UW News

August 22, 2019

UW books in brief: Tribal sovereignty and the courts, mentoring through fan fiction, UW Press paperback editions

UW News

Recent notable books by University of Washington faculty members explore the legal history of Indigenous nations and the mentoring benefits of fan fiction. Plus, a UW anthropologist’s book is honored, a former English faculty member is remembered in a biography, and UW Press brings out paperback editions of three popular titles.

Alexandra Harmon’s ‘Reclaiming the Reservation’ examines effects of 1978 Supreme Court decision on tribal sovereignty

A new book by Alexandra Harmon, UW professor of American Indian Studies, explores the legal history of Indigenous nations claiming regulatory power over their reserved homelands — and the “promises and perils” of relying on the U.S. legal system in such matters.

Harmon’s “Reclaiming the Reservation: Histories of Indian Sovereignty Suppressed and Renewed” was published in July by University of Washington Press.

In the 1970s, Harmon writes, the Quinault and Suquamish tribes, among dozens of Indigenous nations across the United Stated, asserted their sovereignty by applying their laws to all people on their reservations, and this included arresting non-Indians for minor offenses.

“Tribal governments had long sought to manage affairs in their territories, and their bid for all-inclusive reservation jurisdiction was an important, bold move, driven by deeply rooted local histories as well as pan-Indian activism,” Harmon wrote. “They believed federal law supported their case.”

However, this effort ended with a 1978 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that non-Indians were not subject to tribal prosecution for criminal offenses. “The court cited two centuries of U.S. legal history to justify their decision but relied solely on the interpretations of non-Indians,” Harmon writes.

In “Reclaiming the Reservation,” Harmon looks at the histories of Quinault, Suquamish and other tribes to explore the roots of their claims of regulatory power in their reserved homelands. She also shows how tribes have responded in the decades since 1978, “seeking and often finding new ways to protect their interests and assert their sovereignty.”

“Harmon brilliantly explains how tribal nations have sought to assert sovereignty through the extension of civil and criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians living within the boundaries of their nations,” wrote reviewer Daniel M. Cobb of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “‘Reclaiming the Reservation’ is precisely the kind of history that the field desperately needs.”

For more information, contact Harmon at aharmon@uw.edu.

* * *

Katie Davis, Cecilia Aragon find mentoring lessons in the world of fan fiction

Fan fiction has exploded in popularity in recent years, with more than 1.5 million amateur writers — most in their teens or twenties — publishing 7 million stories and 176 million reviews on a single online site, Fanfiction.net, alone.

In their new book, “Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth and New Forms of Mentoring,” Cecilia Aragon and Katie Davis examine fanfiction writers and repositories and the novel ways young people support and learn from each through participation in online fanfiction communities. Davis is an associate professor in the UW Information School; Aragon is a professor in the Department of Human Centered Design & Engineering.

They find that “these sites are not shallow agglomerations and regurgitations of pop culture but rather online spaces for sophisticated and informal learning.”

Aragon and Davis call this novel system of interactive advice and instruction “distributed mentoring,” and describe its attributes — each supported, they write, by an aspect of networked technologies.

The two authors combine qualitative and quantitative analyses in a nine-month study of three fanfiction sites, and also analyze the “lexical diversity in the 61.5 billion words on the Fanfiction.net site.”

They consider how distributed mentoring could improve not only other online learning platforms but also formal writing instruction in schools.

Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth and New Forms of Mentoring” was published this month by MIT Press.

For more information, contact Aragon at aragon@uw.edu or Davis at kdavis78@uw.edu.

* * *

Seawomen and Seattle architects: Paperback editions coming from UW Press

University of Washington Press will release paperback editions of three popular UW-related books in September.

  • Shaping Seattle Architecture: A Historical Guide to the Architects,” by Jeffrey Ochsner. This is the paperback version of a second edition published in 2014. The book was first published in 1994. This edition includes four additional profiles. Ochsner, a UW professor of architecture, said the book seeks to show “the wide variety of kinds of architectural achievement and the extraordinary diversity of those who contributed to making Seattle’s built environment.”
  • The Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag: From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design” explores the career of the founder of the UW Department of Landscape Architecture, best known in Seattle for his rehabilitation of Gas Works Park. Author and UW architecture professor Thaisa Way said Haag’s legacy is found in the places he designed, which “inspire students to think beyond what they know … they ignite civic engagement and public service, for Rich’s most important work was in the public realm.”
  • Seawomen of Iceland: Survival on the Edge” uses extensive historical and field research to document the women who have withstood the trials of fishing in Iceland from the historic times of small open rowboats to today’s high-tech fisheries. A finalist for the 2017 Washington State Book Award in general nonfiction/history, the book is by Margaret Willson, affiliate associate professor of anthropology, also with the Canadian Studies Arctic Program.

Other book notes:

Honor for Sareeta Amrute’s ‘Encoding Class’: The International Convention of Asia Scholars has given its top book honor in social sciences for 2019 to “Encoding Race, Encoding Class: Indian IT Workers in Berlin,” by Sareeta Amrute, UW associate professor of anthropology. The group presented the award to Amrute at its annual conference, in Leiden, the Netherlands. “Encoding Class” was published in 2016 by Duke University Press.

Joanna Russ, who taught at UW, remembered in biography: “Experimental, strange, and unabashedly feminist, Joanna Russ‘s groundbreaking science fiction grew out of a belief that the genre was ideal for expressing radical thought,” states a new biography of Russ from fellow sci-fi writer Gwyneth Jones. Russ was a Hugo and Nebula award-winning writer who taught in the UW English Department from 1977 to 1991; her work is widely taught and studied. In 2006, editors of the UW alumni magazine Columns named Russ’s 1975 novel “The Female Man” among the top 100 books by UW authors.