a PhD in history from Claremont Graduate University. She is a professor in the Chicana/o Studies Department at California State University, Northridge.

Sandra M. Pacheco is a professor and independent scholar.  Her teaching and research focuses on Chicana/Latina/Indígena feminisms and spirituality. Sandra cofounded Curanderas sin Fronteras, a mobile clinic dedicated to serving the health and well-being of Chican@/Latin@/Indígena communities through the use of curanderismo.

Free E-Book of the Week: Leaving Tulsa

April 8, 2020

In this time to read, we will be featuring one free e-book each week. This week we’re offering a book from our Sun Tracks Series, which focuses on the creative works of Indigenous and Native artists and writers. This week, we’re featuring Leaving Tulsa by Jennifer Elise Foerster, who is also the author of Bright Raft in the Afterweather.

Download from our online shopping cart here. Available until 4/12/2020. Discount code is AZTULSA.  

“For a book that unfurled like a wild, restless road trip, I took great delight in Jennifer Foerster’s Leaving Tulsa. Sensuous, generous, full of beginnings and endings, this map of America flapping in the dark meditates on Foerster’s Muskegee ancestry, the American prairie, the loss of her grandmother’s land, and her shard-like rediscovery in California.”—Tess Taylor, NPR

Book Description: Leaving Tulsa, a book of road elegies and laments, travels from Oklahoma to the edges of the American continent through landscapes at once stark and lush, ancient and apocalyptic. Each poem gives the collection a rich lyrical-dramatic texture. Ultimately, these brave and luminous poems engage and shatter the boundaries of time, self, and continent. Learn more 

Indigenous Persistence in California: Five Questions with Lee Panich

April 7, 2020

Based on fifteen years of archaeological and historical research in the two regions, Narratives of Persistence charts the remarkable persistence of the Ohlone and Paipai alongside a synthesis of Native Californian endurance over the past five centuries. Lee M. Panich draws connections between colonial 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 may think about the connections between the past and the present.

Below, read an interview with Lee M. Panich about his new book.

What inspired you to embark on this research?

Narratives of Persistence has its origins in my dissertation research in Baja California, back in 2005, for which I conducted an archaeological excavation at the site of Mission Santa Catalina, in the heart of the Paipai reserve of Santa Catarina. The initial idea for my dissertation was to compare the Dominican mission system of Baja California to the contemporaneous Franciscan missions of Alta California. However, Paipai community members quickly convinced me to change my research questions to center on the tribe’s long-term history. They downplayed the importance of the mission, saying in effect, “We’re still here, while the mission is just ruins now.” 

This idea became the central focus of my dissertation and stuck with me when I shifted my research to the San Francisco Bay area about ten years ago. I saw a similar situation with local Ohlone groups, who had persisted in different ways during and after the mission period. Given the variables involved—different Indigenous cultural traditions, different missionary orders, differences between the U.S. and Mexico—I thought the two case studies would make an interesting comparison. I hope readers agree.

Why do the Ohlone people lack popular recognition and official acknowledgement from the U.S. government, even though they share a similar colonial history to the Paipai people?

That’s a great question and one of the key issues I try to address in the book. There are, of course, a lot of reasons for this discrepancy. One reason has to do with differences in how central California and northern Baja California were colonized by the United States and Mexico, respectively. Despite maintaining community cohesion, the Ohlone lost ancestral lands and were demographically outnumbered in the Bay Area shortly after the Gold Rush. The Paipai, in contrast, were able to hold onto portions of the ancestral homelands at the same time that Mexican settlement in the region remained relatively small well into the twentieth century. 

But, for the Ohlone in particular, I think the biggest issue is simply that outsiders have always had essentialized notions of what Native people should be like. This can be seen in the early twentieth century when anthropologists and government officials alike pronounced the Ohlone extinct. The people were still there, but they didn’t fit rigid stereotypes about American Indians. One of the arguments I make in the book is that expectations about authenticity continue to do harm to Native Californian communities today.

A portrait of Inigo, taken in 1860. Inigo was an Ohlone man who joined the missions as a child, rose to the rank of alcalde, and eventually received part of the former mission lands as a grant from the Mexican government in the 1840s. Use of this image is courtesy of the Santa Clara University Archives & Special Collections.

What do you think the biggest lasting changes colonialism brought to the Ohlone and Paipai peoples are? How do those changes manifest today?

Perhaps counterintuitively, people in both communities are quick to acknowledge how their ancestors incorporated aspects of colonial lifeways into their own. For example, Paipai men are well regarded vaqueros, or cowboys, and my hosts in Santa Catarina credited the mission system for teaching their ancestors how to rides horses and drive cattle. Here in the Bay Area, many members of the Ohlone community remain practicing Catholics, another direct legacy of missionization. In both cases, people today are adamant about the fact that their communities have suffered unjustly under different colonial regimes, but they also recognize that the issues are not always black and white.

Certainly, one of the biggest changes has been a long process of social and political coalescence. Prior to colonization, people in both regions were organized into myriad autonomous communities – communities that have come together in various ways over the past 250 years. What I think most people misunderstand about that process is that it was both intentional and shaped by enduring cultural practices. In the missions, for example, Ohlone and Paipai people drew on existing marriage patterns to expand the pool of potential spouses amid devastating population losses. Later, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ohlone and Paipai communities opened their doors to other Native people seeking refuge from violence and exploitation. These changes look dramatic when one compares the situation in 2020 to that in, say, 1780. But when you view it from the perspective of lived experience, the overall picture is one of individuals and families striving for community continuity. That’s the perspective I hope readers take away from the book.

Could you please tell us more about the persistent Indigenous traditions of the Ohlone and Paipai peoples? What do those traditions and traditional ways of knowing look like in contemporary life in California?

There is so much amazing work that is happening across Native California, and especially in the Ohlone and Paipai communities. Here in the Bay Area, for example, you can get a meal of acorn bread and venison at Cafe Ohlone in Berkeley. Run by Vincent Medina (Chochenyo Ohlone) and Louis Trevino (Rumsen Ohlone), the café honors traditional knowledge, serves as a hub for Native cultural events, and simultaneously educates the non-Native public about continued Ohlone presence. There is also an active program of language revitalization. In addition to reintroducing Chochenyo Ohlone language to everyday usage, the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe regularly renames important ancestral sites in order to undo the processes of erasure that have written them out of their homelands for the past two centuries.

South of the border, the Paipai are similarly working to maintain Native languages – there are several spoken in Santa Catarina today, including Paipai and Ko’alh. Paipai artisans are also renowned for their pottery, as Santa Catarina is the only Native Californian community with an unbroken ceramic tradition stretching from precontact times to the present. The potters, nearly all of whom are women, and other Paipai artisans are in high demand at workshops and cultural events throughout northern Baja California and southern California. In fact, many Native artisans from Baja California regularly connect with tribal communities in the United States—ranging from Kumeyaay groups in San Diego County to the Hualapai, Yavapai, and Havasupai in Arizona—to share knowledge and to rekindle connections.

The Paipai community of Santa Catarina in Baja California, taken in 2005. Use of this photo is courtesy of Lee M. Panich.

What are you working on now?

For the past year or so, I’ve been involved in several interrelated projects focused on bringing Ohlone perspectives to a wider audience, particularly at Santa Clara University where I work. Our campus is on the site of Mission Santa Clara, where thousands of Ohlone people lived and labored during the colonial period. To date, their descendants have been largely left out of the public interpretation of the mission and the ways we teach the history of the SCU campus to our students and visitors. 

This is all changing rapidly, and we’ve been working closely with the Bay Area Ohlone community — particularly those groups who trace their ancestry through Mission Santa Clara, including the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe and the Ohlone Indian Tribe. This work is both top-down and bottom-up. We’re working with the University administration, for example, to assess official monuments and markers on our campus and to make sure we do a better job of acknowledging Ohlone history and continued presence. Along with faculty colleagues and undergraduate students, we’re also working with the Ohlone community to build pedagogical resources that instructors here at Santa Clara and elsewhere can use and that feature Ohlone voices and perspectives. The coronavirus situation has obviously put these efforts on the back burner for the time being, but the story of the Ohlone—like that of the Paipai—is one of overcoming obstacles big and small.

Lee M. Panich is an associate professor of anthropology at Santa Clara University, specializing in the archaeology and ethnohistory of colonial California, particularly the Spanish mission system.

Why Latinx Pop Culture Matters: A Video Discussion with Frederick Aldama, Ilan Stavans, and Christopher González

April 6, 2020

In a new video, Reel Latinxs authors Frederick Aldama and Christopher González discuss why Latinx pop culture matters inside and outside of the classroom with Sor Juana author Ilan Stavans. Below, watch their discussion, or view the video on YouTube here.

Don’t forget, Sor Juana is available as a free e-book download until Wednesday, April 8, 2020! Use the code AZJUANA when you check out on our website.

Sor Juana: Or, the Persistence of Pop encapsulates the life, times, and legacy of Sor Juana. In this immersive work, essayist Ilan Stavans provides a biographical and meditative picture of the ways in which popular perceptions of her life and body of work both shape and reflect modern Latinx culture.

Latinx representation in the popular imagination has infuriated and befuddled the Latinx community for decades. These misrepresentations and stereotypes soon became as American as apple pie. But these cardboard cutouts and examples of lazy storytelling could never embody the rich traditions and histories of Latinx peoples. In Reel Latinxs, a grand sleuthing sweep of Latinx representation in mainstream TV and film, pop culture experts Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher González call us all to scholarly action.

Celebrate National Poetry Month with the University of Arizona Press

April 3, 2020

Happy National Poetry Month from the University of Arizona Press!

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996 to remind the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture, and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world!

We always look forward to celebrating National Poetry Month because we have so much incredible Indigenous and Latinx poetry to share with the world. We are grateful and proud every month of the year to publish the work of truly phenomenal poets, and we hope you will take this month to dive into some of our poetry collections in the award-winning Sun Tracks and Camino del Sol series from the comfort of your home. Below, find a look our recently published collections, along with a few of our favorite new poems to kick-start the poetry celebration.

Our Bearings is a collection of narrative poetry that examines and celebrates Anishinaabe life in modern Minneapolis. Crafted around the four elements—earth, air, water, and fire— the poems are a beautifully layered discourse between landscapes, stories, and the people who inhabit them. Throughout the collection, McGlennen weaves the natural elements of Minnesota with rich historical commentary and current images of urban Native life. Reverence for wildlife and foliage is pierced by the sharp man-made skylines of Minneapolis while McGlennen reckons with the heavy impact of industrial progress on the souls and everyday lives of individuals.

BEARINGS IV

When we were water
we joined as we needed,
were protected, we knew to come
back around

When we were water
we were patient for rain
and knew its arrival
forecasted by purple sky.

When we were water
days worked in circles
and years concentrically
until we knew our beginnings.

When we were water
we dove and scouted
like loons, swallowed
pebbles by night.

When we were water
we turned into ourselves
leaving behind what was
no longer essential.

When we were water
we turned into ourselves
claimed by heart circles
that have never washed away.

From Our Bearings, by Molly McGlennen. © 2020 by Molly McGlennen. Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press.

Click here to read five questions about Our Bearings with Molly McGlennen.

With images that taunt, disturb, and fascinate, Aurum captures the vibrantly original language in Santee Frazier’s first collection, Dark Thirty, while taking on a completely new voice and rhythm. Each poem is vivid and memorable, beckoning to be read again and again as the words lend an enhanced experience each time. Frazier has crafted a wrought-iron collection of poetry that never shies away from a truth that America often attempts to ignore.

ORE BODY

The shine off the streets reflects the coming bustle of dawn, of plastic and bolted steel, neon and industry caught in the asphalt. And as the grass sweats—the groan of machinery echoing off masonry—the dust rises, sewing itself in the fat of trees, shining the faces of men in the ditch under hard hats, shoveling dirt, whose language rolls the tongue of digging. The clank and song of Mimbres, a music hidden in the busting rock and soil. This ritual of sunrise, of shovel, and the gearing mechanisms of progress reminds me of a man in unlaced high-tops finger-painting a wall. Smearing gold into brick. His face shined like gunmetal, and when he sucked the gold from a paper bag, I knew his ritual had something to do with time travel, with brick, before mineral, polygon, the invention of wheel, story of flat, firing of clay. And now making my way through this city whose streets are named by numbers and minerals— the sunlight breaking the haze of dust and exhaust— I realize the oldest thing in this city is thirst.

From Aurum, by Santee Frazier. © 2019 by Santee Frazier. Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press.

Click here to dive deeper into Aurum with Santee Frazier.

The poems in Meditación Fronteriza are a celebration of culture, tradition, and creativity that navigates themes of love, solidarity, and political transformation. Written by Norma Elia Cantú, the award-winning author of Canícula, this collection carries the perspective of a powerful force in Chicana literature—and literature worldwide. Deeply personal yet warmly relatable, these poems flow from Spanish to English gracefully. With Gloria Anzaldúa’s foundational work as an inspiration, Meditación Fronteriza unveils unique images that provide nuance and depth to the narrative of the borderlands.

THE WALL
Written on a visit to Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas, Méjico, May 15, 2009

No one believed it would happen here
en el Valle
where the birders find such joy
in spotting unique exotic birds.
No one believed they would build it here.
“Just talk,” someone said,
“puro puedo,
Not to worry, they’ll never get the money.”

But the wall went up,
and hardly anyone noticed
the way the land was rent in two
the way the sky
above seemed bluer against the brown metal
jutting up and up
like soldiers saluting a distant god
sentinels silently guarding… what?

Perhaps a way of life
incongruent with their dreams,
a pastiche of broken people
crossing their quotidian desires
from one side to the other.

All legal and safe,
sipping margaritas in el mercado
or shopping at Walmart
living.

Best of both worlds,
a friend tells me. But you gotta be legal to live it.
Not for everyone the fruits of gringolandia.
Not everyone sees the wall.

Walls make good enemies: suspicious, defensive,
fearful, who hide behind a wall
solid as a heart hardened by fear.
Who would’ve believed it would happen here?

From Meditación Fronteriza, by Norma Elia Cantú. © 2019 by Norma Elia Cantú. Reprinted by permission of the University of Arizona Press.

Click here to read a brief interview with Norma Elia Cantú.

If you are looking for more ways to celebrate National Poetry Month at home, the Academy of American Poets has compiled a great list here.

Don’t forget, the University of Arizona Press is offering a 40% discount on e-books. Use the code AZEBOOK40 to download some poetry and start reading!

Stephen Pyne on the To the Last Smoke Series

April 2, 2020

Stephen J. Pyne and the University of Arizona Press have just completed an 11 book opus series that explains the fire history of the United States. The series started with Between Two Fires and concludes this month with To the Last Smoke: An Anthology. In between are nine regional looks at localized fire history. Together, Steve has captured the environmental and human history of wildfire in America. In this short video Steve discusses his approach.

Stephen J. Pyne is an emeritus professor at Arizona State University. He is the author of more than 30 books, mostly on wildland fire and its history but also dealing with the history of places and exploration, including The Ice, How the Canyon Became Grand, and Voyager. Most recently, he has surveyed the American fire scene with a narrative, Between Two Fires: A Fire History of Contemporary America, and a suite of regional reconnaissances, To the Last Smoke, all published by the University of Arizona Press.

Free E-Book of the Week: Sor Juana

April 1, 2020

In this time to read, we will be featuring one free e-book each week. This week we’re offering a book from our Latinx Pop Culture Series, which sheds light on all aspects of Latinx cultural production and consumption as well as the Latinx presence globally in popular cultural. This week, we’re featuring Sor Juana: Or, the Persistence of Pop by Ilan Stavans. 

Download from our online shopping cart here. Available until 4/8/2020. Discount code is AZJUANA.  

“Stavans introduces readers to a woman who, in the crucible of Spanish monastic life, forged a poetic idiom for writing verse between the identities of Europe and America.”–Los Angeles Review of Books

Book Description: Sor Juana: Or, The Persistence of Pop encapsulates the life, times, and legacy of seventeenth-century Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Ilan Stavans provides a biographical and meditative picture of how popular perceptions of her life and work both shape and reflect Latinx culture.  Learn more 

 

Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science Named a Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award Finalist

March 31, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Planetary Science by Derek W. G. Sears has been chosen as a finalist for the Science category of the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards!

More than 2,000 entries spread across 55 genres were submitted for consideration. The list of finalists was determined by Foreword’s editorial team. Winners are now being decided by teams of librarian and bookseller judges from across the country.

