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Chicano Studies Cover

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Chicano Studies

The Genesis of a Discipline

Michael Soldatenko

Chicano Studies is a comparatively new academic discipline. Unlike well-established fields of study that long ago codified their canons and curricula, the departments of Chicano Studies that exist today on U.S. college and university campuses are less than four decades old. In this edifying and frequently eye-opening book, a career member of the discipline examines its foundations and early years. Based on an extraordinary range of sources and cognizant of infighting and the importance of personalities, Chicano Studies is the first history of the discipline.

What are the assumptions, models, theories, and practices of the academic discipline now known as Chicano Studies? Like most scholars working in the field, Michael Soldatenko didn't know the answers to these questions even though he had been teaching for many years. Intensely curious, he set out to find the answers, and this book is the result of his labors. Here readers will discover how the discipline came into existence in the late 1960s and how it matured during the next fifteen years-from an often confrontational protest of dissatisfied Chicana/o college students into a univocal scholarly voice (or so it appears to outsiders).

Part intellectual history, part social criticism, and part personal meditation, Chicano Studies attempts to make sense of the collision (and occasional wreckage) of politics, culture, scholarship, ideology, and philosophy that created a new academic discipline. Along the way, it identifies a remarkable cast of scholars and administrators who added considerable zest to the drama.

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The Chinese in Mexico, 1882-1940

By Robert Chao Romero

An estimated 60,000 Chinese entered Mexico during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, constituting Mexico's second-largest foreign ethnic community at the time. The Chinese in Mexico provides a social history of Chinese immigration to and settlement in Mexico in the context of the global Chinese diaspora of the era.

Robert Romero argues that Chinese immigrants turned to Mexico as a new land of economic opportunity after the passage of the U.S. Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. As a consequence of this legislation, Romero claims, Chinese immigrants journeyed to Mexico in order to gain illicit entry into the United States and in search of employment opportunities within Mexico's developing economy. Romero details the development, after 1882, of the "Chinese transnational commercial orbit," a network encompassing China, Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean, shaped and traveled by entrepreneurial Chinese pursuing commercial opportunities in human smuggling, labor contracting, wholesale merchandising, and small-scale trade.

Romero's study is based on a wide array of Mexican and U.S. archival sources. It draws from such quantitative and qualitative sources as oral histories, census records, consular reports, INS interviews, and legal documents. Two sources, used for the first time in this kind of study, provide a comprehensive sociological and historical window into the lives of Chinese immigrants in Mexico during these years: the Chinese Exclusion Act case files of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service and the 1930 Mexican municipal census manuscripts. From these documents, Romero crafts a vividly personal and compelling story of individual lives caught in an extensive network of early transnationalism.

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Classic Maya Provincial Politics

Edited by Lisa J. LeCount and Jason Yaeger

Most treatments of large Classic Maya sites such as Caracol and Tikal regard Maya political organization as highly centralized. Because investigations have focused on civic buildings and elite palaces, however, a critical part of the picture of Classic Maya political organization has been missing.

The contributors to this volume chart the rise and fall of the Classic Maya center of Xunantunich, paying special attention to its changing relationships with the communities that comprised its hinterlands. They examine how the changing relationships between Xunantunich and the larger kingdom of Naranjo affected the local population, the location of their farms and houses, and the range of economic and subsistence activities in which both elites and commoners engaged. They also examine the ways common people seized opportunities and met challenges offered by a changing political landscape.

The rich archaeological data in this book show that incorporating subject communities and people—and keeping them incorporated—was an on-going challenge to ancient Maya rulers. Until now, archaeologists have lacked integrated regional data and a fine-grained chronology in which to document short-term shifts in site occupations, subsistence strategies, and other important practices of the daily life of the Maya. This book provides a revised picture of Maya politics—one of different ways of governing and alliance formation among dominant centers, provincial polities, and hinterland communities.

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Coconut Milk

Dan Taulapapa McMullin

Coconut Milk is a fresh, new poetry collection that is a sensual homage to place, people, love, and lust. The first collection by Samoan writer and painter Dan Taulapapa McMullin, the poems evoke both intimate conversations and provocative monologues that allow him to explore the complexities of being a queer Samoan in the United States.  

McMullin seamlessly flows between exposing the ironies of Tiki kitsch–inspired cultural appropriation and intimate snapshots of Samoan people and place. In doing so, he disrupts popular notions of a beautiful Polynesia available for the taking, and carves out new avenues of meaning for Pacific Islanders of Oceania. Throughout the collection, McMullin illustrates various manifestations of geopolitical, cultural, linguistic, and sexual colonialism. His work illuminates the ongoing resistance to colonialism and the remarkable resilience of Pacific Islanders and queer-identified peoples.

