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Oregon State University Press

Website: http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/

For fifty years, Oregon State University Press has been publishing exceptional books about the Pacific Northwest -- its people and landscapes, its flora and fauna, its history and cultural heritage. The Press has played a vital role in the region's literary life, providing readers with a better understanding of what it means to be an Oregonian.

Founded in 1961 when the University adopted its current name of Oregon State University, the OSU Press at first published mainly scholarly works on the biological and natural sciences. But sprinkled throughout our list were titles about Oregon that appealed to the book-loving public.

Fifty year -- and nearly 400 book -- later, the heart of our mission is still the same. We are a scholarly publisher with distinguished books in several academic areas from environmental history and natural resource management to indigenous studies and we publish titles that celebrate, evaluate, invent, and illuminate the Oregon condition.


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Oregon State University Press

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Public Lands, Public Debates Cover

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Public Lands, Public Debates

A Century of Controversy

The subject of historic struggle and contemporary dispute, public lands in the United States are treasured spaces. In Public Lands, Public Debates, environmental historian Char Miller explores the history of conservation thinking and the development of a government agency with stewardship at its mission.

Owned in common, our national forests, monuments, parks, and preserves are funded through federal tax receipts, making these public lands national in scope and significance. Their controversial histories demonstrate their vulnerability to shifting tides of public opinion, alterations in fiscal support, and overlapping authorities for their management—including federal, state, and local mandates, as well as critical tribal prerogatives and military claims.

Miller takes the Forest Service as a gauge of the broader debates in which Americans have engaged since the late nineteenth century. In nineteen essays,he examines critical moments of public and private negotiation to help explain the particular, and occasionally peculiar, tensions that have shaped the administration of public lands in the United States.

“Watching democracy at work can be bewildering, even frustrating, but the only way individuals and organizations can sift through the often messy business of public deliberation is to deliberate...”—Char Miller, from the introduction

Race and Science Cover

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Race and Science

Scientific Challenges to Racism in Modern America

Edited by Paul Farber and Hamilton Cravens

During the course of American history, scientific theories have been used to legitimate racial ideas that in turn have been important in creating and interpreting the law. Race and Science collects essays from leading voices in law, history, history of science, botany, and the social sciences, resulting in a rich and comprehensive multidisciplinary exploration of the roots of and the scientific challenges to racial essentialism.

The notion that someone’s racial identity and characteristics define everything of importance about them has become deeply embedded in American culture, society, and science. These essays illuminate the roots of this belief and present case studies that explore how and why natural and social scientists have challenged these racist views.

Reflections of a Pragmatic Economist Cover

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Reflections of a Pragmatic Economist

My Intellectual Journey

Emery N. Castle

In Reflections of a Pragmatic Economist, Emery Castle traces an intellectual journey that spans more than half a century and has helped shape the fields of agricultural, rural and resource economics.

Castle’s memoir is grounded in the integration of his personal and professional experiences. He describes his roots as the son of Kansas tenant farmers, his service during World War II, his education, and his academic career, exploring the ways in which these experiences influenced his teaching, research, and administrative responsibilities.

An influential figure in the development of resource and environmental economics, Castle is also the pioneer of a rural economics based in the interdependence of the rural and urban. Castle’s memoir reflects the history of ideas in economics and agricultural economics. Drawing on ten years of leadership at Resources for the Future, a highly influential think tank on resource and environmental policy research, Castle gives special attention to contrasting elite and land-grant institutions.

In a lifetime spent studying people and places, Castle has helped expand the boundaries of applied economics in profound and eloquent ways. Reflections of a Pragmatic Economist recounts this unique journey.

Refusing War, Affirming Peace Cover

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Refusing War, Affirming Peace

A History of Civilian Public Service Camp #21 at Cascade Locks

Jeffrey Kovac

One of the untold stories of America’s World War II experience belongs to the thousands who refused military service for reasons of conscience, instead serving their country through non-military alternate service. Refusing War, Affirming Peace offers an intimate view of a single Civilian Public Service Camp, Camp #21 at Cascade Locks, Oregon, one of the largest and longest-serving camps in the system—and one of the most unusual.

