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.

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 AZSAA20 to get 40% off all of the titles included in this post, plus free shipping!

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 many years, and is Vice President of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Jeremy Slack will be participating in the Texas Book Festival with his new book, Deported to Death. Jeremy is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology and Anthropology Department of the University of Texas at El Paso with over 15 years of research along the U.S. Mexico Border. He is co-editor of the UA Press book, The Shadow of the Wall.

The Texas Book Festival is open to the public on Saturday, October 26th from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Sunday, October 27th from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The festival is held in and around the grounds of the State Capitol Building in Austin. If you need more information about how to access the festival, visit here.

Poet Carmen Giménez Smith Is National Book Foundation Finalist

October 9, 2019

The National Book Foundation recently announced the 2019 National Book Award finalists. UA Press author Carmen Giménez Smith is among those selected for poetry.

Giménez Smith’s Be Recorder, published in August by Graywolf Press is the nominated collection. Winners will be announced on Nov. 20.

About Giménez Smith’s last book published with the UA Press, Milk and Filth, a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist:

Giménez Smith’s poetic arsenal includes rapier-sharp wordplay mixed with humor, at times self-deprecating, at others an ironic comment on the postmodern world, all interwoven with imaginative language of unexpected force and surreal beauty. Revealing a long view of gender issues and civil rights, the author presents a clever, comic perspective. Her poems take the reader to unusual places as she uses rhythm, images, and emotion to reveal the narrator’s personality. Deftly blending a variety of tones and styles, Giménez Smith’s poems offer a daring and evocative look at deep cultural issues.

Tucson Shows Up to Celebrate Big Jim’s New Book

The Jarritos were on ice, the pan dulce piled high and not a cloud in the sky as more than 100 people filed into the San Xavier Mission del Bac plaza to celebrate the debut of James “Big Jim” Griffith‘s new book, Saints, Statues, and Stories on Saturday, September 28.

Griffith’s latest from the University of Arizona Press, is a collection of stories on Catholic community traditions from his 60 years of traveling through Sonora. Tradiciones, a local band that performs Andean and Mexican folk music, opened the event and moved many a Griffith fan and friend to dance.

UA Press Director Kathryn Conrad, who welcomed attendees, said the Press is proud to partner with the Southwest Center to publish Griffith’s latest book as part of the Southwest Center series. Thanks also went out to the San Xavier Mission for hosting the event at a location meaningful to Griffith and his wife, Loma Griffith.

Thomas Sheridan and Francisco “Paco” Manzo both spoke about Griffith’s new book and their collaborations with the folklorist. Sheridan, a UA Press author, is a research anthropologist with the Southwest Center. Manzo, whom Griffith acknowledges in the book, emotionally reflected on the trips through Sonora he’s taken with Griffith.

Missed this chance to get Griffith’s book? Griffith will be at the Tucson Meet Yourself store booth on Saturday, October 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sunday, October 13, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Books will be available for purchase, and Griffith will be there to sign your copy, and maybe, tell you a good saint story.

Photo credit: Mark Corneliussen

Field Notes: Andrew Flachs Shares Insight from India

September 26, 2019

For anthropologist Andrew Flachs, fieldwork in Telanguana, India, was a critical way to understand the complex problems rural farmers face. In his new book Cultivating Knowledge, Flachs investigates how rural farmers come to plant genetically modified or certified organic cotton, sometimes during moments of agrarian crisis. Through months of on-the-ground ethnographic work, Flachs uncovered the unintended consequences of new technologies, which offer great benefits to some—but at others’ expense.

Today we share a few of Flachs’s photos and extended captions from his fieldwork, which offer insight into the stories and methods that have informed his work.

All photos and captions by Andrew Flachs:

Cultivating Knowledge_Image by Andrew Flachs_IMG_1416

IMG_1416:  A young man in Parvathagiri squints through a pesticide mist as he sprays to control for whiteflies in his cotton crop, a pest unaffected by the pesticide genes for which cotton has been genetically modified. It took four hours to spray his seven acres in 100+ degree heat, he spraying and his brother running back and forth to a stream to gather water in which to dilute the pesticide for the mister. Worried that the monsoon rains would wash the pesticide off the cotton, he had hastily bought a cheaper generic brand pesticide from a local shop known to carry expired chemicals. By the end of the day, all three of us had a headache from the heat and the smell of the mist. “It was a waste”, he told me bitterly a few days later. The pesticide had only killed about a third of the insects eating his crop. Concerned about future losses, he ultimately had to travel to a larger town with a better agricultural shop to buy a more powerful pesticide. “What if this one doesn’t work either,” I asked. He shrugged. “I’ll have to get something even stronger,” he answered, stating the obvious (2013).

Cultivating Knowledge_Image by Andrew Flachs_IMG_1438

IMG_1438:  A boy in Jangaon helps his family pick organic cotton after school before the bolls can be damaged, still wearing his school uniform. At harvest, it is imperative to gather and protect the cotton as soon as the lint erupts. Delays risk insect attacks, rain, or molds, all of which distort the fibers and discolor the cotton. Any such blemishes are cause to downgrade the lint at the open-air markets where commodities are sold to brokers. Organic agriculture depends upon ethical marketing campaigns to build trust with buyers in the United States, Europe, and East Asia. The development program that sponsors this farm advertises that they do not make use of child labor, and fundraises for school supplies and infrastructure that keeps students out of farm labor. Yet such distinctions are not completely applicable for many household farms, in which everyone is expected to pitch in for the greater good of the family. It would be technically correct but highly misleading to label this child labor – the children in this photo are simply doing their normal chores (2013).

Cultivating Knowledge_Image by Andrew Flachs_IMG_0340

IMG_0340: Although most of the research for this book took place on cotton farms, I also accompanied farmers to sell their cotton in larger markets. This led me to tour gins and learn more about the processing stage of the commodity chain. Cotton is plucked with seeds intact, and farmers speculate about which brands might have the heaviest seeds and thus fetch the highest prices. At gins, seeds are removed from the cotton lint and pressed into oil cakes that may then be fed to livestock. The lint is swept into piles and then compressed into square bales than can be loaded onto trucks. While much of this work is automated, teams of men run the bale pressers and manage the factory floors while women, often accompanied by young children who are not in school, sweep cotton into piles and use bamboo poles to clear obstructions in the gin. Here, a cotton gin worker and her son rest on cotton lint during a shift break at a gin in Warangal (2014).

Cultivating Knowledge_Image by Andrew Flachs_Field pic

Field pic: To ask questions about how farmers make decisions about their cotton seeds, I used a variety of social science methods: surveys on farm decisions, spatial analysis of farm locations, collection of wild and cultivated plants, participation in and observation of farm life, interviews, and focus groups. Here, a group of farmers compare notes on their cotton seeds with me on the edge of a vegetable and meat market in Hanamkonda. Focus groups like this give people space to debate the nuance of a topic, like which seeds to plant, and explore several possible positions through a conversation.

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.

Five Questions With Editors of Voices From the Ancestors

September 24, 2019

Central to the process of decolonization may be reclaiming and reconstructing spirituality, centering knowledge that goes back generations when our ancestors were connected to each other, nature and sacred cosmic forces. This exploration is central to Voices From The Ancestors: Xicanx and Latinx Spiritual Expressions and Healing Practices.

In the following Q&A, editors Lara Medina and Martha R. Gonzales, talk to us about why this book is timely, and their hopes and dreams on how it is used in community and the classroom:

Is there something about this time we are living that makes Voices from the Ancestors an important book?

LM: Currently 20 percent of Latinx are unaffiliated with any religious institution, yet there is an increase in the phrase “I am spiritual but not religious.” For Latinx of the baby boomer generation, this departure from institutional religion, particularly Christianity, began during the civil rights era of the ’60s and ’70s when self-determination became an essential component of our liberation. A return to our Indigenous ancestries and their profound spiritual knowledge has continued among later generations and Latinx scholarship now reflects this within the discourse of spiritual decolonization. Many of the issues faced today by Latinx in the U.S.A., such as the violent treatment of refugees at our borders, the mass shootings of Mexican Americans, the murders of transgendered folks, the destruction of our planet, on-going police brutality, and the obstacles being placed upon ethnic studies programs in our universities, require a spiritual response in addition to political responses. As editors of Voices from the Ancestors, we wanted to offer a collection of spiritual reflections and healing practices that Latinx are doing in order to keep themselves strong and grounded as they face the challenges of these current times. These reflections and practices are grounded in an epistemology that understands the relationship and interdependency between all life forms and they offer pathways to return to this Latinx ancestral heritage.             

MG: There are some interesting conversations happening now within academia in the realm of Xicanx/Latinx Studies around identity, cultural appropriation of Indigenous identities to be more specific. Xicanx and Latinx people, people of mixed descent and cultural heritages, have been utilized as the “buffer” between colonial authorities and colonial subjects, between modern state authorities and state subjects deemed a threat to state projects pushing modernizing agendas thereby relegating entire groups of people, if one didn’t fit the image of a “modern” state subject, to the margins of society or zones of death. It has always been expected by the authorities that the mixed heritage subject would identify with state authorities, rather than the subjugated community or communities from which one might be descended. Today, presently, this continues to be the case. We still hear the terms “savages”, “uncivilized”, “barbaric” constantly being used in the media to describe people who don’t fit the image of a “western global subject” in line with neoliberal global policies or agendas. Within the context of the United States the proper Latina or Mexican American subject would be one who identifies predominantly with U.S. state policy both nationally and globally; it could be argued then, that given current U.S. national and global policies, the ideal U.S. Latina or Mexican American subject is therefore one who would betray her own humanity. 

This text aims to intervene by first demonstrating through cultural practices that identity when based only on conceptions of bloodline is first and foremost still today a project of the state meant to create political divisions between communities of people. Second, that culture and our cultural practices, no matter who you are, is really what defines anyone as a part of a community or a person, more so than your bloodline. 

Thirdly, to demonstrate that the narrative of conquest and colonialism must be continually revisited in order to contest the prevailing narrative that a conquest of the Americas or Turtle Island (an Indigenous name for this continent) was complete, that there is nothing left of our ancestors. While it is true that millions of people were destroyed, and hundreds of lifeways and practices eradicated, “speaking” books and knowledges obliterated in fires, many of them perhaps never to return, much has survived over the last five centuries. Survived, and as all cultural forms do, have been transformed in the hands of womxn over time and space. 

If, Laguna Pueblo author Leslie Marmon Silko is correct in her collected essays Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit, then we humans, we as Xicanx/Latinx womxn are not just individual subjects, but as people constitute a part of larger energetic forces operating within the natural world. And what I conclude from her writings, and the wisdom teachings Lara and I were able to bring together in this text, is that the knowledges, which we have retained in our families and communities, those practices that survived and some of which are beginning to thrive, have reemerged into our public spheres over the last fifty years because they have been meant to, because the survival of these practices were in fact mandated and foretold for generations prior to contact. 

In decolonizing our spiritual lives, is there room to keep both practices?

LM: Yes, many practices or traditions if desired. Latinx are people of various ethnicities, bloodlines, and complex histories. Religious traditions historically imposed upon us through colonization have survived among our people because in many ways we expressed them on our own terms when religious officials marginalized our communities. I am thinking here of the rich traditions found within Mexican American Catholic popular religion and Santeria, where Indigenous and African spiritualities and values survived under the guise of Christianity. Today, we have Latinx theologians and scripture scholars whose scholarship interprets Christianity through feminist and liberatory lenses. We are pleased that some of them contributed to Voices from the Ancestors. Many Latinx also choose to practice Buddhism in a way that coexists alongside or integrated into other chosen spiritual paths. In my scholarship, I call this nepantla spirituality, which means to be in the middle of rich cultural/spiritual diversity and respectfully choose what nurtures us spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

MG: Are you referring to both a decolonial practice and spiritual practice at once? Of course there is. In fact many leading scholars in decolonial studies would argue that you cannot have one without the other, or to put it another way, a decolonial practice gives way for a spiritual practice; an important part of decolonial practice is a transformation of the self and how one self-interprets the world and our role within it, this practice requires constant self-reflection and self-reflection itself can amount to a spiritual practice; self-reflection can lead one to accountability for one’s actions thereby a conscious claiming of one’s own agency and an understanding of prayer or spiritual practice as an intentional and mindful practice as Laura Perez, a contributor to this volume, reminds us. 

Furthermore, for those of us who study history, in ancient settings across the world, the modern differentiations between spirituality, science and/or religion among other subjects we have so neatly categorized, did not exist in the way they do today. The goal in a reconsideration of antiquity, or ancient societies, might be then to try to comprehend how these terms or practices coincided one within the other thereby contributing to a more balanced mode of living within the world and in relation to all of life. 

The book begins with morning prayers and ends with evening prayers, the rest of our lives in between. How do you see readers using this book?

LM: We hope readers will take in the introductions to each chapter that explains our intent in choosing those aspects of our lives. We also hope that readers will be enriched by the teachings held within the essays reflecting the spiritual perspectives and experiences of our contributors. And we hope that readers will be empowered to learn how specific spiritual practices can be conducted for themselves, their families, and groups they are involved in. This book could be used for personal, familial, and/or collective efforts to decolonize Latinx spirituality. We believe it can be used in college classrooms, community groups, and in homes. It is written in language for the general public and all the writings are “from the heart.”

MG: I don’t necessarily view this book as one which a person will sit and read from front to back. But rather as a text which a person may pick up, turn to a section which pertains to them in that very moment, and find a practice for themselves to serve the moment. Or perhaps the reader will feel inspired after reading a selection to look within their own homes/families to “see” if there is something there, has always been something there, a practice, a prayer, a home ritual, which they can recall for themselves.

I do think it is a text the same person can return to over several years when perhaps one part of the book may become more meaningful to that individual than when they first came across the book. These are the best kinds of books, the ones that become like a good friend you always have something to learn from. This is the kind of relationship I hope readers will develop to this text; a long lasting, well-worn relationship. 

In the early life of this book, when you began gathering the practices, essays, and poems, what was the community reaction that made you feel you were heading in the right direction?

LM: The idea was discussed among our professional networks, and we received affirmative responses. When we sent the call out widely the response was exceptional with Latinx across the U.S.A. sending us their contributions. We knew many people desired a text like this.

MG: We received a lot of positive feedback from most of our community. I would say about 95 percent. As someone who enjoys bookstores of all sorts and never having encountered a book such as this by Xicanx/Latinx women, I know this book is arriving at the right time, and I think most of our community feels the same way. We are living during a very interesting and intense moment; a moment which requires a radical shift in consciousness if we are going to survive and thrive as people; as humans. Most of our contributors, if not all, would agree with this statement and one could claim that their submissions to the project are reflective of this understanding.  

Do you have a special dream for this book of how it will be used or who it will touch?

LM: We hope that Latinx across generations will benefit from this book. We include blessings for newborns, teachings for our young ones, puberty or first moon rituals, rituals for our dying and deceased, holistic health care practices, moon meditations, songs, poems, and reflections on how spirituality can be expressed through the arts and our sexualities, and more … We have something for almost everyone! We send it out with the best of intentions, and we give thanks to our ancestors who speak through all of us!

MG: My biggest hope for this book is that it transcends or move between and beyond the artificial and real barriers between communities of people and the halls of academia. Lara and I purposefully set out to create a text meant for as a wide of an audience as possible. Both of us are aware of the power of the written word, we know the interventions that scholarly texts can make, do make and have made, within academia and the importance of these texts in wrestling with and shifting discourses. However, both of us as experienced scholars, Lara with more years than I, intentionally chose to write in a prose or language of the heart, of rhythms that reflect our daily struggles, joys and celebrations; in a prose that can set the stage for a different experience in the classroom and at the same time speak to the hearts of our communities: of our mothers, our grandmothers, aunties because they can read and see themselves in these words which would not be possible without the teachings that have been passed over to us generation after generation in our families, our communities. 

