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Earth and Mars

A Reflection

Stephen E. Strom and Bradford A. Smith

Nearly five billion years ago, Earth and Mars were born together as planetary siblings orbiting a young, emerging Sun. Yet today, one planet is water rich and life bearing, while the other is seemingly cold, dry, and forbidding.

Earth and Mars is a fusion of art and science, a blend of images and essays celebrating the successful creation of our life-sustaining planet and the beauty and mystery of Mars. Through images of terrestrial landscapes and photographs selected from recent NASA and European Space Agency missions to Mars, Earth and Mars reveals the profound beauty resulting from the action of volcanism, wind, and water. The accompanying text provides a context for appreciating the role of these elemental forces in shaping the surfaces of each planet, as well as the divergent evolutionary paths that led to an Earth that is teeming with life, and Mars that is seemingly lifeless.

Earth and Mars inspires reflection on the extraordinarily delicate balance of forces that has resulted in our good fortune: to be alive and sentient on a bountiful blue world.

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Eating the Landscape

American Indian Stories of Food, Identity, and Resilience

(by) Enrique Salmón

"Eating is not only a political act, it is also a cultural act that reaffirms one’s identity and worldview," Enrique Salmón writes in Eating the Landscape. Traversing a range of cultures, including the Tohono O’odham of the Sonoran Desert and the Rarámuri of the Sierra Tarahumara, the book is an illuminating journey through the southwest United States and northern Mexico. Salmón weaves his historical and cultural knowledge as a renowned indigenous ethnobotanist with stories American Indian farmers have shared with him to illustrate how traditional indigenous foodways—from the cultivation of crops to the preparation of meals—are rooted in a time-honored understanding of environmental stewardship.

In this fascinating personal narrative, Salmón focuses on an array of indigenous farmers who uphold traditional agricultural practices in the face of modern changes to food systems such as extensive industrialization and the genetic modification of food crops. Despite the vast cultural and geographic diversity of the region he explores, Salmón reveals common themes: the importance of participation in a reciprocal relationship with the land, the connection between each group’s cultural identity and their ecosystems, and the indispensible correlation of land consciousness and food consciousness. Salmón shows that these collective philosophies provide the foundation for indigenous resilience as the farmers contend with global climate change and other disruptions to long-established foodways. This resilience, along with the rich stores of traditional ecological knowledge maintained by indigenous agriculturalists, Salmón explains, may be the key to sustaining food sources for humans in years to come.

As many of us begin to question the origins and collateral costs of the food we consume, Salmón’s call for a return to more traditional food practices in this wide-ranging and insightful book is especially timely. Eating the Landscape is an essential resource for ethnobotanists, food sovereignty proponents, and advocates of the local food and slow food movements.

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The Ecological Other

Environmental Exclusion in American Culture

Sarah Jaquette Ray

With roots in eugenics and other social-control programs, modern American environmentalism is not always as progressive as we would like to think. In The Ecological Other, Sarah Jaquette Ray examines the ways in which environmentalism can create social injustice through discourses of the body.
Ray investigates three categories of ecological otherness: people with disabilities, immigrants, and Native Americans. Extending recent work in environmental justice ecocriticism, Ray argues that the expression of environmental disgust toward certain kinds of bodies draws problematic lines between ecological “subjects”—those who are good for and belong in nature—and ecological “others”—those who are threats to or out of place in nature. Ultimately, The Ecological Other urges us to be more critical of how we use nature as a tool of social control and to be careful about the ways in which we construct our arguments to ensure its protection. 
The book challenges long-standing assumptions in environmentalism and will be of interest to those in environmental literature and history, American studies, disability studies, and Native American studies, as well as anyone concerned with issues of environmental justice.

With roots in eugenics and other social-control programs, modern American environmentalism is not always as progressive as we would like to think. In The Ecological Other, Sarah Jaquette Ray examines the ways in which environmentalism can create social injustice through discourses of the body.
Ray investigates three categories of ecological otherness: people with disabilities, immigrants, and Native Americans. Extending recent work in environmental justice ecocriticism, Ray argues that the expression of environmental disgust toward certain kinds of bodies draws problematic lines between ecological “subjects”—those who are good for and belong in nature—and ecological “others”—those who are threats to or out of place in nature. Ultimately, The Ecological Other urges us to be more critical of how we use nature as a tool of social control and to be careful about the ways in which we construct our arguments to ensure its protection. 
The book challenges long-standing assumptions in environmentalism and will be of interest to those in environmental literature and history, American studies, disability studies, and Native American studies, as well as anyone concerned with issues of environmental justice.

