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Education

Published on February 26, 2008

Author: Elodie

Source: authorstream.com

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FORMATION OF MODERN AMERICAN CULTURE, 1920-PRESENT:  FORMATION OF MODERN AMERICAN CULTURE, 1920-PRESENT Introduction Slide2:  Course Introduction Discussion of requirements, course format, online syllabus Basic overview of course topics, themes, and readings Slide3:  Americanism and Mass Cultural Emergence Today: D.W. Griffith, the film industry, and backward-looking perspectives on Americanism Thursday: African-Americans, Americanism, and the Harlem Renaissance Still from D.W. Griffith, Birth of a Nation (1915) Slide4:  Contests over American Identity in the Early Twentieth Century A. Rapid change produces uncertainty about American identity B. Conflicts emerge 1. nativists promote expulsion or assimilation of immigrants 2. ethnic groups elaborate their own subcultures in dialogue with established American traditions Slide5:  Conflicts over Americanism pronounced in 1910s 1. Significance of World War I a. heightens nationalist sentiment of certain ethnic groups b. raises question of American loyalty and pride 2. Concepts of "Americanism" and "un-Americanism" come into popular use Slide6:  Debate over the meaning of "Americanism" Should American identity look backward to a coherent, Anglo-Saxon past? Or should it look forward to a future made partly by African Americans, new immigrants, and other racial groups? The effort to enforce assimilationist model of American identity is evident in a variety of cultural contexts, including popular film First motion picture: The Great Train Robbery, 1903 Slide7:  Motion Picture Industry Early movies reflected tastes and experiences of immigrants Motion picture reform inspired partly by desire to reshape immigrant, working-class life Also inspired by desire to make movies marketable to a national, middle-class market Pittsburgh nickelodeon, pictured in 1908 Coliseum Movie Palace, Seattle, erected 1916 Slide8:  D.W. Griffith and Motion Picture Reform Griffith's vision of American identity is distinctly backward-looking Biographical context 1. from the South 2. father a former slaveholder, mother religiously devout Griffith: cinematic genius and moral crusader 1. combined various cinematic innovations to produce Birth of a Nation 2. saw motion pictures as powerful medium for enforcing white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant values D.W. Griffith Slide9:  Birth of a Nation controversial 1. breakthrough in reaching white, middle-class audience 2. film's popularity reflects complexity of American identity Think about the racial accents of Griffith's representation of American nationhood as you read The New Negro this week.

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