Popular Culture in American History collects the most widely cited and important writings on 300 years of American popular culture. Each of the ten essays serves as a case study of a particular moment, issue, or form of popular culture, from seventeenth-century chapbooks to hip hop. Each essay is paired with relevant primary sources, among them illustrations, advertising, and excerpts from works ranging from dime novel fiction to the writings of Alexis de Tocqueville and Ralph Waldo Emerson. With further reading lists, contextualizing editorial introductions, discussion questions, and chronologies of key events built into the book's pedagogical framework, Cullen has created an indispensable teaching tool for instructors in American History and American Studies and the first book of its kind on the history of pop culture in the United States.
Table of Contents
Notes on Contributors. Preface: About This Book. Introduction: The Worldwide Web of Popular Culture. 1. In the Beginning. Timeline. Introduction. Chapbooks: Reconstructing the Reading of Early America: Victor Neuberg. Consider the Source: Chapbooks. Extract from Narrative of the Captivity of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, 1682.Suggested Further Reading. 2. The World of the Stage. Timeline. Introduction. William Shakespeare in America: Lawrence Levine (George Mason University). Consider the Source: Shakespeare and Early American Theater. Excerpt from Representative Men by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1850). Suggested Further Reading. 3. The Racy Appeal of the Minstrel. Timeline. Introduction. The Blackface Lore Cycle: W. T. Lhamon, Jr. (Florida State University). Consider the Source: Minstrel Shows. Excerpts from Nineteenth-Century Minstrel Shows. Suggested Further Reading. 4. Literature for the Million. Timeline. Introduction. The Figure of the Dime Novel in American Culture: Michael Denning (Yale University).Consider the Source: Dime Novel Fiction. Excerpt from Last of the Great Scouts by Helen Cody Wetmore (1899). Advertisement for A Knight of Labor by Frederick Whittaker. Suggested Further Reading. 5. The Romance of the Dance Hall. Timeline. Introduction. Dance Madness: Kathy Peiss (University of Massachusetts at Amherst).Consider the Source: Dance Hall Culture. Excerpt from Elisabeth Marbury's Introduction to Modern Dancing by Vernon and Irene Castle (1914). Suggested Further Reading. 6. Moving Images. Timeline. Introduction. American Motion Pictures and the New Popular Culture, 1893-1918: Daniel J. Czitrom (Mount Holyoke College). Consider the Source: Early Motion Pictures. Excerpt from The Spirit of Youth by Jane Addams (1909). Suggested Further Reading. 7. Waves of Selling. Timeline. Introduction. Arguments over Broadcast Advertising: Susan Smulyan (Brown University). Consider the Source: Radio Advertising. Excerpt from "Sponsoritis". Suggested Further Reading. 8. The Firmament of Stardom. Timeline. Introduction. Fool's Paradise: Frank Sinatra and the American Dream: Jim Cullen (Harvard University). Consider the Source: Frank Sinatra and the American Dream. "Why the Americans are so Restless in the Midst of their Prosperity," excerpt from Vol. II of Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville (1840). Suggested Further Reading. 9. The Age of Television. Timeline. Introduction. The Making of the Sitcom, 1961: David Marc (Syracuse University). Consider the Source: Sitcoms. Excerpt from After All by Mary Tyler Moore (1995). Suggested Further Reading. 10. Hip Hop Nation. Timeline. Introduction. Voices from the Margins: Rap Music and Contemporary Black Cultural Production: Tricia Rose (New York University). Consider the Source: Hip Hop. Excerpt from Ladies First by Queen Latifah (1999). Suggested Further Reading. Index.
Jim Cullen teaches in the Expository Writing Program at Harvard University. He is the author of "The Civil War in Popular Culture: A Reusable Past" (1995), "The Art of Democracy: A Concise History of Popular Culture in the United States" (1996), and "Born in the USA: Bruce Springsteen and the American Tradition" (1997).