Oscar J. Martínez is an International Latino Book Award Runner-Up

September 23, 2019

Congratulations to Oscar J. Martínez on winning second place in the History category of the prestigious International Latino Book Awards! The 2019 International Latino Book Awards Ceremony took place on Saturday, September 21st in Los Angeles at the Los Angeles City College. The International Latino Book Awards have grown to be the largest Latino literary and cultural awards in the USA.

The award-winning book, Ciudad Juárez, is a critical historical overview of the legendary border city of Juárez. Martínez explores the economic and social evolution of this famous transnational urban center, emphasizing the city’s deep ties to the United States. In countless ways, the history of Juárez is the history of the entire Mexican northern frontier. Understanding how the city evolved provides a greater appreciation for the formidable challenges faced by Mexican fronterizos and yields vital insights into the functioning of borderland regions around the world.

Oscar J. Martínez is a Regent’s Professor of History at the University of Arizona. He has authored and edited numerous books and many articles, book chapters, and reviews.

A huge congratulations to Oscar!

Celebrating “Big Jim” Griffith

September 19, 2019

In 2015, Aengus Anderson, UA Special Collections’ oral historian and digital media producer, interviewed “Big Jim” Griffith, the founder of Tucson Meet Yourself and former director of the Southwest Folklore Center.

In this interview series, Griffith talks about his life and work in Tucson. It’s not only Tucson Meet Yourself’s 40th anniversary this year, but it’s also a special time for Griffith, with a new book coming out this month. Saints, Statues, and Stories: A Folklorist Looks At The Religious Art of Sonora, Griffith takes us on a different kind of Sonoran geographical tour to roadside shrines, fiestas, saints and miracles.

You can be part of the book celebration on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Mission San Xavier del Bac, 2-4 p.m. for refreshments, music, discussion and a book signing with Big Jim. Event is free, but RSVP appreciated.

AURUM: Insights from Poet Santee Frazier

September 17, 2019

Unflinching and magnetic, the language and structure of Aurum never strays from its dedication to revealing the prominent reality of Native people being marginalized and discarded in the wake of industrial progress. 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. Frazier has crafted a wrought-iron collection of poetry that never shies away from a truth that America often attempts to ignore.

Below, Santee Frazier answers five questions about his second poetry collection.

What inspired you to write this work?

It’s hard to point to anything specific in regards to inspiration. My poems tend to be receptacles for research, lived experiences, and techniques acquired from other poets (mostly dead poets). In this way, poems manifest through ritual and mindfulness. For instance, the final poem of Aurum, “Half-Life”, was written on train rides from the Northeast to the Southwest. On stops along the rails I would write two to three lines. Over a period of 2-3 years the poem took shape, and you can see this process unfold in the form. This is representative of all my poems, but the ritual varies from project to project. I am continuously working in three voices, perhaps more, but there are three in Aurum. I am of the mind that a poet should have many voices, and through those voices different modes of verse making and revision.

Detailed descriptions of food appear frequently in these poems. What is the significance of food in your writing?

I had this idea of using images of food to introduce cultural leanings without exorcizing the figures that populate the poems. In Aurum, the food images or references to culinary knowledge are isolated to a specific milieu. For instance, in “Sun Perch” the image of the Vietnamese dish served to the speaker is elaborate, which contrasts with their experiences with food. This image also introduces the recursive image system that dominates the poem and the larger collection. Going back to contrasts, the references to food in “Half-Life” are basic. The world the speaker experiences is devoid of the vividness represented in “Sun Perch”, “Sanguinaria”, and “Chaac”. The images of corn, beans, and potatoes hold significance to many peoples and cultures indigenous to Turtle Island. (Note, I use the moniker “Turtle Island”, due to the fact that phrases and terms used to describe North America and the indigenous peoples are inaccurate, and were conceived within oppressive political constructs.) In some cultures, corn, beans, and potatoes will be the only food that grows in a prophesied dystopian future. Furthermore, corn, beans, and potatoes represent horticultural knowledge lost to many of us living hand to mouth.

Mangled is a character who appears in Aurum and who also appeared in your collection titled Dark Thirty. Could you tell us about what Mangled represents for you?

The Mangled Creekbed poems work in a serialized form. The character is a container for research in music, pop culture, violence, and oppression in America. Mangled is what I write when I’m not obsessing over another poem or set of poems. I get these long periods of silence where I am reading and taking in lots of information, but not making art. When this happens I revisit Mangled and see if he will give me any new poems. In Dark Thirty my research in the Impalement Arts dominated the poems, in Aurum, my research into the accordion factored into many of the poems. The serialized form allows for verse driven and prosaic poetic modes. Some of these poems can occur in a moment, some longer narratives delve into back story. Mangled’s world also serves as historical context to poems set in a contemporary milieu.

Speaking of Mangled, the title “Mangled & the Accordion” is ascribed to five of the poems in Aurum. What is the significance of repeating this title?

The title is both representative of his anatomy and the structure of the collection. At times the poems have a dense structure, sometimes fragmented while utilizing white space. Similar to the constraints of the accordion. There are certainly allegorical and biblical references. As many Indigenous people create identities rooted in western religious morals and ethics, Mangled suffers on multiple levels. However, he is unaware of the threads of oppression that lord over his life. This mainly harkens back to some of his origin story in Dark Thirty, but in Aurum Mangled attempts to reconcile his history of violence through performance akin to vaudeville.

What are you working on now?

I am working on these small vignettes which I am calling nonfiction, but at times they feel like poems. I have always been so interested in Eduardo Galeano’s nonfictions and histories, specifically, Memory of Fire. I am also a fan of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and by proxy The Grand Hotels (of Joseph Cornell) by Robert Coover. So, I am writing these small pieces of text that take on different prosaic forms. There are no line breaks, but there is attention to sound. I’m hoping to shape some kind of book out of these vignettes, but I write slower and slower these days.

Below, read a poem from Frazier’s Aurum.

TWICE-RUINED

Mangled does not remember the beating outside the tavern,
just that when he woke the air under the rumbling bridge smelt
like hot engine oil, like tire. His twice ruined face inflated, cheeks
and hair crusted with muddy earth, boots spackled with blood.

Crouched near a creek, saw his face wavy in the ripple,
slit eyes buried under swollen flesh. He thought of the knife,
its baptism—flicker of sunlight in the current— blade hidden
behind the rust. As Mangled dipped his face in the water he saw
the creek bed, minnows darting along the moss-covered stones.

From Aurum, by Santee Frazier. © 2019 The Arizona Board of Regents.

Santee Frazier received his BFA from the Institute of American Indian Arts and his MFA from Syracuse University. Frazier is director of the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Residency MFA Program. He is a member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

Celebrating the People of the Press: Mari Herreras

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 Publicity Manager, Mari Herreras.

Hello Mari, what do you do for the Press?

I work as Publicity Manager for the Press with the marketing team crafting publicity campaigns for the fifty or so books published by the Press each year, as well as working on events and social media.

How long have you worked at UA Press?

I’m new. By the time this goes online, it will be my 10th or 11th day. I am beyond grateful to be here, and can honestly say I’ve wanted to work for the UA Press the last five years. The Press has been part of my life since I moved back home in 2007 to take the position as staff writer for the Tucson Weekly. But when I was living in Seattle in the early 1990s, my mother sent me a copy of Patricia Preciado Martin’s Songs My Mother Sang To Me, a collection of oral histories from Mexican-American women who pioneered and were part of Southern Arizona’s history. Talking about this book sometimes makes me cry because it meant so much to me then and now. It was the first time I read a book that reflected my family’s own history and story. That’s one example of the gifts the UA Press gives many of us from Tucson and Southern Arizona.

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 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. That’s the great opportunity I’ve been given in this position—to help tell those stories and reach out to media to inform them of the deeper stories that come with each author.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

Oh probably all the details that go into each book. It’s more then just reaching out to scholarly journals and journalists about our new books and their importance. It’s also about the meetings and careful discussions with almost everyone on staff about each books’ unique story, and how we are going to communicate that to booksellers and reviewers. It’s also tracking that work on different software systems and spreadsheets. There’s a lot of love there, but also a lot of computer time.

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 the Tucson Festival of Books first started in 2009, I was invited to participate as a moderator for panels taking place at the Nuestra Raices stage. Over the years, being involved in those panels meant the world to me because that particular venue hosts Latinx writers from throughout the country, as well as local writers directly involved in community work. It’s been an important venue for local writers and book lovers. I’ve been grateful for local poets who’ve worked to create reading spaces, such as Teré Fowler-Chapman, TC Tolbert, and Kristen Nelson. I also don’t think Tucson would have been much of a home for me to return to after being gone for almost twenty years without Antigone Books and the UA Poetry Center.

Holding Up A Mirror: UA Press Celebrates 60 Years

September 13, 2019

From academic scholarship to community scholarship, the University of Arizona Press has grown in ways that reflect the city in which it resides, as well as the people, the skies, and the mountains of Tucson.

Preeminent archaeologist Emil Walter Haury’s quest to convince the University of Arizona to start a publishing program has been described as relentless. After all, it took more than twenty years, so perhaps the professor’s quest should also be described as an example of extreme patience.

In 1937, Haury returned to his alma matter to accept a faculty position in the UA’s Department of Anthropology, where a thriving culture of research and scholarship blossomed among students and professors. Haury felt strongly that the then-existing venues to publish this scholarship were antiquated.

It’s good to have relentlessness and patience on your side, but in Haury’s case it also involved timing. Enter Richard Harvill, whose tenure as University of Arizona’s president is still considered one that fostered immense growth, as well as a distinct collegiality between faculty and the president’s office.

Past reports on the Press paint a Harvill who was notorious for calling different department heads and faculty for no other reason then to check in and chat. These chats, most often after work hours, gained a reputation as being one of the best ways to share information or projects that the university president should know or help with. This, back in the day, was one way things got done. Haury got calls from Harvill often, and the need for a press came up often.

In 1958, Harvill called Haury with good news. He had $6,000 to start the Press without waiting for the new fiscal year. In a New Year’s Eve memo, Haury didn’t hold back. He responded with an outline on staffing and a list of eleven books ready or nearly ready to publish.

… This possible development has been a great encouragement to us, and I hope that the plan as outlined has sufficient merits to be activated. We stand by to answer further questions should they arise …

— Emil W. Haury

At the top of his list was a manuscript from George Webb, the anthropologist’s recollections of his childhood and his Pima Indian heritage during his grandparents’ lives. A Pima Remembers is the first book published by the UA Press in 1959. Webb’s goal was to provide a documented history and culture of his people for younger members of the Pima, now referred to as Akimel Oʼotham. The book remains in print today.

Hundreds of anthropology and archeology titles have continued to be published through the Press, from UA scholars and others throughout the country. The connection to anthropology grew to reflect other areas of critical research and scholarship at the UA, including space and planetary science, border studies, and a new understanding about the environment.

What also grew was a willingness to change, reflect, and share voices that might not otherwise be heard. Sun Tracks began in the 1970s, as a journal written mostly by Native American undergraduate students. Today, Sun Tracks is a ground-breaking and award-winning literary series dedicated to Native American and Indigenous writers.

We have UA linguistics professor and Tohono O’odham poet Ofelia Zepeda to thank for this beloved series. In an O’odham language class taught by Zepeda, she had her students bring in poems and songs to workshop in class. By the end of the year she had this beautiful collection, and Larry Evers, a UA English professor who edited the Sun Tracks journal, thought they needed to be published. The result was When It Rains, the first book published under Sun Tracks. Zepeda now serves as editor of the series, which has published the work of Santee Frazier, Simon Oritz, Joy Harjo, and Jennifer Elise Foerster, and many, many others.

The same can be said of another award-winning series called Camino Del Sol, which focuses on Latinx writers. Launched in 1994, the series is considered a significant vehicle for Latinx literary voices–established and first-time authors. The series includes poetry from Francisco X. Alarcón, fiction from Christine Granados, and nonfiction from Luis Alberto Urrea.

Scholarship has always been at the core of the Press. The staff recognizes the importance of telling stories and sharing the scholarship found in our very own backyard. As Tucson and the region changed, so did the Press, holding a mirror to our community these past 60 years.

Lydia Otero‘s book, La Calle, is a great example of sharing scholarship with community. When the book was released in 2016, the Press held a party at a restaurant in Barrio Hollywood, one of Tucson’s beloved Mexican-American neighborhoods. The restaurant, at capacity, was filled with folks who lived through the experiences detailed in Otero’s book about the politics of the destruction of the heart of Tucson’s Barrio Viejo all in the name of community redevelopment.

There were tears and joy in celebrating Otero’s work. The associate professor in the UA’s Department of Mexican American Studies created a book of immense importance in teaching Latinx history and urbanization that presented detailed research and unique storytelling important to scholars and community.

Kafka in a Skirt Lands on BuzzFeed Book List

September 10, 2019

UA Press author Daniel Chacón’s book, Kafka in a Skirt, made it on a BuzzFeed News list praising 18 books from small publishers:

Chacón goes beyond the US–Mexico border and looks at the walls that divide all of us in this short story collection, the author’s seventh book. He doesn’t mince words about the US’s dangerous foreign policy in Latin America while presenting a nuanced look at life in urban Latinx spaces, where the political and the personal collide.

Read “18 Books From Small Publishers That Deserve Your Attention,” here.

People of the Press: Savannah Hicks

September 9, 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 Marketing Assistant, Savannah Hicks.

What do you do for the Press?

I coordinate our presence at the many academic conferences we attend, as well as make sure that our books have a presence at the conferences we can’t attend. These conferences are very important to our authors and to our acquiring department. We often have pop-up UA Press bookstores at conferences, so I make sure we have the right books for our respective audiences and the necessary means to sell our books to customers. This includes the wonderfully hectic Tucson Festival of Books! When I’m lucky, I get to travel and attend these meetings, which gives me the opportunity to meet our fantastic authors. I also support more general marketing efforts by writing some of our web content, designing program advertisements for the aforementioned meetings, writing promotional copy for a few of our books each season, submitting books for awards, running our Instagram account, and any other marketing adventure that may pop up!

How long have you worked at the UA Press?

I have worked at the Press for a little over a year now.

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 is definitely the kind of job where I learn something new almost every day, and I really appreciate that. Until I started coordinating exhibits here, I would have never guessed that there is an academic society and corresponding conference for practically any topic you can imagine!

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

While we do a lot of work “behind the scenes” in our offices, we also spend time in the community organizing events, attending conferences, greeting loyal and new customers at the book festival, and generally championing our books and our authors in a more socially tangible way. 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.

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 attending poetry readings and literary events at Exo. Antigone and the University of Arizona Poetry Center are also great spaces for the literary community in Tucson. Oh, and those quirky little free library things around town… occasionally they have really great books in them. My favorite place to read is under a tree at Himmel Park in the cooler months, or in a nice cozy café such as Raging Sage when the weather is extreme.

Five Questions with Norma Elia Cantú

September 6, 2019

Norma Elia Cantú‘s new poetry collection, Meditación Fronteriza, is 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. Written by the award-winning author of Canícula, Cantú has crafted a collection which carries the perspective of a powerful voice in Chicana literature— and literature worldwide.

Below, Norma Cantú answers a few of our questions about her new collection.

What inspired you to write this work?

Meditación Fronteriza is a collection of poems from the last 40 years and many poems were inspired by my life… I was inspired to put the poems into a book by the need to counter the general view that the border is a violent place and to counter the erasure of our culture and our reality by the mainstream.

The speaker of these poems often asks questions. What is the function of posing questions within your poetry?

