Monthly Archives: February 2014

Middle West Review CFP – New digital journal on Midwest history

The official announcement by the journal organizers is below. -ed

The *Middle West Review *is a peer-reviewed digital journal housed at the University of Iowa. Its editorial board and editorial reviewers come from academic and nonacademic institutions throughout the Midwest, Canada, and beyond. We invite submissions across all scholarly disciplines–as well as from outside academia–that explore the meanings of the Midwest in the realms of politics, culture, society, and history. These submissions can
take the form of short essays (350 to 500 words), longer features (at least 1,000 words and up to 5,000 words), think pieces, reflections on current events, book reviews, review essays, traditional research articles, interviews, poetry, prose, photo essays, or multimedia projects, broadly conceived. Through these media–and the discussion they will stimulate–we aim to assist in the revitalization of midwestern history as a field of scholarly inquiry and thereby disrupt normative understandings of this vital and vibrant American region. In order to promote an active discussion and an ongoing conversation about the Midwest in an increasingly fast-paced electronic world, the editors plan to adhere to procedures which assure a rigorous but prompt review process for all submissions.

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Book Review: Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland

Cadava, Geraldo L. Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013. 320 pp. Hardcover. $39.95

Standing on Common Ground, Cover

Geraldo L. Cadava’s Standing on Common Ground: the Making of a Sunbelt Borderland is a richly detailed investigation of postwar Tucson and its social, political, economic, and cultural significance to Arizona and Sonora. The author draws on well-crafted case studies of persons and institutions, posing them as emblematic of the region’s larger history and historical relationships. The book is strongest when describing the sociocultural landscape of its host city. Tucson comes alive on the page, and Cadava does an excellent job interweaving multiple narratives into a cohesive story that contextualizes the region’s colonial past within the construction of twentieth-century racial, political, and cultural structures.

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Book Review: Iron Horse Imperialism: The Southern Pacific of Mexico, 1880-1951

Lewis, Daniel. Iron Horse Imperialism: The Southern Pacific of Mexico, 1880-1951. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2007. 192 pp. Paperback. $18.95

Iron Horse Imperialism Book Cover

For Borderlands historians, Iron Horse Imperialism: The Southern Pacific of Mexico, 1880-1951 offers an exemplary study of business, politics, and society. Daniel Lewis uses the history of the SP de México as a vehicle to explore questions of identity and state formation in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. Incorporated in New Jersey, for many years, managers touted the company’s U.S. identity, characterizing the enterprise within an imperialist discourse that endeavored to extend “progress” to an “uncivilized” landscape. At the time, the government of Porfirio Díaz welcomed the new line as a means to improve access to Mexico’s difficult-to-reach northwestern lands, reinforcing its control over the region. Harsh terrain and local resistance slowed construction efforts, and over the decades, the company relied on often-contentious relationships with Yaquis, Cristero rebels, and the government to complete the track from the border to Guadalajara. In particular, the Mexican Revolution challenged expansion plans, forcing the company’s powerful U.S. parent to pour millions of dollars into the subsidiary’s operations to repair damage the conflict inflicted.

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