Category Archives: Latino/a Studies

10 things a clueless eater can do: Guest post by ‘The Deepest Roots’ author Kathleen Alcalá

DeepestRoots_AlcalaKathleen Alcalá is a Bainbridge Island writer who has long been one of the Pacific Northwest’s most powerful voices in fiction, essays, and memoir. Her most recent book, The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, combines deep historical research and personal interviews in a rousing narrative that uses her home island as an example for exploring issues around sustainability and society. Alcalá meets Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II, and learns the unique histories of the blended Filipino and Native American community, the fishing practices of the descendants of Croatian immigrants, and the Suquamish elder who shares with her the food legacy of the island itself.

In the spirit of the New Year, this guest post from the author offers steps each of us can take to live more thoughtfully and sustainably, so we can take better care of ourselves and our communities—both now and for the future.

10 Things a Clueless Eater Can Do

Join us for this special author event:

January 10 at 7 p.m. // Elliott Bay Book Company co-presented with Friends of the Farms, Capitol Hill

Kathleen Alcalá makes her welcome Elliott Bay return with her newest book. Joining will be Heather Burger, director of Friends of the Farms, a nonprofit that helps the farmers tell their stories as well as market their products, and Bob and Nancy Fortner of Sweetlife Farm, who are eager to share their back to the land story.

1. Keep a garden!
Even if you have no land, or in our case, sun, you can borrow or rent land suitable for gardening. If not, keep potted herbs on your windowsill. Indoor plants also improve the quality of the air.

2. Save seeds.
If your garden grows in abundance, note which plants do especially well in your climate. Let a couple go to seed, and keep some of the seeds to be stored in a cool, dry, dark place for the following year. Be sure and label them with the date, and anything else you know about the plants. This means that the seeds best suited to your micro-climate will be preserved and passed on.

3. Join Community Supported Agriculture.
Subscribe to a local CSA that will provide you with groceries almost year-round. You can pick up your groceries once or twice a week, and many deliver to a location near you. Besides vegetables, many CSAs now offer dairy and meat products. Continue reading

What Would Bertha Lutz Say? Making Sense of the United Nations Secretary-General Election

October 24 is United Nations (UN) Day. In this guest post, Sylvanna Falcón—author of Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activism inside the United Nations—weighs in on the recent election of António Guterres to Secretary-General-Designate of the UN.

Struggles over representation, power, and voice occurred during the first United Nations (UN) conference in 1945 where delegates discussed the structure of this new multilateral institution, including the formation of the Security Council and the drafting of the UN Charter. The struggle over representation at the UN is further complicated by geopolitical dynamics in which certain countries of the world are disproportionately empowered at the UN and tend to stifle the voices of those who are less powerfully positioned. Today, these geopolitical dynamics remain reflected in the Security Council, which wielded its formidable influence regarding the recent election of the next Secretary-General—Portugal’s former prime minister, António Guterres—through secret straw polls. With its current configuration of 15 members, including only one woman (US Ambassador Samantha Power), the Security Council forwarded its recommendation to the General Assembly for a full vote that occurred within a matter of days earlier this month.

Bertha Lutz, the Brazilian delegate to the 1945 UN conference, remarked at the time, “The men like to hear themselves very much.” As one of four women to sign the UN Charter (out of 160 signatories), Lutz was a feminist associated with the Brazilian suffragist movement. She became frustrated with the men from the conference, whom she described as amicable but determined to create an international organization in which women would not play any central role. It would be fitting to ask ourselves in Lutz’s honor why “the men like to hear themselves very much” and about the evaluation criteria the Security Council referenced for their endorsement of Guterres.

The representation of women in high level positions at the UN has been too infrequent. The late Dame Margaret Anstee of Britain, who dedicated her life to the UN, reached the highest level appointment ever occupied by a woman in 1987, when she was named Under Secretary-General. Importantly, seven out of thirteen candidates for the UNSG position were women, indicating that at least the applicant pool had some gender balance to it, but it completely lacked any semblance of equity in terms of regional representation (for example, no applicant came from the African region). While that outcome is disappointing, it is not surprising given the UN has been troubled by problems of representation since its founding.

