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Shima Publishing


This paper examines the persistent histories and lasting effects of the Baja California peninsula's status as an "almost island." The peninsula is almost an island in so many ways. Its reputation as an island-like entity has also ben strengthened by a longstanding myth that it was, in fact, an actual island. In many senses it was an island - isolated, remote, difficult to envision, understand, and control. Geography and climate played a vital role in all of this, but so, too, did human imagination. The author uses the concept of shima, along with discussions about the dual meanings of the Spanish word aislamiento as a way to explore these issues. Aislamiento can refer more concretely to the effects of being on a landform surrounded by water, on the one hand, or the deep social and psychological effects of isolation. Ultimately, the author argues that it is this sense of isolation that works to produce, regardless of geographic and cartographic reality, a powerful sense of islandness.


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