January 2016 News, Reviews, and Events


Michael Nylan is winner of the 2013-2014 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature for her translation of Yang Xiong’s first-century philosophical masterwork Exemplary Figures / Fayan. Printed with the English version facing the original Chinese text, Nylan’s deft translation reveals Yang’s complex writing—at turns wise, cautionary, and playful. The Modern Language Association (MLA) awards the prize biennially.

The late Billy Frank Jr. was named one of seventeen recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. The awards were presented at the White House on November 24. UW Press has published biographies on Frank’s life and work including Where the Salmon Run by Trova Heffernan with the Washington State Heritage Center Legacy Project and Messages from Frank’s Landing by Charles Wilkinson.

Reviews and Interviews

Alaska’s Skyboys author Katherine Ringsmuth answered questions about aviation history and Alaska-related topics in a reddit Ask Historians Ask Me Anything (AMA), r/AskHistorians: “My theory is that the Skyboy images (as well as Alaska’s Last Frontier image) was cemented during the Great Depression. At this time the American public worried about the future—they clung to the nostalgia of the past—often the period that defined American greatness—the movement West.”

Paul Dorpat’s Now & Then column in Pacific NW Magazine features Richard Haag’s Gas Works Park and The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag by Thaisa Way. Gas Works will be featured in a PBS documentary in the spring as one of “Ten Parks That Changed America”: “Since 1964, when he founded the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington, Haag has gained a warranted admiration that Way has sharply surveyed and illustrated in her new book.”

Luc Sante reviews Judy Annear‘s The Photograph and Australia (Art Gallery of New South Wales) in the New York Times Book Review: “[A] noble attempt to account for the continent’s entire photographic history, little of which is well known to the rest of the world.”

New Books

Edited by Bruce Magnusson and Zahi Zalloua

The essays in this volume explore the dimensions of contemporary spectacles from the Arab Spring to spectatorship in Hollywood. Questioning the effects that spectacles have on their observers, the authors ask: Are viewers robbed of their autonomy, transformed into depoliticized and passive consumers, or rather are they drawn into cohesive communities? Does their participation in an event—as audiences, activists, victims, tourists, and critics—change and complicate the event itself?


Frederica Bowcutt, The Tanoak Tree, The Evergreen State College (Anthropocene Consortium Series), Olympia, WA, January 6, 11:15 a.m.

Harvey Schwartz, Building the Golden Gate Bridge, “In Deep Radio” live event at Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA, January 6, noon

Carolyne Wright, Ana Maria Spagna, Miranda Pearson, and Christine Holbert, Raising Lilly Ledbetter (Lost Horse Press), Village Books, Bellingham, WA, January 17, 4-5:30 p.m.

David B. Williams, Too High and Too Steep, History Café at MOHAI (co-sponsored by Seattle Public Library, MOHAI, and HistoryLink), January 21, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Harvey Schwartz, Building the Golden Gate Bridge, Time Tested Books, Sacramento, CA, January 21, 7:00 p.m.

Lorraine K. Bannai, Enduring Conviction, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, CA, January 30, VIP reception at 6:30 p.m., program at 7 p.m.