Traci Brynne VoylesJan 19, 2022
The Settler Sea
California's Salton Sea and the Consequences of Colonialism
University of Nebraska Press 2021
The Salton Sea is a kaleidoscope. To some people, it's a waste land, a place of death only suitable for a dumping ground. For others, it's a clarion call, a warning for what humanity faces in our anthropogenically climate changed future. For still others, it's simply home. In The Settler Sea: California's Salton Sea and the Consequences of Colonialism (U Nebraska Press, 2021) Dr. Traci Brynne Voyles, associate professor of women's and gender studies at the University of Oklahoma, argues that the this place has defied people's expectations and attempts at control for hundreds of years, and that the key to understanding the Salton Sea (and indeed, all environments) is to recognize that they never just mean one thing. Part environmental history, part work of environmental justice studies, The Settler Sea tackles topics as diverse as damming, geology, and the history of birding in southern California - it is a book as wide ranging and hard to pin down as contentious sea at its center.
Dr. Stephen R. Hausmann is an assistant professor of history at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.