Winners in each genre will be announced June 17, 2020 at noon Eastern time.

Congratulations, Derek!

Free E-Book of the Week: Chasing Arizona

March 26, 2020

In this time to read, we will be featuring one free e-book each week. To kick off the series, we’re offering one of our best-selling books from the Tucson Festival of Books, Chasing Arizona by Bisbee local Ken Lamberton

Download from our online shopping cart here. Available until 3/31/2020. Simply use discount code AZChase.

“Ken is not only a master storyteller who spews out lovely sentences at nearly every turn but is an enthusiastic fan of Arizona history. This is quite simply a keeper-enjoyable without being silly, and well-researched without being stuffy.”

–Gary P. Nabhan

Book Description:

It seemed like a simple plan-visit fifty-two places in fifty-two weeks. But for author Ken Lamberton, a forty-five-year veteran of life in the Sonoran Desert, the entertaining results were anything but easy. Chasing Arizona takes readers on a yearlong, twenty-thousand-mile joy ride across Arizona during its centennial, racking up more than two hundred points of interest along the way. This book is an adventure story, a tale of Arizona, and a celebration of what makes the state a great place to visit and live.  

Learn more  

The Press Opens Up Access to Monographs, Textbooks in Response to COVID-19 Crisis

March 25, 2020

In an effort to support instructors and students as they transition to remote learning arrangements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Arizona Press has opened up access to its digital scholarly monographs, including its widely adopted Latinx Pop Culture Series, Arizona: A History, and titles in its award-winning Sun Tracks Series, a literary series focused on Indigenous artists and authors, through the end of June. The monographs will be open and free to use on Project MUSE and JSTOR.

“This move is in support of instructors, students, and their institutions who have had to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances due to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press. “We want to continue to support the scholarly enterprise, as we have done for more than sixty years. This is a way university presses, in this unprecedented time, can connect scholarship and creative expression to students and instructors.”

Through this program, more than six hundred titles will become immediately available on partner platforms. As higher education institutions have quickly transitioned to remote learning, the Press and the University Libraries are working tirelessly to support the international academic community.

“Monographs published by the University of Arizona Press are heavily used in courses around the world on a variety of subjects,” said Shan Sutton, dean of University Libraries. “This shift will ensure that these works continue to positively impact student learning and research. Both the University of Arizona Press, and its parent organization the University of Arizona Libraries, are actively pursuing new strategies to continue our vital roles in teaching and learning in this new environment.”

Andrew Flachs Discusses Anthropology and Agriculture in a New Book Lecture

March 25, 2020

A single seed is more than just the promise of a plant. In rural south India, seeds represent diverging paths toward a sustainable livelihood. Development programs and global agribusiness promote genetically modified seeds and organic certification as a path toward more sustainable cotton production, but these solutions mask a complex web of economic, social, political, and ecological issues that could be as dire as death.

Below, anthropologist and University of Arizona Press author Andrew Flachs discusses topics that are covered in his new book, Cultivating Knowledge.

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.

Simón Trujillo and Vick Quezada Discuss the Borderlands of Latinx Indigeneity

March 18, 2020

In the first episode of The Latinx Project’s Intervenxions podcast, University of Arizona Press author Simón Trujillo talks with The Latinx Project’s 2020 Artist-in-Residence Vick Quezada for an illuminating dialogue on Latinx indigeneity, representation, sexuality, and the politics of knowledge and activism. Click here to listen to the podcast and read more about the project.

Simón Trujillo is a professor at New York University, and is the author of Land Uprising: Native Story Power and the Insurgent Horizons of Latinx Indigeneity. In his new book, Trujillo reveals uncanny connections between Chicanx, Latinx, Latin American, and Native American and Indigenous studies to grapple with Native land reclamation as the future horizon for Chicanx and Latinx indigeneities.

Brief Video for Our Authors

March 17, 2020

Video text:

Hey everybody this is Abby Mogollón. I’m the marketing manager at the U of A press and we just wanted to let you know that we’re really thinking about all of our authors right now and trying to think of new ways that we can continue to do the good work of helping you share your scholarship and your books with audiences.

Like many of you, we also are getting used to working from home offices and getting used to being in front of digital devices for zoom meetings, and so forth, and we thought we’d make a quick video to show you how easy it is to make something. We really want to encourage you to make short videos. If you’re a poet, record one of your poems. If you are a chapter author, maybe pick out an excerpt and read some of it if you’d like.

Mari, Savannah, and I can send you five questions and you can respond to them, or perhaps instead if your text is for course adoption you can record a short video explaining how you use your work in your teaching.

Just three things to remember when you’re making videos:
1. Hold the camera close.
2. Please speak loudly.
3. And try to have as much light as possible.

We can’t wait to hear from you.

–The University of Arizona Press Marketing Team

Abby Mogollon, amogollon@uapress.arizona.edu
Mari Herreras, mherreras@uapress.arizona.edu
Savannah Hicks, shicks@uapress.arizona.edu

Spicer, Bee, and Whiting Titles Available in Open Arizona

March 11, 2020

We are pleased to announce the availability of three important new contributions to Open Arizona. Selected by an advisory board of scholars and community members, the new additions include Edward H. Spicer’s seminal work Cycles of Conquest; Robert L. Bee’s Crosscurrents Along the Colorado; and Whiting, Weber, and Seaman’s Havasupai Habitat.

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.

Cycles of Conquest
By Edward Spicer

After more than fifty years, Cycles of Conquest is still one of the best syntheses of more than four centuries of conquest, colonization, and resistance ever published. Thomas E. Sheridan writes in the new foreword commissioned for this special edition that the book is “monumental in scope and magisterial in presentation.”

Crosscurrents Along the Colorado
By Robert L. Bee

This intriguing book, original published in 1981, considers the Quechans as a case history of the frequent discrepancy between benevolently phrased national intention and exploitative local action.

Havasupai Habitat
By A. F. Whiting
Edited by Steven A. Weber and P. David Seaman

Published in 1985, Havasupai Habitat offers a rich ethnography on lifeways of the Havasupai people.

Five Questions with Poet and Scholar Molly McGlennen

March 3, 2020

Our Bearings is a collection of narrative poetry that examines and celebrates Anishinaabe life in Modern Minneapolis. Crafted around the four elements— earth, air, water, and fire— the poems are a beautifully layered discourse between landscapes, stories, and the people who inhabit them. Through keen observation and a deep understanding of Native life in Minneapolis, Molly McGlennen has created a timely collection that contributes to the important conversation about contemporary urban Native life in North America and globally.

Here, Molly answers five questions about her new poetry collection.

What inspired you to write this work?

Our Bearings has not only been part of an ongoing personal project of narrating my experience of growing up in Minnesota, but also part of a long-term creative and scholarly project which was focused on Native American urban experience more broadly. In my first book of poetry, Fried Fish and Flour Biscuits (Salt, 2010) I submit in my preface that “poetry is a form of community-building, a means to locate oneself in relationship to a network of people and places and memories.” In my scholarly monograph, Creative Alliances: The Transnational Design of Indigenous Women’s Poetry (University of Oklahoma Press, 2014), I explore how urban Native women demonstrate through their work the ways in which “poetry serves as a direction-finding tool for navigating various forms of (what I call) ‘dislocations’ and reclaiming urban centers as Indigenous territories.” Taken together, the projects are evidence of how I think about the ways Minneapolis, my hometown, has been historicized, shaped, and continually claimed by Indigenous peoples— and how my family’s stories add to that history and present reality. Our Bearings helped me think through what a poetic mapping of this history and reality would look, feel, and sound like: what Nativeness is in the present tense.

How do you think found poetry and poems which are rooted deeply in specific places help document the history of a city or state?

In general, poetry delivers emotional truths and accuracies that maps, written communications, archives— tools of western documentation— rarely convey. Some of the poems in the collection live as poetic documentation of my experience of the city based off of physical “findings” (such as flyers, signs, brochures, etc.). Some are experiential “findings” based upon the many trips back home with my two small children revisiting old (and new) stomping grounds with my family. And, finally, some are poems based upon my experience of working alongside my dad reading through documents archived at the Minnesota Historical Society, which consisted of correspondences and letters between my dad’s great grandparents begging for their children to be returned to them from the Owatoma School for Dependent and Neglected Children. My intention with the poems in Our Bearings was to offer the reader not an alternative history of Minneapolis, or even an alternative mapping of it, but rather to use poetry as a way to seek out stories of sustainability: Poetry as the vehicle to tell and tell again of what is undeniably and crucially Indigenous to this land. My poems are the stories of Native peoples shaping their own future, rather than the ones being acted upon by colonizing ideologies and racist federal laws, policies, and campaigns.

In the preface to this collection, you explain Anishinaabewakiing as an “ecosystem that explicitly includes people, their culture, and history.” Considering the cultural and historical impact of the current generation, what do you think the urban ecosystem of Minneapolis will look like in the future?

I think the ways we imagine the future are based on how we understand the instrument of memory. Poetry can be, in my opinion, one of many decolonizing efforts and materials needed to disarm the hegemony of settler colonial histories and realities. When we lean into specific Indigenous cultural knowledge to better understand a place (a city, a reservation, a suburb, an institution, a country), we harness tremendous power in recalling what has mattered to us, what works for us now, and the tools to safeguard Indigenous futures. I’m not certain what Minneapolis will look like in years to come. I am certain that Indigenous knowledge is crucial to the planet’s future, as the logics of extraction and monoculture almost ensure it’s endpoint.

The poems in this collection range widely in form. In your opinion, what is the relationship between the form and content of a poem? How do you hope the form of your poems impacts your readers?

I feel I was especially attentive to form in this collection. Because of what I understood as both reflective impulses and storied impulses happening as I wrote, I was seeking a way for form to signal and enhance those influences. For the storied poems, I needed the prose poem form to stretch long those narrative lines and to distinguish the edges between story and verse. For the reflective poems, I leaned into lyricism, visuality, and experimentation. Often, I felt as if I was drawing elements of a mental map onto the page, where experience was imagistic and cycles could appear across the pages. I hope the reader can see each poem as a little story of Indigenous Minneapolis, a way to imagine how we connect to it and each other.

What are you working on now?

One of my interests for some time now has been Native women’s visualities: the way narratives are located and found in visual art; artists use of text in their work; and the conversation happening between and among Native women across artistic mediums. There could be a book of poems coming that interacts with the visual storytelling Native women are creating. We shall see!

Below, read a poem from McGlennen’s Our Bearings.

REMAINS IV

She wants to write about basketball in this poem
and #21—always a Timberwolf—
Kevin Garnett.

She wants to say Defensive Player of the Year
and franchise records in this poem.

She wants to be able to just utter the fact
that she was there, finally made it
to the Target Center, for one
of his last nights in the NBA.
She was there.

She wants to just type the word hip-hop
in her poem. Like it is her last poem to write.
Where there are no rules about what she can say
or not say, think or not think.

She wants to speak the names Tall Paul and Chase Manhattan
in her poem, because she's a fan.
Because if she's honest, basketball and hip-hop matter—
sometimes more than poetry.

Wants to shout out
90s R&B.
Mint Condition and Next
and Morris Day.

Wants to just keep listing things. Because
they sound good out loud, like KMOJ 89 dot 9,
and she can imagine saying them out loud—
the way poems are supposed to come into the world.

She just keeps scribbling without
thoughts of editors or colleagues,
about what she ought to type or censor.
Because, when it comes down to it,
she'd rather think about basketball and hip-hop and 90s R&B—
and talk about it too. With someone.
Someone who loves it all the same.

Someone who knows every street she utters in her poems,
and the corners, and every person who's died and who's still living,
every hospital visit and wedding, and giveaway.
Every canoe trip and coffeehouse,
every lake and swamp.

She wants to give these words all away
to that person. Again and again.
And with them, trace and retrace
the designs embossed in her memories,
the fibers that become the maps of home.

Molly McGlennen received her Ph.D. in Native American studies from the University of California, Davis, in 2005, and her MFA in creative writing and English from Mills College in 1998. She is an associate professor of English at Vassar College. She is the author of Fried Fish and Flour Biscuits and Creative Alliances: The Transnational Designs of Indigenous Women’s Poetry. McGlennen’s writing has appeared in Sentence, As/Us, Yellow Medicine Review, and Studies in American Indian Literatures.

Norma E. Cantú Wins the NACCS Tejas Poetry Book Award

March 3, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Norma E. Cantú is winner of the 2020 NACCS Tejas Poetry Book Award for her recent University of Arizona Press collection, Meditación Fronteriza!

The poems in this collection are a celebration of culture, tradition, and creativity that navigates themes of love, solidarity, and political transformation. Deeply personal yet warmly relatable, these poems flow from Spanish to English gracefully. With Gloria Anzaldúa’s foundational work as an inspiration, Meditación Fronteriza unveils unique images that provide nuance and depth to the narrative of the borderlands.

The awards luncheon is in McAllen, Texas on March 6, 2020 at the South Texas College Pecan Campus Student Union Ballroom, from 12 to 2 p.m.

Congratulations, Norma!

Tom Miller Wins a Best Travel Writing Solas Award

March 3, 2020

We are excited to announce that Tom Miller is the recipient of a Bronze Best Travel Writing Solas Award for an excerpt from the first chapter of his University of Arizona Press book, Cuba, Hot and Cold!

Since his first visit to Cuba 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.

Congratulations, Tom!

A Deeper Look into Sown in Earth with Fred Arroyo

March 3, 2020

Sown in Earth is a collection of personal memories that speak to the larger experiences of hardworking migratory men. Often forgotten or silenced, these men are honored and remembered in Sown in Earth through the lens of Fred Arroyo‘s memories of his father. By crafting a written journey through childhood traumas, poverty, and the impact of alcoholism on families, Fred Arroyo clearly outlines how his lived experiences led him to become a writer.

Below, Fred has answered a few questions that shed more light on the process and thoughts behind writing Sown in Earth.

This collection of essays is deeply personal and, at times, traumatic. How do you approach and process writing about topics that require you to be vulnerable?

That vulnerability is at the heart of almost everything I write. I can think of no other way to go about it. There is a desire, want, or yearning that drives my writing, and often that has to do with some kind of wound. Hurt. Loss. Psychic wound. In writing Sown in Earth I made a point of not using the word añoranza, which in Spanish relates to yearning, longing, and nostalgia— though it is a difficult word to translate or define in English because it’s much more than these other words or qualities. The longing and yearning of añoranza are tied to a deep need to return to a place. Maybe, in the mind, to be sown in earth. When I write, I don’t set about to approach this añoranza or loss; it is there in the form of mood, an atmosphere of meditation and exploration, a space where I might discover aspects of a vulnerability I would not have realized without writing. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been looking from the outside in. Given periods of sadness and depression, I am often inhabited by the “blues”, and that’s clearly an essential part of my poetics. What was it that Federico Garcia Lorca said, “I am neither all poet, all man or leaf, but only the pulse of a wound that probes the opposite side.”? You have to be open, without a purpose or agenda when writing about certain memories and situations, if you want to discover the other side of the wound, something new about the memory or situation.

In Sown in Earth, you write “Ever since I discovered things can be beautiful because of the care I take to see them….” Was this a sudden discovery, or a gradual shift in your worldview? How has it impacted your writing?

From the very beginning of my writing, if añoranza or loss existed, lyricism and a sense of beauty existed as well. My lyricism had always been unbridled though, passage after passage, flights that seem to soar without end. This lyricism often got in the way of a “story”, others would say. More to the point is that I have a particular way of looking at the world, and that makes for a different kind of story. The passage quoted in the question came about through a gradual discovery. I started to think of beauty and writing in terms of space, I suppose like sculpture, a library, or a field, about how you have to carefully mold or cultivate a space for beauty. And there was something about where you stood, or from what angle you looked at things. So if you were always walking in a field from one direction that only allowed you to notice certain spaces, but if you found new ways to walk the field, and you were carefully attentive in your looking and listening, you might discover a new grove of birches on the edge of the field, hear a spring, feel the way a meadow rolled towards the fence line. I can recollect that much reading of John Berger and José Ortega y Gasset helped shape my view, but it was also a gradual recognition that a seemingly rural and “poor” life had just as much dignity, honor, and beauty as any painting or sculpture in a museum. Or a book on a library shelf. And it was up to me to figure out how to create a space that allowed that life to exist in a way where others would recognize this life. A space of memory and imagination where others could recognize its dignity and beauty within their own lives.

