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Knowing the Day, Knowing the World Cover

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Knowing the Day, Knowing the World

Engaging Amerindian Thought in Public Archaeology

Lesley Green and David R. Green

Based on more than a decade of research in Palikur lands known as Arukwa in the state of Amapá, Brazil, Knowing the Day, Knowing the World reconsiders the dialogue between formal scholarship and Amerindian ways of knowing. Beginning and ending with a public archaeology project in the region, the book engages head-on with Amerindian ways of thinking about space, time, and personhood. Demonstrating that Palikur knowledges are based on movement and a careful theorization of what it means to be present in a place, the book makes a sustained case for engaging with different ways of knowing. It shows how this kind of research can generate rich dialogues about nature, reality, and the ethical production of knowledge.
 
The structure of the book reflects a gradual comprehension of Palikur ways of knowing during the course of field research. The text enters into the ethnographic material from the perspective of familiar disciplines—history, geography, astronomy, geometry, and philosophy—and explores the junctures in which conventional disciplinary frameworks cannot adequately convey Palikur understandings. Beginning with reflections on questions of personhood, ethics, and ethnicity, the authors rethink assumptions about history and geography. They learn and recount an alternative way of thinking about astronomy from the Palikur astronomical narratives, and they show how topological concepts embedded in everyday Palikur speech extend to different ways of conceptualizing landscape. In conclusion, they reflect on the challenges of comprehending alternative cosmologies and consider the insights that come from allowing ethnographic material to pose questions of modernist frameworks.

A Land Between Waters Cover

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A Land Between Waters

Environmental Histories of Modern Mexico

Edited by Christopher R. Boyer

Mexico is one of the most ecologically diverse nations on the planet, with landscapes that range from rainforests to deserts and from small villages to the continent’s largest metropolis. Yet historians are only beginning to understand how people’s use of the land, extraction of its resources, and attempts to conserve it have shaped both the landscape and its inhabitants.

A Land Between Waters explores the relationship between the people and the environment in Mexico. It heralds the arrival of environmental history as a major area of study within the field of Mexican history. This volume brings together a dozen original works of environmental history by some of the foremost experts in Mexican environmental history from both the United States and Mexico.

The contributions collected in this seminal volume explore a wide array of topics, from the era of independence to the present day. Together they examine how humans have used, abused, and attended to nature in Mexico over more than two hundred years. Written in clear, accessible prose, A Land Between Waters showcases the breadth of Mexican environmental history in a way that defines the key topics in the field and suggests avenues for subsequent work. Most importantly, it assesses the impacts of environmental changes that Mexico has faced in the past with an eye to informing national debates about the challenges that the nation will face in the future.

Land Grab Cover

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Land Grab

Green Neoliberalism, Gender, and Garifuna Resistance in Honduras

Keri Vacanti Brondo

Land Grab is a rich ethnographic account of the relationship between identity politics, neoliberal development policy, and rights to resource management in Garifuna communities on the north coast of Honduras, before and after the 2009 coup d’état. The Garifuna are a people of African and Amerindian descent who were exiled to Honduras from the British colony of St. Vincent in 1797 and have long suffered from racial and cultural marginalization.

Employing approaches from feminist political ecology, critical race studies, and ethnic studies,Keri Vacanti Brondo illuminates three contemporary development paradoxes in Honduras: the recognition of the rights of indigenous people at the same time as Garifuna are being displaced in the name of development; the privileging of foreign research tourists in projects that promote ecotourism but result in restricting Garifuna from traditional livelihoods; and the contradictions in Garifuna land-rights claims based on native status when mestizos are reserving rights to resources as natives themselves.
 
Brondo’s book asks a larger question: can “freedom,” understood as well-being, be achieved under the structures of neoliberalism? Grounding this question in the context of Garifuna relationships to territorial control and self-determination, the author explores the “reregulation” of Garifuna land; “neoliberal conservation” strategies like ecotourism, research tourism, and“voluntourism;” the significant issue of who controls access to property and natural resources; and the rights of women, who have been harshly impacted by “development.” In her conclusion, Brondo points to hopeful signs in the emergence of transnational indigenous, environmental, and feminist organizations.

