American Culture in the 1910s (Twentieth-Century American by Mark Whalan

By Mark Whalan

With the booklet of this quantity, Edinburgh college Press closes out its super winning tradition heritage sequence, which writes the tale of the 20th century in the course of the cultural and highbrow activities of every decade. The 1910s have been in most cases ruled through the horrors of the 1st sleek battle, however it additionally witnessed the flowering of modernism, the beginning of Hollywood, and the increase of innovative interpretations of tradition and society. Mark Whalan investigates this decade via achievements in fiction and poetry; paintings and images; movie and vaudeville; and song, theater, and dance. He comprises precise statement and directed case reports of influential texts and occasions and comprises chronologies and bibliographies. He considers Tarzan of the Apes, The delivery of a state, the novel modernism of Gertrude Stein, the Provincetown gamers, and jazz music's earliest recordings. A concluding bankruptcy explores the effect of the 1st international struggle on cultural understandings of nationalism, citizenship, and propaganda.

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36 Indeed, this goes to the heart of the moral and cultural imperialism McGerr sees at the heart of the progressive project: working-class subjects of their reforms often rightly recognised this impulse as designed to eradicate not only the most exploitative aspects of the American workplace, but also to bulldoze working-class cultural and social practices which often nurtured a distance from middle-class norms. Dimock goes on to suggest that Hine’s current canonical status perhaps unconsciously reinforces a troubling politics of middle-class spectatorship, whereby contemporary viewers relish being established as ‘enfranchised, adult viewers situated in imaginary relations of dominance vis-à-vis these “victims” of industrial capitalism.

Although these differed in many respects from one another, they shared some common features: a faith in the impartial, professionalised, expert view; a belief in social models of progress and improvement (be they economic, racial, or political) which often carried a utopian spirit; a distrust of monied elites and capitalist oligarchy; a faith in a middleclass readership capable of being swayed by rational and by emotive 9 Introduction methods of persuasion; a focus on social cohesion and collective responsibility; and a desire to ameliorate extremes of inequality.

47 Addams was also active in the women’s trade union movement, helping to organise the Women’s Trade Union League – an organisation dedicated to improving women’s position within the national labour movement (the American Federation of Labor was at best indifferent and at worst hostile to female membership) and also to lobbying for protective legislation in the workplace. Their cause was assisted by the public outcry over the tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in 1911 which took the lives of 146 women, mostly young and many of them immigrants, working in sweatshop conditions for the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in Washington Square, New York.

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