Category Archives: Visual Studies

March 2018 News, Reviews, and Events

News

The University of Washington Press has an outstanding opening for an Editorial Assistant (job number 153892). Please help us get the word out to excellent candidates who are interested in getting into acquisitions!

We were thrilled to announce that starting March 1, 2018, the University of Washington Press joins the UW Libraries and reports to the vice provost of digital initiatives and dean of University Libraries, Lizabeth (Betsy) Wilson. The Press and the Libraries currently collaborate on a number of joint initiatives, and the Press has also published a number of books in association with the Libraries. Read the full press release on the UW Press Blog and more at Shelf Awareness Pro.

Monthly Giveaways

Reviews and Interviews

The Spokesman-Review publishes an opinion piece by The Spokane River editor Paul Lindholdt.

The Indian Express features an article by High-Tech Housewives author Amy Bhatt about how US immigration policy is impacting Indian families.

The Seattle Times mentions Seattle Walks by David B. Williams in a Lit Life column about the Seattle Public Library’s Peak Picks program.

Light reviews Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press): “This anthology is the burn, the salve on the burn, and the funny story you make up years later to explain the scar.”—Barbara Egel

Kotaku Australia includes Black Women in Sequence by Deborah Elizabeth Whaley in a round-up of comics-related Black History Month reads (2/15/18). The author also gets a mention in a New York Times opinion piece (no book mention; 2/16/18), which is syndicated and translated at Gazeta do Povo.

UW Today / UW News highlights news that UW professor emeritus and UW Press author Quintard Taylor has been awarded the lifetime achievement award from the Washington State Historical Society. The Forging of a Black Community gets a mention.

Redmond Reporter features Looking for Betty MacDonald by Paula Becker.

The Forbes Science / #WhoaScience stream features the second edition of The Orphan Tsunami of 1700 by Brian F. Atwater, Satoko Musumi-Rokkaku, Kenji Satake, Yoshinobu Tsuji, Kazue Ueda, and David K. Yamaguchi (published with US Geological Survey, Department of the Interior): “A rather beautifully illustrated account.”—Robin Andrews

Above & Beyond publishes an article about ptarmigans by Michael Engelhard. Ice Bear gets a byline mention.

University of Montana News features Douglas H. MacDonald and Before Yellowstone.

The Fil-Am Magazine and Inquirer.net US review A Time to Rise edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena: “For anyone looking to engage in the issues they believe in or find inspiration amid today’s discouraging headlines, the lessons shared by former KDP members in A Time to Rise are deeply impactful. . . . Detailed and informative, the memoirs in A Time to Rise hash out the struggles that made the difficult road to justice possible. . . . More than a list of achievements, A Time to Rise is personal.”—Renee Macalino Rutledge

Association of King County Historical Organization (AKCHO) Heritage Advisor / News features Frederick L. Brown and his 2017 AKCHO Virginia Marie Folkins Award-winning book The City Is More Than Human.

The Art Newspaper reviews No Idols by Thomas Crow (dist. for Power Publications):”The greatest value of No Idols is in its widest implication: that even if we try, we cannot rid ourselves of the past. Art, stripped of its religious foundations, lives on in a secular world, but ghostly remnants will always remain.”—Pac Pobric

International Examiner mentions Monica Sone’s Nisei Daughter and Yoshiko Uchida’s Desert Exile in a review of Jeanette Arakawa’s The Little Exile.

Live Science mentions Ancient Ink edited by Lars Krutak and Aaron Deter-Wolf in an article about newly published research on prehistoric tattooing. The article interviews lead researcher and book contributor Renée Friedman, and her team’s original article is published in the March 2018 issue of Journal of Archaeological Science.

Ethnic Seattle features Monica Sone and Nisei Daughter in a Women’s History Month round-up of women of color writers from Seattle.

Diplomacy’s Public Dimension reviews Mediating Islam by Janet Steele: “Steele brings the strengths of an accomplished journalism and media scholar and twenty years of field research in Southeast Asia to a book that explores important questions. . . . Not least among many contributions in this important study is the way the author, a self-described Western, secular, female scholar, has engaged in sustained, productive cross-cultural dialogue with journalists in majority Muslim countries, many of whom are not liberal or secular.”—Bruce Gregory

Panorama Television (PCTV) “Now Where Were We?” interviews Lorraine McConaghy about Free Boy. Stream the segment on YouTube.

Food Politics blogger Marion Nestle features The Organic Profit by Andrew N. Case.

The New York Times Lens section’s latest Race Stories piece by Maurice Berger features Al Smith’s life, work, and Seattle on the Spot (dist. for Museum of History and Industry).

Cool Green Science (the conservation science blog of The Nature Conservancy) reviews Razor Clams by David Berger: “An entertaining account, and guide, to the real fun of digging your own food in the beach. . . . Berger’s book is an excellent testimony that gathering is still an enriching, fun and tasty pursuit. Long may it be so.”—Matthew L. Miller

Science interviews Ted Pietsch, coauthor of the forthcoming Fishes of the Salish Sea, about first-ever footage of living anglerfish. More via UW News.

Santa Fe Council on International Relations interviews Janet Steele about Mediating Islam.

The Seattle Times Outdoors section features two (out of six) spring hikes from Seattle Walks by David B. Williams.

Humboldt State Now interviews Cutcha Risling Baldy and mentions We Are Dancing for You in a news release about the 32nd Annual California Indian Conference to be held at Humboldt State University on April 5 and April 6. She is chair of the conference organizing committee.

Science to the People rebroadcasts their interview with Dawn Day Biehler about Pests in the City.

New Books Network interviews Frederick L. Brown about The City Is More Than Human (posted on the NBn American Studies, American West, Environmental Studies, History, and Native American Studies channels).

The Booklist Reader features Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart and recommends additional contemporary Filipino-American fiction: “Carlos Bulosan’s America Is in the Heart is a cornerstone of classic Asian-American literature.”—Terry Hong

New Books

A Family History of Illness: Memory as Medicine
By Brett L. Walker

While in the ICU with a near-fatal case of pneumonia, Brett Walker was asked, “Do you have a family history of illness?”—a standard and deceptively simple question that for Walker, a professional historian, took on additional meaning and spurred him to investigate his family’s medical past. In this deeply personal narrative, he constructs a history of his body to understand his diagnosis with a serious immunological disorder, weaving together his dying grandfather’s sneaking a cigarette in a shed on the family’s Montana farm, blood fractionation experiments in Europe during World War II, and nineteenth-century cholera outbreaks that ravaged small American towns as his ancestors were making their way west.


Firebrand Feminism: The Radical Lives of Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kathie Sarachild, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Dana Densmore
By Breanne Fahs

Breanne Fahs brings together ten years of dialogue with four founders of the radical feminist movement and provides a timely and historically rich account of these audacious women and the lasting impact of their words and work.


Before Yellowstone: Native American Archaeology in the National Park
By Douglas H. MacDonald

Douglas MacDonald tells the long history of human presence in Yellowstone National Park as revealed by archaeological research into nearly 2,000 sites — many of which he helped survey and excavate. He describes and explains the significance of archaeological areas and helps readers understand the archaeological methods used and the limits of archaeological knowledge.


Olympic National Park: A Natural History, Fourth Edition
By Tim McNulty

In this updated classic guide to the park, Tim McNulty invites us into the natural and human history of thesenearly million acres and offers a detailed look at Elwha River restoration after the dam removal, inspiring descriptions of endangered species recovery, and practical advice on how to make the most of your visit.


The Spokane River
Edited by Paul Lindholdt

From Lake Coeur d’Alene to its confluence with the Columbia, the Spokane River travels 111 miles of varied and often spectacular terrain — rural, urban, in places wild. The twenty-eight contributors to this collection — including activists, storytellers, and scientists — profile this living river through personal reflection, history, science, and poetry.


Uplake: Restless Essays of Coming and Going
By Ana Maria Spagna

These engaging, reflective essays muse on rootedness, yearning, commitment, ambition, and wonder, and remind us to love what we have while encouraging us to still imagine what we want.


Cultivating Nature: The Conservation of a Valencian Working Landscape
By Sarah R. Hamilton
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

Shifting between local struggles and global debates, this fascinating environmental history reveals how Franco’s dictatorship, Spain’s integration with Europe, and the crisis in European agriculture have shaped the Albufera Natural Park, its users, and its inhabitants.


Bringing Whales Ashore: Oceans and the Environment of Early Modern Japan
By Jakobina K. Arch
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

In this vivid and nuanced study of how the Japanese people brought whales ashore during the Tokugawa period, Arch makes important contributions to both environmental and Japanese history by connecting Japanese whaling to marine environmental history in the Pacific, including the devastating impact of American whaling in the nineteenth century.


Transforming Monkey: Adaptation and Representation of a Chinese Epic
By Hongmei Sun

In this far-ranging study Hongmei Sun discusses the thousand-year evolution of Sun Wukong (aka Monkey or the Monkey King) in imperial China and multimedia adaptations in Republican, Maoist, and post-socialist China and the United States.


Medicine and Memory in Tibet: Amchi Physicians in an Age of Reform
By Theresia Hofer

Medicine and Memory in Tibet examines medical revivalism on the geographic and sociopolitical margins both of China and of Tibet’s medical establishment in Lhasa, exploring the work of medical practitioners, or amchi, and of Medical Houses in the west-central region of Tsang.