The Learned Ones Cover

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The Learned Ones

Nahua Intellectuals in Postconquest Mexico

Kelly S. McDonough

They were the healers, teachers, and writers, the “wise ones” of Nahuatl-speaking cultures in Mexico, remembered in painted codices and early colonial manuscripts of Mesoamerica as the guardians of knowledge. Yet they very often seem bound to an unrecoverable past, as stereotypes prevent some from linking the words “indigenous” and “intellectual” together.

Not so, according to author Kelly S. McDonough, at least not for native speakers of Nahuatl, one of the most widely spoken and best-documented indigenous languages of the Americas. This book focuses on how Nahuas have been deeply engaged with the written word ever since the introduction of the Roman alphabet in the early sixteenth century. Dipping into distinct time periods of the past five hundred years, this broad perspective allows McDonough to show the heterogeneity of Nahua knowledge and writing as Nahuas took up the pen as agents of their own discourses and agendas.

McDonough worked collaboratively with contemporary Nahua researchers and students, reconnecting the theorization of a population with the population itself. The Learned Ones describes the experience of reading historic text with native speakers today, some encountering Nahua intellectuals and their writing for the very first time.  It intertwines the written word with oral traditions and embodied knowledge, aiming to retie the strand of alphabetic writing to the dynamic trajectory of Nahua intellectual work.

Learning the Possible Cover

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Learning the Possible

Mexican American Students Moving from the Margins of Life to New Ways of Being

Reynaldo Reyes III

Learning the Possible demonstrates that it is truly possible for underprepared high school graduates to be successful in college. It chronicles the struggles and triumphs of five Mexican American students in their first year of college, aided by a one-year scholarship and support program called the College Assistance Migrant Program. CAMP, a federally funded program, is designed to help college students from migrant and/or economically disadvantaged families complete their first year of college. CAMP’s principal objective is to put students on a trajectory toward completion of a bachelor’s degree.
Laura, Christina, Luz, Maria, and Ruben, as the author calls them, had daunting challenges: difficulties with English, extremely low self-confidence, teenage motherhood, conflict between gender roles and personal desires, and a history of gang membership. Focusing on the importance of constructing a new identity as a successful student, Reynaldo Reyes III shares with readers the experiences of these marginalized students. Their stories, coupled with perspectives from instructors, CAMP staff and counselors, and the author’s own observations, illustrate the influence of past schooling, the persistence of culture, and the tensions and challenges inherent in developing a new identity.
This is a study of students who came from the margins and, in a very short time, moved toward the mainstream. In the micro view, it provides extraordinarily useful case studies of a successful intervention program in process. In the larger scope, it is a look at the socially constructed nature of possibility, hope, and success.
Learning the Possible demonstrates that it is truly possible for underprepared high school graduates to be successful in college. It chronicles the struggles and triumphs of five Mexican American students in their first year of college, aided by a one-year scholarship and support program called the College Assistance Migrant Program. CAMP, a federally funded program, is designed to help college students from migrant and/or economically disadvantaged families complete their first year of college. CAMP’s principal objective is to put students on a trajectory toward completion of a bachelor’s degree.
Laura, Christina, Luz, Maria, and Ruben, as the author calls them, had daunting challenges: difficulties with English, extremely low self-confidence, teenage motherhood, conflict between gender roles and personal desires, and a history of gang membership. Focusing on the importance of constructing a new identity as a successful student, Reynaldo Reyes III shares with readers the experiences of these marginalized students. Their stories, coupled with perspectives from instructors, CAMP staff and counselors, and the author’s own observations, illustrate the influence of past schooling, the persistence of culture, and the tensions and challenges inherent in developing a new identity.
This is a study of students who came from the margins and, in a very short time, moved toward the mainstream. In the micro view, it provides extraordinarily useful case studies of a successful intervention program in process. In the larger scope, it is a look at the socially constructed nature of possibility, hope, and success.

