UA Press Blog

Remembering Terrence Cole

Terrence Cole (1953-2020) will be remembered as a great friend of scholarship, higher education, and the vital study of history in our dynamic, diverse, and changing state.

Dr. Terrence Cole delivering a public lecture in Fairbanks, AK, in the summer of 2018. Photo credit: JR Ancheta (UAF)
Dr. Terrence Cole delivering a public lecture in Fairbanks, AK, in the summer of 2018. Photo credit: JR Ancheta (UAF)

We were deeply saddened at UA Press to hear of Terrence Cole’s passing over the weekend. Terrence was a tremendous figure in the University of Alaska community, and everyone who knew him as a teacher, colleague, and writer is weakened by his loss. We also can’t help but have our spirits lifted slightly when thinking of Terrence’s lively spirit and friendly, positive attitude, even during times of difficulty.

We knew Terrence for a long time in his role as founder and editor of our Classic Reprint Series, and many of his closest friends and colleagues contributed to the special festschrift volume we published to celebrate his life and career in 2019. I suspect many of you might have your own thoughts and memories to share about Terrence; if you haven’t already, I suggest you visit Dermot Cole’s thoughtful and uplifting message about his twin brother posted on his blog yesterday.

Terrence will be greatly missed, but he left us with many ways and reasons to remember him fondly and gratefully.

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

December 4, 2020

Swans

Greetings University of Alaska Press supporters!

Lots of thoughts this week, so let’s get right to it -

  1. We’re launching a holiday sale in our University of Chicago Press web store, beginning today and running through December 25. Take 25% off our newest and most popular print and ebook titles, including Tongass OdysseyCabin 135LeavetakingsAlaska Native Games and How to Play Them, and Wild Rivers, Wild Rose. Use promo code 2020SALE at checkout. Happy holidays!
  2. We were saddened to hear of David Klein’s passing in November, at the age of 94. Klein was a fixture in the Alaska ecology community, and taught and inspired generations of wildlife scientists and general outdoors enthusiasts at the University of Alaska. He took pride in his travels and science work all over the world, and I was happy to get to know him a little during his work with Karen Brewster on the terrific book The Making of an Ecologist in 2019. He will be missed.

3. Thanks to everyone who attended and participated in our live book launch for Corinna Cook’s outstanding new book of essays, Leavetakings, last week. We were thrilled to hear from the author and Alaska Literary Series editor Peggy Shumaker, in conversation about Cook’s inspirations and creative process. Thanks to co-sponsor Porphyry Press, who’s posted a recording of the event on their YouTube page, as well as Palmer’s Fireside Books and Juneau’s Hearthside Books.

Corinna has another live event tonight (Fri 12/4), online and open to all. Buy her book!

4. Two more UA Press book events are taking place this month, both on Tuesday, December 15:

    • Alaska Literary Series author Katie Eberhart will read from her spellbinding and contemplative memoir Cabin 135 at an event hosted by Bend, Oregon’s Roundabout Books (see more info here); and
    • New York Times bestselling author Tom Kizzia will read from and discuss UA Press’s new reprint of his outstanding nonfiction book about rural Alaska The Wake of the Unseen Object with Classic Reprint Series editor Eric Heyne (register here).

December is going to be a great month for the University of Alaska Press! Join with us to celebrate this festive holiday season!

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

October 30, 2020

Two bears resting on a hill

Across the UA Press and Alaska literary communities, we were quite saddened to learn last week of the death of Sherry Simpson, a brilliant and inspiring writer, and a friend to readers and writers everywhere interested in observing and critiquing the boundary zones, tangible and conceptual, between humans and the rest of our natural world.

Simpson’s terrific 2013 book Dominion of Bears served as something of an introduction for me to the thrilling, thoughtful, complex relationships to wilderness incumbent on us as Alaskans, and it continues to offer me deep insights about the ecosystems we inhabit and the multispecies persons we share them with. I was thrilled to work with Sherry in 2019 when she contributed a magnificent essay about human-dog relationships during the Yukon Gold Rush period here in Alaska for our UA Press festschrift publication, The Big Wild Soul of Terrence Cole. Sherry had been a student of Terrence’s, and like so many of us, considered him a great and close friend.

We’re dashed by this loss, and our most supportive and positive thoughts are with Sherry’s family and many friends, wherever they may be. Her writing and whole dynamic self have made our part of the world a brighter and smarter place.

