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The University of Alabama Press

Website: http://www.uapress.ua.edu/catalog/CategoryInfo.aspx?cid=152

The University of Alabama Press was founded in the fall of 1945 with J. B. McMillan as founding director . The Press’s first work was Roscoe Martin’s New Horizons in Public Administration, which appeared in February 1946. In 1964, the Press joined the American Association of University Presses.

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The University of Alabama Press

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Among the Garifuna Cover

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Among the Garifuna

Family Tales and Ethnography from the Caribbean Coast

Among the Garifuna is the first ethnographic narrative of a Garifuna family. The Garifuna are descendants of the “ Black Carib,” whom the British deposited on Roatan Island in 1797 and who settled along the Caribbean coast from Belize City to Nicaragua.
In 1980, medical anthropologist Marilyn McKillop Wells found herself embarking on an “ improbable journey” when she was invited to the area to do fieldwork with the added challenge of revealing the “ real” Garifuna. Upon her arrival on the island, Wells was warmly embraced by a local family, the Diegos, and set to work recording life events and indigenous perspectives on polygyny, Afro-indigenous identity, ancestor-worshiping religion, and more. The result, as represented in Among the Garifuna, is a lovingly intimate, earthy, human drama.
The family narrative is organized chronologically. Part I, “ The Old Ways,” consists of vignettes that introduce the family backstory with dialogue as imagined by Wells based on the family history she was told. We meet the family progenitors, Margaret and Cervantes Diego, during their courtship, experience Margaret’ s pain as Cervantes takes a second wife, witness the death of Cervantes and ensuing mourning rituals, follow the return of Margaret and the children to their previous home in British Honduras, and observe the emergence of the children’ s personalities.
In Part II, “ Living There,” Wells continues the story when she arrives in Belize and meets the Diego children, including the major protagonist, Tas. In Tas’ s household Wells learns about foods and manners and watches family squabbles and reconciliations. In these mini-stories, Wells interweaves cultural information on the Garifuna people with first-person narrative and transcription of their words, assembling these into an enthralling slice of life. Part III, “ The Ancestor Party,” takes the reader through a fascinating postmortem ritual that is enacted to facilitate the journey of the spirits of the honored ancestors to the supreme supernatural.
Among the Garifuna contributes to the literary genres of narrative anthropology and feminist ethnography in the tradition of Zora Neal Hurston and other women writing culture in a personal way. Wells’ s portrait of this Garifuna family will be of interest to anthropologists, Caribbeanists, Latin Americanists, students, and general readers alike. 

Among the Swamp People Cover

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Among the Swamp People

Life in Alabama’s Mobile-Tensaw River Delta

Second in size only to the Mississippi River Delta, the Mobile-Tensaw River Delta, or “the swamp,” consists of almost 260,000 acres of wetlands located just north of Mobile Bay, formed by the confluence of the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers. Watt Key, a Mobile native, discovered the delta twenty years ago and there have been few weekends since that he has not made it his retreat.
There is no way into the delta except by small boat. To most it would appear a maze of rivers and creeks between stunted swamp trees and mud. Key observes that there are few places where one can step out of a boat without “sinking to the knees in muck the consistency of axle grease. It is the only place I know where gloom and beauty can coexist at such extremes. And it never occurred to me that a land seemingly so bleak could hide such beauty and adventure.”
Among the Swamp People is Watt Key’s story of discovering the delta, leasing a habitable outcropping of land deep inside, and constructing from driftwood a primitive cabin to serve as a private getaway. His story is one that chronicles the beauties of the delta’s unparalleled natural wonders, the difficulties of survival within it, and an extraordinary community of characters—by turns generous and violent, gracious and paranoid, endearing and reckless—who live, thrive, and perish there.
It also chronicles Key’s maturation as a writer, from a twenty-five-year-old computer programmer with no formal training as a writer to a highly successful, award-winning writer of fiction for a young adult audience with three acclaimed novels published to date.
In learning to make a place for himself in the wild, as in learning to write, Key’s story is one of “hoping someone—even if just myself—would find value in my creations.”

Ancient Borinquen Cover

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Ancient Borinquen

Archaeology and Ethnohistory of Native Puerto Rico

Edited by Peter E. Siegel, with contributions from Peter G. Roe, Peter E. Siegel

Native American cultures of Puerto Rico prior to the arrival of the Spanish in 1493.

A book on the prehistory of a modern geopolitical entity is artificial. It is unlikely that prehistoric occupants recognized the same boundaries and responded to the same political forces that operated in the formation of current nations, states, or cities. Yet, archaeologists traditionally have produced such volumes and they generally represent anchors for ongoing research in a specific region, in this case the island of Puerto Rico, its immediate neighbors, and the wider Caribbean basin.  

