Latin American Studies

Commemorating a Century of Land and Water Reform

Thank you to Mikael Wolfe, author of Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico, for today’s guest post.

Mikael Wolfe

People celebrated the Constitution’s centennial with theater, music, dance, video, and self-congratulating speeches. One hundred years in, and it was still one of the world’s most progressive. It guaranteed not only civil and political rights but social and economic rights, like the right to unionize, an adequate minimum wage, retirement security, equal pay for men and women, and paid maternity leave. Of course, this wasn’t 1887 and it wasn’t the United States’ celebration. In February 2017, the United Mexican States (Mexico’s often forgotten, official name) were busy celebrating their constitution.

We may admire the ambition of the Mexican constitution, but even more important to Mexico’s poor rural majority in 1917 was the right to—and duty to conserve—land and water. Indeed, this was the principal raison d’être of the Mexican Revolution of 1910 for which hundreds of thousands of Mexicans had shed blood and the culmination of their constitution. How Mexico bestowed agricultural land and simultaneously tried to conserve natural resources, principally water, in the emblematic Laguna region is at the core of the story I tell in Watering the Revolution: An Environmental and Technological History of Agrarian Reform in Mexico.

978-0-8223-6374-3This story changes our understanding of Mexican agrarian reform, Latin America’s longest and most extensive, distributing nearly half of the arable land to millions of campesinos (peasants) from 1917 to 1992. Ostensibly, land reform was the goal, but to the campesinos land was worthless without water. Unlike land, however, water—in all its fascinating, frustrating fluidity—refused to bend to official decrees or be bound by surveyor lines. It still does, and not only in Mexico. The recent controversy surrounding the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) only proves the importance of water access and the fights over it. Through mass protest, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe helped popularize the motto that—just as, if not more so than land—“Water is Life.” After all, the DAPL doesn’t actually cross into Sioux land, but goes under the nearby Missouri River on which the Sioux depend. Interestingly, much of the politics, conflicts-of-interest, and corruption involved in building the DAPL resembles the story of hydraulic infrastructure-building in the name of the Mexican Revolution.  Though some still believe otherwise, then, as now, water rights and land rights cannot be separated.

This basic fact is illuminated by an envirotech history of water management. Envirotech’s premise is simple: Nature and technology not only impact one another, but become so interdependent that the boundary between them dissolves. A dam is an obvious example. An artificial, invasive structure, a dam creates new ecosystems upstream and down. In short, the envirotech perspective reminds us that people don’t just act on or react to nature, they also recreate it.

Envirotech is a new term in Mexican history but not necessarily new to Mexico. As I show in my introduction, the Mexican muralist Diego Rivera was attuned to envirotech long avant la lettre. From the 1920s Rivera celebrated in many of his murals motifs of putative harmony among humanity, nature, and technology. He depicted scenes in which engineers, or técnicos, adroitly executed land distribution and installed hydraulic infrastructure while a grateful nation applauded.

Brilliantly aspirational, Rivera’s murals didn’t reflect the complications and conflicts Mexicans incurred in making their Constitution’s mandate a reality. This is abundantly clear in the north-central Laguna region watered by the Nazas River, the focus of my book. The locals, or Laguneros, revered the Nazas as their “Nile” and “Father” for the rich sediment it brought to their fields from the Durango Mountains, yet it was a fickle patriarch. Some years it brought a trickle only to be followed by several years’ worth of torrential flows. This extreme irregularity was a source of constant recrimination among the farmers who relied upon the river for their livelihoods. As early as Porfirio Díaz’s presidency (1876-1911), a few water-deprived farmers, including the future president Francisco I. Madero, and government officials agreed upon an envirotechnical solution: damming the Nazas.

The Mexican Revolution, which overthrew Díaz, transformed the social and political landscape of the region and nation, and, with it, the social purpose of the dam, especially during the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934-1940). If before the Revolution, the dam’s purpose was to make water distribution more equitable, after the Revolution water redistribution had to complement land redistribution. This made the dam appear to many large landowners as a facilitator of land redistribution, which they vehemently opposed.

