History 382W/482: Twentieth-Century US Cultural History DH Borus

History 382W/482:
Twentieth-Century U. S. Cultural History
D. H. Borus
[email protected]
452 Rush Rhees
Monday, Friday 10-11
Historians have long noted that the first two decades of the twentieth century witnessed a
set of new departures in thought and culture in which old principles and traditional
practices were often rejected or abandoned as outmoded, unworkable, or just plain staid.
This research course is designed to allow students to evaluate D. H. Borus’s
interpretation of this phenomena as a prime example of multiplicity.
By multiplicity, Borus suggested that what was striking about these departures was not
just that they were so prolific, but also that they shared one common facet. Each in its
own way resulted from the inability of a unifying synthesis to sustain itself in the
explanation of phenomena. Instead, the new of the early twentieth century rested on the
idea that there were many truths, many goods, many beauties and that pluralism and
respect for contingency rather than for universal and abstract dicta.
We will begin by doing common reading to acquaint ourselves with the men and women
who defined the significant thought and culture of the period. Then students will finish
research papers on one of the figures or movements covered in the synthesis.
Schedule (All items are available either on Blackboard or reserve. * indicates reserve)
14 September – Foundations
D. H. Borus, Twentieth-Century Multiplicity, Introduction and
Chapter One
William James, Pragmatism: Lectures I (The Present Dilemma in
Philosophy); II (What Pragmatism Means); and VI (Pragmatism’s
Conception of Truth)
John Dewey and James Tufts, Ethics, Chapter Nine.
Krazy Kat comic strips
Floyd Dell, Women as World Builders, Chapters VII and VIII
21 September – Beauties
D. H. Borus, Twentieth-Century Multiplicity, Chapter Two
Charlie Chaplin, Work*
Armory Show Packet
George Santayana, “The Genteel Tradition in American Literature”
Jane Addams, Spirit of Youth and City Streets, Chapters 1, 4
Charles Ives, “Things Our Fathers Loved” and “General Booth”
28 September – Selves
D. H. Borus, Twentieth-Century Multiplicity, Chapter Three
Charles Horton Cooley, Human Nature and the Social Order,
Chapters 1,2, 3, and 5
Elsie Clews Parsons, Social Rule, “Satisfaction from Categories,”
“Women,” “Self,” and “Satisfaction from Science”
5 October – Fall Break, No Class
12 October – Societies
D. H. Borus, Twentieth-Century Multiplicity, Chapters Four and Five
Arthur Bentley, Process of Government, Chapters Two, Three, Seven
W. I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki, The Polish Peasant, “Concept of
Social Disorganization” and “Concept of Social
Walter Weyl, The New Democracy, Chapters 1, 2, 11, 12, 20
Edward Sapir, “Civilization and Culture”
7 December – Summation
Reading: Henry May, End of American Innocence
Grading is based on a research paper of at least twenty pages. Students will be required to
pick a person or movement covered in Twentieth-Century Multiplicity and explore in
depth an aspect that the book summarized or missed.
Over the course of the term, students will meet with the instructor to report on progress.
At the end of the term, we will meet to reconsider our conclusions and to share our
21 September – Students submit paper topic for professor’s approval.
5 October – Students submit preliminary bibliography.
23 November – Rough Drafts Due
18 December – Final Paper Due