Sheila McManusOct 11, 2023
Both Sides Now
Writing the Edges of the North American West
Texas A&M University Press 2022
Are borders real? This is the question at the center of Both Sides Now: Writing the Edges of the North American West (Texas A&M UP, 2022) by Lethbridge University history professor Sheila McManus. As a close examination of borderlands historiography, McManus shows how studying regions where no one nationality, tribe, empire, or culture, held hegemonic sway can decenter the nation state from historical narratives. Both Sides Now functions as both a historiographical state of the field of borderland studies, and a primer on some of the best examples of borderlands histories in the North American West. By comparing the Canadian- and Mexican-American borderlands, McManus also points the way forward for the field, asking what happens when borderlands go global, from Western American to West Africa, or Southeast Asia. Borderlands studies, McManus stresses, can be a radical form of history; if national borders primarily exists on maps and in people’s minds, what else that seems solid might vanish into air under close scrutiny?
Sheila McManus is professor of history at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.