Would you please discuss the balance between forgiveness and accountability when writing pieces about your childhood and your father?

I suppose I’m beholden to the notation that character is fate. Or in fiction writing, character is everything. I love the notion of energeia, that is, the possibility or potential of story is discovered within a character and the situation. That guides my writing of fiction and nonfiction. I’m the narrator, I’m the sentient being present in the making of the world, and so I do hold the character or situation to a kind of accountability. But not much. I think of people or characters like quicksilver— they have a spontaneity, a wild side, an unpredictability and chaos that’s not easy to control. What’s more important in the writing is the forgiveness. You cannot discover the gift of the past, a person, or a situation if you can’t approach it with openness, vulnerability, and forgiveness. Writing can create or offer islands of repair, as I wrote in Sown in Earth because I loved that phrase by Henry Miller.

I didn’t really think of writing Sown in Earth as a way to create accountability, or to “stop” or “recapture” time. I felt that way because I envision memory as material, and a force, moving through time and space. As a material phenomenon, memory can be held, shaped (parts discarded, parts held close), and re-made given where the material and force— like a creek, a watch, a knife, a name— takes you. I couldn’t have written this book if I didn’t discover how to forgive the past. More urgently: I couldn’t have written the book if I didn’t forgive myself for what I remembered. It was through this forgiveness that I discovered a lost self, peoples and places I might have forgotten, that I discovered sources of life, story, and spirit that could be vividly brought to life on the page. Always in my mind was Ortega y Gasset’s notion that an essay is a meditation, and borrowing from Spinoza, Ortega y Gasset wrote that at the heart of a meditation is amor itellectualis. I like to run from the things having to do with intellect as fast as I can, and yet I kept this feeling close in writing meditations of forgiveness, meditations of love.

In one essay, you write, “…or should I write, in memory, that he’s my uncle by blood?” I think this explores the fallibility of memory in an interesting way. Could you please discuss the role that misremembering, whether subconscious or intentional, plays in writing a memoir? Do you think that memoirs, by default, have unreliable narrators?

Even though I suggested that memory is material, that it has an existence and force that is not simply found in the “past”, my memory is continually shaped by my imagination. Misremembering is present for sure. My memories, for example, are clearly shaped by my becoming a writer, so that the process of writing, the reading of books, words, and passages by writers, shape my memory, shape how I imagine certain memories. That has to create some form of selection and misremembering. And yet, at the same time, each memory in this writing is a glimpse and a seed, an image, scene, event, or experience I can’t deny. Involuntarily, without my doing anything, certain memories speak to me, flash and shudder within, invigorate the five senses, and make me pay attention. I assume everyone has this kind of memory writing within them. Though I have a sense, again, it also has something to do in particular with imagining yourself as a writer— and that’s why I admire the power of memory for writers like Vladimir Nabokov, Jean Rhys, Patrick Modiano, or Anne Michaels. How the language of memory shapes their writing selves. So I’m trying to say that I’m not sure “memoirs, by default, have unreliable narrators.” They exist, for sure. But for me you are striving to be as reliable as a person, irrespective of factual truth, because memory has its own language and emotion that cannot be denied.

In discovering this writing self, I’m often struck by how my best self is present— or, as Kristjana Gunnars proposes, a stranger has entered into my writing room and helped me to discover my writing in ways I am most grateful for. I would say this stranger or best writing self strives for a great amount of reliability because there’s a strong presence of authority and vulnerability in the moment.

What are you working on now?

I wish I knew. On paper I have a half a dozen stories for a collection of short fictions, The Book of Manuels, that I continue to return to, and in these stories various characters named “Manuel” are present, the stories have something to do with manual labor, a manual or a book, and they dramatize the power of sight (as in Immanuel: one with ideals, one who can see), and the conflicts of perception. I envision these stories as also being containers of fictional consciousness meditating on a lack of empathy for the working-class, and how their lives and stories continue to be marginalized— if not erased— from American culture and society. Also, I’ve written some 40 poems that I imagine as becoming a manuscript, Before Birches Blue. I’m still kind of haunted by writing Sown in Earth. I’m taking things slow in terms of writing. I can’t seem to take a break or stop writing, however. Whenever I finish a book, I always seem to mull over how I failed, what I didn’t accomplish, what I might have done better, no matter that when I finished I knew it was my best at the moment. I supposed this is why The Region of Lost Names, Western Avenue and Other Fictions, and Sown in Earth: Essays of Memory and Belonging are in line with each other, create patterns across genres, peoples, and places. Maybe they are all a part of one big book. So I’m finding I have all these new essays to write, and wondering where they will take me, what I might discover, and how they might help me to get the writing right.

Fred Arroyo is the author of Sown in Earth: Essays of Memory and Belonging, Western Avenue and Other Fictions, and The Region of Lost Names: A Novel. A recipient of an Individual Artist Program Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, Arroyo’s fiction is a part of the Library of Congress series Spotlight on U.S. Hispanic Writers. Arroyo’s writing is also included in Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing and The Colors of Nature: Essays on Culture, Identity, and the Natural World. In the past decade Arroyo has driven considerable miles along the northern border of the United States, particularly in Ontario, Quebec, and the maritime regions, where he’s camped, walked, canoed, and fished in a real and imagined North Country that’s influencing a new collection of short stories and a book of poems. Arroyo is an assistant professor of English at Middle Tennessee State University.

‘The Saguaro’ Celebration Packed El Crisol with Cactus and Book Lovers

February 26 2020

The book release celebration for The Saguaro Cactus: A Natural History, brought together more than 80 people to El Crisol on Sunday, February 23 to hear scholar-authors David YetmanAlberto Búrquez, and Kevin Hultine talk about their research, admiration, and share folklore of the Sonoran Desert’s iconic cactus.

The evening, first in the new Arts and Letters series presented by the University of Arizona Press and hosted by El Crisol, was also co-hosted by The Southwest Center. A live-stream of the author conversation is on the Center’s YouTube channel available here. The Saguaro Cactus is part of a book series published in partnership with the The Southwest Center and the University of Arizona Press that focus on a variety of fields, especially history, anthropology, geography, natural history, ethnobiology, and borderlands studies.

Kristen Buckles, University of Arizona Press editor-in-chief, welcomed guests and authors, explaining the importance of books such as The Saguaro Cactus, and the ongoing relationship with The Southwest Center. Buckles introduced The Southwest Center director, Jeffrey Banister, to talk further and introduce the authors.

Co-authors Hultine and Yetman will be at the University of Arizona Press tent at the Tucson Festival of Books for book signing on Sunday, March 15, 12-12:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase at the tent. Other upcoming events for The Saguaro Cactus: March 5 at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and March 16 at the 2020 Libraries Annual Luncheon in Tucson.

Special thanks to El Crisol owners Amy and Doug Smith for welcoming us and creating a special space for our authors; La Indita restaurant for always going that extra mile for our events; and Carlos Quintero, outreach coordinator with The Southwest Center.

The Saguaro Cactus: A Natural History co-authors Alberto Búrquez, Kevin Hultine, and David Yetman, discuss their research and knowledge of the beloved cactus of our Sonoran Desert.
El Crisol owners Amy and Doug Smith.
Savannah Hicks, University of Arizona Press marketing assistant, ready for all things saguaro at the book celebration event.

An Excerpt From ‘The Saguaro Cactus: A Natural History’

February 17, 2020

This book offers a complete natural history of an enduring and iconic desert plant. Enjoy this excerpt, published by the Tucson Weekly on January 30, and help us celebrate the book and this iconic symbol of our desert.

From “A Saguaro Primer
By David Yetman

The saguaro, with its great size and characteristic shape—its arms stretching heavenward, its silhouette often resembling a human—has become the emblem of the Sonoran Desert of southwestern Arizona. This is rightly so, for it is by far the largest and tallest cactus in the United States and our tallest desert plant as well. In this volume, we present a summary of current information about this, the desert’s most noteworthy plant.

Saguaros occasionally reach 12 meters (40 feet) in height, and individuals over 15 meters (50 feet) tall appear from time to time. The record height is 23 meters (78 feet), a well-known plant of a single stalk growing near Cave Creek, Arizona, which was toppled by winds in 1986. Photos of that plant are elusive, but it was clearly a very tall cactus, perhaps the tallest of any cactus ever recorded. While other cactus species may produce individuals taller than the average saguaro, none has been documented of that stupendous height. In 1907 William Hornaday reported a saguaro between 55 and 60 feet in height. He was leader of a 1907 scientific expedition to Pinacate Volcanic Range in Mexico near the border with southwestern Arizona and was in the company of distinguished researchers. The saguaro’s sole competitor for tallness in the deserts of the United States is the Joshua tree (Yucca brevifolia), a native of the Mohave Desert, a yucca that only rarely reaches 9 meters (30 feet) in height.

Saguaros are among the tallest cacti in terms of average height. They are also among those with the greatest mass. Neobuxbaumia mezcalaensis of southern Mexico, a single-stalked columnar cactus and distant relative of the saguaro, probably reaches greater average height, with individuals reaching in excess of 18 meters (60 feet). Other columnar giants include Pachycereus weberi and Mitrocereus fulviceps of southern Mexico and Pachycereus pringlei, the cardón sahueso of the Sonoran Desert in Baja California and the coastal regions and islands of central Sonora. Pachycereus pringlei and the truly massive P. weberi routinely exceed the mass of the saguaro. While columnar cacti are widespread in South America, none reaches the height or mass of the larger saguaros.

The most famous incident involving cacti of any kind occurred in 1982. The episode featured a saguaro growing near Phoenix, Arizona, and an unfortunate drunk named David Grundman, a hapless chap. Grundman, having imbibed an excess of strong drink, decided to knock over a saguaro with his jeep. He failed, succeeding only in damaging his vehicle. In a fit of rage at the unobliging saguaro, he fired both barrels of a shotgun at its base. The blast weakened the trunk, and the great plant toppled, crushing Grundman beneath. Few observers shed tears over the vandal’s demise. A published ballad commemorates his folly.

Scholar-Authors Bring Hearts and Stories to Special Collections Event

February 7, 2020

Associate Professor Roberto “Dr. Cintli” Rodriguez, author of Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World: Testimonios on Violence with University of Arizona Press, always dreamed of bringing together fellow colleagues to talk about their work as scholars, and how community matters in their research and authorship.

His dream became reality Wednesday, February 5, with “Documenting Scholarship and Community,” at University Libraries Special Collections. Veronica Reyes, the Katheryne B. Willock Head of Special Collections, noted in her welcome that this particular program came together because of Rodriguez’s efforts when he approached her about hosting a panel with Latinx scholars.

Co-sponsored by Special Collections and the University of Arizona Press’s Open Arizona project, the conversation was guided by moderator Maribel Alvarez, Associate Dean for Community Engagement in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Jim Griffith Chair in Public Folklore with The Southwest Center.

Rodriguez, an associate professor with Mexican American Studies, was joined by the following scholar-authors and editors: Michelle Tellez, an assistant professor and co-editor of The Chicana Motherwork Anthology; Cristina D. Ramirez, an associate professor, author of Mestiza Rhetorics: An Anthology of Mexicana Activism in the Spanish Language Press, 1887-1922, and Program Director for the Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English; and Nolan Cabrera, an associate professor in the Center for the Study of Higher Education and author of White Guys on Campus.

If you didn’t have a chance to attend, you can listen to the panel discussion here.

Miroslava Alejandra opened the event with a song that includes a mother’s prayer for her son, which was published in Roberto Cintli Rodriguez’s new book, Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World: Testimonios on Violence.
Verónica Reyes-Escudero, the Katheryne B. Willock Head of Special Collections, welcomes more than 80 people who gathered at the event. She shared her connection with Rodriguez and the inspiration for the evening, which was to bring together Latinx scholars to discuss their work.
Kathryn Conrad, University of Arizona Press director, introduced moderator Maribel Alvarez and explained Open Arizona, a collection of open-access University of Arizona Press titles. Michelle Tellez, co-editor of The Chicana Motherwork Anthology, is on the left.
The event attracted more than 80 people, including a large group of students who traveled from Mexico to Tucson to attend “Giving Women in STEM a Voice” at the university.
Cristina D. Ramirez connecting with one of the undergraduate students from Mexico.
Roberto Cintli Rodriguez connecting with students.
Roberto Cintli Rodriguez with Kristen Buckles, University of Arizona Press Editor-in-Chief.
Event panelists and moderator Maribel Alvarez with the undergraduate students from Mexico.

Voices from Bears Ears Chosen as a Finalist for the 2020 Oregon Book Award

February 7, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Voices from Bears Ears by Rebecca Robinson and Stephen Strom is a finalist for the Frances Fuller Victor Award for General Nonfiction, a section of the 2020 Oregon Book Awards!

Literary Arts‘ Oregon Book Awards program honors the state’s finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, graphic literature, drama, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers. In addition to financial support, the program produces the Oregon Book Awards Author Tour to connect local writers and literary organizations in all parts of Oregon. Each year, Oregon Book Awards finalists and winners travel to towns across Oregon for readings, school visits, and free writing workshops.

Through the stories of twenty individuals, and informed by interviews with more than seventy people, Voices from Bears Ears captures the passions of those who fought to protect Bears Ears and those who opposed the monument as a federal “land grab” that threatened to rob them of their economic future. It gives voice to those who have felt silenced, ignored, or disrespected. It shares stories of those who celebrate a growing movement by Indigenous peoples to protect ancestral lands and culture, and those who speak devotedly about their Mormon heritage. What unites these individuals is a reverence for a homeland that defines their cultural and spiritual identity, and therein lies hope for finding common ground.

Portland-based journalist Rebecca Robinson provides context and perspective for understanding the ongoing debate and humanizes the abstract issues at the center of the debate. Interwoven with these stories are photographs of the interviews and the land they consider sacred by photographer Stephen E. Strom. Through word and image, Robinson and Strom allow us to both hear and see the people whose lives are intertwined with this special place.

Congratulations to all of the finalists! The winners will be announced live at the Oregon Book Awards Ceremony on Monday, April 27 at the Portland Center Stage at the Armory.

University Presses Are a Wise Investment for Scholarship and Community

February 5, 2020

Inside Higher Ed featured an opinion piece on the value university presses offer their parent institutions, and how that value uplifts scholarship, and community.

Written by Kathryn Conrad, director of the University of Arizona Press and president of the Association of University Presses, and Jennifer Crewe, associate provost and director of Columbia University Press and the association’s immediate past president, the editorial points out that some institution leaders are unfamiliar with the role their presses play in scholarly publishing, and the important role presses play in advancing the values of their home institutions.

More than 100 North American universities choose to invest in a university press, including nearly 70 percent of leading research institutions and almost 80 percent of Association of American Universities members. Publishing scholarship of the highest quality in an environment driven by mission, and not profit, is an endeavor that top universities heartily endorse. Our daily work as scholarly publishers is firmly grounded in the foundational beliefs and goals of our parent institutions. While the publishing mix of individual university presses may vary, as do our universities’ areas of strength, our purpose is the same: the advancement of knowledge.

Looking back on a year that has included soul-searching at both Stanford University, an elite private institution, and the University of Western Australia, a vital public university, we are reminded that leaders at our home institutions sometimes are unfamiliar with what university presses do or with their own integral role in supporting scholarly publishing. Misunderstanding can lead to hasty or inaccurate judgments. …

Please read the entire op-ed here.

Biennial Southwest Symposium Recap

February 3, 2020

On Friday, January 31st and Saturday, February 1st, University of Arizona Press Senior Editor Allyson Carter attended the 17th Biennial Southwest Symposium in Tempe. The Southwest Symposium organization was founded in 1988 to promote new ideas and new directions in the archaeology of the U.S. Southwest and Mexican Northwest. The theme this year was “Thinking Big: New Approaches to Synthesis and Partnership in the Southwest/Northwest.”

Allyson was thrilled to catch up with many of our authors while she attended the conference, and she was able to snap a few great photos as well.

Stewart Koyiyumptewa, co-editor of Moquis and Kastiilam and contributor to Footprints of Hopi History, and Joel Nichols, contributor to History is in the Land.
Nancy Parezo and Don Fowler, authors of a forthcoming book which will be published in Fall 2020. Nancy Parezo is also co-editor of Paths of Life, and Don Fowler.
We love sharing our archaeology list with scholars and experts!

