The Old Northwest—the region now known as the Midwest—has been largely overlooked in American cultural history, represented as a place smoothly assimilated into the expanding, manifestly-destined nation. An American Colony: Regionalism and the Roots of Midwestern Culture studies the primary texts and principal conflicts of the settlement of the Old Northwest to reveal that its entry into the nation’s culture was not without problems. In fact, Edward Watts argues that it is best understood as a colony of the United States, just as the eastern states were colonies of the British Empire.
Reconsidered as a colony, the Old Northwest becomes a crucible revealing the complex entanglement of local, indigenous, and regional interests with the coercions of racism, nationalism, and imperialism. This conflicted setting, like those of all settlement colonies, was beset by competing views of local identity, especially as they came to contradict writers from the eastern seaboard.
Using postcolonial theories developed to describe other settlement colonies, An American Colony identifies the Old Northwest as a colony and its culture as less than fully participating in either the nation’s or its own writing and identity. This embedded sense of cultural inferiority, Watts argues, haunts Midwestern culture even today.
The shift from mobile hunting and gathering to more sedentary, usually agricultural, lifeways was one of the most significant milestones in the prehistory of humanity. This transformation was spurred by an alignment of social and ecological forces, pressures, and adaptations, and it took place in broadly comparable ways in many prehistoric settings.
Based on a Society for American Archaeology symposium and subsequent Amerind Advanced Seminar in 2006, Becoming Villagers examines this transformation at various places and times across the globe by focusing not on the origins of agriculture and village life but rather on their consequences. The goal of the volume is to identify regularities in the ways that societies developed in the centuries and millennia following a transition to village life. Using cases that range from China to Bolivia and from the Near East to the American Southwest, leading archaeologists situate their specific areas of specialization in a broad comparative context.
They consider the forces acting to divide and fragment early villages and the social technologies and practices by which those obstacles were, in some cases, overcome. Finally, the volume examines the long-term historical trajectories of these early village societies.
This transformative collection makes a powerful case for a renewed and invigorated archaeological focus on large-scale comparative studies. It will be an essential read for anyone interested not only in early village societies but also in the ways in which archaeology relates to anthropology, other social sciences, and history.
“Becoming Villagers: The Evolution of Early Village Societies,” Matthew S. Bandy and Jake R. Fox
“Population Growth, Village Fissioning, and Alternative Early Village Trajectories,” Matthew S. Bandy
“A Scale Model of Seven Hundred Years of Farming Settlements in Southwestern Colorado,” Timothy A. Kohler and Mark D. Varien
“‘Great Expectations,’ or the Inevitable Collapse of the Early Neolithic in the Near East,” Nigel Goring-Morris and Anna Belfer-Cohen
“‘Ritualization’ in Early Village Society: The Case of the Lake Titicaca Basin Formative,” Amanda B. Cohen
“The Sacred and the Secular Revisited: The Essential Tensions of Early Village Society in the Southeastern United States,” Thomas Pluckhahn
“Substantial Structures, Few People, and the Question of Early Villages in the Mimbres Region of the North American Southwest,” Patricia A. Gilman
“Sea Changes in Stable Communities: What Do Small Changes in Practices at Catalhoyuk and Chiripa Imply about Community Making?” Christine A. Hastorf
“The Emergence of Early Villages in the American Southwest: Cultural Issues and Historical Perspectives,” Richard H. Wilshusen and James M. Potter
“A Persistent Early Village Settlement System on the Bolivian Southern Altiplano,” Jake R. Fox
“First Towns in the Americas: Searching for Agriculture, Population Growth, and Other Enabling Conditions,” John E. Clark, Jon L. Gibson, and James Zeidler
“The Evolution of Early Yangshao Period Village Organization in the Middle Reaches of Northern China's Yellow River Valley,” Christian E. Peterson and Gideon Shelach
Colonizers continuously transform spaces of violence into spaces of home. Israeli Jews settle in the West Bank and in depopulated Palestinian houses in Haifa or Jaffa. White missionaries build their lives in Africa. The descendants of European settlers in the Americas and Australia dwell and thrive on expropriated indigenous lands. In The Colonizing Self Hagar Kotef traces the cultural, political, and spatial apparatuses that enable people and nations to settle on the ruins of other people's homes. Kotef demonstrates how the mass and structural modes of violence that are necessary for the establishment and sustainment of the colony dwell within settler-colonial homemaking, and through it shape collective and individual identities. She thus powerfully shows how the possibility to live amid the destruction one generates is not merely the possibility to turn one's gaze away from violence but also the possibility to develop an attachment to violence itself. Kotef thereby offers a theoretical framework for understanding how settler-colonial violence becomes inseparable from one's sense of self.
