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Bitter Water

Diné Oral Histories of the Navajo-Hopi Land Dispute

Malcolm D. Benally

Many know that the removal and relocation of Indigenous peoples from traditional lands is a part of the United States’ colonial past, but few know that—in an expansive corner of northeastern Arizona—the saga continues. The 1974 Settlement Act officially divided a reservation established almost a century earlier between the Diné (Navajo) and the Hopi, and legally granted the contested land to the Hopi. To date, the U.S. government has relocated between 12,000 and 14,000 Diné from Hopi Partitioned Lands, and the Diné—both there and elsewhere—continue to live with the legacy of this relocation.

Bitter Water presents the narratives of four Diné women who have resisted removal but who have watched as their communities and lifeways have changed dramatically. The book, based on 25 hours of filmed personal testimony, features the women’s candid discussions of their efforts to carry on a traditional way of life in a contemporary world that includes relocation and partitioned lands; encroaching Western values and culture; and devastating mineral extraction and development in the Black Mesa region of Arizona. Though their accounts are framed by insightful writings by both Benally and Diné historian Jennifer Nez Denetdale, Benally lets the stories of the four women elders speak for themselves.

Scholars, media, and other outsiders have all told their versions of this story, but this is the first book that centers on the stories of women who have lived it—in their own words in Navajo as well as the English translation. The result is a living history of a contested cultural landscape and the unique worldview of women determined to maintain their traditions and lifeways, which are so intimately connected to the land. This book is more than a collection of stories, poetry, and prose. It is a chronicle of resistance as spoken from the hearts of those who have lived it.

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Blonde Indian

An Alaska Native Memoir

In the spring, the bear returns to the forest, the glacier returns to its source, and the salmon returns to the fresh water where it was spawned. Drawing on the special relationship that the Native people of southeastern Alaska have always had with nature, Blonde Indian is a story about returning. Told in eloquent layers that blend Native stories and metaphor with social and spiritual journeys, this enchanting memoir traces the author’s life from her difficult childhood growing up in the Tlingit community, through her adulthood, during which she lived for some time in Seattle and San Francisco, and eventually to her return home. Neither fully Native American nor Euro-American, Hayes encounters a unique sense of alienation from both her Native community and the dominant culture. We witness her struggles alongside other Tlingit men and women—many of whom never left their Native community but wrestle with their own challenges, including unemployment, prejudice, alcoholism, and poverty. The author’s personal journey, the symbolic stories of contemporary Natives, and the tales and legends that have circulated among the Tlingit people for centuries are all woven together, making Blonde Indian much more than the story of one woman’s life. Filled with anecdotes, descriptions, and histories that are unique to the Tlingit community, this book is a document of cultural heritage, a tribute to the Alaskan landscape, and a moving testament to how going back—in nature and in life—allows movement forward.

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The Body as Capital

Masculinities in Contemporary Latin American Fiction

Vinodh Venkatesh

Through economic liberalization and the untethering of labor and production markets, masculinity as hegemon has entered a crisis stage. Renegotiated labor and familial orders have triggered a widespread cultural renegotiation of how masculinity operates and is represented. This holds especially true in Latin America.

Addressing this, Vinodh Venkatesh uses contemporary Latin American literature to examine how masculinity is constructed and conceived. The Body as Capital centers socioeconomic and political concerns, anxieties, and paradigms on the male anatomy and on the matrices of masculinities presented in fiction. Developing concepts such as the “market of masculinities” and the “transnational theater of masculinities,” the author explains how contemporary fiction centers the male body and masculine expressions as key components in the relationship between culture, space, and global tensile forces.

Venkatesh includes novels by canonical and newer writers from Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Peru, and Chile. He focuses on texts produced after 1990, coinciding with what has popularly been termed the neoliberal experiment. In addition to probing well-known novels such as La fiesta del Chivo and La mujer habitada and their accompanying body of criticism, The Body as Capital defines and examines several masculine tropes that will be of interest to scholars of contemporary Latin American literature and gender studies. Ultimately, Venkatesh argues for a more holistic approximation of discursive gender that will feed into other angles of criticism, forging a new path in the critical debates over gender and sexuality in Latin American writing.

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The Book of Want

a novel

A Novel by Daniel A. Olivas

When Moses descended Mount Sinai carrying the Ten Commandments, he never could have foreseen how one family in Los Angeles in the early twenty-first century would struggle to live by them.

Conchita, a voluptuous, headstrong single woman of a certain age, sees nothing wrong with enjoying the company of handsome—and usually much younger—men . . . that is, until she encounters a widower with unusual gifts and begins to think about what she really wants out of life.

