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Ambitious Rebels

Remaking Honor, Law, and Liberalism in Venezuela, 1780-1850

Reuben Zahler

Murder, street brawls, marital squabbles, infidelity, official corruption, public insults, and rebellion are just a few of the social layers Reuben Zahler investigates as he studies the dramatic shifts in Venezuela as it transformed from a Spanish colony to a modern republic. His book Ambitious Rebels illuminates the enormous changes in honor, law, and political culture that occurred and how ordinary men and women promoted or rejected those changes.

In a highly engaging style, Zahler examines gender and class against the backdrop of Venezuelan institutions and culture during the late colonial period through post-independence (known as the “middle period”). His fine-grained analysis shows that liberal ideals permeated the elite and popular classes to a substantial degree while Venezuelan institutions enjoyed impressive levels of success. Showing remarkable ambition, Venezuela’s leaders aspired to transform a colony that adhered to the king, the church, and tradition into a liberal republic with minimal state intervention, a capitalistic economy, freedom of expression and religion, and an elected, representative government.

Subtle but surprisingly profound changes of a liberal nature occurred, as evidenced by evolving standards of honor, appropriate gender roles, class and race relations, official conduct, courtroom evidence, press coverage, economic behavior, and church-state relations. This analysis of the philosophy of the elites and the daily lives of common men and women reveals in particular the unwritten, unofficial norms that lacked legal sanction but still greatly affected political structures.

Relying on extensive archival resources, Zahler focuses on Venezuela but provides a broader perspective on Latin American history. His examination provides a comprehensive look at intellectual exchange across the Atlantic, comparative conditions throughout the Americas, and the tension between traditional norms and new liberal standards in a postcolonial society.

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The American Café

Sara Sue Hoklotubbe

When Sadie Walela decides to pursue her childhood dream of owning a restaurant, she has no idea that murder will be on the menu.

In this second book in the Sadie Walela series, set in the heart of the Cherokee Nation, Sadie discovers life as an entrepreneur is not as easy as she anticipated. On her first day, she is threatened by the town’s resident "crazy" woman and the former owner of The American Café turns up dead, engulfing the café – and Sadie herself – in a cloud of suspicion and unanswered questions.

Drawing on the intuition and perseverance of her Cherokee ancestry, Sadie is determined to get some answers when an old friend unexpectedly turns up to lend a hand. A diverse cast of characters, including a mysterious Creek Indian, a corrupt police chief, an angry Marine home from Iraq, and the victim’s grieving sister and alcoholic niece, all come together to create a multilayered story of denial and deceit.

While striving to untangle relationships and old family secrets, Sadie ends up unraveling far more than a murder.

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American Indians and National Forests

Theodore Catton

American Indians and National Forests tells the untold story of how the U.S. Forest Service and tribal nations dealt with sweeping changes in forest use, ownership, and management over the last century and a half. Indians and U.S. foresters came together over a shared conservation ethic on many cooperative endeavors; yet, they often clashed over how the nation’s forests ought to be valued and cared for on matters ranging from huckleberry picking and vision quests to road building and recreation development.

All national forest lands were once Indian lands. Tribes’ modern-day interests in their ancestral lands run the gamut, from asserting treaty rights to hunt and fish to protecting their people’s burial grounds and other sacred places to having a say in ecological restoration.

Marginalized in American society and long denied a seat at the table of public land stewardship, American Indian tribes have at last taken their rightful place and are making themselves heard. Weighing indigenous perspectives on the environment is an emerging trend in public land management in the United States and around the world. The Forest Service has been a strong partner in that movement over the past quarter century.

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Ameriscopia

Edwin Torres

In this vibrant reflection of sound and word, poet Edwin Torres reignites the possibilities of poetry. From poems like “Me No Habla Spic,” a rumination of life’s major moments, to “Fixative,” which exercises shifting vantage points, Torres is nimble—surfing through memory, definition, and forms of social address. In this new collection, Torres offers some signature performance pieces for the first time in print.
    Ameriscopia reimagines New York City and its expansive inspirations, which for Torres capture the contradictions of America. Allusions to the Twin Towers, Coney Island hot dogs, and the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe continuously recolor the pages. But even as he makes these iconic references, Torres allows his poems to invert and refract the identities they evoke—New-Yorker-American-Latino-Dad-Performer-Boy-Writer—to invigorate poetry out of its slumber into a deep cultural urgency. Torres’s kaleidoscopic vision is borne of decades of poetic experimentation. Audiences have delighted in his spontaneous mashups of disparate topic matters; writers have studied his skilled technique at synthesizing—for example, from a mundane curbside view to an imagined conversation with artists Marcel Duchamp and Yves Tanguy.
    Torres writes, “I discovered that, this world uncovered / is like the soul / of The Puerto Rican man — occupied / by the weight of his balance.” Ameriscopia is Torres’s statement on growing up and the inspirational facets that accompany his journey into fatherhood. From conversations in cars to fast-beat lullabies, Torres’s poetry taps into rhythms both distinctive and dynamic. In Ameriscopia Torres is at full force, a poet in control, a writer emboldened by the page—in flight.
 