Making New Nepal: From Student Activism to Mainstream Politics
By Amanda Thérèse Snellinger

Based on extensive ethnographic research between 2003 and 2015, Making New Nepal provides a snapshot of an activist generation’s political coming-of-age during a decade of civil war and ongoing democratic street protests.


Mediating Islam: Cosmopolitan Journalisms in Muslim Southeast Asia
By Janet Steele

Broadening an overly narrow definition of Islamic journalism, Janet Steele examines day-to-day reporting practices of Muslim professionals, from conservative scripturalists to pluralist cosmopolitans, at five exemplary news organizations in Malaysia and Indonesia.


Buddhism Illuminated: Manuscript Art from South-East Asia
By San San May and Jana Igunma
Published with British Library

Buddhism Illuminated includes over one hundred examples of Buddhist art from the British Library’s rich collection, relating each manuscript to Theravada tradition and beliefs, and introducing the historical, artistic, and religious contexts of their production. It is the first book in English to showcase the beauty and variety of Buddhist manuscript art and reproduces many works that have never before been photographed.


Captive Light: The Life and Photography of Ella E. McBride
By Margaret E. Bullock and David F. Martin
Distributed for Tacoma Art Museum
Exhibition on view through July 8, 2018

Internationally acclaimed fine-art photographer Ella McBride (1862–1965) played an important role in the Northwest’s photography community and was a key figure in the national and international pictorialist photography movements. Despite her many accomplishments, which include managing the photography studio of Edward S. Curtis for many years and being an early member of the Seattle Camera Club, McBride is little known today. Captive Light reconsiders her career and the larger pictorialist movement in the Northwest. Captive Light is part of the Tacoma Art Museum’s Northwest Perspective Series on significant Northwest artists.


Julie Speidel: The Center Holds
By Matthew Kangas
Foreword by Rock Hushka
Distributed for Speidel Studio LLC

In this richly-illustrated monograph, the art of Julie Speidel is seen as one of myth and materiality, encompassing the creation more than four decades of numerous objects that inhabit a variety of locales and fulfill a wide variety of purposes. She has created sculpture in many different media and a variety of scale, as well as an impressive body of prints.

Events

MARCH

March 30, A Time to Rise edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena, Bayanihan Community Center with Arkipelago Books, San Francisco, CA

March 30 at noon, Janet Steele, Mediating Islam, New York Southeast Asia Network and NYU Wagner’s Office of International Programs, New York, NY

APRIL

April 2 at 7 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass Amherst), History of Art & Architecture, Amherst, MA

April 2 at 7 p.m., Ingrid Walker, High, King County Library System – Des Moines Library, Des Moines, WA

April 5 at 7 p.m., Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Whitman College, Reid Ballroom, Walla Walla, WA

April 6 at 6 p.m., Bruce Guenther, Michael C. Spafford (dist. for Lucia | Marquand), Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Seattle, WA

April 7 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Quin’Nita Cobbins, Paul de Barros, Howard Giske, Jacqueline E. A. Lawson, and Al “Butch” Smith, Jr., Seattle on the Spot (dist. for Museum of History and Industry), On the Spot Gallery Talk, Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI), Seattle, WA

April 7 at 10 a.m., Stevan Harrell, Ways of Being Ethnic in Southwest China, Saturday University: Textiles of Southwest China, Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies and Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium, Seattle, WA

April 8 at 3 p.m., Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

April 9 at 4:30 p.m., Sylvanna Falcón, Power Interrupted, Wellesley College, 2018 Domna Stanton Lecture in Women’s and Gender Studies, Wellesley, MA

April 11 at 12:30 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Garfield Senior Center, Pomeroy, WA

April 11 at noon, Janet Steele, Mediating Islam, George Washington University, Sigur Center for Asian Studies, Washington, DC

April 11 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), GA Nasty Women Poets, Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

April 13 at 7:30 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, with Donna Miscolta, Town Hall Seattle and Phinney Neighborhood Association, In Residence—History Is an Act of the Imagination, Taproot Theatre, Seattle, WA

April 14 at 10:30 a.m., Jennifer Ott, Waterway (dist. for HistoryLink), Redmond Historical Society, Old Redmond Schoolhouse, Redmond, WA ($5 suggested donation for Non-Members)

April 14, Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Oregon Aviation Historical Society, Cottage Grove, OR

April 17 at noon, Jakobina K. Arch, Bringing Whales Ashore, Whitman College, Whitman College Bookstore at Reid Campus Center, Young Ballroom, Walla Walla, WA

April 18 at 3 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Suffolk University, Boston, MA

April 19 at 3:30 p.m., Brett L. Walker, A Family History of Illness, University of Oregon, Department of History, Eugene, OR

April 21 at 3:30 p.m., Douglas H. MacDonald, Before Yellowstone, Historical Museum at Fort Missoula, Missoula, MT

April 23 at 5 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA

April 26 at 3:30 p.m., Dorothy Ko, The Social Life of Inkstones, University of Washington, Seattle Campus, The East Asia Center and China Studies Program at the Jackson School of International Studies with the Seattle Art Museum, Thomson Hall,  Seattle, WA

April 26 at 7:30 p.m., Dorothy Ko, The Social Life of Inkstones, Asia Talks, Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas, Seattle Art Museum, Nordstrom Lecture Hall, Seattle, WA (Free with RSVP; Doors at 7 p.m., Talk begins at 7:30 p.m.)

April 27 at 11:15 a.m., Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán, American Sabor, MoPOP, Pop Conference 2018, Roundtable: Making American Sabor, Seattle, WA

April 27 at 5 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – Raymond Library, Raymond, WA

April 27 – September 2, Adman edited by Nicholas Chambers (dist. Art Gallery of New South Wales), Exhibition, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA

April 27-28, Ana Maria Spagna, Uplake, Get Lit! Festival, Eastern Washington University, Spokane, WA (Tickets on sale March 27 at 10 a.m. PST)

April 28 at 10:30 a.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – South Bend Library, South Bend, WA

April 28 at 2 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Timberland Regional Library – Naselle Library, Naselle, WA

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February 2018 News, Reviews, and Events

News

The 2018 Patrick D. Hanan Book Prize for Translation (China and Inner Asia) will be awarded to Steven Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg as co-translators of Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan. The 2018 Awards Ceremony will take place at the AAS conference in Washington, DC on Friday, March 23. The biennial prize was first awarded in 2016 – Xiaofei Tian won the inaugural Hanan Prize for Translation for The World of a Tiny Insect by Zhang Daye – so UW Press authors have won all prize rounds to date. Congratulations to the translators, series editors, UW Press executive editor Lorri Hagman, and all involved!

Please join us in welcoming a couple of new hires to the Press. Michael O. Campbell, most recently US sales manager at Lone Pine Publishing, is our new sales and marketing director. Neal Swain has joined us as contracts and intellectual property manager. She comes to us from Wales Literary Agency, where she will continue as assistant agent.

Monthly Giveaways

Reviews and Interviews

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner selects The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes as one of their best Alaska books of 2017: “The Tao of Raven is likely the most thoughtful book you’ll read all year, memoir or otherwise.”—Addley Fannin


VICE interviews High author Ingrid Walker about drug policy and use.


UW News features a Q&A with American Sabor authors Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán.


Northwest Asian Weekly features The Hope of Another Spring by Barbara Johns: “Her work puts us in Fujii’s time and place, a gift to those who lived through that time, and to those who have only a sketchy idea of the reality of the Issei experience as told through Fujii’s words and art.”—Laura Rehrmann


The Washington Post / Made By History publishes an op-ed by Emilie Raymond on the history of celebrity civil rights activism. Stars for Freedom, out in paperback this spring, gets a byline mention.


Reading Religion reviews The Jewish Bible by David Stern: “This is a fascinating, engaging, and instructive volume. The breadth of topics and traditions covered is vast, and Stern’s knowledge of and research on these issues is remarkable. Beyond the content, the volume is beautifully illustrated, with over 80 color images illuminating the various topics. A study on the materiality of the Jewish scriptures needed to be written, and we can all be thankful that it was Stern who took up the task.”—Bradford A. Anderson

KUOW interviews Kevin Craft about Vagrants & Accidentals. Poetry correspondent Elizabeth Austen and Bill Radke discuss “Matinee” and Craft reads “For the Climbers” and “Borders without Doctors.”


3rd Act Magazine reviews Walking Washington’s History by Judy Bentley (Winter 2018): “Even if you don’t leave your comfy chair, you’ll learn much more about Washington in this interesting book.”—Julie Fanselow


The Conversation features an article by Amy Bhatt, author of the forthcoming High-Tech Housewives, and UMBC colleague Dillon Mahmoudi about the likely effects of Amazon’s HQ2 on local diversity, equity, and quality of life.


Somatosphere publishes a book forum on Tracing Autism by Des Fitzgerald.

New Books

American Sabor: Latinos and Latinas in US Popular Music / Latinos y latinas en la musica popular estadounidense
By Marisol Berríos-Miranda, Shannon Dudley, and Michelle Habell-Pallán
Translated by Angie Berríos Miranda

With side-by-side Spanish and English text, this book traces the substantial musical contributions of Latinas and Latinos in American popular music between World War II and the present in five vibrant centers of Latin@ musical production: New York, Los Angeles, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Miami.

