American Green

American Green : Class, Crisis, and the Deployment of Nature in Central Park, Yosemite, and Yellowstone

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In this work of interdisciplinary scholarship, Stephen A. Germic reveals how America's first parks, both urban and 'wilderness,' were created and organized to mitigate the most threatening social and economic crises in the nineteenth century outside of the Civil War. Germic analyzes the intentionally disguised relationship between the constructed 'nature' of Central Park, Yosemite, and Yellowstone and the expanding but crisis-prone capitalist state. American Green demonstrates how the fundamental function of these parks was economic and political-in the service of maintaining a consensus regarding national identity. The organization and control of 'natural' space, Germic argues, is inseparable from its function as a capitalist instrument. This instrumentalism served not only to define, constitute, and segregate social groups, but also to promote racial and ethnic identifications above those based on class interest. Providing a fresh insight into United States labor, cultural and environmental history, this book is an important contribution to our understanding of American parks and the complex meaning of American public more

Product details

  • Hardback | 160 pages
  • 154.9 x 226.1 x 15.2mm | 294.84g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • Annotated
  • bibliography, index
  • 0739102281
  • 9780739102282

Review quote

This is a book that deserves to be read. CHOICE Stephen A. Germic's American Green brings geography, ecocriticism, and narrative studies together in a historical materialist consideration of the national(ist) importance of parks in the nineteenth-century United States. Germic offers a compelling analysis of how the legislating and designing of national parks demonstrates the importance of "nature" and of space to articulations of U.S. nationalism. Considering Central Park alongside Yosemite and Yellowstone, he complicates conventional distinctions between urban and rural, city and frontier, east and west to show the ideological implications of these efforts to legislate nature and space...This work absolutely will be a significant contribution to several fields. -- Priscilla Wald, Associate Professor of English, Duke University What emerges in the account is a cohesive and compelling portrait of nineteenth-century concepts of 'nature' as ideologically instrumental-intrinsically rather than incidentally connected to the perpetuation of class division and ethnic oppression. -- Steven Rosendale, Northern Arizona University In this carefully argued and well-written book, Stephen Germic explores the spatial and rhetorical histories of two of the public monuments-the urban park and the frontier park-that played crucial roles in the formation of U.S. national identity. American Green will be widely reviewed and become required reading in courses in American studies and cultural studies. -- Donald E. Pease Jr., Avalon Chair of Humanities, Dartmouth Collegeshow more

About Stephen A. Germic

Stephen A. Germic is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of American Thought and Language, Michigan State more

Table of contents

Chapter 1 Introduction: The Geography of Exceptionalism Chapter 2 Capital Contradictions: Frederick Law Olmsted and the Labor of Culture Chapter 3 Olmsted's Failure: Yosemite, Culture, and Productivity Chapter 4 The (Over)Production of Place Chapter 5 The Nature of Violence: Crisis and Redemption in Yellowstone National Park Chapter 6 Conclusionshow more

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