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In this episode, Joel and Antonia talk about the book American Nations by author Colin Woodard and how seeing North America through this lens could be another access point for healthy dialog.

In this podcast you’ll find:

In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about the book American Nations by author Colin Woodard and how seeing North America through this lens could be another access point for healthy dialog. #colinwoodard #americannations #culture

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  • Antonia Dodge
    • Antonia Dodge
    • November 15, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I understand that – I feel like a crazy mishmash myself of El Norte, Left Coast (which combines Yankeedom and Greater Appalachia) and the Far West. The cultures I have the most trouble wrapping my head around (but not due to a lack of familiarity) are where I currently live – Midland and Tidewater areas – and the Deep South (when we snowbird to Florida each year). I’m eager to learn more about New France since those are some of the only parts of North America I haven’t visited. I was able to become familiar with First Nation when I lived in Alaska, which was cool.

    Glad the podcast resonated. :)


  • Antonia Dodge
    • Antonia Dodge
    • November 15, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Woodard mentions in the book that there are some pretty distinct subcultures within those 11 nations, the Utah LDS culture being one of them. He indicated he had to draw the line somewhere so that the book wasn’t a thousand pages long. I’d be super interested to hear about those subcultures should he want to write a follow up book, tho.


  • Paul
    • Paul
    • November 15, 2018 at 12:00 am

    I’ve often thought along these lines without the definitions supplied here, so this brings a lot more clarity to my thinking. My own family background is a raucous mix of Tidewater, Midlands, Deep South, and Greater Appalachia, with Midlands perhaps as driver and Greater Appalachia as co-pilot (to borrow the Car Model), even though I was raised on the Left Coast but moved as a young adult about an hundred miles eastward to the Far West. (I’m really looking forward to Part 2, and of course to getting the book.) Where it gets most interesting for me is in dealing with the differences in outlook between myself and my later-in-life Texan wife (we both live in California now). She is still charmingly proud of being a Southerner, though her personality is, according to Woodard’s description, strongly Greater Appalachian. She was raised in North Texas, so this actually makes sense — she just doesn’t know it. Early on in our marriage, I lived with her near Dallas, and the “Bible Belt” culture I witnessed there (so unlike California) was not at all like the Deep South culture described toward the end of the podcast, but much more like the Midlands culture as Joel spoke of it, including the exclusion of drinking alcohol from many places.
    Another major impression this podcast left with me is a better insight into how to reconcile some of the discrepancies between what many of my more ‘patriotic’ friends seem to be so sure of regarding the innate goodness of America, and contradictions evident in our history, especially our treatment of the nations who were living here in natural prosperity before Europeans “discovered” this land. Without getting into all the rights and wrongs on all sides, it helps to see it as something a good deal more complex than how our Yankee educational system has portrayed it for so long.

  • Jacob
    • Jacob
    • November 14, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    Like Clifford, I look forward to the discussion of the Far West. I haven’t read American Nations, but have been involved in some discussions about it with friends. I live in Utah which is kind of unique and I would say breaks the mould somewhat of the Far West narrative. There is certainly a strong puritanical culture here (the early Mormon leaders were from Vermont and New York), but the population is also antagonistic to the federal government because of land use fights and a history of federal army occupation. Maybe this is discussed in the book. This has been an excellent episode.

  • Clifford J. Luebben
    • Clifford J. Luebben
    • November 14, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    This concept makes a lot sense. In general, I’ve increasingly noticed that there seems to be distinct American cultures even just among White Americans, but I’ve had time putting my finger on some of them. Or even the different versions of political ideologies. Liberals of the Left Coast seem different than those of Yankeedom who seem different than those of New Amsterdam. The conservatives of the Far West seem to be a different sort of conservative than those of the Deep South who seem different than those of Greater Appalachia. I’m glad to see a scholar has already fleshed this cultural concepts out.

    Personally, I live in an area that would be considered part of the Far West, but though I was born and raised here, it has never quite felt like home. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s because there is a definite culture difference (I minored in Intercultual studies and have traveled a fair bit so I tend to think about things from a cultural perspective anyway). The source of the culture difference being that both of my parents are from “the midlands”. On my father’s side, we’re part of that old Pennsylvania Deutsch that eventually made their way to Ohio and Indiana (now we’re all over the country). I sus your description of the Midlands definitely resonates with what I see in that culture and partially in myself; although I suspect I’ve become quite cross-cultural, I look forward to hearing your summary of the Far West to see how much of that resonates as well.

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