To varying degrees, this work addresses issues and draws data from beyond the boundaries of Puerto Rico because in prehistoric times the water between islands likely was not viewed as a boundary in our modern sense of the term. The last few decades have witnessed a growth of intense archaeological research on the island, from material culture in the form of lithics, ceramics, and rock art; to nutritional, architecture, and environmental studies; to rituals and social patterns; to the aftermath of Conquest.  

Ancient Borinquen provides a comprehensive overview of recent thinking, new data, syntheses, and insights into current Puerto Rican archaeology, and it reflects and illuminates similar concerns elsewhere in the West Indies, lowland South America, and Central America.


Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee Cover

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Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee

Written by John H. Blitz

A Dan Josselyn Memorial Publication

Within the last 50 years archaeologists have discovered that around the 10th century A.D., native southeastern peoples began a process of cultural change far more complex than anything that had occurred previously. These late prehistoric societies—known as Mississippian—have come to be regarded as chiefdoms. The chiefdoms are of great anthropological interest because in these kinds of societies social hierarchies or rank and status were first institutionalized.

Ancient Chiefdoms of the Tombigbee focuses on both the small- and large-scale Mississippian societies in the Tombigbee-Black Warrior River region of Alabama and Mississippi. Exploring the relationships involving polity size, degree of social ranking, and resource control provides insights into cycles of chiefdom development and fragmentation. Blitz concludes that the sanctified, security maintenance roles of communal food storage management and war leadership were a sufficient basis for formal chiefly authority but insufficient for economically based social stratification.

Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye Cover

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Ancient Maya Traders of Ambergris Caye

Written by Thomas H. Guderjan

Archaeologists are unsure exactly when the Maya inhabited the coastal areas of Belize, but ample evidence exists to support an extensive maritime trade network along the coast by A.D. 600 This volume focuses on the maritime trade network sites on Ambergris Caye, Belize where excavations have revealed remnants of very small villages, or camps, along the Caribbean coastline.

Ancient Muses Cover

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Ancient Muses

Archaeology and the Arts

Edited by John H. Jameson Jr, John E. Ehrenhard, and Christine A. Finn, with con

Known widely in Europe as "interpretive narrative archaeology," the practice of using creative methods to interpret and present current knowledge of the past is gaining popularity in North America. This book is the first compilation of international case studies of the various artistic methods used in this new form of education—one that makes archaeology "come alive" for the nonprofessional. Plays, opera, visual art, stories, poetry, performance dance, music, sculpture, digital imagery—all can effectively communicate archaeological processes and cultural values to public audiences.

The 23 contributors to this volume are a diverse group of archaeologists, educators, and artisans who have direct experience in schools, museums, and at archaeological sites. Citing specific examples, such as the film The English Patient, science fiction mysteries, and hypertext environments, they explain how creative imagination and the power of visual and audio media can personalize, contextualize, and demystify the research process. A 16-page color section illuminates their examples, and an accompanying CD includes relevant videos, music, web sites, and additional color images.

In their Introduction, the editors invoke the ancient muses to inspire the modern presenters and interpreters of archaeological research. They aptly quote George Santayana, from his poem "The Power of Art":

". . . may our hands immortalize the day

When life was sweet, and save from utter death

The sacred past that should not pass away."

John H. Jameson Jr. is an archaeologist and John E. Ehrenhard is Director at the National Park Service's Southeast Archeological Center in Tallahassee, Florida. Christine A. Finn is research associate at the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Oxford in England.

And I Said No Lord Cover

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And I Said No Lord

A Twenty-One-Year-Old in Mississippi in 1964

Joel Katz

In And I Said No Lord, photographer and writer Joel Katz presents a pictorial chronicle of his travels through the shifting islands of fear and loss, freedom and deliverance that was segregated Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964.

In June 1964, college student Joel Katz boarded a Greyhound bus in Hartford, Connecticut, for Jackson, Mississippi. He carried few possessions—a small bag of clothes, a written invitation to call on Frank Barber, who was special assistant to Governor Paul Johnson, and a Honeywell Pentax H1-A camera with three lenses.

A few days after his arrival in Jackson, the city’s Daily News ran on its front page an FBI alert seeking Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, three field workers from the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) who’d gone missing while investigating a church burning in Neshoba County.

In the uneasy silence of their disappearance, Katz began a seven-week journey across the state. Along the way, he met the people of Mississippi, black and white, of all ages and classes, from the humble to the grand. These Mississippians encouraged or obstructed change in their traditional culture or simply observed the edifice of that culture tremble and fall.

