United States Culture Between the World Wars, 1919-1941

History 103D.005

Fall 2005
Instructor (text): 
102 Barrows
Day & Time: 
Th 4-6

This course will explore American culture during the Twenties and Thirties. During these turbulent decades America emerged as a modern society. The nation was forced to come to terms with urbanization; massive internal migrations; an expanding corporate order; a growing consumption culture; and later, the cataclysmic effects of the Great Depression. These various developments confused traditional hierarchies of race, gender, ethnicity, age, and class, and complicated the question, "Who is an American?" Our seminar will explore how Americans sought to answer this question by looking at high culture, mass culture, and popular culture. Our topics will range from the Harlem Renaissance, to Hollywood, to the Ku Klux Klan. The seminar will utilize primary documents, films, and secondary readings, such as Roland Marchand's, ";Advertising the American Dream,"; Edward J. Larson's, ";Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion,"; James N. Gregory's ";American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California,"; and Anthony Lee's ";Painting on the Left: Diego Rivera, Radical Politics, and San Francisco's Public Murals.";