HIST163 - MODERN AMERICAN CULTURE

Description: 
This course explores the history of American culture from the 1890s to 2000. It considers the role of culture in recent American history, the meaning of American identity in a diverse nation, and the selfconscious embrace and questioning of modernity. Why did culture become such an important part of American economic, social, and political life in the twentieth century? How has American culture and identity been created, understood, and mobilized by different groups at different times? What have been the politics of culture over the twentieth century? How did the crises of the 20th century challenge and redefine American culture, and in turn, how did culture help Americans make sense of challenging and traumatic times? The course emphasizes the study of primary documents—journalism, fiction, letters and diaries, music, photographs, and film—as a means of understanding the past. Topics include the rise of ‘culture industries’ and mass entertainment, such as amusement parks, film, and television; the growth of consumer culture and concepts of “mass culture”; the impact of gender and the role of working-class peoples, African Americans, and immigrants in American culture; tradition, religion, and cultural modernity; the cultural response to the Depression, World War II, and Cold War; popular arts and social activism; and postmodernist, ‘virtual’ and local cultures in the late 20th century.
Instructors: 
PEISS, KATHY
Day and Time: 
MW 1100AM-1200PM
Room: 
COLLEGE HALL 314
Activity: 
LEC
Cross Listings: 
    Registration Notes: 
    SECTION ACTIVITY CO-REQUISITE REQUIRED; CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN US; HISTORY & TRADITION SECTOR