Julieta, Conchita’s younger sister, walks a more traditional path, but she and her husband each harbor secrets that could change their marriage and their lives forever. Their twin sons, both in college, struggle to find fulfillment. Mateo refuses to let anyone stand in the way of his happiness, while Rolando grapples with his sexuality and the family’s expectations. And from time to time, Belén, the family’s late matriarch, pays a visit to advise, scold, or cajole her hapless descendants.

A delightful family tapestry woven with the threads of all those whose lives are touched by Conchita, The Book of Want is an enchanting blend of social and magical realism that tells a charming story about what it means to be fully human.

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Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream

From one of the prominent Chicano poets writing today comes a collection of poems to take your breath away. With dazzling speed and energy, Juan Felipe Herrera sends readers rocketing through verbal space in a celebration of the rhythms and textures of words that will make you want to shout, dance, and read out loud. Lika a wild ride in a fast car, Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream moves at breakneck speed, a post-Lorca journey across the new millennium terrain. Words careen through space and time, through blighted urban landscapes, past banjos and bees, past AIDS faces and mad friars, past severed heads and steel-toed border-crosser boots.

To the rhythm of "The Blue Eyed Mambo that Unveils My Lover's Belly" and the sounds of the Last Mayan Acid rock band, Herrera races through the hallucinations of a nation that remains just outside of paradise. With dazzling poems that roar from the darkest corners of our minds toward an ecstatic celebration of the lushness of language, Border-Crosser with a Lamborghini Dream is a celebration of a world that is both sacred and cruel, a world of "Poesy Chicano style undone wild" by one of the most daring poets of our time.

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The Borders of Inequality

Where Wealth and Poverty Collide

By Íñigo Moré; Translated by Lyn Dominguez

Recently U.S. media, policymakers, and commentators of all stripes have been preoccupied with the nation’s border with Mexico. Airwaves, websites, and blogs are filled with concerns over border issues: illegal immigrants, drug wars, narcotics trafficking, and “securing the border.” While this is a valid conversation, it’s rarely contrasted with the other U.S. border, with Canada— still the longest unguarded border on Earth.

In this fascinating book, originally published in Spain to much acclaim, researcher Íñigo Moré looks at the bigger picture. With a professionally trained eye, he examines the world’s “top twenty most unequal borders.” What he finds is that many of these border situations share similar characteristics. There is always illegal immigration from the poor country to the wealthy one. There is always trafficking in illegal substances. And the unequal neighbors usually regard each other with suspicion or even open hostility.

After surveying the “top twenty,” Moré explores in depth the cases of three borders: between Germany and Poland, Spain and Morocco, and the United States and Mexico. The core problem, he concludes, is not drugs or immigration or self-protection. Rather, the problem is inequality itself. Unequal borders result, he writes, from a skewed interaction among markets, people, and states. Using these findings, Moré builds a useful new framework for analyzing border dynamics from a quantitative view based on economic inequality.

The Borders of Inequality illustrates how longstanding “multidirectional misunderstandings” can exacerbate cross-border problems—and consequent public opinion. Perpetuating these misunderstandings can inflame and complicate the situation, but purposeful efforts to reduce inequality can produce promising results.

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Born of Resistance

Cara a Cara Encounters with Chicana/o Visual Culture

Edited by Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell

This collection of essays interrogates the most contested social, political, and aesthetic concept in Chicana/o cultural studies—resistance.

If Chicana/o culture was born of resistance amid assimilation and nationalistic forces, how has it evolved into the twenty-first century? This groundbreaking volume redresses the central idea of resistance in Chicana/o visual cultural expression through nine clustered discussions, each coordinating scholarly, critical, curatorial, and historical contextualizations alongside artist statements and interviews. Landmark artistic works—illustrations, paintings, sculpture, photography, film, and television—anchor each section. Contributors include David Avalos, Mel Casas, Ester Hernández, Nicholas Herrera, Luis Jiménez, Ellen Landis, Yolanda López, Richard Lou, Delilah Montoya, Laura Pérez, Lourdes Portillo, Luis Tapia, Chuy Treviño, Willie Varela, Kathy Vargas, René Yañez, Yvonne Yarbro-Bejarano, and more. Cara a cara, face-to-face, encounters across the collection reveal the varied richness of resistant strategies, movidas, as they position crucial terms of debate surrounding resistance, including subversion, oppression, affirmation, and identification.

The essays in the collection represent a wide array of perspectives on Chicana/o visual culture. Editors Scott L. Baugh and Víctor A. Sorell have curated a dialog among the many voices, creating an important new volume that redefines the role of resistance in Chicana/o visual arts and cultural expression.

