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Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Google “Native Americans and Revolution” and almost all the results are related to Native American involvement in the American Revolution. Also known as the American War for Independence, many Native Americans sided with the Americans, but many sided with the British or tried to remain neutral. The Declaration of Independence accused King George III of unleashing “merciless Indian Savages” against innocent men, women, and children. The image of ferocious warriors propelled into action by a tyrannical monarch fixed in memory and imagination the Indians’ role in the Revolution and justified their subsequent treatment. But many Indian nations tried to stay out of the conflict, some sided with the Americans, and those who fought with the British were not the king’s pawns: they allied with the Crown as the best hope of protecting their homelands from the encroachments of American colonists and land speculators.

The American Revolution in Indian Country: Crisis and Diversity in Native American Communities This study is one of several available through Ames. This particular one presents the first broad coverage of Indian experiences in the American Revolution rather than Indian participation as allies or enemies of contending parties. Colin Calloway focuses on eight Indian communities as he explores how the Revolution often translated into war among Indians and their own struggles for independence. Drawing on British, American, Canadian and Spanish records, Calloway shows how Native Americans pursued different strategies, endured a variety of experiences, but were bequeathed a common legacy as a result of the Revolution.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

What started at the turn of the century as an effort to gain a day of recognition for the significant contributions the first Americans made to the establishment and growth of the United States, has resulted in a whole month being designated for that purpose. On August 3, 1990 U.S. President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National American Indian Heritage Month, thereafter commonly referred to as Native American Heritage Month. First sponsorship of “American Indian Heritage Month” was through the American Indian Heritage Foundation by the founder Pale Moon Rose, of Cherokee-Seneca descent and an adopted Ojibwa, whose Indian name Win-yan-sa-han-wi “Princess of the Pale Moon” was given to her by Alfred Michael “Chief” Venne.

This commemorative month aims to provide a platform for Native people in the U.S. to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life. This gives Native people the opportunity to express to their community, both city, county and state officials their concerns and solutions for building bridges of understanding and friendship in their local area.

This month, Theme Thursdays will focus on revolutions within and related to Native Americans with our first post highlighting Native Americans’ roles in environmentalism and environmental justice.

The environmental revolution has been years in the making; contrary to stereotypes, Native American Indians do not have a “natural” affinity with environmentalism. What they do have is lands with a long history of being the dumping ground for uranium tailings, nuclear waste, and toxic chemicals. Reviving traditional land-based spiritual/cultural practices, and inventing new ones for the 21st century, play an increasingly vital part of many reservation cultures threatened by environmental pollution and cultural genocide.

Efforts at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access Pipeline are just one example among many of Native Americans fighting for environmental rights. This video, available through Kanopy, documents the largest river restoration project in American history. Nearly three hundred miles in length, flowing from southern Oregon to northern California, the vast communities of the Klamath River have been feuding over its water for generations, and as a result, bad blood has polluted their river and their relationships equally. The film examines the complicated history of this conflict: how anger, fear and distrust have undermined the Klamath’s communities for decades.

This video, also available through Kanopy, chronicles the efforts of several tribes as they fight to end the harmful use of coal and work to bring clean, renewable energy projects into their communities, including wind and solar power. As Power Paths reveals, many Native American tribes are not waiting for the government to act. Instead, they are actively seeking investors and a way to control their own energy and sell the rest to the power companies.

Native Americans and the environment: Perspectives on the ecological Indian, edited and with an introduction by Michael E. Harkin and David Rich Lewis; foreword by Judith Antell; preface by Brian Hosmer; afterword by Shepard Krech III

American Indian environments: Ecological issues in Native American history, with contributions from Kai T. Erikson … [et al.]; edited by Christopher T. Vecsey and Robert W. Venables

American environmentalism: Readings in conservation history, edited by Roderick Frazier Nash


On the flip side, some Native American traditions stand in contrast to federal regulations. The idea that tribes have an inherent right to govern themselves is at the foundation of their constitutional status – the power is not delegated by congressional acts. Congress can, however, limit tribal sovereignty. Unless a treaty or federal statute removes a power, however, the tribe is assumed to possess it. Current federal policy in the United States recognizes this sovereignty and stresses the government-to-government relations between Washington, D.C. and the American Indian tribes. However, most land is held in trust by the United States, and federal law still regulates the political and economic rights of tribal governments.

