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Volume 61 / Social Sciences


DANIEL D. ARREOLA, Professor of Geography, Arizona State University

THE NUMBER OF GEOGRAPHICAL PUBLICATIONS that focus on the turn of the century (and millennium) in Latin America are fewer this biennium than one might have imagined. Nonetheless, at least one notable volume keying on this marker did appear (item #bi2004001563#). Latin America in the 21st Century: Challenges and Solutions, the fourth decadal benchmark volume of the Conference of Latin Americanist Geographers, observes the 2000 gathering of the organization with a forward-looking, rather than retrospective, focus. A set of three major reference volumes surveying native cultivated landscapes of the Americas, originally commissioned to mark the Columbus Quincentennial, were issued by Oxford University Press in 2000–2001. Denevan (South America; see HLAS 59:2534), Whitmore and Turner (Middle America; see item #bi2004001573#), and Doolittle (North America, with an emphasis on the American Southwest) offer comprehensive inventories and interpretations of the state and nature of cultivated landscapes throughout the Americas at the onset of European conquest. This trilogy will serve not only as encyclopedic guides to their various topics (especially field types and technologies, including intensive systems such as raised and drained fields, terraces, and irrigation works, as well as shifting cultivation methods), but also to the attendant literature. The occasional lacunae should spur new research. Collectively, these volumes constitute one of the most comprehensive and ambitious undertakings in the realm of Latin Americanist geography in recent memory.

WORKS REVIEWED FOR HLAS 61 were nearly equally divided among themes of urban, environmental, and regional geography. Urban entries were chiefly studies of growth and expansion within individual cities, and examinations of land encroachment on the periphery reflecting Mexico's continuing urban population concentration (items #bi2001002709# and #bi2004001351#). Fewer contributions explored systems of cities and city structure. A notable series of investigations by Yoder examines impacts of globalization on suburbanization and housing in mid-sized cities of the northeast, a heretofore largely understudied urban region (items #bi2003003412#, #bi2004001355#, #bi2004001354#, and #bi2004001353#). Ward develops an urban political analysis of colonias on the Mexico-Texas border, creating by far the most complete examination of that topic to date, and one that will likely remain a standard source (item #bi2004001352#). Among a handful of urban cultural investigations, Melé explores the symbolic importance of historic built environments in large cities, an inspired analysis that deserves to be translated in to English so that its significant findings might be further disseminated (item #bi2001002707#). A related book by Cantú Chapa investigates protest space in the capital city (item #bi2001007562#). Sánchez Ruiz provides a special interest item with his longitudinal study of architecture in Mexico City (item #bi2001002712#).

Environment continues to be a staple of geographical investigation. Almost half of the contributions examined for this section are studies of deforestation and vegetative change. The work by Cortina Villar et al. (item #bi 00002239#) and a series of case studies by Klooster (items #bi2003003408#, #bi 00002957#, and #bi2003003407#) and Klooster and Masera (item #bi2004001092#) are some of the more notable publications in this group.Works and Hadley published their significant findings, which challenge the assumption that deforestation is the leading cause of land cover change in Mexico (item #bi2003003411#). In his special interest work, Lezama argues that air pollution in the national capital is an ideological concept as much as an environmental one (item #bi2001002715#).

Regional geographic investigations illustrate the greatest diversity of studies, ranging from development and globalization inquiries to migration and labor discussions. César Dachary takes a geopolitical perspective to historically reconstruct the changing regional identity of the Gulf and Caribbean littoral, long a frontier zone of Mexico (item #bi2001002742#). Cravey examines gender changes and labor at work and in the home in the urban north (item #bi2004001088#), and Jones finds that remittances from the US create inequalities in Mexican migrant origin communities (item #bi2003003406#). Finally, Bruman's cultural historical study of aboriginal alcoholic beverage regions in colonial Mexico is a unique work destined to remain a classic of the genre (item #bi2004001086#).

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