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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Richard H. Pells

Professor Emeritus Ph.D., 1969, Harvard University

Richard H. Pells

Contact

Biography

Research interests

Professor Pells is a specialist in 20th Century American cultural and intellectual history.

Courses taught

His current interest is in the global impact of American culture, and the ways that foreign cultures have affected the United States.

HIS 350R • Movies And Modern America

39335 • Fall 2010
Meets T 700pm-1000pm PAR 1
(also listed as AMS 370 )
show description

HIS 350R/AMS 370                                    Professor Richard Pells
Fall 2010                                                      Garrison 2.206
                                                               Office Hours: Tuesday, 4:00-5:00                                                                                                                                                           6:15-7:00

MOVIES AND MODERN AMERICA:  CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

This course focuses on the changes in American filmmaking against the background of the upheavals in American culture, politics, and society from the 1960s to the present.  We will examine the breakdown of the traditional Hollywood studio system, the rise of a new generation of American directors (both in the 1970s and 1990s) who were heavily influenced by their counterparts in Europe, their efforts to deal in cinematic terms with the cultural and psychological schisms in American society, and the impact of their films on audiences abroad as well as at home.  More specifically, we will concentrate on movies dealing with crime and punishment beginning in the 1970s, tracing their responses to Vietnam and Watergate as well as to more contemporary issues. 

Students should carefully consider whether to take the course if they do not have a solid background in 20th century American cultural, social, and political history.  It would also help students to have a substantial knowledge of the history of American film, and ideally to have already taken one or more courses in film studies.

Grading: Students will write a 15-20 page interpretative essay due at the end of the semester.  The topic of the paper will be chosen by the student in consultation with the instructor.  The paper will count for 100% of the student’s grade, though I will take into account participation in class discussions.  Given the importance of the paper for the course grade, students should have some prior experience writing in-depth analytical essays, especially about movies.

Attendance in class, both for discussions and movies, is mandatory.  Missing a class or classes will adversely affect your grade in the course.

No late papers will be accepted; the paper must be turned in on time.  There are no extensions or incompletes given in this course.

Aug. 31:            Introduction

Sept. 7:       Reading:  Neal Gabler, An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood

Sept. 14:           Dog Day Afternoon.  Directed by Sidney Lumet.  With Al Pacino, John Cazale, Charles Durning.

Sept. 21:       Three Days of the Condor (1975).  Directed by Sydney Pollack.  With Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Cliff Robertson, Max von Sydow, John Houseman.

Sept. 28:       Reading: Peter Biskind, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls      

Oct. 5:       Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997).  Directed by Clint Eastwood.  Song lyrics by Johnny Mercer.  With John Cusack, Kevin Spacey, Jack Thompson, Allison Eastwood, Jude Law, Lady Chablis.

Oct. 12:         Inside Man (2006).  Directed by Spike Lee.  With Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Oct. 19:       Reading: Foster Hirsch, A Method to Their Madness

Oct. 26:       Discussion of Papers

Nov. 2:       Reading: Richard Schickel: Intimate Strangers

Nov. 9:       Reading:  Richard Pells, Not Like Us: How Europeans Have Loved, Hated, and Transformed American Culture Since World War II.

Nov. 16:       Reading:  David Thomson, The Whole Equation

Nov. 23:       Discussion of Papers

Nov. 30:       Discussion of Papers

Dec. 8:         PAPER DUE BY 4:00 IN MAIN HISTORY OFFICE (GAR. 1.104)

 

SUPPLEMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY

Pauline Kael, For Keeps

Michael Wood, America in the Movies

Lary May, The Big Tomorrow: Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way

Robert Ray, A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1980

Diane Jacobs, Hollywood Renaissance: The New Generation of Filmmakers and Their Works

Michael Pye and Lynda Myles, The Movie Brats: How the Film Generation Took Over Hollywood

Seth Cagin and Philip Dray, Hollywood Films of the Seventies:  Sex, Drugs, Violence, Rock ‘n’ Roll, and Politics

