Region, Identity, and Landscape: Germany, Zimbabwe, and the United States

AHA Session 261
Saturday, January 7, 2017: 3:30 PM-5:00 PM
Room 501 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)
Shelley E. Rose, Cleveland State University
Andrew Zimmerman, George Washington University

Session Abstract

National identity is often the confluence of regional or local memories and understandings that help to inform the larger consciousness of the nation. These three papers examine how local and regional discussions of identity help to inform and sometimes direct the larger national discussion on the meaning of the state. These discussions often occur during and following periods of severe crisis--when the meaning of the nation state is called into question.  These discussions often involve the reconfiguration of commerce, recreation, and the use of memory to maintain and project local and regional identity to affect the national discourse. Cultural Landscapes in Museums examines how the rise of the History of Franconia museum in Wurzburg negotiates between the debates concerning the ideals of an Ecomusuem and regional identity. Romance of Steel and Iron discusses the role of the 1936 Great Lakes Exposition in Cleveland as an attempt to redefine the Midwest as part of the national quest for identity during the Depression era. Harare, Zimbabwe’s fractured historical landscape explores current activities to reimagine these local memory sites following over a decade of economic and political crises, with the assistance of local scholars and former residents now living in the large Zimbabwean diaspora.
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