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American Society for Environmental History Conference Preview

The American Society for Environmental History convenes in Washington, D.C. this week and we’re looking forward to participating in what promises to be another excellent and thought-provoking conference. Senior Acquisitions Editor Regan Huff, Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books series editor Paul Sutter, and Marketing and Sales Director Rachael Levay will be representing the Press—be sure to stop by our booth to say hello and to check out our latest environmental history offerings.

We include here our book signing schedule as well as recent praise these titles have received.

Thursday, March 19 at 10:00 a.m.

Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books / New in Paperback
By Dawn Day Biehler

“[This] exemplary work of interdisciplinary history . . . demonstrates how the ecologies of these pests and the efforts to eliminate them were intertwined with social tensions and political struggles throughout the twentieth century.” —Joanna Dyl, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

“In her meticulous and thoughtful analysis of urban environmental injustice, Biehler deftly illustrates how these pests continue to undermine aspirations for modern and healthy living conditions for all.” —Frederick R. Davis, Science

Wilderburbs: Communities on Nature’s Edge
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books
By Lincoln Bramwell
Finalist for the Western Writers of America 2015 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western Nonfiction

“A cautionary tale of the ecological challenges in transplanting urban sensibilities in the American West.” —Choice

Wilderburbs builds on the idea that human culture inherently shaped residents’ interactions with their environment. Examining this phenomena and communities in detail uncovers the profound environmental consequences for our desire to live in the wilderness.” —USDA Blog

Tangled Roots: The Appalachian Trail and American Environmental Politics
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books / New in Paperback
By Sarah Mittlefehldt

“Essential reading for anyone seeking to create public designation for hiking or biking trails, or waterways…the book [also] offers a primer on U.S. environmental politics from Progressive Era conservation to 1960s environmentalism and to conservative backlash in the 1980s. It would work for an environmental studies or environmental history or environmental policy class that hopes to decipher these politics.” –Margaret L. Brown, Environmental History, January 2015

“Tangled Roots is a singular achievement—a work of layered, engaging depth likely to stand as the definitive treatment of the Appalachian Trail, one of the most important and overlooked stories in the history of U.S. environmental politics.” –Jerry J. Frank, Journal of American History, January 2015

“Deftly avoiding the traps of both ‘top-down’ and ‘bottom-up’ history, Sarah Mittlefehldt’s study of the decades-long struggle to create the Appalachian Trail explores the intersection of private activism with public policy at local, regional, and national levels…a welcome addition to the history of U.S. environmental policy and politics.” –Sarah T. Phillips, American Historical Review, October 2014

 Friday, March 20 at 10:00 a.m.

Bike Battles: A History of Sharing the American Road
By James Longhurst

Bike Battles offers a significant contribution to both the growing literature on the history of American bicycling and the immense, well-established literature on urban policymaking. It is scholarship written by a sophisticated historian who draws on sources ranging from the traditional to the wonderfully unusual in order to shed light on the changing history of bicycling’s place in American cities.”–Christopher Wells, author of Car Country

“James Longhurst gives us a whole range of new ways to look at those moments of confusion, uncertainty, and rage experienced by anyone who has spent much time on roads shared by cars and bicycles. Bike Battles is academically rigorous but easy and fun to read. This is really my kind of nerdiness. I recommend it for anyone who feels stuck in polarized conversations about how we use our roads.” –Elly Blue, author of Bikenomics

Saturday, March 21 at 10:00 a.m.

Vacationland: Tourism and Environment in the Colorado High Country
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books / New in Paperback
By William Philpott
Winner of the Western Writers of America 2014 Spur Award for Best Contemporary Western Nonfiction

“The best book yet published on an array of critical topics in Colorado history. . . . what’s more, Vacationland is far and away the most illuminating book yet written on postwar Colorado. Philpott’s research is exhaustive, his prose is elegant but crystal-clear, and his interpretations are almost uniformly persuasive. Vacationland seems bound to earn vociferous praise from scholars. Yet this is also a book that merits widespread attention from general readers. If I were asked to recommend just one work to citizens or visitors seeking to orient themselves to the origins of the contemporary Colorado landscape, this would be it.” –Thomas Andrews, Center for Colorado and the West

Car Country: An Environmental History
Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books / New in Paperback
By Christopher W. Wells