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The El Mozote Massacre

Human Rights and Global Implications Revised and Expanded Edition

Leigh Binford

In 1981, more than a thousand civilians around El Mozote, El Salvador, were slaughtered by the country’s U.S.-trained army. The story was covered—and soon forgotten—by the international news media. In the first edition of The El Mozote Massacre, anthropologist Leigh Binford successfully restores a social identity to the massacre victims through his dissection of Third World human rights reporting and a rich ethnographic and personal account of El Mozote–area residents prior to the massacre.

Almost two decades later, the consequences of the massacre continue to reverberate through the country’s legal and socioeconomic systems. The El Mozote Massacre, 2nd Edition brings together new evidence to address reconstruction, historical memory, and human rights issues resulting from what may be the largest massacre in modern Latin American history.

With a multitude of additions, including three new chapters, an extended chronology, discussion of the hearing and ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in 2012, and evidence gathered throughout half a dozen field trips made by the author, Binford presents a current perspective on the effects of this tragic moment in history. Thanks to geographically expanded fieldwork, Binford offers critical discussion of postwar social, economic, religious, and social justice in El Mozote, and adds important new regional, national, and global contexts.

The El Mozote Massacre, 2nd Edition maintains the crucial presence of the massacre in human rights discussions for El Salvador, Latin America, and the world.

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Empire

Poems by Xochiquetzal Candelaria

Using both lyrical and narrative forms, these concise verses explore a family history set against the larger backdrop of Mexican history, immigration, and landscapes of the Southwest. The poet’s delicate touch lends these poems an organic quality that allows her to address both the personal and the political with equal grace. Straightforward without being simplistic or reductive, these poems manage to be intimate without seeming self-important.

This distinctive collection ranges from the frighteningly whimsical image of Cortés dancing gleefully around a cannon to the haunting and poignant discovery of a dead refugee boy seemingly buried within the poet herself. The blending of styles works to blur the lines between subjects, creating a textured narrative full of both imagination and nuance.

Ultimately, Empire situates individual experience in the wider social context, highlighting the power of poetry as song, performance, testimony, and witness. Addressing themes such as war, family, poverty, gender, race, and migration, Candelaria gives us a dialogue between historical and personal narratives, as well as discreet “conversations” between content and form.

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Encountering Life in the Universe

Ethical Foundations and Social Implications of Astrobiology

Edited by Chris Impey, Anna H. Spitz, and William Stoeger

Are we alone in the universe? Are the planets our playground to treat as we will, or do we have a responsibility to other creatures who may inhabit or use them? Do we have a right to dump trash in space or leave vehicles on Mars or the moon?  How should we interact with other life forms?

Encountering Life in the Universe examines the intersection of scientific research and society to further explore the ethics of how to behave in a universe where much is unknown. Taking contributions from notable experts in several fields, the editors skillfully introduce and develop a broad look at the moral questions facing humans on Earth and beyond.

Major advances in biology, biotechnology, and medicine create an urgency to ethical considerations in those fields. Astrobiology goes on to debate how we might behave as we explore new worlds, or create new life in the laboratory, or interact with extraterrestrial life forms. Stimulated by new technologies for scientific exploration on and off the Earth, astrobiology is establishing itself as a distinct scientific endeavor.

In what way can established philosophies provide guidance for the new frontiers opened by astrobiology research? Can the foundations of ethics and moral philosophy help answer questions about modifying other planets? Or about how to conduct experiments to create life in the lab or about? How to interact with organisms we might discover on another world?

While we wait for the first echo that might indicate life beyond Earth, astobiologists, along with  philosophers, theologians, artists, and the general public, are exploring how we might behave—even before we know for sure they are there. Encountering Life in the Universe is a remarkable resource for such philosophical challenges.