One prime example of Native customs conflicting with federal regulations is whale hunting. In 2015, the Washington state native Makah Tribe has asked the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to waive federal marine mammal protections that ban the hunt. The Makah historically hunted gray whales for food and spiritual ceremonies but ceased in the 1920s, when gray whale numbers were at an all-time low. Learn about another whale-hunting tribe, the Inuit, in this e-book, available through Ames.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

This week Theme Thursday focuses on a globalization and technological revolution.

The world is in the throes of a technological revolution that differs from the periodic waves of technical change that have marked the progress of industrial society since its origins 200 years ago. A shift is occurring in the sociotechnological paradigm that underlies our current sophisticated industrial structure. This old paradigm consists of the mass production of essentially standardized goods in ever-larger units; an emphasis on quantitative goals for production, requiring ever higher inputs of capital, energy, and raw materials to produce more and more; and little attention to environmental impact, resource use, and conservation issues.

In contrast, the new paradigm taking shape is identified with an emphasis on quality and diversification of products and processes, diffusion of small but highly productive units that rely on new technologies and are linked to a process of decentralization of production, adoption of process and product choices requiring far less energy and materials input per unit of output, and a greater awareness of the need to preserve the quality of local and global environments.

Interested in reading more? Check out these books from Ames.

Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems

Provides an exciting approach to some of the most contentious issues in discussions around globalization—bioscientific research, neoliberalism, governance—from the perspective of the “anthropological” problems they pose; in other words, in terms of their implications for how individual and collective life is subject to technological, political, and ethical reflection and intervention.

  • Offers a ground-breaking approach to central debates about globalization with chapters written by leading scholars from across the social sciences.
  • Examines a range of phenomena that articulate broad structural transformations: technoscience, circuits of exchange, systems of governance, and regimes of ethics or values.
  • Investigates these phenomena from the perspective of the “anthropological” problems they pose.
  • Covers a broad range of geographical areas: Africa, the Middle East, East and South Asia, North America, South America, and Europe.
  • Grapples with a number of empirical problems of popular and academic interest — from the organ trade, to accountancy, to pharmaceutical research, to neoliberal reform.

Technology, Globalization, and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State

In this work, the authors offer a unified, transdisciplinary approach for achieving sustainable development in industrialized nations. They present an insightful analysis of the ways in which industrial states are unsustainable and how economic and social welfare are related to the environment, public health and safety.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Modern biotechnology originated in the mid-1970s with new advances in genetics, immunology, and biochemistry. Biotechnology includes all techniques that use living organisms or substances from organisms to produce or alter a product, cause changes in plants or animals, or develop microorganisms for specific purposes. Biotechnology encompasses several techniques and methods, including genome mapping, gene splicing (or the transfer of one or more genes with certain prospectively useful qualities to plants, domestic animals, fish, and other organisms), and molecular breeding.

Gene editing allows scientists to cut and paste the DNA that makes up human genes with speed and precision, inside living human cells. It can be used to repair damaged genes and to accelerate research into how genes function. It can also be used to transmit genetic traits to future generations, including through human sperm, eggs and embryos, which is now widely considered unethical.

Learn more about the biotechnology and genetic revolutions with these resources from Ames.

Race and the genetic revolution : science, myth, and culture, edited by Sheldon Krimsky and Kathleen Sloan

Beyond biotechnology: The barren promise of genetic engineering by Craig Holdrege and Steve Talbott

Life’s greatest secret: The race to crack the genetic code by Matthew Cobb

Genetics & society, edited by Penelope Barker

DNA: How the biotech revolution is changing the way we fight disease, by Frank H. Stephenson; foreword by Herbert Boyer

Bio-revolution: DNA and the ethics of man-made life, by Richard Hutton


Didn’t get enough? Check out these videos available through Kanopy.

Biotechnology: Cleaning Up with Microbes – As achievements in engineering and manufacturing move us toward 21st Century lifestyles, problems emerge as a result of these processes. Moreover, cleanup concerns plague us as a legacy of the industrial revolution. This program focuses on an innovative yet natural solution science proposes for the cleanup of polluting by-products. Discover how science is Cleaning Up With Microbes. Throughout the world, scientists are exploring the use of living organisms to help solve the problem of waste disposal and recycling. They have found that microbes–such as bacteria, fungi, and algae can take care of almost any waste by-product by doing what they do best– eating!