Ancient Ink: The Archaeology of Tattooing
Edited by Lars Krutak and Aaron Deter-Wolf

This first book dedicated to the archaeological study of tattooing, presents new research from across the globe examining tattooed human remains, tattoo tools, and ancient art.  Ancient Ink connects ancient body art traditions to modern culture through Indigenous communities and the work of contemporary tattoo artists.


The Art of Resistance: Painting by Candlelight in Mao’s China
By Shelley Drake Hawks

Drawing on interviews with the artists and their families, this art history surveys the lives of seven fiercely independent painters during China’s Cultural Revolution (1966-1976), a time when they were considered counterrevolutionary and were forbidden to paint.


Slapping the Table in Amazement: A Ming Dynasty Story Collection
By Ling Mengchu
Translated by Shuhui Yang and Yunqin Yang
Introduction by Robert E. Hegel

The unabridged English translation of the famous story collection Pai’an jingqi by Ling Mengchu (1580-1644), originally published in 1628.


Many Faces of Mulian: The Precious Scrolls of Late Imperial China
By Rostislav Berezkin

The story of Mulian rescuing his mother’s soul from hell has evolved as a narrative over several centuries in China, especially in the baojuan (precious scrolls) genre. This exploration of the story’s evolution illuminates changes in the literary and religious characteristics of the genre.


Forming the Early Chinese Court: Rituals, Spaces, Roles
By Luke Habberstad

This pioneering study of early Chinese court culture shows that a large, but not necessarily cohesive, body of courtiers drove the consolidation, distribution, and representation of power in court institutions.


Down with Traitors: Justice and Nationalism in Wartime China
By Yun Xia

Built on previously unexamined documents, this history reveals how the hanjian (“traitors to the Han Chinese”) were punished in both legal and extralegal ways and how the anti-hanjian campaigns captured the national crisis, political struggle, roaring nationalism, and social tension of China’s eventful decades from the 1930s through the 1950s.


Christian Krohg’s Naturalism
By Oystein Sjastad

The definitive account of Norwegian painter, novelist, and social critic Christian Krohg (1825-1925) and his art.  Sjastad examines the theories of Krohg and his fellow naturalists and their reception in Scandinavian intellectual circles, viewing Krohg from an international perspective and demonstrating how Krohg’s art made a striking contribution to European naturalism.


Sacred to the Touch: Nordic and Baltic Religious Wood Carving
By Thomas A. DuBois

This beautifully illustrated study of six twentieth- and twenty-first-century artists reveals the interplay of tradition with personal and communal identity that characterize modern religious carving in Northern Europe.


Gender before Birth: Sex Selection in a Transnational Context
By Rajani Bhatia

Based on extensive fieldwork, this book looks at how sex selective assisted reproduction technologies in the West and non-West are divergently named and framed. Bhatia’s resulting analysis extends both feminist theory on reproduction and feminist science and technology studies.


Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith
By Quin’Nita Cobbins, Paul de Barros, Howard Giske, Jacqueline E. A. Lawson, and Al “Butch” Smith, Jr.
Distributed for The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI)
Exhibition on view through June 17, 2018

Al Smith’s photography chronicled the jazz clubs, family gatherings, neighborhood events, and individuals who made up Seattle’s African American community in the mid-twentieth century. This companion book to the exhibition at MOHAI features highlights from Smith’s legacy along with reflections from historians, scholars, friends, and family members.

Events

FEBRUARY

February 8 at 7 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Three Stones Gallery, Concord, MA (Snow date: February 9 at 7 p.m.)

February 8 at 7:30 p.m., Thomas Crow, No Idols (dist. Power Publications), Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA

February 9 at 2 p.m., Heidi R. M. Pauwels, Mobilizing Krishna’s World, UW South Asia Center, Thomson 317, Seattle, WA

February 11 at 2 p.m., Frederica Bowcutt, The Tanoak Tree, Grace Hudson Museum and the Sanhedrin Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Ukiah, CA

February 15 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), SoulFood Poetry Night, Redmond, WA

February 18 at 3 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Santa Monica, CA

February 23 at 7 p.m., Nasty Women Poets edited by Grace Bauer and Julie Kane (dist. Lost Horse Press), Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

February 24 at 9 a.m., Ernestine Hayes, The Tao of Raven, 2018 Search for Meaning Festival, Seattle University with Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

February 24 at 2;45 p.m., Lorraine K. Bannai, Enduring Conviction, 2018 Search for Meaning Festival, Seattle University with Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

February 24 at 3:30 p.m., Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Northwest Aviation Conference, Puyallup, WA

February 25 at 1:30 p.m., Eileen A. Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Northwest Aviation Conference, Puyallup, WA

February 25 at 3 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Fairwood Library, Renton, WA

February 27 at 4 p.m., Amanda Thérèse Snellinger, Making New Nepal, UW South Asia Center, Seattle, WA

February 27 at 7 p.m., Paul de Barros, Jackson Street After Hours, The Black and Tan: Reimagining Seattle’s Legendary Jazz Club, Museum of History and Industry in partnership with the Black and Tan Hall, Seattle, WA ($5 for MOHAI members / $10 general public)

February 28 at 12:30 p.m., Ingrid Walker, High, Publish and Flourish, Sponsored by UW Office of Research, University Book Store Tacoma, and UW Tacoma Library, Tioga Library, Tacoma, WA

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2017 National Women’s Studies Association Conference Preview

This week we head to the 2017 National Women’s Studies Association annual conference in Baltimore, Maryland. UW Press editor in chief Larin McLaughlin and assistant editor Niccole Leilanionapae’aina Coggins will be representing the press, premiering several new books, and hosting a celebration of the Feminist Technosciences series with editors, authors, and friends.

Edited by Rebecca Herzig and Banu Subramaniam, Feminist Technosciences seeks to publish emerging, intersectional, cutting-edge feminist work in science and technology studies (learn more in the series brochure). We hope to see you at the booth (#202) on Friday, November 17 at 4 p.m. for the series celebration!

Be sure to stop by to learn more about our new and forthcoming titles in women’s and gender studies, and follow the meeting on social media with the #NWSA2017, #ReadUP, and #LookItUP hashtags.

FEMINIST TECHNOSCIENCES SERIES CELEBRATION

Friday, November 17 at 4 p.m.

Gender before Birth: Sex Selection in a Transnational Context
By Rajani Bhatia
FEBRUARY 2018

Queer Feminist Science Studies: A Reader
Edited by Cyd Cipolla, Kristina Gupta, David A. Rubin, and Angela Willey

Reinventing Hoodia: Peoples, Plants, and Patents in South Africa
By Laura A. Foster

Risky Bodies and Techno-Intimacy: Reflections on Sexuality, Media, Science, Finance
By Geeta Patel

Figuring the Population Bomb: Gender and Demography in the Mid-Twentieth Century
By Carole R. McCann

FORTHCOMING SPRING 2018

Firebrand Feminism: The Radical Lives of Ti-Grace Atkinson, Kathie Sarachild, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Dana Densmore
By Breanne Fahs
APRIL 2018

Unapologetic, troublemaking, agitating, revolutionary, and hot-headed: radical feminism bravely transformed the history of politics, love, sexuality, and science. Firebrand Feminism brings together ten years of dialogue with four founders of the radical feminist movement and provides a timely and historically rich account of these audacious women and the lasting impact of their words and work.

We Are Dancing for You: Native Feminisms and the Revitalization of Women’s Coming-of-Age Ceremonies
By Cutcha Risling Baldy
JUNE 2018
Indigenous Confluences

“I am here. You will never be alone. We are dancing for you.” So begins this deeply personal account of the revitalization of the women’s coming-of-age ceremony for the Hoopa Valley Tribe. Using a framework of Native feminisms, Risling Baldy locates this revival within a broad context of decolonizing praxis.

OTHER FEATURED TITLES

2017 American Studies Association Conference Preview

We are excited to attend the 2017 annual meeting of the American Studies Association (ASA) in Chicago from November 9-12, 2017.

UW Press editor in chief Larin McLaughlin, interim marketing manager Katherine Tacke, and associate editor and Mellon University Press Diversity Fellow Mike Baccam will be representing the press at booth 205.

We hope you’ll join us at the booth on Friday for signings with Migrating the Black Body coeditor Heike Raphael-Hernandez and Playing While White author David J. Leonard, and on Saturday for signings with Network Sovereignty author Marisa Duarte and Queering Contemporary Asian American Art editors Laura Kina and Jan Christian Bernabe.

Follow along on social media with the #2017ASA hashtag and learn more about the scheduled book signings and other featured titles below!

BOOK SIGNING WITH HEIKE RAPHAEL-HERNANDEZ

Friday, November 10 at 1:45 p.m.

Migrating the Black Body: The African Diaspora and Visual Culture
Edited by Leigh Raiford and Heike Raphael-Hernandez

Migrating the Black Body explores how visual media—from painting to photography, from global independent cinema to Hollywood movies, from posters and broadsides to digital media, from public art to graphic novels—has shaped diasporic imaginings of the individual and collective self.

