Philosophy in the American West explores the physical, ecological, cultural, and narrative environments associated with the western United States, reflecting on the relationship between people and the places that sustain them.
The American West has long been recognized as having significance. From Crèvecoeur’s early observations in Letters from an American Farmer (1782), to Thoreau’s reflections in Walden (1854), to twentieth-century thoughts on the legacy of a vanishing frontier, "the West" has played a pivotal role in the American narrative and in the American sense of self. But while the nature of "westernness" has been touched on by historians, sociologists, and, especially, novelists and poets, this collection represents the first attempt to think philosophically about the nature of "the West" and its influence on us. The contributors take up thinkers that have been associated with Continental Philosophy and pair them with writers, poets, and artists of "the West". And while this collection seeks to loosen the cords that tie philosophy to Europe, the traditions of "continental" philosophy—phenomenology, hermeneutics, deconstruction, and others—offer deep resources for thinking through the particularity of place.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Philosophy, as well as those working in Ecocriticism and the Environmental Humanities more broadly.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction, Josh Hayes, Gerard Kuperus, Brian Treanor 2. Continental Philosophy Beyond "the" Continent, Brian Treanor 3. Prometheus’ Gift of Fire and Technics: Contemplating the Meaning of Fire, Affect, and Californian Pyrophytes in the Pyrocene, Marjolein Oele 4. The West as Slaughterbench: Thinking without Revolutions in the American West, Christopher Lauer 5. The End(s) of the West: The Time of Apocalypse in the Westerns of Cormac McCarthy, Amanda Parris 6. The Trees of the West: Our Elders, Our Teachers, Andrew Jussaume 7. Thinking Wolves, Thomas Thorp 8. Robert Smith, Entropic Art, and the West, Shannon M. Mussett 9. "Westering" and "BreakingThrough": Zen Buddhism on Cannery Row, Gerard Kuperus 10. Life in Interregnum: Deleuze, Guattari, and Atleo, Russell Duvernoy 11. Monstrous Topologies: Edward Abbey, Reiner Schürmann, and the Fate of the American West, Josh Hayes 12. Turtle Island Anarchy, Jason Wirth
Josh Hayes is Associate Professor of Philosophy in the Department of Humanities at Alvernia University, USA.
Gerard Kuperus is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of San Francisco, USA.
Brian Treanor is Charles S. Casassa Chair and Professor of Philosophy at Loyola Marymount University, USA.