By John Agnew, Jonathan M. Smith
First released in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa corporation.
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Extra resources for American Space American Place: Geographies of the Contemporary United States
To find something amiss in the idea that nature is a toxic hazard to one’s health and an ugly insult to one’s senses, one must suppose that nature should be invigorating, purifying, and wholesome. Without the legacy of Thoreau, would we have any reason to object to the proposition that “‘Nature’ is but another name for carcinogen”? To bristle at the suggestion that one might, when confronted with a malignant and noxious environment, simply withdraw behind the seals and filters of a manufactured habitat, one must suppose that nature is preferable to artifice.
These sections not only follow the familiar pattern of most regional texts, building from the physical context to the cultural matrix, but they also reflect the historical course of dominant understandings of the American experience. Until the early years of the twentieth century, the physical size and environmental range of the United States were regarded as the pre-eminent features of the American experience, whereas more recently either the American political economy and its mode of governance, or America’s social and cultural peculiarities (such as its multiethnic character), have tended to acquire greater significance.
It presents nature as something one should think about rather than something one should, for instance, eat. Consider the difference between nature as it is presented at the Grand Canyon and nature as it is presented at, say, a pig roast. What a pig roast does that the iconic landscape of the Grand Canyon, properly appreciated, fails to do, is transform nature into food. What the iconic landscape of the Grand Canyon does that a pig The place of nature 23 roast, properly appreciated, fails to do, is transform nature into an idea.
American Space American Place: Geographies of the Contemporary United States by John Agnew, Jonathan M. Smith