The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982 Page: 101
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arly neglect of the varieties of ethnic experiences on the Great Plains.
Luebke's intent is to sample current scholarship.
He has attempted to achieve a balance of disciplines, ethnic groups,
and subregions within the Great Plains. The essays represent a broad
range of disciplines-history, anthropology, cultural geography, and
folklore. Since the book deals with cultural topics rather than environ-
mental ones, the editor has adopted a broad definition of the Great
Plains. For example, one author discusses religion as a cohesive ele-
ment among Hungarians in Canadian Saskatchewan. Another, at the
other extreme, compares Czech and Mexican cultural patterns in
Nueces County, Texas. The studies range from a microcosmic study
of the immigration and settlement patterns in a Dakota Territory
Swedish settlement to one entitled "Plainsmen of Three Continents:
Volga German Adaption to Steppe, Prairie, and Pampa."
Kathleen N. Conzen's "Historical Approaches to the Study of Rural
Ethnic Communities" serves as a point of departure and in many ways
is a unifying element for the collection. Based on the premise that the
rural immigrant has never been placed in proper historical perspec-
tive, she makes a plea for the study of settlement patterns and family
norms in relation to the development of ethnic identities. Her hope is
that comparative studies of this nature will produce typologies of the
various adaptive processes.
The two essays dealing with Texas offer very different responses to
the editor's stated goal and the Conzen plea. As might be expected
from a cultural geographer, Terry G. Jordan, in his "A Religious
Geography of the Hill Country Germans of Texas," emphasizes en-
vironmental influences and describes the Germans' response and adap-
tion to their particular environment.
On the other hand, Josef J. Barton, in his "Land, Labor, and Com-
munity in Nueces: Czech Farmers and Mexican Laborers in South
Texas, 188o-1930," analyzes the complex issues surrounding the Czech
and Mexican cultural responses to their very different economic and
social conditions. The environment itself is almost incidental to his
A more balanced and complete understanding of the complexities
surrounding the development and maintenance of ethnicity would
consider the factors of family, geographic origins of immigration, pat-
terns of settlement and work, and environment as connected and
Luebke has assembled a balanced, suggestive, and at times provoca-
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 85, July 1981 - April, 1982, periodical, 1981/1982; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101208/m1/121/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.