In a memorable episode of The West Wing, visitors from the Cartographers for Social Justice upend CJ’s and Josh’s worldviews.
Cartographer: “The Peters projection.”
CJ: “What the hell is that?”
Cartographer: “It’s where you’ve been living this whole time.”
I’m having the same reaction to Colin Woodard’s 2011 book American Nations. He sees North America as three federations of nations. The federation we call the United States comprises nations he calls Yankeedom, New Netherland, The Midlands, Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, The Deep South, El Norte, The Far West, and The Left Coast.
Here’s his definition of a nation:
A nation is a group of people who share — or believe they share — a common culture, ethnic origin, language, historical experience, artifacts, and symbols.”
I’ve lived in Greater Appalachia, The Deep South, Yankeedom, The Midlands, and the Left Coast and I’ve always unconsciously known many of these borders within culture. It’s often been difficult to describe the subtle cultural shifts and divides between many of these places to others. I can’t wait to read a book that delves into all of it depth.