BOOK SIGNING WITH DAVID J. LEONARD

Friday, November 10 at 3:45 p.m.

Playing While White: Privilege and Power on and off the Field
By David J. Leonard

Whiteness matters in sports culture, both on and off the field. Offering critical analysis of athletic stars such as Johnny Manziel, Marshall Henderson, Jordan Spieth, Lance Armstrong, Josh Hamilton, as well as the predominantly white cultures of NASCAR and extreme sports, David Leonard identifies how whiteness is central to the commodification of athletes and the sports they play.

BOOK SIGNING WITH MARISA DUARTE

Saturday, November 11 at 11:45 a.m.

Network Sovereignty: Building the Internet across Indian Country
By Marisa Duarte

Given the significance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to social and political life, many U.S. tribes and Native organizations have created their own projects, from streaming radio to building networks to telecommunications advocacy. Duarte examines these ICT projects to explore the significance of information flows and information systems to Native sovereignty, and toward self-governance, self-determination, and decolonization.

BOOK SIGNING WITH LAURA KINA AND JAN CHRISTIAN BERNABE

Saturday, November 11 at 1:45 p.m.

Queering Contemporary Asian American Art
Edited by Laura Kina and Jan Christian Bernabe
Foreword by Susette Min

Queering Contemporary Asian American Art takes Asian American differences as its point of departure, and brings together artists and scholars to challenge normative assumptions, essentialisms, and methodologies within Asian American art and visual culture. Taken together, these nine original artist interviews, cutting-edge visual artworks, and seven critical essays explore contemporary currents and experiences within Asian American art, including the multiple axes of race and identity; queer bodies and forms; kinship and affect; and digital identities and performances.

OTHER FEATURED TITLES

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November 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

University Press Week is November 6-11 (next week!) and we can’t wait to celebrate the value of our books and expertise of our authors with this year’s theme, #LookItUP: Knowledge Matters.

Find a run-down of online and offline events on the UP Week site and join in with the #ReadUP and #LookItUP hashtags on social media.

In huge literary news, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Seattle as a City of Literature in the Creative Cities Network. Please join us in heartily congratulating all involved in the bid, with a special mention to UW Press staffer and Seattle City of Literature cofounder Rebecca Brinbury! Find more from UNESCO, Seattle City of Literature, and the Seattle Review of Books. Read and write on, Seattle!

Monthly Giveaways

Reviews and Interviews


The Atlantic interviews Pumpkin author Cindy Ott in an article about what counts as a pumpkin. WDEL also interviews the author about the connection between pumpkins and fall.


Tell Me Something I Don’t Know with Stephen J. Dubner features Smell Detectives author Melanie Kiechle in a recent podcast episode all about the senses.
High Country News reviews The Tao of Raven by Ernestine Hayes: “As with Blonde Indian, Hayes blurs the boundaries of genre in The Tao of Raven, which braids sharp grandmotherly meditations and gripping personal history into the fictional storyline of another troubled, typical family. . . . Her prose is as insistent as it is lyrical.”—Rob Rich


Inquirer.net USA reviews A Time to Rise edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena: “A Time to Rise comes out at an opportune time as another fascist regime emerges in the Philippines. As in the past, former KDP activists have responded to the call to fight back.”—Boying Pimentel


International Examiner also reviews: “This nearly 20-year project is a remarkable documentation of one of the leading revolutionary Asian American Movement organizations. . . . A Time to Rise provides much greater complexity to teaching and learning about both Filipino American and Asian American movement history. . . . More than lessons of the past, A Time to Rise illuminates the way forward to complete unfinished revolutions.”—Tracy Lai


KING 5 Evening features Razor Clams author David Berger in a new series on Wild Food. Langdon Cook (James Beard Award-winning writer and author of books including Upstream and The Mushroom Hunters) reviews the book on his blog: “For the uninitiated, David Berger’s Razor Clams is just the ticket to understanding what all the fuss is about. Berger is a lively guide to Siliqua patula‘s ecology, culinary lore, and historical importance in the region. . . . Readers looking for such nourishment will find much to savor in this account of a beloved bivalve.”


CASSIUS publishes an article by author David J. Leonard about the Las Vegas shooting, white male terrorism, and how race shapes our reaction to gun violence. Playing While White gets a byline mention. The Undefeated also publishes an adaption from the book. The Seattle Times publishes an opinion piece by the author on WSU football coach Mike Leach using his platform to thwart conversation on racial equity rather than advance it, where the book gets a byline mention.


The Seattle Times reviews “Witness to Wartime” and prominently mentions The Hope of Another Spring: “The book and exhibition, together, shed a powerful new light on a troubling chapter in U.S. history. . . . Compelling as both artwork and history.”—Michael Upchurch


The Everett Herald reviews Territorial Hues by David F. Martin (dist. Cascadia Art Museum): “If you love the Northwest and Northwest regional art, be sure to check out Territorial Hues.”—Gale Fiege


Asia Pacific Forum interviews Queering Contemporary Asian American Art editors Laura Kina and Jan Christian Bernabe.


Publishers Weekly interviews author Ingrid Walker in an article about the recent Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association fall tradeshow. High gets a mention.


The Eureka Times-Standard features Defending Giants by Darren F. Speece in an article about the 40th anniversary of the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC). Truthout reviews the book: “Eloquent, inspiring, eminently readable nonfiction with precious lessons for those fighting the ever-greater environmental destruction wrought by corporate greed. . . . A tale fully relevant to here and now.”—Robert James Parsons

New Books

Seismic City: An Environmental History of San Francisco’s 1906 Earthquake
By Joanna L. Dyl
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

Combining urban environmental history and disaster studies, this close study of San Francisco’s calamitous earthquake and aftermath demonstrates how the crisis and subsequent rebuilding reflect the dynamic interplay of natural and human influences that have shaped San Francisco.


Chinook Resilience: Heritage and Cultural Revitalization on the Lower Columbia River
By Jon D. Daehnke
Foreword by Tony A. Johnson

A collaborative ethnography of how the Chinook Indian Nation, whose land and heritage are under assault, continues to move forward and remain culturally strong and resilient. Chinook Resilience offers a tribally relevant, forward-looking, and decolonized approach for the cultural resilience and survival of the Chinook Indian Nation, even in the face of federal nonrecognition.

Queer Feminist Science Studies: A Reader
Edited by Cyd Cipolla, Kristina Gupta, David A. Rubin, and Angela Willey

The foundational essays and new writings collected here take a transnational, trans-species, and intersectional approach to this cutting-edge area of inquiry between women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and science and technology studies (STS), and demonstrate the ingenuity and dynamism of queer feminist scholarship.


Living Sharia: Law and Practice in Malaysia
By Timothy P. Daniels

What role does sharia play today in Malaysia? Drawing on ethnographic research, this book traces the contested implementation of Islamic family and criminal laws and sharia economics to provide cultural frameworks for understanding sharia among Muslims and non-Muslims in Southeast Asia and beyond.


Mobilizing Krishna’s World: The Writings of Prince Savant Singh of Kishangarh
By Heidi R. M. Pauwels

Through an examination of the life and works of Savant Singh (1697-1764), this remarkable study explores the circulation of ideas and culture in the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries in north India, revealing how the Rajput prince mobilized soldiers but also used myths, songs, and stories about saints in order to cope with his personal and political crisis.


The Rebirth of Bodh Gaya: Buddhism and the Making of a World Heritage Site
By David Geary

This multilayered historical ethnography of Bodh Gaya—the place of Buddha’s enlightenment in the north Indian state of Bihar—explores the spatial politics surrounding the transformation of the Mahabodhi Temple Complex into a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002.


The Jewish Bible: A Material History
By David Stern

Drawing on the most recent scholarship on the history of the book, this beautifully illustrated material history shows how the Bible has been not only a medium for transmitting its text—the word of God—but a physical object with a meaning of its own.

