Publishing the Southwest

This issue of JSW is dedicated to a single essay, Jim Byrkit's "Land, Sky, and People: The Southwest Defined," with maps by Don Bufkin and photographs by David Burckhalter.
It has been a long time coming. One of this editor's first ambitions for the journal was to publish something that would definitively come to grips with where and what the Southwest is. There is no pre-analytic definition of the region; all that can be done is to assemble and sift interpretations and data into a cognitive map that has coherence and commonsense appeal. This is, in fact, a very big job, and we are very pleased to publish Professor Byrkit's years-in-the-making interpretation. Those familiar with Byrkit's work will recognize pieces of his argument--they have been expressed in numerous presentations, in circulated copies of early versions of the essay, and in his introduction to Charles Lummis's Letters from the Southwest. But here, at last and for the first time, is Jim's complete statement on the subject. It is an essay and a polemic, a testament to the passion Jim feels for his native Southwest, and it will surely not be received without controversy.


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