From the Cataloger’s Desk: Variety and diversity …in the stacks!

by Iris Lee on

Library News

The new titles speak for themselves this month. With 2019 being the oldest publication date among the group below, it is exciting to add these new research perspectives to the AMNH Library collection.

Anthropomorphic imagery in the Mesoamerican highlands : gods, ancestors, and human beings
edited by Brigitte Faugè̀re and Christopher Beekman
Mexican, North American, and European researchers explore the meanings and functions of two-and three-dimensional human representations in pre-Columbian communities of Mexican highlands. They demonstrate the potential of anthropomorphic imagery to elucidate personhood, conceptions of the body, and the relationship to other entities, nature, and the cosmos.

Applications for advancing animal ecology
by Michael L. Morrison, Leonard A. Brennan, Bruce G. Marcot, William M. Block, Kevin S. McKelvey
The authors consider individual organisms before considering habitats; they demonstrate how to apply such an approach to animal ecology in the field. The book is meant for wildlife professionals who are interested in exploring what kinds of insights this alternative approach can yield.

Biophysical models and applications in ecosystem analysis
by Jiquan Chen
The past five decades have witnessed a rapid growth of computer models for simulating ecosystem functions and dynamics. This has been fueled by the availability of remote sensing data, computation capability, and cross-disciplinary sciences. These models contain many sub-modules for simulating different processes and forcing mechanisms, albeit it has become challenging to truly understand the details due to their complexity. Most ecosystem models, fortunately, are rooted in a few core biophysical foundations, such as widely recognized Farquhar's model, Ball-Berry-Leuning-Medlyn family models, Penman-Monteith model, Priestley-Taylor Model, Machaelis-Menten kinetics, and others. After an introduction of biophysical essentials, four chapters present the core algorithms and their behaviors in modeling ecosystem production, respiration, evapotranspiration, and global warming potentials.

Contact, colonialism, and native communities in the Southeastern United States
edited by Edmond A. Boudreaux III, Maureen Meyers, and Jay K. Johnson
The years 1500-1700 AD were a time of dramatic change for the indigenous inhabitants of southeastern North America, yet Native histories during this era have been difficult to reconstruct due to a scarcity of written records before the eighteenth century. Using archaeology to enhance our knowledge of the period, Contact, Colonialism, and Native Communities in the Southeastern United States presents new research on the ways Native societies responded to early contact with Europeans. 

Dinosaurs : new visions of a lost world
by Michael J. Benton with illustrations by Bob Nicholls
The world's leading paleontologist takes us on a visual tour of the latest dinosaur science, illustrated with accurate and stunning paleoart. 

Fashionable traditions : Asian handmade textiles in motion
edited by Ayami Nakatani
Fashionable Traditions captures the complex reality of Asian, handmade textile production and consumption. Contributors to this collection reveal the entangled relationships between local artisans, external interventions, and consumers to offer a vivid account of the socio-economic, political, and cultural dynamics of Asian fashion.

Girl archaeologist : sisterhood in a sexist profession
by Alice Beck Kehoe
Girl Archaeologist illuminates the life and trailblazing career of Alice Kehoe, a woman with a family who was always, also, an archaeologist. 

Her cup for sweet cacao : food in ancient Maya society
edited by Traci Ardren
These chapters, written by some of the leading scholars in the field, showcase a variety of approaches and present new evidence from faunal remains, hieroglyphic texts, chemical analyses, and art. Thoughtful and revealing, Her Cup for Sweet Cacao unlocks a more comprehensive understanding of how food was instrumental to the development of ancient Maya culture. 

Kazakhstan's crafts and creative economy : proceedings of an international symposium
edited by Paul Michael Taylor, Gulmira Shalabayeva
Presents papers delivered at the international scholarly symposium of the same title held in Washington, D.C., on October 4, 2019, along with additional relevant papers solicited by the editors. 

Madhouse at the end of the Earth : the Belgica's journey into the dark Antarctic night
by Julian Sancton
The harrowing true survival story of an early polar expedition that went terribly awry-with the ship frozen in ice and the crew trapped inside for the entire sunless, Antarctic winter-in the tradition of David Grann, Nathaniel Philbrick, and Hampton Sides.  

On life : cells, genes, and the evolution of complexity
by Franklin M. Harold
Franklin M. Harold's On Life reveals what science can tell us about the living world. All creatures, from bacteria and redwoods to garden snails and humans, belong to a single biochemical family. 

Pure land in the making : Vietnamese Buddhism in the US Gulf South
by Allison Truitt
Most Vietnamese practice Pure Land, a form of Mahayana Buddhism. Pure Land is prevalent in China, Korea, Japan, and Vietnam but is less familiar in the United States, where the scholarly and popular literature has focused on Zen and Theravada Buddhism. Rituals such as chanting sutras, reciting the names of buddhas and bodhisattvas, and making merit so one may be reborn in the Pure Land or Western Paradise associated with Amitabha Buddha defy what many Americans understand as Buddhism. Pure Land, Home Land explores intertwining spiritual orientations utilized by Vietnamese in the United States as they deal with loss and sacrifice experienced during the war in their homeland and in adjusting to life in a new place, while seeking refuge in Buddhist centers as a collective expression of staying Vietnamese. The book contributes to critical refugee studies by showing how the key Buddhist practice of "seeking refuge" in the Three Jewels-the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha-is of both spiritual and political significance to Vietnamese American communities.