Events

NOVEMBER

November 1 at 6:30 p.m., Linda Carlson, Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest, Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church, Sequim, WA

November 2 at 6 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Washington Athletic Club, Seattle, WA

November 2 at 7 p.m., David B. Williams, Jennifer Ott, and staff of HistoryLink, Waterway, King County Library System – Mercer Island, Mercer Island, WA

November 4 at 1 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington Speakers Bureau, Seward Park Audubon Center, Seattle, WA

November 8 at 6:30 p.m., Linda Carlson, Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest, Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church, Sequim, WA

November 9 at 6 p.m., Zoltán Grossman, Unlikely Alliances, Orca Books, Olympia, WA

November 9 at 12:30 p.m., David Biggs, Quagmire / War in the Land (forthcoming 2018), University of Washington, Southeast Asia Center, Thomson Room 317, Seattle, WA

November 9 at 7 p.m., Ingrid Walker, High, King’s Books, Tacoma, WA

November 10 at 7 p.m., James Longhurst, Bike Battles, BikePGH and Healthy Ride, Pittsburgh, PA

November 10 – 13, Emily T. Yeh, Mapping Shangrila, 2017 Machik Weekend, New York, NY

November 11 at 10 a.m., David Biggs, Quagmire / War in the Land (forthcoming 2018), Seattle Asian Art Museum, Saturday University, History Flows from the Mekong Mud, Seattle Art Museum, Plestcheeff Auditorium (SAM), Seattle, WA (Get tickets)

November 12 at 4 p.m., David B. Williams, Jennifer Ott, and staff of HistoryLink, Waterway, Eastside Heritage Center, Bellevue, WA

November 14, Geeta Patel, Risky Bodies and Techno-Intimacy, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA

November 16 at 7 p.m., Melanie A. Kiechle, Smell Detectives, American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, MA

November 16 at 6 p.m., Zhi LIN (dist. for Tacoma Art Museum), Tacoma Art Museum, Artist Talk: Conversation with Zhi LIN and Chief Curator Rock Hushka, Tacoma, WA

November 17 at 10 a.m., David E. Wilkins and Shelly Hulse Wilkins, Dismembered, Symposium on Tribal Citizenship, San Diego State University, Scripps Cottage, San Diego, CA

November 18 at 3 p.m., Seattle7Writers Holiday Bookfest with Kathleen Alcalá (The Deepest Roots) and David B. Williams (Seattle Walks), Seattle, WA

November 19 at 2 p.m., Linda Carlson, Company Towns of the Pacific Northwest, Snoqualmie Valley History Society, King County Library System – North Bend, North Bend, WA

November 22 at 7 p.m., Cindy Domingo, A Time to Rise, with Vincente Rafael (Motherless Tongues), Duterte’s War: The Current Crisis in the Philippines and Beyond, Third Place Books – Seward Park, Seattle, WA

DECEMBER

December 2 at 11 a.m., Zoltán Grossman, Unlikely Alliances, Hoquiam Timberland Library, Hoquiam, WA

December 10 at noon, Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Full Circle Bookstore, Oklahoma City, OK

December 14 at 7 p.m., Shelley Drake Hawks, The Art of Resistance, Concord Free Public Library, Concord, MA

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Q&A with ‘Risky Bodies and Techno-Intimacy’ author Geeta Patel

Risky Bodies & Techno-Intimacy traverses disparate and uncommon routes to explore how people grapple with the radical uncertainties of their lives. In this edgy, evocative journey through myriad interleaved engagements–including the political economies of cinema; the emergent shapes taken by insurance, debt, and mortgages; gender and sexuality; and domesticity and nationalism–author Geeta Patel demonstrates how science and technology ground our everyday intimacies. The result is a deeply poetic and philosophical exploration of the intricacies of techno-intimacy, revealing a complicated and absorbing narrative that challenges assumptions underlying our daily living.

Today we talk to the author about her book, publishing soon in our Feminist Technosciences series. 

What inspired you to get into your field?

Geeta Patel: I don’t have a field in any strict sense, although most of my friends now would think of me as a literary ‘type.’ I, however, don’t think of myself that way. I compose in visual metaphors, and the way I look at things askance, as though they were transparent and opaque at the same time, is as a scientist who loves poetry.

I grew up in a family full of women doctors, which along with the push toward science if you grew up in South Asia and had even a vestige of a brain, meant I ended up being saddled with science, specializing in the sciences from when I was eleven years old. But I loved all the sciences, particularly ‘the natural sciences’ with the kind of curiosity of many eighteenth-century scientists. In that period ‘scientific’ curiosity leaked out into more than what we would now call science. It embraced poetry, literary prose, questions of politics, the ways in which money and goods moved, finance, drawings, maps, and instruments. A sort of porous curiosity, rather than directed curiosity along blinkered pathways. Eighteenth-century journals, as well as the South Asian magazines of my childhood, had tidbits on science, poetry, politics, fiction, oddities from the ambit of the political, and off-kilter instruments of measurement. This is what I grew up reading and it is was as though they all belonged in the same place and together made sense.

So when I think of what my ‘field’ consists of, it lives at the cusp of all these things. Where more than one intellectual formation or terrain fades into each other, informs each other, pushes at each other, and inflects each other. And a field formation gets taken up in such a way that it makes an assumption in another field discomfiting. One such place I approach/broach that in Risky Bodies & Techno-Intimacy is the technology of time.

What would you have been if not an academic?

GP: Probably a health practitioner, a healer.

Why did you want to write this book?

GP: I wanted to sit with, ponder, think about, and ruminate on the places, moments, pauses, and sudden jolts where I stopped thinking. Where my capacity to envision something else failed me, felt as though it had faded from my grasp. Many intellectuals imagine this as the horizon towards which one ambles, gallops, or comes up against in some putative future. When I was writing my previous book on the Urdu poet Miraji, I came to see it as he had, and how the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein had, as that which is inside what we think, visualize, do. The bedrock of belief lives where we come to a grinding halt, and we find ourselves in a double bind—facing what we must let go of, but can’t. How could we, following on Michel Foucault and Marcel Mauss, understand these as technologies that make us who we are, which are the armature of our very ordinary, everyday habits?

I also wanted to mess with what had come to be conventional ways of bringing intellectual fields together. I wanted to make that broaching or bridging awkward—and this is what I practice in Risky Bodies & Techno-Intimacy. What would chemistry do to transgender possibilities in South Asia? What would it mean to transmute the aesthetics of linear time to lay out the gatherings that took on the resistance to a film on sexuality? How would the historical congruencies between these events and the fights over insurance in the Indian parliament give us insights? Allow us to delve into the modes through which financing loss became the conduit to grapple with the political desires that undergird nationalism? In the process how would science emerge in writing about events that might, in some simple way, not be said to be scientific (in the ways we now see science)?

Who do you see as the audience for this book?

GP: Everyone, feminists, science studies aficionados, cultural studies scholars, media studies scholars, finance practitioners, political theorists, literary theorists. In India I have found the audience to include artists, film-makers, fiction writers, poets, and non-academics.

What is your next project?

GP: I have many ongoing projects. One is a book on Ismat Chughtai, in particular on two of her short stories. That book interrogates the lineages of historical realism in South Asia. It brings quantum and relativity as conduits through which I can grapple with the desires that readers ferry along with them as they read fiction and mine it for information. One is a book on 1950s and ‘60s billboards in Mumbai, and I look at what they reveal about advertising, fiscal fantasies, national sentiment, and nationalist aesthetics in post-colonial states. Another is about the long history of pensions and insurance in South Asia. One of the first of its chapters rethinks the eighteenth-century history of capitalism through colonial pensions.


Geeta Patel is associate professor of both Middle Eastern and South Asian languages and cultures and of women, gender, and sexuality at the University of Virginia. She is author of Lyrical Movements, Historical Hauntings: Gender, Colonialism, and Desire in Miraji’s Urdu Poetry.

July 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

Next Thursday evening, Seattle Theatre Group will present a screening of the film Promised Land, a documentary about the Duwamish and Chinook fight for treaty recognition influenced by several UW Press books. The Neptune Theatre screening is free and open to the public and will include preshow songs and drumming with the Chinook Indian Nation and Duwamish Tribe, and a postshow discussion with representatives from the tribes and the filmmakers. There’s still time to RSVP, and we hope you can join us!

The Scholarly Kitchen features the Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship program and interviews editor in chief Larin McLaughlin: “The [Mellon] University Press Diversity Fellowship program is not a lament at how the pipeline is limited but rather a recognition that university presses can take responsibility for expanding their own recruiting pool directly.”—Roger C. Schonfeld

Senior acquisitions editor Catherine Cocks moderated a live panel discussion on the how, when, and why of developmental editing for the monthly Association of American University Presses (AAUP) Art of Acquisitions Panelists included Ann Regan (editor in chief, Minnesota Historical Society Press) and Matt Bokovoy (senior editor, University of Nebraska Press). You can watch the recorded Hangout video on YouTube, and catch up on public Art of Acquisitions Hangouts on the AAUP site and follow the series on Twitter at #artofACQ.

Book of the Month Giveaways

Enter to win one of this month’s picks! (Open to US residents only.)

  1. Playing While White by David J. Leonard (Entry form)
  2. The Portland Black Panthers by Lucas N. N. Burke and Judson L. Jeffries (Entry form)

The giveaways will close on Friday, July 14, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. PT. Winners will be notified by Monday, July 17, 2017.

Reviews and Interviews


No-No Boy by John Okada gets a mention in an advice essay at Inside Higher Ed.


Anthropology News features an article by Sanctuary and Asylum author Linda Rabben.


New Books in Genocide Studies / New Books network (NBn) interviews editor John Roth about Losing Trust in the World: “A compelling body of essays. . . . Readable and challenging. In the end, I’m not sure I know exactly how to ‘confront’ torture. But I am better equipped to try.”—Kelly McFall


Penn State News interviews author Madhuri Desai about Banaras Reconstructed.


UW Today features a May 2017 Perspectives newsletter article about UW art professor Zhi Lin and his eponymous exhibit. The Zhi LIN exhibit is view at Tacoma Art Museum (TAM) from June 27, 2017 – February 18, 2018, and we will distribute the accompanying book, Zhi Lin, for TAM.


