On Friday we’ll begin a discussion on Raymond William’s etymological survey of the term “culture” and elaborate on the notion of “the contemporary.”
We’ll use these graphics for tomorrow’s class in order to understand some of the things Levander and Levine discuss in their introductory essay. Geographical space, at least in terms of its mapping, is an invention. The Americas, in this sense, were invented by those who “discovered” it. Yet there are other geographical imaginings of the hemisphere: Turtle Island, for example, as an indigenous “cognitive map” of the terrain of North America. The process whereby history is spatialized, Levander and Levine, suggest, is rife with occlusions, repressions, and appropriations. More on this on Friday.
Martin Waldseemüller’s 1507 map of the world, the first, it is said, to use the term “America”:
Here’s a clip we’ll be screening on Friday, a conversation between Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell which attributes the September 11, 2001 attacks to the moral failures of Americans. It’s important to note that this sort of interpretation has a long history, notably in the literary genre of the Jeremiad, a warning against “backsliding” which has persisted across centuries, often in secular form.