Who is nostalgic for the nation? Donald Trump and his supporters, for one, have projected a lost nationhood as a fetishized object to be recovered in their antiglobal and anti-immigrant politics. But what about the academy? For years we in American studies have been attempting to push beyond the concept of the nation, taking as the locus of the most exciting and progressive scholarship intra- and extranational objects: diasporas, cosmopolitanisms, maroonage, and border zones. In contrast, the nation as a conceptual locus can feel quaint, backward looking, or even reactionary—as dangerously nostalgic as the growth of right-wing populism. But as scholars it is important to ask what tools we have for confronting our political moment. Do our internationalisms offer meaningful alternatives to reactionary nationalism? What about our older critical understandings of national cultures of consensus formation, intergenerational anxiety, and racial belonging? Should...
Strange Nation: Literary Nationalism and Cultural Conflict in the Age of Poe
Novel Nostalgias: The Aesthetics of Antagonism in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Literature
Kevin Modestino is a lecturer of English at Howard University. He is currently at work on his book, “Providential Visions: The Aesthetics of History, Slave Revolution, and Imperial Time in Antebellum America,” which undertakes an aesthetic analysis of historical writing to understand how it constructed national futurity around imperial desires and images of the suppression of racialized freedom movements. His research and book reviews have appeared previously in Studies in American Naturalism, NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction, and American Literature. He received his PhD from Duke University in 2014.
Kevin Modestino; Strange Nation: Literary Nationalism and Cultural Conflict in the Age of Poe
Novel Nostalgias: The Aesthetics of Antagonism in Nineteenth-Century U.S. Literature. American Literature 1 September 2017; 89 (3): 627–629. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-4160918
Download citation file: