The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994 Page: 166

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

regional studies. William Ferris appeals to the power of literature, folklore, and
insider perspectives to illuminate the region as artistic convention. Vernacular
regions are appropriate, declares geographer Terry Jordan, as long as you real-
ize that regions are arbitrary in character and scale. Formal regions are useful
ways of ordering chaos for the classroom, or for detached work on spatial pat-
terns and cause and effect relationships. Historian Howard Lamar argues that
regions have a "layered look" (p. 27), making it possible to compare structures
and economies.
Five chapters detailing applications of the regional concept articulate varying
themes under the rubric of region. Economy and political structure have differ-
entiated space in America, according to Ann Markusen's challenging overview of
conflict, negotiation, influence, and economic specialization. Charles Hamm at-
tempts to show that media dictate regional identity in South Africa, the former
U.S.S.R., and the American South. Other chapters on gender, language, and re-
ligion take the regional concept beyond classification and concentrate on
process and explanation.
Four new directions in regionalism complete the book. Wilbur Zelinsky ex-
plores changes in traditional culture areas without really challenging the basic
concept. Oscar Martinez concentrates on borderlands as regional issues, and
Lynwood Montell describes the Upper Cumberland as a subregion. These two
authors note how regionalism is manipulated, managed, or sold, and address
questions raised by Markusen about traditions of control and domination and by
Susan Armitage about the issue of gender stereotyping in commentaries about
regional experiences.
One issue that Lich does not address in his final apologia is the need to de-
construct the idea of region. Whose order do you render from whose chaos? His-
torically, regions and regionalism have been political tools to promote the
nation state or to control and subjugate minorities. The concept has grim and
menacing implications, and some authors do steer toward this in discussions of
sexism, media, and politics. The tendency here, however, is to refer back to well-
worked themes, and ultimately to play it safe.
The University of Texas at Austin ROBIN W. DOUGHTY
Creating the West: Historical Interpretations, 189o-99o0. By Gerald D. Nash. (Albu-
querque: University of New Mexico Press, 1991. Pp. xi+318. Introduction,
conclusion, bibliography, index. $29.95, cloth; $15.95, paper.)
Gerald Nash has written a historiography of the West emphasizing the "ecolo-
gy of historians." Nash borrows his approach from his mentor John D. Hicks,
who stressed the "relationship between changes in the contemporary environ-
ment and the shifting views of historians" (p. vii). Whereas the more recent his-
toriographical treatments of the West are topical, Nash is the first to present a
survey of how the Weltanschauung, or world view, of Western scholars has shaped
their thinking and writing.


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 97, July 1993 - April, 1994, periodical, 1994; Austin, Texas. ( accessed May 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.