Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Index: Modern American Political History

Modern American Political History

~~A Reading List~~

[Click on the name to link to my review.]

Historiography and Broader Trends

XX Bennett, David Harry. The Party of Fear: From Nativist Movements to the New Right in American History. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.

XX Brinkley, Alan. Liberalism and Its Discontents. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1998.

XX Foner, Eric. 1984. "Why Is There No Socialism in the United States?" History Workshop. no. 17: 57-80.

XX Novick, Peter. That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession. Cambridge [England]: Cambridge University Press, 1988.

XX Schlesinger, Arthur M. The Imperial Presidency. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1973.

Late 19th Century to Progressive Era

XX Cohen, Andrew Wender. The Racketeer's Progress: Chicago and the Struggle for the Modern American Economy, 1900-1940. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

XX Cronon, William. Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West. New York: W.W. Norton, 1991.

XX Goodwyn, Lawrence. The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1978. Bottom of Form

XX Lears, T. J. Jackson. Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877-1920. New York: HarperCollins, 2009.

XX McGerr, Michael E. A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920. New York: Free Press, 2003.

XX Woodward, C. Vann. The Strange Career of Jim Crow. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.

World War I and Woodrow Wilson

XX Keegan, John. The First World War. New York: A. Knopf, 1999.

XX Kennedy, David M. Over Here: The First World War and American Society. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.


XX Larson, Edward J. Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. New York: BasicBooks, 1997.

XX Parrish, Michael E. Anxious Decades: America in Prosperity and Depression, 1920-1941. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994.

FDR: Depression and World War II

XX Keegan, John. The Second World War. New York: Viking, 1990.

XX Leuchtenburg, William Edward. Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal, 1932-1940. The New American Nation series. New York: Harper & Row, 1963.

Cold War and Fifties

XX Gaddis, John Lewis. We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997. (Update post-Cold War)

XX McCullough, David G. Truman. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992.

XX Offner, Arnold A. Another Such Victory: President Truman and the Cold War, 1945-1953. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2002. (Read against Gaddis)

XX Parmet, Herbert S. The Democrats: The Years After FDR. New York: Macmillan, 1976.

XX Schrecker, Ellen. Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America. Boston: Little, Brown, 1998.

The Sixties: JFK, LBJ, Vietnam

XX Dallek, Robert. Flawed Giant: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1961-1973. New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

XX Goodwin, Doris Kearns. Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.

XX Halberstam, David. The Best and the Brightest: David Halberstam. 1972.

XX Herring, George C. America's Longest War: The United States and Vietnam, 1950-1975. New York: Wiley, 1979.

XX Matusow, Allen J. The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in the 1960s. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.

The Seventies: Nixon, Watergate

XX Greene, John Robert. The Limits of Power: The Nixon and Ford Administrations. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.

XX Lassiter, Matthew D. The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006.

XX Perlstein, Rick. Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America. New York: Scribner, 2008.

XX Schulman, Bruce J. The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics. New York: Free Press, 2001.

The Eighties: Reagan

XX Wilentz, Sean. The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008. New York, NY: Harper, 2008.Bottom of Form

XX Wills, Garry. Reagan's America: Innocents at Home. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1987.

Clinton to Present

XX Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. New York: Penguin Press, 2004.

XX Dershowitz, Alan M. Supreme Injustice: How the High Court Hijacked Election 2000. Oxford: New York, 2001.

XX Ricks, Thomas E. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. New York: Penguin Press, 2006.

XX Wright, Lawrence. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. New York: Knopf, 2006.

The Index: Media Studies

Media Studies

~~A Reading List~~

[Click on the name to link to my review.]

Media and Cultural Studies

BOOKSTop of Form

XX Benjamin, Walter, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction." From Benjamin and Hannah Arendt. Illuminations. New York: Schocken Books, 1986.

XX Ellis, John. Visible Fictions: Cinema, Television, Video. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1982.

XX Fiske, John. Understanding Popular Culture. Boston: Unwin Hyman, 1989.

XX Jenkins, Henry. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York: New York University Press, 2006.

XX McRobbie, Angela. Postmodernism and Popular Culture. London: Routledge, 1994.

XX Nye, Russel B. The Unembarrassed Muse: The Popular Arts in America. New York: Dial Press, 1970.

XX Rosenberg, Bernard, and David Manning White. Mass Culture: The Popular Arts in America. New York: Free Press, 1964.

XX Seldes, Gilbert. The Public Arts. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1956.

XX Storey, John. Cultural Studies and the Study of Popular Culture. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2010.

XX Warshow, Robert. The Immediate Experience; Movies, Comics, Theatre & Other Aspects of Popular Culture. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1962.


XX Althusser, Louis. “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses.” http://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/althusser/1970/ideology.htm

XX Barthes, Roland. “(i) Operation Margarine; (ii) Myth Today.” From Durham, Meenakshi Gigi, and Douglas Kellner. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Malden, Mass: Blackwell PuLinkblishers, 2001, 99-106.

XX Habermas, Jurgen. “The Public Sphere: An Encyclopedia Article.” From Durham, Meenakshi Gigi, and Douglas Kellner. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 2001, 73-78.

XX Hall, Stuart. “Encoding/Decoding.” From Durham, Meenakshi Gigi, and Douglas Kellner. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 2001, 163-173.

XX McLuhan, Marshall. “The Medium is the Message.” From Durham, Meenakshi Gigi, and Douglas Kellner. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 2001, 107-117.

XX Poster, Mark. “Postmodern Virtualities.” From Durham, Meenakshi Gigi, and Douglas Kellner. Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Publishers, 2001, 533-548.



XX Arnheim, Rudolf. Film As Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966.

