Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Nature of California: Race, Citizenship, and Farming since the Dust Bowl

In 2011, President Barack Obama proclaimed March 31 as Cesar Chavez Day in the United States—a celebration of the life and legacy of the important Chicano civil rights and labor leader. With the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH) and Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) annual conferences also in full swing this Cesar Chavez Day, it’s only fitting that we are sharing a preview of Sarah D. Wald‘s forthcoming book, The Nature of California: Race, Citizenship, and Farming since the Dust Bowl (May 2016). Analyzing fiction, nonfiction, news coverage, activist literature, memoirs, and more from the Great Depression through the present, Wald’s book looks at how California farmlands have served as a popular symbol of American opportunity and natural abundance, and addresses what such cultural works tell us about who belongs in America, and in what ways they are allowed to belong. By bringing together ecocriticism and critical race theory, the book addresses an important gap in how we understand questions of citizenship, immigration, and environmental justice.

The excerpt below focuses on what Wald calls “the often-overlooked points of intersection between the UFW [United Farm Workers] and environmentalism.”

The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book, The Nature of California: Race, Citizenship, and Farming since the Dust Bowl, by Sarah D. Wald:

Most environmental historians cite Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) as the modern environmental movement’s birth announcement. They distinguish mid-twentieth-century environmentalism from the conservationism and preservationism of the Progressive Era in large part through its concern for toxins and other forms of pollution. Many participants in the environmentalism of the 1960s and 1970s expressed concern that human use of technology fundamentally threatened the circle of ecological life and imperiled humanity’s ability to sustain itself. Carson echoed these themes, linking the death of songbirds to the potential loss of human life. The popular concern for such issues congealed with the first Earth Day in April 1970. Organizers billed Earth Day as a national teach-in that included events at fifteen hundred colleges and ten thousand schools. As historian Adam Rome wrote, “The teach-ins collectively involved more people than the biggest civil rights and antiwar demonstrations in the 1960s.” Millions participated.

Join for the launch event in Portland, Oregon hosted by Bark:

Sunday, May 15, 5:00-9:00 p.m. //
Bark, 351 NE 18th Ave., Portland, OR 97232

Pre-order books at 30% off using discount code WSH2275

The history of modern environmentalism is entangled with the remarkable story of the United Farm Workers, the first successful unionization effort for farmworkers. In 1962, the same year Carson published Silent Spring, Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta resigned from the Community Service Organization to focus on organizing farmworkers, and Chavez founded the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA). In 1965, the largely Filipino farmworkers union, the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee (AWOC), began the famous grape strike, with Chavez’s organization voting to strike in solidarity. In 1966, the National Farm Workers Association (NFWA) and AWOC merged into the United Farm Workers Organizing Committee (UFWOC). On July 29, 1970, just three months after the first Earth Day, the United Farm Workers (UFW) achieved a major victory, signing 150 contracts with the major Delano grape growers, covering thirty thousand workers. The success was short-lived, as the International Brotherhood of Teamsters began undermining the UFW by signing “sweetheart” deals with the growers. This controversy led to a renewal of the strike and boycott throughout the 1970s. The UFW never again had as many unionized workers. Continue reading

The Association for Asian Studies in Seattle

The Association for Asian Studies (AAS) is the world’s largest organization focusing on research on and teaching about Asia. Its annual conference, attended by over three thousand members, is our most important opportunity to recruit new book projects and make our new publications in Asian studies available to scholars. This year, AAS will meet in Seattle for the first time, from March 31 through April 3, at the Washington State Convention Center.

AAS’s members are academics and other professionals whose work involves East, South, Northeast, and Southeast Asia, and whose expertise spans across disciplines—history, anthropology, and literary studies, to name just a few. At the hundreds of themed panels scattered across several days, they will give oral presentations on their current research. Our acquisitions editors scan the program to identify topics that could be developed into books, and arrange in advance to meet with potential new authors and to follow up with authors whose manuscripts already are in development. A popular feature of the conference is the exhibit hall, in which dozens of book publishers introduce new titles published in the last year, as well as feature backlist highlights.