Under the leadership of a remarkable director, Rev. Mark Y. Schrock, and some outstanding camp leaders, the men at Camp #21 created a vibrant community. Despite the requisite long days of physical labor, the men developed a strong educational program, published a newspaper and a literary magazine, produced plays and concerts, and participated in a special school and research project called the School of Pacifist Living. They also challenged the Selective Service System in two political protests—one concerning the threatened removal of a Japanese American, George Yamada, and a second concerning a war- related work project. Their story shows the CPS system at its best.

Jeffrey Kovac’s thorough research has resulted in one of the very few histories of a single Civilian Public Service Camp, shedding light on a generation of men who, during the “good war,” created a community for peace. Refusing War is an important contribution to World War II history, peace studies, and the history of the Pacific Northwest.

Remembering the Power of Words Cover

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Remembering the Power of Words

The Life of an Oregon Activist, Legislator, and Community Leader

Avel Louise Gordly with Patricia A. Schechter

Remembering the Power of Words recounts the personal and professional journey of Avel Gordly, the first African American woman elected to the Oregon State Senate.

The book is a brave and honest telling of Gordly’s life. She shares the challenges and struggles she faced growing up Black in Portland in the 1950s and 1960s, as well as her determination to attend college, the dedication to activism that took her from Portland to Africa, and her eventual decision to run for a seat in the state legislature.

That words have power is a constant undercurrent in Gordly’s account and a truth she learned early in life. “Growing up, finding my own voice,” she writes, “was tied up with denying my voice or having it forcefully rejected and in all of that the memory of my father is very strong. To this day—and I am today a very experienced public speaker—preparation to speak takes a great deal of energy.” That this memoir has its origins as an oral history is fitting since Gordly has used her voice, out loud, to teach and inspire others for many years.

“If you ever wondered how a principl­ed woman lives a public life, read Remembering the Power of Words! Here Avel Gordly reveals the challenges, victories, and fears of her life of public service—in the Oregon legislature and senate, especially. Writing as a black female pioneer, she combines the personal with the political in a fascinating way that speaks to all of us.”—Nell Irvin Painter, Edwards Professor of American History, Emerita, Princeton University and author of The History of White People and Sojourner Truth, A Life, A Symbol

Salmon, People, and Place Cover

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Salmon, People, and Place

A Biologist's Search for Salmon Recovery

Jim Lichatowich

Each year wild Pacific salmon leave their oceanic feeding grounds and swim hundreds of miles back to their home rivers. The salmon’s annual return is a place-defining event in the Pacific Northwest, with immense ecological, economic, and social significance. However, despite massive spending, efforts to significantly alter the endangered status of salmon have failed. 

In Salmon, People, and Place, acclaimed fisheries biologist Jim Lichatowich eloquently exposes the misconceptions underlying salmon management and recovery programs that have fueled the catastrophic decline in Northwest salmon populations for more than a century. These programs will continue to fail, he suggests, so long as they regard salmon as products and ignore their essential relationship with their habitat.

But Lichatowich offers hope. In Salmon, People, and Place he presents a concrete plan for salmon recovery, one based on the myriad lessons learned from past mistakes. What is needed to successfully restore salmon, Lichatowich states, is an acute commitment to healing the relationships among salmon, people, and place.

A significant contribution to the literature on Pacific salmon, Salmon, People, and Place: A Biologist’s Search for Salmon Recovery is an essential read for anyone concerned about the fate of this Pacific Northwest icon.

Watch a presentation by the author from the Salmonid Restoration Federation.

Songs of Power and Prayer in the Columbia Plateau Cover

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Songs of Power and Prayer in the Columbia Plateau

The Jesuit, the Medicine Man, and the Indian Hymn Singer

Chad S. Hamill

Songs of Power and Prayer explores the role of song as a transformative force in the twentieth century. It traces a cultural, spiritual, and musical encounter that upended notions of indigeneity and the rules of engagement for Indians and priests in the Columbia Plateau.

Chad Hamill’s narrative focuses on a Jesuit and his two Indian “grandfathers”—one a medicine man, the other a hymn singer—who together engaged in a collective search for the sacred. The priest became a student of the medicine man. The medicine man became a Catholic. The Indian hymn singer brought Indigenous songs to the Catholic mass. Using song as a thread, these men weaved together two worlds previously at odds, realizing a promise born within prophecies two centuries earlier.

