One of the enduring questions in American historiography is: just where exactly is the West? In The American West and the World: Transnational and Comparative Perspectives
(Routledge, 2019), Dr. Janne Lahti
argues compellingly that the West is a place on the globe, very much interconnected with worldwide currents of history. Lahti, an Academy of Finland Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Helsinki, provides an extensive synthetic work which draws a wide body of the latest literature on the American West to illustrate how scholars are approaching the region’s history in ways that transcend national boundaries. By focusing on movement, migration, disease, violence, and concepts of race and domesticity, Lahti argues that the American West has much in common with other settler colonial zones such as South Africa and Australia. Culturally, the West has maintained global fascination for over a century as well, a fact that drew Dr. Lahti to the scholarly study of the region in the first place. The American West and the World
is a prime example of how the global turn in history can uncover new angles on old stories and older regions.
Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.