The National Park to Come examines the sense of "the national" that our national parks construct and the kind of citizen they produce in the process. Who is the visitor in these spaces? Who is the national and who the foreigner? To whose children is the ostensibly unpeopled wilderness of the future owed? At what cost, and to whom? Grebowicz explores how such politicized modes of being-in-nature are maintained on the emotional level, shaping our basic sense of coherence, futurity, collectivity, and having a life.
Wilderness-as-spectacle, she argues, functions as a form of social relation even as we imagine the true experience of nature to be solitary and apolitical. The National Park to Come's most pressing concern is the relationship between the foreigner and the future in the democratization of wilderness. For the questions explored here, contends Grebowicz, are precisely those that will shape the future of our entire park system.
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Margret Grebowicz is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Goucher College.