Glenn Man, Radical Visions: American Film Renaissance, 1967-1976

William Parish, The Films of the Seventies:  A Social History

Robert Kolker, A Cinema of Loneliness:  Penn, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg, Altman

Peter Cowie, Coppola

Eric Lax, Woody Allen: A Biography

Steven Bach, Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven’s Gate

James Naremore, Acting in the Cinema

Steve Vineberg, Method Actors: Three Generations of an American Acting Style

David Garfield, A Player’s Place: The Story of the Actors Studio

Graham McCann, Rebel Males: Clift, Dean, and Brando

Edward Easty, On Method Acting

Sidney Lumet, Making Movies

Thomas Schatz, Old Hollywood/New Hollywood

David Thomson, The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood

This course contains a Writing flag.

HIS 355M • The United States, 1920-1941

39380 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm PAR 306
(also listed as AMS 358 )
show description

HIS 355M/AMS 358                                    Professor Richard Pells
Fall 2010                                                      Garrison 2.206
                                                               Office Hours: Tuesday, 4:00-5:00
                                                                                                  6:15-7:00

AMERICAN CULTURE AND SOCIAL LIFE, 1920-1941 

This is a course about American culture in the 1920s and 1930s.  We will not spend much time on American politics, economics, or foreign policy; the course presupposes that students will already have a background in these issues.  Instead, the course focuses on developments in American literature, painting, architecture, music, radio, the theater, film, and intellectual life.  It also deals extensively with the cultural relationships between America and Europe in the years between World War I and World War II. 

Therefore, students should carefully consider whether to take this course if they have not previously taken at least one, preferably upper-division, course in 20th century American history.  It would also help if students were familiar with trends in modern American literature, art, music, plays, and movies.  Finally, since students will be asked to write two 10 page papers (there are no in-class exams) based on the lectures and reading, you should think twice about taking the course if you are unaccustomed to writing in-depth analytical essays, especially about novels.

Grading: Two 10-page papers, each containing two 5-page essays.  Each paper will count for 50% of the course grade.  The first paper will deal with the culture of the 1920s; the second, with the culture of the 1930s.  You will be given a choice of subjects for each paper, but every student will have to write one essay on each paper dealing with the assigned novels.

No late papers will be accepted; both papers must be turned in on time.  There are no extensions or incompletes given in this course.

I.  The 1920s

Aug. 26:         Introduction

Aug. 31:         The Economics of Prosperity

Sept. 2:         Self and Society in the 1920s: The Standardization of Culture and  Taste

                  Reading:  Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt        

Sept. 7:         Self and Society in the 1920s: Between the Past and the Future

Sept. 9:         Modernism in the Arts

                  Reading:  Malcolm Cowley, Exile’s Return

                  Richard Pells, Radical Visions and American Dreams, prefaces, ch. 1

Sept. 14:         The Mystique of Jazz

Sept. 16:         The Expatriate Experience

Sept. 21:         Critiques of American Life: Sinclair Lewis

                  Reading:  F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Sept. 23:         The American Dream in the 20th Century: F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sept. 28         The Literary Impact of World War I

                  Reading:  Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

Sept. 30:         Surviving Modernity: Ernest Hemingway

Oct. 5:         Literature on the Eve of the Great Depression

Oct. 7         Discussion of Mid-Term

Oct. 12:         MID-TERM PAPER DUE BY 4:30 IN MAIN HISTORY OFFICE (GARRISON 1.104)

II.  The 1930s

Oct. 14:         The Crash and its Consequences

Oct. 19:         The New Deal: 1933-1936

Oct. 21:         The New Deal in the Late 1930s

Oct. 26:         Hand Back Exams

                  Reading:  Pells, chs. 2-8, epilogue

Oct. 28:         The Search for Radical Alternatives: The Ideals of Planning and Community

Nov. 2:         The Search for Radical Alternatives: The Role of the Intellectual

