Daily Archives: September 19, 2011

Trans-National America and Sister Carrie (HUM225)

What we get in “Trans-national America” is a critique of Americanization and a counter-narrative of what US national identity might be. In essence, Bourne writes against the normativizing tendency of Americanization as a process of compelling immigrants to become as Anglo-Saxon as possible by bleeding them of their cultural particularities. Instead of a compulsory form of Anglo-centric nationalism, Bourne posits a trans-national version of national identity which encourages not only the maintenance of “home culture” but its active influence on US culture. He calls this condition cosmopolitanism, and views it as a powerful impetus for national-cultural development. Even further, Bourne suggests that the practices and values emerging from that process will prefiguratively constitute the American tradition. In this sense the US is a work in progress, one impelled by the plurality and variegation of its population.

Continue reading