Leaving Mesa Verde Cover

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Leaving Mesa Verde

Peril and Change in the Thirteenth-Century Southwest

Timothy A. Kohler

It is one of the great mysteries in the archaeology of the Americas: the depopulation of the northern Southwest in the late thirteenth-century AD. Considering the numbers of people affected, the distances moved, the permanence of the departures, the severity of the surrounding conditions, and the human suffering and culture change that accompanied them, the abrupt conclusion to the farming way of life in this region is one of the greatest disruptions in recorded history.<br><br>Much new paleoenvironmental data, and a great deal of archaeological survey and excavation, permit the fifteen scientists represented here much greater precision in determining the timing of the depopulation, the number of people affected, and the ways in which northern Pueblo peoples coped--and failed to cope--with the rapidly changing environmental and demographic conditions they encountered throughout the 1200s. In addition, some of the scientists in this volume use models to provide insights into the processes behind the patterns they find, helping to narrow the range of plausible explanations.<br><br>What emerges from these investigations is a highly pertinent story of conflict and disruption as a result of climate change, environmental degradation, social rigidity, and conflict. Taken as a whole, these contributions recognize this era as having witnessed a competition between differing social and economic organizations, in which selective migration was considerably hastened by severe climatic, environmental, and social upheaval. Moreover, the chapters show that it is at least as true that emigration led to the collapse of the northern Southwest as it is that collapse led to emigration.

Leaving Tulsa Cover

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Leaving Tulsa

Jennifer Elise Foerster

In her first magical collection of poetry, Jennifer Elise Foerster weaves together a mythic and geographic exploration of a woman’s coming of age in a dislocated time. Leaving Tulsa, a book of road elegies and laments, travels from Oklahoma to the edges of the American continent through landscapes at once stark and lush, ancient and apocalyptic. The imagery that cycles through the poems—fire, shell, highway, wing—gives the collection a rich lyrical-dramatic texture. Each poem builds on a theme of searching for a lost “self”—an “other” America—that crosses biblical, tribal, and ecological mythologies.

In Leaving Tulsa, Foerster is not afraid of the strange or of estrangement. The narrator occupies a space in between and navigates the offbeat experiences of a speaker that is of both Muscogee and European heritage. With bold images and candid language, Foerster challenges the perceptions of what it means to be Native, what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be an American today. Ultimately, these brave and luminous poems engage and shatter the boundaries of time, self, and continent.

Foerster’s journey transcends both geographic space and the confines of the page to live vividly in the mind of the reader.

In her first magical collection of poetry, Jennifer Elise Foerster weaves together a mythic and geographic exploration of a woman’s coming of age in a dislocated time. Leaving Tulsa, a book of road elegies and laments, travels from Oklahoma to the edges of the American continent through landscapes at once stark and lush, ancient and apocalyptic. The imagery that cycles through the poems—fire, shell, highway, wing—gives the collection a rich lyrical-dramatic texture. Each poem builds on a theme of searching for a lost “self”—an “other” America—that crosses biblical, tribal, and ecological mythologies.

In Leaving Tulsa, Foerster is not afraid of the strange or of estrangement. The narrator occupies a space in between and navigates the offbeat experiences of a speaker that is of both Muscogee and European heritage. With bold images and candid language, Foerster challenges the perceptions of what it means to be Native, what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be an American today. Ultimately, these brave and luminous poems engage and shatter the boundaries of time, self, and continent.

Foerster’s journey transcends both geographic space and the confines of the page to live vividly in the mind of the reader.

Lessons from a Quechua Strongwoman Cover

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Lessons from a Quechua Strongwoman

Ideophony, Dialogue and Perspective

By Janis B. Nuckolls

Using the intriguing stories and words of a Quechua-speaking woman named Luisa Cadena from the Pastaza Province of Ecuador, Janis B. Nuckolls reveals a complex language system in which ideophony, dialogue, and perspective are all at the core of cultural and grammatical communications among Amazonian Quechua speakers.

This book is a fascinating look at ideophones—words that communicate succinctly through imitative sound qualities. They are at the core of Quechua speakers’ discourse—both linguistic and cultural—because they allow agency and reaction to substances and entities as well as beings. Nuckolls shows that Luisa Cadena’s utterances give every individual, major or minor, a voice in her narrative. Sometimes as subtle as a barely felt movement or unintelligible sound, the language supports an amazingly wide variety of voices.

Cadena’s narratives and commentaries on everyday events reveal that sound imitation through ideophones, representations of dialogues between humans and nonhumans, and grammatical distinctions between a speaking self and an other are all part of a language system that allows for the possibility of shared affects, intentions, moral values, and meaningful, communicative interactions between humans and nonhumans.

