AMS f356 • Main Currents of American Culture Since 1865
1:00 PM-2:30 PM
This course examines multiple cultural and social transformations in American society from the post-Civil War era to the present. The Civil War marked the moment when the United States became a nation not just in theory, but in fact, as historian Barbara Fields once wrote. As such, the war offers a point of departure for the course. After this bloody conflict, we will examine America's rapidly changing landscape with new technologies, industrialization, and urbanization. We will consider how concepts of race, gender and class participate in these social transformations. We will also explore the rise of mass culture, consumption, and the impact of both national and transnational migrations. This interdisciplinary course will integrate the study of social movements with popular culture, fine arts, literature, and changes in the built environment. We will study how American individuals and communities are not only social actors, but also interpreters of their experiences. The readings of this course demonstrate the ways Americans respond to larger social changes.