Dr. Walker is a lecturer in geography at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire 03842
REVISITING THE TOPIA ROAD: WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF WEST AND PARSONS*
Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
2002 American Geographical Society
Volume 92, Issue 4, pages 555–581, October 2002
How to Cite
WALKER, J. and LEIB, J. (2002), REVISITING THE TOPIA ROAD: WALKING IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF WEST AND PARSONS. Geographical Review, 92: 555–581. doi: 10.1111/j.1931-0846.2002.tb00013.x
We would like to thank David Robinson for providing the initial inspiration for this research. We would also like to thank Tom Vale, Mort Winsberg, Dan Klooster, Jerry Webster, and Paul Starrs for their comments and suggestions, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful critiques of our original draft. Certainly, we could not have undertaken our project without the help and encouragement of Jim Parsons and Bob West.
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2010
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2010
- landscape change;
- Mexico James J. Parsons;
- Sierra Madre Occidental;
- Robert C. West
ABSTRACT. In 1940, Berkeley graduate-student geographers Robert West and James Parsons traveled to Mexico's Sierra Madre Occidental to retrace the Topia Road, colonial Mexico's main trans-Sierran trail linking isolated mountain mining hamlets with the Pacific Coast and the world beyond, a journey chronicled in a 1941 Geographical Review article. Almost sixty years later, we document an attempt to retrace West and Parsons's route. Based on field observations, interviews with local informants, replication of Parsons's photographs, and his field notes, we evaluate landscape alteration in what West and Parsons referred to as some of the most isolated settlements in Mexico. We assess changes in the still-remote communities along the route in terms of three influences: mining, migration, and drug trafficking.