Regionalism and the Humanities


Regionalism and the Humanities

Edited and with an introduction by Timothy R. Mahoney and Wendy J. Katz

372 pages
image, 2 maps


January 2009


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eBook (PDF)
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January 2009


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

Although the framework of regionalist studies may seem to be crumbling under the weight of increasing globalization, this collection of seventeen essays makes clear that cultivating regionalism lies at the center of the humanist endeavor. With interdisciplinary contributions from poets and fiction writers, literary historians, musicologists, and historians of architecture, agriculture, and women, this volume implements some of the most innovative and intriguing approaches to the history and value of regionalism as a category for investigation in the humanities.
In the volume’s inaugural essay, Annie Proulx discusses landscapes in American fiction, comments on how she constructs characters, and interprets current literary trends. Edward Watts offers a theory of region that argues for comparisons of the United States to other former colonies of Great Britain, including New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. Whether considering a writer's connection to region or the idea of place in exploring what is meant by regionalism, these essays uncover an enduring and evolving concept. Although the approaches and disciplines vary, all are framed within the fundamental premise of the humanities: the search to understand what it means to be human.

Author Bio

Timothy R. Mahoney is a professor of history at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and project administrator of the Plains Humanities Alliance. He is the author of Provincial Lives: Middle-Class Experience in the Antebellum Middle West and River Towns in the Great West: The Structure of Provincial Urbanization in the American Midwest, 1820–1870.
Wendy J. Katz is an associate professor of art history at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is the author of Regionalism and Reform: Art and Class Formation in Antebellum Cincinnati.
Contributors include Ginette Aley, Stephen C. Behrendt, Mark Busby, Cheryll Glotfelty, Barbara Handy-Marchello, Kurt E. Kinbacher, Patrick Lee Lucas, Larry W. Moore, Annie Proulx, Guy Reynolds, Mark A. Robison, Michael Saffle, William Slaymaker, Maggie Valentine, Edward Watts, and Nicolas S. Witschi.


"There is grist here for everyone's mill, and the University of Nebraska Press is to be commended for producing this thought-provoking volume."—John E. Miller, Great Plains Quarterly

"Mahoney and Katz's anthology ranges freely across thematic and geographical territory, proving a worthy companion to other books of its kind and confirming that the "regionalist impulse" is very much alive among scholars of American humanities." —Eric Sandweiss, American Studies Journal

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations  

Introduction: Regionalism and the Humanities: Decline or Revival?

Wendy J. Katz and Timothy R. Mahoney


Part One. Sensing Place: The Authority of Nature

1. Dangerous Ground: Landscape in American Fiction   

Annie Proulx

2. The Ec(h)ological Conscience: Reflections on the Nature of Human Presence in Great Plains Environmental Writing  

William Slaymaker

3. "I Don't Know, but I Ain't Lost": Defining the Southwest

Mark Busby

4. A Border Runs through It: Looking at Regionalism through Architecture in the Southwest

Maggie Valentine


Part Two. Constructing Place: The Possibility of Local Representation

5. Willa Cather's Case: Region and Reputation  

Guy Reynolds

6. Dwelling within the Place Worth Seeking: The Midwest, Regional Identity, and Internal Histories  

Ginette Aley

7. Gendered Boosterism: The "Doctor's Wife" Writes from the New Northwest    

Barbara Handy-Marchello

8. "With Powder Smoke and Profanity": Genre Conventions, Regional Identity, and the Palisade Gunfight Hoax    

Nicolas S. Witschi


Part Three. Place Is a Relationship: Regionalism, Nationalism, and Transnationalism

9. Regionalism and the Realities of Naming     

Stephen C. Behrendt

10. The Midwest as a Colony: Transnational Regionalism     

Edward Watts

11. Transcending the Urban-Rural Divide: Willa Cather's Thea Kronborg Goes to Chicago    

Mark A. Robison

12. Preaching the Gospel of Higher Vaudeville: Vachel Lindsay's Poetic Journey from Springfield, Illinois, across America, and Back

Larry W. Moore


Part Four. Place is Political: Creating Regional Cultures

13. State Pieces in the U.S. Regions Puzzle: Nevada and the Problem of Fit   

Cheryll Glotfelty

14. Imagining Place: Nebraska Territory, 1854<EN>1867

Kurt E. Kinbacher

15. Architecture Crosses Region: Building in the Grecian Style   

Patrick Lee Lucas

16. Societies and Soirees: Musical Life and Regional Character in the South Atlantic     

Michael Saffle


List of Contributors   



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