Higher Education

Major Problems in American Popular Culture, 1st Edition

  • Kathleen Franz American University
  • Susan Smulyan Brown University
  • ISBN-10: 0618474811  |  ISBN-13: 9780618474813
  • 496 Pages
  • © 2012 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $74.25
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About

Overview

MAJOR PROBLEMS IN AMERICAN POPULAR CULTURE follows the highly successful Major Problems format. Each chapter comprises essays and documents that focus on a particular aspect of American popular culture. These essays and documents will prompt students to think about the centrality of popular culture in American life and its powerful role in forging identity, historical memory, and relationships among consumers, producers, citizens, and the state. They reinforce the idea that popular culture is the ground on which cultural and social transformations are worked. Race and class are at the center of the analysis, and these categories, along with gender and nationalism, thread through the chapters. They all argue for seeing popular audiences as active creators rather than passive receivers of popular culture.

Features and Benefits

  • Designed to encourage critical thinking about history, Wadsworth Cengage Learning's Major Problems series introduces students to both primary sources and analytical essays on important topics in U.S. history.
  • Key pedagogical elements of the Major Problems format have been retained: chapter introductions, head notes, and suggested readings.
  • In addition to those features, the book's website includes links to resources like sheet music collections, audio and video recordings and re-enactments, museums (including online "virtual" museums and exhibits), digital recreations, and collections and archives that include digitized photographs and other images, video (e.g. films, T.V. and commercials), audio recordings, books, pamphlets, and other documents.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: WHY STUDY POPULAR CULTURE?
ESSAYS.
George Lipsitz, "The Case for Studying Popular Culture"; Stuart Hall, "Deconstructing Popular Culture as Political"; John Clarke, "Approaches to Interpreting Popular Culture."
CHAPTER 2: POPULAR CULTURE EXPRESSES AND CONSTRUCTS RACE: MINSTREL SHOWS ACROSS TWO CENTURIES, 1850 – 1950.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Minstrel Stump Speech, 1868 2. Minstrelsy Creates Racist Stereotypes, 1896 3. Minstrel Sheet Music Extends Racist Stereotypes from African Americans to Asian Americans, 1907 4. Edward LeRoy Rice Remembers Minstrelsy, 1911 5. Instructions for Twentieth Century Amateur Minstrels Reinforce Earlier Racist Ideas, 1938 6. The Urban League Objects to Amateur Minstrel Shows, 1950 7. A Catholic Newspaper Confronts Minstrelsy''s Racism, 1950.
ESSAYS.
Robert Toll, "Minstrels and African Americans in the Nineteenth Century"; Robert Lee, "Chinese American Stereotypes in Nineteenth-Century Minstrelsy"; Susan Smulyan, "Twentieth-Century Amateur Minstrels."
CHAPTER 3: NINETEENTH-CENTURY AUDIENCES CONTRIBUTE TO POPULAR CULTURE, 1849 – 1880.
DOCUMENTS.
1. An Eyewitness Details the Class Conflict of the Astor Place Riot, 1849 2. Viewing the Violent Astor Place Riot, 1843 3. Charleston Courier Reports on an Exhibition of the Fejee Mermaid, 1843 4. P.T. Barnum Explains the Appeal of the FeJee Mermaid, 1855 5. Observer Olive Logan Describes Active Theater Audiences, 1878 6. Playwright G.W.H. Griffin Rewrites Hamlet for Nineteenth-Century Audiences, 1880.
ESSAYS.
Lawrence W. Levine, "Audiences Riot Over Interpretations of Shakespeare"; Neil Harris, "Audiences Enjoy Being Fooled by P.T. Barnum."
CHAPTER 4: WORLD''S FAIRS, CIRCUSES, AND WILD WEST SHOWS EXPRESS IDEAS ABOUT U.S. IMPERIALISM, 1876 – 1918.
DOCUMENTS.
1. British Journalist Fred A. McKenzie Notes the Americanization of the United Kingdom, 1901 2. Literary Digest Sees World''s Fairs as Educational, 1904 3. The Circus Encounters the Spanish-American War in the United States, 1898 4. The Circus Re-Enacts the Spanish-American War, 1899 5. Circus Clown Jules Turnour Comments on His International Travels, 1910 6. Wild West Shows Take American Culture Outside the United States, 1896.
ESSAYS.
Robert W. Rydell and Rob Kroes, "Fairs Take the United States to Europe"; Janet M. Davis, "Circuses Educate Americans about Nationalism and Imperialism."
CHAPTER 5: WORKERS DEMAN LEISURE TIME, 1866 – 1914.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Songwriter Jesse Henry Addresses Workers'' Demands, c. 1866 2. Activist Edward H. Rogers Struggles for an Eight-Hour Day, 1872 3. Reporter Edwin E. Slosson Explains the Business of Leisure, 1904 4. Russian Novelist Maxim Gorky Criticizes Commercialized Leisure, 1907 5. Ordinary People Challenge Propriety at the Beach, 1903–1909 6. The New York Sun Portrays a Typical Baseball Crowd, 1884 7. Anne O''Hagan Describes the Athletic American Girl, 1901 8. H. Addington Bruce Analyzes Baseball and the National Life, 1913.
ESSAYS.
John F. Kasson, "Workers Seek Leisure Time and Space"; Steven Riess, "Sports Change Urban Leisure."
CHAPTER 6: MOVIES, GENDER, AND THE MAKING OF FANS, 1910 – 1935.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Early Writer W.W. Winters Defines Movie Fanatics, 1910 2. William Lewis Gordon Advises Fans on How to Script Movies, 1914 3. Playwrights George S. Kaufman and Marc Connelly Explain Male Film Fans in "Merton of the Movies," 1925 4. Chicago Daily Tribune Reports Positive Audience Reaction to Movie about Fans, 1924 5. W.W. Charters, Educational Researcher, Reports the Effects of Movies on Boys and Girls, 1933.
ESSAYS.
Daniel Czitrom, "Movies as Popular Culture"; Kathryn Fuller, "Studying Movie Audiences."