Coronado National Memorial explores forgotten pathways through Montezuma Canyon in southeastern Arizona, and provides an essential history of the southern Huachuca Mountains. This is a magical place that shaped the region and two countries, the United States and Mexico. Its history dates back to the expedition led by Conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado in 1540, a mere forty-eight years after Columbus’ first voyage. Before that time Native Americans occupied the land, later to be joined by Spanish and Mexican period miners and ranchers, prospecting entrepreneurs, missionaries, and homesteaders.
Sánchez is the foremost historian of the area, and he shifts through and decodes a number of key Spanish and English language documents from different archives that tell the story of an historical drama of epic proportions. He combines the regional and the global, starting with the prehistory of the area. He covers Spanish colonial contact, settlement missions, the Mexican Territorial period, land grants, and the ultimate formation of the international border that set the stage for the creation of the Coronado National Memorial in 1952.
Much has been written about southwestern Arizona and northeastern Sonora, and in many ways this book complements those efforts and delivers details about the region’s colorful past.
In the decades following the Civil War, nearly a quarter of African Americans achieved a remarkable victory—they got their own land. While other ex-slaves and many poor whites became trapped in the exploitative sharecropping system, these independence-seeking individuals settled on pockets of unclaimed land that had been deemed too poor for farming and turned them into successful family farms. In these self-sufficient rural communities, often known as “freedom colonies,” African Americans created a refuge from the discrimination and violence that routinely limited the opportunities of blacks in the Jim Crow South. Freedom Colonies is the first book to tell the story of these independent African American settlements. Thad Sitton and James Conrad focus on communities in Texas, where blacks achieved a higher percentage of land ownership than in any other state of the Deep South. The authors draw on a vast reservoir of ex-slave narratives, oral histories, written memoirs, and public records to describe how the freedom colonies formed and to recreate the lifeways of African Americans who made their living by farming or in skilled trades such as milling and blacksmithing. They also uncover the forces that led to the decline of the communities from the 1930s onward, including economic hard times and the greed of whites who found legal and illegal means of taking black-owned land. And they visit some of the remaining communities to discover how their independent way of life endures into the twenty-first century.
Winner of the Kemper and Leila Williams Book Prize for the Best Book on Louisiana History, French Roots in the Illinois Country creates an entirely new picture of the Illinois country as a single ethnic, economic, and cultural entity. Focusing on the French Creole communities along the Mississippi River, Carl J. Ekberg shows how land use practices such as medieval-style open-field agriculture intersected with economic and social issues ranging from the flour trade between Illinois and New Orleans to the significance of the different mentalities of French Creoles and Anglo-Americans.
California’s history is rich and diverse, with numerous fascinating stories hidden in its past. Before the discovery of gold in the Sierras, San Francisco (Yerba Buena) and its surroundings comprised a sparsely populated frontier on the edge of the old Spanish realm. After 1848, the area rapidly transformed into a settled urban system as a tremendous influx of prospectors and settlers came to seek their fortune in California. A wave of gold miners, merchants, farmers, politicians, carpenters, and many others from various backgrounds and corners of the world migrated to the area at that time. Interrelated social, geographic, and economic processes led to a very quick metamorphosis from frontier settlement to a firmly established system with ingrained economic patterns.
The development of San Francisco’s outlying region from a wilderness into a prosperous village and farming mecca shows how quickly in-migration coupled with economic diversification can establish a stable settlement structure upon the landscape. Otterstrom describes an intricately woven tapestry of interrelated people who were contributing creators of a wide variety of prosperous northern California environs. He uncovers the processes that converted this sleepy post-Mexican outpost into a focal point of nearly hyperactive youthful growth. The narrative follows this crucial story of settlement development until the dawn of the twentieth century, through the interconnected framework of individual and family ingenuity, migration trajectories, and diverse geographical scales.
Multiplying individualistic experiences from across far-flung appendages of the Northern California system into larger and larger scales, Otterstrom has achieved a matchless historical and sociological study that will form the basis for any future studies of the area.
