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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Summer 2005

AMS F356 • Main Currents of American Culture Since 1865

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
82055 MTWThF
1:00 PM-2:30 PM
PAI 2.48
Smith

Course Description

At the end of the Civil War, American society became flooded with new technologies, ideas, and customs. A society which had bewildered earlier American visitors in its diversity and creativity accelerated its already frantic pace. This course attempts to identify and describe some of the major elements of the booming, buzzing , confusion of changing American culture and relate their impact upon the lives of some common and not so common Americans.

This is a large order, especially in a shortened summer session so I will concentrate upon key historical periods as representatives of intensive social and intellectual change: the period from 1890 to the start of World War I; the 1920s and 30s; and from the end of World War II to until about 1990. Material in the course will be interdisciplinary and will include material from such perspectives as anthropology, architecture, art history, documentary photography, economics, literature, history of science, social history, social reform, and technology. It also tries to include the experiences and perspectives of as many different groups as possible. Reading will be heavily oriented toward the individuals own words and behavior as they lived through history.

Texts

Horatio Alger, Ragged Dick and Mark the Match Boy John Kasson, Amusing the Millions Edward Larson, Summer for the Gods Richard Lowitt and Maurine Beasely (ed.), One Third of a Nation: Lorena Hickok Reports on the Great Depression William Doyle, An American Insurrection: The Battle of Oxford, Mississippi 1962

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