Our Border Heart: Reflections from Our Authors on ‘American Dirt’

January 31, 2020

As an academic press situated near the Arizona-Mexico border, when a flash point like the American Dirt controversy occurs, it’s hard to ignore voices from the books that line the University of Arizona Press bookshelves.

After all, as some University of Arizona Press authors have explained recently in national interviews and op-eds, university presses have long been home to many Latinx and Indigenous authors of fiction, poetry, and scholarship focused on social justice, anthropology, popular culture, gender studies, and the borderlands.

Chicano author David Bowles, who translated the late beloved Francisco X. Alarcón’s poems in the University of Arizona Press’s 2019 edition of Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation, pointed this out in an NPR interview on Monday, January 27 —that indie and university presses have committed to publishing authors and scholars of color. Bowles offered further analysis in the New York Times.

The University of Arizona Press is not alone in publishing Latinx and Indigenous authors. Other university presses and independent publishers doing similar work: Arte Publico, Bilingual Press, University of Texas Press, University of New Mexico Press, and Cinco Puntos.

In the University of Arizona Press’s sixty years, publishing Latinx and Indigenous authors was purposeful and remains a priority. The Sun Tracks series, which publishes work by Indigenous authors, began in the early 1970’s as a journal and then individual titles. The first book, When it Rains: Tohono Oodham and Pima Poetry was edited by University of Arizona professor and linguist Ofelia Zepeda, a Tohono O’odham poet who remains editor of the series.

Camino del Sol, a series dedicated to Latinx authors, started in 1994, two years before Oprah’s Book Club kicked off. The series, initiated by author Ray Gonzalez, its first editor, has had a number of awards bestowed on its titles: the PEN/Beyond Margins Award to Richard Blanco’s Directions to the Beach of the Dead; Before Columbus Foundation American Book Awards to Diana Garcia’s When Living Was a Labor Camp and Luis Alberto Urrea’s Nobody’s Son; International Latino Book Awards to Pat Mora’s Adobe Odes and Kathleen Alcalá’s The Desert Remembers My Name; the Premio Aztlán literary prize to Sergio Troncoso’s The Last Tortilla; and the PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles National Literary Award to Kathleen de Azevedo’s Samba Dreamers. The first National Book Critics Circle Award for a Chicana/o went Juan Felipe Herrera’s Half of the World in Light, also published by the University of Arizona Press.

University of Arizona Press authors who have weighed in on the controversy:

Frederick Luis Aldama, University Distinguished Professor at Ohio State University, is a leading Latinx cultural scholar with three important titles in the University of Arizona Press’s Latinx Pop Culture series. From his January 24 essay Brownface Minstrelsy; or a Defense of Our Freedom in the Art of Latinx Storytelling? on Latinx Spaces:

Wiping windows clean of roadkill, let me focus attention on this point about a non-Mexican or non-Latinx author writing this book. Of course, authors different from her run deep, including D.H. Lawrence, Valle Inclán, Kerouac, Nabokov, Boyle, and Theroux, among many others. Here, however, we return to Sánchez Prado’s point that a non-Mexican author can create fictions about Mexico, if they do the work for it to represent and cohere well. In other words, none of this cutting corners to get away with caca because you know your main audiences will be white and not be Mexican or Latinx.

University of Arizona author Daniel A. Olivas offered further perspective in an opinion piece published recently in The Guardian:

American Dirt is an insult to Latinx writers who have toiled – some of us for decades – to little notice of major publishers and book reviewers, while building a vast collection of breathtaking, authentic literature often published by university and independent presses on shoestring budgets. And while the folks who run Flatiron Books have every right to pay seven figures to buy and publish a book like American Dirt, they have no immunity from bad reviews and valid criticism.

​And that’s why more than ninety Latinx and other writers signed an open letter to Oprah Winfrey asking her to rethink the much-publicized inclusion of American Dirt in her renowned book club. I signed on to this letter with the hope Winfrey will do the right thing.

You can read the letter Olivas refers to here. Another University of Arizona Press author, poet Vickie Vértiz, signed the letter. Her collection, Palm Frond with Its Throat Cut, won the 2018 PEN America Literary Poetry award. Other authors who signed the letter include Luis Alberto Urrea (also a University of Arizona Press author), Wendy C. Ortiz, and Vanessa Angélica Villarreal.

Near the top of the University of Arizona Press website are the words: Books that make a difference, enrich understanding, and inspire curiosity. The exceptional Latinx and Indigenous voices from University of Arizona Press books accomplish that, and guide us through an entire universe, too.

Raymond H. Thompson (1924-2020)

January 31, 2020

Raymond Harris Thompson, Jr., PhD, director emeritus of the Arizona State Museum and a co-founder of the University of Arizona Press died peacefully on January 29 in Tucson, surrounded by family and enveloped in the affection of so many who held him in high esteem. He was 95.

Thompson served the University of Arizona with dedication and distinction for 41 years, from July 1, 1956 to June 30, 1997. For 32 of those years, he served as director of the Arizona State Museum. For the first 16 of those years, he served simultaneously as head of the Department (now School) of Anthropology. In 1980 he was appointed… read the complete appreciation shared by The School of Anthropology and the Arizona State Museum.

How ‘Indians’ Think Author on New Books Podcast

January 21, 2020

New Books Network recently featured Gonzalo Lamana‘s new book, How “Indians” Think: Colonial Indigenous Intellectuals and the Question of Critical Race Theory.

Lamana, a University of Arizona Press author and associate professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages at the University of Pittsburgh, shines light in his book on Indigenous perspectives 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, Lamana argues that Guaman Poma and Garcilaso were the first Indigenous activist intellectuals and that they developed post-racial imaginaries four hundred years ago. Their texts not only highlighted Native peoples’ achievements, denounced injustice, and demanded colonial reform, but they also exposed the emerging Spanish thinking and feeling on race that was at the core of colonial forms of discrimination. These authors aimed to alter the way colonial actors saw each other and, as a result, to change the world in which they lived.

Listen to the podcast here.

The Motions Beneath Wins the CALACS Book Prize

January 13, 2020

We are excited to announce that The Motions Beneath by Laurent Corbeil is the winner of the 2019 Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies’ (CALACS) Book Prize!

The CALACS Best Book Prize is awarded to the most outstanding book published in 2018 by a member of CALACS who researches Latin America and the Caribbean.

The CALACS Book Prize Committee praised The Motions Beneath by saying, “In this work, Corbeil carried out meticulous archival research to present the micro-interactions of Indigenous migrants who traveled to the mines of San Luís Potosí. While these migrants were motivated by economic needs, Corbeil notes that they interacted in ways– both within and beyond their own communities– that profoundly shaped the city. Corbeil makes creative use of legal records to unearth histories of mobility and the interactions between members of different Indigenous communities that otherwise do not appear in the historical record. Moreover, the book is written lucidly and provides expansive contextualization of colonial Potosí. The Committee congratulates Dr. Corbeil on this fantastic achievement.”

The University of Arizona Press congratulates Laurent Corbeil on this fantastic achievement, as well!

Saints, Statues, and Stories Honored as a Southwest Book of the Year

January 13, 2020

We are thrilled to announce that Saints, Statues, and Stories by James S. “Big Jim” Griffith was selected as a Panelist Pick for two panelists in Pima County Library’s 43rd annual Southwest Books of the Year! Southwest Books of the Year is a highly-anticipated publication that influences readers throughout the Southwest.

Saints, Statues, and Stories was picked by Vicki Ann Duraine, the Programming Librarian for Apache Junction Public Library, and Christine Wald-Hopkins, a former literature and composition instructor who has been a book critic for national, regional, and local newspapers since 1989.

About the book, Christine Wald-Hopkins stated: “Folklorist James S. Griffith, beloved in Southern Arizona for his active promotion of all folk arts and cultures, focuses in this little volume on material he’s gathered in more than fifty years of studying religious art and legend in Sonora, Mexico. With photographs and personal anecdotes, Griffith discusses the introduction of religious art into Sonora, its preservation, its role in the spiritual life of the people, and direct impact of saints in the lives of individuals and the community. Best of all, the voice in Saints, Statues, and Stories is that of a consummate storyteller.”

Congratulations, Big Jim!

January 7, 2020

Travel often evokes strong reactions and engagements. But what of the ethics and politics of this experience? Through critical, personal reflections, the essays in Detours, edited by M. Bianet Castellanos, grapple with the legacies of cultural imperialism that shape travel, research, and writing.

Contemplating the ethics and racial politics of traveling and doing research abroad, the essays in Detours call attention to the power and privilege that permit researchers to enter people’s lives, ask intimate questions, and publish those disclosures. Focusing on Latin America and the Caribbean, they ask, Why this place? What keeps us coming back? And what role do we play in producing narratives of inequality, uneven development, and global spectacle?

Below, read an excerpt from Detours by Misha Klein:

Prior to living in Brazil, I had believed that empirical evidence (“facts”) and personal experience provided people with the ability to appraise their circumstances and a capacity and fierce desire to chart their own path to freedom. Though I had never really thought about it consciously, I also apparently believed that there was some lower limit beyond which human dignity would not allow people to sink, and that they would rise up against their oppressors when that limit was breached.

The first time that I went to Rio de Janeiro all of those assumptions were thrown into turmoil. I accepted the invitation of a student who was taking private English classes with me and who wanted me to accompany her on a visit home. In contrast to the spacial segregation of the poor neighborhoods in the city where I lived, rich and poor in Rio are intertwined, in public space, in private space, and in the very layout of the city, where planned portions of the city displaced the previous residents only to be reoccupied by new poor people building in the newly reconfigured spaces. The self-constructed neighborhoods known as favelas fill the fissures and other empty spaces created by urban development schemes in Rio, rather than being on the outskirts as in Latin America and elsewhere, favelas begin when poor people build fragile structures made of found materials in any available space: under overpasses, along roadways, on steep hillsides, and on the edges of some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Brazil.

I have been asked by Brazilians whether we have favelas in the United States. While we certainly have poor people and poor neighborhoods, the very poor either cannot find housing or cannot afford the rent of public housing or are not well off enough to keep a job or stay in one place. Furthermore, construction regulations make illegal the “auto-construction” that is a defining feature of favelas. Even tent cities or the temporary and visible conglomerations like the “Hoovervilles” of the Great Depression are illegal, though the reasons today usually reference safety codes rather than a recognition of these gatherings as a condemnation of and shameful reflection on politicians in a rich nation. Instead of favelas, we have homeless people, who fall through the cracks instead of filling them.

Toward the end of that first trip to Rio, we drove past Rio’s massive landfill, and I was shocked to see that it was teeming with people evidently scouring the mountain of garbage for reusable and recyclable materials. I realized that abject poverty is not radicalizing or empowering, and that those who must struggle day to day for enough to eat do not have the luxury of planning to overthrow the system. Their dignity is clearly shown in the documentary film Waste Land (2010), about the cooperative of catadores (trash pickers) who live coincidentally at that same municipal landfill and who worked with Brazilian artist Vik Muniz to create beautiful renditions of famous works of art from trash collected by the catadores. Dignity is a state or quality that is quite apart from external conditions.

There is no way to live in such a starkly class-divided social world and not be a participant, not be implicated in it. This is just as true in the United States as it is in Brazil. As a society, we walk past homeless people on the street, forget about Indigenous peoples living in poverty on reservations, avoid certain neighborhoods. We all become numb to the injustices around us, ignoring them so that we can go on about our lives. Seeing the injustices is easier when we step outside of the familiar. When I have returned to Brazil for short stays, I break the rules, disrupting the social fabric in ways that I cannot easily afford to do when I am there for longer periods of time (and often relying on the goodwill of friends and other hosts). I sit in the front seat with taxi drivers and ask about economic changes and consumption patterns rather than sitting in the back, absorbed with my phone and isolated. I chat with the security guards in the apartment buildings of well-heeled friends and engage in discussions about the education system. Inevitably, I get the confused question, “Why are you different?” A quick read of my color, my style of dress, and the circumstances of our encounter puts me in one social category, one that my behavior does not fit. In other words, why do I not stay on my side of the class divide? However, I cannot so easily break these social rules during longer stays because continually confronting or resisting the system is an exhausting endeavor. Breaking with these social norms also causes discomfort or even problems for other people. Of course, those in the working classes are not necessarily eager to get cozy with the privileged classes (of which I am presumed to be a part) and are often uncomfortable with my flouting of the norms. That kind of trust takes time to build. On the other hand, those who are privileged do not appreciate having the comfort of their world disturbed and exposed as flimsy, and they are often quick to chide— or worse.

I learned this lesson when visiting the extended family of my fiancé in the northeastern city of Fortaleza, a region known for “traditional” social rules, rooted in the slave economy and corronelismo, the corrupt and violent boss system that dominated the agricultural Northeast, the legacy of which is still felt today. Theirs was a landholding family, what might be considered “slumlords” in another context. They still lived in a single-family residence, surrounded by a garden and high wall. I counted nine people in their employ, between full- and part-time: a cook, two maids, a chauffeur, a passadeira (a woman whose sole job was to do the ironing), a night guard, a gardener, a manicurist, and a houseboy to whom fell anything that was not covered by the other employees. Between the nine employees, they did not earn even six minimum salaries, nor did they receive any of the common benefits, such as transportation costs, that became required compensation under new labor laws that took effect not long after my visit. The son of the family was being groomed to step into his father’s shoes and was already responsible for making the rounds to collect rent. It was to him that the guard appealed for an income increase. My fiancé and I were not supposed to hear the conversation, but it took place right outside the window of the bedroom where we were sleeping. The guard’s job was to sit up all night in the garden with a loaded weapon, ready to protect the sleeping family. Rather than make his request face to face, he stood outside the son’s window (adjacent to ours) to ask whether we could receive an increase to cover the cost of transportation to and from work. His request was denied. Even more poignant was the situation of the houseboy, a young man from a desperately poor family who lived in what looked like a pile of blankets in a corner of the garage and worked not for a salary but for the cost of his epilepsy medication. Even under these miserable circumstances he was better off than he would have been without the job (as the father of the family explained), if this could really be considered a form of employment as opposed to indentured servitude. Since he picked up the slack around the house, the bulk of the extra work of our stay fell to him, so to thank him we gave him the official jersey of the local Ceará soccer team, of which he was an avid fan. We were roundly chided for this act of reciprocity because, we were told by the family, we had unreasonably raised his expectations. It was a sickening experience. In the face of entrenched systems of unequal power, alliances mean nothing. Friendliness does not put a dent in the system of inequality. The difference between having been to a place and being there is in the depth of understanding. In Portuguese, you do not ask a person whether they have been somewhere. You ask whether they “know” the place, no matter how brief the encounter. A tourist can merely pass through a country and then claim to “know” it. Tourists do not have any obligation to acquire foreknowledge. They do not need to study history, socioeconomic hierarchies, the consequences of uneven development, or the legacy of colonial administrations and repressive regimes. Tourists can admire, and buy, and leave with folkloric or artisanal items and postcard memories, without obligations to maintain relations. Theirs is a form of consumption that includes the possibility of just snacking, of savoring tiny bites, and it also gets reproduced at the local level through tourism performances.

One difference between touring and living someplace for an extended period of time— which involves having responsibilities and obligations, time constraints, and financial considerations— is that when one is touring one can afford to give attention to all sorts of things that people who are going about their daily lives cannot. Tourists in Brazil can engage in what Edward Bruner (2005) calls tourist realism— that is, they can look at poverty (and even take organized tours to visit favelas), be shocked and offended by it (How can people live this way? How can other people ignore it?), and imagine that they have no connection with or responsibilities toward the obvious inequalities. This would seem to be the inverse of the imperialist nostalgia described by Renato Rosaldo (1989): rather than lamenting and longing for a past that one has had a hand in destroying, one may feel a sense of superiority and a self-satisfied clear conscience that comes with imagining that one is not implicated in another’s suffering. However, the only way that this imagining is possible is by deliberately ignoring— being ignorant of— the larger patterns of inequality that are reproduced at the global, national, and regional levels.

Saguaros, Justice, Poetry, and Rum, Spring 2020

December 20, 2019

Every season at the University of Arizona Press has its own unique personality, yet you can always count on the Press publishing Indigenous and Latinx literature you won’t find elsewhere. You’ll find those gems in our Spring 2020 catalog, along with Southwest titles, cutting-edge books on the borderlands, Chicanx, and Indigenous studies; and other important work in anthropology, archaeology, environmental studies, and space science.