During the Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt gave more than two hundred families from some of the poorest areas in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan the opportunity to start their farms anew in the undeveloped land of Matanuska in Alaska. These transplanted midwesterners soon found themselves in a startling new climate and landscape that presented many unexpected challenges. Available for the first time in paperback, The Frontier in Alaska and the Matanuska Colony examines several case studies of these original families, dispelling many frontier myths and describing the reality of pioneering in Alaska. Despite the many impediments, Orlando W. Miller argues, much of the current agricultural success in Matanuska can be directly credited to the innovative farmers who settled there in the 1930s.
Winner of the AAG’s John Brinckerhoff Jackson Prize
Winner of the Great Lakes American Studies Association/Ohio University Press Book Award
Throughout the nineteenth century, the southern shores of Lake Superior held great promise for developers imagining the next great metropolis. These new territories were seen as expanses to be filled, first with romantic visions, then with scientific images, and later with vistas designed to entice settlement and economic development. The Future City on the Inland Sea describes the attempts of explorers under government, commercial, or scientific sponsorship to project their imaginative visions on a region where the future did not happen as planned.
Author Eric D. Olmanson takes a fresh look at the settlements in the vicinity of Chequamegon Bay and the Apostle Islands by analyzing the texts and images left by the missionaries, geologists, ordinance surveyors, newspaper editors, and boosters. The Future City on the Inland Sea shows how new visions of the place absorbed and replaced the old ones, eventually producing what might be called for the first time “a region.”
More than a regional geography, The Future City on the Inland Sea is an appraisal of these early efforts to meld geographies of physical nature with those of human ideals, a demonstration of how thoroughly and paradoxically those two realms are entangled.
By the Early Holocene (10,000 to 8,000 B.P.), small wandering bands of Archaic hunter-gatherers began to annually follow the same hunting trails, basing their temporary camps on seasonal conditions and the presence of food. The Pleistocene glaciers had receded by this time, making food more plentiful in some areas and living conditions less hazardous. Although these Archaic peoples have long been known from their primary activities as hunters and gatherers of wild food resources, recent evidence has been found that indicates they also began rudimentary cultivation sometime during the Middle Holocene.
Richard Jefferies—an Archaic specialist—comprehensively addresses the approximately 7,000 years of the prehistory of eastern North America, termed the Archaic Period by archaeologists. Jefferies centers his research on a 380-mile section of the Lower Ohio River Valley, an area rife with both temporary and long-term Archaic sites. He covers the duration of the Holocene and provides a compendium of knowledge of the era, including innovative research strategies and results. Presenting these data from a cultural-ecological perspective emphasizing the relationships between hunter-gatherers and the environments in which they lived, Jefferies integrates current research strategies with emerging theories that are beginning to look at culture history in creative ways
This book offers a comprehensive overview of landscape and land use in southeast Italy in the first millennium BCE. Using the most up-to-date techniques, it combines archaeobotanical and archaeozoological data with information from excavations, field surveys, and ancient written texts to place the relationship between people and landscapes in a broad geographical and chronological framework. It also confronts questions of food habits, the scale and organisation of agricultural production, the influx of Greek and Roman colonists, and the effects of globalisation on local and regional land use.
The Fraser Valley in British Columbia has been viewed historically as a typical setting of Indigenous-white interaction. Jeff Oliver now reexamines the social history of this region from pre-contact to the violent upheavals of nineteenth and early twentieth century colonialism to argue that the dominant discourses of progress and colonialism often mask the real social and physical process of change that occurred here—change that can be more meaningfully tied to transformations in the land.
The Fraser Valley has long been a scene of natural resource appropriation—furs and fish, timber and agriculture—with settlement patterns and land claims centering on the use of these materials. Oliver demonstrates how social change and cultural understanding are tied to the way that people use and remake the landscape. Drawing on ethnographic texts, archaeological evidence, cartography, and historical writing, he has created a deep history of the valley that enables us to view how human entanglements with landscape were creative of a variety of contentious issues. By capturing the multiple dynamics that were operating in the past, Oliver shows us not only how landscape transformations were implicated in constructing different perceptions of place but also how such changes influenced peoples’ understanding of history and identity.
This groundbreaking work examines engagement between people and the environment across a variety of themes, from aboriginal appropriation of nature to colonists’ reworking of physical and conceptual geographies, demonstrating the consequences of these interactions as they permeated various social and cultural spheres. It offers a new lens for viewing a region as it provides fresh insight into such topics as landscape change, perceptions of place, and Indigenous-white relations.
