Category Archives: Anthropology

October 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

The Washington Center for the Book at The Seattle Public Library announces the finalists in eight categories for the 2016 Washington State Book Awards for outstanding books published by Washington authors in 2015. Congratulations to our finalists Ana Maria Spagna (Reclaimers; Biography/Memoir) and Ruth Kirk (Ozette; History/General Nonfiction). The winners in each category will be announced at the awards ceremony on October 8, 2016. Emcee for the evening is Frances McCue, twice a UW Press finalist for a WSBA (in 2011 for The Car That Brought You Here Still Runs and in 2015 for Mary Randlett Portraits). The awards celebration is free and open to the public.

University of Washington Press shares in the remembrance of Sarah Reichard, who died suddenly in her sleep on August 29, 2016. Dr. Reichard directed the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, was coeditor of Invasive Species of the Pacific Northwest, and advised UW Press on other projects. Read obituaries and details on the October 13th memorial celebration in the Seattle Times and Offshoots (blog of the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences).

Reviews and Interviews

Michael Upchurch reviews Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker in the Seattle Times: “The Egg and I, The Plague and I and Anybody Can Do Anything practically cavort off the page. How did [Betty MacDonald] do it? Seattle author Paula Becker has some answers in her compact, finely crafted biography.”

Lory Widmer Hess reviews the biography on her Emerald City Book Review blog: “I was delighted to explore MacDonald’s life and work through Paula Becker’s thoughtful, painstakingly researched biography, and even more thrilled to see that University of Washington Press is going to be reprinting three hard-to-find later works by the bestselling author of The Egg and I: Anybody Can Do Anything, The Plague and I, and Onions in the Stew. . . . If you’re not a MacDonald enthusiast, you will be soon. . . . We can be grateful that Becker has preserved it for us in words, and has given us valuable insights into her world, her books, her family, and the writer herself.”

Barbara McMichael reviews in the Kitsap Sun: “The pages zing with unexpected detail and nuggets of lacerating wit. . . If you’re Looking for Betty MacDonald, you need look no further.” Paula’s other book (The Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition) and the MacDonald reissues (The Plague and I, Anybody Can Do Anything, and Onions in the Stew) also get mentions.

Steve Donoghue reviews the books at Open Letters Monthly: “A smart and immensely readable portrait, taking readers through MacDonald’s life. . . . Becker has combed every interview and profile, and her book veritably glows with MacDonald’s recaptured wit. . . . Thanks to Paula Becker’s exhaustive research and the compassionate, standard-setting book she’s shaped out of it, 21st century readers can meet a much fuller and more fascinating version of that complex, challenging, laughing woman. Readers of her books will still want to thank her, but thanks to Looking for Betty MacDonald, they’ll know her much better.” The Plague and I (“improbably funny. . . equally remarkable”) and Anybody Can Do Anything (“again improbably funny”) also get mentions.

Bainbridge Community Broadcasting’s “What’s Up Bainbridge” host Wendy Wallace speaks with Paula Becker about the biography and reissues.
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September 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Congratulations to Sylvanna M. Falcón, winner of the National Women’s Studies Association 2016 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize for Power Interrupted, selected “for its clear writing, as well as its adept integration of intersectional and transnational analyses to assess the grassroots feminist work that employs international frameworks when addressing gender and racial issues through the global stage that the UN provides.”

Reviews and Interviews

David Takami reviews Judy Bentley’s Walking Washington’s History in the Seattle Times: “Coming soon to a city near you: clusters of visitors gazing intently at a handheld object as a way to engage with their surroundings. . . . The commendable new book by Judy Bentley. . . . is an immensely appealing approach to writing history. . . . Bentley demonstrates that history is not abstruse and remote from our current experience; it is ever present—and just around the next corner.“

Christian Martin reviews the book on the Chattermarks blog from North Cascades Institute: “Bentley provides brief but engaging historical overviews. . . . There are stories in the ground beneath our feet, dashed dreams lingering in the air, as well as legacies of benevolent forethought from a not-so-distant past all around us.”


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June 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Niccole Coggins staff news photo

We are pleased to announce that Niccole Leilanionapae‘āina Coggins has joined us as the 2016-2017 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow, effective June 1. Niccole comes to us from the department of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Please welcome Niccole to the Press!

Congratulations to artist, author, and University of Washington alumna Barbara Earl Thomas, recently awarded the 2016 Irving and Yvonne Twining Humber Award from Artist Trust, and a nominee for a 2016 Stranger Genius Award in visual arts. Thomas is the author of Storm Watch (1998) and co-author of Never Late for Heaven (2003) and Joe Feddersen (2008).

College Art Association has awarded a grant through the Millard Meiss Publication Fund for Painting by Candlelight: The Art of Resistance in Mao’s China by Shelley Drake Hawks (Fall 2017). Congratulations to the author and all involved!

