American Space American Place: Geographies of the by John Agnew, Jonathan M. Smith

By John Agnew, Jonathan M. Smith

First released in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.

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Additional info for American Space American Place: Geographies of the Contemporary United States

Sample text

The western waters of the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys afforded yet another iconic landscape, once steamboat travel had made it possible for indolent and reflective individuals to form an impression of the interminable tangle of riverbank vegetation (Jakle 1977). By the end of the century the West had yielded a host of new icons: the Yosemite Valley, the Yellowstone country, and the Grand Canyon. Because heroic nature is imagined as something wild, vast, and tremendous, something by which a human, and perhaps all humanit y, is properly dwarfed, the original places of nature in America were normally rather grand.

The logic is that the possibilities and limits of life in a given region are circumscribed by the economic resources provided and physical constraints imposed by the region’s natural assets. Over the long span of human history and at a macrogeographical scale there is undoubted truth to this logic. But in the contemporary United States this logic is more than a little misleading. Not only are relatively few people in any region dependent on what resources that region provides, but also economic relations with the natural world now extend, as it were, to the global scale.

P. (1993), The Intellectual Construction of America: Exceptionalism and Identity from 1492 to 1800, Chapel Hill: Universit y of North Carolina Press. Harvey, D. (1989), The Condition of Postmodernity, Oxford: Blackwell. Le Lannou, M. (1977), Europe, terre promise, Paris: Editions du Seuil. Leuchtenberg, W. E. (2000), American Places: Encounters with History, New York: Oxford Universit y Press. Lind, M. (1999), “Civil War by Other Means,” Foreign Affairs, 78, pp. 123–142. McGerr, M. (1991), “The Price of the ‘New Transnational History,’” American Historical Review, 96, pp.

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