Oregon State University Press
For fifty years, Oregon State University Press has been publishing exceptional books about the Pacific Northwest—its people and landscapes, its flora and fauna, its history and cultural heritage. The Press has played a vital role in the region’s literary life, providing readers with a better understanding of what it means to be an Oregonian. Today, Oregon State University Press publishes distinguished books in several academic areas from environmental history and natural resource management to indigenous studies.
Writings of David Schuman
As an educator, speaker, deputy attorney general, and judge, David Schuman was known for his ability to clarify difficult legal concepts. According to James Egan, chief judge of the Oregon Court of Appeals, he was the “intellectual giant of our generation.” A Voice for Justice reveals how David Schuman’s unique jurisprudence came to be.
His friends and associates knew that Oregon Supreme Court Justice Hans Linde convinced Schuman to turn to the Oregon Constitution rather than the federal one to protect individual rights. But even some of Schuman’s closest friends were unaware of his fiction, which provides a window into his deep capacity for empathy and casts new light on his ability to write elegant, sometimes funny, judicial opinions. His legal thinking also had deep roots in literature and political theory.
Schuman’s 672 judicial opinions are not just brilliant, but written so that anyone can understand them. Like Ruth Bader Ginsberg, he knew there was nothing to gain by communicating only to specialists. He wanted citizens to be able to make up their own minds about important issues.
A Voice for Justice brings together for the first time writings that span over fifty years. Lawyers and laypeople alike will appreciate Schuman’s lucid, engaging observations, which are highly relevant to our current anxieties about institutional racism and democracy under stress. The short stories, speeches, op-eds, articles, legal opinions, and dissents selected for this volume constitute a call to action for everyone to become voices for justice.
Published in Cooperation with the University of Oregon's Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics
I Have Not Loved You With My Whole Heart is a memoir of trauma, healing, faith, and violence. At its center is the author’s father, the Rev. Renne Harris, a heavy-handed, alcoholic Episcopal priest who came out in the height of the AIDS crisis and died of HIV in 1995.
In a book rich with remembrances of the Pacific Northwest of the 1970s–1990s, Cris Harris pulls the reader through turning points in a household crowded with abuse, addiction, neglect, acceptance, and grief, as well as the healing that comes after reconciliation. In recognizing perpetrators of violence as complex people—as selves we can recognize—Harris wrestles with paradox: the keening dissonance of loving people with hard edges, the humor of horrible situations, and how humor can cover for anger. He shows how violence can mark us and courageously lays bare those marks, owning them as his own precious history, born of a fierce species of love.
I Have Not Loved You With My Whole Heart will speak to readers whose family members came out late in life, and to those who lost loved ones in the AIDS crisis of the late 1980s and 1990s. Those with complicated relationships to faith, survivors of abuse, and anyone who has lived with family crisis will also find healing in these pages.
The Secret Life of Mountain Ecosystems
We all see the largest features of mountain ecosystems—the impressively rugged peaks, the clear blue lakes, and the extensive forests—but each of these readily visible features depends on largely invisible creatures and flows of material and energy. Something Hidden in the Ranges draws on a wide array of scientific research to reveal the complex ecology of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and, by extension, of mountain ecosystems generally.
Geologist Ellen Wohl has spent three decades investigating the streams and forests near her home in Colorado. In writing that is free from jargon and easy to understand, she tells the intricate story of how streams provide energy to adjacent forests, how lake sediments record the history of wind-blown pollutants, and how hidden networks of fungi keeps forests healthy. She guides readers through forests at both lower and higher elevations, revealing how trees rely on microbes in the soil, in the forest canopy, and even within individual pine needles to obtain the food they need. Other chapters focus on subalpine lakes, mountain streams, beaver meadows, and alpine tundra.
While scientists, students, and scholars will benefit from Wohl’s intimate knowledge of mountain ecosystems, Something Hidden in the Ranges is written for anyone interested in natural or environmental history. It will change the way readers perceive and think about natural landscapes.
Absence and Longing in American Parks
What do we seek and what do we find when we visit parks and protected areas? What does it mean to become so deeply attached to a beautiful, wild place that it becomes part of one’s identity? And why does it matter if a particular landscape doesn’t speak to one’s soul?
Part memoir and part scholarly analysis of the psychological and societal dimensions of place-creation, Canyon, Mountain, Cloud details the author’s experiences working and living in Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, Denali National Park and Preserve, Adirondack State Park, and arctic Alaska. Along the way, Olstad explores canyons, climbs mountains, watches clouds, rafts rivers, searches for fossils, and protects rare and fragile vegetation. She learns and shares local natural and cultural histories, questions perceptions of “wilderness,” deepens her appreciation for wildness, and reshapes her understanding of self and self-in-place.
Anyone who has ever felt appreciation for wild places and who wants to think more deeply about individual and societal relationships with American parks and protected areas will find humor, fear, provocation, wonder, awe, and, above all, inspiration in these pages.
Kayaking through Love and Loss on Alaska's Wild Coast
There are five layers of the ocean, though most of us will only ever see one. The deepest layer is the midnight zone, where the only light comes from bioluminescence, created by animals who live there. In order to see, these creatures must create their own light. They move like solitary suns, encased in their own bubbles of freezing water. This is the most remote, unexplored zone on the planet. Though hostile to humans, it’s a source of rapt fascination for Mary Emerick, who would go there in a heartbeat if she could.