The Rumpus reviews Vagrants & Accidentals by Kevin Craft: “A pleasure to hold and behold. . . . Through the conflation of music, birds, personal lives, and a shaky natural world, Craft troubles the reader with the impossible question: How are we to live when loss—personal, environmental, and political—is heaped upon loss?”—Cate Hodorowicz


artnet News features Queering Contemporary Asian American Art and coeditors Laura Kina and Jan Christian Bernabe: “Via its challenging and diverse reflections, Queering Contemporary Asian American Art shows how the specific questions of Asian American art history make the stakes of resisting a homonormative queer community (i.e. one that models itself after standards of success defined by white privilege and capitalism) even more vivid.”—Terence Trouillot

In conjunction with the book’s release and Pride month, the Center for Art and Thought is hosting a virtual exhibition called “Queer Horizons,” featuring artists showcased in the book, and curated by the coeditors.


Inquirer.net mentions A Time to Rise edited by Rene Ciria Cruz, Cindy Domingo, and Bruce Occena (forthcoming October 2017) in an article about the retirement of community organizer-leader Lillian Galedo.


Library Journal Xpress Reviews includes a short review of The Hope of Another Spring by Barbara Johns: “Highly recommended for anyone with an interest in Asian American studies, art, art history, and U.S. history; in particular, those wanting to read more about Japanese American history.”—Tina Chan


Bronxnet features video from a lecture by City of Virtues author Chuck Wooldridge, taped at Lehman College’s Leonard Leif Library this past April.


Waterway by David B. Williams, Jennifer Ott, and staff of HistoryLink (dist. for HistoryLink) gets some nice coverage ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Lake Washington Ship Canal, including features at Shelf Talk, Pacific NW Magazine, and Seattle Magazine.

New Books

Smell Detectives: An Olfactory History of Nineteenth-Century Urban America
By Melanie A. Kiechle
Foreword by Paul S. Sutter

What did nineteenth-century cities smell like? And how did odors matter in the formation of a modern environmental consciousness? Smell Detectives follows the nineteenth-century Americans who used their noses to make sense of the sanitary challenges caused by rapid urban and industrial growth. Melanie Kiechle examines nuisance complaints, medical writings, domestic advice, and myriad discussions of what constituted fresh air, and argues that nineteenth-century city dwellers, anxious about the air they breathed, attempted to create healthier cities by detecting and then mitigating the most menacing odors.

New in Paperback

The Portland Black Panthers: Empowering Albina and Remaking a City
By Lucas N. N. Burke and Judson L. Jeffries

Readers will gain a valuable new understanding of what the Black Panther Party meant to a city far away from the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, and activists will get priceless lessons in the dos and don’ts of local organizing.”—H. Bruce Franklin, author of Vietnam and America

Classical Seattle: Maestros, Impresarios, Virtuosi, and Other Music Makers
By Melinda Bargreen

Bargreen offers compelling personal insights into her subjects’ lives as performers and residents of our region. No other book provides such a well-informed and well-written perspective focusing exclusively on Seattle’s classical community.”—Dave Beck, KING FM

Reclaimers
By Ana Maria Spagna

Spagna’s enthusiasm for their dedication and causes is irresistible. Such struggles are the real deal, after all, and what reader wouldn’t cheer on these tenacious underdogs trying to remedy past damage? We’re blessed with opportunities to make a difference, the writing shows. . . . The lessons of her journeys. . . are ‘Do what you can. Hope without hope. Expect the unexpected.”—Irene Wanner, Seattle Times

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

“Bike Battles is masterly in its treatment of public policy toward the ‘roads as commons,’ and has given new depth to our understanding of cycling in America. I envy the light and easy style of the author.“—Glen Norcliffe, author of Ride to Modernity


The Tanoak Tree: An Environmental History of a Pacific Coast Hardwood
By Frederica Bowcutt

Bowcutt examines the history of the tanoak tree, bringing to life a rich story about how humans are connected to this beautiful yet unassuming tree. . . . [T]his valuable book will be important for a broad audience.“—Choice

Events

JULY

July 6 at 8 p.m. (Doors at 7 p.m.) STG & Tall Firs Cinema present Promised Land documentary screening at the Neptune Theater, Nights at the Neptune, with University Book Store, Seattle, WA (Press books will be on display; authors featured in documentary)

July 7-9, Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Arlington Fly-In, Arlington, WA

July 8 at 2 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, King County Library System – Burien, Burien, WA

(SOLD OUT) July 10 at 6 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Historic Seattle and the Shoreline Historical Museum, Firland Sanatorium | CRISTA Ministries, Seattle, WA

July 11 at 7 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Humanities Washington, Asotin County Library, Basalt Cellars Winery, Clarkston, WA

July 12 at 7 p.m., David B. Williams, Jennifer Ott, and staff of HistoryLink, Waterway, MOHAI, Seattle, WA ($15 general public / $10 members; RSVP)

July 12 at 7 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington, Guemes Island Community Center, Anacortes, WA

July 13 at 7 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, King County Library System – Auburn, Auburn, WA

July 22 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, Pacific Northwest Historians Guild, Guided hike of Coal Creek Trail, Newcastle, WA (RSVP; $10-25)

July 23 at 2 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, Pierce County Library System – Sumner Library (flyer), Sumner, WA

July 23 at 3 p.m., David B. Williams, Jennifer Ott, and staff of HistoryLink, Waterway, Seattle Public Library – Central Library, Seattle, WA

July 24-30, Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, EAA AirVenture Fly-In, “Author’s Corner,” Oshkosh, WI

July 27 at 5:30 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, Timberland Regional Library – Vernetta Smith Chehalis Timberland Library, Chehalis, WA

July 27 at 6:30 p.m., Jennifer Ott, Waterway, Mukilteo Yacht Club, MYC General Meeting, Everett, WA

July 28 at 7 p.m., Linda Rabben, Sanctuary and Asylum, Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends (Conservative) annual session (Program), Scattergood Friends School, West Branch, IA

July 30 at 2 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington, Mason County Historical Museum, Shelton, WA

AUGUST

August 4 at 7 p.m., Ernestine Hayes, The Tao of Raven, Alaska State Library, Summer Lecture Series at the APK, Juneau, AK

August 5 at 11 a.m., Jess Thomson, A Year Right Here, Bear Pond Books, Stowe, VT

August 7, David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, King County Library Services – Renton Highlands, Renton, WA

August 15, Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, King County Library System – Lake Forest Park, Lake Forest Park, WA

August 15 at 7 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, Co-presented with Capitol Hill Historical Society and Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

August 31, David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, with Kevin O’Brien, Third Place Books, Seward Park, Seattle, WA

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June 2017 News, Reviews, and Events

News

We were thrilled to announce our 2017-2018 Mellon University Press Diversity Fellowship recipients earlier this month. Please join us and the MIT Press, Duke University Press, the University of Georgia Press, and the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) in welcoming the 2017-2018 fellows and in congratulating the 2016-2017 fellows on their accomplishments, including securing full-time positions within scholarly publishing! Read the full press release.

We are delighted that Western Washington University’s Western Reads committee has chosen Tulalip, From My Heart: An Autobiographical Account of a Reservation Community by Harriette Shelton Dover, as their common book for the 2017–18 school year. The Western Reads common book selection is just one example of how communities and readers engage with the work we publish. Read more from the desk of the director.

Congratulations to American Sabor coauthor Michelle Habell-Pallán, awarded the 2017 Barclay Simpson Prize for Scholarship in Public!

Building the Golden Gate Bridge by Harvey Schwartz is 2017 San Francisco Book Festival runner-up in History. The book is also a 2017 Nautilus Silver Award Winner in Young Adult Non-Fiction. Congratulations to the author and all involved!

Book of the Month Giveaways

Enter to win one a book bundle or the new Western Reads book! (Open to US residents only.)

  1. Native American and Indigenous studies summer reading bundle (Entry form)
    1. Native Seattle by Coll Thrush
    2. Dismembered by David E. Wilkins and Shelly Hulse Wilkins
    3. Unlikely Alliances by Zoltán Grossman
    4. Network Sovereignty by Marisa Elena Duarte
    5. The Gift of Knowledge by Virginia R. Beavert, edited by Janne R. Underriner
  2. Tulalip, From My Heart by Harriette Shelton Dover (Entry form)

The giveaways will close on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. PT. Winners will be notified by Monday, June 19, 2017.

Reviews and Interviews

High Country News reviews and features photographs from Once and Future River by Tom Reese and essay by Eric Wagner (May 2017 print issue): “From the recovering chinook salmon to the manufacturing plants that turned the Duwamish into a Superfund site, the images in this book portray a dynamic river carrying its complex legacy into a difficult recovery.”—Rebecca Worby


Critical Inquiry reviews Zuo Tradition / Zuozhuan translated by Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li, and David Schaberg (5/1/17): “It is impossible to do justice to this monumental publication in a brief review; let me merely emphasize that these renowned translators, working as a trio, amount to even more than the sum of their parts because their strengths are complementary. No single human being could have handled so many aspects of this text . . . which is compact but rooted in three lifetimes of learning and reflection.”—Paul R. Goldin


The New Statesman reviews Ice Bear by Michael Engelhard (with Yoko Tawada’s Memoirs of a Polar Bear): “Beautifully illustrated.”—Tim Flannery

National Observer also reviews the book: “Lets compelling images and snips of history tell the tale of human projection onto the bear’s white furry screen.”—Carrie Saxifrage


TheKitchn features an article by A Year Right Here author Jess Thomson, as well as an adapted excerpt from the book. ParentMap features the book in a round-up of parenting books to read this summer: “While readers have front row seats to razor clamming on the Washington coast, truffle hunting in Oregon and a winery tour in British Columbia, it’s the way Thomson’s preparations are thwarted that make this book an interesting read.”—Nancy Schatz Alton


New Hampshire Public Radio’s “Word of Mouth” interviews Bike Battles author James Longhurst. La Crosse Tribune also features the book and author.