In addition to lining up the usual dozens of meetings with authors, other scholars, and publishing partners, this year our Seattle-based staff will have the opportunity to meet the many University of Washington Press authors attending the meeting. Come see us at booth 310-312! We will also celebrate several recent prize winners: Continue reading

The American Society for Environmental History in Seattle

We are excited that the University of Washington is hosting the American Society for Environmental History (#ASEH2016) conference this year in Seattle, from March 30 through April 3, at the Westin Seattle. This year’s theme is Environmental History and Its Publics, and 2016 also marks the National Park Service’s centennial—there will be a great deal to discuss and celebrate!

The University of Washington Press will sponsor and host a workshop on publishing on Wednesday, March 30 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. Speakers will include Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books founding editor William Cronon of University of Wisconsin–Madison; current Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series editor Paul Sutter of University of Colorado–Boulder; University of Washington Press director Nicole Mitchell; University of Washington Press senior acquisitions editor Regan Huff; Oxford University Press executive editor Susan Ferber; and more. Topics will include digital resources; current trends in environmental history series; pitching a book idea, and more.

An opening reception co-sponsored by University of Washington Press and Oxford University Press follows the publishing workshop from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at the Seattle Westin. Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest director Linda Nash will provide welcoming remarks.

Join us for the ASEH Opening Reception:

Co-sponsored by University of Washington Press and Oxford University Press

Wednesday, March 30, 6:00-8:00 p.m. // The Westin Seattle, Fifth Avenue Room, Level 4, 1900 5th Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101

We hope you are also lucky enough to have gotten one of the coveted spots for the Friday afternoon field trips, including walking tours by Too High and Too Steep author David B. Williams on Seattle’s historical shoreline and by The City Is More than Human author Frederick L. Brown on animals in Seattle.

Join us as we also celebrate new titles across environmental studies, and in the Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books and Culture, Place, and Nature series. See you in Seattle! Continue reading

Behind the Covers: ‘Scent of Apples’

5-santosDistinguished Filipino writer Bienvenido N. Santos was born on this day 105 years ago (March 22, 1911). University of Washington Press recently reissued his Scent of Apples: A Collection of Stories in the Classics of Asian American Literature series. This timely new edition includes sixteen stories Santos wrote between the 1940s and the 1970s and features a new foreword by Jessica Hagedorn and an introduction by Allan Punzalan Isaac. In this guest post, UW Press designer Dustin Kilgore walks us through his creative process in designing the book’s cover.

After reading the first-person story from which the collection draws its name, Scent of Apples, I was impressed by Santos’s ability to gracefully navigate race and class outside of his native Philippines. The title is also so evocative: smell conjures memories instantly, yet it’s fleeting, ephemeral, and difficult to define except by comparison. Continue reading

Photo Essay: ‘Walking Washington’s History’ through Main Street Moments

In Walking Washington’s History: Ten Cities, a follow-up to her bestselling Hiking Washington’s History, Judy Bentley uses engaging guided urban walks to trace the state’s history and show each city’s importance in the unfolding story of Washington state. By walking each city, Bentley suggests, you gain a deeper understanding of how history connects with the visible markers overhead and underfoot. Here Bentley offers a glimpse of these cities through photos of their historic main streets.

Learn more about Washington’s urban history and celebrate the publication of Walking Washington’s History at these events:

Seattle Public Library with Elliott Bay Books, Central Library, Sunday, April 24 at 2:00 p.m.

Words, Writers, and West Seattle at Barnes and Noble, Westwood Village, Friday, May 6 at 5 p.m.

Every historic city in Washington had a main street although it wasn’t always called that. Sometimes it was a trail that became the main way through town—the Nez Perce Trail in Walla Walla, the Oregon Trail in Olympia. Sometimes the main street was a river, such as the Columbia River in Vancouver or the Spokane River in Spokane; a bay could also be the central thoroughfare, as in the case of Commencement Bay in Tacoma or Port Gardner Bay in Everett. In Seattle the first main street was a skid road for logs, now known as Yesler Way. These arteries were the centers of civic life, the places where the most important moments in a city’s history occurred.