I believe life is a series of questions that we pose to ourselves and to others. I often teach using questions. I write in search of answers.

Many of the poems in this collection appear in both Spanish and English. Could you tell us a little more about why you chose to translate certain poems, and have others appear solely in English?

Usually the poems that were originally written in Spanish stayed in Spanish without translation; however, I also found that I had already translated some of the poems that were first written in Spanish, so I kept the translations. I also want to honor the Spanish of the borderlands and to keep the language we use, so many poems include both Spanish and English. Translating everything seemed to be a betrayal of sorts to the linguistic spirit of the work.

The poem “Song of the Borderlands” calls for six voices to perform the lines. What do you think the importance of performing poetry out loud is?

Poetry has always been about sound and rhythm about oral delivery, even when it went from oral to written, the essence lies in orality. Spoken word and slam poetry are rooted in this orality. I first recited poetry as a child in a tradition called declamación where one memorizes the poem and declaims it in public. Hence, my love of poetry is intimately linked to my love of hearing the voice and performing poetry out loud. This particular poem was written for my students to perform and it works really well as a performance piece for a class.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a novel called Champú, or Hair Matters. It is set in a beauty shop in Laredo, Texas. I am also working on a collection of poems called Elemental Odes, I am writing poems inspired by the Periodic Table of the Elements. It is challenging but so much fun!

Below, find the poem titled “Border Bullets” from Norma Cantú‘s new UA Press collection, Meditación Fronteriza.

BORDER BULLETS

Rio Grande flows
from the Rockies to the Gulf
holy waters heal the border scar
pecan, nogal, retama sway,
tower o'er mesquites, huisaches
buried treasure brown

fiery gold crown
sun sets over Mexico
death defies life
a packed train speeds by
transports precious cargo
arrives with the moonlight
Norma Cantú and UA Press Editor-In-Chief Kristen Buckles

Norma Elia Cantú is a daughter of the borderlands, a scholar, and a creative writer. She serves as Norine R. and T. Frank Murchison Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Trinity University in San Antonio.

Discussing Brazil and the Landless Movement

September 6, 2019

A satisfying part of our work as scholarly publishers is seeing our authors share their scholarship. Late last month, Anthony Pahnke spoke with the Democratic Socialists of America in Sacramento. He shared the following brief reflection with us. Thanks for sharing your work with us and with the community, Dr. Pahnke:

From Anthony Pahnke: Some years ago, it was the famous Brazilian singer, Tom Jobim, who said that “Brazil is not for beginners.” Today, his words ring true, as the Amazon burns, the country’s–perhaps the world’s–largest corruption scandal occupies the nation’s courts, and Brazil’s far-right President, Jair Bolsonaro, slams the left, and deconstructs the economy. With many of theses issues in mind, we had the opportunity to discuss contemporary Brazilian politics with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) in Sacramento, California. I was invited to this event to share what I wrote about in Brazil’s Long Revolution: The Radical Achievements of the Landless Workers Movement and to discuss international solidarity efforts.

The principle focus was the Landless Movement (O Movimiento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra). We had the opportunity to discuss the movement’s history, tactics, and trajectory, while also making the movement’s struggle for agrarian reform relevant in current discussions of political corruption, the rise of the right, and the destruction of the Amazon. 

While the event in Sacramento was a time to talk about the book, it was also a space where a group of about thirty committed activists took the evening to imagine the future. At a time–in Brazil and the United States–many of us struggle to navigate our divisive political times. In Sacramento, we had the chance to think together on the things that Brazil and the U.S. share, and what the MST can contribute to this discussion.

Brazil’s Long Revolution shows how the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement, or MST) positioned itself to take advantage of challenging economic times to improve its members’ lives. Pahnke analyzes the origins and development of the movement, one of the largest and most innovative social movements currently active. Over the last three decades, the MST has mobilized more than a million Brazilians through grassroots initiatives, addressing political and economic inequalities. To learn more about Anthony Pahnke’s work, see his website at: https://anthonypahnke.com/.

Anthony Pahnke at an event at the Arden-Dimick Library in Sacramento.

Aldama and González Unpack Latinx Representation

September 4, 2019

Frederick Luis Aldama and Christopher González‘ new book, Reel Latinxs, dives into Latinx representation in film and television in the twenty-first century. 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. Not seeing real Latinxs on TV and film reels as kids inspired the authors to dig into the world of mainstream television and film to uncover examples of representation, good and bad. The result: a riveting ride through televisual and celluloid reels that make up mainstream culture.

Today, Frederick Aldama and Christopher González share with us some of the inspiration and thought that helped craft Reel Latinxs.

Frederick Luis Aldama: We both spend a bunch of time thinking, writing, and teaching all varieties of Latinx pop culture, film, and TV. I often get asked, “What shows or films do you recommend watching that get Latinx representation right?”. My reflex answer for recent brown televisual reconstructions: check out the representations of Latinas in Golden Globe awardee, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, the playful panoply of Latino-ness represented in East WillyB, and those awesome Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D webisodes that feature Cisco Ramone or Elena “Yo-Yo” Rodriguez. My reflex answer for recent brownings of the silver-screen: Robert Rodriguez’ Alita, Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina’s Coco, and, of course, Bob Persichetti’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. I add to this, that it’s not just the representation that matters, it’s the shaping of the representation, too. That is, we can have Latinxs in front of the camera, but we also need Latinx writers, directors, cinematographers, costume designers, and showrunners.

Christopher González: Those are all great examples, and we may as well confront the specific difficulty when it comes to representation of the Latinx community. Representation is not merely about casting a Latinx actor in a given role. We know that characters— their function within the narrative, their reliance on or avoidance of recognizable tropes or even stereotypes, and their capability of signifying a given community— all highlight why the kind of representation we encounter in film and television is so powerful. And you are correct in pointing to why it’s so crucial to examine the other major contributors to a given instance of representation such as writers, producers, and so forth. The shaping that you are referring to, however, is also something with which audiences must contend. What do you feel are the challenges audiences of these Latinx representations face with these emerging televisual narratives?

Frederick Luis Aldama: Subtlety. Nuance. Knowing the difference between an abuelitas throwing a spoon at us— that would never happen— and a chancla— always happens. If Lalo hadn’t been brought in to consult Disney in the making of Coco, it would have been a big wooden spoon that Mamá Coco would’ve launched at Miguelito. We would have noticed, and likely exhaled our inner Latinx-sigh of disappointment. But subtlety and nuance in other ways. How many times have you seen an East Coast Puerto Rican Latinx family preparing tamales or mole— and not, say, mofongo or lechon asado? A show like Ugly Betty did this in spades. It also cast non-Nuyorican actors to play Nuyoricans, including LA-born, Honduran ancestral Latinx America Ferrera and Cuban Latinx Tony Plana as the papa.

Christopher González: So, a kind of insider knowledge is helpful, then— someone who knows the nuances and subtleties you mention. But we also have to contend with what we might call unconventional Latinx representation. For instance, let’s take the example of the new version of Magnum P.I. (2018-present). Thomas Magnum is an iconic 80’s character that was a career-defining role for Tom Selleck, who is of English ancestry. This new reboot stars Jay Hernandez as Magnum. Thanks to his Hispanic surname and mestizo looks, most reasonable viewers will instantly recognize Jay as Latinx. The writers of the show, however, are much more reserved in expressions of Latinx identity for the character. The question as to whether or not Thomas Magnum, the character, is Latinx is made ambiguous for most of the first season. Hernandez is now playing a role that was conceived of originally as a white man, and it is nothing more than his physical presence in the visual medium of television that signals the possibility that this new version of Thomas Magnum is Latinx. More complicated still is Hernandez’ turn as the voice of Bonnie’s dad in Toy Story 4 (2019). Though he performs the role with no hint of a Spanish accent, Bonnie’s entire family is rendered as olive-skinned, dark-haired, people. I left the theater wondering, along with my family, if Bonnie’s family was Latinx. It was possible, but not confirmable. What I’m suggesting here is that Latinx representation is much more complex of late than it has been for most of the history of television and film.

Frederick Luis Aldama: We could say the same of a lot of Demi Lovato’s roles for Disney, right? As Mitchie Torres in Camp Rock (2008) do we read her last name and the fact that her mom’s a cook (aren’t all our mamas preternaturally good with food?) as Latinx? Gosh, I remember doing that way back when I was a kid. Starved of Latinxs on TV I wish-fulfilled the Addams family as Latinx. I guess what I’m saying, Chris, is that we haven’t arrived yet. We’re still so few and far between on TV and silver screens that I think we need clear, affirming Latinx identifiers. So, yeah, today’s Magnum should be loud-and-proud Latinx.
This brings up another important issue. Do we fault the Latinx actors for playing roles that whitewash a given character’s Latinidad? Do we fault an actor like Zoe Saldana for taking roles that either portray her as African American or Outerworld Alien, and not for roles, say, that would affirm a complex Afrolatinidad? I raise this because of late one of my brilliant PhD students had an Instagram exchange with Saldana. My student wrote this super insightful piece about how the industry itself is at fault for essentializing and simplifying— even alien-afying Saldana. I don’t know if you caught the piece, “Race and Alien Face“? Saldana read it as somehow a critique of her choice of roles played. My student, of course, wrote a heartfelt further explanation: that it was the industry at fault, not Saldana. My point here is that, well, in the end Latinx actors have to play the roles that pay the bills.
I have noticed that as Michael Peña, one of my favorite actors long with Saldana, has become more famous, he’s been either more choosy about his roles, or playing less-than-straight stereotypical Latinx roles. As far as I know, he’s the first Latinx actor to be the protagonist in a mainstream sci-fi flick. I’m thinking of Extinction. And, let’s face it, he steals the show from Paul Rudd in the Ant-Man franchise. And, when he’s playing a Latinx gangbanger, there’s always a wink to the Latinx audience. He knows he’s playing a stereotype, subverting it from within.

Christopher González: I am always very quick to point out that actors (Latinx or otherwise) are professionals who are pursuing their careers to the best of their abilities. We should not fault non-white actors for making business decisions in an industry that has often been inhospitable to them. In one of my current book projects, I uncover how the film industry has deep-rooted insecurities about how Latinx actors could and should appear in speculative films in genres such as Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, and more. Raquel Welch made a business decision to take on her white husband’s surname rather than use her own (Tejada) because she knew that doing so would limit the kinds of roles she would be offered. In the mid-1960s she had to whitewash her own Latinx identity in order to play characters such as Loana the Fair One in One Million Years B.C. and Cora in Fantastic Voyage. Now, over fifty years later, Zoe Saldana has to confront many of the same issues Welch faced. That Saldana took exception to your PhD student’s take reveals to me that Saldana is keenly aware that the roles she plays do matter, and that she perhaps feels frustration over how she is able to express her Latinx identity. But it should stagger us to consider that Saldana has starred in three of the five all-time grossing films at the box office (#1 Avengers: Endgame, #2 Avatar, #5 Avengers: Infinity War), and she still does not have the clout to make more forceful demands concerning the roles she takes. On the other hand, her Marvel co-star, Scarlett Johansson, is the highest-paid female actor in Hollywood, and she has taken roles that effectively whitewash characters. She came under fire recently for saying, and I’m paraphrasing, that as an actor she should be able to play any conceivable role. She later clarified that she was aware of how non-white, non-majority don’t have the same sort of access to roles of their white, cisgendered counterparts. In all of these cases, it is easy to get wrapped up with the actors and their decisions to take certain roles. What we should continue to critique is the system itself that allows these discrepancies in representation to occur. And, of course, we should take note of the opportunities some actors take to discretely subvert the stereotypical material they have been given.

Frederick Luis Aldama: Checking one’s privilege, now there’s a topic— and an urgent need, everywhere. We’ve seen a lot of push from historically underrepresented audiences for folks to check their privilege. We’re seeing the rearing of our collective ugly heads. We’ve had enough. I’m not only thinking of the #HollywoodSoWhite #OscarsSoWhite movements that have led to a lot of studios and television production units to create pipelines for young folks of color to become writers, directors, showrunners, and actors. I also think of the power of the internet as a platform to air our consumption needs and wants. Netflix canned the Latinx reboot of One Day At a Time. And, now after a hailstorm of internet mobilization, it’s back. We still need those boots-on-the-ground watchdogs like the National Hispanic Media Coalition and research centers like USC’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change, of course. However, with social media it seems like the power is really with the people.

Christopher González: Fede, our TV’s and silver-screens have shrunk. Elsewhere you talk about carrying these around in your back pocket, now. Sometimes I think this has emancipated #brownTV and also diminished our presence, representationally and physically.

Frederick Luis Aldama: The two-edged paradox: social media platforms like YouTube as well as spaces like VIMEO offering distribution channels to us Latinxs without deep Hollywood pockets yet the seeming continuation of stereotypical representation. I just watched a good friend, Ernesto Martínez’s short film, La Serenata, on VIMEO. It’s a masterpiece of short filmmaking, telling the much needed story of a Latinx niño telling his parents about his love for another boy. Queer Latinx Roberta Colindrez as the queer Latinx character, Devon, grabs the limelight in I Love Dick— a show made possible with funding from Amazon Prime. And, well, the way that Netflix’s One Day At a Time weaves into its one-familia storyworld the great variety of linguistic, religious, cultural, sexual, gender, class, regional resplendent variations that make up Latinidad is breathtaking. And, I have to say I love how Gabriel Iglesias uses humor to decolonize minds in Mr. Iglesias— an informal reboot of Welcome Back Carter from back in the day. Network TV could do these shows, but it doesn’t and it hasn’t. But then on the flipside, we have an abundance of us as “bad hombres”, not only in the super abundant narco Netflix offerings, but also in platforms like Discovery’s Border Live, where you can literally see ICE officers shake down innocents in real time.

Christopher González: Yes, distribution and availability are certainly enhanced. We can now watch these shows and films on the go, seemingly anywhere. That is the inevitable cost of the miniaturization of the screens we watch. The examples you just listed have benefitted from the almost grassroots efforts of audiences and creators to take more control of what they consume and what they make, even of the behemoth studios of Hollywood are still stuck in cement and antiquated ways of imagining the possibilities of visual storytelling. My sense is that there are many things that make this confluence of time, media, technology, and activism a great opportunity to see such change in how Latinxs are imagined within televisual spaces. There is no magic wand for instantly changing how things have been and where they are now. It takes hard work, bold choices, and the courage to be dogged enough to blaze a new trail. Our book, Reel Latinxs takes inventory of this shifting landscape and reveals what’s at stake for all of us, but particularly Latinxs like you and me who are old enough to see the progress that has been made and take stock of what work remains.

Frederick Luis Aldama: As we wrap this up, I wanted to mention that I’m super optimistic. At Stanford’s Great Books Program this summer, I got to spend time with a young, up-and-coming amazing Latinx actor, Emilio Garcia-Sanchez. He’s not bitter about having to step into the non-Latinx identified jock character, Jason, in Netflix’s The Society. He’s super comfortable with the fact that he brings his Latinidad with him, everywhere. Organically super-savvy about how he plays roles, he’s like a new gen Peña/ Saldana all rolled into one, and without effort. Like so many new gen Latinxs, he’s comfortable in his own skin— his self— as Latinx, y por vida.

Related Titles:


Rosa’s Einstein Reviewed in The Adroit Journal

September 9, 2019

Rosa’s Einstein is a Latinx retelling of the Brother’s Grimm’s Snow-White and Rose-Red, reevaluating border, identity, and immigration narratives through the unlikely amalgamation of physics and fairy tale. Using details both from Einstein’s known life and from quantum physics, Jennifer Givhan crafts a circus-like landscape of childhood trauma and survival.

Below, read an excerpt from a review of Rosa’s Einstein in the Adroit Journal, written by poet and essayist Allison Bird Treacy.

