Moral Geography: Maps, Missionaries, and the American Frontierby Amy DeRogatis
Moral Geography traces the development of a moral basis for American expansionism, as Protestant missionaries, using biblical language and metaphors, imaginatively conjoined the cultivation of souls with the cultivation of land and made space sacred. While the political implications of the mapping of American expansion have been much studied, this is the/i>… See more details below
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Moral Geography traces the development of a moral basis for American expansionism, as Protestant missionaries, using biblical language and metaphors, imaginatively conjoined the cultivation of souls with the cultivation of land and made space sacred. While the political implications of the mapping of American expansion have been much studied, this is the first major study of the close and complex relationship between mapping and missionizing on the American frontier.
David N. Livingstone
Douglas L. Winiarski
Lydia Huffman Hoyle
Moral Geography provides a much better guidebook to the region and its religion, and DeRogatis never lets us get lost, taking us along a scholarly path that seems both familiar and fresh at the same time.
Interesting and innovative... Most readers ofMoral Geography will appreciate DeRogatis's attempt to 'read' material sources in seeking to understand the landscape of the Western Reserve.
...the brief narrative here does little justice to the nuanced deconstruction of maps, letters, biography, and travel literature that comprises the heart of DeRogatis's work. From close readings of these texts she has skillfully teased out a language in her sources...
Interesting and innovative... Most readers of Moral Geography will appreciate DeRogatis's attempt to 'read' material sources in seeking to understand the landscape of the Western Reserve.
Lydia Huffman Hoyle
William H. Bergmann, University of Cincinnati
Moral Geography does a great service by introducing those who felt the tension between new and old orders.
Amy DeRogatis' sketch of moral geography on the American frontier has opened up a rich and fertile vein of scholarship.
Innovative new study of the religious settlement of Connecticut's "Western Reserve."... A model of interdisciplinary scholarship, and her new study will enjoy wide readership.
What People are saying about this
There is much to recommend in this innovative and important study. DeRogatis overturns our understanding of the spatial organization, from personal to regional scales, of the post-Revolutionary American frontier. She makes a significant contribution to the on-going critical reevaluation of maps and map making, tearing down still further the false divide between graphic and literary maps. And, she reveals a new dimension to the complex historical construct that is 'New England.' Moral Geography is profitable reading for geographers, historians, and literary scholars, as well as students of religion and American studies.
Matthew Edney, professor of geography, University of Southern Maine
An insightful study of the historical landscape religiously mapped by missionaries operating under the Plan of Union in the early nineteenth century. The spatial perspective she employs, making use of missionary reports and travel literature alike, helps to illuminate tensions between the ideals of the missionary societies and the realities of frontier life. The result is a provocative and interdisciplinary work that will engage church historians, historical geographers, and others interested in the movement of the American frontier. I recommend it with enthusiasm.
Belden C. Lane, Hotfelder Distinguished Professor of Humanities, Saint Louis University
Moral Geography is sure to provoke reassessment of the relationship between religion and space across all regions of the United States.... [It] brings to life the emergence of regional religion in the contest between the physical and moral 'maps' of missionaries and the real land and people of the early nineteenth-century frontier. This book raises important questions about relationships among power, meaning, religion, identity, national expansion, and colonialism. Clearly, Amy DeRogatis has demonstrated the fruitfulness of approaching space as a 'readable text.'
Patricia O'Connell Killen, professor of American religious history, Pacific Lutheran University
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