Large landowners had good reason to oppose the dam. In 1936, Cárdenas decreed Latin America’s hitherto largest land reform in the Laguna, but the dam never actually delivered on its promise of providing a bountiful supply of water. Campesinos found living off the land as difficult after the land reform as before, largely because of insufficient water. Instead, quite literally, the fight went underground. Anyone with enough money to drill a well and install a motorized pump could withdraw groundwater, which meant richer farmers disproportionately benefited while weathering drought. Less controversial didn’t mean less problematic, however: Today the Laguna’s aquifers are among Mexico’s most overexploited and contaminated.

The real tragedy, however, as I argue in the book, is that Laguneros and government officials knew what was happening and had regulations in place to address the problem. Mexico had the authority to regulate surface water as early as the 1917 Constitution and the power to regulate groundwater by 1947. (By contrast, U.S. federal legislation regulating groundwater, primarily for drinking, was passed in 2006.) But despite this power, the government lacked the will to enforce these laws and water users the restraint to comply. People ignored laws and regulations even though they understood—to varying degrees—that they were only harming themselves in the long run. Campesinos, landowners, and even—if only in reputation—the técnicos all suffered from the collective refusal to regulate water use. How and why this happened and its consequences are at the heart of my story.

Save 30% on the paperback edition of Watering the Revolution using coupon code E17WATER, or read the introduction before buying.

The Hypervisibility of Violence in Mexico

Rielle Navitski, author of the new book Public Spectacles of Violence: Sensational Cinema and Journalism in Early Twentieth-Century Mexico and Brazil, brings us today’s guest blog post.

Photo by Dina Canup

The epidemic levels of violence affecting Mexico made international headlines this past month when a report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies declared it the deadliest nation in the world after Syria, with a toll of 23,000 homicides in 2016. While the report’s critics called for greater nuance than this headline offers, there is no question that the conflict poses a profound threat to the very fabric of public life in Mexico. Criminal organizations challenge the government’s control of territory and its exclusive privilege to exercise physical force (its monopoly on violence, in sociologist Max Weber’s terms), although widespread corruption makes any sharp distinction between state and criminal actors difficult to sustain. Violence’s capacity to terrorize is amplified by unspeakable displays of cruelty—the staging of victims’ bodies in public spaces, the circulation of images of torture and murder online—even as forced disappearances and clandestine mass graves mask the conflict’s true extent.

As I observe in my book Public Spectacles of Violence, the proliferation of graphic images of violence and the blurring of boundaries between state and criminal aggression are far from a new phenomenon in Mexico. During the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920—arguably the twentieth-century’s first social revolution—novel forms of visual culture like illustrated newspapers and magazines, postcard photographs, and film offered a flood of images of combat, executions, hangings, and ravaged bodies. Sparked by opposition to the thirty-five year dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, the revolution claimed an estimated 1 million lives in a country of 12 million, drifting away from democratic ideals and rural demands for economic equality. The character of the conflict—marked by prolonged struggles between military factions defined more by their charismatic leaders rather than by their ideologies—continually threw into question the legitimacy of the deadly use of force and attacks on private property.

978-0-8223-6975-2

This crisis of political legitimacy is evident in the earliest box-office success of Mexican cinema, a 1919 crime film entitled El automóvil gris (The Grey Automobile). Based on the exploits of a criminal gang who traveled in the grey automobile of the film’s title and committed robberies dressed as soldiers from the army of Venustiano Carranza, El automóvil gris was shot by cameraman Enrique Rosas in an effort to mend the reputation of General Pablo González, who was suspected of complicity in the crimes. Patterned on popular crime films produced in France and the United States, El automóvil gris also drew on Mexico City’s sensationalistic press, which presented acts of robbery, kidnapping, and murder as signs of local modernity, since they demonstrated that the capital suffered the same social ills as industrialized metropolises like London, Paris, and New York. Implicit in these accounts of criminality was an acceptance of industrialization and urbanization’s social costs as the price of progress, measured by the standards of Europe and the United States.