“Relatively few academic geographers have focused their research and publishing directly on the automobile and its geographical implications for life in the United States. Yet nothing over the past century has had a greater effect on America’s geography than the public’s evolving dependence on the motor car, and, as well, the motor truck. . . . Christopher Wells’ opus will excite more geographers to focus on automobility as a fundamental factor underlying the American experience.”–John A. Jackle, The AAG Review of Books

“For students and inhabitants of car country, Wells offers a terrific excavation of the sprawlscape that still drives our days.”–Human Ecology

Bill Holm’s Northwest Coast Indian Art

PrintBill Holm, Professor Emeritus of Art History, and Curator Emeritus of Northwest Coast Indian Art at the Burke Museum, is recognized internationally as one of the most knowledgeable experts in the field of Northwest Coast Native art history. His groundbreaking book, Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form, was originally published in 1965 and is credited with having drawn numerous artists into their own practice of Northwest Coast art. The 50th anniversary edition of this classic work offers color illustrations for a new generation of readers along with reflections from contemporary Northwest Coast artists about the impact of this book.

In this excerpt from the preface, Holm reflects on the book’s legacy and adds a note about its formation:

Holm's original cover with his correction.

Holm’s original cover with his correction.

As I look back on five decades of Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form there really isn’t much that I would change today. I suppose that if I had guessed that it would become a kind of hand book for Northwest Coast Native artists, rather than a somewhat technical analysis of the characteristics of Northern Northwest Coast art, I might have written it differently. Probably the first thing I would have changed would be the title, adding the word “Northern” before “Northwest Coast.” Although the geographical limits of the tradition are stated a number of times in the text, artists and some others using it have often skipped the words in favor of the pictures. The result has been that many have assumed that the art tradition described was pan-coastal.

I probably would change a few terms too, and perhaps correct a few questionable statements. My goal in inventing terminology was always to try for really descriptive words. That I sometimes failed to succeed, I regret today. For example, the term “salmon-trout’s head” was lifted bodily from George Emmons’s list of terms given him by Tlingit weavers. I tend now to call this and related design elements “elaborated inner ovoids,” since they almost never represent a fish’s head.  Similarly the design representing a wide, frontal face with long, narrow nostrils, that I referred to as a “double eye structure,” I now call a “two step structure,” referring to the unique arrangement of the formlines delineating the corners of the mouth and nostrils of the face. And its related term, the former “single eye structure” is now the “one step structure.” On the other hand, I still hold to the descriptive terms “tertiary line” and “T-shaped” relief over the terms often used by contemporary Northwest Coast artists, “fine line” and “trigon,” believing that the old terms are more descriptive of the figures’ functions.

Wooden bowl, Haida. The interrelation of two-dimensional design with sculptural form is well illustrated in this frog bowl by the master Haida carver, Charles Edensaw. University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology A7054.

Wooden bowl, Haida. The interrelation of two-dimensional design with sculptural form is well illustrated in this frog bowl by the master Haida carver, Charles Edensaw. University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology A7054.

As the characteristic shapes and arrangements of the elements of northern Northwest Coast two-dimensional art began to become familiar to me I came to the realization that there was a sort of grammar or syntax to it that was not unlike that of a written language.  There were “rules” that transcended tribal and linguistic boundaries on the northern coast and that were followed in remarkable uniformity by artists of all the tribes of the area. Like a written language, it allowed individual variation while still conforming to the rules. Just as a proper and proficient use of writing doesn’t guarantee a great poem or gripping novel, the “rules” of the northern Northwest Coast “formline” don’t automatically result in great art. That is left to the artist.

A short history of the genesis of Analysis of Form is included in the preface. Here I would like to elaborate just a bit. After having completed the work for a Fine Arts Master’s Degree in Painting under the GI Bill, I cast about for a job.  I liked teaching so went back to school to qualify for a teaching certificate. A requirement at that time was that I return to class after a year of teaching. By that time I had a pretty good understanding of the characteristics of the formline system, so I approached my longtime friend, Dr. Erna Gunther, then Chairman of the Anthropology Department and Director of the Washington State Museum (now the Burke Museum) with the proposal that I take a Graduate Research Course from her and write a paper, the subject being “The structure of Northwest Coast Indian two-dimensional art.”

Woven spruce root hat, Haida. A configurative design of a split wolf is painted around the hat in black, red, and blue-green. Private collection.

Woven spruce root hat, Haida. A configurative design of a split wolf is painted around the hat in black, red, and blue-green. Private collection.

