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Regionalism and the Modern American West
The American West has taken on a rich and evocative array of regional identities since the late nineteenth century. Wilderness wonderland, Hispanic borderland, homesteader’s frontier, cattle kingdom, urban dynamo, Native American homeland. Hell of a Vision explores the evolution of these diverse identities during the twentieth century, revealing how Western regionalism has been defined by generations of people seeking to understand the West’s vast landscapes and varied cultures.
Focusing on the American West from the 1890s up to the present, Dorman provides us with a wide-ranging view of the impact of regionalist ideas in pop culture and diverse fields such as geography, land-use planning, anthropology, journalism, and environmental policy-making.
Going well beyond the realm of literature, Dorman broadens the discussion by examining a unique mix of texts. He looks at major novelists such as Cather, Steinbeck, and Stegner, as well as leading Native American writers. But he also analyzes a variety of nonliterary sources in his book, such as government reports, planning documents, and environmental impact studies.
Hell of a Vision is a compelling journey through the modern history of the American West—a key region in the nation of regions known as the United States.
The Early Second Homes of Colorado, 1880–1940
High Country Summers considers the emergence of the “summer home” in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains as both an architectural and a cultural phenomenon. It offers a welcome new perspective on an often-overlooked dwelling and lifestyle. Writing with affection and insight, Melanie Shellenbarger shows that Colorado’s early summer homes were not only enjoyed by the privileged and wealthy but crossed boundaries of class, race, and gender. They offered their inhabitants recreational and leisure experiences as well as opportunities for individual re-invention—and they helped shape both the cultural landscapes of the American West and our ideas about it.
Shellenbarger focuses on four areas along the Front Range: Rocky Mountain National Park and its easterly gateway town, Estes Park; “recreation residences” in lands managed by the US Forest Service; Lincoln Hills, one of only a few African-American summer home resorts in the United States; and the foothills west of Denver that drew Front Range urbanites, including Denver’s social elite. From cottages to manor houses, the summer dwellings she examines were home to governors and government clerks; extended families and single women; business magnates and Methodist ministers; African-American building contractors and innkeepers; shop owners and tradespeople. By returning annually, Shellenbarger shows, they created communities characterized by distinctive forms of kinship.
High Country Summers goes beyond history and architecture to examine the importance of these early summer homes as meaningful sanctuaries in the lives of their owners and residents. These homes, which embody both the dwelling (the house itself) and dwelling (the act of summering there), resonate across time and place, harkening back to ancient villas and forward to the present day.
Growing Up on a Mississippi Subsistence Farm
"It's in the nature of things that whole worlds disappear," writes the poet Robert Hass in the foreword to Jimmye Hillman's insightful memoir. "Their vanishings, more often than not, go unrecorded or pass into myth, just as they slip from the memory of the living."
To ensure that the world of Jimmye Hillman's childhood in Greene County, Mississippi during the Great Depression doesn't slip away, he has gathered together accounts of his family and the other people of Old Washington village. There are humorous stories of hog hunting and heart-wrenching tales of poverty set against a rural backdrop shaded by the local social, religious, and political climate of the time. Jimmye and his family were subsistence farmers out of bare-bones necessity, decades before discussions about sustainability made such practices laudable.
More than just childhood memories and a family saga, though, this book serves as a snapshot of the natural, historical, and linguistic details of the time and place. It is a remarkable record of Southern life. Observations loaded with detail uncover broader themes of work, family loyalty, and the politics of changing times.
Hillman, now eighty-eight, went on to a distinguished career as an economist specializing in agriculture. He realizes the importance of his story as an example of the cultural history of the Deep South but allows readers to discover the significance on their own by witnessing the lives of a colorful cast of characters. Hogs, Mules, and Yellow Dogs is unique, a blend of humor and reflection, wisdom and sympathy--but it's also a hard-nosed look at the realities of living on a dirt farm in a vanished world.