Humanities Washington blog features Nisei Daughter by Monica Sone in a round-up of prominent Washington literary books (5/11/17): “With perspective, humor, and understanding, Monica Sone describes growing up in Seattle in the 1930s, then being deported with thousands of other Japanese Americans during World War II. Her descriptions of the roundup, the move to the Puyallup fairgrounds, and life in the camps opened the hearts and eyes of her readers, and the book continues to urge Americans to be more decent to all its people.”—Dan Lamberton


Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown publishes an online excerpt of Mother’s Beloved by Outhine Bounyavong.


Seattle Times reviews Woodland by John Bierlein and staff of HistoryLink (dist. for HistoryLink / Woodland Park Zoo) in a round-up of new summer books (print edition): “An intriguing history and exploration of the challenges, innovations, lore and controversies surrounding Seattle’s zoo that will enrich your next zoo visits, this summer and beyond. . . . Full of superb photography.”—Brian J. Cantwell


New Books in History interviews The Social Life of Inkstones author Dorothy Ko (5/18/17): “Dorothy Ko’s new book is a must-read. . . . It is a masterful study that is equally sensitive to objects and texts as historical documents.”—Carla Nappi

New Books

Playing While White: Privilege and Power on and off the Field
By David J. Leonard

Whiteness matters in sports culture, both on and off the field. Offering critical analysis of athletic stars such as Johnny Manziel, Marshall Henderson, Jordan Spieth, Lance Armstrong, Josh Hamilton, as well as the predominantly white cultures of NASCAR and extreme sports, David Leonard identifies how whiteness is central to the commodification of athletes and the sports they play.


The Gift of Knowledge / Ttnuwit Atawish Nch’inch’imamí: Reflections on the Sahaptin Ways
By Virginia R. Beavert
Edited by Janne L. Underriner

The Gift of Knowledge / Ttnuwit Atawish Nch’inch’imamí is a treasure trove of material for those interested in Native American culture. Linguist and educator Beavert narrates highlights from her own life and presents cultural teachings, oral history, and stories (many in bilingual Ishishkíin-English format) about family life, religion, ceremonies, food gathering, and other aspects of traditional culture.


Dismembered: Tribal Disenrollment and the Battle for Human Rights
By David E. Wilkins and Shelly Hulse Wilkins

Since the 1990s, Native governments have been banishing, denying, or disenrolling citizens at an unprecedented rate. Nearly eighty nations, in at least twenty states, have terminated the rights of indigenous citizens. This first comprehensive examination of the origins of this disturbing trend looks at hundreds of tribal constitutions and interviews with disenrolled members and tribal officials to show the damage this practice is having across Indian Country and ways to address the problem.


Network Sovereignty: Building the Internet across Indian Country
By Marisa Elena Duarte

Given the significance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to social and political life, many U.S. tribes and Native organizations have created their own projects, from streaming radio to building networks to telecommunications advocacy. Duarte examines these ICT projects to explore the significance of information flows and information systems to Native sovereignty, and toward self-governance, self-determination, and decolonization.


Unlikely Alliances: Native Nations and White Communities Join to Defend Rural Lands
By Zoltán Grossman
Foreword by Winona LaDuke

Unlikely Alliances explores the evolution from conflict to cooperation through place-based case studies in the Pacific Northwest, Northern Plains, Great Basin, and Great Lakes, from the 1970s to the 2010s. They suggest how a deep love of place can overcome the most bitter divides between Native and non-Native neighbors. In these times of polarized politics and globalized economies, many of these stories offer inspiration and hope.


Banaras Reconstructed: Architecture and Sacred Space in a Hindu Holy City
By Madhuri Desai

Between the late sixteenth and early twentieth centuries, Banaras, the iconic Hindu center in northern India that is often described as the oldest living city in the world, was reconstructed materially as well as imaginatively, and embellished with temples, monasteries, mansions, and ghats (riverfront fortress-palaces). Desai examines the confluences, as well as the tensions, that have shaped this complex and remarkable city.


Displaying Time: The Many Temporalities of the Festival of India
By Rebecca M. Brown

The U.S. Festival of India was conceived at a meeting between Indira Gandhi and Ronald Reagan to strengthen relations between the two countries at a time of late Cold War tensions and global economic change, when America’s image of India was as a place of desperate poverty and spectacular fantasy. Using extensive archival research and interviews with artists, curators, diplomats, and visitors, Rebecca Brown analyzes a selection of museum shows that were part of the Festival of India to unfurl new exhibitionary modes: the time of transformation, of interruption, of potential and the future, as well as the contemporary and the now.

Events

JUNE

June 10 at 7 p.m., John Bierlein, Woodland, Barnes and Noble, Federal Way, WA

June 10 at 5:30 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, Time Enough Books, Ilwaco, WA

June 11 at 3 p.m., Kathleen Alcalá, The Deepest Roots, with Iris Graville and Vicki Robin, Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, WA

June 12 at 7 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, King County Library System – Issaquah, Issaquah, WA

June 15 at 6:30 p.m., James Longhurst, Bike Battles, Whitefish Bay Public Library, Milwaukee, WI

June 17 at 10 a.m., David B. Williams, Too High and Too Steep, Pacific Northwest Historians Guild, Guided walk of the Denny regrade, Seattle, WA (RSVP; $10-25)

June 20 at 5:30 p.m., Jennifer Ott, Waterway, Structural Engineers Association of Washington, SEAW Annual Spring Social & Awards, Seattle, WA (RSVP; $50)

June 21 at 12:30 p.m., Frederick L. Brown, The City Is More Than Human, Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island, WA

June 22 at 5:30 p.m., James Longhurst, Bike Battles, Bike/Walk Alliance for Missoula (BWAM), Bike History with BWAM at Imagine Nation Brewing, Missoula, MT

June 24 at 12:30 p.m., Jennifer Ott, Waterway, Puget Sound Maritime Historical Society, Ivar’s on Northlake, Seattle, WA

June 24 at 2 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, King County Library System – Enumclaw, Enumclaw, WA

June 24 at 2 p.m., David Berger, Razor Clams, Humanities Washington, Monroe Library, Monroe, WA

JULY

July 6 at 8 p.m. (Doors at 7 p.m.) STG & Tall Firs Cinema present Promised Land documentary screening at the Neptune Theater, Nights at the Neptune, with University Book Store, Seattle, WA (Press books will be on display; authors featured in documentary)

July 7-9, Eileen Bjorkman, The Propeller under the Bed, Arlington Fly-In, Arlington, WA

July 8 at 2 p.m., David B. Williams, Seattle Walks, King County Library System – Burien, Burien, WA

July 10 at 4 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Historic Seattle and the Shoreline Historical Museum, Firland Sanatorium | CRISTA Ministries, Seattle, WA (RSVP)

July 11 at 7 p.m., Paula Becker, Looking for Betty MacDonald, Humanities Washington, Asotin County Library, Basalt Cellars Winery, Clarkston, WA

July 12 at 7 p.m., David B. Williams, Jennifer Ott, and staff of HistoryLink, Waterway, MOHAI, Seattle, WA ($15 general public / $10 members; RSVP)

July 13 at 7 p.m., Judy Bentley, Walking Washington’s History, King County Library System – Auburn, Auburn, WA

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Photo Essay: ‘The Hope of Another Spring’

This Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month we are excited to share special features with authors and editors of new and recent titles that celebrate Asian and Pacific Islanders in the United States.

Today we feature a guest post from The Hope of Another Spring: Takuichi Fujii, Artist and Wartime Witness author Barbara Johns exploring some of the most powerful and intriguing pieces by Issei artist Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964).

Her book, published this spring, reveals Fujii’s life story and work and gives a telling alternative view of the wartime ordeal of West Coast Japanese Americans. The centerpiece of Fujii’s large and heretofore unknown collection is his illustrated diary, which historian Roger Daniels calls “the most remarkable document created by a Japanese American prisoner during the wartime incarceration.”

Please join us to celebrate the publication of The Hope of Another Spring at these events:

Wednesday, June 7 at 7 p.m., Folio with Elliott Bay Book Company, Denshō, and the Wing Luke Museum, Seattle, WA

Thursday, June 8 at 7 p.m., Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Wednesday, September 13 at 7 p.m., In conversation with Tom Ikeda, Seattle Public Library – Central Library with Elliott Bay Book Company and Denshō, Seattle, WA Seattle, WA

Saturday, September 16 at 2 p.m., Exhibit opening and curator talk, Washington State History Museum, Tacoma, WA

Wednesday, September 20 at 7 p.m., Friends of Mukai at the Vashon Land Trust building, Vashon Island, WA

Saturday, October 7 at 2 p.m., Kinokuniya, Seattle, WA

Saturday, October 14 at 2 p.m., University Book Store, Tacoma, WA

Friday, October 20 at 1:30 p.m., Walla Walla Art Club, Walla Walla, WA

The Washington State History Museum in Tacoma will present the corresponding exhibition, Witness to Wartime: Takuichi Fujii, from September 21, 2017 – January 4, 2018.

