Date of Graduation
Many contemporary American narratives about frontiers emphasize the displacement of the â€œAmerican Dreamâ€ of infinite resources to a space that is always just beyond our reach and underscore the effect of the frontier as a means for Americans to organize a psychic identity, an identity that achieves stability and coherence through images of exploring and colonizing â€œthe frontier.â€ Such texts invoke images of power and control to suggest that to be â€œAmericanâ€ we must find and pursue frontiers. Each of the late-twentieth century American narratives I look at in this project testifies to the enduring power of the concept of the frontier to shaping the conceptual boundaries of American citizenship. These frontierist narratives transpose a utopian ideal, borrowed from our nostalgic reconfigurations of the originary American frontier, of a space with infinite resources, often repressing the specific historical conditions that were also very much a part of the originary American frontier West. In effect, the narratives demonstrate that the concept of the frontier as a space of unlimited socioeconomic and political opportunities has been conceptually colonized by American narratives and said to signify â€œAmerican.â€ Contemporary frontierist narratives reproduce contradictions about citizenship and attempt to elide inequalities by deferring them to the promised equality of a frontierist terrain of representation.
Gouge, Catherine Courtney, "Technologies of a â€œnew worldâ€ citizenship: American frontier narratives in the late -twentieth century." (2002). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8943.