Every culture has traditional stories, and every family has its lore. We depend on these narratives to make meaning, but there are times in our lives when we call on those stories with a greater desperation, particularly when faced with tragedy. This is the state of affairs in Jennifer Givhan’s new poetry collection, Rosa’s Einstein; disaster looms in the air in the form of the atomic bomb, but also in the form of more intimate losses. What’s truly magical about this collection is how Givhan brings the science underlying nuclear technology into the magical world of myth and fairytale. What her approach uncovers is their mutual uncertainty, what Albert Einstein might have called “spooky action at a distance”— a phrase he used to describe that which is real, but unbelievable. In Rosa’s Einstein, what’s imagined is more believable, more present in many ways. than what we name reality.

To enter the strange alchemy of Rosa’s Einstein, we could start in any number of places, but perhaps the most useful place to begin is with Los Alamos, with the Trinity Project and the invention of the atomic bomb. Its violence haunts these pages, and in “Field Trip: Lieserl Blanketed in Fallout, or Nieve,” Rosa, Givhan’s reinvention of Rose Red and Lieserl, Einstein’s missing daughter, venture into the mythos of that day:

At the nuclear museum we watched the Trinity test
the day the sun rose twice:

Nieve appeared in the mushroom cloud
above our rancho.

That's what I called her. I renamed her
Nieve, my Good sister, favored one.

Sometimes, we pretend the extra limbs
are here to comfort us, snow-white

branches growing from our sheets
like snowflake arms in sixfold radial symmetry.

Nothing's so fragile, so perfectly shaped, as melting.

Read more of this review here.

Jennifer Givhan is an NEA Fellowship recipient and author of three previous collections of poetry. She teaches English at Western New Mexico University.

Indian Country Criminal Justice Degree Now at NAU

August 29, 2019

(From reporter Emma Gibson, Arizona Public Media)

Northern Arizona University is rolling out a bachelor’s degree that focuses on criminal justice on tribal lands. The Indian Country Criminal Justice degree will look into the unique laws and institutions on tribal lands. Karen Jarratt-Snider, an associate professor and chair of the applied Indigenous studies department, says her department and the department of criminology and criminal justice created the degree together. She said it will combine existing courses from Indigenous studies, including federal tribal law, criminal jurisdictions and sovereignty, with the criminal justice curriculum…. read more

Karen Jarratt-Snider and Marianne O. Nielsen are the editors of the University of Arizona Press’s Indigenous Justice series, which focuses on issues of social and criminal justice, law, and environmental justice as they impact Indigenous North America (with occasional references to other Indigenous nations).

The series is intended for undergraduate and graduate students of Native American, American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Indigenous peoples’ justice issues; human rights, criminal justice and legal scholars; criminal justice and environmental professionals; and Indigenous community leaders.

Stephen Pyne on Preparing for the Pyrocene

August 29, 2019

With millions of acres burning in the Arctic, Amazon, and between California to the Gran Canaria, fire seems to be everywhere. Stephen Pyne recently posted a thoughtful essay on History News Network, from the George Washington University. Here’s a brief excerpt:

Winter Isn’t Coming. Prepare for the Pyrocene

by Steve Pyne

Millions of acres are burning in the Arctic, thousands of fires blaze in the Amazon, and with seemingly endless flareups in between, from California to Gran Canaria–fire seems everywhere, and everywhere dangerous and destabilizing. With a worsening climate, the fires dappling Earth from the tropics to the tundra appear as the pilot flames of an advancing apocalypse.  To some commentators, so dire, so unprecedented are the forecast changes that they argue we have no language or narrative...read more.

Stephen 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.

Unearthing Magic: Critical Thoughts on Contemporary Self-Definition

August 22, 2019

In their new UA Press volume, Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag, Julia S. Jordan-Zachery and Duchess Harris have compiled essays which dive deeply into twenty-first century acts of self-definition, especially that of Black femmes, girls, and women. Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag shows how Black girls and women foster community, counter invisibility, engage in restorative acts, and create spaces for freedom. Intersectional and interdisciplinary, the contributions in this volume bridge generations and collectively push the boundaries of Black feminist thought.

Below, read an excerpt written by Julia S. Jordan-Zachery and Duchess Harris from the introduction of Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag.

“Jamila Woods, in her song “Blk Girl Soldier” (2016), sings of BlackGirlMagic. But what does it mean when we, self-identified Black femmes, girls, and women, invoke BlackGirlMagic? The term BlackGirlMagic is used across age, class, education, and other social identity markers. But it begs the question, what is BlackGirlMagic? Why do black femmes, girls, and women feel the need to consider themselves magical? What are we haunted by that is soliciting a response that asserts Black girls and women are magical? What ontological and epistemological questions does BlackGirlMagic pose? How does use of the term magic subvert Western thought that is grounded in positivism, rationalization, and empiricism? These are the questions that serve as the wellspring of this edited collection.

“Since introduced by Thompson in 2013, the term #BlackGirlMagic has been used widely, and it has become part of the lexicon of digital Blackness. To some extent, it has also become commodified (for example, by the selling of T-shirts and other merchandise). While the notion of BlackGirlMagic spreads in cyberspace and other places, the question remains: How is BlackGirlMagic experienced offline? The chapters that comprise this volume address this question. They move us beyond social media’s visual representations by offering analyses of the lived experiences of Black femmes, girls, and women, and how they negotiate the politics of invisibility through intracommunication methodologies in their efforts to arrive at self-definition and self-valuation and restoration. The chapters herein speak to how Black girls and women foster community, counter invisibility, engage in restorative acts, and create spaces for freedom. In essence, they show how Black femmes, girls, and women practice #BlackGirlMagic.

What the collection shows is that the labor required for success is not magical. It is real, and this labor can— and almost always does— exact a cost from those who might appear magical.

“By considering #BlackGirlMagic as an idea and an ideography, we are better positioned to understand how Black femmes, girls, and women perform magic. What the collection shows is that the labor required for success is not magical. It is real, and this labor can— and almost always does—exact a cost from those who might appear magical.

Deploying various qualitative approaches to unmask the essence of Black femmes’, girls’, and women’s perseverance against oppressive structures, the chapters in this volume paint a picture of the magic used by Black femmes, girls, and women. As they fight for recognition, and as they persevere against oppressive structures, the chapters show how the magic displayed in digital spaces such as Twitter is a combination of joy, pain, hope, fulfillment, anger, disillusionment, fatigue, and a commitment to justice and freedom. The term invokes how Black femmes, girls, and women live on the margins while also being insiders. It simultaneously emphasizes cultural specificity and difference, oppression and liberation. In a sense, #BlackGirlMagic is a mixture of the objective and the subjective. Additionally, it is both a discourse and performance. #BlackGirlMagic can be read as a political, cultural, and historical interpretation of Black femmes’, girls’, and women’s lives in relation, directly and indirectly, to Western philosophic thought. If read in this manner, #BlackGirlMagic is a form of resistance. The assertion of #BlackGirlMagic seeks to establish truth, order, and reality as understood from Black femmes’, girls’, and women’s perspectives.

Black girls and women are humans. That’s all we are. And it would be a magical feeling to be treated like human beings— who can’t fly, can’t bounce off the ground, can’t block bullets, who very much can feel pain, who very much can die.

Linda Chavers, 2016

“There is a pressing question that remains: Is #BlackGirlMagic an effective strategy of dissent from the dominant and oppressive structures faced by Black femmes, girls, and women? Some read #BlackGirlMagic as inclusive, as it does not rely on a prototypical Black femme, girl, or woman. But does it address the otherness faced by Black femmes, girls, and women across time and space? If so, how? We need to think through the limitations of #BlackGirlMagic as a cultural and political response to oppression faced by Black femmes, girls, and women. Not all Black women agree with this concept. Linda Chavers, trained at New York University and Harvard, wrote in Elle that Black girls aren’t magical, they are human (2016). Based on this analysis, we have to critically analyze which bodies are allowed to be centered in #BlackGirlMagic and how, for example, class, sexuality, and able-bodiedness influence such. Yes, #BlackGirlMagic serves to create ‘space for women [femmes and girls] of color to create and survive’ (Johnson and Nuñez 2015, 48). But who is allowed into that space? And who is not?T

The various themes that link the chapters that make up this edited volume bring us a little closer to answering these questions. As a collection, the chapters show how Black femmes, girls, and women choose to “gaze back” at neoliberalism and multiple, interlocking structures of oppression.

Julia S. Jordan-Zachery is a professor and chair in the Africana Studies Department at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on African American women and public policy. Jordan-Zachery currently serves as the president of the Association for Ethnic Studies.

_______________________________________

Duchess Harris is a professor of American studies at Macalester College. She is a scholar of contemporary African American history and political theory. She is the curator of the Duchess Harris Collection, which has more than sixty books written for third through twelfth graders.

_______________________________________________________________________________

Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag belongs to the Feminist Wire Book Series. The Feminist Wire Books: Connecting Feminisms, Race, and Social Justice is a new series from The Feminist Wire (TFW) and the University of Arizona Press that presents a cultural bridge between the digital and printing worlds. These timely, critical books will contribute to feminist scholarship, pedagogy, and praxis in the twenty-first century.

Farid Matuk Featured on Poets.org

August 19, 2019

University of Arizona Press author, Farid Matuk, is today’s featured poet on Poets.org. You can find his featured poem here.

Poem-a-day is the only digital series publishing new, previously unpublished work by today’s poets each weekday morning. This free series reaches 450,000+ readers daily.

Read Matuk’s most recent collection, The Real Horse, to immerse yourself in a text that Cathy Park Hong described as “tender, difficult, wondrous, and wise”.

People of the Press: Kathryn Conrad

August 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 Director, Kathryn Conrad.

What do you do for the Press?

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.

How long have you worked at the UA Press?

Almost 25 years! So much has changed in that time about the way we disseminate scholarship and connect with readers that it never gets old.

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?

That university press publishing attracts the most talented, dedicated, generous, passionate, community-minded professionals you can imagine.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

I think people would be surprised at the amount of labor it takes to make a book. Research has shown that the average cost of publishing and disseminating a high-quality peer-reviewed monograph ranges from $30,000 to $50,000. Most of that is in staff time— and it doesn’t even include the cost of print copies. But I think they would be equally surprised to know that on most days, that work feels like a privilege. We get to share the stories and scholarship of incredibly talented writers and experts and help them have an impact on the 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?

Nothing beats the Tucson Festival of Books for renewing one’s own excitement about books, authors, and this incredible literary community we live in. But for sitting down with a great book, I’ll take the back porch during a Tucson monsoon.

The Real Horse Discussed in West Branch

August 15, 2019

A sustained address to the poet’s daughter, The Real Horse takes its cues from the child’s unapologetic disregard for things as they are, calling forth the adult world as accountable for its flaws and as an occasion for imagining otherwise. Farid Matuk‘s interrogations of form cut a path through the tangle of a daughter’s position as a natural-born female citizen of the “First World” and of the poet’s position as a once-undocumented immigrant of mixed ethnicity. These luminously multifaceted poem sequences cast their lot with the lyric voice, trusting it to hold a space where we might follow the child’s ongoing revolution against the patrimony of selfhood and citizenship.

In the following excerpt, author Hilary Plum and poet Zach Savich dive deeply into The Real Horse, and discuss their thoughts and questions which arise from the text. You can find this review and discussion on West Branch, a thrice-yearly magazine of poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews.

A hero’s pretty feet on her legs white hose skin exposed in sumptuous folds bound as freight on the back of this real horse running into its own outline.”

The questions of authenticity, representation (whose, of whom?), and legibility (to whom? saying what?) are the weighty and beautiful burden of this book, entangled ever with the cruel realities and constructions of race (the phrase “white enough” accumulates in devastating refrain). The couplet quoted above describes the stage actor Adah Menken (1835-1868), whose racial identity was a source of speculation and her own self-invention. Matuk considers her famous role as the “Cossack hero, Ivan Mazeppa”: “Each night on stage she covered her skin, though not her shape, in a pinkish white body stocking to play the culminating scene in which Mazeppa is stripped nude and bound, against a scrolling panorama, to a runaway horse.” There’s a real horse and fake nudity and flamboyantly performed race, of unknown “authenticity”; there’s a fake land in real motion. There are flesh and presence and life in their quickness, elusive amid inescapable representation and discursive force. Performances (Menken’s act; Homelands truest graffiti) may overflow the constraints of their stages, may claim sites of resistance, of “freedom, neither public nor private,” at least for a scrolling moment.

“Where does opposition go after it frames our beautiful camaraderie?” Matuk asks in a letter to his daughter that prefaces the book. “You show me that even if the outlines of our circumstance burn without consequence, we can tend at once to the plain moment and to material things and to the projections they bear.” Both things and the “projections they bear”; both the real horse and its outline. This book forms hope somewhere between reality and representation, in the quick movement of that opposition’s going, the horizon it’s heading toward. Read more.

Poet Farid Matuk

Farid Matuk is the author of the poetry collections This Isa Nice Neighborhood and The Real Horse. Born in Peru to a Syrian mother and Peruvian father, Matuk lived in the U.S. variously as an undocumented person, a “legal” resident, and a “naturalized” citizen. Matuk’s work has been recognized most recently with a New Works grant from the Headlands Center for the Arts and a Holloway Visiting Professorship at University of California, Berkeley.

Sergio Troncoso on His Family’s El Paso Story

August 7, 2019

Author Sergio Troncoso shared an op-ed on CNN today about his hometown El Paso and his parents’ hometown Juárez, Chihuahua.

(CNN)–I am and always will be the proud son of Mexican immigrants from El Paso. My parents came from Juárez, Chihuahua, to the United States in the 1950’s, newlyweds with on a few dollars in their pickets. In the east side of the neighborhood of Ysleta, they built an adobe house that at first… Read more.

Celebrating the People of the Press: Leigh McDonald

August 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 Art Director, Leigh McDonald.

Hello Leigh, what do you do for the Press?

I am the Art Director for the UA Press. My role includes a wide variety of production and design work, including book cover design, typesetting and interior book design, and art management. I also work with our printers to choose formats and materials and get the books made.

How long have you worked at the UA Press?

A very lucky thirteen 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?

One of my favorite things about working at the Press is that I get to learn a little bit about the wide variety of important scholarship we publish. Aside from staying current on the hottest topics in Anthropology or Border Studies, probably the best thing I have learned—and keep learning!—is what’s happening in the art world related to all these different disciplines. Whether I’m being introduced to an up-and-coming young Native painter or rediscovering some fascinating vintage Space art, our books keep me learning every day.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

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.

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 do most of my book purchasing at either Bookmans or Antigone, but to just curl up and read there’s nothing like enjoying the shade of a tree in a nearby park.

Botany Conference 2019 Roundup

August 2, 2019

This week, we attended the 2019 Botany Conference in Tucson. We had a wonderful time meeting botanists and plant enthusiasts from far and wide, and sharing our books on the Sonoran desert and other regions. We were also thrilled that one of our authors, Stephen Pyne, was the plenary speaker for the conference and spent an evening signing his UA Press books, such as Between Two Fires. Thank you to all of the Botany 2019 attendees for visiting our beautiful desert home and stopping by the UA Press booth to look at our books!

It was great to see Mark E. Fishbein, an editor of Gentry’s Rio Mayo Plants.
Thanks to those of you who came by to get your books signed by Stephen Pyne!

Celebrating the People of the Press: Abby Mogollon

July 24, 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 Marketing Manager, Abby Mogollon.

Hello Abby, what do you do for the Press?

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

How long have you worked at UA Press?

I just reached my tenth anniversary!