Nov. 4:         The Culture of the 1930s: Art, Music, and the Radio        

                  Reading:  John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath

Nov. 9:         The Culture of the 1930s: The Theater and the Movies        

                  Reading:  Richard Wright, Native Son        

Nov. 11:         The Literature of Social Protest: John Steinbeck and Richard Wright

Nov. 16:         The Literature of Social Satire: Men, Women, and Mary McCarthy

                  Reading:  Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps

Nov. 18:         Social Change and Social Stability: The “Forgotten” Americans

Nov. 23:         Social Change and Social Stability: The Middle Class

Nov. 30:         From Depression to War

Dec. 2:         Discussion of Final

Dec. 8:         FINAL PAPER DUE BY NOON IN MAIN HISTORY OFFICE (GARRISON 1.104)

_________________________________________

READING ASSIGNMENTS

For Mid-Term Paper (due October 12 by 4:30 in Main History Office, Garrison 1.104):
                  Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt
                  Malcolm Cowley, Exile’s Return
                  Richard Pells, Radical Visions and American Dreams, prefaces, ch. 1
                  F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
                 Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

 For Final Paper (due December 8 by Noon in Main History Office, Garrison 1.104):
                  Pells, chs. 2-8, epilogue
                  John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
                  Richard Wright, Native Son
                  Mary McCarthy, The Company She Keeps

This course contains a Cultural Diversity flag.

HIS 350L • Movies And Modern America-W

40035 • Fall 2009
Meets T 700pm-1000pm PAR 1
(also listed as AMS 370 )
show description

Hist 350l/AMS 370
40035/29970
Tues, 7-10

HIS 350L/AMS 370                                   
Professor Richard Pells

Fall 2009                                                     
Garrison 2.206

Office Hours: Tuesday, 6:15-7:00



MOVIES AND MODERN AMERICA:  SPIES AND PRIVATE EYES


* *

Sept. 1:            Introduction



Sept. 8:  *The Maltese Falcon* (1941).  Directed by John Huston.  Based
on the novel by Dashiell Hammett.  With Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor,  Peter
Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet, Elisha Cook, Jr.



Sept. 15:  Reading:  Neal Gabler, *An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood*



Sept. 22:  *The Third Man* (1949).  Directed by Carol Reed.  Based on
the story by Graham Greene.  With Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Alida Valli,
Trevor Howard.



Sept. 29:  *The Spy Who Came in from the Cold* (1965).  Directed by
Martin Ritt.  Based on the novel by John le Carré.  With Richard Burton,
Oskar Werner, Claire Bloom, Peter van Eyck.



Oct. 6:  Reading:  Foster Hirsch, *A Method to Their Madness*



Oct. 13:  *Chinatown* (1974).  Directed by Roman Polanski.  With Jack
Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston.



Oct. 20:  Reading:  Peter Biskind, *Easy Riders, Raging Bulls*

* *

Oct. 27:  Discussion of Papers



Nov. 3:  *All the President's Men* (1976).  Directed by Alan J. Pakula.
Based on the book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein.  With Robert Redford,
Dustin Hoffman, Jason Robards, Hal Holbrook, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam,
Jane Alexander.

* *

Nov. 10:  Reading:  Richard Pells, *Not Like Us: How Europeans Have
Loved, Hated, and Transformed American Culture Since World War II.*

 

Nov. 17, 24, Dec. 1: Discussion of Papers



Dec. 9:  PAPER DUE BY 4:00 IN MAIN HISTORY OFFICE (GAR. 1.104)



A 15 to 20-page interpretative essay, on a topic to be agreed upon between
the student and the instructor, will be due at the end of the semester.  The
student's grade will be determined by the paper as well as by his or her
contributions to class discussions.  There are no extensions or incompletes
given in this course.



