Messy Beginnings: Postcoloniality and Early American Studies

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9780813532332: Messy Beginnings: Postcoloniality and Early American Studies

When exploring the links between America and postcolonialism, scholars tend to think either in terms of contemporary multiculturalism, or of imperialism since 1898.  This narrow view has left more than the two prior centuries of colonizing literary and political culture unexamined.

Messy Beginnings challenges the idea of early America’s immunity from issues of imperialism, that its history is not as “clean” as European colonialism.  By addressing  the literature ranging from the diaries of American women missionaries in the Middle East to the work of Benjamin Franklin and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and through appraisals of key postcolonial theorists such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha, the contributors to this volume explore the applicability of their models to early American culture. 

 Messy Beginnings argues against the simple concept that the colonization of what became the United States was a confrontation between European culture and the “other.”  Contributors examine the formation of America through the messy or unstable negotiations of the idea of “nation.” 

The essays forcefully show that the development of  “Americanness” was a raced and classed phenomenon, achieved through a complex series of violent encounters, legal maneuvers, and political compromises.   The complexity of early American colonization, where there was not one coherent “nation” to conquer, contradicts the simple label of imperialism used in other lands. The unique approach of Messy Beginnings will reshape both pre-conceived notions of postcolonialism, and how postcolonialists think about the development of the American nation.

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About the Author:

Malini Johar Schueller is a professor of English at the University of Florida and author of U.S. Orientalisms: Race, Nation, and Gender in Literature, 1790-1890. Edward Watts is an associate professor of American thought and language at Michigan State University and the author of An American Colony: Regionalism and the Roots of Midwestern Culture.

Review:

Messy Beginnings offers a corrective to business as usual in postcolonial studies and is a welcome contribution to the field -- Russ Castronovo, author of Necro Citizenship: Death, Eroticism, and the Public Sphere in the Nineteenth-Century United States

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Book Description Rutgers University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New. Language: English . Brand New Book. When exploring the links between America and postcolonialism, scholars tend to think either in terms of contemporary multiculturalism, or of imperialism since 1898. This narrow view has left more than the two prior centuries of colonizing literary and political culture unexamined. Messy Beginnings challenges the idea of early America s immunity from issues of imperialism, that its history is not as clean as European colonialism. By addressing the literature ranging from the diaries of American women missionaries in the Middle East to the work of Benjamin Franklin and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and through appraisals of key postcolonial theorists such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha, the contributors to this volume explore the applicability of their models to early American culture. Messy Beginnings argues against the simple concept that the colonization of what became the United States was a confrontation between European culture and the other. Contributors examine the formation of America through the messy or unstable negotiations of the idea of nation. The essays forcefully show that the development of Americanness was a raced and classed phenomenon, achieved through a complex series of violent encounters, legal maneuvers, and political compromises. The complexity of early American colonization, where there was not one coherent nation to conquer, contradicts the simple label of imperialism used in other lands. The unique approach of Messy Beginnings will reshape both pre-conceived notions of postcolonialism, and how postcolonialists think about the development of the American nation. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780813532332

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Book Description Rutgers University Press, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New.. Language: English . Brand New Book. When exploring the links between America and postcolonialism, scholars tend to think either in terms of contemporary multiculturalism, or of imperialism since 1898. This narrow view has left more than the two prior centuries of colonizing literary and political culture unexamined. Messy Beginnings challenges the idea of early America s immunity from issues of imperialism, that its history is not as clean as European colonialism. By addressing the literature ranging from the diaries of American women missionaries in the Middle East to the work of Benjamin Franklin and Nathaniel Hawthorne, and through appraisals of key postcolonial theorists such as Edward Said, Gayatri Spivak, and Homi Bhabha, the contributors to this volume explore the applicability of their models to early American culture. Messy Beginnings argues against the simple concept that the colonization of what became the United States was a confrontation between European culture and the other. Contributors examine the formation of America through the messy or unstable negotiations of the idea of nation. The essays forcefully show that the development of Americanness was a raced and classed phenomenon, achieved through a complex series of violent encounters, legal maneuvers, and political compromises. The complexity of early American colonization, where there was not one coherent nation to conquer, contradicts the simple label of imperialism used in other lands. The unique approach of Messy Beginnings will reshape both pre-conceived notions of postcolonialism, and how postcolonialists think about the development of the American nation. Bookseller Inventory # AAN9780813532332

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