From the actions of Europeans in the seventeenth century to the real estate deals of the modern era, people making a living off the land in southern Arizona have been repeatedly robbed of their way of life. History has recorded more than three centuries of speculative failures that never amounted to much but left dispossessed people in their wake. This book seeks to excavate those failures, to examine the new social spaces the schemers struggled to create and the existing social spaces they destroyed.
Landscapes of Fraud explores how the penetration of the evolving capitalist world-system created and destroyed communities in the Upper Santa Cruz Valley of Arizona from the late 1600s to the 1970s. Thomas Sheridan has melded history, anthropology, and critical geography to create a penetrating view of greed and power and their lasting effect on those left powerless.
Sheridan first examines how O’odham culture was fragmented by the arrival of the Spanish, telling how autonomous communities moving across landscapes in seasonal rounds were reduced to a mission world of subordination. Sheridan then considers the fate of the Tumacácori grant and Baca Float No. 3, another land grant. He tells the unbroken story of land fraud from Manuel María Gándara’s purchase of the “abandoned” Tumacácori grant at public auction in 1844 through the bankruptcy of the shady real estate developers who had fraudulently promoted housing projects at Rio Rico during the 1960s and ’70s.
As the Upper Santa Cruz Valley underwent a wrenching transition from a landscape of community to a landscape of fraud, the betrayal of the O’odham became complete when land, that most elemental form of human space, was transformed from a communal resource into a commodity bought and sold for its future value. Today, Mission Tumacácori stands as a romantic icon of the past while the landscapes that supported it lay buried under speculative schemes that continue to haunt our history.
This book brings together the work of archaeologists investigating prehistoric hunter-gatherers (foragers) and early farmers in both the Southwest and the Great Basin. Most previous work on this topic has been regionally specific, with researchers from each area favoring a different theoretical approach and little shared dialogue. Here the studies of archaeologists working in both the Southwest and the Great Basin are presented side by side to illustrate the similarities in environmental challenges and cultural practices of the prehistoric peoples who lived in these areas and to explore common research questions addressed by both regions.
Three main themes link these papers: the role of the environment in shaping prehistoric behavior, flexibility in foraging and farming adaptations, and diversity in settlement strategies. Contributors cover a range of topics including the varied ways hunter-gatherers adapted to arid environments, the transition from hunting and gathering to farming and the reasons for it, the variation in early farmers across the Southwest and Great Basin, and the differing paths followed as they developed settled villages.
How has the landscape of Wisconsin affected its history? How have people living here changed that landscape over time? What are the implications for the future? The second edition of Learning from the Land addresses these and other questions, asking elementary and middle school readers to think about land use issues throughout Wisconsin's history. This revised edition includes expanded chapters on logging and the lumber industry, land use and planning, and agriculture in the 20th century from farmers' markets to organic farming. New profiles of Gaylord Nelson, pioneer of Earth Day, and Will Allen, founder of Growing Power in Milwaukee, round out this history of land use in Wisconsin.
Arabs and Jews have disputed the ancient lands of Palestine since the late nineteenth century, when Jews began emigrating there, buying land, and establishing farms, settlements, and businesses. In this book, Kamen examines the structure of Arab Palestine between the two world wars. He contrasts British and Israeli analyses against real world social and economic conditions of rural Arab society.
The quiet of the dawn was rent by the screams of war. Scores, perhaps hundreds, of Quechan and Mohave warriors leaped from concealment, rushing the plaza from all sides. Painted for battle and brandishing lances, bows, and war clubs, the Indians killed every Spaniard they could catch.
The route from the Spanish presidial settlements in upper Sonora to the Colorado River was called the Camino del Diablo, the "Road of the Devil." Running through the harshest of deserts, this route was the only way for the Spanish to transport goods overland to their settlements in California. At the end of the route lay the only passable part of the lower Colorado, and the people who lived around the river, the Yumas or Quechans, initially joined into a peaceful union with the Spanish. When the relationship soured and the Yumas revolted in 1781, it essentially ended Spanish settlement in the area, dashed the dreams of the mission builders, and limited Spanish expansion into California and beyond.
