The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999 Page: 536
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the United States under English rule, a geography and history quite different
from that of the land west of the Sabine River. The essays are highly suggestive,
however, for new topics of study for the Southwest and particularly Texas,
where scholars have thought about the contact between Spanish, Native
American, and Anglo people but are only beginning to think about the impact
of gender and, hence, sexuality before the nineteenth century. "The Devil's
Lane" is a southern colonial term for contested land boundaries. The editors
of this collection of essays have borrowed the phrase to discuss areas of contes-
tation in southern history, focusing on sexuality and race. Sexuality, in this
context, includes "gender roles, social conventions, and sexual orientation ...
embedded within nearly all aspects of public behavior" (p. xiv). Venturing into
an area only recently opened but vigorous, the essays are intended to "capture
the intellectual heat generated by new work in southern colonial history."
They succeed well, showcasing significant new areas of thought in the history
of the South.
The seventeen essays are divided into four categories: Broad Strokes, with
explorations of early southern black history and a historiographical essay; the
Upper South, investigating androgyny, slave law, women's networks, and
church discipline in Virginia and Maryland; the Lower South (the Carolinas
and Georgia), examining sexual slander, gender among Moravians and Creek
Indians, and religious ecstasy among Methodists; and sexual violence, free
black women, and slavery in Louisiana in the section on the Gulf South, from
Spanish St. Augustine to the Mississippi Delta-unfortunately excluding the
region west of New Orleans. The value of this volume for southwestern studies
is in suggesting content for future investigations. Many of the essays focus on
the British colonies, but those on the Gulf South make excellent use of French
and Spanish records, perhaps similar to those which could be sources for stud-
ies of Texas. Several essays indicate the need for further investigation of colo-
nial slavery, studied partially through slave law. Catherine Clinton's, Betty
Woods's, and Cynthia Lynn Lyerly's essays suggest that the intersection of evan-
gelical religion and colonization is worthy of further investigation, and might
be broadened to the Roman Catholic church. Several of the essays point to the
importance of looking at relationships among Native Americans, Europeans,
and slaves, as the southern colonies had triracial aspects that were also present
in the Southwest. Many of the essays employ case studies to investigate specific
instances of public discussion of sexual and/or racial matters; a careful exami-
nation of Spanish and French colonial records would most likely reveal similar
incidents in the Southwest. The essays on the Gulf South hold the greatest topi-
cal interest, with studies of the peculiarities of slavery and freedom under
Spanish colonial rule.
The Devil's Lane is useful for those who would understand gender and race in
the eastern United States before 18oo, and for those who seek ideas for a broad-
er understanding of the Southwest.
Baylor University REBECCA SHARPLESS
They Sought a Land: A Settlement in the Arkansas River Valley, 184o-187o. By
William Oates Ragsdale. (Fayetteville, Arkansas: The University of Arkansas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999, periodical, 1999; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/m1/607/?rotate=270: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.