Courtesy National Park Service.


The wagon road at Fort Vancouver, established in 1825, paralleled the Columbia River, the first avenue of east-west transport in the region. The town of Vancouver grew on the river’s banks west of the fur-trading post, starting in the 1840s and 1850s. It ballooned as a city during World War II when Henry Kaiser located shipyards on the river’s northern and southern banks.

Continue reading

Q&A with ‘Power Interrupted’ author Sylvanna M. Falcón

March 8 is International Women’s Day (#IWD2016)—a global day celebrating the significant achievements of women and a reminder that urgent action is still needed to accelerate gender parity.

This International Women’s Day, we are taking the opportunity to highlight a new book on transnational feminist and antiracist activism from our Decolonizing Feminisms series. In Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activism inside the United Nations, Sylvanna M. Falcón redirects the conversation about UN-based feminist activism to consider gender and race together. As the primary international institution that engages the issue of human rights, the United Nations has sponsored three World Conferences Against Racism (WCARs) and has been immersed in the debate around issues of racism for the past 50 years. The most recent, the 2001 World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa, presented race and gender intersectionally in certain contexts, thanks largely to the concurrent NGO Forum Against Racism, which gave activists, advocates, and concerned citizens a space in which thousands could intensely debate and discuss the ongoing global challenges of racial discrimination.

The goal of antiracist feminists, particularly feminists of color from the United States and Canada and feminists from Mexico and Peru, was to expand the discussion of racism at the UN level, especially because the UN had not explicitly addressed the issue of racism on a global level since the 1983 WCAR.

Using a combination of interviews, participant observation, and extensive archival data, Falcón situates contemporary antiracist feminist organizing from the Americas alongside a critical historical reading of the UN and its agenda against racism. Her analysis of UN antiracism spaces, in particular the 2001 WCAR, considers how an intersectionality approach broadened opportunities for feminist organizing at the global level. The Durban conference gave feminist activists a pivotal opportunity to expand the debate about the ongoing challenges of global racism, which had largely privileged men’s experiences with racial injustice. When including the activist engagements and experiential knowledge of these antiracist feminist communities, the political significance of human rights becomes evident.

We spoke with Falcón about her book, publishing this spring.

Q: What inspired you to get into your field?

Sylvanna M. Falcón: Right after college graduation, I had the opportunity to attend the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing, China. Meeting feminist activists from all over the world was an inspirational and life-changing experience. I then moved to San Francisco and became associated with a youth-based human rights group and started to work at the Family Violence Prevention Fund (now called Futures Without Violence). Taken together—the Beijing conference and my time in San Francisco—I learned in an applied way about human rights as an organizing framework and method, about the challenges and promise of community organizing, and about the importance of public policy. Sociology as a field gave me both the flexibility and the structure I needed to investigate the questions I wanted to ask as part of graduate study. I also have a doctoral emphasis in Feminist Studies and this interdisciplinary field provided me with the methods, models, and tools to think about scholar-activism. Continue reading

Women’s History Month: Books for Your TBR Pile

In honor of Women’s History Month, we feature a number of recent and forthcoming titles that highlight the contributions of women to history and contemporary society.

The University of Washington Press is proud to be the publisher of a growing number of women’s studies titles that explore and celebrate women’s past struggles and present achievements, including new titles in our Decolonizing Feminisms and Global South Asia series.


Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge
By Margaret Willson
(July 2016)
Naomi B. Pascal Editor’s Endowment

Willson offers a glimpse into the lives of vibrant women who have braved the sea for centuries. Their accounts include the excitement, accidents, trials, and tribulations of fishing in Iceland from the historic times of small open rowboats to today’s high-tech fisheries. Based on extensive historical and field research, Seawomen of Iceland allows the seawomen’s voices to speak directly with strength, intelligence, and—above all—a knowledge of how to survive. This engaging ethnographic narrative will intrigue both general and academic readers interested in maritime culture, the anthropology of work, Nordic life, and gender studies.

Continue reading