Long before Jesuits appeared in Coeur d’Alene and Salish country, Indian prophets foretold their arrival. In their respective visions, Circling Raven and Shining Shirt were the first to behold the odd looking men wearing long black robes, carrying with them little more than “crossed sticks” and words of a foreign prophet who lived and died a world away. Roughly a century later, the “Blackrobes” arrived, immediately translating liturgical texts and hymns into the Salish language. Calling on centuries of indigenous praxis in which song was prayer, the hymns were very quickly and consciously embodied by the Salish and Coeur d’ Alene people, reinterpreted and re-sung as expressions of indigenous identity and spiritual power.

Songs of Power and Prayer in the Columbia Plateau reveals how song can bridge worlds: between the individual and Spirit, the Jesuits and the Indians. Whether sung in an indigenous ceremony or adapted for Catholic Indian services, song abides as a force that strengthens Native identity and acts as a conduit for power and prayer.

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Sonny Montes and Mexican American Activism in Oregon

Glenn Anthony May

With Sonny Montes and Mexican American Activism in Oregon, Glenn Anthony May makes a major contribution to the literature on Oregon and Chicano history.

On one level a biography of Oregon’s leading Chicano activist, the book also tells the broader story of the state’s Mexican American community during the 1960s and 1970s, a story in which Sonny Montes, a former migrant farmworker from South Texas, played an important part.

Montes was the key figure in the birth of a Chicano movement in Oregon during the 1970s, a movement that coalesced around the struggle for survival of the Colegio Cesar Chavez, a small college in Mt. Angel, Oregon, with a largely Mexican American student body. Montes led the college community and its supporters in collective action—sit-ins, protest marches, rallies, prayer vigils. This campaign received wide media attention, making Sonny Montes a visible public figure.

By viewing Mexican American protest between 1965 and 1980 through the prism of social movement theory, May’s book deepens our understanding of the Chicano movement in Oregon and beyond. It also provides a much-needed account of the emergence of the state’s Mexican American community during that period.

Standing at the Water's Edge Cover

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Standing at the Water's Edge

Bob Straub's Battle for the Soul of Oregon

Charles K. Johnson

Standing at the Water’s Edge chronicles the life of a unique, and perhaps unlikely, political figure in Oregon’s history: former Governor Robert W. Straub.

A man of intelligence, drive, creativity, and fascinating contradictions, Straub overcame personal challenges and inevitable comparisons to his charismatic predecessor and friendly Republican rival, Tom McCall, to have a lasting impact on Oregon and the nation. Charles Johnson shares insights into Straub’s significant legacy, focusing on his leading role in the state’s financial and environmental issues and his influence on McCall. Johnson also reveals much of Straub’s warm personal story, along with his secret struggles, including his battle with depression while Governor.

Standing at the Water’s Edge offers rich descriptions of other intriguing political figures of the time as well, capturing the flavor of what has been called Oregon’s political “golden age” of the sixties and seventies—created in part by the symbiotic relationship between Straub and McCall—and describing how and why it ended.

Standing at the Water’s Edge is an essential addition to the literature about Oregon’s political leaders for historians, political scientists, and general readers interested in Oregon history.

Studies in Outdoor Recreation Cover

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Studies in Outdoor Recreation

Search and Research for Satisfaction

Robert E. Manning

For twenty-five years, Studies in Outdoor Recreation has served as an invaluable reference for park and recreation managers and a standard text in college courses. The only book to integrate social science literature on outdoor recreation, it reviews studies from this broad, interdisciplinary field and synthesizes them into a body of knowledge, providing a historical perspective on outdoor recreation research and developing its practical management implications.

This third edition is fully revised to reflect current research and new concerns in the field. A new chapter examines the emerging issue of sense of place and its relationship to outdoor recreation. The book concludes with twenty principles to guide outdoor recreation management and research. An extensive bibliography and section entitled “Notes on Sources: A Guide to the Social Science Literature in Outdoor Recreation” lead readers to valuable primary source material.

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