Congratulations to Antje Richter, awarded an Honorable Mention for Letters and Epistolary Culture in Early Medieval China (2013) by the Eugene M. Kayden Book Award at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

We also congratulate Barbara Goldstein, editor of Public Art by the Book, winner of the 2016 Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Award.

spring-sale-2016Our Spring Sale 2016 is on now! Visit our site through June 30, 2016 to save 50% off hundreds of titles. Use code WSPR to order online or call 1-800-537-5487.

The University of Washington Press shares in the remembrance of three remarkable people. Anne Gould Hauberg, a major figure in Seattle’s cultural life, advocate for the learning disabled, and subject of the biography Fired by Beauty: Anne Gould Hauberg by Barbara Johns, passed away on April 11 at age 98. Arthur (Art) R. Kruckeberg, influential botanist and author of Gardening with Native Plants of the Pacific Northwest, among other books, died on May 25 at age 96. Renowned Chinese writer Yang Jiang—author of Six Chapters from My Life ‘Downunder’ (Ganxiao liuji), translated by Howard Goldblatt—passed away on May 25 at age 104.

Reviews and Interviews

An excerpt of Once and Future River with photographs by Tom Reese and essay by Eric Wagner appears online at the Seattle Times and in print in Pacific NW Magazine.
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May 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

GiveBIG-book-heartOn this #GiveBIG Day, thanks for giving big today and every day! This year your support helped us publish some of the region’s most talented nonfiction writers, offer fellowships in scholarly publishing, and ensure a future for smart, accessible books. Thank you for being part of the University of Washington Press community!

We are also thrilled to announce that the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the University of British Columbia a three-year $509,000 grant to support a new collaborative digital publishing platform for multimedia books in Indigenous studies between UBC Press and the University of Washington Press. Read more at Library Journal‘s InfoDocket and the full announcement on our blog, or contact Beth Fuget at bfuget [at] uw.edu.

Congratulations to senior designer Tom Eykemans, winner of the 2016 Standing Ovation Award from UW’s Professional Staff Organization. Winners and nominees will be celebrated on Wednesday, May 4, from noon till 1:30 p.m. in the Lake Washington Room of the UW Club.

Jerry Franklin displays his Pinchot Medallion award. Photo via University of Washington / UW Today.

Congratulations to UW forest ecologist and The Olympic Rain Forest co-author Jerry Franklin, who was recently awarded the Pinchot Medallion by the Pinchot Institute for Conservation (via UW Today).

Last, our Fall 2016 catalog is hot off the presses—we hope you’ll be as excited about what we’re publishing over the next months as we are!

Reviews and Interviews

The Utne Reader publishes an excerpt from Ana Maria Spagna‘s Reclaimers.
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April 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Author David Williams with his mom and fellow author, Jacqueline B. Williams (Photo via AKCHO)

Author David B. Williams with his mom and fellow author, Jacqueline B. Williams (Photo via AKCHO)

Congratulations to David B. Williams, winner of the 2016 Association of King County Historical Organizations (AKCHO) Virginia Marie Folkins Award for Too High and Too Steep. The awards event will be held on Tuesday, June 7, 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the Northwest African American Museum. Read more at the AKCHO site.

Reviews and Interviews

The PBS series 10 Parks That Changed America, featuring Gas Works Park and interviews with Richard Haag and The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag author Thaisa Way, will air on Tuesday, April 12. Watch the preview and select clips now.
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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.

FORTHCOMING

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.

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March 2016 News, Reviews, and Events

News

UW Press remembers Leroy (Lee) Soper, longtime member of the advisory board, who passed away on Tuesday, February 2, on the eve of his ninety-second birthday.

The four presses involved in the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship Program are now all actively recruiting for positions (see joint announcement). If you know of excellent candidates, please send them our way (applications due March 15)! Read a piece by UW Press editor in chief and Principal Investigator Larin McLaughlin at the UW Press blog and an interview with the MIT Press editorial director Gita Manaktala at the MIT Press blog.

UW Press is also accepting applications for the 2016-17 Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow position (deadline: March 18). Read a guest post from 2015-16 Soden-Trueblood Graduate Publishing Fellow Becky Ramsey Leporati on her fellowship experience.

The Association for Asian Studies has announced the winners of this year’s AAS book prizes. Xiaofei Tian is winner of the Hanan Translation Prize for World of a Tiny Insect. Author Wai-yee Li (one of the translators of Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan and a coauthor of The Letter to Ren An) has won the Levenson Prize (Pre-1900 China) for her latest monograph (published by Harvard Asia Center). Congratulations to our authors and all involved!

P. Dee Boersma, author of Penguins, is a finalist for the prestigious Indianapolis Prize for conservation, sponsored by the Indianapolis Zoological Society (UW Today; Daily). Boersma and the five other finalists have been awarded $10,000 each and the winner will receive $250,000 and a medal. Listen to a recent interview with Boersma about iGalapagos on KUOW’s “The Record,” as well as in National Geographic and Smithsonian.com.

Reviews and Interviews

BehindCovers-BlackWomen-00Black Women in Sequence author Deborah Elizabeth Whaley has Q&As at Blavity (picked up at the A.V. Club) and Little Village, and speaks with Comic Culture.