In Massacre at the Yuma Crossing, Mark Santiago introduces us to the important and colorful actors involved in the dramatic revolt of 1781: Padre Francisco Garcés, who discovered a path from Sonora to California, made contact with the Yumas and eventually became their priest; Salvador Palma, the informal leader of the Yuman people, whose decision to negotiate with the Spanish earned him a reputation as a peacebuilder in the region, which eventually caused his downfall; and Teodoro de Croix, the Spanish commandant-general, who, breaking with traditional settlement practice, established two pueblos among the Quechans without an adequate garrison or mission, thereby leaving the settlers without any sort of defense when the revolt finally took place.
Massacre at the Yuma Crossing not only tells the story of the Yuma Massacre with new details but also gives the reader an understanding of the pressing questions debated in the Spanish Empire at the time: What was the efficacy of the presidios? How extensive should the power of the Catholic mission priests be? And what would be the future of Spain in North America?
Colombia’s western Coffee Region is renowned for the whiteness of its inhabitants, who are often described as respectable pioneer families who domesticated a wild frontier and planted coffee on the forested slopes of the Andes. Some local inhabitants, however, tell a different tale—of white migrants rapaciously usurping the lands of indigenous and black communities. Muddied Waters examines both of these legends, showing how local communities, settlers, speculators, and politicians struggled over jurisdictional boundaries and the privatization of communal lands in the creation of the Coffee Region. Viewing the emergence of this region from the perspective of Riosucio, a multiracial town within it, Nancy P. Appelbaum reveals the contingent and contested nature of Colombia’s racialized regional identities.
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Colombian elite intellectuals, Appelbaum contends, mapped race onto their mountainous topography by defining regions in racial terms. They privileged certain places and inhabitants as white and modern and denigrated others as racially inferior and backward. Inhabitants of Riosucio, however, elaborated local narratives about their mestizo and indigenous identities that contested the white mystique of the Coffee Region. Ongoing violent conflicts over land and politics, Appelbaum finds, continue to shape local debates over history and identity. Drawing on archival and published sources complemented by oral history, Muddied Waters vividly illustrates the relationship of mythmaking and racial inequality to regionalism and frontier colonization in postcolonial Latin America.
As the oldest European settlement in Missouri, Ste. Genevieve was the funnel through which the eastern Ozarks (the 5,000 square miles beyond Ste. Genevieve’s location on the Mississippi) was established. A magisterial account of the settlement of this area from 1760 through 1830, Opening the Ozarks focuses on the acquisition and occupation of land, the transformation of the environment, the creation of cohesive settlements, and the building of neighborhoods and eventually organized counties.
The study begins with the French Creole settlement at Old Ste. Genevieve in the middle of the eighteenth century. It describes the movement of the French into the Ozark hills during the rest of that century and continues with that of the American immigrants into Upper Louisiana after 1796, ending with the Americanization of the district after the Louisiana Purchase. Walter Schroeder examines the cultural transition from a French society, operating under a Spanish administration, to an American society in which French, Indians, and Africans formed minorities.
Schroeder used thousands of French- and Spanish-language documents, including the Archives of the Indies in Seville, Spain, as well as documents from Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis to gather his information. He also utilized thousands of land records from the American period, including deeds of land sales and sales from the public domain, and plats from both the Spanish and American periods. In addition, Schroeder performed years of fieldwork and perused aerial photography of the area, interviewing residents and searching for vestiges of the past in the landscape.
As the only study to deal with the cradle of Missouri and the first trans-Mississippi expansion of the Anglo-American frontier, Opening the Ozarks will be invaluable to anyone interested in America’s geographical history, particularly that of Missouri.
In the 1950s, Darryl Cole-Christensen and his family were among the first settlers of the Coto Brus, an almost impenetrable, mountainous rain forest region of southeastern Costa Rica. In this evocative book, he captures the elemental struggles and rewards of settling a new frontier—an experience forever closed to most people in Western, urbanized society. With the perspective of more than forty years’ residence in the Coto Brus, Cole-Christensen ably describes both the settlers’ dreams of bringing civilization and progress to the rain forest and the sweeping and irreversible changes they caused throughout the ecosystem as they cut the rain forest down. Writing neither to apologize for nor to defend their actions, he instead illuminates the personal and subjective factors that cause people to risk danger and hardship for the uncertain rewards of settling a frontier. In his own words, Cole-Christensen says, "This is a book for the scientist who wants to recapture a sense of an incalculable world departed, for the student who asks: How is it that our forebears changed and restructured this land? For the adventurer who dreams of the expanse of frontiers, for every person who, having passed once through the darkening forest along a path in twilit stillness looks back to find that a blanket of murmurs remains."
