From the Cataloger's Desk: Multispecies Justice

by Iris Lee on

Gottesman Research Library News

This month, The Promise of Multispecies Justice outshined some of our other titles as a hopeful topic for people to engage, even after upsetting current displays of social injustice continue to plague us. Recentering and reconsidering a multitude of focal points through the lens of justice may provide a wider view of the ways in which we are all connected, across the animal kingdom.
Selection of covers of new books for January 2023 at the AMNH Research Library.
Selection of covers of new books for January 2023 at the AMNH Research Library.
I. Lee/© AMNH

The promise of multispecies justice
edited by Sophie Chao, Karin Bolender, and Eben Kirksey
What are the possibilities for multispecies justice? How do social justice struggles intersect with the lives of animals, plants, and other creatures? Leading thinkers in anthropology, geography, philosophy, speculative fiction, poetry, and contemporary art answer these questions from diverse grounded locations. In America Indigenous peoples and prisoners are decolonizing multispecies relations in unceded territory and carceral landscapes. Small justices are emerging in Tanzanian markets, near banana plantations in the Philippines, and in abandoned buildings of Azerbaijan as people navigate relations with feral dogs, weeds, rats, and pesticides. Conflicts over rights of nature are intensifying in Colombia's Amazon. Specters of justice are emerging in India, while children in Micronesia memorialize extinct bird species. Engaging with ideas about environmental justice, restorative justice, and other species of justice, The Promise of Multispecies Justice holds open the possibility of flourishing in multispecies worlds, present and to come.

Here are the rest of the new books this month:

Ancient Maya politics : a political anthropology of the classic period, 150-900 CE
by Simon Martin
The Classic Maya have long presented scholars with vexing problems. One of the longest running and most contested of these, and the source of deeply polarized interpretations, has been their political organization. Using recently deciphered inscriptions and fresh archaeological finds, Simon Martin argues that this particular debate can be laid to rest. He offers a comprehensive re-analysis of the issue in an effort to answer a simple question: how did a multitude of small kingdoms survive for some six hundred years without being subsumed within larger states or empires? Using previously unexploited comparative and theoretical approaches, Martin suggests mechanisms that maintained a "dynamic equilibrium" within a system best understood not as array of individual polities but an interactive whole. With its rebirth as text-backed historical archaeology, Maya studies has entered a new phase, one capable of building a political anthropology as robust as any other we have for the ancient world.

Chinese village life today : building families in an age of transition
by Gonçalo Santos
China has undergone a remarkable process of urbanization, but a significant portion of its citizens still live in rural villages. To gain better access to jobs, health care, and consumer goods, villagers often travel or migrate to cities, and that cyclical transit and engagement with new technoscientific and medical practices is transforming village life. In this thoughtful ethnography, Gonçalo Santos paints a richly detailed portrait of one rural township in Guangdong Province, north of the industrialized Pearl River Delta region. Unlike previous studies of rural-urban relations and migration in China, Chinese Village Life Today-based on Santos's more than twenty years of field research-starts from a rural community's point of view rather than the perspective of major urban centers. Santos considers the intimate choices of village families in the face of larger forces of modernization, showing how these negotiations shape the configuration of daily village life, from marriage, childbirth, and childcare to personal hygiene and public sanitation. Santos also outlines the advantages of a rural existence, including a degree of autonomy over family planning and community life that is rare in urban China. Filled with vivid anecdotes and keen observations, this book presents a fresh perspective on China's urban-rural divide and a grounded theoretical approach to rural transformation.

The colobines : natural history, behaviour and ecological diversity
edited by Ikki Matsuda, Cyril C. Grueter and Julie A. Teichroeb
The Colobines are a group of Afroeurasian monkeys that exhibit extraordinary behavioural and ecological diversity. With long tails and diverse colourations, they are medium-sized primates, mostly arboreal, that are found in many different habitats, from rain forests and mountain forests to mangroves and savannah. Over the last two decades, our understanding of this group of primates has increased dramatically. This volume presents a comprehensive overview of the current research on colobine populations, including the range of biological, ecological, behavioural and societal traits they exhibit. It highlights areas where our knowledge is still lacking, and outlines the current conservation status of colobine populations, exploring the threats to their survival. Bringing together international experts, this volume will aid future conservation efforts and encourage further empirical studies. It will be of interest to researchers and graduate students in primatology, biological anthropology and conservation science.

