Living West as Feminists


Living West as Feminists

Conversations about the Where of Us

Krista Comer

290 pages
19 photographs, 2 illustrations, index


November 2024


$24.95 Pre-order

About the Book

In the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, Krista Comer invited fifteen colleagues into a conversation about feminism and the U.S. West. From her travels over some thirteen thousand miles to places chosen by participants comes a remarkable series of dialogues focusing on questions about the where of us—the places that we love or belong, or don’t belong, and who we are in them.

Living West as Feminists moves from travelogue to interviews to critical meditations. It asks who one’s people are, to whom one feels accountable, and how we might make peace with the itinerant, often displaced lives of late-stage capitalist culture. Ultimately, the book understands feminism not as a specific politics or set of theories but as a network of relations. Its coalitional perspective allows for coming together even while distinguishing feminists who write from Black, Indigenous, queer, Chicanx, and materialist perspectives. Feminist rest areas, in which relational securities find footing, can create the most priceless resource in desperate times: well-being and political hope.

Author Bio

Krista Comer is a professor of English at Rice University and director of the Institute for Women Surfers. She is the author of Surfer Girls in the New World Order and Landscapes of the New West: Gender and Geography in Contemporary Women’s Writing.


“This book is an innovative and forward-thinking project that pushes us to reimagine what a committed feminist book on the American West might look like in our current moment. It includes lively and informative interviews that emerged from insightful questions.”—Susan Kollin, author of Captivating Westerns: The Middle East in the American West

Living West as Feminists is a book filled with illumination, inspiration, and intimacy. Each of Krista Comer’s in situ conversations casts a thoughtful and nuanced light on complex subject matter, cumulatively granting access to an enlarged (and still-growing) portrait of seriously engaged academic and personal investigations into the relationships between place, history, identity, and some movements (again both personal and collective) toward forms of restorative justice. A highly recommended text for academics and non-academics alike.”—Elizabeth Rosner, author of Third Ear: Reflections on the Art and Science of Listening

“How many ways can we answer the question, ‘What is the where of here?’ For Comer and her contributors the question takes us to many worlds, many intricate and dense connections, to relations that trouble settler assumptions and open paths toward reparations, toward an ethic that attends to the care of where. This beautiful, intimate set of reflective conversations offers stories of feminist struggle, of gardens, and of hikes and friendships between surfers. It’s a joy to read and a promise that another world is possible.”—Mary Pat Brady, author of Scales of Captivity: Racial Capitalism and the Latinx Child

“In Living West as Feminists Krista Comer leads readers on a road trip through the politics of place, engaging in a series of conversations with scholars, educators, activists, and feminists about the U.S. West, a region that is not only geographically vast but also a contested space and a contested term. As a passenger on this journey, I found myself thinking through Comer’s questions about how we live in specific places—and especially how we pay attention to the ways we live on specific lands. They feel like a challenge as well as an invitation: How can coalitional feminism inform our relations to place? How does rootedness in place call us to be in coalition with others and with land and home? These questions, and the ensuing conversations, will stay with me for a long, long time.”—Lacy M. Johnson, author of The Reckonings: Essays on Justice for the Twenty-First Century

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
The Invitation
Feminist Road Tripping and Other Introductions
The Blog Launches Us
Part I. Summer 2021
The Relations Holding us with Priscilla Ybarra
Querencia across Generations with Elena Valdez
Remaking the Heart of Aztlán with Melina Vizcíano-Alemán
Feminist Homing and Unhoming with Amy Hamilton
Road Finds. On Keeping Company
Outside the Picture Window: Returning to Pueblo with Krista Comer
Deciding to Remember the Many Strands of Home with Linda Karell
Lunch with Clark Whitehorn
For Me, The West Is Rural with Randi Tanglen
Road Finds. What Lingers in the Air
Finding Community through Transcription – Guest post, Zainab Abdali
A Rendezvous with Melody Graulich
A Fighting Zapotec Feminism with Lourdes (Lulu) Alberto
Colville Women, Always in Charge with Dina Gilo-Whitaker
Road Finds. Slowing Down for Home
Whitehouse, Texas: Retracing the Western Black Family with Kalenda Eaton
Part II. Summer 2022
Launching in the Time of Family / Krista Comer
The Archives of Gardens with Audrey Goodman
The Both/And with Susan Bernardin
Road Finds. Falling Rocks
Coming Home as Myself with Krista Comer
Road Finds. El Pueblo Museum
True Confessions of a Settler Scholar with Victoria Lamont
Reconciling Feminism with Margaret Jacobs
Road Finds. Coming Full Circle
Conclusion: Relational Work Ahead
Interview Protocol
Contributor Bios

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