XX Braudy, Leo. The World in a Frame: What We See in Films. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1976.

XX hooks, bell. Reel to Real: Race, Class and Sex at the Movies. New York: Routledge, 2009.

XX Kracauer, Siegfried. Theory of Film; The Redemption of Physical Reality. New York: Oxford University Press, 1960.

XX Mast, Gerald. Film/Cinema/Movie: A Theory of Experience. New York: Harper & Row, 1977.

XX Mast, Gerald, and Bruce F. Kawin. A Short History of the Movies. Boston: Longman, 2011.

XX Schatz, Thomas. Hollywood Genres: Formulas, Filmmaking, and the Studio System. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1981.


XX Dyer, Richard. “Stereotyping.” From Gays and Film. New York: Zoetrope, 1984.

XX Gunning, Tom. “Narrative Discourse and the Narrator System.” From Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, 470-481.

XX Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” From Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, 837-848.

XX Thompson, Kristin. “The Concept of Cinematic Excess.” From Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, 513-524.

XX Williams, Linda. “Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess.” From Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, 727-741.



XX Allen, Robert Clyde. Channels of Discourse, Reassembled: Television and Contemporary Criticism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.

XX Boddy, William. Fifties Television: The Industry and Its Critics. Illinois studies in communications. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990.

XX Burns, Gary, and Robert J. Thompson. Television Studies: Textual Analysis. New York: Praeger, 1989.

XX Castleman, Harry, and Walter J. Podrazik. Watching TV: Six Decades of American Television. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2003.

XX Comstock, George A., and Erica Scharrer. Television: What's on, Who's Watching, and What It Means. San Diego: Academic Press, 1999.

XX Feuer, Jane. Seeing Through the Eighties: Television and Reaganism. Console-ing passions. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995.

XX Fiske, John, and John Hartley. Reading Television. London: Routledge, 2005.

XX Lotz, Amanda D. The Television Will Be Revolutionized. New York: New York University Press, 2007.

XX MacDonald, J. Fred. One Nation Under Television: The Rise and Decline of Network TV. New York: Pantheon Books, 1990. http://jfredmacdonald.com/onutv/index.htm

XX McCabe, Janet, and Kim Akass. Quality TV: Contemporary American Television and Beyond. London: I.B. Tauris, 2007.

XX Newcomb, Horace. TV: The Most Popular Art. Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press, 1974.

XX Thompson, Robert J. Television's Second Golden Age. New York: Continuum, 1996.

XX Watson, Mary Ann. Defining Visions: Television and the American Experience in the 20th Century. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub, 2008.


XX Mittell, Jason. 2001. "A Cultural Approach to Television Genre Theory". Cinema Journal. 40, no. 3: 3-24.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Lears - From Salvation to Self-Realization

Lears, T.J. Jackson. “From Salvation to Self-Realization: Advertising and the Therapeutic Roots of the Consumer Culture, 1880-1930.” From Fox, Richard Wightman, and Lears. The Culture of Consumption: Critical Essays in American History, 1880-1980. New York: Pantheon Books, 1983.

Lears pushes the rise of the therapeutic back slightly, and argues that therapeutic sensibility can be identified throughout history. For example, Victorian self-denial was often argued not as a requisite for salvation but as a recipe for good health, physical and mental. But the therapeutic sensibility surged at the turn of the century as people dealt with the "weightlessness" of modern culture. (Lears frequently cites No Place of Grace.)

Lears' thesis is that the consumer culture was fostered by advertising and rooted in the therapeutic sensibility. He disputes Boorstin for his lack of attention to power relations, crediting Ewen for raising power relations in advertising history, but doing so in a way that suggests a diabolical conspiracy created by the dominant hegemony on a passive population. Lears argues for a far more complex relationship between advertisers and citizens. Like Marchand and Franks, Lears explores the motivations of the advertisers themselves, offering a more complex explanation for why they promoted consumption in the manner they did.

The Therapeutic and transfer from inner-directed to other-directed society led advertisers to focus on emotional and physical health as key factors in the way a person was perceived by others. Halitosis, for example, was one of many invented ailments designed to cash in on social anxieties - social anxieties CREATED by the advertising culture.

All of these developments are exemplified by Bruce Barton, the son of a preacher who attempted to rationalize his therapeutic turn along side his religious faith. Like No Place of Grace, Lears is here interested in the inherent contradictions of the age, particularly among those confronted by a crisis of faith even as they embraced modernity.

Foucault - Birth of the Asylum

Foucault, Michel. “Birth of the Asylum.” From Madness and Civilization; A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. New York: Pantheon Books, 1965.

Foucault attempts to describe what it means to be mad. He concludes that madness consists of some blend of a lack of awareness of the self as defined against the Other and a resulting disregard for the consequences of actions on others in society. Thus, to cure madness is to impose respect for authority. This has morphed into an asylum, where punishment is used not as some arbitrary event but as a clearly connected consequence to an action. Madness is like childhood - a conception of extreme liberty, and the mad must be taught that punishment may follow actions. They thus learn to respect the authority of those mitigating a consequential punishment. With the asylum, societies goal for madness went from containing to treating. Space went from closed to open; the mad were allowed greater access to the outdoors and freedom of movement.

Through silence, the madman is confronted with his own extreme liberty in solitude. Through the use of the mirror, the madman is further revealed to his self. Finally, the madman must understand that he is constantly being judged on all sides, and thus he must restrain his own liberty. Onto these three is also added the medical personage, the supreme expert who is positioned as an elite to the patients.

Foucault concludes by arguing Freud imagined the psychiatrist as a collection and embodiment of silence, mirror, and judge.

Foucault's overall project is to explore mechanisms of power in society: prisons, asylums, etc, thus revealing how power is expressed.