Here are several highlights to give you an idea of what Spring 2020 has to offer:

The Saguaro Cactus: A Natural History, by David YetmanAlberto BúrquezKevin Hultine, and Michael Sanderson

The saguaro cactus is an iconic symbol of our region, and this book gets to the heart of that with essays on our ongoing fascination and the plant’s unusual characteristics.

Out in February, paperback.

Sown in Earth: Essays of Memory and Belonging by Fred Arroyo

In this collection of essays, Arroyo shares personal and heart-wrenching memories that speak to the larger experiences of hardworking migratory men, such as Arroyo’s father.

Out in March, paperback.

Our Bearings: Poems by Molly McGlennen

In Our Bearings, McGlennen examines and celebrates Anishinaabe life in modern Minneapolis through this collection of narrative poetry. The narrative poetry of Our Bearings, redefines what it means to be an urban Indian.

Out in March, paperback.

To the Last Smoke: An Anthology by Stephen J. Pyne

In this book, Pyne, considered a leading authority and historian on wildland fire, offers a series of his most recent essays on fire region by region in the United States. Each essay provides a glimpse at how wildland fires differ from state to state, and what some regions are doing right.

Out in April, paperback.

Sugarcane and Rum: The Bittersweet History of Labor and Life on The Yucatán Peninsula by John R. Gust and Jennifer P. Mathews

Gust and Mathews weave together ethnographic interviews and historical archives with archaeological evidence to bring the daily lives of Maya workers into focus. The workers were part of the sugarcane and rum production of the Yucatán .

Out in April, paperback.

Diné Identity in a Twenty-First-Century World by Lloyd L. Lee

This is a distinctive and personal book from Lee, offering his perspective on Diné  identity in the twenty-first century. It is a mixture of traditional, customs, values, behaviors, technologies, worldviews, languages, and lifeways.

Out in May, paperback.

See you in 2020, dear readers.

Science Be Dammed Featured on Phoenix Radio Program Looking at Future of Colorado River

December 19, 2019

KJZZ ‘s Bret Jaspers in Phoenix recently interviewed University of Arizona Press author John Fleck, co-author of Science Be Dammed, on Colorado River mismanagement as part of a larger story on the river’s future. Listen to the interviews here.

“In 1968 when the Central Arizona Project was approved, Arizona knew that there was not sufficient water to keep that canal full year in and year out,” Fleck said. 

He points to testimony from then-Reclamation Commissioner Floyd Dominy, who told a House of Representatives subcommittee that “sooner or later, and mostly sooner, the natural flows of the Colorado River will not be sufficient to meet water demands, either in the lower basin or the upper basin, if these great regions of the Nation are to maintain their established economies and realize their growth potential.”

Fleck said Arizona knew that without augmentation, the water available for CAP canal customers would fluctuate.

“And somehow that was forgotten, and Arizona grew to depend on a full CAP canal every year,” Fleck said.

The river’s structural deficit is about 1.2 million acre feet each year. That’s an annual over commitment of almost four Phoenixes covered in a foot of water. As more users actually use their full allocations, the imbalance contributes to drops in Lakes Mead and Powell, the two main reservoirs. Declines led to the temporary shortage guidelines signed in 2007 and updated this year.

Today’s negotiators are preparing to tackle the structural deficit in a new agreement that will replace the guidelines, which expire in 2026. Fleck said these modern folks adhere much closer to science than their predecessors did.

“We are much better now at accepting rather than ignoring inconvenient science,” he said. “You see serious analytical work being done within the federal agencies even in the midst of the Trump administration’s attitude toward climate change.”

The truth about the river may finally be too powerful to ignore. 

Along with climate change, the deficit is one of the big reasons why Lake Mead has dropped in recent years.

Fixing it could be a big problem for Arizona.

“Unfortunately, Arizona’s facing some of the largest cuts and it really puts Arizona in a political vice,” said Brad Udall, a research scientist at Colorado State University. “You can’t take that much water out of the canal, the entire 1.2 million acre-feet, and do justice to Arizona’s water needs. Yet that’s what the 1968 law says.”

The Embodiment of Risk Along the U.S.-México Line

December 18, 2019

The Border and Its Bodies: The Embodiment of Risk Along the U.S.- México Line, is an important book of borderlands scholarship, but there’s more to this University of Arizona Press book, placed on the Association of University Presses’ reading list during University Press Week last November. The book’s editors Thomas E. Sheridan and Randall H. McGuire, along with its thirteen contributors, have presented a timely presentation on the realities of our border region. This book 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. The following is an excerpt from contributor Robin Reineke, an assistant research social scientist in anthropology at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center, and cofounder and executive director of the Colibri Center for Human Rights:

Necroviolence and Postmortem Care Along the U.S.-México Border

By Robin Reineke

In June 2010, the decomposed remains of a man were found by the U.S. Border Patrol on the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona. The man was found under a tree, with a backpack containing about $200 in Mexican pesos, a few bus ticket stubs, and a prayer card for Pope Benedict. His body was transported to the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner (PCOME), where forensic investigators, pathologists, and anthropologists began the work of trying to identify him. During their examination, a Honduran identification card was found in the man’s shoes.

Nearly two months passed with no leads on this man’s identity. Then, in August, a woman called to report her brother, Miguel, missing. A volunteer took the missing person’s report. Miguel’s full name matched the name on the Honduran ID card. Miguel also was reported to have a tattoo—a homemade letter M on one of his forearms. Although the external examination, autopsy, and forensic anthropology examination had all been completed, there was no note of a tattoo. To see if there was indeed a tattoo on the body, investigators used infrared photography to photograph the highly decomposed flesh of the arms of the unknown man. The photographs revealed what could not be seen with the human eye—a light, hand-drawn letter M on the right forearm. The unknown remains were identified as Miguel’s.

Miguel had lived and worked in the United States for decades. He was a gardener. In the spring of 2010, he was apprehended by ICE after being pulled over for speeding, and was deported to Honduras. Shortly after, in the summer of that year, Miguel hired a coyote to guide him across the Arizona desert. He was desperate to get back to his family and his job. He attempted the crossing in June, one of the hottest months of the year in the Sonoran Desert, when temperatures regularly reach into the triple digits.

When the volunteer called to notify Miguel’s sister that he had died in the desert from heatstroke, she wept and expressed confusion. “How could someone die just from walking? He was a gardener; he was used to being in the sun. I think someone murdered him,” she said. The volunteer assured her that there were no signs of trauma, and explained that, sadly, hundreds of people die each year attempting to cross the border through Arizona. The volunteer then explained the next steps: the family would need to choose a funeral home, and then have the funeral home contact the medical examiner’s office to arrange to pick up Miguel’s remains.

About a week later, the volunteer got to her desk one morning and noticed that her voicemail box was full—twenty-eight messages. They were all from Miguel’s family, who were distraught, confused, and angry. The family had been calling from the funeral home, where they had just seen Miguel’s remains. They were convinced that they had been deceived about the cause of death, because the body they were looking at was a horrifying sight—a blackened, decomposed, headless corpse whose hands had been cut off. Clearly, they said, Miguel had been murdered.

Although the official manner of death was accidental, not homicide, they were right. Miguel had been murdered by the U.S. federal government, using the Sonoran Desert as a weapon, and his body showed the signs of this violence.

INTRODUCTION

What happened to Miguel and his family was a complicated injustice, with layers of violence occurring along a protracted timeline. First, Miguel had likely been racially profiled by police. He was then deported to a country he hadn’t called home in more than 20 years, which separated him from his small children and his only means of income. Then, in an attempt to get home, Miguel had followed the path created for Latin American workers by decades of U.S. immigration and border policy, which cuts through remote regions of the Sonoran Desert. The desert conditions and arid heat took its toll, and Miguel died from exposure to the elements. His body was not found for several weeks because of the isolated area where he had been traveling. By the time Miguel was found, his body had endured the same brutality of the desert conditions that had killed him.

On arrival to the medical examiner’s office, Miguel’s body was unrecognizable due to decomposition, and would require special examination techniques for there to be any hope of finding his family. During autopsy, his inner organs and brain had been removed for examination. During the forensic anthropology examination, his skull had been detached, along with portions of his pubic bones. His body was so decomposed and desiccated that investigators had to cut off his hands so that his fingers could be rehydrated for fingerprinting. When his family finally saw his remains, they were looking at the effects of violence, but they were also looking at attempts to care for Miguel and his family.

The volunteer who had first taken the missing person report for Miguel, who had then called his sister when his remains were identified, and who had heard the distressed voices of the family when they were looking at what was left of his body, was in some ways ill-equipped to handle the situation. She was young, she was in over her head, and she was scared. That volunteer was me.

At the time, I was a graduate student in the School of Anthropology at the University of Arizona. The same semester I started graduate school, in the fall of 2006, I began interning and volunteering under the guidance of Dr. Bruce Anderson, forensic anthropologist at the PCOME. I was interested in the ways that a cultural anthropologist might be able to support the work of forensic anthropologists, and Dr. Anderson was eager to have my help. At the time, Dr. Anderson was examining about 150 cases per year—far more than any other single forensic anthropologist in the nation, likely in the world. On top of this, he was also managing calls from families of the missing. The families were calling the medical examiner’s office directly because they had nowhere else to go. The standard mechanism for reporting and pursuing the investigation of a missing person in the United States is through law enforcement. However, families of missing migrants generally struggle with this system: because they are afraid to contact police for fear of deportation, they do not live in the United States, or they are turned away by law enforcement officials when they try to file a report for a missing foreign national. So they call the medical examiner’s and coroner’s offices along the border directly. When I approached Bruce in 2006, he suggested that I help him with missing person reports, and with speaking to the families—work he had taken on voluntarily despite being already overwhelmed with the caseload.

Gradually, these volunteer efforts grew into a nonprofit, the Colibri Center for Human Rights, which I cofounded in 2013. My graduate research became focused on the social and scientific process of identifying the remains of migrants who had died attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border into Arizona (Reineke 2016). That summer, when on the phone with Miguel’s family, I had cautioned them against opening the body bag. I explained that viewing his remains would be difficult and that I didn’t want them to remember Miguel that way. But when the body bag containing Miguel’s remains arrived at the funeral home, the family wanted to see him. They needed to confirm that it was indeed Miguel, and to understand for themselves what had happened to him. What they saw was evidence of violence, but not the kind they assumed. There is no good language for the kind of violence Miguel’s body had gone through.

From The Border and Its Bodies: The Embodiment of Risk Along the U.S.- México Line, edited by Thomas E. Sheridan and Randall H. McGuire. ©2019 The Arizona Board of Regents.

Open Arizona: Vélez-Ibáñez Reflects on ‘The Chicanos’ Then and Now

December 16, 2019

We’re thrilled to announce the availability of three more Open Access titles available in Open Arizona. To coincide with this release, we have also made available the new essay, “Ourselves Through the Eyes of an Anthropologist: Then and Now,” by Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez.

In this new essay, Vélez-Ibáñez reflects on the origins of The Chicanos: As We See Ourselves, edited by Arnulfo D. Trejo and published by the University of Arizona Press in 1979. Vélez-Ibáñez reflects on contributing to the work, nearly forty years ago, and how his thinking and scholarship has changed since that time.

When The Chicanos was first published Trejo wrote, “We have come a long way, from the time when the Mexicano silently accepted the stereotype drawn of him by the outsider. Our purpose is not to talk to ourselves, but to open a dialogue among all concerned people.”

In the new essay, Vélez-Ibáñez continues the dialogue, inviting us all to consider a transborder cultural citizenship that is hemispheric, inclusive, and beyond borderlines.

Vélez-Ibáñez is Regents’ Professor in the School of Transborder Studies and School of Human Evolution and Social Change, the Motorola Presidential Professor of Neighborhood Revitalization, and founding director emeritus of the School of Transborder Studies at Arizona State University.

Also Now Available in Open Arizona

Born a Chief: The Nineteenth Century Hopi Boyhood of Edmund Nequatewa
As told to Alfred F. Whiting and Edited by P. David Seaman

Massacre on the Gila: An Account of the Last Major Battle Between American Indian, with Reflections on the Origin of War
Clifton B. Kroeber and Bernard L. Fontana

Grenville Goddwin Among the Western Apache: Letters from the Field
Edited by Morris E. Opler

Science Be Dammed Gaining Media Attention

December 6, 2019

Even though Science Be Dammed was officially released in late November, buzz about the University of Arizona Press book grew months before its pages were printed. After all, in this age of climate catastrophe and growing discussions around water resources throughout the country, a book about how Colorado River policy makers ignored science in favor of growth offers a glimpse of reality folks often suspected was true. The book also offers a path forward, providing a new way to look at allocation and water policy.

The writers, Eric Kuhn and John Fleck, are also getting in front of new policy makers with their book in hand at regional conferences, meetings, and doing interviews on the book. Both authors bring important experience to share–Kuhn worked for the Colorado River Water District for more than four decades; while Fleck, a longtime journalism covering water, is now an academic with the University of New Mexico’s Water Resources Program.

Besides getting on two great seasonal reads lists from Outside Magazine and The Revelator, and doing a handful of radio interviews, here are few examples of recent media coverage for Science Be Dammed:

Naveena Sadasivam from independent news outlet Grist, recently wrote a story with a Q&A interview with Kuhn and Fleck.

In 1916, six years before the Colorado River Compact was signed, Eugene Clyde LaRue, a young hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, concluded that the Colorado River’s supplies were “not sufficient to irrigate all the irrigable lands lying within the basin.” Other hydrologists at the agency and researchers studying the issue came to the same conclusion. Alas, their warnings were not heeded.

I caught up with Fleck and Kuhn to learn why LaRue and others were ignored and what history can teach us about the decisions being made on the river today. This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

Q. When did you both realize that the conventional wisdom about the framers of Colorado River law using bad data was incorrect? Was there an “aha” moment?

A. Fleck: The “aha” moment for me was when I found the transcripts of LaRue’s 1925 congressional testimony, when he said, as clear as could be, that there’s not enough water for this thing they were trying to do. It erased any doubt I had that the reports were too technical and people didn’t really understand them. He was there testifying before Congress, and they just chose to ignore it. None of the senators followed up. They were clearly choosing to willfully ignore what LaRue was saying.

Kuhn: He wasn’t alone. There was USGS hydrologist Herman Stabler, an engineering professor from the University of Arizona, and a very high-level commission appointed by Congress, headed by a famous Army Corps of Engineers’ lieutenant general, and they came to the same conclusion. The surprise to me was how widespread the information was among the experts at the time. There was never even enough water in the system for what we wanted to do before climate change became an issue.

This week, the Tucson Weekly featured Science Be Dammed on their cover, with an author interviews and an excerpt:

Kuhn and Fleck argue in the book that the greatest failure of river management institutions in the 20th century is a lack of plan B in the face of less water. And of course, there is now less water.

“Climate change and many other factors have basically said that there’s no stationarity in the river; we can’t use the last 100 years to predict what’s going to happen in the next 100 years,” Kuhn said. “Now that every drop of water in the river is used, the cushion is gone. And I think that’s one of the messages: You can’t rely on future generations to fix a mess.”

Even if the compact’s framers hadn’t selected the “rosiest scenario possible,” the Southwest’s current 19-year drought would still cause tightening for the Colorado River’s allocations. This has led to updated rules around water use, such as Arizona’s recently ratified Drought Contingency Plan.

“The Drought Contingency Plan is a band-aid, designed to get us through the next five or 10 years. There needs to be a more sustainable, long-term solution,” Kuhn said. “Those Drought Contingency Plans will give us some breathing room, but what the river will look like in 20 years, I think we’ll look back at our Drought Contingency Plan and say, ‘Those were the good days.'”

Fleck and Kuhn are not without hope, however. Not only is science advancing to offer new methods of water conservation, but the populations of many Southwestern cities are living more sustainably as well. For instance, Tucson’s water demand has continually lowered in the past two decades, despite an increase in population. In 2000, Tucson used 133,000 acre feet of water annually; in 2017, it was 110,000; and 104,000 is projected for 2025.