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Anadarko

A Kiowa Country Mystery

Tom Holm

Anadarko, a small bootlegger town in Oklahoma’s Kiowa Country, shakes off its sleepy veneer when J.D. Daugherty, an Irish ex-cop turned private eye, and Hoolie Smith, a Cherokee war veteran, show up to investigate the mysterious disappearance of oilman and geologist Frank Shotz.

J.D. and Hoolie find their simple missing person case hides a web of murder, graft, and injustice tied to a network of bootleggers with links to the Ku Klux Klan. Set in the aftermath of the violent Tulsa race riot of 1921, Anadarko reveals a deadly and corrupt town filled with a toxic cocktail of booze, greed, and bigotry.

Tackling racial prejudice head-on, author Tom Holm expertly weaves a vivid and suspenseful tale set in Prohibition-era Indian Country. This gritty whodunit shows nothing is ever simple in the fight between good and evil.

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The Ancient Maya Marketplace

The Archaeology of Transient Space

Edited by Eleanor M. King

Trading was the favorite occupation of the Maya, according to early Spanish observers such as Fray Diego de Landa (1566). Yet scholars of the Maya have long dismissed trade—specifically, market exchange—as unimportant. They argue that the Maya subsisted primarily on agriculture, with long-distance trade playing a minor role in a largely non-commercialized economy.

The Ancient Maya Marketplace reviews the debate on Maya markets and offers compelling new evidence for the existence and identification of ancient marketplaces in the Maya Lowlands. Its authors rethink the prevailing views about Maya economic organization and offer new perspectives. They attribute the dearth of Maya market research to two factors: persistent assumptions that Maya society and its rainforest environment lacked complexity, and an absence of physical evidence for marketplaces—a problem that plagues market research around the world.

Many Mayanists now agree that no site was self-sufficient, and that from the earliest times robust local and regional exchange existed alongside long-distance trade. Contributors to this volume suggest that marketplaces, the physical spaces signifying the presence of a market economy, did not exist for purely economic reasons but served to exchange information and create social ties as well.

The Ancient Maya Marketplace offers concrete links between Maya archaeology, ethnohistory, and contemporary cultures. Its in-depth review of current research will help future investigators to recognize and document marketplaces as a long-standing Maya cultural practice. The volume also provides detailed comparative data for premodern societies elsewhere in the world.

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Ancient Paquimé and the Casas Grandes World

Edited by Paul E. Minnis and Michael E. Whalen

Paquimé, the great multistoried pre-Hispanic settlement also known as Casas Grandes, was the center of an ancient region with hundreds of related neighbors. It also participated in massive networks that stretched their fingers through northwestern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest. Paquimé is widely considered one of the most important and influential communities in ancient northern Mexico and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Ancient Paquimé and the Casas Grandes World, edited by Paul E. Minnis and Michael E. Whalen, summarizes the four decades of research since the Amerind Foundation and Charles Di Peso published the results of the Joint Casas Grandes Expeditions in 1974.
 
The Joint Casas Grandes Expedition revealed the extraordinary nature of this site: monumental architecture, massive ball courts, ritual mounds, over a ton of shell artifacts, hundreds of skeletons of multicolored macaw and their pens, copper from west Mexico, and rich political and religious life with Mesoamerican-related images and rituals. Paquimé was not one sole community but was surrounded by hundreds of outlying villages in the region, indicating a zone that sustained thousands of inhabitants and influenced groups much farther afield.
 
In celebration of the Amerind Foundation’s seventieth anniversary, sixteen scholars with direct and substantial experience in Casas Grandes archaeology present nine chapters covering its economy, chronology, history, religion, regional organization, and importance. The two final chapters examine Paquimé in broader geographic perspectives. This volume sheds new light on Casas Grandes/Paquimé, a great town well-adapted to its physical and economic environment that disappeared just before Spanish contact.

