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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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Crafting Identity

Transnational Indian Arts and the Politics of Race in Central Mexico

Pavel Shlossberg

Crafting Identity goes far beyond folklore in its ethnographic exploration of mask making in central Mexico. In addition to examining larger theoretical issues about indigenous and mestizo identity and cultural citizenship as represented through masks and festivals, the book also examines how dominant institutions of cultural production (art, media, and tourism) mediate Mexican “arte popular,” which makes Mexican indigeneity “digestible” from the standpoint of elite and popular Mexican nationalism and American and global markets for folklore.

The first ethnographic study of its kind, the book examines how indigenous and mestizo mask makers, both popular and elite, view and contest relations of power and inequality through their craft. Using data from his interviews with mask makers, collectors, museum curators, editors, and others, Pavel Shlossberg places the artisans within the larger context of their relationships with the nation-state and Mexican elites, as well as with the production cultures that inform international arts and crafts markets. In exploring the connection of mask making to capitalism, the book examines the symbolic and material pressures brought to bear on Mexican artisans to embody and enact self-racializing stereotypes and the performance of stigmatized indigenous identities.

Shlossberg’s weaving of ethnographic data and cultural theory demystifies the way mask makers ascribe meaning to their practices and illuminates how these practices are influenced by state and cultural institutions. Demonstrating how the practice of mask making negotiates ethnoracial identity with regard to the Mexican state and the United States, Shlossberg shows how it derives meaning, value, and economic worth in the eyes of the state and cultural institutions that mediate between the mask maker and the market.

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Crafting Wounaan Landscapes

Identity, Art, and Environmental Governance in Panama’s Darién

Julie Velásquez Runk

Panama’s Darién is a name many conservationists know. Renowned for its lowland tropical forests, its fame is more pronounced because a road that should be there is not: environmentalists have repeatedly, and remarkably, blocked all attempts to connect the Americas via the Pan American Highway. That lacuna, that absence of a road, also serves to occlude history in the region as its old-growth forests give the erroneous impression of a peopleless nature.



In Crafting Wounaan Landscapes, Julie Velásquez Runk upends long-standing assumptions about the people that call Darién home, and she demonstrates the agency of the Wounaan people to make their living and preserve and transform their way of life in the face of continuous and tremendous change. Velásquez Runk focuses on Wounaan crafting—how their ability to subtly effect change has granted them resilience in a dynamic and globalized era. She theorizes that unpredictable landscapes, political decisions, and cultural beliefs are responsible for environmental conservation problems, and she unpacks environmental governance efforts that illustrate what happens when conservation is confronted with people in a purportedly peopleless place.



The everyday dangers of environmental governance without local crafting include logging, land grabbing, and loss of carbon in a new era of carbon governance in the face of climate change. Crafting Wounaan Landscapes provides recognition of local ways of knowing and being in the world that may be key to the future of conservation practice.

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Creating Aztlán

Chicano Art, Indigenous Sovereignty, and Lowriding Across Turtle Island

Dylan A. T. Miner

In lowriding culture, the ride is many things—both physical and intellectual. Embraced by both Xicano and other Indigenous youth, lowriding takes something very ordinary—a car or bike—and transforms it and claims it. Using the idea that lowriding is an Indigenous way of being in the world, artist and historian Dylan A. T. Miner discusses the multiple roles that Aztlán has played at various moments in time, from the pre-Cuauhtemoc codices through both Spanish and American colonial regimes, past the Chicano Movement and into the present day. Across this “migration story,” Miner challenges notions of mestizaje and asserts Aztlán, as visualized by Xicano artists, as a form of Indigenous sovereignty. Throughout this book, Miner employs Indigenous and Native American methodologies to show that Chicano art needs to be understood in the context of Indigenous history, anticolonial struggle, and Native American studies. Miner pays particular attention to art outside the U.S. Southwest and includes discussions of work by Nora Chapa Mendoza, Gilbert “Magú” Luján, Santa Barraza, Malaquías Montoya, Carlos Cortéz Koyokuikatl, Favianna Rodríguez, and Dignidad Rebelde, which includes Melanie Cervantes and Jesús Barraza. With sixteen pages of color images, this book will be crucial to those interested in art history, anthropology, philosophy, and Chicano and Native American studies. Creating Aztlán interrogates the historic and important role that Aztlán plays in Chicano and Indigenous art and culture.

