OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU Press shares in $1-million grant for Indigenous studies series

02/12/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State University Press is part of a four-member partnership sharing in a new $1-million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation that will establish a collaborative publishing program focused on Indigenous studies.

The collaboration is being led by a longtime OSU Press partner, the University of Arizona Press, and in addition to OSU, includes the University of Minnesota Press and University of North Carolina Press. The grant supports the publication of 40 monographs over a four-year period.

“We have a shared vision of focusing on the underserved and emerging area of scholarship written about and written by Indigenous people, on critical issues of language revitalization and cultural preservation, on intersections of traditional knowledge and environmental stewardship with Western practices and on humanities scholarship,” said OSU Press Director Karyle Butcher, who is also the Donald and Delpha Campbell University Librarian for Oregon State. “Through this project, we plan to publish first books by scholars writing about Indigenous culture, language and the environment.”

According to the collaborative proposal for the grant, “Indigenous Studies encompasses the scholarship of Indigenous people worldwide from native peoples of the Americas to Australian Aborigines to native Hawaiians. The field is unique in its focus on sovereignty, traditional knowledge, and indigenity.”

Grant funds will be used for “all aspects of the publishing process, from acquisitions to marketing,” the University of Arizona Press recently said through a written statement. Mellon monies will be used to bring in “the foremost scholars in the field, assist them with research and travel, and craft manuscripts that will reach the broadest audience. The collaboration will also allow the four presses to significantly expand their marketing efforts to reach academic and Indigenous communities worldwide,” reported the Chronicle of Higher Education, citing the UA Press.

OSU Press plans to build on its vibrant current catalog of 35 titles related to native peoples in the Pacific Northwest, including such books as “The First Oregonians,” an authoritative volume on the historical and contemporary experiences of Oregon Indians, and “Teaching Oregon Native Languages,” edited by Joan Gross. It has already begun outreach to potential authors for the new program, said Mary Elizabeth Braun, OSU Press acquisitions editor.

According to Braun, the Press will expand its current list to include more books on Canadian First Nation peoples, Alaska native topics, and other Indigenous peoples around the Pacific Rim.

OSU Press is Oregon’s only academic publishing organization. Its publications have enjoyed strong success over the past year, with such titles as “Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge, 1867 - 1957” and “Strand: An Odyssey of Pacific Ocean Debris” earning spots on numerous prominent critics’ top books lists for 2008 and its catalog showing solid returns in the marketplace.

“We are well known and appreciated by readers for our focus on Pacific Northwest issues, the environment and natural resources,” said Tom Booth, associate director of OSU Press. “The Mellon Foundation’s generosity will help us deepen that focus with important contributions from respected voices, so we’re excited to be part of this significant new collaboration.”