As I hope to show in my book by examining parallel developments in the early mass cultures of Mexico and Brazil, the profound impact of violence on public life in modern Latin America cannot solely be attributed to failures of state formation or economic development in individual nations. Instead, it must be understood in light of the global dynamics of the capitalist economy, its role in the circulation of commodities and images, and its production of inequality. Commentators note that present-day criminal organizations in Mexico—whose ranks are swelled by young men with few opportunities in the formal economy—borrow and extend the business strategies of multinational corporations. In his book Narconomics, journalist Tom Wainright notes that Mexican cartels benefit from outsourcing select activities to Central American countries where operating costs are cheaper, and expand rapidly by lending their names and reputation to locally rooted criminal groups in a process akin to franchising. Observing the role of conspicuous consumption in cultures of organized crime in Mexico, Ed Vulliamy wrote in 2011 that “the greed for violence reflects the greed for brands, and becomes a brand in itself.” Observing that drug trafficking exemplifies the free flow of commodities underlying the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, he provocatively describes the accompanying violence as “the inevitable war of capitalism gone mad.”

In their response to the IISS report mentioned above, Mexico’s foreign and interior ministries stressed the transnational character of the current violence, fueled by demand for narcotics north of the US-Mexico border and the flow of illegal firearms south from the United States. (A 2014 study found that arms purchased in the United States account for at least 70 percent of the weapons used in the conflict). Rather than remaining as spectators of this horrific conflict—or worse, turning away our gaze—it is essential that we examine our own position within the flows of narcotics, weapons, and images fueling it. Attending to its historical echoes can better attune us to the national and transnational forces that forge public spheres profoundly marked by spectacles of violence.

Read the introduction to Public Spectacles of Violence free online, and save 30% on the paperback using coupon code E17NAVIT on our website.

Subject Collections in Gender Studies and Latin American Studies

As we close out another academic year, we want to remind you of useful resources for two of the strongest areas of our publishing program: gender studies and Latin American studies. In 2017, we launched new e-book subject collections in Gender Studies and Latin American Studies.

GENDER STUDIES

Our Gender Studies/Feminist Theory book list features authors well known for their work in gender studies, gay and lesbian studies, transgender studies, and queer and feminist theory. Many of our journals also address gender studies from transnational and interdisciplinary perspectives:

View the title list for the Gender Studies collection, which features more than 500 e-books and is available to libraries by purchase, lease, or lease-to-own.

LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

Our Latin American Studies authors are well known for their work in anthropology, art, cultural studies, Caribbean studies, Chicano and Latino studies, history, literature, film and media, and politics. Many of our journals also cover Latin America:

View the title list for the Latin American Studies collection, which features more than 500 e-books and is available to libraries by purchase, lease, or lease-to-own.

If you’re interested in gaining access to these resources, have your librarian contact our Library Relations team to get more information.

Puerto Rico: A U.S. Colony in a Postcolonial World?

ddrhr_128_coverThe most recent special issue of Radical History Review, “Puerto Rico: A U.S. Colony in a Postcolonial World?”, edited by Margaret Power and Andor Skotnes, is now available.

Puerto Rico has been a United States colony for close to 115 years, and it was a Spanish colony for nearly four centuries before that. From a variety of economic, political, and cultural angles, this collected volume explores the realities and legacies of colonial experiences and the complex relationships of present-day Puerto Rico to the United States, Latin America, and the world. It focuses on the long, multifaceted resistance of Puerto Rican people to this colonialism and postcolonialism, and how the history and legacy of colonialism is key to understanding Puerto Rico today.

Essays in this issue explore topics such as:

  • Puerto Rico’s economic crisis
  • women’s independence organizing in Puerto Rico
  • gendered representations of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. press from 1940-1950

Read the guest editors’ introduction to this special issue, made freely available through August 30, 2017.

New Books in May

Here in Durham, we’re in the middle of warm spring weather perfect for reading outside in the sunshine. Add some of these upcoming May reads to your own reading list, and don’t forget that you can save up to 50% on in-stock titles through May 10! (Read the fine print of our sale here.)

