HENA01102U Elective 2: Theme in American Studies B: ining Identities: Examining Historical Constructions of America Through the Lens of Popular Culture, 1800 – 1950

Volume 2014/2015

This course examines 19th and 20th Century popular culture and investigates how dime novels, wild west shows, world’s fairs, freak shows, blackface minstrelsy, and other types of vaudeville performance introduced ideas about race, gender, sexuality, citizenry, and class. While these genres of entertainment certainly intended to amuse audiences, they also perpetuated and justified the hierarchies that existed among the voluntary and involuntary immigrants into the industrializing and urbanizing American economy. This course examines how these performances stimulated the national imagination and functioned as forums for multiple cultural negotiations.

Possible titles include:

Leroy Ashby. With Amusement for All: A History of American Popular Culture since 1830 . Kentucky: The University Press of Kentucky, 2006

Robert Bogdan. Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988.

Joy S. Kasson. Buffalo Bill's Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History, New York: Hill & Wang, 2000.

Lawrence Levine. Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1988.

Eric Lott. Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class, New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.

William J. Mahar. Behind the Burnt Cork Mask: Early Blackface Minstrelsy and Antebellum American Popular Culture, Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1999

Robert W. Rydell and Rob Kroes. Buffalo Bill in Bologna: The Americanization of the World, 1869-1992, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2005

George Lipsitz. Time Passages.Collective Memory and American Popular Culture

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Preparation
  • 162,75
  • Total
  • 204,75
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Criteria for exam assesment