By Susan Hegeman
"Well written, unique in notion, insightful in its interpretations, and far-reaching in its readings and conclusions. Hegeman's realization to advanced transitions in the background of rules and their disciplines makes this an exemplary contribution to highbrow and social history."--Marc Manganaro, Rutgers college "Extremely fascinating . . . Hegeman's exams of particular texts, study and publishing ventures, and significant agendas of choose students and intellectuals are notable and healthily eccentric."--James A. Boon, Princeton collage In fresh a long time, historians and social theorists have given a lot proposal to the idea that of "culture," its origins in Western proposal, and its usefulness for social research. during this publication, Susan Hegeman makes a speciality of the term's historical past within the usa within the first half the 20th century. She indicates how, in this interval, the time period "culture" replaced from being a technical time period linked basically with anthropology right into a time period of well known utilization. She indicates the connections among this circulate of "culture" into the mainstream and the emergence of a particular "American culture," with its personal styles, values, and ideology. Hegeman issues to the numerous similarities among the conceptions of tradition produced by way of anthropologists Franz Boas, Edward Sapir, Ruth Benedict, and Margaret Mead, and a variety of different intellectuals, together with Randolph Bourne, Van Wyck Brooks, Waldo Frank, and Dwight Macdonald. Hegeman unearths how relativist anthropological rules of human culture--which under pressure the space among smooth facilities and "primitive" peripheries--came into alliance with the comparing judgments of artists and critics. This anthropological notion supplied a spatial wisdom that helped improve the proposal of a particularly American "culture." She additionally indicates the connections among this new view of "culture" and the creative paintings of the interval via, between others, Sherwood Anderson, Jean Toomer, Thomas Hart Benton, Nathanael West, and James Agee and depicts in a brand new approach the richness and complexity of the modernist milieu within the usa.
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Extra resources for Patterns for America: Modernism and the Concept of Culture
However, I am interested here in the “antimodernist” movement preceding and in some respects anticipating modernism, that—following the lead of socialist William Morris—attempted to address the problem of worker alienation in industrial society through a revitalization of handicraft traditions. 33 For example, in their fascination with what might be called the technological primitive, both Stickley and Greene and Greene produced designs that fetishized complex joinery and other traditional features of furniture and building craft.
1 Moreover, the anthropology he did champion was the very kind of work, evolutionary comparativism, that Boas is most commonly seen as having delegitimated. Thus doubly antithetical to many conceptions of the Boasian “cultural” legacy—a spokesman for both “high culture” and outmoded ethnological thinking—Eliot’s work is, I will argue, similar to Boas’s in one basic respect: namely, the common experience of a shift characteristic of modernism generally from conceptions of human history based on a vision of lineal, temporal advancement, to a more complex historical understanding that incorporates the possibility of spatial differences in humanity.
2 Dry Salvages: Spatiality, Nationalism, and the Invention of an “Anthropological” Culture HAVING, in the last chapter, discounted one modernist fable that would name anthropologist Franz Boas the creator of “culture,” I must now reconstruct the case for a nearly indisputable point: that in a more complex way Boas was central to the creation of both the culture concept and the professional discipline of anthropology in America, and that he is an exemplary figure in the intellectual life of his moment.
Patterns for America: Modernism and the Concept of Culture by Susan Hegeman