Narratives And Spaces
Technology and the Construction of American Culture
By David E. Nye
Subjects: Cultural and Social Studies
David Nye's Narratives and Spaces examines how photography, the railroad, electricity, space flight and the computer became central, yet often contradictory, parts of the way Americans construct and narrate their culture, whether as western settlers, consumers or tourists. The book provides an interdisciplinary perspective on topics at the centre of contemporary debate and draws on a wide range of cultural media.
This is a significant contribution to American cultural history, and like David Nye's previous award-winning books, is written to be accessible to a wide audience. It is the first volume in a new UEP series, Representing American Culture. This series exists to publish lively, accessible and up-to-date studies of the culture of the United States. Whether devoted to topics in popular, middlebrow or high culture, books in the series explore the ways in which ideological assumptions may be seen to be represented. The series is edited by Mick Gidley, Professor of American Literature at the University of Leeds.
Contents: Spaces: constructing nature - Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon; electrifying the American West - 1880-1940; domestic landscape - Wright Morris' "The Home Place". Narratives: four narratives of new deal electrification; energy narratives; space of the past - E.L. Doctorow's "World's Fair". Narratives in space: electrifying expositions - 1880-1939; European exhibits at the 1939 World's Fair; don't fly me to the moon - the public and the Apollo Space Program; post-modernism and the computer.
" . . . For its revealing details, enlightened historiography, breadth of interpretative expertise, and depth of insight this book will be valuable reading for anyone interested either in how American culture was constructed or in what American Studies scholarship can achieve."
(American Studies Today, Summer 1998)
"The American frontier has always been as much technological as geographical. And if a mythical Wild West underpins America's idea of itself, there are other ways of seeing the same landscape that depend on stories told about electrification and the railroad rather than rifle-toting cowboys. So argues cultural historian David Nye in this intriguing collection of essays about how the citizens of the US have viewed themselves and their country. His theme is how they have constantly refigured the expansion and modernisation of their culture in the vast spaces of North America."
(New Scientist, 28 March 1998)
David E. Nye is Professor of American History at Odense University, Denmark. He has been a visiting scholar at Harvard, MIT and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study. Author of nine books and editor of many others, he has received both the Dexter Prize and the Able Wolman Award, and has served as a consultant for programmes on both Danish and American television.
Narratives And Spaces - Technology and the Construction of American Culture - Hardback cover