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Table Of Contents

Exceptional versus National
Historical versus Mythic West
Region versus Process
Demarcating the West
The Chapters
Notes
Initial Encounters
Berkeley and Beyond
Meinig’s Mark
Six Themes
Historical Geographers and the West
The Ranch
Everywhere
Practice
Land
Myth
Assembly
Disposal
Pattern
Conflict
Arizona
Montana
Nevada
New Mexico
Utah
Prospect
Evolution of the National Park System
The National Park System in the West
Taking Stock
Origin of the Mormon West
The Great Basin Experience
Salt Lake City: Capital of the Mormon West
Non-Mormon Intrusions into the Mormon West
The Twentieth-Century Mormon West
Forces for Change: The Rise of the Urban Mormon West
The Future Mormon West
The Geography of Today’s Mormon West
Conclusion
Hispanic Settlement before 1848
Anglo Annexation
Hispanics Organize, and Anglos Discover Mexican Culture:
1900s to 1960s
The 1960s and Beyond: Mainstreaming Mexican American Culture
The Future
Time Immemorial
Early Spatial Relations
Living Spaces
Spatial Manipulations
Modern Spaces
Perceptions
Domestic Geographies of A Lady’s Life
“Plucky Nell” and the Useless Guide
The “Conquest” of Long’s Peak
Gambling and the Frontier
The Gambler’s Haven
Diffusion of a Western Phenomenon
Conclusions
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Western Places, American Myths

Western Places, American Myths

Ratings: (0)|Views: 199 |Likes:
Published by asa_ladd
Despite countless past attempts to describe and analyze it, the American West retains an enigmatic quality that continues to attract and intrigue us. As Gary J. Hausladen, editor of "Western Places, American Myths," states, "The power and importance of the American West, ambiguous or not, cannot be overstated. Not just a real geographical region, the West is a mythic concept that repeatedly transcends simple historical-geographical description. For Americans, the West is part of our psyche, an essential part of who we are as a people."

The essays in "Western Places, American Myths" are the work of a dozen scholars from several disciplines, all examining the West as both an actual region and as an enduring element of American culture, demonstrating how today's West is the result of a long and continuous process, a constant reinvention and redefining of place. Their essays address such topics as the role of the West in the development of the scholarly discipline of historical geography; the changing role of the ranch and the rancher in Western culture and economy; the role of the West in the development of the National Park System; and the impact of conflicting systems of land tenure and concepts of space on Western development-those of the Native Americans and those of the Anglo-European settlers.

The region's minorities are not unnoticed, as evidenced by ruminations on the role of Mormon theology and culture in shaping settlement patterns and the economy of the Intermountain states; the mainstreaming of Hispanic popular culture; the changing role of Native Americans in regional politics and development; and the impact of Western realities on traditional gender roles, as exemplified by the adventures of nineteenth-century British travel writer Isabella Bird. Nor is the mythic quality of the West left unexamined. There are essays on the evolution of gambling in the West, from frontier pastime to economic mainstay; on ghost towns as an element of the West's past and present image; and on the ways that Western films both reflect and shape the myth of the region; and a color photo essay illuminates the visual power of the West's mythic and perceived spiritual qualities.

On its own, each essay in this collection makes a powerful contribution to our understanding of the modern West. As a collection, the essays offer a provocative and engaging commentary on the complexity, vitality, tensions, and ceaseless change that characterize this vast and myth-haunted region. For anyone who might think that there is nothing new that can be said about the West, "Western Places, American Myths" rewards its reader with exciting new perspectives and insights, reminding us that the West still contains "mythic places that help us come to grips with our national identity and who we are as a people."
Despite countless past attempts to describe and analyze it, the American West retains an enigmatic quality that continues to attract and intrigue us. As Gary J. Hausladen, editor of "Western Places, American Myths," states, "The power and importance of the American West, ambiguous or not, cannot be overstated. Not just a real geographical region, the West is a mythic concept that repeatedly transcends simple historical-geographical description. For Americans, the West is part of our psyche, an essential part of who we are as a people."

The essays in "Western Places, American Myths" are the work of a dozen scholars from several disciplines, all examining the West as both an actual region and as an enduring element of American culture, demonstrating how today's West is the result of a long and continuous process, a constant reinvention and redefining of place. Their essays address such topics as the role of the West in the development of the scholarly discipline of historical geography; the changing role of the ranch and the rancher in Western culture and economy; the role of the West in the development of the National Park System; and the impact of conflicting systems of land tenure and concepts of space on Western development-those of the Native Americans and those of the Anglo-European settlers.

The region's minorities are not unnoticed, as evidenced by ruminations on the role of Mormon theology and culture in shaping settlement patterns and the economy of the Intermountain states; the mainstreaming of Hispanic popular culture; the changing role of Native Americans in regional politics and development; and the impact of Western realities on traditional gender roles, as exemplified by the adventures of nineteenth-century British travel writer Isabella Bird. Nor is the mythic quality of the West left unexamined. There are essays on the evolution of gambling in the West, from frontier pastime to economic mainstay; on ghost towns as an element of the West's past and present image; and on the ways that Western films both reflect and shape the myth of the region; and a color photo essay illuminates the visual power of the West's mythic and perceived spiritual qualities.

On its own, each essay in this collection makes a powerful contribution to our understanding of the modern West. As a collection, the essays offer a provocative and engaging commentary on the complexity, vitality, tensions, and ceaseless change that characterize this vast and myth-haunted region. For anyone who might think that there is nothing new that can be said about the West, "Western Places, American Myths" rewards its reader with exciting new perspectives and insights, reminding us that the West still contains "mythic places that help us come to grips with our national identity and who we are as a people."

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Published by: asa_ladd on May 25, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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