In this age of corporate hegemony and globalism, of interstates and the Internet, do distinctive cultural regions still exist? Commercial strips of dreary predictability characterize every town and city in America. You could wake up in a motel anywhere in the country, glance out the window at the passing traffic, and see the same sea of glaring storefronts in Reno that you would see in Durango or Keokuk or Hackensack. The obliterating sameness is everywhere: in our cities, our neighborhoods,our houses and in our heads. There is no escape. Regional distinctions haven't a chance. They are a thing of the past. Or so the argument goes.
We're not so sure. Geographical regions and the spiritual forces they exert on the human psyche are ancient, and abide like the earth itself, whatever cultural changes come and go. Modernity has swept over our world like a destructive wind, affecting every aspect of our lives, but it too will pass, while the earth and its regions endure.
Much of what we create is of the moment only, a product of current cultural tides and, like those tides, ephemeral and soon to fade. Other creations draw on deeper, more ancient sources, and remain even after the cultural tide of the moment has receded and been replaced by others.
We, the editors, can claim no special prescience in foretelling which artists or writers will outlast current styles, but we are betting on those individuals whose deepest affiliations are not with this or that artistic or political idealogy, social group, or institution, but rather with a particular region and its culture, whether that affiliation is by birth or by adoption.
This journal is intended as both a showcase for individual works with a regional basis, and as a forum for discussion of regionalism itself, whether of current issues in regionalism, or of its history. We will consider works in any medium, in either the visual or literary arts, including essays or other works of non-fiction.
For a more developed treatment of the ideas touched upon in this introduction, see "The Persistence of Regionalism."