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Memory and Continuity Amidst Irreversible Decline in the Texas Big Empty

Description: This thesis interrogates sense of place and place attachment in the Big Empty on the north central Texas plains. The region stretches from the Red River on the north to the Colorado River basin on the south and from the Cross Timbers on the east to the Caprock escarpment on the west. Since 1930, the Big Empty has seen sustained and severe population decline such that some counties there now register less than a quarter the population they did at their peaks during the interwar years. Through in-depth field interviews, I examine sense of place and place attachment amidst apparently irreversible decline. I also describe conditions of postindustrial rurality arising from rolling reconfigurations of economic and social relations, particularly changes in scale in farming and the diminished centrality of productivist agriculture in local economies and culture, and how these conditions become legible through the study of place.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Underwood, Robert Reed