Cracking Your Genetic Code – What will it mean when most of us can afford to have the information in our DNA–all three billion chemical letters of it–read, stored, and available for analysis? Cracking Your Genetic Code reveals that we stand on the verge of such a revolution.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

On this Theme Thursday we move from literary revolutionaries in Latin America to political revolutions in the Middle East. Arab Spring refers to the democratic uprisings that arose independently and spread across the Arab world in 2011. The movement originated in Tunisia in December 2010 and quickly took hold in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.

Check out these texts, available from Ames, to learn more about this series of political movements that swept the Middle East.

The Arab Spring: The End of Postcolonialism

This pioneering explanation of the Arab Spring will define a new era of thinking about the Middle East. In this landmark book, Hamid Dabashi argues that the uprisings occurring from Morocco to Iran and from Syria to Yemen have been driven by a delayed defiance that signifies no less than the end of postcolonialism. As he brilliantly explains, the permanent revolutionary mood has the potential to liberate not only those societies already ignited but ultimately many others as well.

Voices of the Arab Spring: Personal Stories from the Arab Revolutions

Narrated by dozens of activists and everyday individuals involved in the Arab Spring, this book documents the unprecedented events that led to the collapse of dictatorial regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen. Arab citizens were called to join the revolt during the second half of 2011, while the revolutionary moment was still unfolding. Their stories offer unique access to the message that inspired citizens to act, their experiences during revolt, and the lessons they learned from some of the most dramatic changes and appalling events to occur in the history of the Arab world. The riveting, revealing, and at times heartbreaking stories in this volume also include voices from Syria. Featuring participants from a variety of social and educational backgrounds and political commitments, these personal stories of action represent the true phenomenon of the Arab Spring’s united though broad social movements, collective identities, and youthful character. For years, these participants lived under regimes that brutally suppressed free expression and protest. Their testimony speaks to the multifaceted emotional, psychological, and cultural factors motivating citizens to join together and fight, putting a human face on events that might seem abstract or impersonal to many in the West.

The Transition Towards Revolution and Reform: The Arab Spring Realised?

The Arab Spring created a transition toward democracy for the peoples of Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan, who initially elected moderate Islamist parties to lead them out of economic deprivation and corruption. This study looks at the relative success of the move to democracy in these four Middle Eastern countries, comparing the secular leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and their desire for revolution with the monarchs of Morocco and Jordan and their priority of reform.

Arab Spring: Negotiating in the Shadow of the Intifadat

Beginning in January 2011, the Arab world exploded in a vibrant demand for dignity, liberty, and achievable purpose in life, rising up against an image and tradition of arrogant, corrupt, unresponsive authoritarian rule. These previously unpublished, country specific case studies of the uprisings and their still unfolding political aftermaths identify patterns and courses of negotiation and explain why and how they occur. The contributors argue that in uprisings like the Arab Spring negotiation is “not just a ‘nice’ practice or a diplomatic exercise.” Rather, it is a “dynamically multilevel” process involving individuals, groups, and states with continually shifting priorities-and with the prospect of violence always near. From that perspective, the essaysits analyze a range of issues and events-including civil disobedience and strikes, mass demonstrations and nonviolent protest, and peaceful negotiation and armed rebellion-and contextualize their findings within previous struggles, both within and outside the Middle East. The Arab countries discussed include Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, and Yemen. The Arab Spring uprisings are discussed in the context of rebellions in countries like South Africa and Serbia, while the Libyan uprising is also viewed in terms of the negotiations it provoked within NATO. Collectively, the essays analyze the challenges of uprisers and emerging governments in building a new state on the ruins of a liberated state; the negotiations that lead either to sustainable democracy or sectarian violence; and coalition building between former political and military adversaries.

Arab Spring in Egypt: Revolution and Beyond

This study examines the background to the 2011 uprising in Egypt, the limits of authoritarian rule and the rise of new secular movements. It studies the group dynamics of workers, young people, and women, evaluates the role of the military, and considers the impact of regime change and future prospects for pan-Arabism.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

For our last Theme Thursday event highlighting Hispanic Heritage month, we consider the authors and poets who gave voice to people experiencing the political, cultural, and financial turmoil made real by the revolutions of their time.