McMullin’s Fa’a Fafine identity—the ability to walk between and embody both the masculine and feminine—creates a grounded and dynamic voice throughout the collection. It also fosters a creative dialogue between Fa’a Fafine people and trans-Indigenous movements. Through a uniquely Samoan practice of storytelling, McMullin contributes to the growing and vibrant body of queer Indigenous literature.

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A Common Humanity

Ritual, Religion, and Immigrant Advocacy in Tucson, Arizona

Lane Van Ham

As debate about immigration policy rages from small towns to state capitals, from coffee shops to Congress, would-be immigrants are dying in the desert along the US–Mexico border. Beginning in the 1990s, the US government effectively sealed off the most common border crossing routes. This had the unintended effect of forcing desperate people to seek new paths across open desert. At least 4,000 of them died between 1995 and 2009. While some Americans thought the dead had gotten what they deserved, other Americans organized humani-tarian aid groups. A Common Humanity examines some of the most active aid organizations in Tucson, Arizona, which has become a hotbed of advocacy on behalf of undocumented immigrants.

This is the first book to examine immigrant aid groups from the inside. Author Lane Van Ham spent more than three years observing the groups and many hours in discussions and interviews. He is particularly interested in how immigrant advocates both uphold the legitimacy of the United States and maintain a broader view of its social responsibilities. By advocating for immigrants regardless of their documentation status, he suggests, advocates navigate the conflicting pulls of their own na-tion-state citizenship and broader obligations to their neighbors in a globalizing world. And although the advocacy organizations are not overtly religious, Van Ham finds that they do employ religious symbolism as part of their public rhetoric, arguing that immigrants are entitled to humane treatment based on universal human values.

Beautifully written and immensely engaging, A Common Humanity adds a valuable human dimension to the immigration debate.

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Communities of Practice

An Alaskan Native Model for Language Teaching and Learning

Edited by Patrick E. Marlow and Sabine Siekmann

Educators, scholars, and community activists recognize that immersion education is a key means to restoring Indigenous and other heritage languages. But language maintenance and revitalization involve many complex issues, foremost may be the lack of local professional development opportunities for potential language teachers.

In Alaska, the Second Language Acquisition Teacher Education (SLATE) project was designed to enable Indigenous communities and schools to improve the quality of native-language and English-language instruction and assessment by focusing on the elimination of barriers that have historically hindered degree completion for Indigenous and rural teachers. The Guided Research Collaborative (GRC) model, was employed to support the development of communities of practice through near-peer mentoring and mutual scaffolding. Through this important new model, teachers of both the heritage language, in this case Central Yup’ik, and English were able to situate their professional development into a larger global context based on current notions of multilingualism.

In Communities of Practice contributors show how the SLATE program was developed and implemented, providing an important model for improving second-language instruction and assessment. Through an in-depth analysis of the program, contributors show how this project can be successfully adapted in other communities via its commitment to local control in language programming and a model based on community-driven research.

Communities of Practice demonstrates how an initial cohort of Yup’ik- and English-language teachers collaborated to negotiate and ultimately completed the SLATE program. In so doing, these educators enhanced the program and their own effectiveness as teachers through a greater understanding of language learning. It is these understandings that will ultimately allow heritage- and English-language teachers to work together to foster their students’ success in any language.

 

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Complex Communities

The Archaeology of Early Iron Age West-Central Jordan

Benjamin W. Porter

Complex Communities explores how sedentary settlements developed and flourished in the Middle East during the Early Iron Age nearly four thousand years ago. Using archaeological evidence, Benjamin Porter reconstructs how residents maintained their communities despite environmental uncertainties. Living in a semi-arid area in the present-day country of Jordan, villagers faced a harsh and unpredictable ecosystem. Communities fostered resilience by creating flexible production routines and leadership strategies. Settlements developed what archaeologists call “communal complexity,” a condition through which small-scale societies shift between egalitarian and hierarchical arrangements. Complex Communities provides detailed, scientifically grounded reconstructions of how this communal complexity functioned in the region.

These settlements emerged during a period of recovery following the political and economic collapse of Bronze Age Mediterranean societies. Scholars have characterized west-central Jordan’s political organization during this time as an incipient Moabite state. Complex Communities argues instead that the settlements were a collection of independent, self-organizing entities. Each community constructed substantial villages with fortifications, practiced both agriculture and pastoralism, and built and stocked storage facilities. From these efforts to produce and store resources, especially food, wealth was generated and wealthier households gained power over their neighbors. However, power was limited by the fact that residents could—and did—leave communities and establish new ones.

Complex Communities reveals that these settlements moved through adaptive cycles as they adjusted to a changing socionatural system. These sustainability-seeking communities have lessons to offer not only the archaeologists studying similar struggles in other locales, but also to contemporary communities facing negative climate change. Readers interested in resilience studies, Near Eastern archaeology, historical ecology, and the archaeology of communities will welcome this volume.