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 feel like every day I’m learning something new in this job. Whether it’s new ways to market our books or new ways to think about the world, thanks to our author’s scholarship. I feel so lucky to have a job where every day I’m learning something new. Perhaps the one thing I’ve learned is to just keep learning and being ready to change.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

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

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 really love hearing authors talk about their work or present their poetry. I’m incredibly grateful to Antigone Books and the UA Poetry Center for the opportunities they provide to connect authors and audiences. I also love the University of Arizona Bookstore’s selection of books. Whether it’s a preview of authors coming to the Tucson Festival of Books or the new University of Arizona Press books, they are a tremendous asset to our community. For reading, I just love hunkering down on the couch with a book, and my dog Petal curled up next to me. That’s the best kind of afternoon.

Gerard P. Kuiper’s Lunar Contributions

July 16, 2019

In Gerard P. Kuiper and the Rise of Modern Planetary Science, Derek W. G. Sears crafts an in-depth history of some of the twentieth century’s most interesting scientists, from Harold Urey to Carl Sagan, who worked with the father of modern planetary science. Now, 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. In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, keep reading for a glimpse into Kuiper and the University of Arizona’s involvement in this exciting period of American history.

“It was the most extraordinary time, one that is hard to imagine many decades later. In 1961, when President John Kennedy made the commitment to land a man on the Moon by 1970, rockets were exploding on the launch pad… Eight years later, highly sophisticated, complex, large, manned spacecraft would touch down on the surface of the Moon within feet of their intended landing site. It took a lot of small steps, a lot of dedication, and a lot of stress to make it happen. Astronauts died in the effort. To Gerard Kuiper and his small group of lunar specialists in Tucson, the task was to produce maps and interpretations of the lunar surface and help with decisions concerning landing sites.”

“America’s decision to land a man on the Moon affected Kuiper in two ways. It led to the construction of a new building in Tucson, eventually to become the Kuiper Space Sciences Building… It also led to a series of robotic missions to the Moon. The science team led by Kuiper, who were amid publishing three atlases of the Moon, would be obvious candidates to participate in these programs.

The American robotic precursors for humans to land on the Moon consisted of three programs. The Ranger program was to be a series of spacecraft that would crash into the Moon and take close-up images as they did. The Lunar Orbiter program was to be a series of spacecraft that would, as their name implied, orbit the Moon and take photographs of the surface. Third, and the most sophisticated of the three programs, was to be the Surveyor program that would consist of robots that landed on the Moon.

Kuiper became involved in the Ranger and Surveyor programs in 1961 when he was asked to serve on committees advising the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, who were managing these programs… In 1961, Rangers 1 and 2 failed on launch. Rangers 3 and 5 missed the Moon. Ranger 4 hit the Moon but failed to return any data. In 1963 the project was reorganized, and Kuiper was asked to be the chief experimenter with a science team of Urey, Shoemaker, Whitaker, and Ray Heacock, a JPL engineer.”

“Four redesigned spacecraft were prepared, each with six TV cameras. At Kuiper’s suggestion, the TV system was tested in mock lunar landscapes at Goldstone Station in the Mojave Desert. Camera operations were carried out by Ralph Baker, who later joined the Optical Sciences Center in Tucson. The science team, especially Whitaker, played an important role in determining the impact sites for Ranger and the approach angles. Ranger 6 was another failure, but Ranger 7 was a spectacular success. It crashed just south of the Copernicus crater in a region now known, at Kuiper’s suggestion, as Mare Cognitum.”

“Kuiper arranged for LPL [Lunar and Planetary Laboratory] to make loose-leaf albums from the Ranger 7 prints, which required a local company, Ray Manley Commercial Photography, to make fifty thousand prints. In the rapid-fire days leading up to the Apollo landings, things moved fast. Ranger 8 hit Mare Tranquilitatis in February 1965, and Ranger 9 crashed near the Alphonsus crater a month later. Both were completely successful.”

“Never had the LPL attracted such attention. With this success came attempts by the NASA centers and JPL to recruit LPL scientists. Whitaker was approached JPL, Kuiper was invited to take a position at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and both Gehrels and Kuiper were invited to move to the Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston. Kuiper took great pleasure in recounting the details to President Harvill.”

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.

Celebrating the People of the Press: Scott DeHerrera

July 9, 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 Assistant Editor, Scott DeHerrera.

Hi Scott, what you do for the Press?

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.

How long have you been working at UA Press?

10 years this June!

The University of Arizona Press is committed to helping contribute to an informed society and enlightening readers. What’s one interesting thing you’ve learned from your work?

In this era of smart phones and social media and technological overload, it’s easy to become jaded and begin to think people no longer have the attention spans required for reading more than 280 characters at a time; however, working in this position has taught me that is indeed not the case – people are reading now more than ever!

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

I think people would be surprised to know how small our staff is given how many great titles we publish each year.

Tucson has a thriving literary and scholarly community. What’s one of your favorite spots to hear authors, find a good book, or just kick back and read?

Ever since I was a kid, Bookman’s has always been one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon.

Celebrating the People of the Press: Amanda Krause

June 27, 2019

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!

This week, we’re featuring our Editorial, Design, and Production Manager, Amanda Krause.

What do you do at the Press, Amanda?

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.

How long have you worked at UA Press?

Six and a half 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?

I feel like I am constantly absorbing knowledge from our authors and from our location at the University of Arizona Main Library, but perhaps my favorite piece of oddly specific trivia I’ve learned is that “on” is the correct usage when talking about national forests (as in “work on the national forest” rather than “work in the national parks”) — according to our author Ted Catton, this harkens back to the Forest Service’s early days when their primary role was managing grazing lands; you say “on the forest” just as you say “on the range”.

What would people be surprised to learn about your work?

Despite my role in editorial, I actually spend very little of my work day reading — because my role is so focused on project managing and finding and correcting specific errors in the text, I rarely have an opportunity to read our books cover to cover for work (though I do enjoy reading them for fun!).

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 am a huge fan of both Bookman’s and Antigone.

Sale on All Sun Tracks Titles

June 24, 2019

We are so thankful that Joy Harjo’s appointment as U.S. Poet Laureate will bring attention to Native artists. We’ve been publishing Native writers in Sun Tracks for nearly 30 years. We’re offering a 45% discount on all Sun Tracks titles through the end of June. Use discount code SUNTRACKS19 on our website.

Joy Harjo Named U.S. Poet Laureate

June 19, 2019

Joy Harjo (Mvskoke/Creek), an internationally known poet, writer, and musician, was named the 23rd poet laureate by the Library of Congress. The University of Arizona Press is the proud publisher of two books by Harjo:

For a Girl Becoming
With its rich, symbolic artwork and captivating language, For a Girl Becoming is the perfect gift to recognize a birth, graduation, or any other significant moment in a young woman’s life. Not only for children, this lively and touching story speaks to that part in each of us who still stands at the door of becoming.

Part of our award-winning Sun Tracks series, For A Girl Becoming is the winner of several awards. Launched in 1971, Sun Tracks was one of the first publishing programs to focus exclusively on the creative works of Native writers. The series includes more than eighty volumes of poetry, prose, art, and photography by such distinguished artists, including Joy Harjo.

Secrets from the Center of the World
This is Navajo country, a land of mysterious and delicate beauty. “Stephen Strom’s photographs lead you to that place,” writes Joy Harjo. “The camera eye becomes a space you can move through into the powerful landscapes that he photographs. The horizon may shift and change all around you, but underneath it is the heart with which we move.” Harjo’s prose poems accompany these images, interpreting each photograph as a story that evokes the spirit of the Earth. Images and words harmonize to evoke the mysteries of what the Navajo call the center of the world.

Here’s the announcement of Harjo’s appointment on NPR: https://www.npr.org/2019/06/19/733727917/joy-harjo-becomes-the-first-native-american-u-s-poet-laureate

Here’s a link to The University of Arizona’s Poetry Center, where Harjo read from her work in 2016. https://poetry.arizona.edu/blog/vocalisms-2-joy-harjo

Above: Literary legends Allison Hedge Coke and Joy Harjo.

Celebrating UA Press: Past, Present, and Future

June 12, 2019

This week, our university press colleagues are gathering in Detroit for the annual Association of University Presses meeting where they are celebrating publishing successes and learning from each other about the important work of scholarly publishing. Just last week, the University of Arizona Press staff came together for its own celebration and brainstorming session.

Our hard-working staff of eleven put a pause on author meetings, copy editing, e-book making, and marketing to brainstorm and discuss the University of Arizona Press of the future.

It seems like the right moment.

This year marks sixty years of publishing in the Sonoran Desert. We are enjoying looking back and celebrating our growth and evolution into one of the premier scholarly presses in the Southwest. With sixty years of authors, editors, directors, advisory board member, peer reviewers, designers, booksellers, and, best of all, readers, there is so very much to be grateful for and celebrate.

Last week, we gathered in downtown Tucson for a day-long retreat, applying design-thinking practices to reflect and brainstorm around ideas of the UA Press of the future. The entire staff wholly and fully engaged in thoughtful and creative thinking. We asked ourselves provocative “what ifs.” Grounded in our mission to share scholarly communications and research, we proposed possible and even daring solutions that could continue to march that mission forward well into the future.

Every staff member is genuinely committed to continuing our growth and evolution. We are devoted to the legacies left to us by all who have worked for and supported the Press in the past.

After the retreat, our facilitator Shannon Jones wrote, “Watching you work as a dedicated, fun team was inspiring. Thank you for everything you are doing to make the Press such a valuable part of the UA and our community.”

To the University of Arizona Press past, present, and future, we celebrate your spirit, passion, commitment, and sense of community. Onward.

LASA 2019 Recap

June 6, 2019

Thank you to everyone who came by the University of Arizona Press booth to say hello and browse our books at the 2019 Latin American Studies Association in Boston. We loved having the opportunity to catch up with our authors and meet new scholars. To top it all off, the weather in Boston was beautiful all weekend, and there were many sights to see in the city.

UA Press author Emily Hind posing with her new book, Dude Lit.
Frederico Freitas with his UA Press book, Big Water, co-edited with Jacob Blanc.
Maria Teresa de la Piedra stopped by to say hello and pose with her book, Educating Across Borders.
Hannah Burdette came by with her daughter to say hello, and posed with her new book Revealing Rebellion in Abiayala.
Gloria Elizabeth Chacón with her new book, Indigenous Interfaces, co-edited with Jennifer Gómez Menjivar.
Anthony Pahnke visited our booth and posed with his UA Press book, Brazil’s Long Revolution.
It was so nice to see Aída Hernández Castillo at LASA. Here, she poses with her new book, Transcontinental Dialogues, as well as Multiple Injustices.
Many thanks to Ariel Zatarain Tumbaga for stopping by the booth and posing with his book, Yaqui Indigeneity.
It was so wonderful to see Paul M. Worley and Rita M. Palacios. Thanks for posing for a picture with your new book, Unwriting Maya Literature!

Latin American Studies 2019

May 22, 2019

We’re looking forward to seeing our authors and friends later this week in Boston for LASA2019. Please stop by Booth No. BH5 in the book exhibit to browse our latest offerings and receive a 40 percent discount on orders. If you can’t make it to Boston this year, you can still receive that discount now through our shopping cart by using code AZLASA19!

Our newest offerings in Latin American Studies:

Ofelia Zepeda Revisits When it Rains

When it was first published 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. In a new forward to the volume, Sun Tracks editor Ofelia Zepeda reflects on how meaningful this volume was when it was first published and its continued importance. Below, read Ofelia’s thoughtful new forward to When It Rains.

Nat hab e-ju: g t-taccui?

Has our dream come true? It has been some thirty-six years since this little book, When It Rains / Mat Hekid O Ju, was published. Our dream at the time was to envision a flourishing contemporary literary body for the O’odham language. At that time in history, we had speakers from all generations, and it would have been tremendous to create a contemporary literary base for those speakers. Certainly, the goal for me was to be part of a group that created literature for the sole purposes of sharing the aesthetic of the written word and perpetuating interest in reading and writing O’odham. This is what I was working toward at the time–practicing writing, practicing reading, and, when I could or was asked, teaching other O’odham speakers to do the same. Since that time, we’ve come a long way with regard to printed matter for Indigenous languages; some languages certainly have been more successful than others, though few have expanded into the realm of contemporary literature. Just as it was thirty-six years ago, most printed works in Native languages are still for teaching or other academic purposes, relegating printed Native language to these settings.

But there is something uniquely different about it now. In 1982, when this volume was originally published, the first language of the teachers whose writing appears in this collection was O’odham–and it was the same for many of their students. Though these language teachers were bilingual in O’odham and English, most were not certified teachers but aides for their classrooms. During the 1980s federal law required many reservation schools to provide funding to support students’ efforts to transition from their Native languages to English. They used a bilingual approach, using both the target language (English) and the Native language to support the students’ transition to English fluency.

Today the language landscape for O’odham is very different; there is no longer a need for O’odham bilingual classrooms or the bilingual method of English education. Instead, teachers move from grade to grade and room to room, bringing O’odham language and culture to the O’odham students in the schools. Some of these teachers are fluent speakers of O’odham, some are limited in their ability to speak it, and still others are second-language learners of their language. Over the last thirty-six years–the span of a generation–O’odham has suffered extreme language loss. The 1990s experienced the greatest language shift to English for many Indigenous peoples such as the O’odham. This extreme shift to English and the loss of Native language has created an urgency to write the language down, to document it in all forms of media, to use it daily.

Currently, many Native American languages, like Tohono O’odham and Pima, are fading out of use. There are myriad explanations for this extreme language loss, including contact by dominant groups and other similar historical events, institutionalized religions, and educational systems generally but particularly boarding schools; the total causes are too many and complex to address here in detail. It must be noted, though, that due to both language shift and language loss, the teaching of both the oral and written forms of the O’odham language can be found largely outside the classroom.

Today, many tribes must necessarily move the teaching of their languages outside the schools and into the community. These community-based teaching settings invite multiple generations to come together to learn, maintain, and revive their language. In some of these settings, the language immersion method is used; this method relies on the oral form as the primary method for language transmission, though there are a number of opportunities to create written literature in the immersion setting. But even though it is not in the school, this literature’s primary purpose is to support language learning. Perhaps the best example is the case of Hawaiian language revitalization in which both oral and written language use have been promoted. Hawaiian is an exceptional case because, prior to colonization, the Hawaiian language had a rich history of writing and publication. The contemporary language revitalization movements have reached back to these early documents and have continued to add to all genres of printed literary production. Aside from this unique case, other U.S. Indigenous language revitalization movements have not been as successful in actively producing much new literary material in their languages.

Despite the tremendous changes that have occurred within the O’odham languages represented in this collection, it should be noted that one thing has not changed: that is that native speakers of O’odham, those who are learning it as a second language, and all those in between are all still struck with the beauty of the language and all that it is capable of rendering. As a speaker, poet, linguist, and teacher of the Tohono O’odham language, I am still amazed by the new words and usages that I come across. The language is still so new and beautiful with each discovery we make about it, and that discovery is in how people choose to use the language as it moves and changes through time. A mere thirty-six years has allowed us to witness changes in certain elements of the language–some of it good, and some not as positive. A language is allowed this flexibility to change and move according to modernity and the creativity of the people. It has always been that way.

But the changes of the language–whether good or bad–become irrelevant when O’odham gather and share the spoken words. Today, both in the Tohono O’odham Nation and in the Gila River Indian (Pima) Community, the people come together during the winter season to continue telling the story of the creation of the people that is all around them. These gatherings are typically hosted by museums and cultural centers or other formal organizations. As always, these events are communal, and people gravitate toward them. I believe the people understand the importance of these events, even though they have changed in appearance from the events of our parents’ and grandparents’ times. These storytelling gatherings remind people that the real purpose of language is to perpetuate our oral history, to remind us of our origins–of who we are. Stories are capable of this. This is what I understand to be the power of words, of language. This power that I wrote of thirty-six years ago is still there for the people, and I believe those who are now working at reclaiming spoken O’odham know this power is there in the words and that they are gaining more than just words when they learn to speak O ‘odham–whether it be Tohono O’odham or Pima.