978-0-8223-6349-1In I Love My Selfie noted cultural critic Ilan Stavans explores the selfie’s historical and cultural roots by discussing everything from Greek mythology and Shakespeare to Andy Warhol, James Franco, and Pope Francis. This collaboration includes a portfolio of fifty autoportraits by the artist ADÁL; he and Stavans use them as a way to question the notion of the self and to engage with artists, celebrities, technology, identity, and politics.

Through essays analyzing the photography of luminaries such as Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Susan Meiselas, pioneering feminist art critic Abigail Solomon-Godeau, in Photography after Photography, extends her politically engaged and theoretically sophisticated inquiry into the historical and cultural circuits of power as they shape and inform the practice, criticism, and historiography of photography.

Solomon-Godeau_pbk_cover.inddIn The Power of the Steel-Tipped Pen Noenoe K. Silva creates a model indigenous intellectual history of a culture where—using Western standards—none is presumed to exist by examining the work of two lesser-known Hawaiian language writers from the nineteenth-century whose prolific output across many genres created a record of Native Hawaiian cultural history and thought.

Gabriel Rockhill, in Counter-History of the Present, examines the widespread understanding that we are living in an era of globalization that is bound by economic and technological networks and an unquestionable faith in democracy, replacing it with a counter-history that accounts for the diversity of lived experience and offers new ways to imagine the future.

978-0-8223-6368-2In Archives of Labor Lori Merish establishes working-class women as significant actors within nineteenth-century U.S. literary culture by analyzing previously unexplored archives of working-class women’s literature, showing how white, African American, and Mexican American factory workers, seamstresses, domestic workers, and prostitutes understood themselves while forging class identity.

Beyond Civil Society challenges current understandings of the politics of protest, activism, and participation by examining the ways in which social movements in late twentieth- and early twenty-first-century Latin America blur the boundaries between civil and uncivil activism and between activism carried out in state and the streets. The collection is edited by Sonia E. Alvarez, Jeffrey W. Rubin, Millie Thayer, Gianpaolo Baiocchi, and Agustín Laó-Montes.

978-0-8223-6901-1In Degrees of Mixture, Degrees of Freedom, Peter Wade draws on a multidisciplinary research study in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, arguing that genomics produces biologized versions of racialized difference within the nation and the region and that a comparative approach nuances the simple idea that highly racialized societies give rise to highly racialized genomics.

The contributors to Photography and the Optical Unconscious, edited by Shawn Michelle Smith and Sharon Sliwinski, use Walter Benjamin’s concept of the optical unconscious to investigate how photography has shaped history, modernity, perception, lived experience, politics, race, and human agency, thereby opening up new avenues for thinking about photography and the human psyche.

978-0-8223-6903-5Judith Casselberry’s The Labor of Faith examines the material and spiritual labor of the women of a Black Pentecostal church in Harlem, showing how their work keeps the church running while providing them with a spiritual authority that allows them to exercise power in the male-led church.

In The Economization of Life Michelle Murphy examines the ways in which efforts at population control since World War II have tied reproduction to neoliberal capitalism, showing how data collection practices have been used to quantify the value of a human life in terms of its ability to improve the nation-state’s gross domestic product.

Erin Beck, in How Development Projects Persist, examines microfinance NGOs working with poor, rural women in Guatemala to show how these women creatively and strategically use the NGOs to their own benefit in ways that do not necessarily match the goals of the NGOs, demonstrating that development projects are often transformed and persist in unexpected ways.

We’re also distributing three new exhibition catalogues this month:

TitleTreatment_FINALNina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush, a publication of the Nasher Musuem of Art at Duke University, accompanies the exhibition of the same name, a ten-year survey of one of the most provocative and iconoclastic artists working today. Royal Flush is on display at the Nasher until July 16, 2017.