The True History of Navajoland

December 5, 2019

Authors Klara Kelley and Harris Francis have crafted a sweeping history of the Diné that is foregrounded in oral tradition. The authors share Diné history from pre-Columbian time to the present, using ethnographic interviews in which Navajo people reveal their oral histories on key events such as Athabaskan migrations, trading and trails, Diné clans, the Long Walk of 1864, and the struggle to keep their culture alive under colonizers who brought the railroad, coal mining, trading posts, and, finally, climate change. For Diné readers, A Diné History of Navajoland offers empowering histories and stories of Diné cultural sovereignty. “In short,” the authors say, “it may help you to know how you came to be where— and who— you are.”

Below, read an excerpt from Kelley and Francis’ new book, A Diné History of Navajoland.

Of the 145 allotments in the Chambers Checkerboard townships, 56 are canceled or relinquished, but most allotments of the wealthy Silversmith extended family remain intact. Though many of the allottees were children when the allotment applications were first taken (mainly in 1909), those allottees are now adults. Therefore, the 56 relinquishments and cancellations represent about that many households, an estimated 250-300 people.

For allottees, these miseries come on top of Washindoon’s livestock reduction program. So at the very time when Washindoon is telling the People that the reservation lands can only support half the livestock that people own, it is forcing more families with whatever livestock they can salvage onto those same lands.

In 1998 Diné former residents of the Chambers Checkerboard described the miseries of relinquishment (Kelley and Francis 1998b, condensed from the original Navajo).

Consultant 1 (In English)

My mom was born in 1904. When she was about age six, she and her sister went to school at Saint Michaels. They were raised by their grandmother [father’s mother]. And Father [Anselm] came down here, and my mom said a whole group of people were following him around, asking for allotments. So my great-grandmother [who received an allotment] asked for land for my mom and her sister. But the guy who was interpreting for Father refused my great-grandmother’s request because of the interpreter’s relationship with a certain family. So I blame him for why my mom did not get an allotment. And also, I blame her father— he was working on the railroad at the time, he could have requested land. He had two wives, and he liked the other wife better than my mom’s mother. So he pushed my mom and her sister aside.

Before our family was driven off, one man came around to collect the papers— those were the papers with the Teddy Roosevelt signature and the eagle. He said it was for copying, then they would be returned. But my grandma refused to give up the paper. One time at a chapter meeting [probably 1960s], Little Silversmith spoke there, something about getting land for himself. And my mom got up and accused him of not helping when we were all chased off. She said that white people were driving Little Silversmith out now [he seems to have been in debt and was selling to a Bilagaana rancher], but where was he when white people were driving us out?

My mom told me that we left our chickens, our wagons. She went back with my grandfather to our home to get our things, and saw them dumped like trash. Men formed a posse in Springerville, went through Saint Johns, camped someplace between Saint Johns and Sanders. Early in the morning they attacked Diné families around [the spring near the great-grandmother’s allotment], drove them out at gunpoint.

Then, the site where we moved after we were driven out: my dad dug a hole, and we lived there through the winter. Then he built a hogan north of Sanders. First, we went across the [Puerco] river and tried to settle there, then were told to keep moving north, because that was allotted land, go farther north past where the allotments are. So we kept going and we went on land claimed by [certain relatives].

Consultant 2 (In Navajo)

We had many sheep, horses, and cattle. We’d plow the fields and plant a lot, too. We grew a lot of beans, put them in gunny sacks. Someone, I don’t know if they were Bilagaanas, would buy them from us. We also used to live at another place over the hill with my maternal grandparents. There were several lakes where the livestock were watered. We lived in several places…

We would hear people say that we pay for the land [taxes or railroad lease payments]. And one day we were told to move out toward the railroad [north]. They had been saying this to us for a few years now. There was a man named Big Schoolboy, who went around with the Bilagaanas and told everyone to move out. He said that if we didn’t move, they would take us back to Fort Sumner. They all carried guns. We were afraid they might shoot us all.

This was two years after my mother died that they told us to move. My father had to take care of us children then. So we moved out. We put only a sewing machine and other little things in a wagon and left. We left with our sheep, many horses, the rams, and the cows. We just left with our clothes and went to a place called Graywater [about 10 miles away]. The horses were tired out by that time, but there was no grass, only a pond.

When we got the horses back [after the eviction], they were starved almost to death. There was sand sage, silvery sage, wormwood there. We got only 20 horses back— the others died— and never found the cattle. We took some cows with us when we left, but we left a lot there. The sheep we took, but we lost a lot of them too, some to thirst and starvation. We survived on the sheep but our horses died, even the one we used for the wagons. We barely got water. We had to use bottles. We had a very hard time. Then my maternal grandfather became ill. His kidneys wouldn’t work, so they had to carry him around a lot. I don’t know how many years it was, but he passed away too.

When we left our home, my little sister and I would go back to pick up some of our belongings now and then. We noticed that they [the Bilagaanas] had pushed our wagons off a cliff and they were all smashed up at the bottom. We had a small wagon, a big wagon, different types, also a well down there. They shot it up, too. We don’t know where they took our personal belongings and our clothes or what they did with them. They were all gone.

We barely bought this [current homesite] from a lady [a tract next to her father’s lieu allotment]. They used to live over there at the railroad. We got a wagon too that we used to get water with. She gave us some horses that we traded some sheep for. That’s what we used to get water.

So we came out here. My grandmother was herding them at Graywater [about eight miles away]. We’d run out of water, our only water source was at [a spring away from the homesite]. We’d get water at night, fill the barrel and bring it back. Me, I’d cut logs at Graywater, and I’d bring them back here. That’s how we built a house.

We had no water, but there used to be Bilagaanas who lived around here but they moved out. They used to have windmills here and there, so we asked one to take a windmill out for us. I traded some sheep for it, and they came here and installed a windmill. We settled here permanently after that. We had to herd rams for people, and they would give us a few sheep for it, and eventually we managed to fill our corral again.

People of the Press Round-up

December 2, 2019

Our People of the Press feature is wrapping up. Inspired by the Association of University Presses celebration of the people of AUPresses, we’ve so enjoyed celebrating the people who work behind the scenes to help our authors share their amazing works! Learn more about us:

Kathryn Conrad, Director
“I sometimes joke that my job as Director is to attend meetings and sign my name. But what I love most is finding partnerships with colleagues on campus and in the community.”
Read more

Julia Balestracci, Assistant to the Director and Rights Manager
“I have learned that there is a growing commitment out there in the world at large to showcasing diverse voices and perspectives. Increasingly, based on the requests I receive, I see a move to expand diversity in school curriculum at all levels.”
Read more

Kristen Buckles, Editor-In-Chief
“The old cliché about learning something new everyday is so apt here. It’s the nature of our work: we are all learning about the world we live in (and beyond!) through our daily engagement with the book content.”
Read more

Scott De Herrera, Assistant Editor
“I am responsible for acquiring titles in poetry and fiction for the Press’s two award-winning literary series, Sun Tracks and Camino del Sol. I also work closely with our Senior Editor, Dr. Allyson Carter, to bring in new titles in anthropology, Indigenous studies, archaeology, environmental science, and space science.”
Read more


Stacey Wujcik, Editorial Assistant
“It seems like I’m learning something new all the time. I’m still relatively new to Tucson, and I’ve certainly learned a lot about this region through my work at the Press. My work here also continually reinforces how important it is to read works by authors from different backgrounds who have different experiences and perspectives.”
Read more

Amanda Krause, Editorial, Design, and Production Manager
“I help shepherd books through the Editorial, Design, and Production process, answering author queries; working with freelance copyeditors, proofreaders, and indexers and print vendors; maintaining our house style guide; and managing the schedules for book production to make sure books are published (and reprinted) on time.”
Read more

Leigh McDonald, Art Director and Book Designer
“Everybody loves books, but not many people think about the work that goes into them behind the scenes! Everything you see when you pick up a book, from the choice of paper stock and color to the font, margins, image placement…everything but the content was a decision made by someone like me.”
Learn more

Sara Thaxton, Production Coordinator
“Typesetters think in an entirely different numbering system than most people. We go by picas/points and in multiples of 12s rather than 10s. We’re also probably the least-visible cog in the book publishing machine, but we’re always very proud of every book we create! Also, e-books are harder to make than they look!”
Learn more

Abby Mogollon, Marketing Manager
“So much of book publishing is invisible. It takes a great partnership between the press and the author to spread the word about a book, and a lot of thought and planning is happening behind the scenes.”
Learn more

Mari Herreras, Publicity Manager
“I think I’ve always known this, but see it more clearly now—that there’s more to the story then what’s written in each book published by the Press. Each book comes with the author’s own unique story about their life, their world, their research, and how they decided this one book needed to be published.”
Learn more

Savannah Hicks, Marketing Assistant
“Even though a lot of our presence appears to be digital, I’m happy to say that some of the most meaningful and joyful interactions in publishing still happen face-to-face.”
Learn more





2019 American Anthropological Association Meeting Recap

November 26, 2019

Last week, we attended the American Anthropological Association conference in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. It was a wonderful conference, and we can’t wait for next year’s meeting in St. Louis, Missouri. We were thrilled to catch up with so many of our authors! Below, find some photos we snapped at the conference.

Andrew Flachs posing with his new book, Cultivating Knowledge.
Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez with two of his books, Hegemonies of Language and Their Discontents and The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region.
Christina Getrich with a poster for her book, Border Brokers, which is now available in paperback!
Bianet Castellanos with her new book, Detours.
Tom Sheridan and Randall McGuire with a poster for their new book, The Border and It’s Bodies.
Anthony Webster with his book, Intimate Grammars.
Jeremy Slack with his University of Arizona Press book, The Shadow of the Wall.
Virginia Nazarea with one of her books, Seeds of Resistance, Seeds of Hope.
University of Arizona Press Senior Editor Allyson Carter with author Tevita Ka’ili.
Jenny Davis with her book, Talking Indian, which is now available in paperback!
Luis Plascencia with his book, Mexican Workers and the Making of Arizona.
Anton Daughters with his new book, Memories of Earth and Sea.
The beautiful view from across the Vancouver Convention Center.

People of the Press: Stacey Wujcik

November 20, 2019

People of the Press is back this week! Inspired by the Association of University Presses celebration of the people of AUPresses, we would also like to celebrate our dedicated publishing professionals throughout our 60th anniversary year.

Today we’re featuring our Editorial Assistant Stacey Wujcik.

Hello Stacey, what do you do for the Press?

As the editorial assistant in the acquisitions department, I help the Press’s acquiring editors send manuscripts out for peer review. I also work with authors to help them finalize and submit their final manuscript files (including images and permissions) to our production team.

How long have you worked at UA Press?

Just over three years.

The University of Arizona Press is committed to helping contribute to an informed society and enlightening readers. What’s one thing you’ve learned from your work?

This question is so hard to answer; because we publish books in many subject areas, it seems like I’m learning something new all the time. I’m still relatively new to Tucson, and I’ve certainly learned a lot about this region through my work at the Press. My work here also continually reinforces how important it is to read works by authors from different backgrounds who have different experiences and perspectives. Each new project is a reminder that there is always more to learn!

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

I think readers who are unfamiliar with the process of publishing with a university press would be surprised by how rigorous the peer-review process is. Each manuscript we consider for publication is first reviewed by scholars in the author’s field. This is not only a way for the Press to understand the work’s contribution but also an opportunity for the author to get valuable feedback as they complete their manuscript. Peer review is one of the things that differentiates university presses from commercial publishers.

Tucson has a thriving literary and scholarly community. What’s one of your favorite spots to hear authors, find a good book, or just curl up and read?

I like to shop for books at Antigone, and I’m always finding great books at the Pima County Library—I can never leave with just one! My favorite place to read is on my patio with a cup of coffee and my dog nearby.  

Indigenous Inclusion and Change in Urban Mexico

November 19, 2019

In the fall of 2018, popular culture both south and north of the border had all eyes on Mixtec actress Yalitza Aparicio, the star of Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma. Debates raged on a spectrum of issues, from the movie industry’s ongoing whiteness to the fragility of the autobiographical nature of the film, which is based on the director’s own lifelong relationship with Libo Rodríguez, a woman of Indigenous descent who was employed by his family. Accolades for and criticisms of the storyline took many twists and turns in Latinx social media circles and across demographics in Mexico. But missing from sight of much of these debates was the celebratory way in which young Indigenous women were engaging the newfound fame of Yalitza Aparicio. Her multiple magazine covers and photo shoots circulated lovingly across the Facebook accounts of female Wixarika university students. Aparicio’s global platform spurred conversations about decolonizing beauty standards and the need to speak to the lives of Indigenous domestic workers who sustain much of Mexico’s urban fabric. Aparicio’s own trajectory includes being an educator prior to becoming a celebrity; offering another point of identification that Indigenous women students and professionals pointed to in social media. Young Wixarika women read this moment in popular culture from a place of deep identification and joy that the broader public might finally be breaking with stereotypes that fix their bodies, cultures and political practices to othered rural spaces.

Had the constant struggle for recognition finally turned a page?

In my book, Racial Alterity, Wixarika Youth Activism, and the Right to the Mexican City, I survey Mexico’s long history of engagement with race, ethnicity and space. I do so by centering the experiences and praxis of Wixarika university students and young professionals living in the western cities of Guadalajara and Tepic. What is most moving about representing these stories, is that the majority of the Wixarika protagonists of this work have continued to make exceptional strides forward and many have gained visible platforms in local and regional political, educational, and cultural bodies. From directing state human rights commissions to speaking at international conferences, the cohort of university students and professionals who informed this book, seemingly represent the vanguard of coming generations of Indigenous university students. This vanguard has worked to open spaces in university classrooms, tribunals, medical institutions, government, and in the arts and culture. In sum, Wixarika university students and professionals, like their peers from other Indigenous groups, represent both rootedness and heterogeneity in the pathways they are using to transform themselves and their communities.

Photo by Diana Negrin

This apparent ascension and gained visibility has not occurred without numerous and constant struggles. The principal one remains how to challenge racist practices that shape the policies geared toward Indigenous populations and that shape everyday interracial relations both in urban and rural Mexico. The national and global gaze placed on Indigenous peoples and the consumption of folkloric aspects of their cultures remains a central marker of Mexicanness. For Wixarika peoples, this gaze and consumption has boomed in the past twenty years, as they see themselves being a favored ethnic face for both public and private marketing initiatives. Ironically, at the same time that Wixarika aesthetics are celebrated, commissioned and appropriated, the sacred lands that sustain their celebrated ancestral traditions are threatened by transnational corporate interests that include agroindustry, mining, and tourism.

My hope is that this book contributes to the dialogue surrounding how enduring racial imaginaries, stigmas, ambivalences and hostilities are negotiated and contested by young Indigenous peoples who envision themselves as a new vanguard movement for political economic, social and culture transformation. 

Diana Negrín
University of San Francisco
Wixárika Research Center
November 6, 2019

Diana Negrín is a native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Negrín received her doctorate from the Department of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley; she is a professor at the University of San Francisco and president of the Board of Directors of the Wixarika Research Center.

Rodriguez Revisits 1979 Incident at Yolqui Book Release Celebration

November 18, 2019

More than sixty people came together in the University of Arizona Bookstore on Thursday, November 7 to listen to Roberto Rodriguez talk about his latest book, Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World, Testimonios on Violence.

The evening began with music from Miroslava Alejandra accompanied by guitar. Alejandra’s performance included a La Llorona song that incorporated a prayer printed in Yolqui and relayed to Rodriguez by Los Angeles elder Ofelia Esparza. Esparaza also attended the book release celebration, opening the event with a ceremony and prayer.

The prayer in the book, according to Esparza, was recited as a blessing over children during different times state violence worried mother’s hearts–an eternity. Esparza blessed her children reciting this prayer any time they headed out of the house.

Virgin of Guadalupe,
I leave my son in your hands,
The Sleepy Lagoon Case, Zoot Suits, and Fingertips 47
Protect him from the police
and from those who are always looking for
someone to beat on.
My son, be careful.
Do not look at the police.
Do not ever look them in the eye.
If they call out to you
or if they question you
do not respond to them forcefully.
Always obey them.
Dear God, please take care of my son.

Following the prayer, University of Arizona’s Dr. Patrisia Gonzales read the poignant and meaningful forward she wrote for the book:

“As one of you who has helped call back our fires from the traumatic pasts,
I know the resonance of justice: the impulse of the universe is more powerful than violence; in the long arc of time, our spiritual laws are more powerful than oppression. And in that flux of life that gives potential to all is love, love for life, love for each other, love for Great Good, love that makes revolutions around the suffering, so that we may continue—and undo this present of the future. For yolqui, we are not yet a spirit,” Gonzales read.

