In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Letter from the Editor
  • Christopher Gaffney

Caros Leitores,

In your hands is the product of innumerable hands, intellectual currents, technological innovations, political engagements, institutional structures, labors of love, and deep engagement with the places and peoples of the Americas. Each page contains carefully wrought ideas, sentences, paragraphs, and images that extend backwards and forwards in time and space, to land on your desk in a neat, glossy bundle. Because it is easy to forget the complexity of the journal-as-artifact, I would like to use these opening pages to explain some of the work that the editorial team has undertaken over the past year.

One of the challenges the editorial team constantly faces is engaging external reviewers for our double-blind review process. Most readers will be familiar with how this functions, but in Latin American institutional contexts the time that a review requires to complete can only be accounted for in annual assessments if a journal is registered within an index recognized by the national educational authority. Therefore, in order to be able to recruit external reviewers from throughout the Americas we have expanded the number of indexes in which JLAG appears. We have recently been added to Cabell’s Journal Database and the Emerging Sources Citation Index within the Web of Science. A complete list of where we are indexed can be found in the back of this issue and we are working towards becoming indexed in every country in the Americas. If you have suggestions for indexes where we are not currently listed, please let us know:

A second challenge has been to improve the accessibility, quality, and variety of scholarship while hewing to JLAG’s intellectual trajectory. In 2016, we added JLAG Perspectives, and in 2018 we will be adding a section dedicated to the student field awards that are at the core of CLAG’s mission. The editorial team will select contributions from CLAG Field Study Award winners, engaging the next generation of scholars in the review process and sharing their fresh experiences from the field. This is one more way in which the symbiotic relationship between JLAG and CLAG supports and produces geographic scholarship in the Americas.

Two further undertakings of the past year have been the maturation of our electronic submission platform and an increased attention to readability. The editorial team and I have been working more closely with authors on language and structure (sometimes to their chagrin) and have hired external copy editors while our production guru Neela Nandyal has made it all look great. Sadly, this is Neela’s last issue, but we will be joined by the talented Lily Alexander beginning with 17(1) – a special issue on Decolonizing Latin American Geography.

Martha Bell joined the editorial team mid-year and we are very excited to have her on board. Based at Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Martha has increased our range to include expertise on the impacts of climate change on urban centers, historical geography, Andean landscapes and environments, and the governance of water. Next year we will be advertising another position for an Associate Editor and look forward to being overwhelmed with candidates. [End Page 1]

This is the time of year when we extend our thanks to all of those who have collaborated with use to bring the three issues of volume 16 to life. There is a list of our external reviewers following this letter. Without this collaboration, JLAG doesn’t come to life, so thank you from all of us on the editorial team.

This issue is full of surprises, beginning with a delightful exploration of the commodity trade in snow in and around colonial Veracruz. Matt LaFevor and Elizabeth Butzer take us into the archives to examine how the Spanish Crown created state monopolies and the implications of that form of governance on the public good. The results are surprising, giving new insights into the imperial management of commodities in colonial México.

In the second article, Emilie Louise Schur looks at water in a very different way: as a threatened and insecure commodity in the Chihuahua/New Mexico border region. Her in-depth analysis links ground water contamination...


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