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Volume 51 / Social Sciences

GEOGRAPHY: MIDDLE AMERICA


GARY S. ELBOW, Professor of Geography, Texas Tech University
TOM L. MARTINSON, Professor of Geography and Head of Department of Geography, Auburn University, Alabama

ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS is a major theme in this year's geographical literature on Middle America and the Caribbean. Several papers consider environmental issues related to economic development in El Salvador (items bi 91002134 and bi 91002132), Costa Rica (items bi 89001044 and bi 88000139), the Dominican Republic (item bi 89001046), Belize (item bi 88002490), Nicaragua (item bi 91002905), and Panama (item bi 88000117). Topical studies related to pollution range from the influence of pollution on the open sea (item bi 88002411) to stomach cancer in Puerto Rico (item bi 88000957). A plan of economic and social development for all of Latin America with special focus on the environment is offered in the papers of an international seminar (item bi 88000127).

Landscape appreciation and tourism are now leading topics of scholarly concern. A regional overview of landscape and development planning is offered by Hudson (item bi 91002026) and two other works treat similar topics for Costa Rica (item bi 89001040) and Havana (item bi 88000124).

The best of the geographer's craft may be observed in exemplary studies by Hoy (item bi 88001019), Driever (item bi 91002137), Newson (item bi 91002139), Clarke (item bi 91002023), and Augelli (item bi 91002039).

One of the most noteworthy works on Mexico and Central America to appear since the first volume of the Handbook of Latin American Studies in 1936 is Gene Wilken's study of traditional agricultural land management practices (item bi 89000424). This encyclopedic contribution to our knowledge of Mesoamerican traditional farming practices brings together a vast array of information under one cover, reminding us of how greatly precolumbian agricultural technology influences present-day traditional farming in Mesoamerica.

In an innovative monograph, Annis explores the relationships between religious affiliation and economic attitudes in a Guatemalan Indian village (item bi 88000569). This relatively brief work contributes to our understanding of the sometimes subtle but far-reaching impact of Protestantism in a country where an estimated 20-25 percent of the people are at least nominal members of a Protestant church.

Two monographs deal with important cities along the Mexico-US border. Hiernaux (item bi 88001143) provides a description of the social and economic conditions of Tijuana, discusses the impact on the city's residents of their proximity to the US, and evaluates survey data for families that built their own housing. Young (item bi 88001122) has edited a collection of studies that provides a wealth of detail on social and economic conditions in Ciudad Juárez, the second major urban center on the Mexican side of the border.

Finally, Barrett (item bi 91002199) and Murphy (item bi 88001145) have prepared monographs on mining and irrigated farming, two important aspects of the Mexican colonial economy. Complementing these works are two closely related articles by Butzer (item bi 91002906) and Doolittle (item bi 91002931) that shed light on the origins of the Mexican colonial livestock industry. There are also two other pairs of related articles on historical geography. García Cook (item bi 91002935) and Werner (item bi 91002953) discuss precolumbian land management practices in Tlaxcala, and Izquierdo and Bustos (item bi 91002939) and Vargas and Ochoa (item bi 91002951) treat related themes in the historical development of Chontalpa on the southern Gulf coast of Mexico.


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