What connections can be drawn between oral history and the shopping mall? Gospel music and the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant? William Carlos Williams's Patterson and the Manhattan Project's secret cities? The answers lie in this insightful collection of essays that read and illuminate the American landscape. Through literature and folklore, music and oral history, autobiography, architecture, and photography, eleven leading writers and thinkers explore the dialectic between space and place in modern American life. The result is an eloquent and provocative reminder of the environmental context of events—the deceptively simple fact that events “take place.

“This book is a timely and welcome addition to the literature on place and American culture.”—Geographical Review
Mapping American Culture is a useful contribution to [the] ongoing discovery of America in all the diversity of its people and places.”—Journal of American History
“Publishing papers from an interdisciplinary conference in book form is always a gamble. Too often the resulting essays are disparate, uneven, and seem merely forced together in an unhappy proximity which is merely adventitious. However, when the gamble works, the results can be exceptionally fruitful and exhilarating. This volume is a successful case in point. Franklin and Steiner's collection of essays written by geographers, art and literary critics …constitutes a fine and wide-ranging introduction to recent, promising developments in American cultural geography. The standards of writing, engagement, and insight in the collection are uniformly high.”—Journal of American Studies



Introduction: Taking Place: Toward the Regrounding of American Studies -Wayne Franklin and Michael Steiner

Place and Culture: A Theoretical Perspective

Place and Culture: Analeptic for Individuality and the World’s Indifference -Yi-Fu Tuan

Cultures: Migration, Place, and Placelessness in America

Place-on-the-Move: Space and Place for the Migrant -Clarence Mondale

“To Lose the Unspeakable”: Folklore and Landscape in O.E. Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth -April Schultz

Back Home: Southern Identity and African-American Gospel Quartet Performance -Ray Allen

Texts: Language and the Making of American Place

Thoreau’s Journal: The Creation of a Sacred Place -Don Scheese

Possessing America: William Carlos William’s Paterson and the Poetics of Appropriation -Kinereth Meyer

“Roots, Aren’t They Supposed to Be Buried?”: The Experience of Place in Midwestern Women’s; -Kathleen R. Wallace

Topographies: The Built Environment and Modern American Culture

Beyond the Sacred and the Profane: Cultural Landscape Photography in America, 1930-1990 -Timothy Davis

The Formal Garden in the Age of Consumer Culture: A Reading of the Twentieth-Century Shopping -Richard Keller Simon

Topographies of Power: The Forced Shapes of the Manhattan Project -Peter Bacon Hales

Priesthoods and Power: Some Thoughts on Diablo Canyon -Steven Marx

Notes on Contributors


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Publication Details

Publication Date
Pages, art, trim size
318 pp, 25 photos