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Exoplanets

Edited by Sara Seager

For the first time in human history, we know for certain the existence of planets around other stars. Now the fastest-growing field in space science, the time is right for this fundamental source book on the topic which will lay the foundation for its continued growth.

Exoplanets serves as both an introduction for the non-specialist and a foundation for the techniques and equations used in exoplanet observation by those dedicated to the field.

Funding to make this important volume an affordable addition to anyone's library was provided by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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Exploring Mars

Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery

By Scott Hubbard; Foreword by Bill Nye

The Red Planet has been a subject of fascination for humanity for thousands of years, becoming part of our folklore and popular culture. The most Earthlike of the planets in our solar system, Mars may have harbored some form of life in the past and may still possess an ecosystem in some underground refuge. The mysteries of this fourth planet from our Sun make it of central importance to NASA and its science goals for the twenty-first century.  

In the wake of the very public failures of the Mars Polar Lander and the Mars Climate Orbiter in 1999, NASA embarked on a complete reassessment of the Mars Program. Scott Hubbard was asked to lead this restructuring in 2000, becoming known as the "Mars Czar." His team's efforts resulted in a very successful decade-long series of missions--each building on the accomplishments of those before it--that adhered to the science adage "follow the water" when debating how to proceed. Hubbard's work created the Mars Odyssey mission, the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Phoenix mission, and most recently the planned launch of the Mars Science Laboratory

Now for the first time Scott Hubbard tells the complete story of how he fashioned this program, describing both the technical and political forces involved and bringing to life the national and international cast of characters engaged in this monumental endeavor.  Blending the exciting stories of the missions with the thrills of scientific discovery, Exploring Mars will intrigue anyone interested in the science, the engineering, or the policy of investigating other worlds.
 

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Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl and His Legacy

Edited by Galen Brokaw and Jongsoo Lee

Don Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl is one of the most controversial and provocative Mexican chroniclers from the colonial period. A descendant of both the famous Prehispanic poet-king Nezahualcoyotl and Hernán Cortés’s ally Cortés Ixtlilxochitl, he penned chronicles that rewrote Prehispanic and colonial history. Traditionally known as a Europeanized historian of Tetzcoco, he wrote prolifically, producing documents covering various aspects of pre- and postconquest history, religion, and literature.

His seventeenth-century writings have had a lasting effect on the understanding of Mexican culture and history from the colonial period to the present. But because Alva Ixtlilxochitl frequently used Tetzcocan oral traditions and pictorial codices of his ancestors’ heroic achievements, scholars have long said that his writings exhibit a Tetzcocan bias that distorts representations and understandings of Prehispanic Mexican history and culture.

Fernando de Alva Ixtlilxochitl and His Legacy is a collection of essays providing deeper perspective on the life, work, and legacy of Alva Ixtlilxochitl. The contributors revise and broaden previous understandings of Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s racial and cultural identity, including his method of transcribing pictorial texts, his treatment of gender, and his influence on Mexican nationalism. Chapter authors coming from the fields of anthropology, history, linguistics, and literature offer valuable new perspectives on the complexities of Alva Ixtlilxochitl’s life and his contributions to the history and scholarship of Mexico.

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Finding Meaning

Kaona and Contemporary Hawaiian Literature

Brandy Nalani McDougall

In this first extensive study of contemporary Hawaiian literature, Brandy Nalani McDougall examines a vibrant selection of fiction, poetry, and drama by emerging and established Hawaiian authors, including Haunani-Kay Trask, John Dominis Holt, Imaikalani Kalahele, and Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl. At the center of the analysis is a hallmark of Hawaiian aesthetics—kaona, the intellectual practice of hiding and finding meaning that encompasses the allegorical, the symbolic, the allusive, and the figurative.

With a poet’s attention to detail, McDougall interprets examples of kaona, guiding readers through olelo no'eau (proverbs), mo‘olelo (literature and histories), and mooku'auhau (genealogies) alongside their contemporary literary descendants, unveiling complex layers of Hawaiian identity, culture, history, politics, and ecology.

Throughout, McDougall asserts that “kaona connectivity” not only carries bright possibilities for connecting the present to the past, but it may also ignite a decolonial future. Ultimately, Finding Meaning affirms the tremendous power of Indigenous stories and genealogies to give activism and decolonization movements lasting meaning.

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