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Crossing with the Virgin

Stories from the Migrant Trail

Kathryn Ferguson, Norma A. Price, and Ted Parks

Over the past ten years, more than 4,000 people have died while crossing the Arizona desert to find jobs, join families, or start new lives. Other migrants tell of the corpses they pass—bodies that are never recovered or counted.

Crossing With the Virgin collects stories heard from migrants about these treacherous treks—firsthand accounts told to volunteers for the Samaritans, a humanitarian group that seeks to prevent such unnecessary deaths by providing these travelers with medical aid, water, and food. Other books have dealt with border crossing; this is the first to share stories of immigrant suffering at its worst told by migrants encountered on desert trails.

The Samaritans write about their encounters to show what takes place on a daily basis along the border: confrontations with Border Patrol agents at checkpoints reminiscent of wartime; children who die in their parents’ desperate bid to reunite families; migrants terrorized by bandits; and hovering ghost-like above nearly every crossing, the ever-present threat of death.

These thirty-nine stories are about the migrants, but they also tell how each individual author became involved with this work. As such, they offer 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.

Crossing With the Virgin raises important questions about underlying assumptions and basic operations of border enforcement, helping readers see past political positions to view migrants as human beings. It will touch your heart as surely as it reassures you that there are people who still care about their fellow man.

Listen to readings by the authors <a href="http://bit.ly/bj3kwK">here.

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Crow-Omaha

New Light on a Classic Problem of Kinship Analysis

Thomas R. Trautmann

The “Crow-Omaha problem” has perplexed anthropologists since it was first described by Lewis Henry Morgan in 1871. During his worldwide survey of kinship systems, Morgan learned with astonishment that some Native American societies call some relatives of different generations by the same terms. Why? Intergenerational “skewing” in what came to be named “Crow” and “Omaha” systems has provoked a wealth of anthropological arguments, from Rivers to Radcliffe-Brown, from Lowie to Lévi-Strauss, and many more. Crow-Omaha systems, it turns out, are both uncommon and yet found distributed around the world. For anthropologists, cracking the Crow-Omaha problem is critical to understanding how social systems transform from one type into another, both historically in particular settings and evolutionarily in the broader sweep of human relations.

This volume examines the Crow-Omaha problem from a variety of perspectives—historical, linguistic, formalist, structuralist, culturalist, evolutionary, and phylogenetic. It focuses on the regions where Crow-Omaha systems occur: Native North America, Amazonia, West Africa, Northeast and East Africa, aboriginal Australia, northeast India, and the Tibeto-Burman area. The international roster of authors includes leading experts in their fields.

The book offers a state-of-the-art assessment of Crow-Omaha kinship and carries forward the work of the landmark volume Transformations of Kinship, published in 1998. Intended for students and scholars alike, it is composed of brief, accessible chapters that respect the complexity of the ideas while presenting them clearly. The work serves as both a new benchmark in the explanation of kinship systems and an introduction to kinship studies for a new generation of students.

Series Note: Formerly titled Amerind Studies in Archaeology, this series has recently been expanded and retitled Amerind Studies in Anthropology to incorporate a high quality and number of anthropology titles coming in to the series in addition to those in archaeology.

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Cuba, Hot and Cold

Tom Miller

Cuba—mysterious, intoxicating, captivating. Whether you’re planning to go or have just returned, Cuba, Hot and Cold is essential for your bookshelf. With a keen eye and dry wit, author Tom Miller takes readers on an intimate journey from Havana to the places you seldom find in guidebooks.

A brilliant raconteur and expert on Cuba, Miller is full of enthralling behind-the-scenes stories. His subjects include one of the world’s most resourceful master instrument makers, the famous photo of Che Guevara, and the explosion of the USS Maine. A veteran of the underground press of the 1960s, Miller describes the day Cuba’s State Security detained him for distributing copies of the United Nations Human Rights Declaration of 1948 and explains how the dollar has become the currency of necessity. His warm reminiscences explain the complexities of life in Cuba.