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

October 23, 2020

Tongass National Forest

In these times of commotion and calamity, it’s easy for me to forget the places in the world that bring peace, in a true and meaningful way. In Alaska, we’re lucky to have so many of these places, on both grand and accessible scale. One of the most prominent and noteworthy of these places of natural beauty and respite is the Tongass National Forest.

Tongass has been in the news a lot recently, since the Trump Administration’s announcement last month of a plan to open the forest to logging and road construction. Like the nine million acre forest itself, the issue of its exemption from federal roadless regulation isn’t small or simple, but it has shown a light on the largest national forest in the U.S., and one of the largest carbon sinks in the world, and it’s my hope that this increased attention will lead many people to consider the Tongass with greater nuance and appreciation. Just this week, the New York Times published this beautiful and detailed photo diary of Juneau-based Christopher Miller’s canoe trip through the forest.

https://files.slack.com/files-tmb/T4Z9L0ALX-F01DLCW70GY-fd9670b218/img_5341_480.jpg

Long-time Alaska wildlife biologist and educator John Schoen holding his new book, Tongass Odyssey

Also this week, the University of Alaska Press is proud to announce the release of Tongass Odyssey, by long-time Alaska wildlife biologist and educator John Schoen. This book represents both a culmination of a career learning and knowing about a unique time and space, and a timely profile of an ecosystem undergoing and on the verge of far greater change. This is a personal and expansive story - please check it out!

I’m personally heartened that we can all benefit from the wisdom and experiences of brilliant people like John Schoen, especially when their knowledge and work has been so focused on our treasured natural places here in the North.

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

September 18, 2020

Vintage photo of a women seemingly yelling from a mountain area

We received some terrific news this week: Water Mask, Monica Devine’s excellent and adventurous memoir of Alaska life and labor, has been named a top-two finalist for the 2020 WILLA Literary Awards for Creative Fiction, from the Women Writing the West. Congratulations to the author for this well deserved recognition of her heartfelt and deeply meaningful work. Notably, this is the second year in a row that a University of Alaska Press publication has received WILLA recognition, after Linda Schandlemeier won the 2019 Literary Award for her book of poetry Coming Out of Nowhere.

Though UA Press and the University of Alaska itself are facing some historic challenges, we’re heartened to be reminded of the widespread awareness and appreciation the rest of the world expresses for our unique part of the world, and all of the smart and creative work it yields. In particular, Monica Devine’s book is one that naturally stitches together the modern, practical, environmental, cultural, and traditional worlds we navigate all the time as Alaskans. Devine does this in artful and sophisticated ways.

Final award winners will be announced at Women Writing the West’s virtual conference in October; UA Press will be eagerly awaiting this event. Congratulations again to Monica Devine, and a big thank you to the organization for giving attention to Alaska literature.

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

September 11, 2020

Yukon Delta, Alaska NASA Earth Observatory

Change again, all the time

I suspect I’m not the only one feeling a bit of big picture whiplash as the state of Alaska, and Fairbanks in particular, have gone from what seemed like a steady and heartening decline in and control over Covid-19 cases in early August to a plateau in September that has kept Interior ICUs at or near capacity. This recent consistency in daily new cases around here has led many local businesses and facilities to express increased focus on traffic levels and social distance facilitation/enforcements.

In particular, the public access areas in Rasmuson where our own UA Press offices and book shop are located has gone from one of the few fully open and shared public spaces at UAF this summer, to university personnel-only as the semester began and resident students returned to campus, to closed entirely to non-UA Press folks since last week, after inadequate compliance with university mask and distancing policies was widely reported. As a result, we’ve made the pragmatic and cautious decision to pause our plans to reopen with regular office and book shop hours.

In the short term, we’ll maintain a by-appointment policy--we’re happy and eager to welcome anyone to our location who wants to call ahead or email me (907-687-4453; nate.bauer@alaska.edu).

In funner news, our UA Press book club is wrapping up discussion of our ambitious three-headed summer project this coming Tuesday 9/15, and will also announce our next book(s) for the fall semester then. Please stay tuned here and at https://news.uaf.edu/cornerstone-newsletter-archives/ for more information, and please contact me directly with any questions or to be added to or book club communication channels. We love to have new participants with new perspectives.

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

August 28, 2020

Alaska and its resources in 1867

We’re reopening (a little)!

