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University of Iowa News Release


July 30, 2007

New UI Press Book Sees The American West Through Eyes Of The Marginalized

"Haunted By Waters: A Journey through Race and Place in the American West" by Robert T. Hayashi will become available from the University of Iowa Press on Aug. 15.

Even though race influenced how Americans envisioned, represented and shaped the American West, discussions of its history tend to devalue the experiences of racial and ethnic minorities. In this lyrical history of marginalized peoples in Idaho, Hayashi views the West from a different perspective by detailing the ways in which these people shaped the western landscape and its meaning.

As an easterner, researcher, angler and third-generation Japanese American traveling across the contemporary Idaho landscape -- where his grandfather died during internment during World War II -- Hayashi reconstructs a landscape that lured emigrants of all races at the same time its ruling forces were developing a culture that excluded nonwhites.

Using a wide range of materials that includes memoirs, oral interviews, poetry, legal cases, letters, government documents and even road signs, Hayashi illustrates how Thomas Jefferson's vision of an agrarian, all-white and democratic West affected the Gem State's Nez Perce, Chinese, Shoshone, Mormon and, particularly, Japanese residents.

Starting at the site of the Corps of Discovery's journey into Idaho, he details the ideological, aesthetic and material manifestations of these intertwined notions of race and place. As he fly-fishes Idaho's fabled rivers and visits its historical sites and museums, Hayashi reads the contemporary landscape in light of this evolution.

Gary Y. Okihiro, author of "The Columbia Guide to Asian American History," wrote, "Luminous as Idaho's fabled trout streams, 'Haunted by Waters' recounts how racialized minorities, including native peoples, Hawaiians, Chinese, and Japanese, transformed spaces into places in the physical and social landscape of the American West. And in the course of this journey, we come to discover a river to ourselves."

Hayashi is an assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. His book is part of the UI Press American Land and Life Series, edited by Wayne Franklin of the University of Connecticut.

"Haunted by Waters" is available for sale at bookstores or directly from the University of Iowa Press by phone at 800-621-2736 or online at Customers in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, or Africa may order from the Eurospan Group online at

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,