Since his first visit to the island 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. His first Cuba book, Trading with the Enemy, brought readers into the “Special Period,” Fidel’s name for the country’s period of economic free-fall. Cuba, Hot and Cold brings us up to date, providing intimate and authentic glimpses of day-to-day life.

 

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The Darling

Lorraine M. López

Latina bibliophile Caridad falls out of love again and again, with much help from Anton Chekhov, Gustave Flaubert, Theodore Dreiser, D. H. Lawrence, Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Hardy, and other deceased white men of letters. Raised in a household of women, she rejects examples of womanhood offered by her long-suffering mother, her caustic eldest sister Felicia, and her pliant and sentimental middle sister Esperanza. Instead Caridad, a compulsive reader, educates herself about love and what it means to be a sentient and intelligent woman by reading classic literature written by men, and supplements this with life lessons gleaned from her relationships.

Though set in Los Angeles from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, the narrative reinscribes Anton Chekhov’s short story, “The Darling,” first published in 1899. Like Chekhov’s protagonist, Caridad engages in various relationships in her search for love and fulfillment. Rather than absorbing beliefs held by the men in her life, as does Chekhov’s heroine, Caridad instead draws on her lovers’ resources in attempting to improve and educate herself. Apart from Chekhov, various authors of classic literature further guide Caridad’s quest to find herself and to find love, inspiring her longing for love, while also enabling her to disentangle herself from unsatisfying to disastrous relationships by encouraging her to strive for an ideal.

In a moment of clarity, Caridad compares herself to a trapeze artist near the top of a striped tent as she flies from one man to the next, expecting to be caught and held until she is ready to leap again. Flying, she wonders—or is she falling?

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Days of Plenty, Days of Want

For Patricia Preciado Martin, the past is every bit as real as the present. In Days of Plenty, Days of Want , past and present meet in a collection of strikingly crafted short stories. Martin combines a strong sense of the poetic and a familiarity with her community in fiction that is as authentic as history. Transcending the legends and folklore that are an integral part of the stories, she shows us a heritage being irreverently pushed aside by "progress" yet passed along from person to person, century to century. In the pages of this book are people so real you'll swear you've met them, situations so familiar you'll nod in recognition. In "Earth to Earth" we see the remains of a woman's entire lifetime being purchased and destroyed by land developers. "María de las Trenzas" offers a moving account of a young woman who fantasizes adventures to escape the tedium of her life. And "The Ruins" emphasizes the importance of preserving a heritage so that a people's history and culture will not be forgotten by future generations.

Two of these stories have won prizes in Chicano literary contests; all will win the hearts of readers. Through these stories, Patricia Preciado Martin reminds us that freedom and self-expression are important in fulfilling our potential—and, more important, that a large part of this process requires acknowledging our heritage as a priceless gift whose relevance in our lives cannot be ignored.

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De Grazia

The Man and the Myths

James W. Johnson with Marilyn D. Johnson

Artist Ted De Grazia (1909–1982) lived life with passion and verve, embracing risk and romance, becoming a legend in Arizona and gaining international acclaim. De Grazia: The Man and the Myths is a biography that reveals the eccentric, colorful man behind the myths. This highly entertaining book by James W. Johnson with Marilyn D. Johnson looks at De Grazia’s life from his early years until his death.
    Born in Arizona Territory to Italian immigrant parents, De Grazia’s
humble childhood as a copper miner’s son influenced his famous persona later. De Grazia often held forth at his gallery in Tucson’s Catalina foothills dressed in a pseudo prospector’s getup of scraggly beard, jeans, flannel shirt, boots, and beat-up cowboy hat. Outrageous stories of womanizing, scores of children, and drinking binges created an eclectic image that fueled stories of mythic proportions, along with global sales of his colorful paintings inspired by the Southwest and Mexico. He made millions through his paintings and the licensing of his art for greeting cards and trinkets. Critics called his work kitsch or commercial, yet thousands of admirers continue to love it.
    Calling De Grazia a complicated man doesn’t begin to explain him. He once described himself as “not saint nor devil, but both.” The first book of its kind, De Grazia: The Man and the Myths tells the story of a life remarkably lived.

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