During the nineteenth century, British and American settlers acquired a vast amount of land from indigenous people throughout the Pacific, but in no two places did they acquire it the same way. Stuart Banner tells the story of colonial settlement in Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alaska. Today, indigenous people own much more land in some of these places than in others. And certain indigenous peoples benefit from treaty rights, while others do not. These variations are traceable to choices made more than a century ago--choices about whether indigenous people were the owners of their land and how that land was to be transferred to whites.
Banner argues that these differences were not due to any deliberate land policy created in London or Washington. Rather, the decisions were made locally by settlers and colonial officials and were based on factors peculiar to each colony, such as whether the local indigenous people were agriculturalists and what level of political organization they had attained. These differences loom very large now, perhaps even larger than they did in the nineteenth century, because they continue to influence the course of litigation and political struggle between indigenous people and whites over claims to land and other resources.
Possessing the Pacific is an original and broadly conceived study of how colonial struggles over land still shape the relations between whites and indigenous people throughout much of the world.
Synthesizing almost thirty years of Dutch archaeological research in central and southern Italy, this book discusses and compares settlement and land use patterns from the late protohistoric period to the late Roman Republic. Considering both social and environmental factors, the authors analyze the long-term progression of indigenous Bronze Age tribal pastoralist societies towards the complexity of urbanized Roman society. Drawing on a decade of collaboration between Dutch and Italian researchers, this exhaustive study will be of great interest to students and scholars of Mediterranean archaeology.
Desolation Canyon is one of the West's wild treasures. Visitors come to study, explore, run the river, and hike a canyon that is deeper at its deepest than the Grand Canyon, better preserved than most of the Colorado River system, and full of eye-catching geology-castellated ridges, dramatic walls, slickrock formations, and lovely beaches. Rafting the river, one may see wild horses, blue herons, bighorn sheep, and possibly a black bear. Signs of previous people include the newsworthy, well-preserved Fremont Indian ruins along Range Creek and rock art panels of Nine Mile Canyon, both Desolation Canyon tributaries. Historic Utes also pecked rock art, including images of graceful horses and lively locomotives, in the upper canyon. Remote and difficult to access, Desolation has a surprisingly lively history. Cattle and sheep herding, moonshine, prospecting, and hideaways brought a surprising number of settlers--ranchers, outlaws, and recluses--to the canyon.
When an international health initiative succeeded in wiping out river blindness in Burkina Faso, it allowed the settlement of the sparsely populated Volta Valley by the Mossi people--a development plan by which the Burkinabe government sought to relieve population pressure, establish communities, and increase cotton production. Anthropologist Della McMillan followed this visionary plan over twelve years as people relocated communities, founded farms, dealt with officials, entered the market, and in some instances moved on. Her study examines the question of how development occurs or fails to occur and offers unusual insight into how visions of progress--held by developers, settlers, and even researchers--originate and are revised.
In Spatial and Discursive Violence in the US Southwest Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita examine literary representations of settler colonial land enclosure and dispossession in the history of New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Sánchez and Pita analyze a range of Chicano/a and Native American novels, films, short stories, and other cultural artifacts from the eighteenth century to the present, showing how Chicano/a works often celebrate an idealized colonial Spanish past as a way to counter stereotypes of Mexican and Indigenous racial and ethnic inferiority. As they demonstrate, these texts often erase the participation of Spanish and Mexican settlers in the dispossession of Indigenous lands. Foregrounding the relationship between literature and settler colonialism, they consider how literary representations of land are manipulated and redefined in ways that point to the changing practices of dispossession. In so doing, Sánchez and Pita prompt critics to reconsider the role of settler colonialism in the deep history of the United States and how spatial and discursive violence are always correlated.
Since 2000, black squatters have forcibly occupied white farms across Zimbabwe, reigniting questions of racialized dispossession, land rights, and legacies of liberation. Donald S. Moore probes these contentious politics by analyzing fierce disputes over territory, sovereignty, and subjection in the country’s eastern highlands. He focuses on poor farmers in Kaerezi who endured colonial evictions from their ancestral land and lived as refugees in Mozambique during Zimbabwe’s guerrilla war. After independence in 1980, Kaerezians returned home to a changed landscape. Postcolonial bureaucrats had converted their land from a white ranch into a state resettlement scheme. Those who defied this new spatial order were threatened with eviction. Moore shows how Kaerezians’ predicaments of place pivot on memories of “suffering for territory,” at once an idiom of identity and entitlement. Combining fine-grained ethnography with innovative theoretical insights, this book illuminates the complex interconnections between local practices of power and the wider forces of colonial rule, nationalist politics, and global discourses of development.