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Brewing Arizona

A Century of Beer in the Grand Canyon State

Ed Sipos

“Sergeant… there is a brewery here!” shouted Private Lutje into the tent of his commanding officer. His regiment had just set up camp outside of Tucson. It was spring. The year was 1866. And the good private had reason to be shocked. How could anyone brew beer in the desert? The water was alkaline (when it was fit to drink at all), grains were scarce, bottles were in short supply, and refrigeration was nearly non-existent. But human ingenuity cannot be overestimated, especially when it comes to creating alcoholic beverages.
 
Since 1864, the state’s breweries have had a history as colorful as the state. With an eye like a historian, the good taste of a connoisseur, and the tenacity of a dedicated collector, author Ed Sipos serves up beer history with gusto. Brewing Arizona is the first book of Arizona beer. It includes every brewery known to have operated in the state, from the first to the latest, from crude brews to craft brews, from mass beer to microbrews. This eye-opening chronicle is encyclopedic in scope but smooth in its delivery. Like a fine beer, the contents are deep and rich, with a little froth on top.
 
With more than 250 photographs—200 in full color—Brewing Arizona is as beautiful as it is tasty. So put up your feet, grab a cold one, and sip to your heart’s delight.

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Bring Down the Little Birds

By Carmen Giménez Smith

How does a contemporary woman with a career as a poet, professor, and editor experience motherhood with one small child, another soon to be born, and her own mother suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor and Alzheimer’s? The dichotomy between life as a mother and life as an artist and professional is a major theme in modern literature because often the two seem irreconcilable. In Bring Down the Little Birds, Carmen Giménez Smith faces this seeming irreconcilability head-on, offering a powerful and necessary lyric memoir to shed light on the difficulties—and joys—of being a mother juggling work, art, raising children, pregnancy, and being a daughter to an ailing mother, and, perhaps most important, offering a rigorous and intensely imaginative contemplation on the concept of motherhood as such.

Writing in fragmented yet coherent sections, the author shares with us her interior monologue, affording the reader a uniquely honest, insightful, and deeply personal glimpse into a woman’s first and second journeys into motherhood. Giménez Smith begins Bring Down the Little Birds by detailing the relationship with her own mother, from whom her own concept of motherhood originated, a conception the author continually reevaluates and questions over the course of the book.

Combining fragments of thought, daydreams, entries from notebooks both real and imaginary, and real-life experiences, Giménez Smith interrogates everything involved in becoming and being a mother for both the first and second time, from wondering what her children will one day know about her own “secret life” to meditations on the physical effects of pregnancy as well as the myths, the nostalgia, and the glorification of motherhood.

While Giménez Smith incorporates universal experiences of motherhood that other authors have detailed throughout literature, what separates her book from these many others is that her reflections are captured in a style that establishes an intimacy and immediacy between author and reader through which we come to know the secret life of a mother and are made to question our own conception of what motherhood really means.

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Broken Souths

Latina/o Poetic Responses to Neoliberalism and Globalization

Michael Dowdy

Broken Souths offers the first in-depth study of the diverse field of contemporary Latina/o poetry. Its innovative angle of approach puts Latina/o and Latin American poets into sustained conversation in original and rewarding ways. In addition, author Michael Dowdy presents ecocritical readings that foreground the environmental dimensions of current Latina/o poetics.
 
Dowdy argues that a transnational Latina/o imaginary has emerged in response to neoliberalism—the free-market philosophy that underpins what many in the northern hemisphere refer to as “globalization.” His work examines how poets represent the places that have been “broken” by globalization’s political, economic, and environmental upheavals. Broken Souths locates the roots of the new imaginary in 1968, when the Mexican student movement crested and the Chicano and Nuyorican movements emerged in the United States. It theorizes that Latina/o poetics negotiates tensions between the late 1960s’ oppositional, collective identities and the present day’s radical individualisms and discourses of assimilation, including the “post-colonial,” “post-national,” and “post-revolutionary.” Dowdy is particularly interested in how Latina/o poetics reframes debates in cultural studies and critical geography on the relation between place, space, and nature.
 
Broken Souths features discussions of Latina/o writers such as Victor Hernández Cruz, Martín Espada, Juan Felipe Herrera, Guillermo Verdecchia, Marcos McPeek Villatoro, Maurice Kilwein Guevara, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Jack Agüeros, Marjorie Agosín, Valerie Martínez, and Ariel Dorfman, alongside discussions of influential Latin American writers, including Roberto Bolaño, Ernesto Cardenal, David Huerta, José Emilio Pacheco, and Raúl Zurita.

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