Re-Invention of the American West: Women’s Periodicals and Gendered Geography in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States

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This book is a detailed study of the relationship between discourse of the American West and women’s journalism. It examines how women participated and intervened in the constructing process of geographical conceptions of “the West.” This book contains thirteen black and white photographs.


“One of the greatest achievements of this book is Suzuki’s compelling demonstration of the rapport between the Populist movement and the women’s rights movement, which gives much needed attention to the influence of the American West on the formation of feminism. . . . Perhaps the continuing fascination that the American West holds for scholars is due, in no small part, to the unpredictability that Suzuki’s book highlights—the unpredictability of its past. An instructive guide and good company, too, Suzuki’s book makes it both pleasurable and rewarding to follow the trail of the American Old West, which readers will find unexpectedly relevant to the world we inhabit.” – Prof. Etsuko Taketani, University of Tsukuba

“Previous studies have tried to recover western women’s voices and experiences by examining personal writings such as diaries, letters, and reminiscences.” Suzuki criticizes this approach by arguing that it inevitably confines women within the conventional “separate sphere” ideology (men/public, women/private).” – Prof. Michiko Tsushima, University of Tsukuba

“. . . Suzuki ascertains that whereas in the conventional western discourse women and non-whites were delegated to a secondary and subservient role, they were in reality active participants in the westward movement and left their indelible traces in the landscape—not only geographically but also socially and culturally. Their resilience was of such a strong nature that they were able to survive the many hardships. They also had the sagacity to devise the strategy to appropriate the given opportunities to enhance their claims.” – Prof. Norio Akashi, University of Tsukuba

Table of Contents

Foreword by Etsuko Taketani
1. The Privatized “West”: Women’s Diaries and Letters
2. The Reinvention of the West: Gender-Politics and Economy in the Farmer’s Wife
3. Reconstructing Western Discourse in the Far West: Mary Hallock Foote and the Representation of the West in Her Illustrations and Descriptive Sketches
4. From Inside and Outside of the “West”: Representing Indians in Zitkala-Ša’s Autobiographical Stories in the Atlantic Monthly
Epilogue: Japanese Democratization and the Little House Books: The Relation between GHQ and The Long Winter in Japan after WW II

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