During 1964’s Freedom Summer, Katz met ministers making history and journalists writing it. He photographed Martin Luther King Jr. and James Abernathy, taught at a freedom school, interviewed a leader of the White Citizens Councils, was harassed by Jackson police, and escaped death in Vicksburg. Six weeks after Katz arrived in Mississippi, the FBI found the bodies of Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner in an earthen dam.

Inspired by the social documentary photographs of Walker Evans and Robert Frank, Katz snapped hauntingly quotidian photos on his Pentax camera. Amid acts of brutal savagery and transcendent courage that transfixed the nation, Katz discovered resilient individuals living quiet lives worthy of witness. And I Said No Lord is a moving and luminous record of Americans in evolution.

Anna's Shtetl Cover

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Anna's Shtetl

Written by Lawrence A. Coben

A rare view of a childhood in a European ghetto.
Anna Spector was born in 1905 in Korsun, a Ukrainian town on the Ros River, eighty miles south of Kiev. Held by Poland until 1768 and annexed by the Tsar in 1793 Korsun and its fluid ethnic population were characteristic of the Pale of Settlement in Eastern Europe: comprised of Ukrainians, Cossacks, Jews and other groups living uneasily together in relationships punctuated by violence. Anna’s father left Korsun in 1912 to immigrate to America, and Anna left in 1919, having lived through the Great War, the Bolshevik Revolution, and part of the ensuing civil war, as well as several episodes of more or less organized pogroms—deadly anti-Jewish riots begun by various invading military detachments during the Russian Civil War and joined by some of Korsun’s peasants.
In the early 1990s Anna met Lawrence A. Coben, a medical doctor seeking information about the shtetls to recapture a sense of his own heritage. Anna had near-perfect recall of her daily life as a girl and young woman in the last days in one of those historic but doomed communities. Her rare account, the product of some 300 interviews, is valuable because most personal memoirs of ghetto life are written by men. Also, very often, Christian neighbors appear in ghetto accounts as a stolid peasant mass assembled on market days, as destructive mobs, or as an arrogant and distant collection of government officials and nobility. Anna’s story is exceptionally rich in a sense of the Korsun Christians as friends, neighbors, and individuals.
Although the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe are now virtually gone, less than 100 years ago they counted a population of millions. The firsthand records we have from that lost world are therefore important, and this view from the underrecorded lives of women and the young is particularly welcome.  


Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith Cover

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Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith

A Diptych

Stark and vibrant, the two halves of this sutured book expose the Frankenstein-like scars of the assemblage we call “human.”
In “Another Governess” a woman in a decaying manor tries to piece together her own story. In “The Least Blacksmith” a man cannot help but fail his older brother as they struggle to run their father’s forge. 
Each of the stories stands alone, sharing neither characters nor settings. But together, they ask the same question: What are the wages of being? The relentless darkness of these tales is punctured by hope—the violent hope of the speaking subject.

Another's Country Cover

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Another's Country

Archaeological and Historical Perspectives on Cultural Interactions in the Southern Colonies

Edited by J.W. Joseph and Martha Zierden, with contributions from Ellen Shlasko,

The 18th-century South was a true melting pot, bringing together colonists from England, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and other locations, in addition to African slaves—all of whom shared in the experiences of adapting to a new environment and interacting with American Indians. The shared process of immigration, adaptation, and creolization resulted in a rich and diverse historic mosaic of cultures.

The cultural encounters of these groups of settlers would ultimately define the meaning of life in the 19th-century South. The much-studied plantation society of that era and the Confederacy that sprang from it have become the enduring identities of the South. A full understanding of southern history is not possible, however, without first understanding the intermingling and interactions of the region's 18th-century settlers. In the essays collected here, some of the South's leading historical archaeologists examine various aspects of the colonial experience, attempting to understand how cultural identity was expressed, why cultural diversity was eventually replaced by a common identity, and how the various cultures intermeshed.

Written in accessible language, this book will be valuable to archaeologists and non-archaeologists alike. Cultural, architectural, and military historians, cultural anthropologists, geographers, genealogists, and others interested in the cultural legacy of the South will find much of value in this book.

Additional reviews:

In the Southeast, where the written record goes back five hundred years, historical archaeology is a subdivision of history as well as anthropology, for the compleat historical archaeologist mines all sources. The contributors to this volume on the colonial Carolinas and Georgia ask historical questions, provide ample historical contexts, and present their findings in the common language of scholarship.—The Journal of Southern History

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