Finally, I must comment on the content of the writing in this collection. The themes and experiences expressed in the writing of these people are still relevant today. While both the Tohono O’odham Nation and the Gila River Indian Community have grown and developed over time, they are still very rural communities with small villages dotting parts of the reservation; children still get bussed for miles to go to school, and their parents spend a couple of hours commuting to work each day. The rural desert environment also is still an important part of both children’s and adults’ lives; therefore, the themes written about thirty-six years ago are still applicable. There are words about the cycle of the seasons, about rain in the desert; there are words about the sacred mountains, and, of course, there are words of grief and loss and happiness. There are words about certain animals and about how to behave around them; many children still know of these rules. Things have changed, but many things remain the same. The pieces in this collection will be meaningful to many still.

It is important that I document here that when this collection was first released, we organized a poetry reading by the contributors of the collection. The reading was held in Sells, Arizona, the Tohono O’odham Nation’s seat of government. As we made preparations for this reading, it was hard to predict what would actually happen. This was the first poetry reading ever held on the reservation. We called on many of the contributors to read their piece, and many obliged. We had an emcee for the program, and the venue was the Tohono O’odham Nation’s tribal council building– the largest meeting place in Sells. It was one of the few places that had auditorium-style seating. We mailed invitations to dignitaries of the nation, school officials, and friends. We were not sure who or if anyone would come. I remember working on this with my friend and professor at the time, Larry Evers, who was then the series editor of Sun Tracks. On the day of the event, we made our way to Sells and set up for the reading. Slowly, people trickled in– adults, young people, elders, children. The auditorium was full. We shared our work, reading to a quiet and respectful audience, and afterward, as is typical with such events in the city, we served refreshments. Visiting with members from the audience and friends, I found out to my amazement that many of the tribe’s businesses had closed for the afternoon so that employees could attend the event and that schools had brought busloads of students. We were overwhelmed by their support– or maybe it was their curiosity about the event. Over time, whenever I speak of this experience, I like to think of this event as one that the people knew was going to be about words, making it so important that they all should be there. Though our reading of contemporary poetry was not a telling of the origins, it was perhaps in some way just as powerful.

This collection captured the voices of a small number of language educators, representing both the Tohono O’odham Nation (at the time known as Papago) and the Pima Indians. These educators all were attending a language institute where I was their instructor. I might mention that the language institute, now known as the American Indian Language Development Institute (AILDI), is still very much active at the University of Arizona; it continues to offer courses and training to meet the needs of Native American language teachers, researchers, resource people, and activists. I have been a teacher at AILDI for a long time, and the director for a number of years; during my work at AILDI, I have had the opportunity and honor to work with hundreds of language teachers from across the United States. All of them are special people– but none as special as the group whose writing is in this collection, and by my recollection, this is the first generation of literate O’odham. These educators’ first language was O’odham, and they were trained to read and write in that language. They were our pioneers.

It is poignant to note that some of these educators are no longer with us. I will be saddened to know that the reissuing of this collection will bring the memory of their loved ones to their respective families. I want them to understand that I help bring the memory of their family members with respect and honor. I also want them to understand that their contribution of their ha’icu cegitodag to this collection was truly special. They and their words are remembered here in this work.

Ofelia Zepeda
University of Arizona
July 24, 2018

Ofelia Zepeda is a poet, regents’ professor of linguistics at the University of Arizona, and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship for her work in American Indian language education. She is the current editor of Sun Tracks, which was launched in 1971 and is one of the first publishing programs to focus exclusively on the creative works of Native Americans.

Renegotiating Mvskoke Knowledge: Spiral to the Stars

May 14, 2019

All communities are teeming with energy, spirit, and knowledge. In the new book Spiral to the Stars, geographer Laura Harjo taps into and activates this dynamism to discuss Indigenous community planning from a Mvskoke perspective. The book poses questions about what community is, how to reclaim community, and how to embark on the process of envisioning what and where the community can be. Today we’re excited to share Harjo’s thoughts on conceiving a map to build genuine community relationships, knowledge, and power:

We watched television every day at my grandfather’s house, before cable, when there were only four channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, and PBS. We watched The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune. Hosts Bob Barker and Pat Sajak crooned at us while we sat in Grandpa’s HUD home, situated in a Creek housing subdivision, with a gravel-dirt road leading in and out. Their voices droned from his console TV, which looked like a piece of wooden furniture; I only knew a handful of people who had a “fancy” TV like that. With game shows humming in the background and the smell of sliced USDA luncheon meat, commodity Spam, frying in the skillet in the kitchen, Grandpa would tell me medicine stories. Some seemed unfathomable—but I believed them and believe them still. He would start by telling me I needed to be able to take care of myself, before going on to teach me medicine songs and instructing me on contemporary uses of Mvskoke medicine. As times change, our needs change, and I learned from my grandfather that the songs and medicine shift to meet our current needs. One song he taught me was meant to be sung in a pawn shop when you want the proprietor to negotiate in your favor! The song’s purpose wasn’t to unfairly sway interactions but rather to make you heard and understood. Thus Creek values and ways morph into new manifestations and applications. Our ways are not bound to “traditional” use, and I think our relatives would think it was ridiculous if we refused to benefit from our knowledge and lifeways in the current day. The purpose of this story about my grandpa is to demonstrate a renegotiation of knowledge and its use as a tool. Our medicine does not stand still either, and its use is not frozen in time. In this book, I share other Mvskoke stories with a commitment to prioritizing the theories that come from the lived and felt experiences of Mvskoke communities, and practices born out of necessity and love.

The primary argument is that Mvskoke communities have what they need at their disposal; everyday community practices are deep, rich, and meaningful, and have sustained Mvskoke people through many moments and in many places. Community practices are articulated through Mvskoke relationships, knowledge, power, and spatialities. Despite the eliminatory work of the settler state, these Mvskoke practices, like those of other Indigenous and marginalized groups who are targeted by settler colonialism, have managed to fly under the radar undetected. Mvskoke communities have sustained the spaces to dream, imagine, speculate, and activate the wishes of our ancestors, contemporary kin, and future relatives—all in a present temporality, which is Indigenous futurity. Mvskoke futurity carries out a form of Indigenous futurity while honoring the lived experiences and knowledge of the Mvskoke community. Mvskoke experiences, practices, and theories generate four concepts fundamental to Mvskoke futurity: este-cate sovereignty (Indigenous kinship sovereignty); community (and body) knowledge; collective power; and the imagining, constructing, and accessing of Mvskoke spatialities.

Examining Mvskoke community through the lens of futurity enables us to step out of clashes over grievance claims for a moment and speculate about the future that our ancestors desired and that we desire, and about how to create something that our future relatives will want and need. The notion of futurity challenges a conventional reckoning of time and the future, and pushes us to create right now—in the present moment—that which our ancestors, we, and future relatives desire. As community builders, we often ask tactical sets of questions to develop a concrete plan, and then tell people that they are going to have to sit and wait, knowing that conditions will not improve in their time: their dreams will be for someone else. In other words, we tell them “not yet.” We cannot say “not yet.” I am not eschewing a long view of community; I am merely saying that futurity does not have to be limited to a future temporality, in which we have to wait to create and get to the place where we want to be. Indeed, there are a range of ways in which we are already enacting Mvskoke futurity to shift community conditions.

Shifting conditions and community contexts require us to renegotiate Mvskoke lifeways and practices. Sharing the story of my grandpa’s pawn shop song illustrates the ease with which renegotiation of Mvskoke knowledge and practices can occur. Spiral to the Stars recognizes Mvskoke ways of knowing as a legitimate source of power and recognizes that Mvskoke people embody, enact, and share power and knowledge in multiple spatialities. My operating definition of futurity is the enactment of theories and practices that activate our ancestors’ unrealized possibilities, the act of living out the futures we wish for in a contemporary moment, and the creation of the conditions for these futures. This is futurity: it operates in service to our ancestors, contemporary relatives, and future relatives. I employ futurity as an analytical tool throughout the book.

Mvskoke poet, musician, and playwright Joy Harjo’s poem “A Map to the Next World” urges us to think about Mvskoke futurities—the other possible worlds to live in that refuse elimination at the hands of settler colonialism.  In her poem, Harjo takes the reader through the prevailing world conditions and wonders about a map to the next world, offering suggestions of looking inward—the map is written into us. As a Mvskoke person, I consider Harjo’s poem a call to action, a call to conceive of a map to the next world. This is a significant endeavor that requires renegotiating Mvskoke knowledge—something we have always done. This book is just one idea for constructing a map, using futurity as an analytical tool. As an Indigenous mapper and cartographer, I develop way-finding tools that I will unpack in each chapter. I put into action my community knowledge and academic training to imagine tools that communities can use to operationalize their knowledge without requiring so-called experts to identify their areas of genius.


Laura Harjo is a Mvskoke scholar, geographer, planner, and Indigenous methodologist. She is an assistant professor of community and regional planning at the University of New Mexico.

Cover art: Chain of Being by Daniel McCoy Jr.

Open Arizona Expands Open Access Offerings

May 3, 2019

Eight new open access titles are now available in Open Arizona, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Selected by an advisory board of scholars and community members, the new additions include Henry Dobyn’s Spanish Colonial Tucson, Edward H. Spicer’s Pascua, and Arnulfo D. Trejo’s The Chicanos.

Kathryn Conrad, director of the UA Press and lead of the Open Arizona project, says, “We know that these titles were very influential to their fields when they were first published and have continued to be sources of critical and dynamic conversation. We hope that as open access works they continue to contribute to scholarly discourses. We are grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for providing the funding to allow us to make them available again in this new format.”

Open Arizona also includes new original essays by leading scholars, offering contemporary reflections on these once out-of-print works.

In the essay “Deliberate Acts: Peter M. Whiteley’s Hopi Hermeneutics and the ‘Collaborative Road‘” Thomas E. Sheridan contextualizes Whiteley’s continued relevance to ethnology and the importance of collaborative work with Indigenous communities. Sheridan is a Distinguished Outreach Professor at the University of Arizona. He has written or co-edited fifteen books, including Landscapes of Fraud: Mission Tumacácori, the Baca Float, and the Betrayal of the O’odham, which won the Past Presidents’ Gold Award from the Association of Borderlands Studies.

Open Arizona also includes a new essay by Lydia R. Otero titled “Reflecting on Shirley Achor’s Mexican Americans in a Dallas Barrio Forty Years Later.” Otero is the author of La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City and is an associate professor in the Department of Mexican American Studies at the University of Arizona. Deep family roots on both sides of the Arizona-Sonora border inspired Otero’s interest in regional history.

In the essay Otero writes, “Ethnic communities surrounding major urban areas across the United States are currently struggling to retain their cultural identity as the forces aligned with gentrification undermine their existence… The inclusion of Mexican Americans in a Dallas Barrio an important addition to the Open Arizona project. It is not only timely but critical.”

Why University Presses are a Good Investment

April 30, 2019

University presses ensure academic excellence and amplification of valuable scholarly research. We are also a good investment. As stewards of the resource investment from our parent institutions, we extend their brands to local and global audiences. Our colleagues Darrin Pratt, director of the University Press of Colorado, and Susan Doerr, assistant director of the University of Minnesota Press, recently wrote about the many ways university presses are a good investment in an article in University Business. Today we offer a brief excerpt:

Universities mobilize tremendous resources in support of a single pursuit: the advancement of research-based knowledge. Their careful stewardship of public and private resources to nurture knowledge yields returns that can be recognized not only on spreadsheets but also in the lives of students and communities.

More than 100 North American universities and colleges choose to invest in a university press—a mission-driven publisher that maintains rigorous standards in identifying, preparing, and delivering scholarly research to local, national, and global audiences. And, as a recent Association of University Presses’ survey indicates, university presses deliver substantially on these investments.

In 2018, the 61 US and Canadian presses that participated in this annual survey reported receiving a collective institutional budget of $32.3 million. From that allocation, the presses generated… read more

More than 100 North American universities and colleges choose to invest in a university press

Farid Matuk Receives Holloway Residency for Poetry

April 25, 2019

Congratulations to poet Farid Matuk, author of collection The Real Horse. He has been named visiting Holloway Professor in Poetry & Poetics at UC Berkeley. Farid will occupy the post in the spring of 2020.

The Holloway Series in Poetry is funded through an Endowment made by Roberta C. Holloway in 1981. Each academic year the Holloway Series honors one distinguished poet with a residency at the University of California, Berkeley. Residents teach a semester-long creative writing workshop, are welcomed in the annual fall faculty poetry reading, and give a featured reading in the Holloway Series.

A sustained address to the poet’s daughter, The Real Horse takes its cues from the child’s unapologetic disregard for things as they are, calling forth the adult world as accountable for its flaws and as an occasion for imagining otherwise. Offering a handbook on the possibilities of the verse line, the collection is precise in its figuring, searching in its intellect, and alert in its music. Farid interrogates the confounding intersections of gender, race, class, and national status not as abstract concepts but as foundational intimacies.

Learn More about the Halloway

SAA 2019 Recap

The 2019 Society for American Archaeology conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico was the highest attended meeting in 84 years. We loved talking with our authors, meeting archaeologists, and selling lots of books! Many, many thanks to everyone who stopped by the University of Arizona Press booth to say hello. Below, find some photos taken at the meeting.

Our Senior Editor, Allyson Carter, with The Life-Giving Stone author Michael T. Searcy.
Patricia A. Gilman with her two most recent UA Press books, New Perspectives on Mimbres Archaeology and Mimbres Life and Society.
It was great to see James M. Skibo, one of the editors of Archaeological Anthropology.
UA Press author Richard J. Chacon with his two edited volumes, Latin American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence and North American Indigenous Warfare and Ritual Violence.
Stewart B. Koyiyumptewa, one of the editors of Moquis and Kastiilam.
It’s always a joy to see Paul E. Minnis, author and editor of many UA Press books, including New Lives for Ancient and Extinct Crops, Discovering Paquimé, and Ancient Paquimé and the Casas Grandes World.
Scott E. Ingram with his edited volume, Traditional Arid Lands Agriculture.
Thomas E. Guderjan, editor of The Value of Things.
Barbara J. Roth with her new edited volume, New Perspectives on Mimbres Archaeology.
UA Press author Tsim D. Schneider, editor of Indigenous Landscapes and Spanish Missions.
UA Press Senior Editor Allyson Carter with Eleanor M. King, editor of The Ancient Maya Marketplace.
Matthew A. Beaudoin with his new UA Press book, Challenging Colonial Narratives.
Robert W. Preucel and Samuel Duwe, editors of their new UA Press book The Continuous Path.

New Open Access Titles Now Available

18 April 2019

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 and archaeology are now available as open access (OA). The University of Arizona Press has been a leading publisher in those fields since it was founded by future-thinking members of the University of Arizona’s anthropology department 60 years ago.