Life in the Hothouse Cover

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Life in the Hothouse

How a Living Planet Survives Climate Change

Melanie Lenart

In this insightful, compelling, and highly readable work, Melanie Lenart, an award-winning journalist and science writer who holds a PhD in Natural Resources and Global Change, examines global warming with the trained eye of a professional scientist. And she presents the science in a clear, straightforward manner. Why does the planet’s warming produce stronger hurricanes, rising seas, and larger floods? Simple, says Lenart. The Earth is just doing what comes naturally. Just as humans produce sweat to cool off on a hot day, the planet produces hurricanes, floods, wetlands, and forests to cool itself off.

Life in the Hothouse incorporates Lenart’s extensive knowledge of climate science—including the latest research in climate change—and the most current scientific theories, including Gaia theory, which holds that the Earth has some degree of climate control “built in.” As Lenart points out, scientists have been documenting stronger hurricanes and larger floods for many years. There is a good reason for this, she notes. Hurricanes help cool the ocean surface and clear the air of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming. From the perspective of Gaia theory, these responses are helping to slow the ongoing global warming and Lenart expounds upon this in a clear and understandable fashion.

There is hope, Lenart writes. If we help sustain Earth's natural defense systems, including wetlands and forests, perhaps Mother Earth will no longer need to rely as much on the cooling effects of what we call "natural disasters"—many of which carry a human fingerprint. At a minimum, she argues, these systems can help us survive the heat.

Check out some recent interviews with Melanie Lenart!
<a href="http://www.ecoshock.org/downloads/climate_solutions/ES_Lenart.mp3" target ="new">EcoShock Radio (May 21, 2010)
<a href="http://www.progressivenewsradio.com/?p=39 target="new">Progressive News Radio Podcast (April 27, 2010)
<a href="http://tv.azpm.org/kuat/segments/2010/4/20/kuat-life-in-the-hothouse/" target="new">KUAT TV Arizona Public Media (April 20, 2010)
<a href="http://www.wgy.com/cc-common/mediaplayer/player.html?redir=yes&mps=don_weeks.php&mid=http://a1135.g.akamai.net/f/1135/18227/1h/cchannel.download.akamai.com/18227/podcast/ALBANY-NY/WGY-AM/lenart331.mp3?CPROG=PCAST?CCOMRRMID&CPROG=RICHMEDIA&MARKET=ALBANY-NY&#" target="new">Don Weeks Show (March 23, 2010)
<a href="http://www.voiceamerica.com/voiceamerica/vepisode.aspx?aid=45481" target="new">Go Green Radio with Jill Buck (April 2, 2010)
<a href="http://www.voiceamerica.com/voiceamerica/vepisode.aspx?aid=45516" target="new">Positive Living with Patricia Raskin (April 19, 2010)


For more details including news and reviews for this timely book, check out the <a href="http://www.u.arizona.edu/~mlenart/" target="new"> author's Web site!

Click <a href="http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/extras/Lenart/" target="new">here for source notes for this book.

The Life-Giving Stone Cover

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The Life-Giving Stone

ethnoarchaeology of Maya metates

By Micheal Searcy

In The Life-Giving Stone, Michael Searcy provides a thought-provoking ethnoarchaeological account of metate and mano manufacture, marketing, and use among Guatemalan Maya for whom these stone implements are still essential equipment in everyday life and diet.

Although many archaeologists have regarded these artifacts simply as common everyday tools and therefore unremarkable, Searcy’s methodology reveals how, for the ancient Maya, the manufacture and use of grinding stones significantly impacted their physical and economic welfare. In tracing the life cycle of these tools from production to discard for the modern Maya, Searcy discovers rich customs and traditions that indicate how metates and manos have continued to sustain life—not just literally, in terms of food, but also in terms of culture. His research is based on two years of fieldwork among three Mayan groups, in which he documented behaviors associated with these tools during their procurement, production, acquisition, use, discard, and re-use.

Searcy’s investigation documents traditional practices that are rapidly being lost or dramatically modified. In few instances will it be possible in the future to observe metates and manos as central elements in household provisioning or follow their path from hand-manufacture to market distribution and to intergenerational transmission. In this careful inquiry into the cultural significance of a simple tool, Searcy’s ethnographic observations are guided both by an interest in how grinding stone traditions have persisted and how they are changing today, and by the goal of enhancing the archaeological interpretation of these stones, which were so fundamental to pre-Hispanic agriculturalists with corn-based cuisines.

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