CSAW announces 2020 winner for Outstanding Western Book

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CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – West Texas A&M University’s Center for the Study of the American West has announced the winner of its second annual CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book: Josh Garrett-Davis’s “What is a Western?: Region, Genre, Imagination.”

The University said CSAW will host a virtual award reception and lecture with Garrett-Davis at March 4, 2021, via Zoom (visit wtamu.edu/csaw to register). Signed copies will be available for purchase at Burrowing Owl Books.

Published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 2019, Garrett-Davis’s book comprises a series of essays that explores representations of the American West in popular culture, from Hollywood to Japan, from Native America to Dr. Seuss, and beyond. Said by the University to draw on a collection of items from the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles, Garrett-Davis provides a take on the western as a genre.

“’What is a Western?’ will no doubt appeal to a large audience interested in the artwork, literature, and cinema of the American West,” said Dr. Tim Bowman, history professor at West Texas A&M University and chair of the award committee. “To the CSAW book award committee, Garrett-Davis’s book stood above the pack not just in terms of its smart analysis but also in its potential appeal to scholars and a popular readership alike.”

According to the University, the CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book is a juried prize recognizing books that demonstrate excellent scholarly or creative insight concerning the American West or some aspect of its history, culture, society, or environment.

“This book award gives us the opportunity to encourage and acknowledge excellence in Western American Studies research,” said Alex Hunt, CSAW director.

The University said that of particular interest are;

  • books that are geographically relevant to the Southern Plains region and/or the concerns of a Southern Plains regional readership
  • books that balance scholarly/creative excellence with accessible style or popular appeal
  • books that are in keeping with CSAW’s general mission in that they balance a localized focus with global perspective and significance

The University reported that the runner-up for the award is Douglas Sheflin’s “Legacies of Dust: Land Use and Labor on the Colorado Plains” (University of Nebraska Press, 2019). Sheflin’s book is a study of how the federal response to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s shaped the reaction to the later drought in the “Filthy Fifties” and affected patterns of land ownership, irrigation projects, and migrant labor for generations to come.

Western books published in 2020, said the University, can be submitted for consideration for the 2021 CSAW Award for Outstanding Western Book through the CSAW website by March 1.

The University said that CSAW’s mission is in line with the long-term plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

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