Since March, our physical office and bookshop space, like most spaces at UAF and many others across Fairbanks and Alaska, has been closed to the public. Ironically and unfortunately, the disruptions to our IRL presence came shortly after (amidst, even) our process of settling into our new move to Rasmuson Library, and interrupted some extensive plans of ours to welcome our many university and community supporters to our new and vibrant, centrally located active campus location. Though it ranks low on the long list of bad results of the Covid-19 outbreaks, the whole process took a lot of wind from our full sails at the time.

But beginning next week (Mon Aug 31), we’ll begin welcoming patrons and visitors back to our bookshop and reading lounge spaces, as well as maintaining regular hours in the office ourselves, Monday through Friday, 10am-2pm. Because we are located in Rasmuson, and the library has established their own safety guidelines of restricted access, we do request any public visitors to contact us before arriving, so that we can ensure proper social distancing capacity and access. Please email (nate.bauer@alaska.edu) or call/text (907-687-4453) me before making the trip.

Also, please be aware that UAF currently requires face coverings for all indoor activity. 

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

August 21, 2020

Ptarmagin

Statewide primaries were held in Alaska this week, and in a year when party politics seem to wedge their way into every facet of our upturned lives, last Tuesday held especially relevant and grounded resonance. It was refreshing, in my opinion, for people to actually cast ballots, even if they were just preliminary ones.

While I acknowledge the strife and tension present in Alaska politics (and especially the budget process) the last few years, I believe that even in troubled times state and local government can offer a respite from other abstract or overwrought ideological battles. The closer we are to levels of government made up of people and community conditions we actually know, the less likely our allegiances and decisions are based on shadows in a cave.

Speaking of connecting with those who represent us, UA Press has some important publications meant to broaden and enrich the potential for our state’s constituents to get involved with Juneaulogy (I just made that word up, but I quite like it). The first is the veritable Bible of Alaska politics, Clive Thomas’s Alaska Politics and Public Policy: The Dynamics of Beliefs, Institutions, Personalities, and Power (2016). AP3 holds a special place on the bookshelves of many high-powered and community-minded leaders all over the state. And for those interested in a more digested (and portable) version, check out last year’s How to Lobby Alaska State Government, also by Thomas. It’s a particularly useful and direct guide for political practice.

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

August 14, 2020

Judge RN Stevens reading the Declaration of Independence to a crowd during the July 4th celebration in Nome, Alaska in 1901.

Humans have been reading for a long time—at least 5500 years, and longer if you count symbolic systems of proto-writing and mnemonic images from northern China dating back to the seventh millennium BC. What we call reading and and the experience of written language has had all that time to develop and shift and change. And though it’s easy to assume that’s been a developmental process of sophistication and perfection, as with biological evolution, teleology is a wrongheaded myth.

We’ve been discussing some of these topics in our UA Press Book Club this summer, as we’ve undergone our own group developments and accidental evolutions. Our book club started last summer, as a partnership with the UAF on-campus Wood Center Pub, as a way for all kinds of UA Press stakeholders, including UAF students, staff, faculty, and wider Fairbanks community members, to come together in a festive but thoughtful way, during a time of year when campus is a little less busy. We continued through the fall and spring, collaborating with a shifting set of participants to select a wide variety of books and conversation topics, with a wide open purpose and mantra: “With a welcoming vibe, and snacks.”

We’ve read short books and long books (the spring semester was devoted entirely to Jill Lepore’s recent 900+ page American history These Truths), and club readers have experienced or “read” our texts in all kinds of different ways. Since July, we’ve been experimenting with a “synthesis” project, in which we’re reading three diverse books alongside one another—Ted Chiang’s collection of science fiction stories Exhalation, Patricia Grace’s novel Baby No-eyes, and Ibram X. Kendi’s non-fiction book How to Be an Antiracist. These books differ widely in genre, subject matter, and tone, but the experience of reading them together has revealed many bracing and thoughtful connections. Notably, for me, the very experience of “reading”—what it means to consider and process as a reader ideas that have been compacted and coded by a writer for that purpose—has been dislodged and disrupted. It’s been a pleasant experience.*

I think that as a society and as a world our relationship to the processes of reading and writing, and how we use those technologies to shape our brains and our experiences, are shifting and changing. That’s nothing new, of course, though I do think we may be living through a kind of acceleration or burst that jostles normal gradual long-term change, when it comes to how we read and internalize information.

