Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

7/1/2006 - 12/31/2006

Funding Totals

$24,000.00 (approved)
$24,000.00 (awarded)

Domestic Geography and Global Imagination in American Literature, 1776-1915

FAIN: FA-52784-06

Jennifer Rae Greeson
Princeton University (Princeton, NJ 08540-5228)

U.S. national literature as it developed between the founding and the First World War rested on a consistent differentiation of "the South" from the national idea writ large, because imaginatively juxtaposing the United States with its "South" enabled U.S. writers to conceptualize the rapidly changing place of their nation in a global context. By charting the emergence of literary subgenres that imaged "the South"--such as travel narrative, gothic mode, abolitionist address, "local color" fiction, and Reconstruction romance--OUR SOUTH maps a genealogical trajectory between the transatlantic representational conventions of colonial America, and the hemispheric and increasingly global visions with which Americans entered the 20th century.

Media Coverage

American Quarterly, CHOICE, Journal of American History, Journal of American Studies, (Review)
Publication: Journal of Southern History, Triquarterly Review
Date: 12/21/2011

Associated Products

Our South: Geographic Fantasy and the Rise of National Literature (Book)
Title: Our South: Geographic Fantasy and the Rise of National Literature
Author: Jennifer Rae Greeson
Abstract: (From the publisher) Since the birth of the nation, we have turned to stories about the American South to narrate the rapid ascendency of the United States on the world stage. The idea of a cohesive South, different from yet integral to the United States, arose with the very formation of the nation itself. Its semitropical climate, plantation production, and heterogeneous population once defined the New World from the perspective of Europe. By founding U.S. literature through opposition to the South, writers boldly asserted their nation to stand apart from the imperial world order. Our South tracks the nation/South juxtaposition in U.S. literature from the founding to the turn of the twentieth century, through genres including travel writing, gothic and romance novels, geography textbooks, transcendentalist prose, and abolitionist address. Even as the southern states became peripheral to U.S. politics and economy, Jennifer Rae Greeson demonstrates that in literature the South remained central to the expanding and evolving idea of the nation. Claiming the South as our deviant and recalcitrant “other,” Americans have projected an anti-imperial imperative of domesticating and civilizing, administering and integrating underdeveloped regions both within our borders and beyond. Our South has been a primal site for thinking about geography and power in the United States.
Year: 2010
Primary URL:
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780674024281


C. Hugh Holman Award
Date: 1/1/2011
Organization: Society for the Study of Southern Literature (MLA allied organization)
Abstract: best book of the year in Southern literary studies