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Introduction: Pasts, Presents, Futures

Introduction: Pasts, Presents, Futures Introduction Pasts, Presents, Futures Susan Bernardin and Krista Comer Placing Ourselves Th e Western Literature Association’s fi ftieth anniversary conference in 2015 marked an opportunity to think about, through, and across the fi eld of western American studies. While a milestone conference inevitably recognizes foundational moments in our fi eld’s formation, it also calls us to engage with current concerns and imagine forward. Hosted by co- presidents David Fenimore and Susan Bernardin at Harrah’s, the quintessentially Reno casino hotel, participants gathered at what Will Lombardi dubbed “WestEdge”— a place that resists easy placement. Reno is many Wests, after all, alternately defi ned by juxtapositions, edges, and movements. Reno’s urban river edges aging casinos and borders states and bioregions; the city has served as a through line for histories of multiethnic labor and for movements of emigrant trails and railroad lines, pasts and “futures” of booms and busts. Musician and comics artist Arigon Starr (Kickapoo and Muscogee) and Choctaw writer LeAnne Howe gave performances in Sammy’s Showroom, built by Bill Harrah for famed African American singer Sammy Davis Jr. within the confi nes of regional and national white supremacy. Th e central presence of Indigenous arts and scholarship at this http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature University of Nebraska Press

Introduction: Pasts, Presents, Futures

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
ISSN
0043-3462

Abstract

Introduction Pasts, Presents, Futures Susan Bernardin and Krista Comer Placing Ourselves Th e Western Literature Association’s fi ftieth anniversary conference in 2015 marked an opportunity to think about, through, and across the fi eld of western American studies. While a milestone conference inevitably recognizes foundational moments in our fi eld’s formation, it also calls us to engage with current concerns and imagine forward. Hosted by co- presidents David Fenimore and Susan Bernardin at Harrah’s, the quintessentially Reno casino hotel, participants gathered at what Will Lombardi dubbed “WestEdge”— a place that resists easy placement. Reno is many Wests, after all, alternately defi ned by juxtapositions, edges, and movements. Reno’s urban river edges aging casinos and borders states and bioregions; the city has served as a through line for histories of multiethnic labor and for movements of emigrant trails and railroad lines, pasts and “futures” of booms and busts. Musician and comics artist Arigon Starr (Kickapoo and Muscogee) and Choctaw writer LeAnne Howe gave performances in Sammy’s Showroom, built by Bill Harrah for famed African American singer Sammy Davis Jr. within the confi nes of regional and national white supremacy. Th e central presence of Indigenous arts and scholarship at this

Journal

Western American LiteratureUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Jun 1, 2018

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