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Conservation Biology and Applied Zooarchaeology

Steve Wolverton

Until now, the research of applied zooarchaeologists has not had a significant impact on the work of conservation scientists. This book is designed to show how zooarchaeology can productively inform conservation science. Conservation Biology and Applied Zooarchaeology offers a set of case studies that use animal remains from archaeological and paleontological sites to provide information that has direct implications for wildlife management and conservation biology. It introduces conservation biologists to zooarchaeology, a sub-field of archaeology and ethnobiology, and provides a brief historical account of the development of applied zooarchaeology.

The case studies, which utilize palaeozoological data, cover a variety of animals and environments, including the marine ecology of shellfish and fish, potential restoration sites for Sandhill Cranes, freshwater mussel biogeography and stream ecology, conservation of terrestrial mammals such as American black bears, and even a consideration of the validity of the Pleistocene “rewilding” movement. The volume closes with an important new essay on the history, value, and application of applied zooarchaeology by R. Lee Lyman, which updates his classic 1996 paper that encouraged zooarchaeologists to apply their findings to present-day environmental challenges.

Each case study provides detailed analysis using the approaches of zooarchaeology and concludes with precise implications for conservation biology. Essays also address issues of political and social ecology, which have frequently been missing from the discussions of conservation scientists. As the editors note, all conservation actions occur in economic, social, and political contexts. Until now, however, the management implications of zooarchaeological research have rarely been spelled out so clearly.

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Corpse Whale

dg nanouk okpik

A self-proclaimed “vessel in which stories are told from time immemorial,” poet dg nanouk okpik seamlessly melds both traditional and contemporary narrative, setting her apart from her peers. The result is a collection of poems that are steeped in the perspective of an Inuit of the twenty-first century—a perspective that is fresh, vibrant, and rarely seen in contemporary poetics.
Fearless in her craft, okpik brings an experimental, yet poignant, hybrid aesthetic to her first book, making it truly one of a kind. “It takes all of us seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling to be one,” she says, embodying these words in her work. Every sense is amplified as the poems, carefully arranged, pull the reader into their worlds. While each poem stands on its own, they flow together throughout the collection into a single cohesive body.
The book quickly sets up its own rhythms, moving the reader through interior and exterior landscapes, dark and light, and other spaces both ecological and spiritual. These narrative, and often visionary, poems let the lives of animal species and the power of natural processes weave into the human psyche, and vice versa.
Okpik’s descriptive rhythms ground the reader in movement and music that transcend everyday logic and open up our hearts to the richness of meaning available in the interior and exterior worlds.

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Crafting History in the Northern Plains

A Political Economy of the Heart River Region, 1400–1750

Mark D. Mitchell

The histories of post-1500 American Indian and First Nations societies reflect a dynamic interplay of forces. Europeans introduced new technologies, new economic systems, and new social forms, but those novelties were appropriated, resisted, modified, or ignored according to indigenous meanings, relationships, and practices that originated long before Europeans came to the Americas. A comprehensive understanding of the changes colonialism wrought must therefore be rooted in trans-Columbian native histories that span the centuries before and after the advent of the colonists.
In Crafting History in the Northern Plains Mark D. Mitchell illustrates the crucial role archaeological methods and archaeological data can play in producing trans-Columbian histories. Combining an in-depth analysis of the organization of stone tool and pottery production with ethnographic and historical data, Mitchell synthesizes the social and economic histories of the native communities located at the confluence of the Heart and Missouri rivers, home for more than five centuries to the Mandan people.
Mitchell is the first researcher to examine the impact of Mandan history on the developing colonial economy of the Northern Plains. In Crafting History in the Northern Plains, he demonstrates the special importance of native history in the 1400s and 1500s to the course of European colonization.
The histories of post-1500 American Indian and First Nations societies reflect a dynamic interplay of forces. Europeans introduced new technologies, new economic systems, and new social forms, but those novelties were appropriated, resisted, modified, or ignored according to indigenous meanings, relationships, and practices that originated long before Europeans came to the Americas. A comprehensive understanding of the changes colonialism wrought must therefore be rooted in trans-Columbian native histories that span the centuries before and after the advent of the colonists.
In Crafting History in the Northern Plains Mark D. Mitchell illustrates the crucial role archaeological methods and archaeological data can play in producing trans-Columbian histories. Combining an in-depth analysis of the organization of stone tool and pottery production with ethnographic and historical data, Mitchell synthesizes the social and economic histories of the native communities located at the confluence of the Heart and Missouri rivers, home for more than five centuries to the Mandan people.
Mitchell is the first researcher to examine the impact of Mandan history on the developing colonial economy of the Northern Plains. In Crafting History in the Northern Plains, he demonstrates the special importance of native history in the 1400s and 1500s to the course of European colonization.

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