Thanks to financial support from Knowledge Unlatched, we have been able to move 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:

Nature™ Inc.
Edited by Bram Büscher, Wolfram Dressler, and Robert Fletcher
With global wildlife populations and biodiversity riches in peril, it is obvious that innovative methods of addressing our planet’s environmental problems are needed. But is “the market” the answer? Nature™ Inc. brings together cutting-edge research by respected scholars from around the world to analyze how “neoliberal conservation” is reshaping human–nature relations.
OA Link

Foods of Association
Nina L. Etkin
This fascinating book examines the biology and culture of foods and beverages that are consumed in communal settings, with special attention to their health implications. Nina Etkin covers a wealth of topics, exploring human evolutionary history, the Slow Food movement, ritual and ceremonial foods, caffeinated beverages, spices, the street foods of Hawaii and northern Nigeria, and even bottled water. Her work is framed by a biocultural perspective that considers both the physiological implications of consumption and the cultural construction and circulation of foods.
OA Link

Reimagining Marginalized Foods
Edited by Elizabeth Finnis
This volume brings together ethnographically based anthropological analyses of shifting meanings and representations associated with the foods, ingredients, and cooking practices that of marginalized and/or indigenous cultures. Contributors are particularly interested in how these foods intersect with politics, nationhood and governance, identity, authenticity, and conservation.
OA Link

Nature and Antiquities
Edited by Philip L. Kohl, Irina Podgorny, and Stefanie Gänger
Nature and Antiquities analyzes how the study of indigenous peoples was linked to the study of nature and natural sciences. Leading scholars break new ground and entreat archaeologists to acknowledge the importance of ways of knowing in the study of nature in the history of archaeology.
OA Link

Paleonutrition
Mark Q. Sutton, Kristin D. Sobolik, and Jill K. Gardner
The study of paleonutrition provides valuable insights into shifts and changes in human history. This comprehensive book describes the nature of paleonutrition studies, reviews the history of research, discusses methodological issues in the reconstruction of prehistoric diets, presents theoretical frameworks frequently used in research, and showcases examples in which analyses have been successfully conducted on prehistoric individuals, groups, and populations.
OA Link

Women Who Stay Behind
Ruth Trinidad Galván
Women Who Stay Behind examines the social, educational, and cultural resources rural Mexican women employ to creatively survive the conditions created by the migration of loved ones. Using narrative, research, and theory, Ruth Trinidad Galván presents a hopeful picture of what is traditionally viewed as the abject circumstances of poor and working-class people in Mexico who are forced to migrate to survive. 
OA Link

Launching the Feminist Wire Books Series

April 17, 2019

Last Wednesday brought scholars from both sides of the country to the Old Pueblo to celebrate the long-awaited launch of The Feminist Wire Books Series. It was an honor to host series editors Monica Casper and Tamura Lomax, alongside Marquis Bey, Judith Pérez-Torres, Christine Vega, Michelle Téllez, Duchess Harris, and Julia Jordan-Zachery. It was a truly powerful night, culminating in a collective soul-bearing that reaffirmed our own mission to elevate under-supported voices in academia.

If you were unable to join us in person or via the live stream, you can watch the symposium via The Feminist Wire’s Facebook Page.

Tamura Lomax describing how she came to co-found The Feminist Wire, from the “intellectual Wu Tang Clan” to an online community and intellectual home for more than a million activists, scholars, and artists.
Marquis Bey discussing the intellectual history of his debut work in Them Goon Rules.
Co-editors of The Chicana M(other)work Anthology. From left to right: Judith Pérez-Torres, Christine Vega, and Michelle Téllez.
Co-editors of the forthcoming Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag volume Duchess Harris and Julia Jordan-Zachery.

Special thanks to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the University Libraries, the Office of the Provost, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the Africana Studies Program and the Department of Religious Studies and Classics for their generous support of The Feminist Wire Book Symposium.

April 15, 2019

At this year’s Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies, Rachel Corr was honored with the council’s prestigious Judy Ewell Award for Interwoven: Andean Lives in Colonial Ecuador’s Textile Economy.

The Judy Ewell Award honors the best publication, book or article, on women’s history or written by a woman, that began as a RMCLAS presentation.

Interwoven focuses on the lives of native Andean families in Pelileo, a town dominated by one of Quito’s largest and longest-lasting textile mills. Rachel Corr reveals the strategies used by indigenous people to maintain their families and reconstitute their communities in the face of colonial disruptions.

In the award ceremony, the committee said, “Interwoven is a tactile, resonant work that exposes the ties that bind the global to the local and reveals how the textile economy impacted indigenous families. Most crucially, Corr argues that despite the horrendous conditions that shaped their subjectivity, the “obraje Indians” of Pelileo found ways to forge connections with one another and create a semblance of community. This study will be required reading for all of those interested in indigenous labor, community, and ethnogenesis.”

Rachel Corr is an associate professor of anthropology at the Wilkes Honors College of Florida Atlantic University. She has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Ecuador since 1990. She is the author of Ritual and Remembrance in the Ecuadorian Andes.

NACCS 2019 Recap

April 8, 2019

Thank you to the National Association of Chicanas and Chicanos Studies members and NACCS leadership for a fantastic meeting in Albuquerque. We are so grateful for the overwhelming support we received this year! Special thanks goes to Kathryn Blackmer Reyes, Associate Director, for the singular thought and care she invests in creating a welcoming, energetic, and successful exhibit space year after year. Thank you, Kathy! 

Below, find several photos our Editor-in-Chief, Kristen Buckles, took of our authors at the conference.

Yvette Saavedra with her new book, Pasadena Before the Roses.
Roberto Hernández with his UA Press book, Coloniality of the US/Mexico Border.
Gilda L. Ochoa with her book, Latino Los Angeles.
UA Press authors Lara Medina and Enrique Buelna with his new book, Chicano Communists and the Struggle for Social Justice.

We were thrilled to see some of The Chicana Motherwork Anthology editors and contributors. From left to right, Christine Vega, Yvette Martínez-Vu, Judith Pérez-Torres, Michelle Téllez, Gabriella Spears-Rico, Cecilia Caballero, and Nora Cisneros.

Margaret Bruchac Receives Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award

April 4, 2019

Margaret M. Bruchac and her book Savage Kin: Indigenous Informants and American Anthropologists received the prestigious Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award.  The book is the 11th winner of the award, which honors books in Indigenous studies.

Savage Kin restructures readers’ views of relationships between Indigenous informants, such as Gladys Tantaquidgeon, Jesse Cornplanter, and George Hunt, and anthropologists, such as Frank Speck, Arthur C. Parker, William N. Fenton, and Franz Boas. Like other texts focused on this era, it features anthropological luminaries credited with saving material that might otherwise have been lost. Unlike other texts, it highlights the intellectual contributions of unsung Indigenous informants without whom this research could never have taken place.

The book “distinguished itself among an impressive field of Indigenous scholars nominated for this year’s award,” said Labriola Book Award Selection Committee Chair David Martínez.

Established in 2008, the Labriola Center American Indian National Book Award celebrates books that focus on topics and issues that are pertinent to Indigenous peoples and nations. Of particular interest are those works written by Indigenous scholars or in which Indigenous persons played a significant role in the creation of the nominated work.

This is the second time a University of Arizona Press title has been honored with the award. In 2012, Daniel Herman was awarded for his work Rim Country Exodus: A Story of Conquest, Renewal, and Race in the Making, which examines the complex, contradictory, and very human relations between Indians, settlers, and Federal agents in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Arizona—a time that included Arizona’s brutal Indian wars.

AWP 2019 Recap!

April 3, 2019

Located in the heart of beautiful Portland, Oregon, the 2019 Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference was a huge success! We extend our greatest thanks to all of our authors and supporters of the Press for coming by our booth to say hello, dance, and buy books! We continued our partnership with the Latinx Writers Caucus this year, and many amazing authors affiliated with the Caucus signed books in our booth. Overall, it was an incredible AWP, and we look forward to seeing you all again in San Antonio next year!

Below, find some photos from this year’s AWP conference.

Our Assistant Editor, Scott DeHerrera, with poet Vickie Vértiz.
Poet Jennifer Givhan with poet Ysabel Y. Gonzalez signing their books at the UA Press booth.
Poet Casandra López with her new UA Press book, Brother Bullet.
We’re always happy to see Rigoberto González, thanks for stopping by!
The conference was minutes away from the iconic Portland Old Town sign, the beautiful river, and lots of fantastic local establishments.
Portland was exploding with blooms during the week of the conference.
It was nice to see this sign outside of the beloved Powell’s Books!

Bridging the Print and Digital Publishing Worlds

April 2, 2019

This spring marks the long-anticipated launch of The Feminist Wire Books: Connecting Feminisms, Race, and Social Justice. The series is an innovative collaboration between The Feminist Wire (TFW) and the University of Arizona Press that bridges the digital and print worlds.

The Feminist Wire has long provided an online community and intellectual home for more than a million activists, scholars, and artists.
Building on their mission to “valorize and sustain pro-feminist representations and create alternative frameworks to build a just and equitable society,” the book series provides a platform for longer-format critiques of popular culture, media, and politics from a diversity of perspectives The Feminist Wire followers have come to expect.

“At a time when misinformation and disinformation travel with head-spinning speed, TFW’s short-form books let readers pause,” said University of Arizona Press Director Kathryn Conrad during this year’s University Press Week. “They are provocative conversation starters that call us to think and to act.”

From Indigenous and Latinx studies to current anthropology, the Press has a long history in publishing works that elevate and examine the social and political issues our world faces. As we enter our sixtieth year, this series provides yet another exciting avenue to explore both contemporary and pertinent social justice issues.

“This partnership benefits both parties,” said Tamura Lomax, co-founder of The Feminist Wire. “The UA Press has an established reputation publishing books about race and social justice, thus serving as a strategic and welcoming outlet for books in this series.”

“Not only does it complement the Press’s charge to bring scholarship to readers all over the world, but it is yet another opportunity to engage with the wonderful students and faculty in our campus community,” said Conrad.

With the release of the first two titles within the series, we’re excited to bring the conversation to the University of Arizona campus with The Feminist Wire Books Symposium.

Slated for April 10, the symposium will host series editors Tamura Lomax and Monica Casper for an evening of readings and panel discussions with authors, contributors, and editors.

Marquis Bey will present his debut essay collection, Them Goon Rules, and his work to unsettle normative ways of understanding Blackness, Black feminism, and queerness.

“I’m hoping those who tune in take away a sense of how life persists amid abjection, and how radically recalibrating what we’ve come to know about Blackness and feminism and gender might give us over to a world that is otherwise than this, a world in which we all might finally be able to live,” said Bey, who is currently a PhD candidate in English at Cornell University.

Editors from The Chicana M(other)work Anthology will speak to their work to bring together emerging scholarship and testimonios by and about self-identified Chicana and Women of Color mother-scholars, activists, and allies who center mothering as transformative labor.

“I’m thrilled to have our project be part of this event not only because we get to be in conversation with other brilliant scholars and writers, but also because The Feminist Wire Books series already shows evidence of highlighting intersectional, groundbreaking scholarship and activism that is central to transforming the ways in which we understand knowledge production inside and outside of the academy,” said Michelle Tellez, an editor of The Chicana M(other)work Anthology and assistant professor in the UA Department of Mexican American Studies.

To close out the evening, Julia Jordan-Zachery and Duchess Harris will preview their forthcoming book in the series, Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag, which

Special thanks to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the University Libraries, the Office of the Provost, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, the Africana Studies Program and the Department of Religious Studies and Classics for their generous support of The Feminist Wire Book Symposium.

Join us in celebrating The Feminist Wire Books, Wednesday, April 10 at 5:30 p.m. at the UA Women’s Studies Building (925 N. Tyndall Ave.) or via the livestream and stay tuned for more from the series.

The Tucson Festival of Books: Through an Intern’s Eye

March 20, 2019

By Victoria Elizabeth Wacik

During my brief three and a half years in Tucson, this quirky little town has grown very special to me, and I have become quite fond of the desert, the University of Arizona, and the kindness of the people here. As an avid reader, I had visited the Tucson Festival of Books before, but I had only wandered around the University of Arizona’s Mall aimlessly, with no plan, nor had I looked at any of the events or visiting authors. So with a large camera and University of Arizona Press badge in tow, I set off to truly experience the Tucson Festival of Books. It was hot, and crowded, and I got sunburned the first day (My native Pennsylvanian skin is still adjusting to the desert sun). I went to writing workshops and panels, did mini-science experiments, ate bugs, and submerged myself into the literary world.

The funny thing was that Tucson, and more expansively, the American Southwest, was special to many of the authors, too. Scott Whiteford, editor of Shadow of the Wall: Violence and Migration on the U.S.-Mexico Border (UAP, 2018), told me how Tucson, specifically the University of Arizona, was an interesting place to live in relation to his area of study, as the research for his book was all student-driven. The desert, both Tucson’s Sonora Desert and neighboring Mojave Desert, are special to Lawrence Walker, Rebecca Robinson, and Stephen Strom, all published authors by the University of Arizona Press. They all shared their touching personal stories and love for the deserts in their “Stories from Special Places” panel, discussing encounters with wildlife and natives, which I was lucky enough to be able to attend.

Not only did the Tucson Festival of Books give me the opportunity to speak with scholars and authors, it also allowed me to put faces to the names of authors that I worked with as an intern this year. Being able to speak to these scholars and hear them explain what inspired and motivated their projects, and seeing the excitement in their eyes when they spoke about their work was undoubtedly my favorite part of the Festival. This phenomenon was not uncommon during the weekend, as I observed many with this same expression as they found a particular book, learned something new, participated in an experiment, saw a performance, or found their favorite snack. The Tucson Festival of Books allows us to explore our interests as well as ourselves in a place truly loved by its inhabitants.

Victoria Wacik is an intern in our acquiring department. A senior at the University of Arizona, she is majoring in English with minors in Classics and French. She enjoys embroidery, hiking, and reading. Her poetry will be published in the Punk Lit Press, forthcoming April 2019.

Theorizing M(other)work

March 14, 2019

The Chicana M(other)work Anthology is a call to action for justice within and outside academia. Edited by Cecilia Caballero, Yvette Martínez-Vu, Judith Pérez-Torres, Michelle Téllez, and Christine Vega, with a foreword by Ana Castillo, 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. Today, we offer a brief excerpt from this innovative new book.

Chicana M(other)work is a concept and project informed by our shared gendered, classed, and racialized experiences as first-generation Chicana scholars from working-class, (im)migrant Mexican families. Through Chicana M(other)work, we provide a framework for collective resistance that makes our various forms of feminized labor visible and promotes collective action, holistic healing, and social justice for Mother-Scholars and Activists of Color, our children, and our communities. Furthermore, rather than understanding Chicana identity as a singular monolith, we view it as ever evolving. Here we use the term “Chicana” conceptually to integrate our varying identitarian positionalities as cisgender mother-scholars who identify as Chicana, Xicana-Indigena, Chicana/x Latina, and Afro-Xicana.

“Chicana M(other)work is not a project of assimilating or diversifying academia; on the contrary, we aim to transform it.”

We are daughters of working-class Mexican migrant parents, and we are Chicana Mother-Scholars to Children of Color born in the United States. We use a Chicana feminist framework (Anzaldua 1987; Delgado Bernal 1998; Garcia 1997; Sandoval 2010; Tellez 2005; Villenas et al. 2006) as our theoretical grounding to explore and challenge white heteropatriarchy as it continuously marginalizes Women of Color in the academic pipeline (Harris and Gonzalez 2013; Solorzano and Yosso 2006). While we self-identify as Chicana Mother-Scholars, however, we do not view our work as restricted to academic or domestic spaces; rather, the concept Mother-Scholar transgresses these spaces. Our work exists in the classrooms, community, with each other, and with our children. We view our care work and mothering, specifically “motherwork” (Collins 1994), as an interwoven political act that responds to multiple forms of oppression experienced by Mothers of Color in the United States.