Roberto Rodriguez with contributors Arianna Martinez, Juvenal Caporale, and Michelle Rascon-Canales.

Joined by three of the 18 contributors to the book, Juvenal Caporale, Michelle Rascon-Canales, and Arianna Martinez, Rodriguez explained the history of this new book while a slideshow of victims of state violence hung above, showing faces like Ruben Salazar and Sandra Bland.

Signing book for students and friends.

Roberto Rodriguez, also called Dr. Cintli by his students and colleagues, has been at the University of Arizona for almost eighteen years. During that time he has stood by students traversing difficult challenges, such as the Mexican American Studies battle between the State and Tucson Unified School District. However, through those years and others, Rodriguez has only talked about what happened to him forty years ago on the periphery of his life–writing articles and stories on state violence against Red, Brown, and Black people and communities, and other social justice issues.

Rarely has he brought up his own experience of being severely beaten by a group of Los Angeles County deputies in retaliation for photographing a vicious beating in East Los Angeles by a different group of deputies. The trauma of that violence has followed him every day since often making it difficult to return to that night, especially in public settings.

To ease the difficulty of the evening and discussion, Tania Pacheco led the crowd in a guided meditation. During the book signing, Rodriguez was surrounded by a group carrying backpacks on their shoulders asking him questions. With pen in his hand, Rodriguez often looked up at the faces around him with a wide smile–his students.

A guided meditation ended the book celebration.

Aloha from ASA 2019

November 13, 2019

On November 7-10, our Editor-in-Chief Kristen Buckles attended the annual American Studies Association meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii! This year’s theme was “Build as We Fight,” which opened up many valuable conversations about colonialism. Below, find some photos of our wonderful authors with their University of Arizona Press books.

Duchess Harris with her new book, Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag.
Marquis Bey with his Feminist Wire Series book Them Goon Rules.
Norma Cantú and Kristen Buckles with Norma’s new poetry collection, Meditación Fronteriza.
Bianet Castellanos with her new book, Detours.
Judy Rohrer and Georgia Kasnetsis Acevedo with Kristen Buckles and her University of Arizona Press book, Staking Claim.

People of the Press: Julia Balestracci

November 12, 2019

People of the Press is back this week! Inspired by the Association of University Presses celebration of the people of AUPresses, we would also like to celebrate our dedicated publishing professionals throughout our 60th anniversary year.

Today we’re featuring our Rights Manager and Assistant to the Director, Julia Balestracci.

Hello Julia, what do you do for the Press?

I’m the Rights Manager and also the Assistant to the Director, Kathryn Conrad.

I handle all permissions and all other sub-rights requests, input and manage author royalties, and draft and manage contracts.  I also do a lot of scheduling and coordinating for Kathryn and the Press as a whole. We are busy!

How long have you worked at UA Press?

It’s hard for me to believe, but I’ve worked at the Press since 2012.

The University of Arizona Press is committed to helping contribute to an informed society and enlightening readers. What’s one thing you’ve learned from your work?

I have learned that there is a growing commitment out there in the world at large to showcasing diverse voices and perspectives. Some of our most oft-licensed material was written by authors with disabilities, marginalized voices, and unique cultural perspectives. Increasingly, based on the requests I receive, I see a move to expand diversity in school curriculum at all levels.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

I think that people would be surprised to know the breadth of requests we get for re-use of material from our books. In addition to more standard requests for republication, we get requests for inclusion of author material in podcasts, various websites, radio shows, national newspapers, dissertations, plays, musical compositions, national and international museum exhibitions, public art installations, the ACT and AP tests, and the list goes on. Just this past year alone, our publications in whole or in part have been translated into Spanish, Czech, Mandarin, Korean, Swedish and Norwegian. I feel my work is constantly contextualizing the meaning and deep resonance of our authors’ scholarship in connection with the wider world.

Tucson has a thriving literary and scholarly community. What’s one of your favorite spots to hear authors, find a good book, or just curl up and read?

I’m an avid thrifter and a lover of vintage books (especially children’s books), so I love combing through a book section whenever I’m at one of the many thrifts in town, never knowing what I might come across. One of my all-time favorite finds is a copy of Frog and Toad Are Friends, inscribed and signed by Arnold Lobel, with a hand-drawn sketch of toad! For local bookstores, Antigone can’t be beat. I’m not picky when it comes to finding a spot to curl up and read; with two kids and a busy life full of interruptions, I’ll take any quiet and undisturbed moment I can get, irrespective of location!

People of the Press: Kristen Buckles

November 6, 2019

People of the Press is back this week! Inspired by the Association of University Presses celebration of the people of AUPresses, we would also like to celebrate our dedicated publishing professionals throughout our 60th anniversary year.

Today we’re featuring our Editor-In-Chief Kristen Buckles.

Hello Kristen, what do you do for the Press?

I am the editor-in-chief and an acquisitions editor. This means that I oversee the editorial program while also bringing in book projects. The acquisition areas I work on are history, Latinx studies, Native American and Indigenous studies, border studies, and the Southwest. University of Arizona Press books are largely about the Americas, but many of our titles in Native American and Indigenous studies and anthropology extend to topics across the globe. In the case for our space science list, it’s beyond!

How long have you worked at UA Press?

I have been here for fifteen years. I started in 2004 as the director’s assistant and moved into to the acquisitions department a couple of years after that. The Press is truly a second home for me. I love working here.

The University of Arizona Press is committed to helping contribute to an informed society and enlightening readers. What’s one thing you’ve learned from your work?

The old cliché about learning something new everyday is so apt here. It’s the nature of our work: we are all learning about the world we live in (and beyond!) through our daily engagement with the book content. So going back to the question, specifying one thing would be impossible! In general, though, by working on University of Arizona Press books for the last fifteen years, I would say I am much more aware of the complex history of the Americas and the challenges we face today, particularly in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands where the Press is located. I have also come to really appreciate the value of poetry and creative expression as a means to raise awareness of complex issues. Here are two great examples: Poetry of Resistance and Iep Jaltok.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

University presses in general rely heavily on peer review to develop projects and make editorial decisions. Rigorous peer review is foundational to university press publishing, and as such, everything that has a University of Arizona Press imprint has gone through an external peer-review process before acceptance, including our poetry, creative works, and others.

Tucson has a thriving literary and scholarly community. What’s one of your favorite spots to hear authors, find a good book, or just curl up and read?

I love going to readings at the University of Arizona Poetry Center. And every single bookstore in Tucson—from the UA Bookstore to the Barnes and Nobles to Bookman’s, Antigone, and the indies—is my favorite spot to find a good book. Tucson is a place for readers; just come to the Tucson Festival of Books to see! As for my favorite place to curl up and read: a weekend morning at home, smell of coffee in the background, completely quiet except for morning birdsong and a snoring spaniel by my side.

An Excerpt from Yolqui, A Warrior Summoned From the Spirit World by Roberto Cintli Rodriguez

November 5, 2019

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

In his new University of Arizona Press book, Yolqui, a Warrior Summoned from the Spirit World: Testimonios on Violence, Rodriguez revisits that day and brings forward contributors who offer their own important and timely testimonios on state violence.

Here is an excerpt from the Preface of the book, which goes further on to explain how Rodriguez chose Yolqui as the title of the book:

Sometime close to midnight on March 23, 1979, on Whittier Boulevard and McDonnell Avenue in East Los Angeles, California, I died. On March 24, 1979, at a little past midnight, I willed myself back to life on that cold and bloody intersection.

I did not actually die, but I was killed that night: attacked, then beaten over and over again with riot sticks wielded by at least four members of the Special Enforcement Bureau, an elite tactical unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Department, who struck my body and head repeatedly with their sticks until my skull fractured and my blood pooled in the street.

To the average person, that statement may not make any sense; for many years it didn’t make sense to me, either, until one night the explanation came to me in a dream. But it would be many more years before I was able to comprehend its message.

Hopefully, what I write here will explain both the above statements and how I came upon the title Yolqui for my memoir/testimonio.


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

I am hovering above a sprawled body.

Suddenly, I realize that the body is mine.

My spirit and my consciousness are outside of my body.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All warriors have to die.

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

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

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


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

Read. Think. Act.

November 4, 2019

This week, November 3 through 9, is University Press Week. UP Week, as we call it, has its roots in a 1978 proclamation by President Jimmy Carter “in recognition of the impact, both here and abroad, of American university presses on culture and scholarship.” It has grown into a worldwide celebration.

This year our theme for UP Week speaks to the current moment: “Read. Think. Act.” Citizens around the globe are engaging in important debates that will influence vital decision-making in the months ahead. University presses offer the latest peer-reviewed research on issues that affect our present and future. By reading widely about politics, economics, climate science, race relations, and more, we can all better understand these complex issues and appreciate university presses’ important contributions to our world.

UA Press Director Kathryn Conrad

From the University of Arizona Press alone you can find books to better understand the fires raging in California, like Stephen Pyne’s California: A Fire Survey, or to go beyond pundits’ sound bites to explore the very human issue of immigration through books like The Border and Its Bodies.  Science Be Dammed offers a cautionary narrative in the age of climate change about the risks of ignoring scientific research and Yolqui offers a deeply personal meditation on the culture of violence against Red-Black-Brown communities in the United States.

And we are just one of the Association of University Presses’ 151-member presses, which together publish more than 13,000 books each year—books that advance knowledge and encourage thoughtful action. You can learn more about our work as it’s celebrated during University Press Week—and download a copy of our “Read. Think. Act. Reading List”—at universitypressweek.org.

—Kathryn Conrad, UA Press Director

Conrad currently serves as the President of the Association of American University Presses board of directors. Listen to Conrad explain more about UP Week in a podcast interview she did recently with New Books Network:

Yvette Saavedra Awarded the WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship

October 29, 2019

In recognition of Martin Ridge’s long service to both the Western History Association and The Huntington Library, the WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship is a one-month research fellowship at The Huntington Library. The 2019 winner of the fellowship is University of Arizona Press author, Yvette Saavedra.

Yvette Saavedra’s recent book, Pasadena Before the Roses, examines a period of 120 years to illustrate the interconnectedness of power, ideas of land use, and the negotiation of identity within multiple colonial moments. By centering the San Gabriel Mission lands as the region’s economic, social, and cultural foundation, she shows how Indigenous, Spanish, Mexican, and American groups each have redefined the meanings of land use to build their homes and their lives. These visions have resulted in competing colonialisms that framed the racial, ethnic, gender, and class hierarchies of their respective societies.

Congratulations, Yvette, on receiving this honor!

Laura Da’ Wins 2019 Washington Book Award

October 29, 2019

Poet Laura Da’ is the winner of the 2019 Washington Book Award poetry category, for her UA Press collection Instruments of the True Measure! The Seattle Review of Books writes, “This year’s list of nominees was the finest in recent memory; the judges must have been under tremendous pressure to select a single winner from each category. It really, truly was an honor just to be nominated this year, because it placed you in company with the best authors this state has to offer.

In Instruments of the True Measure, Da’ charts the coordinates and intersections of land, history, and culture. Lyrical passages map the parallel lives of ancestral figures and connect dispossessions of the past to lived experiences of the present. Shawnee history informs the collection, and Da’s fascination with uncovering and recovering brings the reader deeper into the narrative of Shawnee homeland.

Below, read an excerpt from an interview with Laura Da’ from the Seattle Review of Books:

“‘I think that I’ve always been well connected in the indigenous poetry community,’ Da’ says, ‘because I started my education at the Institute of American Indian Arts, and there are so many writers who have come out of that school. It’s a tight, small community generally speaking, though it’s incredibly vast in terms of talent and experience.’ She felt a part of that community almost immediately.

But even though she was born and raised in Snoqualmie Valley, and lived most of her life in western Washington, breaking into this city’s poetry community took more work. ‘Seattle is not easy to get in the door, I think, which is really unfortunate,’ Da’ says. She says Seattle’s literary community has a fair share of ‘gatekeepers’ who aren’t especially good at making new voices feel welcome.

But then ‘I was a Jack Straw fellow and a Hugo House fellow and that really helped me,’ Da’ says. What was it about those two programs that worked for her? ‘I met a lot of wonderful writers and good friends. I’m fairy introverted and shy, so usually I need an extrovert to sort of adopt me. And that was the way I found a place in the Seattle poetry community.’

The poets who influence Da’ range widely in terms of style and background. Da’ gushes over poems by Danez Smith, Natalie Diaz, Sherwin Bitsui, and Casandra Lopez. She speaks of Arthur Sze’s ‘respect for the reader and the reader’s ability to handle the ambiguity of the unanswered.’

Da’ is so enthusiastic about Sze’s writing that she doesn’t seem to realize that she could just as easily be describing her own work— these elegant couplets crafted from the smallest and most delicate materials, but which only grow finer with age.

Read the entire interview here.

Congratulations on winning this incredible award, Laura!

People of the Press: Sara Thaxton

October 28, 2019

People of the Press is back this week! Inspired by the Association of University Presses celebration of the people of AUPresses, we would also like to celebrate our dedicated publishing professionals throughout our 60th anniversary year.

Today we’re featuring our production coordinator, Sara Thaxton.

Hello Sara, what do you do for the Press?

Short version: I talk/cry a lot about e-books, and I magically transform Word files from chaos to order.

Long version: I’m the Book Production Coordinator which encompasses several things. I typeset two-thirds of our front-list titles, adapting our template designs to blend well with the cover design. I love working on books with lots of tables! I also assist with all of our backlist reprints and ushering those off to printers. The area other than typesetting I’m most proud of is our e-books: I finagle all of our front-list titles into e-pub format, thanks to our XML-first workflow.

How long have you worked at UA Press?

Two years in August but I’ve been typesetting since 2005!

The University of Arizona Press is committed to helping contribute to an informed society and enlightening readers. What’s one thing you’ve learned from your work?

I’ve learned that there is a wildflower colloquially known as “bog cheetos” (Polygala lutea L., orange milkwort) and that Charles Darwin’s daughter waged a one-woman war on a particularly strange-looking mushroom by wandering the forest with a spear.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

Typesetters think in an entirely different numbering system than most people. We go by picas/points and in multiples of 12s rather than 10s. We’re also probably the least-visible cog in the book publishing machine, but we’re always very proud of every book we create! Also, e-books are harder to make than they look!

Tucson has a thriving literary and scholarly community. What’s one of your favorite spots to hear authors, find a good book, or just curl up and read?

When I lived near the north Georgia mountains, I loved being able to sit by the Tallulah River and read during camping trips. I hope to find a similar spot in some of the higher-altitude wilderness surrounding Tucson!

An Excerpt from Postcards from the Chihuahua Border by Daniel D. Arreola

October 23, 2019

In Postcards from the Chihuahua Border, Daniel D. Arreola provides a colorful and dynamic visual history of Mexico’s northern border. Drawing on more than three decades of archival work, Arreola invites the reader to time travel, to revisit the first half of the twentieth century, when the border towns of Ciudad Juárez, Ojinaga, and Palomas, were framed and made popular through picture postcards. Arreola provides a visual journey through the borderlands neighboring west Texas and New Mexico.

Below, read an excerpt written by Daniel D. Arreola from the introduction of Postcards from the Chihuahua Border.

“Arguably, the Mexico-United States border has been one of the most overlooked places on earth.  We now know, perhaps all too well, that the border is part of political consciousness although not necessarily understood through careful observation or experience and that some want to construct a wall at this boundary where, ironically, one already exists.  Too many of us don’t understand that the borderline itself is a nineteenth-century political agreement while the fence in all its many iterations is a twentieth century phenomenon, or that the first permanent fence along this international boundary between an Arizona town and a Sonora town is just now at this writing a century old.  Even fewer of us recognize the echoes resounding from this borderland that should remind us why the original monuments were planted along the divide without a fence.

Daniel D. Arreola

“The towns of the Chihuahua border, part of the system of cities that dot the Mexican side of the boundary, are the subjects of this book, the third installment in a series of writings about the visual historical geography of these forgotten places.  The purpose of Postcards from the Chihuahua Border as in my previous explorations of the Río Bravo border and the Sonora border is to caste a new eye on an old subject and bring light to a way of seeing the border that has been overlooked.