Signs of the Americas : a poetics of pictography, hieroglyphs, and khipu
by Edgar Garcia
Indigenous sign-systems, such as pictographs, petroglyphs, hieroglyphs, and khipu, are usually understood as relics from an inaccessible past. That is far from the truth, however, as Edgar Garcia makes clear in Signs of the Americas. Rather than being dead languages, these sign-systems have always been living, evolving signifiers, responsive to their circumstances and able to continuously redefine themselves and the nature of the world. Garcia tells the story of the present life of these sign-systems, examining the contemporary impact they have had on poetry, prose, visual art, legal philosophy, political activism, and environmental thinking. In doing so, he brings together a wide range of indigenous and non-indigenous authors and artists of the Americas, from Aztec priests and Amazonian shamans to Simon Ortiz, Gerald Vizenor, Jaime de Angulo, Charles Olson, Cy Twombly, Gloria Anzald a, William Burroughs, Louise Erdrich, Cecilia Vicu a, and many others.

The ethnography of tourism : Edward Bruner and beyond
edited by Naomi M. Leite, Quetzil E. Castañeda, and Kathleen M. Adams
What does it mean to study tourism ethnographically? How has the ethnography of tourism changed from the 1970s to today? What theories, themes, and concepts drive contemporary research? Thirteen leading anthropologists of tourism address these questions and provide a critical introduction to the state of the art. Focusing on the experience-near, interpretive-humanistic approach to tourism studies widely associated with anthropologist Edward Bruner, the contributors draw on their fieldwork to illustrate and build upon key concepts in tourism ethnography, from experience, encounter, and emergent culture to authenticity, narrative, contested sites, the borderzone, embodiment, identity, and mobility.

The gene's-eye view of evolution
by J. Arvid Ågren
To many evolutionary biologists, the central challenge of their discipline is to explain adaptation, the appearance of design in the living world. With the theory of evolution by natural selection, Charles Darwin elegantly showed how a purely mechanistic process can achieve this striking feature of nature. Since then, the way many biologists have thought about evolution and natural selection is as a theory about individual organisms. Over a century later, a subtle but radical shift in perspective emerged with the gene's-eye view of evolution in which natural selection was conceptualized as a struggle between genes for replication and transmission to the next generation. This viewpoint culminated with the publication of The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins (Oxford University Press, 1976) and is now commonly referred to as selfish gene thinking. The gene's-eye view has subsequently played a central role in evolutionary biology, although it continues to attract controversy. The central aim of this accessible book is to show how the gene's-eye view differs from the traditional organismal account of evolution, trace its historical origins, clarify typical misunderstandings and, by using examples from contemporary experimental work, show why so many evolutionary biologists still consider it an indispensable heuristic. The book concludes by discussing how selfish gene thinking fits into ongoing debates in evolutionary biology, and what they tell us about the future of the gene's-eye view of evolution. 

The house of the cylinder jars : Room 28 in Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon
edited by Patricia L. Crown
The House of the Cylinder Jars details the archaeological excavations led by Patricia L. Crown at Pueblo Bonito's famed Room 28 in Chaco Canyon in 2013. Originally excavated in 1896 by the Hyde Exploring Expedition, Room 28 gained notoriety for its incredible assemblage of 174 whole ceramic vessels. Crown and her team reopened Room 28 after she and Jeffrey Hurst discovered residues of chocolate in cylinder jar fragments from Pueblo Bonito in 2009. Their research revealed the first evidence of chocolate north of the US-Mexico border and possibly linked Chacoan rituals surrounding cacao use to Mesoamerica. The House of the Cylinder Jars documents the re-excavation of Room 28 and places it within the context of other rooms at Pueblo Bonito and describes the ritual termination of the materials stored in the room by fire. The contributors also offer a modern interpretation of the construction and depositional histories of surrounding spaces at Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. 

Turtles of the world : a guide to every family
by Jeffrey E. Lovich and Whit Gibbons
A lavishly illustrated guide to the world's turtles that covers every family and genus. Turtles of the World reveals the extraordinary diversity of these amazing reptiles. Characterized by the bony shell that acts as a shield to protect the softer body within, turtles are survivors from the time of the dinosaurs and are even more ancient in evolutionary terms than snakes and crocodilians. Of more than 350 species known today, some are highly endangered. In this beautiful guide, turtle families, subfamilies, and genera are illustrated with hundreds of color photographs. Each genus profile includes a population distribution map, a table of information, and commentary that includes notable characteristics and discussion of related species.

Words of the Inuit : a semantic stroll through a northern culture
by Louis-Jacques Dorais
Words of the Inuit is an important compendium of Inuit culture illustrated through Inuit words. It brings the sum of the author's decades of experience and engagement with Inuit and Inuktitut to bear on what he fashions as an amiable, leisurely stroll through words and meanings. Inuit words are often more complex than English words and frequently contain small units of meaning that add up to convey a larger sensibility. Dorais' lexical and semantic analyses and reconstructions are not overly technical, yet they reliably evince connections and underlying significations that allow for an in-depth reflection on the richness of Inuit linguistic and cultural heritage and identity…With recent reports alerting us to the declining use of the Inuit language in the North, Words of the Inuit is a timely contribution.

Writing the Hamat'sa : ethnography, colonialism, and the cannibal dance
by Aaron Glass
Despite settler attempts to eradicate the Hamat’sa, the “cannibal dance” remains an important prerogative of the Kwakwaka’wakw people. While generations of anthropologists sought to document the ceremony’s past, the Kwakwaka’wakw adapted and preserved its dramatic choreography and magnificent bird masks for the future. Writing the Hamat’sa offers a critical survey of efforts to record and interpret the ritual over the past four centuries. Drawing on close, contextualized reading of published texts, extensive archival research, and fieldwork, Aaron Glass goes beyond postcolonial critiques that often ignore Indigenous agency to show how the Kwakwaka’wakw have responded to an ethnographic legacy that helped transform specific performances into a broad cultural icon. The result is a fascinating study of how Indigenous peoples both contribute to and repurpose texts to shape modern identities under settler colonialism.

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

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