Dr. Gunther readily agreed, and the result was the basis for “An Analysis of Form.” The paper lay fallow for half a dozen years, when I was urged by friends to try to publish it. It sounded like a good idea, but I began to realize that it was incomplete, lacking any kind of documentation. It was all in my head. Again I went to Dr. Gunther for advice. This was in the days before personal computers, and she suggested that I try Keysort Cards  to record characteristics and organize the results. I recorded characteristics of 392 specimens on 400 cards and used the results to fine-tune my conclusions.  Then, what to do?

I had no idea of how to proceed toward publishing the study.  One day I was in a laboratory in the Burke Museum, visiting a friend who had generously let me use a picture of a contemporary silver bracelet he owned as an illustration of how the design system had broken down.  Dr. Walter Fairservis, then the director of the Burke, was in the room and heard our conversation.

He came over and asked me what we were talking about.  Dr. Fairservis, an Asian and Near Eastern specialist, was being unfairly criticized by some members of the public for not exhibiting more of the museum’s Northwest Coast collections. I briefly described my study to him. He turned, picked up the phone and dialed it. He spoke — “Hello Don (Don Ellegood, Director of the University of Washington Press), we have a great manuscript here on the art of the Indians of the Northwest Coast.”

And the rest is history…

Upcoming Symposium
March 27-29, 2015

ArtTalk—Conversations with Northwest Native Art is organized by the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art and will bring together leading scholars and Native American/First Nations artists to present and discuss current trends and recent research on the distinctive art traditions of our region, both to examine the last fifty years of Northwest Coast art, as marked by the 50th anniversary volume of Bill Holm’s Northwest Coast Indian Art: An Analysis of Form, and to look forward to the next fifty years.

The symposium will accompany the exhibition Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired which marks the tenth anniversary of the Bill Holm Center. This symposium will feature artists and scholars from the U.S. and Canada and highlight current research in the field of Northwest Coast art history. It will focus in particular on Native American/First Nations Canadian artists whose art is rooted in deep understanding of their respective cultural and visual heritage yet is clearly contemporary in its expression. Speakers will include distinguished scholars, as well as young artists who are pushing the boundaries of their traditions.

Learn more about the Bill Holm Center via its website and Facebook page, and about the Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture.

Hiking Seattle’s History

In Hiking Washington’s History, Judy Bentley details forty trail hikes and describes the historical significance of spots along those trails in vivid detail. It’s a fantastic way to enjoy the beauty of the region, while also learning something about its history. In today’s guest post, Bentley details an urban hike or bike ride that will take you through areas of historic and contemporary significance to the Duwamish tribe and Croatian immigrant communities.

The mouth of the Duwamish Waterway from the low bridge

The mouth of the Duwamish Waterway from the low bridge

The Duwamish Waterway is the industrial belt of Seattle; the shipping and manufacturing enterprises along its controlled banks drive jobs and trade. As such, the Duwamish River Trail is not the most bucolic hiking trail in Washington, but it is dense in history. It follows the “duw-ahbsh,” a name that means something like “going inside,” the way in to the Puget Sound lowlands. In Hiking Washington’s History, I described the southern end of the trail from the North Wind Fish Weir to Fort Dent. The northern end of the trail is an equally rich in Native, immigrant, and economic history. This is a biking trail but also suitable for walking if you don’t mind some long stretches between points of interest. Continue reading

UW Press News, Reviews, and Events

Thanks to all who made our blog launch a success last week! We appreciated all the retweets, follows, and this mention in Columbia University Press’s weekly round-up of highlights from academic publishing blogs.

News

Taipei: City of Displacements by Joseph Allen, was just named the winner of the Joseph Levenson Post-1900 Book Prize by the Association for Asian Studies. We look forward to celebrating the receipt of this distinguished award next month at the annual meeting of the AAS.


P. Dee Boersma, world-renowned biologist and coeditor of Penguins: Natural History and Conservation, has made a number of media appearances in the past weeks. Follow the links below to learn more about her insights on the impacts of climate change on global penguin populations.

The New York Times: For Already Vulnerable Penguins, Study Finds Climate Change Is Another Danger

Science Friday: Hotter Weather, Heavier Rains Threaten Penguins

BBC News: Climate Change is Killing Argentina’s Magellanic Penguin Chicks

We were saddened to learn that Hazel M. Sampson, the last native speaker of the Klallam language, passed away on Thursday. The University of Washington Press had the pleasure of working with Sampson as an advisor to Timothy Montler’s Klallam Dictionary. We send our condolences to her family and loved ones.

Continue reading