Tag Archives: American West

Western History as (Post-)Colonial Studies?

In their annual meeting in February 2010, the historians in the German Association for American Studies included a section on “American History from the Perspective of Postcolonial Studies.” The issues addressed in their call for papers reminded me of the debates among Western historians around the writing of a “New Western History.” This paper, which was presented within that section in an earlier version, raises the question how American history has addressed and integrated concerns and changes of perspective that have also informed postcolonial studies. As I will try to show, the impulses that propelled Western history in recent years have not (at least not primarily) come from postcolonial theory but from issues within the field and within American culture. The question is whether historiography could profit from considering some of the theoretical issues within postcolonial studies, or rather: how can history and textual studies meet?

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