Painting American frontiers: "Encounter" and the borders of American identity in Nineteenth-Century art

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The historiographical perspective through which scholars see America, together with the persistent question of the particularity of America’s culture(s), have been developed and adapted in varied ways by recent scholars of the art of nineteenth-century America. This essay considers the idea of the land, its settlement and colonization, contact with other cultures, other places, and other futures, and how these central facts of the American experience frame the discourses in which research questions are formulated. The tensions in nineteenth-century American culture generated by contact with the frontier and with the Other represented by nature and the natural world, are considered, tensions generated along the borders – both geographical and imagined, both internal and external – of the nineteenth-century United-States. The encounter with the Other, both in the form of landscape and of social change, is revealed by the scholarly literature as dynamic and transformative in nineteenth-century America.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-152
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • border
  • encounter
  • frontier
  • identity
  • painting

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