Moore makes a significant contribution to postcolonial theory with his conceptualization of “entangled landscapes” by articulating racialized rule, situated sovereignties, and environmental resources. Fusing Gramscian cultural politics and Foucault’s analytic of governmentality, he enlists ethnography to foreground the spatiality of power. Suffering for Territory demonstrates how emplaced micro-practices matter, how the outcomes of cultural struggles are contingent on the diverse ways land comes to be inhabited, labored upon, and suffered for.
Though many argue that the fall of Rome around 400 C.E. had little effect on the rural poor of the western Mediterranean, Karen Eva Carr argues persuasively to the contrary. Vandals to Visigoths shows how the empire's collapse significantly transformed the lives of rural people. Even after the dust settled from the Germanic invasions, landscape archaeology shows the surviving rural population defending themselves in isolated hill-forts and cut off from the larger Mediterranean world.
Vandals to Visigoths uses archaeological survey data as a springboard to a theoretical discussion of rural survival strategies in the non-industrial world and the ways in which these strategies are affected by government actions. Carr draws on historical, archaeological, and ethnographic comparanda to conclude that the larger, more powerful Roman government was more advantageous for the rural poor than the weaker Vandal and Visigothic regimes. Though Carr agrees that the lives of the rural people and the free slaves were miserable, she shows through her data and theory that they became even more wretched after the decline of the empire.
Vandals to Visigoths will appeal to historians of Rome, as well as of Early Medieval Europe and Spain. Anthropologists, economists, and political scientists who study Late Antiquity and the medieval period will also be interested, as it discusses the broader implications of the role of government in the lives of early medieval Spain's subjects.
Karen Eva Carr is Associate Professor of History, Portland State University.
West to Far Michigan is a study of the lower peninsula's occupation by agriculturalists, whose presence forever transformed the land and helped to create the modern state of Michigan. This is not simply a history of Michigan, but rather a work that focuses on why the state developed as it did. Although Michigan is seen today as an industrial state whose history is couched in terms of the fur trade and the international rivalry for the Great Lakes, agricultural settlement shaped its expansion. Using a model of agricultural colonization derived from comparative studies, Lewis examines the settlement process in Michigan between 1815 and 1860. This period marked the opening of Michigan to immigrants, saw the rise of commercial agriculture, and witnessed Michigan's integration into the larger national economy.
Employing numerous primary sources, West to Far Michigan traces changes and patterns of settlement crucial to documenting the large-scale development of southern Michigan as a region. Diaries, letters, memoirs, gazetteers, and legal documents serve to transform the more abstract elements of economic and social change into more human terms. Through the experiences of the early Agriculturists process, we can gain insight into how their triumphs played out in communities within the region to produce small-scale elements that comprise the fabric of the larger cultural landscape.
In the arid American West, settlement was generally contingent on the availability of water to irrigate crops and maintain livestock and human residents. Early irrigation projects were usually the cooperative efforts of pioneer farmers, but by the early twentieth century they largely reflected federal intentions to create new farms out of the western public domain. The Yuma Reclamation Project, authorized in 1904, was one of the earliest federal irrigation projects initiated in the western United States and the first authorized on the Colorado River. Its story exemplifies the range of difficulties associated with settling the nation’s final frontier—the remaining irrigable lands in the arid West, including Indian lands—and illuminates some of the current issues and conflicts concerning the Colorado River. Author Robert Sauder’s detailed, meticulously researched examination of the Yuma Project illustrates the complex multiplicity of problems and challenges associated with the federal government’s attempt to facilitate homesteading in the arid West. He examines the history of settlement along the lower Colorado River from earliest times, including the farming of the local Quechan people and the impact of Spanish colonization, and he reviews the engineering problems that had to be resolved before an industrial irrigation scheme could be accomplished. The study also sheds light on myriad unanticipated environmental, economic, and social challenges that the government had to confront in bringing arid lands under irrigation, including the impact on the Native American population of the region.The Yuma Reclamation Project is an original and significant contribution to our understanding of federal reclamation endeavors in the West. It provides new and fascinating information about the history of the Yuma Valley and, as a case study of irrigation policy, it offers compelling insights into the history and consequences of water manipulation in the arid West.