NOTE:  WHEN FILMS ARE SHOWN, CLASS WILL MEET IN PARLIN 1.  DISCUSSION CLASS ON SEPT. 15 WILL ALSO MEET IN PARLIN 1.  OTHER DISCUSSION CLASSES ON OCT. 6 AND 20, AND ON NOV. 10, WILL MEET IN GARRISON 1.102.



*SUPPLEMENTARY BIBLIOGRAPHY*



Pauline Kael, *For Keeps*



Michael Wood, *America in the Movies*



Lary May, *The Big Tomorrow: Hollywood and the Politics of the American Way*



Robert Ray, *A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema, 1930-1980*



Diane Jacobs, *Hollywood Renaissance: The New Generation of Filmmakers and Their Works*



Michael Pye and Lynda Myles, *The Movie Brats: How the Film Generation Took
Over Hollywood*



Seth Cagin and Philip Dray, *Hollywood Films of the Seventies:  Sex, Drugs,
Violence, Rock 'n' Roll, and Politics*



Glenn Man, *Radical Visions: American Film Renaissance, 1967-1976*



William Parish, *The Films of the Seventies:  A Social History*



Robert Kolker, *A Cinema of Loneliness:  Penn, Kubrick, Scorsese, Spielberg,
Altman*



Peter Cowie, *Coppola*



Eric Lax, *Woody Allen: A Biography*



Steven Bach, *Final Cut: Dreams and Disaster in the Making of Heaven's Gate*



James Naremore, *Acting in the Cinema*



Steve Vineberg, *Method Actors: Three Generations of an American Acting
Style*



David Garfield, *A Player's Place: The Story of the Actors Studio*



Graham McCann, *Rebel Males: Clift, Dean, and Brando*



Edward Easty, *On Method Acting*



Sidney Lumet, *Making Movies*



Thomas Schatz, *Old Hollywood/New Hollywood*



David Thomson, *The Whole Equation: A History of Hollywood*

HIS 355M • The United States, 1920-1941

40125 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 800-930 GAR 0.102
show description

Hist. 355M/AMS358
40125/19955
T, Th. 8-9:30

HIS 355M/AMS 358
Professor Richard Pells                             

Fall 2009                                                     
Garrison 2.206

Office Hours: Tuesday, 9:30-11:00


*AMERICAN CULTURE AND SOCIAL LIFE, 1920-1941*

* *

* *

1.  *The 1920s*



Aug. 27:         Introduction



Sept. 1:         The Economics of Prosperity-I



Sept. 3:         The Economics of Prosperity-II



Sept. 8:         Self and Society in the 1920s: The Standardization of Culture and Taste



Sept. 10:       Self and Society in the 1920s: Between the Past and the Future

                     Reading:  Sinclair Lewis, *Babbitt*



Sept. 15:       The Rise of Popular Culture in the Early 20th Century



Sept. 17:       The "Lost" Generation and the Expatriate Experience

                     Reading:  Malcolm Cowley, *Exile's Return*

                     Richard Pells, *Radical Visions and American Dreams*, prefaces, ch. 1



Sept. 22:         Critiques of American Life: Sinclair Lewis



Sept. 24:        The American Dream in the 20th Century: F. Scott Fitzgerald

                     Reading:  F. Scott Fitzgerald, *The Great Gatsby*



Sept. 29         The Literary Impact of World War I



Oct. 1:           Surviving Modernity: Ernest Hemingway

                     Reading:  Ernest Hemingway, *The Sun Also Rises*

Oct. 6:           End of 1920s


Oct 8, 13:      Discussion of Mid-Term



Oct. 15:         MID-TERM TAKE-HOME EXAM DUE



II.  *The 1930s*



Oct. 20:         The Crash and its Consequences



Oct. 22:         The New Deal: 1933-1936

                     Reading:  Pells, chs. 2-8, epilogue



Oct. 27:         The New Deal in the Late 1930s



Oct. 29:         Hand Back Exam

                     Reading:  John Steinbeck, *The Grapes of Wrath*



Nov. 3:         The Search for Radical Alternatives: The Ideals of Planning and Community



