AMS 386 • Cultural History of US Since 1865
Cultural history is sometimes described as what people thought, how they behaved, and the interactions between them. While this is always a complex process, it becomes even more complicated after the American Civil War. While the name of the undergraduate class "MAIN Currents in American Culture" makes sense for the first half of the course dominated by rural Anglo-Americans, post-Civil War and especially twentieth century American society defies any attempt to categorize it easily. Immigrants and African-Americans dominated entertainment in the 1920s; the doctrine of modernism denied final answers; and pragmatism opposed the very concept of truth.
This seminar taught in conjunction with the AMS 356/HIS 356K lecture course identifies some of what appear to be those ideas. social movements, and behavior up to about 1980 that have had the most impact on contemporary Americans' understanding of ourselves as a culture. Discussion will involve lecture material and a combination of primary and secondary material. Each student will be primarily responsible for the conduct of one class during the semester. Also, students will be responsible for a bibliographic essay on a particular theme, movement, institution, behavior, etc. of their choice. Still, the main thrust of the class will be upon the reading and discussion, and a grade for participation will be given.
The final list will include 11 or 12 books.
Stephen Kantrowitz Ben Tillman and the Reconstruction of White Supremacy
Roy Rosenzweig Eight Hours for What We Will: Workers and Leisure in an Industrial City 1877-1920
William Cronon Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West
William Leach Land of Desire: Merchants, Power, and the Rise of a New American Culture
Kristin Hoganson The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920
Malcolm Cowley Exile's Return
Gail Bederman Manliness and Civilization
Robert and Helen Lynd Middletown: A Study in American Culture
Natalilia Molina Fit to Be Citizens: Public Health and Race in Los Angeles
Lizabeth Cohen Making A New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago 1919-1939
Christina Klein Cold War Orientalism: Asia in the Middlebrow Imagination, 1945-1961
Dianne Mchorter Carry Me Home: Birmingham Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Movement
Jay Stevens Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream
Randy Shilts And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic