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" If I am native to anything": Settler Colonial Studies and Western American Literature

" If I am native to anything": Settler Colonial Studies and Western American Literature "If I am native to anything" Settler Colonial Studies and Western American Literature In "The Problem of the West" Frederick Jackson Turner simultaneously recognizes and negates the possibility of western regionalism: The problem of the West is nothing less than the problem of American development. . . . The West, at bottom, is a form of society rather than an area. It is the term applied to the region whose social conditions result from the application of older institutions and ideas to the transforming influences of free land. ("The Problem" 61) Turner signals the importance of what he calls western "sectionalism" but then claims that it is impossible to parse out the problem of the West from the problem of the United States. The West, Turner argues, is the superstructural production of the frontier, the site that, before its closure, defined the American character and the unique nature of American development. For a writer to imagine a geographically defined West is, Turner argues, to "proclaim the writer a provincial" (61). For Turner the West is less a region than a "form of life" produced by the frontier history of the nation. In the postfrontier era, the West is http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Western American Literature The Western Literature Association

" If I am native to anything": Settler Colonial Studies and Western American Literature

Western American Literature , Volume 52 (1) – Jul 12, 2017

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Publisher
The Western Literature Association
Copyright
Copyright © The Western Literature Association
ISSN
1948-7142
Publisher site
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Abstract

"If I am native to anything" Settler Colonial Studies and Western American Literature In "The Problem of the West" Frederick Jackson Turner simultaneously recognizes and negates the possibility of western regionalism: The problem of the West is nothing less than the problem of American development. . . . The West, at bottom, is a form of society rather than an area. It is the term applied to the region whose social conditions result from the application of older institutions and ideas to the transforming influences of free land. ("The Problem" 61) Turner signals the importance of what he calls western "sectionalism" but then claims that it is impossible to parse out the problem of the West from the problem of the United States. The West, Turner argues, is the superstructural production of the frontier, the site that, before its closure, defined the American character and the unique nature of American development. For a writer to imagine a geographically defined West is, Turner argues, to "proclaim the writer a provincial" (61). For Turner the West is less a region than a "form of life" produced by the frontier history of the nation. In the postfrontier era, the West is

Journal

Western American LiteratureThe Western Literature Association

Published: Jul 12, 2017

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