A landmark exhibition on display at the Brooklyn Museum until September 17, 2017, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. The accompanying Sourcebook republishes an array of rare and little-known documents from the period by artists, writers, cultural critics, and art historians such as Gloria Anzaldúa, James Baldwin, bell hooks, Lucy R. Lippard, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Lowery Stokes Sims, Alice Walker, and Michelle Wallace. The exhibition will also be on display at the California African American Museum in Los Angeles from October 13, 2017, through January 14, 2018, and at the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston from June 26, 2018, through September 30, 2018.

Julie Thomson’s Begin to See: The Photographers of Black Mountain College is the first in-depth exhibition and catalogue devoted to photography taken at the college and features over 100 photographs by more than forty artists as well as essays, photographer biographies, and a chronology of photography at Black Mountain College. The catalogue is published by the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center, where the exhibition is on display until May 20, 2017.

Never miss a new book! Sign up for Subject Matters, our e-mail newsletter, and get notifications of new titles in your preferred disciplines as well as discounts and other news.

Stock up and Save on Latin American Studies Titles

SpringSale2017_900x200_72dpi

The annual meeting of the Latin American Studies Association begins tomorrow in Lima, Peru. Because of the distance, this year we will have books and journals on display at the congress but attendees will not be able to purchase them there. Fortunately, we are having a great sale that includes all our in-stock Latin American studies titles and we encourage both attendees and those who weren’t able to make it this year to take advantage of the discounts.

Head to our website and save 30% (our regular conference discount) on one or two books or journal issues, 40% on three or four titles, and 50% on five or more copies. Just enter coupon code SUMMER17 at checkout.

978-0-8223-6348-4_prNew Latin American studies titles include The Lima Reader: History, Culture, Politics, the latest in our Latin America Readers series. Covering more than 500 years of history, culture, and politics, The Lima Reader seeks to capture the many worlds and many peoples of Peru’s capital city, featuring a selection of primary sources that consider the social tensions and cultural heritages of the “City of Kings.” If you fall in love with Lima during LASA, pick up The Lima Reader to learn more about it’s past and present.

decolonizing-dialectics-coverOther titles we’ll be featuring at LASA that you can pick up during our online sale include Decolonizing Dialectics by George Ciccariello-Maher, which brings the work of Georges Sorel, Frantz Fanon, and Enrique Dussel together with contemporary Venezuelan politics to formulate a decolonized dialectics that is suited to the struggle against the legacies of slavery and colonialism while also breaking the impasse between dialectics and postcolonial theory. And An Aqueous Territory: Sailor Geographies and New Granada’s Transimperial Greater Caribbean World by Ernesto Bassi, which examines the lives of those who resided in the Caribbean between 1760 and 1860 to trace the configuration of a dynamic geographic space he calls the transimperial Greater Caribbean, where residents made their own geographies and futures while trade, information, and people circulated freely across borders.

Punk and RevolutionWe are also featuring some music titles including The Great Woman Singer: Gender and Voice in Puerto Rican Music by Licia Fiol-Matta, which traces the careers of four iconic Puerto Rican singers; Musicians in Transit: Argentina and the Globalization of Popular Music by Matthew B. Karush, which examines the transnational careers of seven of the most influential Argentine musicians of the twentieth century; and Shane Greene’s Punk in Revolution: Seven More Interpretations of Peruvian Reality, which radically uproots punk from its iconic place in First World urban culture, Anglo popular music, and the Euro-American avant-garde, situating it instead as a crucial element in Peru’s culture of subversive militancy and political violence.

ddhahr_95_1If you’ve missed any special issues of Hispanic American Historical Review (HAHR), you can order them at the discount, too (but subscriptions are not eligible). Check out recent issues of HAHR including “New Directions in Colonial Latin American History” and “The New Drug History of the Americas.” Special issues of Labor, Public Culture, Radical History Review, and all our other journal issues are also on sale.

This special sale runs through May 10. See the rest of the fine print here. After May 10 you can still order the above titles and other Latin American studies works at a flat 30% discount using coupon code LASA17. Happy shopping!

 

Poem of the Week

978-0-8223-6229-6To celebrate National Poetry Month, we’re sharing a poem a week throughout April. Today’s poem, by Roberto Fernández Retamar, can be found in Only the Road / Solo el Camino: Eight Decades of Cuban Poetry, edited and translated by Margaret Randall. Read on for the English translation.

Felices los normales

A Antonia Eiriz

Felices los normales, esos seres extraños.
Los que no tuvieron una madre loca, un padre borracho, un hijo delincuente,
Una casa en ninguna parte, una enfermedad desconocida,
Los que no han sido calcinados por un amor devorante,
Los que vivieron los diecisiete rostros de la sonrisa y un poco más,
Los llenos de zapatos, los arcángeles con sombreros,
Los satisfechos, los gordos, los lindos,
Los rintintín y sus secuaces, los que cómo no, por aquí,
Los que ganan, los que son queridos hasta la empuñadura,
Los flautistas acompañados por ratones,
Los vendedores y sus compradores,
Los caballeros ligeramente sobrehumanos,
Los hombres vestidos de truenos y las mujeres de relámpagos,
Los delicados, los sensatos, los finos,
Los amables, los dulces, los comestibles y los bebestibles.
Felices las aves, el estiércol, las piedras.

Pero que den paso a los que hacen los mundos y los sueños,
Las ilusiones, las sinfonías, las palabras que nos desbaratan
Y nos construyen, los más locos que sus madres, los más borrachos
Que sus padres y más delincuentes que sus hijos
Y más devorados por amores calcinantes.
Que les dejen su sitio en el infierno, y basta.

Happy Are the Normal Ones

To Antonia Eiriz

Happy are the normal ones, those strange beings,
Who didn’t have a crazy mother, drunken father, delinquent child,
A nowhere house, an unknown disease,
Who were never burnt to a crisp by an all-consuming love,
Who lived seventeen smiling faces and a little bit more,
Full of shoes, archangels with hats,
The satisfied, the fat, the beautiful,
Rintintín and his minions, who naturally, right here,
Who earn, who are loved to the hilt,
flautists accompanied by mice,
Salesmen and those who buy from them,
Slightly superhuman gentlemen,
Men dressed in thunder and women in lightning,
The delicate ones, the sensible, the refined,
The lovable, the sweet, the edible and drinkable.
Happy are the birds, the manure, the stones.

But let them make way for those who create worlds and dreams,
Illusions, symphonies, words that break us in two
And put us back together, those crazier than their mothers, drunker
Than their fathers, more delinquent than their children
And more devoured by all-consuming loves.
Leave them their place in hell, that’s all.

Learn more about Only the Road / Solo el Camino or read last week’s poem.

Collateral Afterworlds: Sociality Besides Redemption

ddstx_130The most recent issue of Social Text, “Collateral Afterworlds: Sociality Besides Redemption,” moves beyond the binary of life and death to explore how the gray areas in between—precarious life, slow death—call into question assumptions about the social in social theory. In these “collateral afterworlds,” where the line between life and death is blurred, the presumed attachments of sociality to life and solitude to death are no longer reliable.

The contributors focus on the daily experiences of enduring a difficult present unhinged from any redeeming future, addressing topics such as drug treatment centers in Mexico City, solitary death in Japan, Inuit colonial violence, human regard for animal life in India, and intimacies forged between grievously wounded soldiers. Engaging history, film, ethics, and poetics, the contributors explore the modes of intimacy, obligation, and ethical investment that arise in these spaces.

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

Interview with Ethnohistory co-editor John F. Schwaller

We recently sat down with new Ethnohistory co-editor John F. Schwaller to discuss his background, how he’d like to shape the journal in the future, and plans for upcoming special issues. To learn more about Ethnohistory, visit dukeupress.edu/ethnohistory.

How did you come to be co-editor of this journal?

ddeh_64_1Matthew Restall [former co-editor of Ethnohistory] is a colleague and friend of mine and when he had served the journal for almost 10 years, he asked me if I would be interested in taking over the position from him. I’ve been a long-time follower and sometime author in Ethnohistory. My work in early colonial Mexico and especially my work in Nahuatl was very close to the journal, so it was a fun opportunity.

How would you like to shape the journal in the future?

What I really want to do is continue to emphasize high quality work on the rest of the Americas. Ethnohistory always has had very strong pieces on British and French North America. For the last ten to fifteen years the journal has included increasingly important pieces on what we now consider Latin America and I want to continue that tradition. Many of the articles have come from Mesoamerica—that’s Mexico and Central America. We have published a little bit in South America and we now have a couple of articles in the queue focused on South America. I would like to expand the offerings for Mesoamerica and South America significantly, so we have a really great presence for both continents in the journal.

What are some under-researched areas that you hope to publish about in the future?

I think, in terms of the profession at large it may not be as underserved, but there are certainly a lot of native peoples of South America that have not been covered sufficiently. We’re only beginning to see some really good studies of some of the native peoples of South America, and I would love to see more ethnohistories of peoples from South America.

Do you have any plans for upcoming special issues?

We have two proposals for special issues right now. One deals with Nahuatl speaking people, and I’m very excited about that. It’s an outgrowth of a panel at the American Society for Ethnohistory meeting in Nashville [November 2016] in which we looked at language and cultural identity in modern Mexico. We had several native Nahuatl speakers who were part of the panel. The organizers of the panel have asked if Ethnohistory would be interested in looking at the papers and the presentations for a special issue and I’ve told them absolutely. If it comes to fruition, at least one or perhaps two of the shorter presentations will be in Nahuatl with English translations.

What are you looking for in submissions?

I’m excited about everything. I really want people to think of Ethnohistory as an important place for their work to appear if they work on native peoples of the Americas.

Obviously with the revolution in languages that we’ve had since the 1970s, many of us are very excited by documentation and works based on documentation in native languages. We need not be blind to the fact that there still are valid and important sources that are only Spanish, Portuguese, English, or French, that can also enlighten us as to the history of native peoples.

To learn more about the journal or to subscribe, visit dukeupress.edu/ethnohistory. To submit your work to the journal, review the submission guidelines.

Native American Slavery and Genocide

ddeh_64_1The most recent issue of Ethnohistory, “Native American Slavery in the Seventeenth Century,” edited by Arne Bialuschewski, sheds new light on the role of Native American slavery in the development of colonial economies and in shaping the colonial world across cultural and political boundaries.

Though enslavement took various forms—from outright chattel to limited-term servitude—indigenous slavery was ubiquitous in the major colonial empires by the late seventeenth century. Focusing on five examples of Native American slavery in the early modern period, the contributors present important new frames for scholarship in this growing area of study. Articles address an early Spanish abolition campaign, buccaneers’ involvement in the enslavement of Maya groups, native slaves in the early plantation economy of Barbados, the enslavement of indigenous surrenderers after King Philip’s War, and the interactions between French explorers and indigenous slaves in the Lower Mississippi Valley.

Read the introduction, made freely available.

978-0-8223-5779-7The essay collection Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America, edited by Alexander Laban Hinton, Andrew Woolford, and Jeff Benvenuto, expands the geographic, demographic, and analytic scope of the term genocide to encompass the effects of colonialism and settler colonialism in North America. Colonists made multiple and interconnected attempts to destroy Indigenous peoples as groups, and the contributors to this book examine these efforts through the lens of genocide.

Considering some of the most destructive aspects of the colonization and subsequent settlement of North America, several essays in the collection address Indigenous boarding school systems imposed by both the Canadian and U.S. governments in attempts to “civilize” or “assimilate” Indigenous children. Contributors examine some of the most egregious assaults on Indigenous peoples and the natural environment, including massacres, land appropriation, the spread of disease, the near-extinction of the buffalo, and forced political restructuring of Indigenous communities.

Assessing the record of these appalling events, the contributors maintain that North Americans must reckon with colonial and settler colonial attempts to annihilate Indigenous peoples.

Read more about Colonial Genocide in Indigenous North America on the book’s webpage.