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Contingent Maps
Rethinking Western Women's History and the North American West
Edited by Susan E. Gray ; Gayle Gullett
312 pp. / 6.00 x 9.00 / 2014
Paper (978-0-8165-2889-9) [s]
  - Women's Western Voices

Related Interest
  - History
  - The Modern West

Contingent Maps is an appeal to all who read, write, and care about the history of women in the North American West. Susan E. Gray and Gayle Gullett, former co-editors of Frontiers: A
Contingent Maps is a thought-provoking and original collection of essays, a welcome addition to the rich and vibrant field of women's history for both U.S. and western American historians.

—The Journal of American History

Gray and Gullett have produced a thought-provoking book that has ramifications for the future historical writing about women in the American West. Certainly, putting place and social relations at the forefront of analysis enriches narratives and illustrates a broad scope of human interaction in the West

—The Chronicles of Oklahoma

A collection that enhances our understanding of race, gender, and place in the American West, revealing how Western women's history continues to be a vibrant—and vital—field.

—New Mexico Historical Review

A critical addition to the field of Western women's history.

—Historical Society of Southern California

This anthology makes a bold attempt to redirect women's history by incorporating and synthesizing the work of feminist geographers in considering place and space.

—Laurie Mercier, co-author of Speaking History: Oral Histories of the American Past, 1865–Present

This volume seeks to serve as a call to arms for scholars to utilize the theoretical framework of socially defined 'place.' If Western women's historians heed Gray and Gullett's call, it could become a foundational volume in the next generation of Western women's history.

—Cynthia Culver Prescott, author of Gender and Generation on the Far Western Frontier

Will provide historians and geographers new insights into regional identities. Inventively, readers are asked to review these essays with place and region foregrounded to bring out latent content conducive to geographic analysis.

—Journal of Historical Geography

Journal of Women Studies
, argue that the discipline of Western women's history, despite its many years of accomplishment, remains "the stepsister to both U.S. women's history and the New Western history." The problem, they assert, is one of place. Western women's history remains unhappily chained to one place, Frederick Jackson Turner's mythical frontier, where white civilization vanquished Indigenous savagery. Drawing on the work of feminist geographers, Gray and Gullett contend that the West is better understood as a place of many places.

Contingent Maps demonstrates how employing place as an analytical tool transforms Western women's history. Gray and Gullett depict place as not only a physical location but as a way of understanding, as the spatial configuration of power relations that are always in flux. As a place and many places, the West is therefore always being constructed. All maps are contingent, as Gray and Gullett's reading of the articles in this collection attest. Contingent Maps offers histories of Wests ranging from the nineteenth century to the near present. This synthesis of feminist history and geography has the potential to revitalize the field of Western women's history.

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