Cornbelt Heartland: Region and Landscapes in Space and Time

Dr. Anthony Amato
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Based on examples from southwestern Minnesota and the Midwest of the United States, this paper contemplates the potential of region and landscape as guiding modes of humanistic inquiry. Both provide ways to organize knowledge and examine texts. In the last three decades, region has outgrown the confines of geography and it has become a common concept in studies across disciplines. Regions, which serve as categories for scholars’ analyses, have considerable vernacular currency and inform people’s actions, thus endowing the concept of region with reflexivity. Landscapes also have great potential for inquiries. Once associated exclusively with the natural sciences or the visual arts, landscapes have steadily gained ground in the humanities and social sciences. Whether understood as texts to be read, processes of work, or the outgrowths of symbolic systems, landscapes yield insights into people and places. Explorations of landscape and region in southwestern Minnesota and the U.S. Midwest reveal how these two American areal abstractions serve both to define and conceal places and processes in a fluid world. In a larger sense, both region and landscape raise the question of how texts transcend the boundaries of time and space, while being expressions bounded in specific temporal and spatial contexts.

Keywords: Region, Landscape, United States of America, Space, Time
Stream: Knowledge
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Dr. Anthony Amato

Associate Professor of Rural and Regional Studies, Center for Rural and Regional Studies, Southwest Minnesota State University

Anthony Amato is an associate professor at Southwest State University in Minnesota. He received a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s degree from Indiana University, and a doctorate from Indiana University. His dissertation focused on ecology, economy, and culture in the Hutsul Region of Ukraine from 1849 to 1939. His scholarly interests range from ecology to folklore to history and theory. His publications include articles on the United States Midwest and the post-Soviet world. His current research focuses on the ecological history and historical geography of both areas. He is also working on ethnographic studies of daily life in these areas.

Ref: H06P0315