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New faculty books look at Bureau of Indian Affairs, conquest of New Spain


February 29, 2012

Did you know that the Bureau of Indian Affairs was established without Congressional authorization?

That there was a large-scale forced migration of enslaved people from long-established slave societies in the eastern United States to new settlements on the cotton frontier?

These questions, and more, are answered in new books by ASU faculty and graduates. Among them:

“Peter of Limoges, The Moral Treatise on the Eye,” translated and introduced by Richard Newhauser, professor of English.

Synopsis: This treatise moves from what can be established about the eye and vision on scientific grounds to the moral or spiritual interpretation of optics; it helped legitimate the cultural utility of natural science.

“Literature for Today’s Young Adults,” 9th edition, by Alleen Pace Nilsen, professor emerita of English; James Blasingame, associate professor of English; Kenneth L. Donelson, professor emeritus of English; and Don Nilsen, professor emeritus of English.

Synopsis: Long respected as the number one book in the field, “Literature for Today’s Young Adults” gives teachers, librarians, parents, counselors, and other group leaders – as well as instructors and students in college courses in adolescent/young adult literature – a comprehensive look at YA literature framed within a literary, historical, and social context as a means to motivating teens to become life-long readers. Included is helpful information on evaluating YA books of all genres, using YA literature effectively with English Language Learners, incorporating digital and other new literacies into classroom teaching, and dealing with today’s increasingly diverse and challenging censorship issues. 

“Bureau of Indian Affairs,” by Donald L. Fixico, Distinguished Foundation Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies. Part of the Landmarks of the American Mosaic series. Published by Greenwood. ISBN: 978-0-313-39179-8

Synopsis: From 19th-century trade agreements and treatments to 21st-century reparations, this volume tells the story of the federal agency that shapes and enforces U.S. policy toward Native Americans.

In 1824, with no Congressional authorization, War Secretary John C. Calhoun established the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). In the 185 years since – the last 40 years with Native Americans at its head – the BIA has endured as witness to and shaper of U.S.-Indian relations, often caught between enforcing government policy and serving the Native American population.

“Bureau of Indian Affairs” tells the fascinating and important story of an agency that currently oversees U.S. policies affecting over 584 recognized tribes, over 326 federally reserved lands, and over 5 million Native American residents.

“Cross Over Water,” a novel by Richard Yañez (MFA 2000). Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2011.

Synopsis: Raul Luis “Ruly” Cruz is a young Mexican American who lives in El Paso, just across the Rio Grande from Mexico, home of his ancestors and some of his current relatives. As he grows from awkward adolescent to manhood, he negotiates the precarious borders of family, tradition, and identity trying to find his own place in the Chicano community and in the larger world. This is an engaging and moving story of growing up in a borderland that is not only geographical but cultural as well. Named a “Notable Book” by Southwest Books of the Year.

“The True History of The Conquest of New Spain,” by Bernal Diaz Del Castillo; translated, with an introduction and notes, by Janet Burke, associate dean, Barrett, the Honors College, and Ted Humphrey, professor, Barrett, the Honors College and Lincoln Professor of Ethics, Department of Philosophy.

Synopsis: This rugged new translation – the first entirely new English translation in half a century and the only one based on the most recent critical edition of the Guatemalan MS – allows Díaz to recount, in his own battle-weary and often cynical voice, the achievements, stratagems, and frequent cruelty of Hernándo Cortés and his men as they set out to overthrow Moctezuma’s Aztec kingdom and establish a Spanish empire in the New World.

The concise contextual introduction to this volume traces the origins, history, and methods of the Spanish enterprise in the Americas; it also discusses the nature of the conflict between the Spanish and the Aztecs in Mexico, and compares Díaz’s version of events to those of other contemporary chroniclers.

“Encyclopedia of Tudor England,” edited by ASU alumni John A. Wagner and Susan Walters Schmid.

Synopsis: Authority and accessibility combine to bring the history and the drama of Tudor England to life. Almost 900 engaging entries cover the life and times of Henry VIII, Mary I, Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, and much, much more.

Written for high school students, college undergraduates, and public library patrons – indeed, for anyone interested in this important and colorful period – the three-volume Encyclopedia of Tudor England illuminates the era's most important people, events, ideas, movements, institutions, and publications. Concise, yet in-depth entries offer comprehensive coverage and an engaging mix of accessibility and authority.

“Punishment and the Moral Emotions: Essays in Law, Morality, and Religion,” by Regents’ Professor of Law, Philosophy & Religious Studies Jeffrie G. Murphy, Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

Synopsis: A collection of essays that presents Murphy’s recent ideas, refined during a career spanning four decades, on punishment, forgiveness and the emotions of resentment, shame, guilt, remorse, love and jealousy.

“These latest essays represent, to some degree, a greater caution in what had been my overly enthusiastic defense of retribution – not a total abandonment, but a more cautious and qualified defense,” Murphy said. “I have found myself developing more sympathy for religion, and I began to add a religious framework to my previous ways of thinking about these issues. Also, I came to fear that an expressed desire to give a criminal his ‘just deserts’ can sometimes be driven by such base passions as cruelty – a concern expressed in my essay ‘Legal Moralism and Retribution Revisited.’”

“Rambles of a Runaway from Southern Slavery: Henry Goings,” edited by Calvin Schermerhorn, ASU professor of history; Michael Plunkett; and Edward Gaynor. University of Virginia Press.

Synopsis: “Rambles of a Runaway from Southern Slavery” tells of an extraordinary life in and out of slavery in the United States and Canada. Born Elijah Turner in the Virginia Tidewater, circa 1810, the author eventually procured freedom papers from a man he resembled and took the man’s name, Henry Goings. His life story takes us on an epic journey, traveling from his Virginia birthplace through the cotton kingdom of the lower South, and upon his escape from slavery, through Tennessee and Kentucky, then on to the Great Lakes region of the North and to Canada. His rambles show that slaves were found not only in fields but also on the nation’s roads and rivers, perpetually in motion in massive coffles or as solitary runaways.

A freedom narrative as well as a slave narrative, this compact yet detailed book illustrates many important developments in antebellum America, such as the large-scale forced migration of enslaved people from long-established slave societies in the eastern United States to new settlements on the cotton frontier, the political-economic processes that framed that migration, and the accompanying human anguish. Goings’s life and reflections serve as important primary documents of African American life and of American national expansion, the Civil War, and Reconstruction. This edition features an informative and insightful introduction by Calvin Schermerhorn.