Frontiers of Historical Imagination – Narrating the European Conquest of Native America, 1890–1990 (Paper) (Anglais) Broché – 5 novembre 1999
Découvrez notre boutique Rentrée scolaire et universitaire : livres, agendas, fournitures, ordinateurs, ameublement...
Description du produit
Aucun appareil Kindle n'est requis. Téléchargez l'une des applis Kindle gratuites et commencez à lire les livres Kindle sur votre smartphone, tablette ou ordinateur.
Pour obtenir l'appli gratuite, saisissez votre numéro de téléphone mobile.
Détails sur le produit
Si vous vendez ce produit, souhaitez-vous suggérer des mises à jour par l'intermédiaire du support vendeur ?
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Klein uses the "Frontier Thesis" of Frederick Jackson Turner, first enunciated in 1893, to explore this dynamic throughout the twentieth century. Turner's "Frontier Thesis" is the most influential essay ever read at an American Historical Association's annual conference. It exerted a dominant force on the historiography of the United States, in no small measure because of its powerful statement of American exceptionalism. Turner insisted that the frontier made Americans American, gave the nation its democratic character, and ensured the virtues of self-reliance, community, egalitarianism, and the promise of justice. He noted that cheap or even free land provided a "safety valve" that protected the nation against uprisings of the poverty-stricken and malcontented. The frontier also produced a people with "coarseness and strength...acuteness and inquisitiveness, that practical and inventive turn of mind...[full of] restless and nervous energy...that buoyancy and exuberance which comes with freedom." It gave the people of the United States, in essence, virtually every positive quality they have ever possessed (pp. 13-22).
Klein finds that Turner was an inveterate artist, despite his academic training and scholarly bent, who always swayed toward the poetic to the sacrifice of precision and clarity. Hence, a debate has raged since over the meaning of many of his ideas. What, after all, was the frontier: place, region, boundary, state of mind, etc? It varied from person to person and circumstance to circumstance. Indeed, Turner himself used the term in many different ways. Turner, as Klein points out, also expressed an enormously comic disposition--in the Shakespearian sense of a happy ending--concerning the development of the United States. Turner's narrative of America involved ordinary men, and they were all white men, challenging the wilderness to build a new civilization and in the process transforming the landscape and themselves into something better. Missing from Turner's narrative of America's march of democracy and egalitarianism, however, were the displaced civilizations swept away by the United States, the ethnic and other minority groups that inhabited the land, and the less happy elements of the master narrative that Turner and his adherents fashioned.
Those missing elements from Turner's happy narrative was added by anthropologists beginning in the 1930s. Such scholars as Ruth Benedict and Edward Spicer used ethnographic methods to recover the story of the Native Americans and bring it to the center of the study of the U.S.'s westward movement. This effort, inspired by the scientific method and seeking to establish a precise, rigorous body of knowledge, resulted in a more "tragic" accounting of the frontier experience.
These strains in the narrative--comic versus tragic--as well as in the approach--artistic versus scientific--have informed the manner in which historians, social scientists, and others have interpreted the frontier experience ever since. The zenith of the scientific approach probably came, according to Klein, with the 1959 publication of Merle Curti's "The Making of an American Community," a valuable study of frontier mobility that nonetheless reads like computer instructions. As Klein writes, "Along the road from Turner to Curti, historical understanding metamorphosed from poetics to engineering" (pp. 122-23). The "new western history" that emerged in the 1980s accepted the more tragic elements of the narrative, without the trappings of scientific analysis, and it has remained dominant to the present.
I especially enjoyed, and benefited from, Klein's brilliant discussion of postmodernism and its influence on recent historiographical trends in frontier studies. Its emphasis on narrative and "emplotment" offers insights into how historians have reinvigorated the field and suggests new avenues for exploration in the future. In the end, as Klein notes, "stories are what we live in" (p. 5), and the narrative constructs of historians embody the essence of what Americans want to believe about themselves. In such a context, since historians by definition tell stories it offers little to mimic the scientific method. Finally, Klein's call for "new varieties of historical imagination" is well taken.
Klein's ambitious book takes readers through the development of western studies in the twentieth century and analyzes the complex evolution of an important genre of historical analysis. Klein's ambition may overstretch on occasion, but this book is a stimulating and rewarding reading experience. Not since the publication of Peter Novick's "That Noble Dream: The `Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession" (1988) has anyone attempted such a sweeping intellectual history of the discipline. I heartily recommend "Frontiers of Historical Imagination" as an important and provocative statement of one of the central themes in American historical analysis.