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Over the Edge

Remapping the American West

Valerie J. Matsumoto (Editor), Blake Allmendinger (Editor)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 411 pages
ISBN: 9780520211490
January 1999
$31.95, £23.95
From the Gold Rush to rush hour, the history of the American West is fraught with diverse, subversive, and at times downright eccentric elements. This provocative volume challenges traditional readings of western history and literature, and redraws the boundaries of the American West with absorbing essays ranging widely on topics from tourism to immigration, from environmental battles to interethnic relations, and from law to film. Taken together, the essays reassess the contributions of a diverse and multicultural America to the West, as they link western issues to global frontiers.

Featuring the latest work by some of the best new writers both inside and outside academia, the original essays in Over the Edge confront the traditional field of western American studies with a series of radical, speculative, and sometimes outrageous challenges. The collection reads the West through Ben-Hur and the films of Mae West; revises the western American literary canon to include the works of African American and Mexican American writers; examines the implications of miscegenation law and American Indian blood quantum requirements; and brings attention to the historical participation of Mexican and Japanese American women, Native American slaves, and Alaskan cannery workers in community life.
CONTRIBUTORS:
Blake Allmendinger
Karen Anderson
Miroslava Chavez
Mike Davis
Arleen de Vera
William Deverell
Douglas Flamming
Chris Friday
Anne E. Goldman
Ramón A. Gutiérrez
Louise V. Jeffredo-Warden
Susan Lee Johnson
Patricia Nelson Limerick
Jesús Martínez-Saldaña
Valerie J. Matsumoto
Mary Murphy
Melissa L. Meyer
Peggy Pascoe
Virginia Scharff
Jill Watts
Valerie J. Matsumoto is Associate Professor of History and Asian American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles. She is the author of Farming the Home Place: A Japanese American Community in California, 1919-1982 (1993). Blake Allmendinger is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Cowboy: Representations of Labor in an American Work Culture (1992).
"This anthology represents the state of the art in scholarship on the U.S. West and charts new paths for western historians involving cultural studies, feminist theory, and even legal criticism. It problematizes the entire field of western history by challenging our notions of what subjects, materials, and themes qualify as 'western' and especially by showcasing the power of cultural studies in illuminating the many strands of western life. Over the Edge is an exceptional contribution to western studies, one which reflects the theoretical energy of an evolving discourse."—Vicki L. Ruiz, Arizona State University

"A manuscript of unusual personality, charm, and force; it should greatly please a wide range of readers, including those sophisticated about conservation and land-use questions, and it should make even the hardest-line ranchers think some new thoughts about their future strategies."-Ernest Callenbach, author of Ecotopia

"What a grand collaboration: Kittredge's words and the Blakes' images take us to the soul of the Klamath Country, at once a magnificent, battered, and resolute landscape. This finely-crafted blend of artistry, history, literature, public policy, and ecology tells the full and compelling story of one great western place and its people. In so doing, Balancing Water tells us a great deal about how, if we find the common will to work it right, we can shape the futures of other watersheds across the west."--Charles Wilkinson, Distinguished University Professor at the University of Colorado, and author of Fire on the Plateau and The Eagle Bird

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