Nov. 5:         The Search for Radical Alternatives: Cultural Revolution and the Role of the Intellectual

                   Reading:  Richard Wright, *Native Son*



Nov. 10:         The Literature of Social Protest: John Steinbeck and Richard Wright



Nov. 12:         The Literature of Social Satire: Men, Women, and Mary McCarthy

                     Reading:  Mary McCarthy, *The Company She Keeps*



Nov. 17:         Social Change and Social Stability: The "Forgotten" Americans



Nov. 19:         Social Change and Social Stability: The Middle Class



Nov. 24:         From Depression to War


Dec. 1,3:        Discussion of Final



Dec. 9:           FINAL TAKE-HOME EXAM DUE



_________________________________________



READING ASSIGNMENTS



For Mid-Term Exam (due October 15 in class):

                  Sinclair Lewis, *Babbitt*

                  Malcolm Cowley, *Exile's Return*

                  Richard Pells, *Radical Visions and American Dreams*, prefaces, ch. 1

                  F. Scott Fitzgerald, *The Great Gatsby*

                  Ernest Hemingway, *The Sun Also Rises*



For Final Exam (due December 9 by Noon in Main History Office, Garrison 1.104):

                  Pells, chs. 2-8, epilogue

                  John Steinbeck, *The Grapes of Wrath*

                  Richard Wright, *Native Son*

                  Mary McCarthy, *The Company She Keeps*



The mid-term exam will cover the 1920s; the final exam will cover the 1930s.
Both exams will be take-home.  Each will require 2 five-page essays for a minimum total of 10 pages on each exam.  Each exam will count 50%.  There are no extensions or incompletes given in this course.

HIS 389 • World Impact Of Us Mass Cul

39450 • Spring 2009
Meets T 700pm-1000pm GAR 2.124
(also listed as AMS 391 )
show description

This research course is designed for graduate students to conduct research and prepare a paper in their area of interest on broad questions of ethnicity/race, gender, class, sexuality, citizenship, and transnational identity in global context. More specifically, the course is designed for students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds to explore the ways in which national and transnational identities shape and are shaped by changing concepts of citizenship, patterns of global migration, postcolonialism, as well as race, class, and gender formations.  In the past students have chosen topics on identity formation in the U.S., Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. Students prepare a 25-30 page research paper based on a topic of their choosing, preferably one related to their thesis or dissertation projects. Students will also write short response papers to introductory readings, prepare a short research-paper prospectus, and spend the middle weeks of the semester conducting research and meeting individually with the instructor. During the last three weeks students will present their paper drafts and receive feedback before handing in the final paper.  Grading: three short reader response papers/class participation (30%); short research paper proposal (10%); final paper (60%).

Prerequisite: Graduate standing and consent of the graduate adviser.

May be repeated for credit when the topics vary.

 

 

Publications

Books

Books

Radical Visions and American Dreams: Culture and Social Thought in the Depression Years (New York: Harper & Row, 1973). In print in hardcover and paperback from 1973 to 1995; reissued with a new introduction by University of Illinois Press in 1998.

The Liberal Mind in a Conservative Age: American Intellectuals in the 1940s and 1950s (New York: Harper & Row, 1985). In print in hardcover and paperback since 1985; currently available with a new introduction from Wesleyan University Press.

Not Like Us: How Europeans Have Loved, Hated, and Transformed American Culture Since World War II (New York: Basic Books/HarperCollins, 1997). Paperback edition, Basic Books, 1998. Award for Best Scholarly Book, Popular Culture Association, 1997.

Forthcoming Book
Modernist America: Art, Music, Movies, and the Global Impact of American Culture (Yale University Press, fall 2010).

Articles (for complete list, see CV)

“From Louis Armstrong to Duke Ellington: The Spread of Jazz in the 1920s,” University of Cologne (December 2008)

“The Globalization of American Culture: Modern Art and Modern Jazz in Postwar America,” University of Lyon, France (January 2009)

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