Established barely a decade ago, the New Western History has retold the story of the American West from the point of view of the oppressed, colonized, and conquered. Scholars led by William Cronon, Patricia Nelson Limerick, Richard White, and Donald Worster have challenged the Turnerian myth of the frontier and have forced scholars to reexamine their understanding of the region. Now seven scholars in American Studies, English, women's studies, philosophy, and environmental studies take a closer look at the work of the New Western Historians. While recognizing that these revisionists have broken important new ground, they observe that many of their claims to uniqueness may be overstated and identify areas of investigation that may have been overlooked. These articles discuss the need to expand the horizons of the New Western History to include fiction, women's literature, racial categories, and works of writers such as Wallace Stegner who presaged the movement. They also argue for more serious consideration of popular culture as represented in western fiction and films and include an analysis of the New Western History's treatment of nature by two natural resource managers.
The New Western History was first published as a special issue of the Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory and is now being made available to a wider audience for the first time. It was named Best Special Issue in the 1997 Council of Editors of Learned Journals International Awards Competition and was cited for its interest to general readers. This collection of essays clearly shows that the response to the New Western History is both vigorous and mixed. It advances the lively and important discussion that the New Western Historians have set in motion and makes that debate accessible to anyone with an interest in the history of the West. CONTENTS-Introduction / Jerome Frisk and Forrest G. Robinson: The Theoretical (Re)Positions of the New Western History / Jerome Frisk-Clio Bereft of Calliope: Literature and the New Western History / Forrest G.
Robinson-Literature, Gender Studies, and the New Western History / Krista Comer-Haunting Presences and the New Western History: Reading Repetition, Negotiating Trauma / Carl Gutierrez Jones: The Problem of the "Popular" in the New Western History / Stephen Tatum: The New Western History: An Essay from the Woods (and Rangelands) / Sally K. Fairfax and Lynn Huntsinger