Between the Western History Association and Southern Historical Association meetings, I pose this question: How do we define our regional history, and our regional history associations? And does that make sense?
"Have we let these regional associations conflate the study of a particular geography with certain driving questions? ...
"Much as scholars agree that race does not exist in reality but yet spend careers dedicated to researching the effects of that idea, I would argue that regions don’t really exist, but that those who identify as westerners, southerners, Midwesterners, Yankees, etc., nevertheless have acted based on a socially constructed regional identity... But our study of region seems somewhat behind our critical engagement with race, or even with nation."
Associate Professor of History and Director of the Urban Studies Program
For the award-winning The Great Heart of the Republic: St. Louis and the Cultural Civil War (Harvard, 2011/paperback Missouri, 2015), my co-edited volumes Civil War Wests: Testing the Limits of the United States (California, 2015) and Frontier Cities: Encounters at the Crossroads of Empire (Penn, 2013), and current projects, see: http://adamarenson.com and http://manhattan.edu/faculty/adamarenson