Mr. Guterres is by all accounts an established and respected diplomat. Having formerly served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, he expressed a commitment to gender equality and gender parity in his vision statement, which I believe is at least promising. He wrote, “The UN must be at the forefront of the global movement towards gender equality, an inalienable and indivisible feature of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.” Perhaps he should look closely at the work of feminist activists who understand that gender equality and parity can only be achieved with a simultaneous commitment to combating global racism.

Sylvanna M. Falcón is author of Power Interrupted and an associate professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She will be awarded the 2016 Gloria E. Anzaldúa book prize given by the National Women’s Studies Association at the 2016 NWSA annual conference in Montréal, Canada, in November.

Western History Association Conference Preview

The 56th annual conference of the Western History Association takes place in St. Paul, Minnesota, from October 20-23, 2016. This year the four-day event theme is “Expanding Western Horizons,” with many planned programs focused on public history and on figuring out how the history of the American West fits into popular understandings of the United States and the world.

2016-wha-v3Editor in Chief Larin McLaughlin and Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow/Assistant Editor Niccole Leilanionapae’aina Coggins will be representing the press—be sure to stop by booth #10 to say hello and to check out our latest Western history offerings, especially titles in the Indigenous Confluences series, Scott and Laurie Oki Series in Asian American Studies, and Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series.

Below please find a selection of some new and forthcoming Western history titles:

Bracero Railroaders: The Forgotten World War II Story of Mexican Workers in the U.S. West
By Erasmo Gamboa

University of Washington historian Erasmo Gamboa recounts the difficult conditions, systemic racism, and decades-long quest for justice faced by the workers of the bracero railroad program. The result is a pathbreaking examination that deepens our understanding of Mexican American, immigration, and labor histories in the twentieth-century U.S. West.

Read an excerpt about box car housing for the program. 

Read an excerpt about how women in Mexico acted on behalf of their loved ones working temporarily in the United States.

The Portland Black Panthers: Empowering Albina and Remaking a City
By Lucas N. N. Burke and Judson L. Jeffries
V Ethel Willis White Books

October 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party’s founding. Combining histories of the city and its African American community with interviews with former Portland Panthers and other key players, this long-overdue account adds complexity to our understanding of the protracted civil rights movement throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Read an excerpt

Japanese Prostitutes in the North American West, 1887-1920
By Kazuhiro Oharazeki
Emil and Kathleen Sick Series in Western History and Biography

A compelling study of a previously overlooked vice industry explores the larger structural forces that led to the growth of prostitution in Japan, the Pacific region, and the North American West at the turn of the twentieth century.

Counterpunch: The Cultural Battles over Heavyweight Prizefighting in the American West
By Meg Frisbee

A fascinating look at early American boxing, Counterpunch examines how the sport’s meteoric rise in popularity in the West ran concurrently with a growing backlash among Progressive Era social reformers who saw boxing as barbaric. It provides an entertaining way to understand both the growth of the American West and the history of this popular and controversial sport.

New from Indigenous Confluences

Native Students at Work: American Indian Labor and Sherman Institute’s Outing Program, 1900-1945
By Kevin Whalen
Foreword by Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert

Matthew Sakiestewa Gilbert is chairing a session on Histories of Indigenous Education including panelist Kevin Whalen on Sunday, October 23 (full details on page 35 of the conference program).

Native Students at Work tells the stories of Native people from around the American Southwest who participated in labor programs at Sherman Institute, a federal Indian boarding school in Riverside, California.

California through Native Eyes: Reclaiming History
By William J. Bauer Jr.

Using oral histories of Concow, Pomo, and Paiute workers, taken as part of a New Deal federal works project, Bauer reveals how Native peoples have experienced and interpreted the history of the land we now call California. 

 

NEW IN PAPERBACK
Education at the Edge of Empire: Negotiating Pueblo Identity in New Mexico’s Indian Boarding Schools
By John R. Gram
Foreword by Ted Jojola

A groundbreaking examination that contributes to Native American, Western, and education histories, as well as to borderland and Southwest studies.

“[A]ccessible and interesting. . . . Education at the Edge of Empire is a wonderful addition to the literature of off-reservation boarding schools.”—Andrae Marak, Journal of American History

The Refugee Crisis in Our Backyard: Guest post by ‘Sanctuary and Asylum’ author Linda Rabben

In this guest post, Linda Rabbenhuman rights activist, anthropologist, and author of Sanctuary and Asylum: A Social and Political Historydraws from recent events in the Pacific Northwest to argue for alternatives to detaining refugees. Dr. Rabben will lecture this week about human rights, the history of sanctuary, and responses to the current refugee crisis at the University of Washington and other Seattle venues.