After the exhibition closes in Tacoma, it will travel to the Alexandria Museum of Art in Alexandria, LA from March 1 – June 27, 2018.


Takuichi Fujii (1891-1964), Chicago, ca. 1953. Fujii, pictured here in his early sixties, moved to Chicago after World War II. During the war Chicago became the center of Japanese America as the result of the War Relocation Authority’s resettlement policy. Fujii moved to the city after the war and spent the remainder of his life there.

Photo courtesy of Sandy and Terry Kita.

Fujii, High School Girl, ca. 1934-1935. Fujii immigrated from Hiroshima to Seattle at the age of fifteen, established a small fish sales business, and by the 1930s was a well-recognized artist. This painting pictures his daughter, a student at Broadway High School.

Oil on canvas, 22 3/4 x 29 in. Wing Luke Asian Museum Collection. Photo: Richard Nicol.

Fujii, Evacuation, 1942. Executive Order 9066, issued on February 19, 1942, authorized the army to establish military zones “from which any or all persons may be excluded,” targeting although not naming persons of Japanese ancestry. The mass forced removal began in late March, and by June, more than 110,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast were incarcerated under armed guard. Fujii began an illustrated diary that he would keep throughout the war, and here, shows his family leaving home.

Diary frontispiece. Ink and watercolor on paper, image 4 1/4 x 4 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Diary entry, 1942. Fujii wrote, “We arrived at the Puyallup Assembly Center. Those who had been sent here earlier greeted us from inside the barbed wire.” Fujii’s diary, nearly four hundred pages of text and images, gives a detailed account of the “camp” experience from an inmate’s perspective.

Ink on paper, 8 x 5 1/2 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Puyallup Assembly Center, Washington, 1942. Crudely built barracks on the Western Washington Fairgrounds and surrounding area housed more than 7,000 Japanese Americans from May to September. Meals, latrines, showers, and laundry were communal. Inadequate plumbing, noise, endless lines, and mandatory roll call were daily conditions.

Denshō, courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ6-1654, http://encyclopedia.densho.org/sources/en-denshopd-i217-00021-1/.

Fujii, Puyallup Assembly Center. In addition to his diary, Fujii produced well over one hundred watercolors that replicate or complement the diary drawings. He writes in the diary entry on which this watercolor is based, “The south side of the camp: the place where there was a tall watchtower.” His drawings and watercolors repeatedly trace the means of confinement and specify his viewpoint, positioning him as a witness.

Watercolor on paper, 4 x 6 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Puyallup Assembly Center, man standing by barracks. This watercolor enlarges a detail from the diary drawing, as Fujii continued to reflect on his experience.

Watercolor on paper, 14 x 10 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Minidoka War Relocation Authority camp. Minidoka occupied 950 acres of desert land in south-central Idaho and at its peak, housed over 9,000 Japanese Americans. This painting is one of three related images to picture this portion of the fence, including the tumultuous montage on the cover of The Hope of Another Spring. Fujii’s diary reads, “This is the barbed wire and [the scene] around Block 24.”

Watercolor on paper, 13 1/2 x 10 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Minidoka, pounding mochi for New Year’s day. At the end of December 1942, two generations of men pound steamed rice for mochi in preparation for the first New Year at Minidoka. An Issei, or immigrant-generation Japanese, he often contrasts his and the younger generation in his diary, but here, he describes their shared social celebration as “we pounded the [mochi] shouting enthusiastically.”

Watercolor on paper, 6 1/4 x 4 1/2 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, Minidoka, drawing by flashlight. Fujii pictures himself in usual perspective as he draws inside his barrack, as if to make the viewer a witness alongside him.

Watercolor on paper, 14 3/4 x 10 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, double portrait of himself and his wife, Fusano (on the left), ca. 1943-1945. This unique sculpted pair shows the strong, supportive union between Fujii and his wife. The dimensions suggest the wood was scavenged from fence posts when a portion of the hated barbed-wire fence was dismantled.

Carved wood, the taller, 9 x 4 x 3 1/4 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection. Photo: Richard Nicol.

Fujii, Diary entry, Minidoka, October 2, 1945. Fujii and his wife, having received eviction papers, await their departure from Minidoka to an unknown future. He describes the acute anxiety aroused by the announcement of the closure of the camps in 1945, particularly among the Issei, who had lost their homes, farms and businesses, possessions, and, for many of them, their health.  His diary is exceptional in recording his experience from the forced removal in 1942 to his leaving Minidoka as the camp closed.

Ink on paper, 8 x 5 1/2 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection.

Fujii, abstraction, early 1960s. Moving to Chicago after the war, Fujii continued to paint and experimented with abstraction in a broad range of styles. His work culminated in a series of bold, dynamic black and white abstractions in the last years of his life.

Enamel on canvas, 24 x 36 in. Sandy and Terry Kita Collection. Photo: Richard Nicol.


Barbara Johns, PhD, is a Seattle-based art historian and curator. Her previous books include Signs of Home: The Paintings and Wartime Diary of Kamekichi Tokita, Paul Horiuchi: East and West, Jet Dreams: Art of the Fifties in the Northwest, and Anne Gould Hauberg: Fired by Beauty.

‘What makes work meaningful?’: Q&A with ‘The Social Life of Inkstones’ author Dorothy Ko

The following interview originally appeared at Barnard News and is adapted and used with permission. (Courtesy of N. Jamiyla Chisholm, Barnard College, New York City.)


To honor Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month, Barnard College professor of history Dorothy Ko offers a peek into ancient and modern-day Eastern culture and politics.

According to the Library of Congress, Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month takes place in May for two reasons: May 7, 1843, marked the immigration of the first Japanese citizen to the U.S.; and on May 10, 1869, the transcontinental railroad was completed, mostly by Chinese immigrant workers.

Credit: Marvin Trachetenberg

Dorothy Ko explores the subjects of gender and body in early modern China. In her books, Ko unravels the complex worlds of Chinese footbinding (Cinderella’s Sisters: A Revisionist History of Footbinding), fashion (Every Step a Lotus: Shoes for Bound Feet), and feminism (Teachers of the Inner Chambers: Women and Culture in Seventeenth-Century China). Her latest, The Social Life of Inkstones: Artisans and Scholars in Early Qing China, introduces the West to the world of ancient Asian stones and includes close to 100 images (see slideshow below). Ko explains the significance of this highly specialized art form.

What exactly is an inkstone and what is its significance in East Asian culture?

An inkstone is a piece of polished stone about the size of an outstretched palm. Before the invention of fountain pens, let alone laptops and iPads, every student, writer, or painter in East Asia had to grind a fresh supply of ink at the desk by dipping an ink-stick in water and rubbing it on the surface of the stone. This process was as instinctive to them as recharging our iPhones is to us. Day in and day out, the writers and painters developed deep attachments to their implements. More than an instrument for writing, the inkstone was a collectible object of art, a father’s gift to his school-bound son, a token of friendship, and even a diplomatic gift between states.

Why is this tool so unfamiliar to Western civilizations when it has represented so much for the East for more than a millennium?

Europeans drew ink from an inkpot so they had no use for an ink-grinding stone. Nor did the early European collectors appreciate its subtle beauty as the Chinese connoisseurs did. The color of the inkstone tended to be deep purple or black; it is small and does not display well in a stately home or fancy apartment. So it is no wonder that there is no notable collection of inkstones in Europe or America.

Your book shines a light on craftswoman Gu Erniang who became famous for her inkstone-making skills, which were refined between the 1680s and 1730s. What made her such a standout?

Her extraordinary skills. Gu Erniang was a remarkable woman who thrived in a field dominated by men; she became more famous than her male colleagues. Her name was associated with technical and artistic innovations as well as refined taste. It is also interesting to mention that she enjoyed more gender freedom than her genteel sisters in that she could receive male patrons in her studio to discuss commissioned projects face-to-face.

How has the significance of inkstone artisans changed over time?

Gu Erniang was one of the first inkstone makers in China to attach her signature mark on her work, suggesting a heightened respect that exceptional artisans like her enjoyed. Today, because the inkstone is no longer a functional object, all inkstone artisans have to present themselves as creative artists.

What interests you most in this topic area and what are some of the biggest “ah ha!” moments you had conducting research for the book?

I love all the modern conveniences we enjoy but increasingly feel the need to look back and reassess the heavy price we pay for such “industrial development” or “progress.” I became interested in the craftsmen because theirs was a sustainable livelihood that was environmentally responsible. Through their eyes, I arrive at tentative answers to my big question at the moment: What makes work meaningful? The craftsman’s answer: Making one-of-a-kind objects with attention and skill in a collaborative environment. Craft makes us more human by inspiring us to strive for perfection.

How does the research conducted for this book connect to research from your previous publications on footbinding and Chinese feminism?

As a historian of gender, I’m sensitive to power inequalities and trained to analyze the operations of power. In the same way that I had retrieved women in Chinese history in my earlier books, I set out to retrieve the artisans from erasure in the hands of male scholars. Little did I know that the latter turned out to be a far more difficult project.

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