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

*For anyone interested in participation in the (currently mostly Zoom-based) UA Press Book Club, please join our dedicated Slack space via this invite link: http://tiny.cc/uapressbookclub. Alternatively, email me for further details at nate.bauer@alaska.edu

 


 

July 31, 2020

A contestant at the Alaska Native Games

Good Friends of the University of Alaska Press -

As July winds down, and street lights and headlamps start to feel useful again, we’re looking forward to an extremely eventful and unprecedented few months in the fall. While our book shop in Rasmuson Library remains open by appointment only, we’re paying close attention to State of Alaska (http://dhss.alaska.gov/dph/Epi/id/Pages/COVID-19/default.aspx) and university (https://sites.google.com/alaska.edu/coronavirus/uaf) guidance regarding rules and best practices for business, activities, and behavior this upcoming school year.

More immediately, we’re celebrating the release of an extremely fun, dynamic, and landmark text: Alaska Native Games and How to Play Them, by authors Tricia Nuyaqik Brown and Joni Kitmiiq Spiess and photographer Roy Corral. This year we’ve been left without so many of the proud and longtime Indigenous cultural events to which we’ve grown so connected and accustomed, including the Arctic Winter Games, the Native Youth Olympics, and the World Eskimo Indian Olympics.

In their absence, we hope this publication can be a substitute for a small portion of the joyful and momentous energy expressed at these events in a normal year. It’s also a book well designed for holding your own mini games right at home! Please join us in celebrating this beautiful and outstanding new book, and congratulating the authors. Masee' Cho!

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press

 


 

July 24, 2020

Nates Tree

For every feared thing there is an opposing hope that encourages us.

--Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before

Hello to all of our University of Alaska Press supporters, stakeholders, authors, and readers, and Happy July Friday. Though it’s cloudy in Fairbanks today, it feels mild and refreshing, and it’s definitely some of the calming summer weather I look forward to every January and February. This weird year has been particularly about balance for UA Press, and identifying what feels like some stillness amongst some extremely turbulent weather.

Here are some general updates for our community of supporters:

  1. For the business fiscal year that began July 1, the University of Alaska Press has temporarily suspended new project acquisitions and development.

This does not mean we are closing our operations or publications, and it does not mean we’re planning to. Rather, in very practical terms, this means the preceding months and years, and the multiple crises faced by the state of Alaska and its university system, as well as the immediate contraction of this year’s travel season here and the book buying activity it typically prompts, have put us in very lean times. This has required UA Press to temporarily scale back further some of our most time and resource intensive activities, including seeking out and developing new book projects.

Books and authors for which we already have agreements will continue to be published, and we’re happy to continue discussing future projects with existing and potential collaborators. But unfortunately, because of changes to staffing and resources, we must suspend formal review and editing activities for any projects not already under contract. We’ve also been forced to reduce hours and administrative capacity for our three remaining staff persons, including myself.

  1. For authors with projects in the works, we hope you’ll look forward with us to the future, and continue to consider us as a home for your work when we’re able to return to full speed. However, we understand this kind of delay is a lot to ask, and UA Press certainly understands anyone’s wishes to pursue other outlets for publication. I’m also personally happy to discuss anyone’s work and plans for it in particular.
  2. Separate subject: beginning today, we’re initiating the process to permanently close our University of Alaska Press Facebook and Instagram accounts. Though this decision comes with the downside of losing some specific and important connective and promotional capacities, we are no longer comfortable being associated with or benefiting from these problematic platforms.

As a values driven organization, we were quite troubled by the the Facebook Civil Rights Audit report released this month, which identified in particular, “significant setbacks for civil rights” as a result of Facebook policies and decisions. This is latest in a years-long litany of discomfiting Facebook news and practices.

Please sign up for our Friends of the Press email list as a substitute for our Facebook and Instagram feeds. You will also be able to find Friday newsletter posts like this one on the Blog page of our UA Press website here.

Our social media reach is pretty limited; I hope and suspect the biggest effect this decision will have is to prompt some of our followers, and perhaps even some other organizations, to consider their use of these platforms. While Facebook and its multiple other outlets clearly provide some centralized and convenient communications functions, it is important for us to reflect on the impacts our collective digital activities can and do have.

Thanks for reading -

Nate Bauer
Director, University of Alaska Press