Looking, it turns out, is not the same as seeing.  We look at the world daily, but seeing the world engages the mind beyond the surficial glance.  In Postcards from the Chihuahua Border, I ask readers to contemplate what geographer Christopher L. Salter said about documents and the geographer’s point of view, to wit, “The cultural landscape—that is, landscape which has been modified and transformed by human action—is the oldest primary document in our possession.” As document, the landscape is worthy of reading, analysis, and understanding.  Unlike a book bound between two covers, the landscape is a leafless palimpsest, a surface partly erased but with relics still visible.  Yet, like a book, a landscape can be read if we ask the right questions. In that spirit, the book you hold in your hands is a kind of testimonial to landscape interpretation but not one limited to written evidence so common to historical investigation.  Rather, the focus of this work is reading and seeing visual representation of landscape as document, especially through the popular postcard both in its photographic and mechanical print forms.

Admittedly, a postcard view of the world is not a common vantage point.  Yet, the postcard is both a literary and visual document that can shed light on cultural understanding.  Anthropologists Patricia Albers and William James suggest that the postcard has largely been overlooked as a document, especially its utility to explore the relationship among photography, ethnicity, and travel.  Their research describes some of the qualitative approaches for using postcards, relates photographic communication in postcards to a wider ideological discourse, and discusses the interplay of ethnic appearance and photographic expression in world tourism. In a similar vein but with enhanced elegance, Rosamond Vaule’s As We Were: American Photographic Postcards, 1905-1930, serves as a model chronicle, informing how postcards are both documentary history and revealing witness to our past lives and places.”

Daniel D. Arreola is a Professor Emeritus in the School of Geographical Science and Urban Planning at Arizona State University. His research focuses on cultural landscapes, place-making, Mexican-American borderlands, and Hispanic/Latino Americans. In 2016 he was presented with the Preston E. James Eminent Latin Americanist Career Award by the Conference of Latin American Geographers.

2019 Western History Association Recap

October 21, 2019

Last week, I attended the Western History Association conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. At this year’s conference, the question framing the Presidential Plenary was, “Does the West matter?” To this, I say yes! The “West” as a region is the rallying call for the best minds in history to gather and present new ideas. And from my perspective from the book room, there was no shortage of dynamic research to be shared at what was the third largest gathering of western historians in the organization’s history.

In the spirit of inclusion and community— “so we can all be together,” in the words of outgoing WHA President Martha A. Sandweiss— this year marked a change in programming, an eschewing of the annual ticketed banquet and opening up the awards ceremony to all. Witnessing the torch-passing from Dr. Sandweiss to new WHA President and longtime University of Arizona Press series editor, David Wrobel, was a highpoint of the conference. Another highpoint: Watching UAP author Yvette Saavedra receive the 2019 WHA Hunting Library Martin Ridge Fellowship. Congratulations, David and Yvette!

Yvette Saavedra with 2019 WHA President Martha Sandweiss. Congratulations to Yvette for receiving the 2019 WHA-Huntington Library Martin Ridge Fellowship.

This year, I had the honor of participating in Thursday morning’s panel on turning a dissertation into a book, organized and chaired by UAP author and series editor, Jeff Shepherd. The panel was fantastic! The room was packed, with a continuous flow of great questions from the audience. It was a joy to have conference-goers swing by the booth throughout the rest of the conference to continue the conversation.

Thank you to all who came to the University of Arizona Press booth this year to browse books and chat about your research. I look forward to seeing everyone in Albuquerque next year!

—Kristen Buckles, Editor in Chief

Flying to sunny Las Vegas for the Western History Association conference, my luck began early in catching a glimpse of the Hoover Dam from 15,000 feet.

Hernandez Interviews Chacón on Kafka in a Skirt

October 18, 2019

Daniel Chacón and Tim Z. Hernandez, both University of Arizona Press authors with titles in the award-winning Camino del Sol series of Latinx poetry and literature, co-host the literary program Words on a Wire on El Paso’s NPR station KTEP. Chacón is a professor of creative writing at the University of Texas, El Paso. Kafka in a Skirt, is Chacón’s first book of short stories with the UA Press. Hernandez spends his time between Fresno and El Paso, where he’s an assistant professor in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Chacón and Hernandez interview writers and poets regularly for their Words on a Wire series. We thought it would be great to ask Hernandez to turn the interview table a bit. In this interview, Hernandez talks to Chacón about writing, identity, and life:

Hernandez: I’d like to start at the beginning. In one of the first stories that appears in this collection, “The Hidden Order of Things,” you state outright, “This is a work of Chicano Literature.” Why, in this post-millennial reality where it seems many writers of color are trying to steer clear of these labels, is this distinction important to you, and to this specific body of work?

Chacón: In the context of the story I don’t think I am either trying to avoid labels nor am I asserting one. Rather, I am admitting a reality, that no matter what I may want for my book, it will be read by some, perhaps by most, as Chicano and or Latinx literature. In fact, the publisher itself is a Latino literary series, and a very good one. A publisher I deeply respect. And many of the stories in Kafka are specific to the Latinx experience, like the “Fuck Shakespeare” story, or the story “Bien Chicano.” Not all the stories should be classified as Latinx literature, and that’s kind of the idea I’m making fun of. I tell the reader, if you’re reading this book because you’re interested in Chicano literature, then here’s the order you should read the stories. Then I give an alternative Table of Contents to the “official” one. I’m saying this is one of many possibilities on how to read the book.

I think as a Latinx writer, who started out as a Chicano writer, long before the term Latinx was used by anyone, I wanted nothing more than to be read by all people, but immediately my work was put in the category of Chicano literature, whether or not I liked it, whether or not I would’ve chose that label. And I think Latinos are often put in that position. In fact, my collection has been called “magical realism,” which is a term I don’t necessarily embrace, nor have I ever set out to write a magical realist story. However, because I am Latino, and because my work belongs in the category of Chicano literature, if something irrreal happens in my stories, if the reality that I present–and by the way, the reality I live on a daily basis  does not parallel what most people think of as reality–because I’m Latino, it will be labeled magical realism. 

The mystic writer Evelyn Underhill says “Reality is the illusion we share with our neighbors.”  When something happens in my stories that is not concrete, linear reality, I don’t think it’s magical realism at all. I think it’s just another level of reality.

So in that story you’re referring to, “The Secret Order of Things,” I am giving readers suggestions on how to read the book, that is, what order to read the stories, depending on their interests. And I was trying to be funny by suggesting that if all they’re looking for is to read “Chicano literature,” after the list I give them, they don’t have to read the rest of the stories.

Hernandez: You’ve written a total of seven books. Each of them ranging in different topics, settings, characters and situations. Each of them also using a conceptual approach to narrative-making, i.e. loops, wormholes, unending rooms. Kafka in a Skirt is no exception, as it strings together seemingly disparate stories with a few common threads in mind. What is the fascination you have with these concepts? And how does this book differ from the previous books?   

Chacón: I’m not sure it so much as a fascination as it is my reality, that things in my life loop back and forth from the past to the future to the present and even at times into a space-time that I’m not even sure exists in the visible universe.

For example, if I’m walking on the sidewalk and I see a paperclip, and I reach down to grab it, I am not only reaching down in that space-time, but I am also reaching down every single time I have reached down or will reach down, as well as reaching in my mind for imaginary paperclips in the stars. I am invoking the energy of every single time I have/or will have done it. And the source of that energy comes from a fundamental concept that I have about paperclips, how paperclips may hold together the pages of my life, and even though I mean that humorously, there was a time when I was obsessed with paperclips. Perhaps obsessed is too strong of a word, but I was very conscious of paperclips as metaphor. I would walk down the street and notice paperclips, whereas most people wouldn’t, as they would notice things that are filtered through their particular consciousness at that particular time. But each time I encountered a paperclip, it deepened other times I have discussed and or encountered paperclips.

One time at a book festival I was going to give a lecture on parallel universes, the multi-verse, and I had planned on talking about the archetype of paperclips and how it manifests itself in various levels of my sense of reality, and as I approached the building where I was going to give this talk, I opened the door and there on the threshold spread about were about 50 brand new, shiny paperclips. I’m not kidding.

Somehow, somebody had dropped paperclips right there at the entrance, so I scooped them up in my hands, and when I started my talk, I open my hands and I showed them the paper clips, and then I let them fall, sparkling all over the ground. When I explained what I was going to say about paperclips, some people couldn’t believe it. They thought I set it up. But that’s just the way reality is, images loop in and out and deepen the experience of life.

So how could it not be true with the fictional worlds that we create? 

An image can come up in one story, and when that image comes up in another story, it releases the same energy, even if that other story is from an entirely different book. Every image is a wormhole. Wormholes take us to other space-times.

In several of my stories, a tubercular bookseller appears, like in the one called “The And Ne Forhtedon Na.” I don’t know why he continues to appear in my stories, but I know that the image of a bookseller who coughs all over his books is somehow part of the fabric of my reality.

Every collection I have written has a tubercular bookseller, even though the stories are vastly different, and the books different, and I believe each time he appears, he releases energy from the other times he appears, from other stories, from other books, and it creates or helps to contribute to an overall connection in the universe.

As for “how is this book different” from others, I think rather than it being different, it is more of a progression of the other books, a further development of the way I piece together lives.  

I like to think that every book that I write, especially my collection of stories, I get better at it, as I begin to understand what it is I am capable of saying about reality.

Hernandez: The characters in your book are so “normal,” but also really strange in their normalness. I think of the character Bino in your story “F&$% Shakespeare,” who is clearly one example. There is also the vegan couple in “The Barbarians,” who are strange in their own way, because the girlfriend has this highly honed sense of smell and can detect meat odors from miles away. Do you set out to find the “strange” in the normal? Or how do these aspects emerge in your characters?

Chacón: At the risk of quoting The Doors, “people are strange.” I don’t care how normal they appear to the rest of us, people are weird.

Tim, you are a very accomplished man, a responsible father, but you’re weird. You have quirks that I’ve never seen in anybody else.  I remember the late poet Andrés Montoya always exclaimed, at these immense moments of joy about surprises in life, God is weird! And what he meant by that, whether he would articulate it this way or not, is that at times life is so unexpectedly synchronous. You live everydayness and forgot to notice the amazing connectedness of reality. We live these patterns, and it seems like nothing’s going to change, and then suddenly, when we most need it, we find a check in the mail that we didn’t expect, for exactly the amount of money that we needed.

Reality is that way.

God is weird.

And people, metaphorically or literally depending on your perspective, are made in God’s image. And I think that when you have a character and you follow that character’s voice, her language, the weirdness comes out, because it’s what distinguishes them from anybody else. I don’t think you need to seek out weirdness in people, you just need to seek their inner voice, and that will lead you to a much more complex personality than most people might suspect.

But one thing I know for sure, when you are sitting around a table, say a department meeting, say–just as a random example–of the Creative Writing Dept at UTEP, everybody sitting at that table is weird! 

But I don’t think of weird as something negative. I think of weird as a part of our personalities that make us unique.

Hernandez: I know you’ve been interested in Mysticism and angelic systems for some time now, and some of this informs parts of the writing throughout. My question is, How do you feel Mysticism has influenced your work? And, what first turned you on to this particular subject?

Chacón: Every first draft I write is the non-thinking draft.

I don’t seek to write about mysticism. I don’t seek to write about physics. I don’t seek to write about Latinx issues. I just follow the language, or the spirit of the character, and that leads me into the story. But yes, I have been studying mysticism for some time now. And perhaps it effects my writing in how it helps shape how I see reality.

One of the first concepts you will encounter in studying Kabbalah, and this is Kabbalah 101, is that what we experience on a day-to-day basis is only 1% of reality.

99% is beyond some sort of veil, and although most of us get a glimpse beyond that veil, very few can sustain that vision for long, and we return to the banality of everydayness.

One day you could be washing dishes and you look out the window and you see a tree blowing in the wind, a cat curled up on the grass, and you feel the warm, sudsy water on your hands and you feel connected to everything.  You feel a surge of joy or gratitude, and all you’re doing is washing dishes. But the next day, you just have to wash the fricken dishes, and you hate it again. There is no joy.

I study mysticism to understand those higher levels of consciousness that we all experience at one time or another.

I study it because I’m intellectually curious about it. And I know it helps my brain, because studying any new subject creates new neurons.

But then, sometimes, when I’m following language into a story, some mystic concepts may appear, and sometimes I go into them, and other times I don’t, but they are available.

Hernandez: In your story, “The And Ne Forhtedon Na!” you make clear that the gift of desire is desire itself, not the attainment of what is desired. And I feel this can be said about the bulk of your stories in this collection. As a reader, there is a desire to find out where the story is going, because you imbue each story with so much mystery and intrigue, and yet, it really is about the desire itself, isn’t it? Why is this desire factor important to you, enough to base a collection of stories loosely on this concept? 

Chacón: I have a simple equation for character-driven stories:

Basically it means that plot equals character over time, times yearning. Desire is what drives us.

Desire is what gets us up in the morning, that which keeps writers isolated in an empty room for hours and hours, days and years of our lives to write a novel.

Desire, without singularizing it to a particular want, is what makes us human.

On the level of mysticism, the “Source,” the divine, God before image, before we place it on a throne and slap a beard across its face, is pure energy. That energy is desire.  I’m not talking about want. A lot of my characters want things, but beyond the want, is desire, that which makes them human and divine. Desire in us is the same thing that turns the seed into a tree. It makes us want to expand, to grow, to be better, to be the best human being we can be, the best fathers we can be, the best teachers, and of course the best writers.

Hernandez: What can we expect next from you? Will there be more short stories? A novel? Poetry?

Chacón: I’m working on two collections of stories right now, one more suitable for adults and another one, tentatively called Stories for Lucinda, which are stories that I tell my daughter, who at this time is six months old and has become the center of my creative being. 

Saints, Statues, and Stories feted at Tucson Meet Yourself

October 15, 2019

The 46th Tucson Meet Yourself this past weekend was a great way to continue celebrating Saints, Statues, and Stories, a new book by James “Big Jim” Griffith, recently published by the University of Arizona Press. The founder of Tucson Meet Yourself signed copies of his new book to followers eager to read about Griffith’s travels through Sonora, documenting religious art and traditions.

A big thank you to Tucson Meet Yourself for inviting Griffith and providing a space to help promote the book and give readers a chance to talk with the legendary folklorist.

Shortly after the release party at San Xavier Mission del Bac on September 28, Griffith’s book was the featured cover story by Margaret Regan in the October 10th Tucson Weekly. On October 12, another story on Griffith’s new book was published in the Arizona Daily Star by Johanna Eubank.

Keep checking back with us for additional Saints, Statues, and Stories events.

UA Press Authors at the 2019 Texas Book Festival

October 11, 2019

We are excited to announce that several University of Arizona Press authors are participating in the upcoming Texas Book Festival in Austin! On October 26 and 27, over 50,000 book lovers will gather to attend author panels, book signings, cooking demonstrations, and other programs which support learning and literacy. The book festival features 300 authors of the best new books, and while the Texas Book Festival is an important showcase for Texas authors, it also hosts writers from all over the world.

Lara Medina will be participating in the festival and speaking about her new UA Press book, Voices from the Ancestors, which she co-edited with Martha R. Gonzales. This collection offers 85 voices addressing how to live as a spiritually conscious Latinx in these challenging times. The reflections and practices are a return to ancestral wisdoms before colonization and the displacement of Indigenous knowledge. Medina is a professor in Chicana/o Studies at California State University, Northridge.

Norma Elia Cantú will be presenting her new UA Press poetry collection, Meditación Fronteriza, as well as her new novel, Cabañuelas. Norma is co-founder of CantoMundo, a space for Latin@ poets, and belongs to the Macondo Writers workshop. She is also the editor of two book series, and is a Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University. Meditación Fronteriza unveils unique images that provide nuance and depth to the narrative of the borderlands. The poems are a celebration of culture, tradition, and creativity that navigate themes of love, solidarity, and political transformation.

Odilia Galván Rodríguez, poet-activist, writer, editor, and publisher, is the author of six volumes of poetry. She will be presenting her latest book, The Color of Light, at the Texas Book Festival. Among her publications are the award-winning anthology from UA Press, Poetry of Resistance, co-edited with the late Francisco X. Alarcón.

Sergio Troncoso will be presenting on his latest book, A Peculiar Kind of Immigrant’s Son. Among his publications are two UA Press books, From This Wicked Patch of Dust and The Last Tortilla. Sergio has taught at the Yale Writers’ Workshop for ma