Pablo Neruda was an important Chilean poet and politician. In the years following Neruda’s service as consular in Mexico, he developed his artist voice. During his service Neruda became immersed in the philosophy, goals, and consequences of the Mexican revolution and was well acquainted with muralismo and its proponents. His early works were mostly love poems, but as he matured and gained life experience he began to write and think more politically. His poetry gave a voice to a population that felt ignored by their government and by the upper classes. The poems gave courage and pride to the struggling working class. Chilean workers memorized his works by heart and gathered to hear their poet recite his writing.

Song of Protest by Pablo Neruda, translated and with an introduced by Miguel Algarín

The essential Neruda: Selected poems, edited by Mark Eisner; translated by Mark Eisner

Affectionately known as “Gabo,” Colombian novelist, screenwriter and journalist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez was one of Latin America’s most iconic figures of modern literature. In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for his collective work “in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent’s life and conflicts.” Forever inquisitive, critical and creative, Garcia Marquez was not only a key figure of literature in the region, but was an important figure in leftist politics. Garcia Marquez’s story is heavily linked to Cuba, its socialist revolution and the late leader Fidel Castro. Known as a prolific reader, Fidel was known to read and correct Garcia Marquez’s manuscripts before they were sent to be published.

While Garcia Marquez drew inspiration from Cuba’s revolution in his writing, the pair did not always agree. At times the novelist was critical of Fidel’s views, in particular surrounding the Cold War and his support for the Soviet Union.

Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel García Márquez; translated from the Spanish by Edith Grossman

Cien años de soledad by Gabriel García Márquez; estudio introductorio, Gabriel García Márquez y sus Cien años de soledad por Joaquín Marco

La aventura de Miguel Littín clandestino en Chile by Gabriel García Márquez

The House of Spirits was Isabel Allende’s debut novel. The story details the life of the Trueba family, spanning four generations, and tracing the post-colonial social and political upheavals of Chile – though the country’s name, and the names of figures closely paralleling historical ones, such as “the President” or “the Poet”, are never explicitly given. The story is told mainly from the perspective of two protagonists (Esteban and Alba) and incorporates elements of magical realism. Read this and other publications of hers, available from the library.

Afrodita: Cuentos, recetas y otros afrodisíacos por Isabel Allende ; ilustraciones, Robert Shekter ; recetas, Panchita Llona

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende ; translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden

Aphrodite: A memoir of the senses by Isabel Allende ; drawings, Robert Shekter ; recipes, Panchita Llona ; translated from the Spanish by Margaret Sayers Peden


Want to read other Latin American authors who were influenced by revolutions? Check out some of these authors.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Continuing Theme Thursday focusing on revolutions related to Hispanic Heritage month, we move to Venezuela. The Bolivarian Revolution was a leftist social movement and political process in Venezuela led by late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, the founder of the Fifth Republic Movement and later the United Socialist Party of Venezuela. The “Bolivarian Revolution” is named after Simón Bolívar, an early 19th-century Venezuelan and Latin American revolutionary leader, prominent in the Spanish American wars of independence in achieving the independence of most of northern South America from Spanish rule. According to Chávez and other supporters, the “Bolivarian Revolution” seeks to build a mass movement to implement Bolivarianism, popular democracy, economic independence, equitable distribution of revenues, and an end to political corruption in Venezuela. They interpret Bolívar’s ideas from a socialist perspective.

Check out some of these books on Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution.

Venezuela: Hugo Chávez and the decline of an “exceptional democracy”

Hugo Chávez: Socialist for the twenty-first century

Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution: Populism and democracy in a globalised age

Marxist thought in Latin America

In addition to print collections, the library provides access to streaming videos through several sources. This video, Venezuela: From the Inside Out, is “a voyage into Latin America’s most exciting experiment of the new millennium, exploring the history and projects of the Bolivarian Revolution through interviews with a range of its participants, from academics to farm workers and those living in the margins of Caracas. This introduction to the “revolucion bonita” (“pretty revolution”) offers in-depth interviews, unforgettable images and a lively soundtrack that will open new vistas onto this hopeful human project. As he totes his camera on bus and car trips all over Venezuela, director Clifton Ross becomes our tour guide through the Bolivarian Revolution. He sweeps us through its history and takes us to its works-in-progress on the ground. These schools, rural lending banks and cooperatives weave the fabric of Venezuela’s “Socialism of the 21st Century.” They show its failures and successes, its warp and woof. Through it all runs the frayed but unbreakable thread of a people in struggle. Ross is a freelance writer and videographer who has been reporting on revolutionary movements in Latin America for over 25 years (description taken from Kanopy).”

