HCN goes post-structuralist


As a longtime fan of High Country News, I have depended on HCN’s insightful and balanced journalism on Western U.S. issues for many years.

So I am surprised by “The Atomic Road Trip” (HCN, 5/13/19), in which everyone and every place is guilty of one awful thing or another. The authors’ judgmental over-simplifications neglect a multitude of historical and contemporary complexities.

The two Ph.D. candidates seem romanced by deconstruction and post-structuralist criticism, somewhat tired academic techniques at this point. As co-chair of a graduate art school department for 24 years, I and my grad students also delved into critical theory and employed its useful strategies for locating power dynamics. However, post-structuralism is just one method, and, when swallowed whole, leads to the myopic litany of guilt that fills this article.

I hope this article was an isolated instance, and HCN will continue its solid interpretive journalism.

Katherine McCoy
Buena Vista, Colorado

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