OP7: Western History as (Post-) Colonial Studies?

  • Brigitte Georgi-Findlay Technische Universität Dresden
Keywords: American West, Postcolonialism


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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Author Biography

Brigitte Georgi-Findlay, Technische Universität Dresden
Brigitte Georgi-Findlay earned her doctorate from the University of Heidelberg and taught at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Bremen. She is Professor of North American Studies at the Technische Universität Dresden, where she joined the faculty in 1997. Coeditor of Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik: A Quarterly of Language, Literature and Culture, her major publications include The Frontiers of Women’s Writing: Women’s Narratives and the Rhetoric of Westward Expansion (1996). She has written books and essays on Native American literature as well as essays on American travel writing, nature and technology, gender and colonial discourse, Americanization and transatlantic relations, and on urban space in the American West. Her coedited books include America Seen from the Outside: Topics, Models and Achievements of American Studies in the Federal Republic of Germany (1990), Millennial Perspectives: Lifeworlds and Utopias (2003), and Contemporary Aboriginal Literature in North America(2005). She was awarded a fellowship of the American Council of Learned Societies (1991–1992) and of the German Research Foundation (1992–1993) and was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Arizona in Tucson (1991–1993). She is a member of the German Association for American Studies, the American Studies Association, and the German Association for Canadian Studies.
How to Cite
Georgi-Findlay, B. “OP7: Western History As (Post-) Colonial Studies? ”. American Studies Journal, May 2019, //ojs.sub.uni-goettingen.de/index.php/ASJ/article/view/31.