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The Spatial Politics of Urban Modernity Beitrag open-access

Henry James’s ‘Washington Square’

Katja Sarkowsky

Amerikastudien/American Studies, Volume 59 (2014), Issue 1, Page 7 - 25

‘The American Scene’ and other later texts have been at the center of attention in the critical discussion of Henry James’s explorations of urban modernity. Against the background of these readings and the theoretical assumptions of the so-called spatial turn and urban studies, this contribution looks at ‘Washington Square’ (1881) as an early example for James’s ambivalent investigations of American urbanity and modernity. Understanding space not as a background for the plot but as constitutive for the agenda of the novel, I will focus on presentations of New York’s gendered and racialized spatiality in ‘Washington Square’. While less complex and developed than the later texts usually discussed in this context, ‘Washington Square’ presents New York as an increasingly diverse and dynamic environment, intertwined with both the nation and transnational processes, and thus a place of conflict over early urban modernity from the 1820s to the time of its publication in 1881.


Transcultural Autobiography and the Staging of (Mis)Recognition in Edward Said’s ‘Out of Place’ and Gerald Vizenor’s ‘Interior Landscapes: Autobiographical Myths and Metaphors’ Beitrag open-access

Katja Sarkowsky

Amerikastudien/American Studies, Volume 57 (2013), Issue 4, Page 627 - 642

While the importance of ‘recognition’ for individual self-constitution is uncontested in theoretical debates, discussions—particularly in the 1990s—have increasingly sought to apply the concept also to social groups. This contribution looks at autobiographies by two cultural theorists, Edward Said and Gerald Vizenor, that draw on a variety of cultural contexts and codes and address experiences of marginalization and dislocation. Asking how ‘recognition’ and ‘misrecognition’ are negotiated in the texts, I argue that both autobiographies connect—although in very different ways—the narration of individual self-constitution to claims of collective recognition.

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