The year Emerick turned 38, the suicide of a stranger compelled her to uproot her life and strike out for Alaska, taking a chance on love and home. She learned how to travel in a small yellow kayak along the rugged coast, contending with gales, high seas, and bears. She pondered the different meanings of home from the perspectives of people who were born along Alaska’s coast, the first peoples who had been there for generations, newcomers who chose this place for themselves, and the many who would eventually, inevitably leave. When she married a man from another island, convinced that love would stick, she soon learned that marriage is just as difficult to navigate as the ocean.
Divided into sections detailing the main kayaking strokes, with each stroke serving as metaphor for the lives we all pass through and the tools needed to stay afloat, this eloquent memoir speaks to the human need for connection—connection to place and to our fellow travelers casting their bubbles of light in the depths.
Touching This Leviathan asks how we might come to know the unknowable—in this case, whales, animals so large yet so elusive, revealing just a sliver of back, a glimpse of a fluke, or a split-second breach before diving away.
It’s a pressing question, given how frequently whales are in the news: Japan just withdrew from the International Whaling Commission; the Makah Tribe seeks to resume hunts; in 2019 more than 200 gray whales washed up along the West Coast; in 2018, an orca attracted international attention when she pushed her dead calf through the water 17 days before letting go; and, amid all this, every few years we discover new species of whales.
Beyond the parade of headlines, writing about whales—history, science, and literary work—often sits within disciplinary silos. Touching This Leviathan starts a conversation among them. Drawing on biology, theology, local history, literary criticism, environmental studies, and writing studies, author Peter Wayne Moe offers a deep dive into the alluring and impalpable mysteries of Earth’s largest mammal.
Entertaining, thought-provoking, and swimming with intelligence and wit, Touching This Leviathan is creative nonfiction that gestures toward science and literary criticism as it invites readers into the belly of the whale.
Finding the Trail Home
OCatherine Doucette is a backcountry skier, horseback rider, and mountaineer—roles that have resulted in adventures where she is often the only woman in a group of men. Starting from a young age, she pushed through the wilderness with her brothers, friends, and partners, gaining the skill and judgement to tackle progressively bigger goals until she became an accomplished outdoorswoman.
For over a decade, Doucette chased winter around the world to ski, from the White Mountains of her native New Hampshire to the slopes of Alaska, British Columbia, California, Argentina, Switzerland, and beyond. But she always kept one eye toward living a more settled life and putting her heart on the line if someone would just ask her to. Like other women who choose or yearn to be in the wilderness, she wrestled to reconcile her outdoor ambitions with society’s expectations of women.
The personal essays collected in On the Run touch on the author’s origins in New Hampshire while focusing on the lure of big mountains in the West. They celebrate the comfort, challenge, and community found in expanses of wilderness while confronting the limitations and sacrifices that come with a transient, outdoor lifestyle. In a voice both searching and deeply grounded, Doucette contends with avalanches and whitewater along with the less dramatic but equally important questions of belonging. Anyone who has searched to define home, who has been called by mountains, or by movement, will feel at home in these pages.
The Human Rights Case Against Fracking and Climate Change
Fracking, the practice of shattering underground rock to release oil and natural gas, is a major driver of climate change. The 300,000 fracking facilities in the US also directly harm the health and livelihoods of people in front-line communities, who are disproportionately poor and people of color. Impacted citizens have for years protested that their rights have been ignored.
On May 14, 2018, a respected international human-rights court, the Rome-based Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, began a week-long hearing on the impacts of fracking and climate change on human and Earth rights. In its advisory opinion, the Tribunal ruled that fracking systematically violates substantive and procedural human rights; that governments are complicit in the rights violations; and that to protect human rights and the climate, the practice of fracking should be banned.
The case makes history. It revokes the social license of extreme-extraction industries by connecting environmental destruction to human-rights violations. It affirms that climate change, and the extraction techniques that fuel it, directly violate deeply and broadly accepted moral norms encoded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Bearing Witness maps a promising new direction in the ongoing struggle to protect the planet from climate chaos. It tells the story of this landmark case through carefully curated court materials, including searing eye-witness testimony, groundbreaking legal testimony, and the Tribunal’s advisory opinion. Essays by leading climate writers such as Winona LaDuke, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Sandra Steingraber and legal experts such as John Knox, Mary Wood, and Anna Grear give context to the controversy. Framing essays by the editors, experts on climate ethics and human rights, demonstrate that a human-rights focus is a powerful, transformative new tool to address the climate crisis.
An Activist's Journey of Resistance and Resilience
This Is Not For You tells the story of activist and photographer Richard Brown, a Black Portlander who has spent decades working to bridge the divide between police and the Black community. His memoir brings readers with him into the streets with fellow activists, into squad cars with the rank-and-file, and to regular meetings with mayors and police chiefs. There are very few people doing the kind of work Richard Brown has done. And that, as he sees it, is a big problem.
The book finds Brown approaching his eightieth birthday and reflecting on his life. As he recalls his childhood in 1940s Harlem, his radicalization in the newly desegregated Air Force, and his decades of activism in one of America’s whitest cities, he questions how much longer he’ll do this work, and he wonders who, if anyone, will take his place.
This is a book about how and why to become an engaged, activist citizen, and how activists can stay grounded, no matter how deeply they immerse themselves in the work. It also offers an intimate, firsthand look at policing: what policing is and could be, how civilians can have a say, and how police can and should be responsive to and inclusive of civilian voices. This Is Not For You speaks on every page about being Black in America: about Black pride; Black history, art, and culture; and the experience of resisting white supremacy. It also stands as a much-needed counternarrative to Portlandia, telling a different story about the city and who has shaped it.
Over fifty percent of royalties earned on this book will be donated to organizations working on behalf of Black Portlanders.
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