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Wires That Bind

Nation, Region, and Technology in the Southwestern United States, 1854-1920

Torsten Kathke

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Torsten Kathke, Wires That Bind (2017), transcript Verlag, Bielefeld, ISBN: 9783839437902

Getrackt seit 05/2018


Beschreibung / Abstract

The arrival of telegraphy and railroads changed power relations throughout the world in the nineteenth century. In the Mesilla region of the American Southwest, it contributed to two distinct and rapid shifts in political and economic power from the 1850s to the 1920s. Torsten Kathke illustrates how the changes these technologies wrought everywhere could be seen at a much accelerated pace here. A local Hispano elite was replaced first by a Hispano-Anglo one, and finally a nationally oriented Anglo elite. As various groups tried to gain, hold, and defend power, the region became bound ever closer to the US economy and to the federal government.


Torsten Kathke is a lecturer at the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and an adjunct lecturer in the department of history at the University of Cologne. He is an associated member of the research group "Economization of the Social" at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.


  • Cover
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • 1. Into the Fray
  • 2. The Perennial Periphery
  • Defining a Region
  • El Norte and the Southwest
  • Territories
  • Peripheries
  • 3. Communication Nation
  • Government by Mail
  • Newspapers and Editors
  • Telegraphy, Power, and Social Capital
  • Organizations and Institutions
  • 4. Transitions
  • At All Odds: The Hispano and Anglo-Hispano Mesilla
  • Anglo-Hispano to Anglo-Federal
  • 5. Places
  • Yuma: Internal and External Borders
  • Tucson: Hub of a Waning Anglo-Hispano Elite
  • Deming: Hopes of a “New Chicago” Disappointed
  • 6. Laws of the Land
  • The Somewhat Wild West
  • From the Tigris to Tubac: Spanish and US Land Law
  • The Pseudo-Hispanic Legacy of Southwestern Water Law
  • The Meaning of Mining
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography & Sources

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