To many people in the United States, the international refugee crisis seems far away, in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia. But in fact it’s playing out at the local immigrant detention center in Tacoma and in federal court in Seattle.

In mid-2015 a Somali boy fled his home after his father was murdered. He traveled alone through South and Central America to seek refuge in the United States. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) placed him with a foster family in Portland. But in late 2015 federal officials decided that he was not really a minor. They based their conclusion on a discredited dental radiograph test.

Join us for these events:

October 6 at 4 p.m. // Freedom of Movement – A Human Right?, University of Washington, CMU 120 (Sponsored by Latin American and Caribbean Studies, UW Center for Human Rights, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington Press, and UW Graduate School), Seattle, WA

October 10 at 7 p.m. // Faith Justice Meeting on Immigration, St. Joseph Parish (732 18th Ave. East, Arrupe Room), Seattle, WA

October 18 at 7 p.m. // Barnes & Noble at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC

November 2 at 7:30 p.m. // Ivy Bookshop, Baltimore, MD

Congress had passed a law in 2008 banning immigration authorities from determining age solely on the basis of dental radiographs. But ORR agents arrested the boy at his high school in Portland anyway. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) then shipped him to Northwest Detention Center, a private facility for adults in Tacoma.

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, a Seattle advocacy group, filed a habeas corpus petition on the boy’s behalf. In a May press release NWIRP legal director Matt Adams called ICE’s actions “indefensible. Instead of protecting unaccompanied children, and focusing enforcement actions on those who pose an actual threat to the community, they targeted a child, who, after escaping horrible violence, was now integrated with his foster family, his high school and community.”

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Q&A with ‘The Deepest Roots’ author Kathleen Alcalá

In The Deepest Roots: Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island, Kathleen Alcalá combines memoir, historical records, and powerful interviews in a charming and timely book that uses Bainbridge Island as a case study for thinking about our relationships with the land and each other. Alcalá meets Japanese Americans imprisoned during World War II, and learns the unique histories of the blended Filipino and Native American community, the fishing practices of the descendants of Croatian immigrants, and the Suquamish elder who shares with her the food legacy of the island itself. We spoke with Alcalá about the book, publishing this fall.

Join us for these events:

October 13 at 7:30 p.m. // Eagle Harbor Book Co., Bainbridge Island Museum of Art auditorium, Bainbridge Island, WA

October 19 at 7:30 p.m. // University Book Store, University District

October 20 at 7 p.m. // Third Place Books-Lake Forest Park

October 27 at 7 p.m. // Hispanic Roundtable of South Sound at South Puget Sound Community College, Latino Youth Summit, Olympia, WA

November 2 at 5:30 p.m. // The Butcher’s Table, “50 Minutes with…” speaker series with University Book Store (2121 Westlake Ave., Seattle)

November 3 at 7 p.m.  // Village Books, Bellingham

November 10 at 6:30 p.m. // Book Larder, Fremont

November 19 from 3-5 p.m. // Seattle7 Holiday Bookfest, Phinney Ridge

December 2 at 7 p.m. // Tattered Cover Book Store, Colfax Avenue, Denver, CO

January 10 at 7 p.m. // Elliott Bay Book Company, Capitol Hill

What inspired you to write The Deepest Roots?

Kathleen Alcalá: In 2010, I wrote an essay about two couples I knew who left other jobs to go into farming. It turned out, each had a fascinating story and philosophy of life to go with that decision. Readers reacted so strongly, I realized I had touched on something fundamental, our relationship to the land, and how people yearn to strengthen that relationship. As a writer of historical, family-based fiction and essays, this was a topic about which I knew zilch. I thought. Then I realized that this was the basis of that family history: our relationship to the land. Understanding this is so important to our survival, and the survival of this island in particular, that I decided to pursue the topic with further interviews and research.

What would you have been if not a writer?