CHAPTER 7: ADVERTISING AND THE CULTURE OF CONSUMPTION, 1880 – 1930.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Early Magazine Advertisements Crowd the Page, 1880 2. Advertising Changes Visually, 1900 3. Playwrights Roi Cooper Megrue and Walter Hackett Make Fun of Advertising and Consumers, 1917 4. A Pioneer Ad Man, Bruce Barton, Defends the Need for Advertising, 1925 5. Home Economist Christine Frederick Explains How to Advertise to Women, 1929 6. Radical Critic James Rorty Attacks Radio Advertising, 1934 7. Humor Magazine Satirizes the Role of Advertising in Hard Economic Times, 1931.
ESSAYS.
Michael Schudson, "Defining and Locating Consumer Culture in the 1920s"; Roland Marchand, "Early Advertising Methods."
CHAPTER 8: CARS AS POPULAR CULTURE: DEMOCRACY, RACIAL DIFFERENCE, AND NEW TECHNOLOGY, 1920 – 1939.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Cornelius Vanderbilt Jr., Wealthy Writer and Movie Producer, Says Automobiles Democratize Leisure, 1921 2. Native Americans Take Control of the Car and Their Image, 1916 3. Magazine Writer George H. Dacy Describes the Symbolic Power of the Automobile for Native Americans, 1922 4. Sociologists Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd Study How the Automobile Changed Leisure in Famous Study of Middletown, 1929 5. African American Sociologist Lillian Rhodes Rebuts Middletown''s Findings, 1933 6. Urban League Magazine Explains the Difficulties for African American Drivers, 1933.
ESSAYS.
Kathleen Franz, "African-Americans Take to the Open Road"; Philip DeLoria, "The Racial Politics of the Automobile."
CHAPTER 9: RADIO ENTERS THE HOME, 1920 – 1942.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Broadcaster Credo Fitch Harris Remembers Early Radio Broadcasting, 1937 2. Listeners Speak Out in Radio Broadcast Magazine, 1927 3. Humor Magazine Ballyhoo Makes Fun of Commercials, 1931 4. Federal Radio Commission Reports on Commercial Broadcasting and Its Regulation, 1932 5. President Franklin Roosevelt Uses Radio to Calm Americans at the Beginning of the Great Depression, 1933 6. Radio Researcher Paul Lazarsfeld Presents Information about Women Listeners to Broadcasters and Advertisers, 1942.
ESSAYS.
Susan Smulyan, "Paying for Radio by Selling Time"; Jason Loviglio, "The Influence of Broadcasting on Politics."
CHAPTER 10: DEFINING POPULAR MUSIC: THE CONCEPT OF AUTHENTICITY AND THE ROLE OF CULTURE BROKERS, 1935 – 1950.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Time, a National Magazine, Takes a Negative View of Lead Belly, 1935 2. Influential Music Critic Reviews the Negro Folksongs as Sung by Lead Belly, 1937 3. Richard Wright, an African American Novelist, Describes the Politics of Lead Belly''s Image, 1937 4. Paul Ackerman, Journalist, Discusses the Political Potential of Music, 1956 5. Américo Paredes, Ethnographer and Culture Critic, Investigates the Political Meanings of El Corrido de Gregorio Cortez, 1958 6. Folk Ballad Remembers the Courage of Gregorio Cortez and Conflicts along the Mexico-Texas Boarder, 1958.
ESSAYS.
Benjamin Filene, "Culture Brokers and Questions of Authenticity"; José David Saldivar, "Collecting Culture on the Mexico-Texas Border."
CHAPTER 11: TELEVISION BECOMES PART OF THE FAMILY, 1955 – 1965.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Advertisement Pictures Television in the Family Circle, 1955 2. Leo Bogart, Critic, Describes Television as a Social Medium, 1956 3. "Mr. Adams and Eve," an Early Program Represents Television on Television, 1957 4. The New Republic, Leftist Magazine, Objects to Television, 1959 5. Federal Regulator Newton Minow Criticizes Television as "A Vast Wasteland," 1961 6. Robert de Koos, TV Guide Writer, Views Bill Cosby as an Upwardly Mobile Individual, 1965 7. The Chicago Daily Defender, an African American Newspaper, Views Bill Cosby as Presenting a New Image for African Americans, 1965.
ESSAYS.
Lynn Spigel, "Television in the Family Circle"; Herman Gray, "Television as Representation."
CHAPTER 12: YOUTH AND POPULAR CULTURE DURING THE COLD WAR, 1952 – 1960.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Horror Comics Challenge Middle Class Norms, 1952 2. Frederic Wertham, Crusader against Comics, Makes His Case to Parents, 1953 3. Saturday Evening Post Explains Why Chinese American Youth Are Not Juvenile Delinquents, 1955 4. New York Times Film Reviewer Bosley Crowther Worries about Young People in The Blackboard Jungle, 1955 5. New York Times Film Reviewer Bosley Crowther Considers Juvenile Delinquency in Rebel Without a Cause, 1955 6. Time Magazine Describes Objections to Rock ''n'' Roll, 1956 7. Songwriters Carole King and Gerry Goffin Reproduce Girls Talking, 1960.
ESSAYS.
James Gilbert, "Boy Culture/Bad Boys"; Susan J. Douglas, "Girl Culture/Bad Girls."
CHAPTER 13: POPULAR CULTURE AND GLOBALIZATION: BEYOND IMPERIALISM.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Dave Brubeck, a Jazz Musician, Describes His Role in American Diplomacy, 1958 2. Cartoonist Satirizes Disney as Leading Force of U.S. Imperialism, 1998 3. Media Scholars Assess the Results of the Global Disney Audiences Project, 2001 4. David Y.H. Wu, Anthropologist, Believes Taiwanese McDonald''s Is a Local Institution, 1997 5. Executive Producer Discusses Why Japanese Animation Captured American Market, 2000 6. Turkish Journalists Interview Hip-Hop Star Ceza on Cultural Difference, 2008.
ESSAYS.
John Storey, "Americanization or Glocalization: Studying American Culture''s Place in the World"; Gülriz Büken, "An Argument against the Spread of American Popular Culture in Turkey."
CHAPTER 14: NEW MEDIA, NEW NETWORKS, NEW CONTENT, NEW METHODOLOGIES: POPULAR CULTURE''S PAST ILLUMINATES ITS FUTURE.
DOCUMENTS.
1. Neal Stephenson, Science Fiction Writer, Envisions a Negative Future for Popular Culture, 1994 2. Karen Valley, Entertainment Weekly Writer, Describes Technological Changes in Popular Culture, 2006 3. Newsweek Writer Steven Levy Explains the Appeal of the iPod, 2006 4. Columnist Shzr Ee Tan Describes Why She Leaves Facebook, 2009 5. Columnist Shzr Ee Tan Describes Why She Rejoins Facebook, 2009.
ESSAYS.
Stephen Kline, Nick Dyer-Witherod, and Greigde Peuter, "Scholars Posit New Media as Commodified, Not Liberatory," 2005; Henry Jenkins, "Scholar/Fan Sees New Convergence Culture as Full of Potential."