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Q&A with ‘Humanizing the Sacred’ author Azza Basarudin

In her new book Humanizing the Sacred: Sisters in Islam and the Struggle for Gender Justice in Malaysia, Azza Basarudin shows how the Malay Sunni women activists of the Sisters of Islam (SIS), a nongovernmental organization promoting justice and equality, are working to reform Islamic law and public policies to address key issues of gender justice in Southeast Asia and beyond.

By weaving together thoughtful interviews and histories of the lives of SIS members, feminist interpretations of Islamic texts, and Malaysian cultural politics, Basarudin ties into global discussions about how women in communities of Muslims are revitalizing Islam by linking interpretation of religious ideas to the protection of rights and freedoms.

We spoke with Basarudin about the book, published this fall in the new Decolonizing Feminisms: Antiracist and Transnational Praxis series.

Q: What was the biggest challenge involved with bringing Humanizing the Sacred to life?

Azza Basarudin: The women activists I researched have dedicated their lives to struggling for self-determination and transforming the ways that Islam is understood and practiced in their community, which is no small feat given the historical marginalization of women from the processes of producing and transmitting Islamic knowledge. The biggest challenge was conveying the passion and dedication of these women through an analytical lens that centralizes gender and power politics and does justice to their activism without subscribing to the politics of Muslim exceptionalism. I wanted the women activists to come alive in the book and to have their words tell the stories of their intimate lives and professional commitments but at the same time be very clear that it is a combination of their class and educational background, Malaysian cultural politics, the historical tradition of Southeast Asian Islam, and Malay culture that has enabled (and constrained) their activism.

Q: What do you think is the book’s most important contribution?

AB: The book’s main contribution is that it highlights how women’s activism destabilizes the historical monopoly of textual interpretation in Malaysia and, consequently, the state’s authority to define and legislate Islam. Islam, in this context, becomes a central site for feminist dissent and political activism. The choice that the women activists made to study Islam rather than to reject it shows the depth of their passion for their religion and the strength of their conviction. More importantly, their refusal to surrender Islam to patriarchal interpretations that have compromised the rights of Muslim women has produced significant implications for themselves, their families and society, as well as the Islamic tradition itself.

Q: Who do you see as the audience?

AB: Specialists and non-specialists alike will find Humanizing the Sacred highly accessible. It can be utilized in undergraduate courses and graduate seminars in Women and Gender Studies, Asian Studies, Anthropology, Religious Studies, Sociology, and Area Studies. It is ideally suited to teach either specifically about Islam and gender, women’s activism, social justice, religion and politics, Muslim societies and cultures, and ethnographic encounters, or more generally about gender and religion, transnational feminisms, anthropology of Southeast Asia, law, and human rights.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from the book?

AB: I hope readers will be more aware of the diverse interpretations of Islam and the complex realities of Muslim lives. There is no monolithic interpretation of Islam or homogenous Muslim identity. Muslim practices are historically and contextually situated. At the same time, it is important to avoid understanding Islam as an overwhelming and predetermined force in the lives of Muslims. This is because Islam is one of many factors (e.g., gender, sexuality, class, nationality) that intersect to inform people’s existence.

More importantly, I want to normalize the knowledge that women in communities of Muslims are active interpreters of the faith and agents of social transformation. If someone reads this book and rethinks their savior complex, I have done a small part in dismantling stereotypes and caricatures of Islam and Muslims. At this juncture in our history, rife with Islamophobia and xenophobia, there is nothing more dangerous than willful ignorance, misinformation, and stereotypes.

Q: How did you come up with the title?

AB: I wanted a title that conveyed the foundation of women’s activism, that is, how they humanize various aspects of Islamic knowledge that have been taken for granted as divine and therefore considered infallible and outside the scope of human comprehension. “Humanizing the Sacred” seems to capture what the book is about.

Q: What are you reading right now?

AB: I am reading My House in Damascus: An Inside View of the Syrian Revolution by Diana Darke. It’s a poignant story of Syria and its people by a woman who purchased and restored an Ottoman-era courtyard house in a mixed Sunni-Shia quarter of the Old City of Damascus. Darke skillfully weaves together Syria’s architectural and turbulent political history and sectarian conflicts to humanize the daily struggles of ordinary Syrians living under extraordinary circumstances. Her personal connections and interactions with Syrians provide much-needed insight into the human condition of the conflict: the resilience of citizens struggling to survive in spite of the relentless violence that has engulfed their lives, fragmented their families and communities, and destroyed precious historical sites.

Q: What would you have been if not an academic?

AB: I would most probably been an interior decorator, landscape designer, or travel writer.

Q: What is your next project?

AB: I am working on a collaborative project that examines the gendered and racial dimensions of the War on Terror in Southern California. This project focuses on a local organization of professional Muslim women that is collaborating closely with local law and federal enforcement agencies as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s new “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) initiative. I am interested in how the state identifies Muslim women as key actors in “counter-terrorism/counter-radicalization” programs and how it deploys the politics of American exceptionalism to enfold Muslim women as surveillance allies.