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Lost Homelands: Ruin and Reconstruction in the 20th-Century Southwestby Audrey Goodman
Synopses & Reviews
Before the 1930s, landscapes of the American Southwest represented the migrants dream of a stable and bountiful homeland. Around the time of the Great Depression, however, the Southwest suddenly became integrated into a much larger economic and cultural system. Audrey Goodman examines how—since that time—these southwestern landscapes have come to reveal the resulting fragmentation of identity and community.
Through analyzing a variety of texts and images, Goodman illuminates the ways that modern forces such as militarization, environmental degradation, internal migration, and an increased border patrol presence have shattered the perception of a secure homeland in the Southwest. The deceptive natural beauty of the Southwest deserts shields a dark history of trauma and decimation that has remained as a shadow on the regions psyche. The first to really synthesize such wide-ranging material about the effects of the atomic age in the Southwest, Goodman realizes the value of combined visual and verbal art and uses it to put forth her own original ideas about reconstructing a new sense of homeland.
Lost Homelands reminds us of the adversity and dislocation suffered by people of the Southwest by looking at the ways that artists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers have grappled with these problems for decades. In assessing the ruination of the region, however, Goodman argues that those same artists and writers have begun to reassemble a new sense of homeland from these fragments.
Book News Annotation:
Goodman (English, Georgia State University) looks at interpretations of the American Southwest's environmental and social landscape by artists, photographers, filmmakers, and writers from the 1930s through the present, asking how the region's residents create a sense of home, how economic hardship affects the formation of community, and how residents live with the legacy of atomic testing, environmental degradation, and the presence of the military and border patrols. The author explores the work of classic photographers and visual artists of the region, including Edward Weston and Georgia O'Keefe, as well as contemporary artists such as photographer Joan Meyers and artist Meridel Rubenstein. Anglo and Chicano writers represented include Cormac McCarthy, Arturo Islas, and Luis Alberto Urrea. The book is organized around sites that are simultaneously real and symbolic: the road, the village, the bridge, the desert, the border, and magical regions. High-quality b&w photos are included. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Through analyzing a variety of texts and images, Goodman illuminates the ways that modern forces such as militarization, environmental degradation, internal migration, and an increased border patrol presence have shattered and fragmented the perception of a secure homeland in the Southwest since the Great Depression.
About the Author
Audrey Goodman is an associate professor of English at Georgia State University. She is the author of Translating Southwestern Landscapes:The Making of an Anglo Literary Region, also published by the University of Arizona Press.
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History and Social Science » Americana » General