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Kathleen Franz

Kathleen Franz is an associate professor of history and director of public history at American University. She has a Ph.D. in American Civilization from Brown University and specializes in 20th Century U.S. cultural history with a focus on popular culture and the history of technology. She's also an active curator and public historian who regularly works with local and national cultural institutions. In 2005 the University of Pennsylvania Press published her book, TINKERING: CONSUMERS REINVENT THE EARLY AUTOMOBILE.

Susan Smulyan

Susan Smulyan is a professor of American Civilization at Brown University. She holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University and is a cultural historian of the United States in the twentieth century and the author of two books: SELLING RADIO: THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF AMERICAN BROADCASTING (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992) and POPULAR IDEOLOGIES: MASS CULTURE AT MID-CENTURY (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). In addition, she has worked on three large web projects: "Whole Cloth: Discovering American History Through Science and Technology"; "Freedom Now!: An Archival Project of Tougaloo College and Brown University"; and "Perry Visits Japan." These websites exist at the intersection between faculty research and teaching. Professor Smulyan teaches courses in popular culture, advertising history, radio, digital scholarship, and American Studies methods. She was selected by the American Studies Association as a delegate to the Japanese Association for American Studies and has presented papers in France, Italy, New Zealand, and Australia. In spring 2009, she was a Faculty International Scholar, School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.