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Processes of Spatialization in the Americas

Configurations and Narratives


Edited By Gabriele Pisarz-Ramirez and Hannes Warnecke-Berger

Where do the Americas begin, and where do they end? What is the relationship between the spatial constructions of «area» and «continent»? How were the Americas imagined by different actors in different historical periods, and how were these imaginations – as continent, nation, region – guided by changing agendas and priorities? This interdisciplinary volume addresses competing and conflicting configurations and narratives of spatialization in the context of globalization processes from the 19th century to the present.

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Storied Landscapes: Colonial and Transcultural Inscriptions of the Land


Abstract: Globalization discourse tends to represent land as an abstract entity. But places are not just mathematically mapped and measured; they are also inscribed with human memories, which take the form of stories and are in this form passed on to future generations. This chapter will discuss such culturally inscribed places, located in the North American colonial contact zone of the Pacific Northwest. The chapter begins with a short discussion of Paul Lawrence Yuxweluptun’s paintings articulating ongoing conflicts between Indian and non-Indian societies over land stewardship. It then centers on the cultural negotiation of geological events related to the mountain range called Cascadia which forms part of the Rocky Mountains and stretches from Northern California to British Columbia. Discussing the transcultural topological discourse relating to some parts of this geologically active region, the chapter shows the differences between a Western-rationalist approach to land and an indigenous approach that derives from regarding the land as sacred. The epistemic competition about the geological rimland of Cascadia is concurrent with a struggle over ownership of the lands in areas of the Pacific Northwest, most conspicuously defined in the Delgamuukw decision of the Canadian Supreme Court in 1997. Using examples from the Klamath and Modoc oral tradition relating to a ‘prehistorical’ cataclysmic event at today’s Crater Lake, the chapter argues that indigenous oral traditions can indeed be very ancient and should be regarded as important sources for establishing tribal territorial rights, to be added to other existing sources of (historical) knowledge about...

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