Digital mapping and indigenous America
edited by Janet Berry Hess
In this book, contributors explore the technology and experience of digitally mapping the locations of Indigenous nations and issues related to Indigenous histories and cultures. Employing anthropology, field research, and humanities methodologies as well as digital cartography, and foregrounding the voices of Indigenous scholars, this text examines digital projects currently underway, and includes alternative modes of "mapping" Native American, Alaskan Native, Indigenous Hawaiian and First Nations land. The work of both established and emerging scholars addressing a range of geographic regions and cultural issues, is also represented. Issues addressed include the history of maps made by Native Americans; healing and reconciliation projects related to boarding schools; language and land reclamation; Western cartographic maps created in collaboration with Indigenous nations; and digital resources that combine maps with narrative, art, and film, along with chapters on archaeology, place naming, and the digital presence of elders. This text is of interest to scholars working in history, cultural studies, anthropology, Indigenous studies, and digital cartography.

Eagle voice remembers : an authentic tale of the old Sioux world
by John G. Neihardt
This book was originally published as When the Tree Flowered: An Authentic Tale of the Old Sioux World. From the introduction by Raymond J. DeMallie: [Eagle Voice Remembers] is John Neihardt’s mature and reflective interpretation of the old Sioux way of life. He served as a translator of the Sioux past, whose audience has proved not to be limited by space or time. Through Neihardt’s writings Black Elk, Eagle Elk, and other old men who were of that last generation of Sioux to have participated in the old buffalo-hunting life and the disorienting period of strife with the U.S. Army found a literary voice. What they say chronicles a dramatic transition in the life of the Plains Indians; the record of their thoughts, interpreted by Neihardt, is a legacy preserved for the future. It transcends the specifics of this one tragic case of cultural misunderstanding and conflict and speaks to universal human concerns. It is a story worth contemplating both for itself and for the lessons it teaches all humanity.

Ecology of freshwater nematodes
edited by Walter Traunspurger
Nematodes, with a simple, tubular body form are the most abundant multicellular animals on earth. Freshwater nematodes are central in the context of environmental monitoring, pollution assessments, global warming and food chain complexes, and this is increasingly being recognised.

The gift of the Middle Tanana : Dene pre-colonial history in the Alaskan interior
by Gerad M. Smith
In this book, Gerad Smith explores the history, ethnography, and archaeological record of the Native people living in the Middle Tanana Valley in Alaska during the late Holocene. Smith illustrates how the role of deep-play rituals of reciprocity shaped a traditional society that has lasted over a thousand years.

Mantles of merit : Chin textiles from Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh
by David W. and Barbara G. Fraser
Mantles of Merit - Chin Textiles from Myanmar, India and Bangladesh is the product of many years of research on the history, culture and textiles of the Chin, a heterogeneous group of people, hitherto inadequately studies. Their rich textile culture emphasizes grand blankets and intricate tunics, made of homespun cotton, flax, hemp and silk, dyed with indigo and lac, and woven on a back-tension loom. In considering Chin textiles as art and cultural objects, the authors describe both their beauty and technical virtuosity and their integral role in the Chin effort to achieve merit in this life and the next. The inter-relationships between the complex subdivisions on the Chin and their neighbours are also discussed." "Research involved visits to Chin villages, interviews with weavers and Chin elders, examination of many textile collections, review of the anthropological, missionary and colonial literature and private papers, consultation with other scholars and the assembly of a body of Chin textiles for analysis. Over 650 illustrations with 613 in colour, included detailed drawings of textile structures, photographs taken by early missionaries and scholars, photographs from Chin family albums, as well as close-ups and studio photographs of the world's great collections of Chin textiles.