We borrow the term “motherwork” from Patricia Hill Collins and modify it by embracing the term “other” through the use of parentheses. Chicana M(other)work calls attention to our layered care work from five words into one—Chicana, Mother, Other, Work, Motherwork. We see Chicana M(other)work as being inclusive to Women of Color (trans and cis), nonbinary Parents of Color, other-mothers, and allies because mothering is not confined to biology or normative family structures. We strive to build community within and outside academic institutions, and one way we do this is by mothering others and ourselves (Gumbs 2010; Gumbs, Martens, and Williams 2016). Building on Chicana feminists’ critiques of institutional heteropatriarchal violence in the academy (Castaneda et al. 2014), Chicana M(other)work challenges increasingly corporatized neoliberal institutions by holding spaces accountable through activism when they are not supporting Mothers of Color and working-class families. In these ways, we make it clear that Chicana M(other)work is not a project of assimilating or diversifying academia; on the contrary, we aim to transform it, for instance, by choosing not to hide our children, instead including them within our work for social justice. Furthermore, despite the possibility of our individual upward mobility with our doctoral degrees, we will always remain committed to our poor and working-class origins. As such, Chicana M(other)work is a call to action for justice within and outside academia.

For Patricia Hill Collins (1994, 2000), her theorization of motherwork centers race, class, gender, and other intersectional identities to challenge Western ideologies of mothers’ roles. Collins’s theoretical framework disrupts gender roles and defies the social structures and constructions of work and family as separate spheres for Black women; it acknowledges women’s reproductive labor as work on behalf of the family as a whole rather than to benefit men. Motherwork also goes beyond the survival of the family by recognizing the survival of one’s biological kin, as well as attending to the individual survival, empowerment, and identity of one’s racial and ethnic community to protect the earth for children who are yet to be born. These concepts were instrumental for our own theorization of Chicana M(other)work. As Chicana Mother-Scholars, our concept of Chicana M(other)work is informed by the labor we perform in the neoliberal university model, which exploits our work as doctoral students, contingent faculty, and tenure-line faculty. Although women who are adjunct faculty now compose the new faculty majority in the United States, the difficulties of advancing in PhD programs and then into tenure-track and tenured careers are often framed as individual failings rather than fully recognized as institutional barriers that push Mothers of Color outside academia. In turn, the university is seldom held accountable for the institutional violence and exploitation faced by first-generation, low-income, and working-class Mother-Scholars of Color.

The editors of this volume are part of the grassroots collective, Chicana M(other)work, which offers a blog, podcasts, and original essays in an accessible venue.

About the Editors
Cecilia Caballero is a PhD candidate in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California
.

Yvette Martínez-Vu is the assistant director of the University of California, Santa Barbara, McNair Scholars Program. She is an interdisciplinary scholar with a PhD in theater and performance studies from University of California, Los Angeles.

Judith Pérez-Torres is an adjunct faculty member at California State University, Fullerton, in the College of Education. She is an interdisciplinary scholar with a PhD in educational leadership and policy from University of Utah.

Michelle Téllez is an assistant professor of Mexican American studies at the University of Arizona. She is an interdisciplinary scholar with a PhD in community studies in education from Claremont Graduate University.

Christine Vega is a PhD candidate in the Social Sciences and Comparative Education Division at the University of California, Los Angles.

Jenny Davis Wins Beatrice Medicine Award

March 12, 2019

Jenny Davis has been named the recipient of the Beatrice Medicine Award for Best Monograph in American Indian Studies from the Native American Literature Symposium for her University of Arizona Press book Talking Indian: Identity and Language Revitalization in the Chickasaw Renaissance.

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

Jenny L. Davis is a citizen of the Chickasaw Nation and an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, where she is also the director of the Native American and Indigenous Languages (NAIL) Lab and affiliated faculty in the American Indian Studies and Gender and Women’s Studies Departments.

Two University of Arizona Press Titles Named Foreword Book Award Finalists

March 11, 2019

Two University of Arizona Press books were named finalists today in the Foreword Reviews 2018 Indies Book of the Year Awards.

Mark Nelson’s Pushing Our Limits is a finalist in the Ecology & Environment category. One of the eight crew members locked in Biosphere 2 during its first closure experiment, Mark Nelson offers a compelling insider’s view of the dramatic story behind the mini-world. Nelson clears up common misconceptions about the 1991–1993 closure experiment as he presents the goals and results of the experiment and the implications of the project for today’s global environmental challenges and for reconnecting people to a healthy relationship with nature.

Stephen Strom’s Bears Ears: Views from a Sacred Land was named a finalist in the Regional Books category. This book captures the singular beauty of Bears Ears country in all seasons, its textural subtleties portrayed alongside the drama of expansive landscapes and skies, deep canyons, spires, and towering mesas. To photographer Stephen E. Strom’s sensitive eyes, a scrub oak on a hillside or a pattern in windswept sand is as essential to capturing the spirit of the landscape as the region’s most iconic vistas. Years from now, this book may serve as either a celebration of the foresight of visionary leaders or as an elegy for what was lost.

According to a Foreword Reviews press release, more than 2,000 entries spread across 56 genres were submitted for consideration. Finalists were determined by Foreword’s editorial team. Winners are now being decided by a panel of librarian and bookseller judges from across the country.

Winners in each genre—along with Editor’s Choice Prize winners and Foreword’s Independent Publisher of the Year—will be announced June 14, 2019.

A Look Back at the 2019 Tucson Festival of Books

March 8, 2019

An estimated 130,000 book lovers attended this past weekend’s 11th annual Tucson Festival of Books. We’ve been a proud supporter of the festival since its inception, and we’re thrilled to have had more than thirty of our authors participate in panels, readings, and booth signings during this year’s event.

Several of our natural history and environmentally focused authors took the stage with our friends at the Western National Parks pavilion, including Fred Landau, Lawrence Walker, Rebecca Robinson, and Stephen Strom.

Internationally renowned, award-winning essayist Ilan Stavans presented his UA Press Latinx Pop Culture series book Sor Juana at both the Pima County Libraries Nuestra Raices and UA Social and Behavioral Sciences stages.

Mario T. García, who has published more than twenty books on Chicano history, also flew in for the event. He presented his most recent UA Press book The Making of a Mexican American Mayor.

We also had a number of authors with local connections participating, including Michelle Téllez, Scott Whiteford, Anna O’Leary, Maritza Cardenas, Gary Stuart, and Stephen J. Pyne.

Today we look back at some of the highlights of the two-day event:

William Sheehan, coauthor of Discovering Pluto, with University of Arizona Press Senior Editor Allyson Carter.
Scott Whiteford holds up a copy of his co-edited anthology The Shadow of the Wall.
Michelle Téllez presents her co-edited anthology Chicana Motherwork, from The Feminist Wire Books series, next to Maritza Cardenas, who contributed to the U.S. Central Americans volume.
Gary Stuart proudly signs copies of all three of his UA Press titles, including his just released biography of Ernest W. McFarland, Call Him Mac.

Rebecca Robinson and Stephen Strom stopped by the booth before their panel to sign copies of both their Bears Ears National Monument–focused books, Voices from Bears Ears: Seeking Common Ground on Sacred Land and Bears Ears: Views from a Sacred Land.


Pat Mora Spreads “Bookjoy” at TFOB and Annual UA Libraries Luncheon

March 7, 2019

Author, speaker, educator, and literacy advocate Pat Mora had a whirlwind weekend at the Tucson Festival of Books. Her weekend started off with a panel exploring ways to bring the joy of poetry to children, moderated by Tucson’s own Jennifer Flores. Next she joined Tucson poets Logan Philips, Mele Martinez, and Mari Herreras for a community reading of her latest collection, Encantado.

Inspired by Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology and Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, Mora’s Encantado paints a vivid portrait of a community through its inhabitants’ own diverse voices.

Each poem forms a story that reveals the complex and emotional journeys we take through life. Mora shares the thoughts of Encantado’s residents—the mothers and sisters, brothers and fathers in whom we see slivers of ourselves and our loved ones—and brings us to the heart of what it means to join in a chorus of voices. A community.

Mora was thrilled to partner with Tucson’s own unique poetic voice. “I have always wanted to hear Encantado, the voices performed by a community of poets,” said Mora after the panel.

Before heading back to Santa Fe, Mora was honored to be the keynote speaker for the University of Arizona Libraries’ Annual Luncheon. She read poems from Encantado and spoke to the importance of libraries. She told the audience, “Supporting university libraries is noble work—they are treasure houses.”

Mora has dedicated her life to inspiring readers of all ages. She is the founder of Children’s Day, Book Day/El día de los niños, El día de los libros, an internationally recognized celebration of reading. Through all of her work, Mora promotes creativity, inclusivity, and what she calls, “bookjoy.”

Pat Mora speaks to her lifelong commitment to literacy advocacy and her El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) epiphany.
University of Arizona Press Assistant Editor Scott De Herrera, Director Kathryn Conrad, and author and literacy advocate Pat Mora.

Celebrate the 2019 Tucson Festival of Books

February 27, 2019

This weekend, 130,000 book lovers will arrive in the Old Pueblo for the Tucson of Festival of Books. Help us celebrate, no matter where you are!

If you’re in Tucson, please come by booth No. 239 and browse our books, meet our authors, and say hello to our staff!

We’ll be offering 60th Anniversary tote bags for purchases of $60 worth of books or more.

Before These Poems, and After: Francisco X. Alarcón’s Snake Poems

February 21, 2019

The late Francisco X. Alarcón (1954–2016) was an award-winning Chicano poet and educator. He authored fourteen volumes of poetry, published seven books for children through Lee & Low Books, and taught at the University of California, Davis, where he directed the Spanish for Native Speakers Program.

He was a poet who lived beyond borders. His poetry straddled cultures and bridged generations. His words are carried on in the spark he ignited in the great many readers, fellow writers, and dreamers his life touched.

For beloved writer and mentor Francisco X. Alarcón, the collection Snake Poems: An Aztec Invocation was a poetic quest to reclaim a birthright. Originally published in 1992, the book propelled Alarcón to the forefront of contemporary Chicano letters.

This spring, the University of Arizona Press is honored to release a special edition of Snake Poems as a tender tribute to Alarcón, who passed away in 2016. This edition includes Nahuatl, Spanish, and English renditions of the 104 poems based on Nahuatl invocations and spells that have survived more than three centuries. The book opens with remembrances and testimonials about Alarcón’s impact as a writer, colleague, activist, and friend from former poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and poet and activist Odilia Galván Rodríguez, who writes, “This book is another one of those doors that [Francisco] opened and invited us to enter. Here we get to visit a snapshot in time of an ancient place of Nahuatl-speaking ancestors, and Francisco’s poetic response to what he saw through their eyes.”

Today on Francisco X Alarcón’s birthday, we’re pleased to share scholar and renowned poet Alfred Arteaga’s thoughts on the collection and Alarcón’s enduring legacy:

This present collection is something much more than just another new volume by a contemporary poet. For as new as Snake Poems is, it is bound inextricably to the past. It is like the serpent of fire that opens up its mouth to meet its double at the center of the exterior ring of the Sun Stone commonly known as the Aztec calendar. This text by Californian poet Francisco X. Alarcón is an encounter with another test completed in 1629 by one Hernando Ruiz de Alarcón, a Catholic parish priest from Atenango, a small town in the present state of Guerrero, Mexico.

The poetry of Snake Poems emerges as an encounter with the Ruiz de Alarcón’s colonial manuscript on Native American beliefs, Tratado de las supersticiones y costumbres gentílicas que hoy viven entre los indios naturales desta Nueva España (Treatise on the Superstitions and Heathen Customs That Today Live Among the Indians Native to This New Spain). Ruiz de Alarcón labored more than ten years compiling, translating, and interpreting the Nahuatl spells and invocations. The only extant copy of the handwritten Tratado is now found in the Museo Nacional de Antropología in Mexico City.

Ruiz de Alarcón’s Tratado was compiled a hundred years after the Spanish conquest of Mexico and remains one of the most important sources on Native religion beliefs and medicine. Its importance lies in the spells, curing practices, and myths that were transcribed in the original Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs. It is this language transcription that allows so much of the original speakers to come to us today, despite the compiler’s insidious intent. Simply stated, Ruiz de Alarcón wrote on a mission for the Christian God, to expose heathen practice among the Indians and to extend the repressive practice of the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico. To gather the raw data for his catalog of practices, the author did not stop short of torturing his informants. Ruiz de Alarcón was admonished for his overzealous interview techniques and yet was able to finish his work undisturbed. Ironically, he was even promoted to ecclesiastical judge because of the extreme zeal of his faith.

What Francisco X. Alarcón has captured from the Tratado in Snake Poems is the spirit of the Indian informants, a sense of Native culture alive, despite efforts to misread and suppress it.

Francisco X. Alarcón’s poems reflect the worldview and belief systems of Indians of Mexico three and a half centuries ago. But clearly, Snake Poems is poetry, not ethnography, and the reflection it casts of the Tratado is nowhere near a mirror image. It is good that this is so. The poems are poems that stand as such, completely on their own. What Francisco X. Alarcón has captured from the Tratado in Snake Poems is the spirit of the Indian informants, a sense of Native culture alive, despite efforts to misread and suppress it.

Commentators on the Tratado frequently mention Ruiz de Alarcón’s poor translation and weak evaluation of some spells in Nahuatl, which seem only guided by his religious prejudice and cultural bias. Francisco X. Alarcón reads through the Tratado, past the surface prepared for the Inquisition, down to the living speakers, whose spells and chants and beliefs are recorded, down to Martín de Luna, Mariana, Domingo Hernández, Magdalena Petronila Xochiquetzal, and other named Indians. And while their words can only come by way of Ruiz de Alarcón, Snake Poems reflects the gaps, the lacunae, the interstices of cultural survival.

All quotations and references that appear in Snake Poems come directly from Ruiz de Alarcón’s Tratado, with five very telling exceptions. There is an invocation by the Mazatec María Sabina and a quote from the New Mexican weaver Agueda Martínez. There are allusions to living poets, to the Chicanos Tino Villanueva and Lucha Corpi and the Nicaraguan poet, priest, and former Sandinista Minister of Culture Ernesto Cardenal. For Francisco consciousness survives not only in the collective memory but also in the live words of the descendants of the original Indian authors. So, while the poem “Mestizo” celebrates the many strands that meet the hybridize in New World people, the epigraph by Agueda Martínez grounds identity very clearly, “ya que seamos hispanos, mexicanos; somos más indios”: more than Hispanics or Mexicans, we are Indians.

There are 104 Snake Poems, not an arbitrary number but one chosen for its significance in Native thought. The Mesoamerican calendar is based on a fifty-two-year cycle: half of 104. It is as if one cycle was completed with the first translation of Nahuatl thought, Ruiz de Alarcón’s Tratado, and the second cycle occurs now with Snake Poems. The first section of Snake Poems, “Tahui,” contains twenty poems, one for each day of the Mesoamerican month. The final section, “New Day,” contains six poems, alluding to the new era of the Sixth Sun.

The poems are spare in line length and in language. Nothing is wasted; very much is said. On the page, some of the poems appear long and lean like serpents on the desert floor. And there are the illustrations that somehow seem as much at home beside English and Spanish as they do beside Nahuatl. Beside the epigraph of Tino Villanueva’s invocation to Tlacuilo, there is the image of the writer, the speaker, making words. Image and form intertwine with the voices and languages of the past and present: a poetics of ancient oral magic and modern verse. Snake Poems is alive with a simultaneously present and past passion and concern; it brims with the spirit of those who sang despite the fact that their very songs could lead to punishment and death.

Read these poems as expressions of life, as a celebration of the Native heritage of Mestizo America. Some poems uplift and some are humorous, and when taken together, they sing in collective spirit, vigorous, denying death. But then: stop reading, put your ear to the page, and hear the faint yet persistent echoes. I do.

Alfred Arteaga

English Department, University of California, Berkeley


February 20, 2019

A series of essays that reads like a critical memoir, Marquis Bey’s Them Goon Rules 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 playfully on a dime and today we’re excited to share a brief excerpt from this much anticipated debut:

Whence We Are Sent

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