America's sense of space has always been tied to what Hayden White called the narrativization of real events. If the awe-inspiring manifestations of nature in America (Niagara Falls, Virginia's Natural Bridge, the Grand Canyon, etc.) were often used as a foil for projecting utopian visions and idealizations of the nation's exceptional place among the nations of the world, the rapid technological progress and its concomitant appropriation of natural spaces served equally well, as David Nye argues, to promote the dominant cultural idiom of exploration and conquest.From the beginning, American attitudes towards space were thus utterly contradictory if not paradoxical; a paradox that scholars tried to capture in such hybrid concepts as the middle landscape (Leo Marx), an engineered New Earth (Cecelia Tichi), or the technological sublime (David Nye). Not only was America's concept of space paradoxical, it has always also been a contested terrain, a site of continuous social and cultural conflict. Many foundational issues in American history (the dislocation of Native and African Americans, the geo-political implications of nation-building, immigration and transmigration, the increasing division and clustering of contemporary American society, etc.) involve differing ideals and notions of space. Quite literally, space and its various ideological appropriations formed the arena where America's search for identity (national, political, cultural) has been staged. If American democracy, as Frederick Jackson Turner claimed, is born of free land, then its history may well be defined as the history of the fierce struggles to gain and maintain power over both the geographical, social and political spaces of America and its concomitant narratives.The number and range of topics, interests, and critical approaches of the essays gathered here open up exciting new avenues of inquiry into the tangled, contentious relations of space in America. Topics include:
Theories of Space - Landscape / Nature - Technoscape / Architecture / Urban Utopia - Literature - Performance / Film / Visual Arts.
Table of Contents
Klaus BENESCH: Concepts of Space in American Culture: An IntroductionTheoryWinfried FLUCK: Imaginary Space; Or, Space as Aesthetic ObjectLothar HÖNNIGHAUSEN: Where Are We? Some Methodological Reflections on Space, Place, and Postmodern RealityJochen ACHILLES: The Subject-Object Paradigm: Conflict and Convergence in Theories of Landscape, Consciousness, and Technoscape since Emerson and ThoreauHanjo BERRESSEM: Multiplicity: Foldings in Architectural and Literary LandscapesSabine SIELKE: Between, Beyond, Elsewhere: Mapping the Zones and Borderlands of Critical DiscourseLandscape/NatureDavid E. Nye: Foundational Space, Technological NarrativeRobin Morris COLLIN and Robert W. COLLIN: Waste and Race: An Introduction to Sustainability and EquityHellmut FRÖHLICH: The Cultural Spaces of Southern California: From Colonial Conquest to Postborder RegionKirk A. HOPPE: Simulated Safaris: Reading African Landscapes in the U.S.Gerd HURM: Water and the land's disease: Poetics and Politics of Muriel Rukeyser's The Book of the DeadTechnoscape/Architecture/Urban UtopiaKlaus BENESCH: A Brief Introduction to Architectural Body by Madeline Gins and ArakawaMadeline GINS and ARAKAWA: The Architectural Body–Landing SitesFlorian Rötzer: Urban Exodus? The Future of the CityAstrid BÖGER: Envisioning Progress at Chicago's White CityTracey Jean BOISSEAU: Where Every Woman May Be a Queen: Gender, Politics, and Visual Space at the Chicago World's Fair, 1893LiteratureJoseph C. SCHÖPP: Charles Sealsfield's and Ferdinand Kürnberger's Spatial Constructions of AmericaHeike SCHÄFER: Man Is Not Himself Only: Senses of Place in American Nature WritingUlfried REICHARDT: Interior and Exterior Spaces: Versions of the Self in the American Novel around 1900Florian DOMBOIS: Moving Earth: On Earthquakes and American Culture in Arthur C. Clarke's SF-Novel Richter 10Ruth MAYER: 'Just Driving': Contemporary Road Novels and the Triviality of the Outlaw ExistenceBrigitte GEORGI-FINDLAY: Sites of Community, Sites of Contest: The Formation of Urban Space in the American WestElisabeth SCHÄFER-WÜNSCHE: Borders and Catastrophes: T.C. Boyle's Californian EcologyPerformance/Film/Visual ArtsKerstin SCHMIDT: Theatrical Space and Mediatized Culture: John Jesurun's Pieces in SpacesMartina LEEKER: Dancing the Digital: American and European Visions of Digital Bodies in Digital SpacesJulia KURSELL and Armin SCHÄFER: Slow Spaces. Remarks on the Music of John CageGeneviève FABRE: African-American Contestations of Public and Ceremonial Space during the Civil War: Freedom Jubilees, 1861-1865Michel FABRE: The Ring and the Stage: African Americans in Parisian Public and Imaginary Space before World War IBerndt OSTENDORF: Belizaire the Cajun and the Post-CODOFIL Renaissance of Cajun Cultural Capital and SpacePaul NEUBAUER: Brooklyn Bridge: Sign and Symbol in the Works of Hart Crane and Joseph StellaKarsten FITZ: Contested Space: Washington Crossing the Delaware as a Site of American Cultural MemoryContributorsIllustrations