A Mexican Immigrant’s Story of Endurance
When Viviana Salguero came to the United States in 1946, she spoke very little English, had never learned to read or write, and had no job skills besides housework or field labor. She worked eighteen-hour days and lived outdoors as often as not. And yet she raised twelve children, shielding them from her abusive husband when she dared, and shared in both the tragedies and accomplishments of her family. Through it all, Viviana never lost her love for Mexico or her gratitude to the United States for what would eventually become a better life. Though her story is unique, Viviana Salguero could be the mother, grandmother, or great-grandmother of immigrants anywhere, struggling with barriers of gender, education, language, and poverty.
In I Don't Cry, But I Remember, Joyce Lackie shares with us an intimate portrait of Viviana's life. Based on hours of recorded conversations, Lackie skillfully translates the interviews into an engaging, revealing narrative that details the migrant experience from a woman's point of view and fills a gap in our history by examining the role of women of color in the American Southwest. The book presents Vivana's life not only as a chronicle of endurance, but as a tale of everyday resistance. What she lacks in social confidence, political strength, and economic stability, she makes up for in dignity, faith, and wisdom.
Like all good oral history, Salguero's accounts and Lackie's analyses contribute to our understanding of the past by exposing the inconsistencies and contradictions in our remembrances. This book will appeal to ethnographers, oral historians, students and scholars of Chicana studies and women's studies, as well as general readers interested in the lives of immigrant women.
¿Sí se puede?
culture, confianza, and economy of Mexican-origin populations
They are known as cundinas or tandas in Mexico, and for many people these local savings-and-loan operations play an indispensable role in the struggle to succeed in today's transborder economy. With this extensively researched book, Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez updates and expands upon his major 1983 study of rotating savings and credit associations (ROSCAs), incorporating new data that reflect the explosion of Mexican-origin populations in the United States. Much more than a study of one economic phenomenon though, the book examines the way in which these practices are part of greater transnational economies and how these populations engage in--and suffer through--the twenty-first century global economy.
Central to the ROSCA is the cultural concept of mutual trust, or confianza. This is the cultural glue that holds the reciprocal relationship together. As Vélez-Ibáñez explains, confianza "shapes the expectations for relationships within broad networks of interpersonal links, in which intimacies, favors, goods, services, emotion, power, or information are exchanged." In a border region where migration, class movement, economic changes, and institutional inaccessibility produce a great deal of uncertainty, Mexican-origin populations rely on confianza and ROSCAs to maintain a sense of security in daily life. How do transborder people adapt these common practices to meet the demands of a global economy? That is precisely what Vélez-Ibáñez investigates.
The Miskito-Moravian Settlement Landscape in Honduras
The Struggle for National Repatriation Legislation, 1986–1990
In 1989, The National Museum of the American Indian Act (NMAIA) was successfully passed after a long and intense struggle. One year later, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) followed. These federal repatriation statutes—arguably some of the most important laws in the history of anthropology, museology, and American Indian rights—enabled Native Americans to reclaim human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.
Twenty years later, the controversy instigated by the creation of NMAIA and NAGPRA continues to simmer. In the Smaller Scope of Conscience is a thoughtful and detailed study of the ins and outs of the four-year process behind these laws. It is a singular contribution to the history of these issues, with the potential to help mediate the ongoing debate by encouraging all sides to retrace the steps of the legislators responsible for the acts.
Few works are as detailed as McKeown’s account, which looks into bills that came prior to NMAIA and NAGPRA and combs the legislative history for relevant reports and correspondence. Testimonies, documents, and interviews from the primary players of this legislative process are cited to offer insights into the drafting and political processes that shaped NMAIA and NAGPRA.
Above all else, this landmark work distinguishes itself from earlier legislative histories with the quality of its analysis. Invested and yet evenhanded in his narrative, McKeown ensures that this journey through history—through the strategies and struggles of different actors to effect change through federal legislation—is not only accurate but eminently intriguing.