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Revolutions change everything about a people. Cultures shift, governments change, the actual infrastructure may be compromised, but in addition to all of the tangible changes, revolutions have massive effects on the arts. Music, film, literature, visual arts, performing arts, poetry…everything can be effected.

In this Theme Thursday, we continue to highlight Hispanic heritage, but we choose to focus not on the politics of a revolution, but how artistic communities experience and reflect on revolution. The American side of the story of our history with Cuba is pretty well known, but we’ve learned so much in time since political relations were restored. Combining this new access with scholars and artists who were permitted to visit prior to the lifted embargo, we can see how rich the arts were in Cuba under Castro.

This documentary, available through Kanopy, reframes the Cuban revolution through the art of photography, focusing on the personal stories of five Cuban photographers whose lives and work span nearly five decades of revolution in Cuba. From Havana to Miami, photographers on both sides of the political divide reveal the Cuban people’s resilient struggle for self-determination. Whether it is the passionate resistance of the revolutionary, or the individual artist’s struggle to emerge as an independent voice in a collective society, the photographers in REVOLUCION reveal the defiance of revolutionaries and artists alike, and discover the power of art to liberate.

This book, which can be checked out from Ames, discusses the works of a prominent Cuban film artist. The films of Tomas Gutierrez Alea (1928-1996) have always defined the limits of expression in revolutionary Cuba. This book is a thorough introduction to Cuba’s most prominent filmmaker. It covers all of Alea’s twelve feature films, with special emphasis on Memories of Underdevelopment (1968), The Last Supper (1976), and Strawberry and Chocolate (1993). Not only are these considered his best films, but each is also symptomatic of an identifiable period in revolutionary Cuba – the period of triumph and affirmation in the 1960s, the period of consolidation and institutionalization in the 1970s, and the period of crisis since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Cubans remained intent on reinforcing a Cuban identity rooted in its own culture, as exemplified by the work of Grupo Antillano. The simultaneous assimilation or synthesis of the tenets of modern western art and the development of Afro-Cuban art schools and movements created a new Cuban culture. This book, also available through Ames, offers the first comprehensive study of Grupo Antillano which thrived between 1978 and 1983 and has been written out of Cuban cultural and art history.

Check out the above resources and many more to learn more about Cuban art before, during, and after the revolution.

Hispanic Heritage Month in Kanopy!

“Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

“The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.

“The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.”

Kanopy, a video streaming service made available to the IWU community by The Ames Library, has curated a fantastic collection of videos, clips, and films just in time for Hispanic Heritage Month. Check them out here, or by searching for them using the Ames website.

Theme Thursday – Evolution of Revolution

Neighboring nations usually become involved in the political events of the lands close by, and the United States during the Mexican Revolution was no exception. For example, during the American Revolution, the Spanish governor of Louisiana, Bernardo de Galvez, opened a second front to fight the British in the south. His support was instrumental to the U.S. victory. In the Mexican case, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was instrumental in the downfall of Victoriano Huerta and he promoted Carranza against Villa.

For Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15), we highlight the Mexican Revolution. The Mexican Revolution finds its roots in the development of Mexico from 1800 to 1910. Its government ranged from empire to many types of republic, be they centralist or federal. During that time Mexico won its independence from Spain and endured four invasions from four foreign powers – Spain (1829), France (1838), the United States (1846-1848), and one from an alliance of Spain, France, and Great Britain (1862). Ultimately, it became a federal republic governed almost completely from Mexico City with a capitalist economy heavily influenced by foreigners.

The Library of Congress archives and holds materials relevant to the history of the United States. Collections connected to the Mexican Revolution include print and multimedia materials. Check them out on their website, including this really cool interactive map.

Learn more about the Mexican Revolution with the above Library of Congress resources as well as some of these resources available through Ames.