Why are early Americanists so obsessed with region—with geography, in short—rather than with chronology? Why is early America generally organized by space rather than time, at least until the Revolution comes along? In part, of course, the reason for such fixation upon space is because the colonial period is the very important prologue to the main event, which is the formation of the nation state and of United States history proper. The colonial period is thus the medieval section of American history.Interesting. And it might explain why, as an Americanist, I'm mostly attracted to the Colonial and Revolutionary eras in addition to my "minor" of early Medieval History. Must be that beginnings/transitions appeal to me.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Trevor Burnard, in a piece on the importance of geography over time for historians of Colonial America explains why this is so: