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A Companion to American Cultural History

Karen Halttunen (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-69109-0
480 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to American Cultural History (0470691093) cover image
A Companion to American Cultural History offers a historiographic overview of the scholarship, with special attention to the major studies and debates that have shaped the field, and an assessment of where it is currently headed.
  • 30 essays explore the history of American culture at all analytic levels
  • Written by scholarly experts well-versed in the questions and controversies that have activated interest in this burgeoning field
  • Part of the authoritative Blackwell Companions to American History series
  • Provides both a chronological and thematic approach: topics range from British America in the Eighteenth Century to the modern day globalization of American Culture; thematic approaches include gender and sexuality and popular culture
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Notes on Contributors viii

Introduction xi

Karen Halttunen

Part I Early America 1

1. Cultural Encounters: Americans and Europeans 3
Peter C. Mancall

2. Cultures of Colonial Settlement 17
Carla Gardina Pestana

3. British America in the Eighteenth Century 32
Karin Wulf

4. The Revolution and the Early Republic 46
Catherine E. Kelly

Part II The Nineteenth Century 63

5. Antebellum Cultural History 65
James W. Cook

6. Religion and Reform 79
Lewis Perry

7. Black Culture in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries 95
Demetrius L. Eudell

8. The Civil War in American Culture 110
Alice Fahs

9. The West 125
Ann Fabian

10. The Gilded Age 139
Scott A. Sandage

11. Immigration and Ethnic Culture 154
Hasia R. Diner

12. Cultural Watersheds in Fin de Siècle America 166
Janet M. Davis

Part III The Twentieth Century 181

13. Consumer Culture and Mass Culture 183
Charles F. McGovern

14. Modernism 198
Joel Dinerstein

15. Politics and Culture in the 1930s and 1940s 214
Julia L. Foulkes

16. The 1950s and 1960s 230
Daniel Belgrad

17. The Globalization of American Culture 246
Petra Goedde

Part IV Thematic and Methodological Approaches 263

18. Cultural Theory, Dialogue, and American Cultural History 265
George Lipsitz

19. Situating Visual Culture 279
Sally M. Promey

20. Material Cultures 295
J. Ritchie Garrison

21. Performance and Display 311
M. Alison Kibler

22. Gender and Sexuality 327
Jane H. Hunter

23. Race and Ethnicity 341
Eric Avila

24. Popular Culture 356
Nan Enstad

25. History and Memory 371
David Glassberg

Part V The Cultural Turn in Other Fields 381

26. Culturalist Approaches to Intellectual History 383
Casey Nelson Blake

27. The Impact of the Culture Concept on Social History 396
Lawrence B. Glickman

28. Religious History and the Cultural Turn 406
Leigh E. Schmidt

29. Political History and the Tool of Culture 416
Joanne B. Freeman

30. The Cultural History of Foreign Relations 425
Andrew J. Rotter

Index 437

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Karen Halttunen is Professor of History and American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, and former president of the American Studies Association. She is the author of Confidence Men and Painted Women: A Study of Middle-Class Culture in America, 1830–1870 (1986) and Murder Most Foul: The Killer and the American Gothic Imagination (2000).

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• 30 essays explore the history of American culture at all analytic levels
• Written by scholarly experts well-versed in the questions and controversies that have activated interest in this burgeoning field
• Part of the authoritative Blackwell Companions to American History series
• Provides both a chronological and thematic approach: topics range from British America in the Eighteenth Century to the modern day globalization of American Culture; thematic approaches include gender and sexuality and popular culture
See More

"The thirty bibliographies of the most influential work in American cultural history would by themselves make the book very helpful to a wide audience. But the essays' historiographical and thematic overviews provide the most valuable contribution, for each essay is aimed squarely at the ways that the best works in the field have been in conversation with each other." (A Journal of Southern History, February 2010)

"A monumental achievement. The breadth of coverage is staggering, and the depth of insight a credit to its multifarious authors. Rarely can one book offer so much." (Reviews in History, April 2009)

“This excellent reader in US cultural history for undergraduates may also be useful to specialists as a general overview of the field as it has evolved, especially over the past four decades. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.” (CHOICE, March 2009)

"A guide for scholars and students who are interested in developments over the past quarter-century … No reader should come away from it without a good springboard to further study. It is an appetite-whetter, a conspectus and a guide." (Reference Reviews, January 2009)

"The contributors to this indispensable volume have applied to scholarship in American cultural history the same keen imagination and appreciation for complexity that has made the field so exciting in recent years."
–Joan Shelley Rubin, University of Rochester

"This important collection of original essays provides a most useful and accessible survey of a new approach to United States history. It is not just a companion but a text in its own right, a new survey of the American past from many cultural perspectives."
–Alan Trachtenberg, Yale University

"This volume marks a major contribution to the field of American cultural history. Illuminating, accessible, and authoritative, it will indeed prove a trusty companion for students and
scholars alike."
–John Kasson, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

"This well-wrought collection is a must-read. Its essays do more than any other book to clarify the multiple meanings of cultural history and to document the thorough penetration of cultural approaches to all the sub-fields of American historical scholarship."
–Richard W. Fox, University of Southern California

"A comprehensive and timely overview of American cultural history, from its first pioneering examples to its most recent linguistic, visual, transnational, and performative turns. Students looking for a lucid and lively introduction to the themes, methods, and impact of the culturalist perspective on US history will find this volume indispensable."
–Jean-Christophe Agnew, Yale University

"This collection is a marvel of intelligent synthesis and concise interpretation. Karen Halttunen has assembled some of the best cultural historians in the United States and they have cast unprecedented light on their contentious field from a rich variety of chronological and conceptual perspectives. The result is an indispensable scholarly resource."
–Jackson Lears, Rutgers University

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