Mao's bestiary : medicinal animals and modern China
by Liz P. Y. Chee
Mao's Bestiary is a history of the rising use of "medicinal animals" in modern China. While animal parts and tissue had been present in Chinese medicine from an early date, the book argues that their role in the Chinese pharmacopiea greatly expanded and became systematized in the changed political and economic circumstances of the early Communist period. Mao's Bestiary is the first book to place medicinal animals squarely within the historiography of Chinese medicine. In an age of controversy over the ethics and efficacy of faunal medicalization, its perpensity to foster zoonotic diseases and its devastating effect on wildlife conservation in China and worldwide, the book contributes a much-needed historical perspective, explaining the modern origins of what is too casually taken to be traditional practice.

Meteorite mineralogy
by Alan E. Rubin and Chi Ma
Meteorites are fascinating cosmic visitors. Using accessible language, this book documents the history of mineralogy and meteorite research, summarizes the mineralogical characteristics of the myriad varieties of meteorites, and explains the mineralogical characteristics of Solar System bodies visited by spacecraft. Some of these bodies contain minerals that do not occur naturally on Earth or in meteorites. The book explains how to recognize different phases under the microscope and in backscattered electron images. It summarizes the major ways in which meteoritic minerals form - from condensation in the expanding atmospheres of dying stars to crystallization in deep-seated magmas, from flash melting in the solar nebula to weathering in the terrestrial environment. Containing spectacular backscattered electron images, color photographs of meteorite minerals, and with an accompanying online list of meteorite minerals, this book provides a useful resource for meteorite researchers, terrestrial mineralogists, cosmochemists, and planetary scientists, as well as graduate students in these fields.

Methods for ecological research on terrestrial small mammals
by Robert McCleery, Ara Monadjem, L. Mike Conner, James D. Austin, and Peter J. Taylor
This book provides scientists and students with a compendium of the methodological knowledge needed to conduct state-of-the-art ecological research on terrestrial small mammals around the world.

Nation to nation : treaties between the United States & American Indian Nations
edited by Suzan Shown Harjo
Nation to Nation explores the promises, diplomacy, and betrayals involved in treaties and treaty making between the United States government and Native nations. One side sought to own the riches of North America and the other struggled to hold on to traditional homelands and ways of life. The book reveals how the ideas of honor, fair dealings, good faith, rule of law, and peaceful relations between nations have been tested and challenged in historical and modern times. The book consistently demonstrates how and why centuries-old treaties remain living, relevant documents for both Natives and non-Natives in the 21st century.

Numbers from nowhere : the American Indian contact population debate
by David Henige
In the past forty years an entirely new paradigm has developed regarding the contact population of the New World. Proponents of this new theory argue that the American Indian population in 1492 was ten, even twenty, times greater than previous estimates. In Numbers from Nowhere David Henige argues that the data on which these high counts are based are meager and often demonstrably wrong. Interpreting the archaeological as well as the historical evidence, Henige concludes that the task of assigning meaningful numbers for the American Indian contact population is an impossible one.

The rise and reign of the mammals : a new history, from the shadow of the dinosaurs to us
by Steve Brusatte with illustrations by Todd Marshall and Sarah Shelley
Beginning with the earliest days of our lineage some 325 million years ago, Brusatte charts how mammals survived the asteroid that claimed the dinosaurs and made the world their own, becoming the astonishingly diverse range of animals that dominate today's Earth. Brusatte also brings alive the lost worlds mammals inhabited through time, from ice ages to volcanic catastrophes. Entwined in this story is the detective work he and other scientists have done to piece together our understanding using fossil clues and cutting-edge technology.

Can’t get enough? For additional new books see our New Books page! 

The AMNH Library is not currently open to the public. Resources are available to Museum staff and items may circulate to staff members with full borrowing privileges. Staff can submit an application for access here

This entry was written by Iris Lee, Cataloging and Metadata Librarian.