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Ancient Plants and People

Contemporary Trends in Archaeobotany

Edited by Marco Madella, Carla Lancelotti, and Manon Savard

Mangroves and rice, six-row brittle barley and einkorn wheat. Ancient crops for prehistoric people. What do they have in common? All tell us about the lives and cultures of long ago, as humans cultivated or collected these plants for food. Exploring these and other important plants used for millennia by humans, Ancient Plants and People presents a wide-angle view of the current state of archaeobotanical research, methods, and theories.

Food has a public and private role, and it permeates the life of all people in a society. Food choice, production, and distribution probably represent the most complex indicators of social life, and thus a study of foods consumed by ancient peoples reveals many clues about their lifestyles. But in addition to yielding information about food production, distribution, preparation, and consumption, plant remains recovered from archaeological sites offer precious insights on past landscapes, human adaptation to climate change, and the relationship between human groups and their environment. Revealing important aspects of past human societies, these plant-driven insights widen the spectrum of information available to archaeologists as we seek to understand our history as a biological and cultural species.

Often answers raise more questions. As a result, archaeobotanists are constantly pushed to reflect on the methodological and theoretical aspects of their discipline. The contributors discuss timely methodological issues and engage in debates on a wide range of topics from plant utilization in hunter-gatherers and agriculturalists to uses of ancient DNA. Ancient Plants and People provides a global perspective on archaeobotanical research, particularly on the sophisticated interplay between the use of plants and their social or environmental context.

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Angela Hutchinson Hammer

Arizona's Pioneer Newspaperwoman

In 1905, with her marriage dissolved and desperate to find a way to feed her children, Angela Hutchinson Hammer bought a handpress, some ink, and a few fonts of type, and began printing a little tabloid called the Wickenburg Miner. In her naïveté, Angela never dreamed this purchase would place her squarely in the forefront of power struggles during Arizona's early days of statehood. A true daughter of the West, Angela, born in a tiny mining hamlet in Nevada, came to the Territory of Arizona at the age of twelve. Betty Hammer Joy weaves together the lively story of her grandmother's life by drawing upon Angela's own prodigious writing and correspondence, newspaper archives, and the recollections of family members. Her book recounts the stories Angela told of growing up in mining camps, teaching in territorial schools, courtship, marriage, and a twenty-eight-year career in publishing and printing. During this time, Angela managed to raise three sons, run for public office before women in the nation had the right to vote, serve as Immigration Commissioner in Pinal County, homestead, and mature into an activist for populist agendas and water conservation. As questionable deals took place both within and outside the halls of government, the crusading Angela encountered many duplicitous characters who believed that women belonged at home darning socks, not running a newspaper. Although Angela's independent papers brought personal hardship and little if any financial reward, after her death in 1952 the newspaper industry paid tribute to this courageous woman by selecting her as the first woman to enter the Arizona Newspaper Hall of Fame. In 1983 she was honored posthumously with another award for women who contributed to Arizona's progress—induction into the Arizona Women's Hall of Fame.

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An Anthropologist's Arrival

A Memoir

Ruth M. Underhill, Edited by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Stephen E. Nash

Ruth M. Underhill (1883–1984) was one of the twentieth century’s legendary anthropologists, forged in the same crucible as Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, and Margaret Mead. After decades of trying to escape her Victorian roots, Underhill took on a new adventure at the age of forty-six, when she entered Columbia University as a doctoral student of anthropology. Celebrated now as one of America’s pioneering anthropologists, Underhill reveals her life’s journey in frank, tender, unvarnished revelations that form the basis of An Anthropologist’s Arrival. This memoir, edited by Chip Colwell-Chanthaphonh and Stephen E. Nash, is based on unpublished archives, including an unfinished autobiography and interviews conducted prior to her death, held by the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
    In brutally honest words, Underhill describes her uneven passage through life, beginning with a searing portrait of the Victorian restraints on women and her struggle to break free from her Quaker family’s privileged but tightly laced control. Tenderly and with humor she describes her transformation from a struggling “sweet girl” to wife and then divorcée. Professionally she became a welfare worker, a novelist, a frustrated bureaucrat at the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a professor at the University of Denver, and finally an anthropologist of distinction.
    Her witty memoir reveals the creativity and tenacity that pushed the bounds of ethnography, particularly through her focus on the lives of women, for whom she served as a role model, entering a working retirement that lasted until she was nearly 101 years old.
    No quotation serves to express Ruth Underhill’s adventurous view better than a line from her own poetry: “Life is not paid for. Life is lived. Now come.”

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