KA: Perhaps an architect, if I had the skills. I am a very visual thinker. I’m very interested in how people relate to their environment through built, or human-made intervention. Architecture is a form of shelter, but how close or how distant it keeps us from nature fascinates me. What the wealthy think they need versus what 90% of the world lives with is also interesting to me, in terms of the built environment. As resources become scarce, or we realize how toxic many of them are, we need to rethink how and where we live and build, so I guess there is some overlap here.

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Excerpt: Bracero Railroaders: The Forgotten World War II Story of Mexican Workers in the U.S. West

This National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15), we wanted to share a selection from Erasmo Gamboa’s book Bracero Railroaders: The Forgotten World War II Story of Mexican Workers in the U.S. West, for a close-up look at the contributions of Hispanic and Latina/o Americans to the United States. The bracero program is better known for its contributions to agriculture, but there was another industry that benefited from bracero labor—the railroad. Over three hundred thousand Mexican laborers did unskilled “pick and shovel” work in isolated places to maintain the railroad tracks during World War II. While the men, who came to the United States as braceros, dealt with onerous regulations, indifferent or racist supervisors, unsuitable living conditions, and an unfamiliar culture and environment, the women they left behind also had their share of struggles. These women—wives, mothers, and sisters—had to navigate bureaucracies in the railroad companies and in both the Mexican and U.S. governments to advocate for themselves and the braceros.

Most historians have overlooked the manner in which women in México acted on behalf of their loved ones working temporarily in the United States. Unlike the case of Bahamian and Newfoundlander women and children who were permitted to accompany contracted workers to the U.S., the War Manpower Commission (WMC) never considered allowing Mexican spouses or female members to accompany the braceros.[1] Brothers and sons, however, did serve as braceros, and in some instances they were assigned to work together.[2] The role of women in México in support of the braceros and the war deserves to be highlighted.

From the start of the bracero railroad program in México City, the WMC made note of the scores of women eagerly volunteering with the hope of joining the labor force soon leaving for the United States.[3] They were not attempting to take advantage of the opportunity for employment, as that opportunity rested with men, but they stepped forward wanting to do their part in the war effort. This level of gender consciousness prevailed in México stretching back before the Revolution of 1910, the Cristero Wars, and through the Great Depression of the 1930s. During the Depression, women organized the Frente Único Pro Derechos de la Mujer to represent the economic and political concerns of working-, middle-, and upper-class women in México. With the outbreak of World War II, the Frente Único Pro Derechos de la Mujer became the Coordinating Committee of Women in Defense of the Fatherland (Comité Coordinador Femenino para la Defensa de la Patria).[4] The role of women in national defense stretched far beyond this one organization. The Central Committee for the Civil Defense of México City and the Defense League of Women organized women to come to the defense of the city during the war. Nurses volunteered to act as first responders in case of Japanese or German attacks, while other women trained to enforce emergency blackouts, manning search lights in case of aerial attacks. Women, as they did in the United States during the way, prepared to respond to any wartime emergency and do their part in the overall national war effort.[5] Continue reading

Exhibitions on View: ‘Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’

Acme Photo Diego and Frida in NYC 1933 gelatin silver print 22.9 x 17.8 cm Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc ***This image may only be used in conjunction with editorial coverage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection 25 Jun-9 Oct 2016, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. This image may not be cropped or overwritten. Prior approval in writing required for use as a cover. Caption details must accompany reproduction of the image. *** Media contact: Hannah.McKissock-Davis@ag.nsw.go.au *** Local Caption *** ***This image may only be used in conjunction with editorial coverage of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection 25 Jun-9 Oct 2016, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. This image may not be cropped or overwritten. Prior approval in writing required for use as a cover. Caption details must accompany reproduction of the image. *** Media contact: Hannah.McKissock-Davis@ag.nsw.go.au

Acme Photo
Diego and Frida in NYC 1933
gelatin silver print
22.9 x 17.8 cm
Courtesy of Throckmorton Fine Art, Inc

We are delighted to distribute the catalog to accompany the exhibition, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera: From the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, for the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The exhibition is now on view at AGNSW and has been extended until October 23, 2016 due to popular demand.

After the exhibition closes in Sydney, it will travel to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona from April 9 – August 20, 2017.

Leading twentieth-century Mexican artists Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) and Diego Rivera (1886-1957) were internationally acclaimed in their lifetime, and their art and lives have continued to provoke and captivate audiences.

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