American Studies 1

American Studies 1 - Smiths Context-context: Post WW2, Cold...

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Anderson, Imagined Communities -Nation as Cultural Artifact: Imagined Community -Imagined: Does not mean is “not real”: shared symbols = Tomb of Unknown soldier Paradox: 1. Nations are modern, but nationalists see antiquity of their nation 2. Nationality is universal: as sui generis 3. Political Power of concept vs. its Philosophical incoherence -Imagined does not mean not real -Limited: What are the borders and limits? -Sovereign: How is authority derived? -Community: Horizontal relationship ~communities are produced (“Rutgers Community”) Henry Nash Smith -Paradigm for American Studies -Book: Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth (1950) -1957: Myth and Symbol School, lasted into 1980’s -History, Literature, and Sociology -Reaction against New Criticism: work of art is autonomous -Reaction against social sciences and quantification against language as simply instrumental use -language is supposed to reflect reality
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Unformatted text preview: Smiths Context-context: Post WW2, Cold War-Myths: Innocence, American Adam (the first human created), Frontier, Pastoral-During the Cold War, scholars in the field of American Studies had produced an image of US monocutlure in which gender, class, race, and ethnic differences were massively downplayed-Example: What do we do with other American revolutions before 1776? Italian and Jewish radical labor history of early 20th century? Class, gender, racial struggles? Challenges to Myth and Symbol-Ideology vs. Myth (who has a larger platform?)-Richard Slotkin (1973 onwards): Gunfire Nation: Regeneration through Violence centers on violence: history from below-Social Movements: Anti-war movements; Civil Rights, Feminism, Sexual Revolution-Feminist Studies, Ethnic Studies, Queer Studies, African American Studies, Latino Studies, Native American Studies, Asian American Studies...
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