Cover

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Frontmatter

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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p. vii

Over the years I have been fortunate to discuss postwestern studies with a number of colleagues; thanks especially to Robert Bennett, Rachel Bryson, Nancy Cook, Melody Graulich, Capper Nichols, and Steve Tatum for keeping me on track. For their financial and emotional support of this book I am grateful to Sara Jayne Steen, former ...

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Introduction: Postwestern Studies, Dead or Alive

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pp. ix-xix

In May 2006 at a press conference with British prime minister Tony Blair, President George W. Bush offered a surprising confession to news reporters when he admitted his political mistake in using "tough talk" shortly after 9/11. At issue for the president was his choice of language, particularly the western vernacular of bounty hunting ...

Part 1: Newer New Wests

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1. Spectrality and the Postregional Interface

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pp. 2-29

For the past decade cultural critics in a variety of academic disciplines and fields have been identifying and theorizing about the several economic and social trends associated with a globalizing world-system's restructuring of the economic landscape. Predominant in this ...

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2. Everyday Regionalisms in Contemporary Critical Practice

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pp. 30-58

At issue here is the circulation of images of westernness in various global consumer marketplaces' in particular, images of surfer "girls" that include women. The case is for a gender-inflected critical practice able to accommodate new global performances of the western local. I am aiming for a demonstration of one kind of new critical ...

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3. Critical Regionalism, Thirdspace, and John Brinckerhoff Jackson's Western Cultural Landscapes

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pp. 59-81

Near the end of Postmodern Geographies (1989), Edward Soja argues for the benefits of "critical regional studies" as an approach to the changing relations among the urban, the national, and the global, claiming it operates with openness, flexibility, and an "inclination to try new combinations of ideas rather than fall back to old categorical ...

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4. Architecture and the Virtual West in William Gibson's San Francisco

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pp. 82-94

Modernity is on its last legs in the New West of 2005 San Francisco and Los Angeles' or at least that's the way it is envisioned by William Gibson in Virtual Light, the first of his "bridge trilogy" series of nearfuture novels (the last two being Idoru and All Tomorrow's Parties). In Gibson's postwestern future there are many casualties of the ...

Part 2: Nature and Culture

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5. What's Authentic about Western Literature? And, More to the Point, What's Literary?

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pp. 97-114

Outsider status has long been a vexed issue in western American studies, and not simply because of churning demographics out West, where, as Nancy Cook observes, "authenticity continues to be claimed to assert ‘insider’ status for ‘outsiders’ and to keep newer ‘outsiders’ at bay or powerless."1 The issue has less to do with priority ...

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6. Some Questions about Sexless Nature Writing

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pp. 115-126

I would like to ask some questions about sexless nature writing. Why does so much of the traditional canon of (male) nature writing, both American and British, ignore sex, evade gender, and erase their corollary experiences of affection and domestic connectedness? What is the relation of the apparently unmentionable narratives of ...

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7. Backpacking and the Ultralight Solution

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pp. 127-142

Each spring, at the end of a long winter, I try to fit a backpacking trip into a busy schedule. My hope is to briefly set down the heavy modern load and in its stead pick up a small pack and set off on foot. With only that pack to carry, my burden will be lightened, my days pleasantly limited and focused. All that I need will be ready at hand. ...

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8. Survival, Alaska Style

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pp. 143-156

Like our daydreaming adventurer Max, who travels to a faraway land where wild beasts are tamed by his youthful charm, Timothy Treadwell, the subject of Werner Herzog's 2005 documentary Grizzly Man, possesses a certain boyish charisma that both captivates and offends. 1 A self-taught naturalist and filmmaker who took to the Alaska ...

Part 3: Contested Wests

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9. Scheduling Idealism in Laramie, Wyoming

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pp. 159-171

This essay is a report about gay life and politics on one particularly notorious western front. The University of Wyoming, where I teach, and its home, Laramie, are the infamous location of the murder of Matthew Shepard in 1998, a killing that made homophobia newly legible for many, a killing that became a much-brandished symbol ...

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10. Frontier Mythology, Children's Literature, and Japanese American Incarceration

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pp. 172-185

If modern technologies may be understood as new means of measuring and controlling time and space, then the paralysis that is the consequence of prevented motion—of physical repression and incarceration—isolates communities from the time and space they had previously inhabited. They lose the conditions of their humanity ...

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11. I'm Just a Lonesome Korean Cowgirl; or, Adoption and National Identity

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pp. 186-205

When the emblems of the mythic western identity move to the quintessential postmodern city, west of (almost) everything, they lose their identities, becoming oxymorons. Hanging out in the New West but feeling old and in the way, our postmodern cowboy sings the plaintive song he is apparently writing, about his sense of dislocation. What lines will come ...

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12. Cultivating Otowi Bridge

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pp. 206-222

At the end of his sustained inquiry into the social and political significance of space, Henri Lefebvre tells a story of physical and metaphysical migration. Long ago, we are told, Western philosophers split space into conceptual halves: "into intelligible space on the one hand (the essence and transparency of the spiritual absolute), and ...

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13. The Romance of Ranching; or, Selling Place-Based Fantasies in and of the West

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pp. 223-244

In this essay I will sketch one of several trends in land use in the American West, one that links cultural production, globalization, and changes on the ground. I will use anecdotal evidence, for I want to emphasize the ways in which personal experience and observations contribute a sense of the provisional, temporal, partial, and ...

References

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pp. 245-264

Contributors

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pp. 265-267