Courses offered by American Studies are open to all students. Students do not necessarily have to be working toward the Certificate to take courses offered by the Certificate Program.
ASCP 81000: Introduction to American Studies: The Long 1920s, Tuesdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm, Room TBA, 3 credits, Professor Eric Lott
Could the 1920s, the so-called Roaring Twenties, offer any hints as to what might lie ahead as we enter our own 21st-century ‘20s? The parallels are arresting: a post-1918-pandemic decade in which Wall Street was ascendant (until it wasn’t); motor company magnate Henry Ford transforming the shop floor and the company town like a Jeff Bezos avatar; immigration restriction (the 1924 Immigration Act), state-sponsored race war (Tulsa 1921, among others), and the massive resurgence of the “second” Ku Klux Klan; and rich cultural and political movements and formations that amplified and contested these developments. This introduction to the concepts, methodologies, and histories of interdisciplinary American Studies practice will inquire into U.S. cultural production, social activism, and historical developments from the “Spanish Flu” to the 1932 election of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: the impact and influence of women’s suffrage; the music of Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Duke Ellington; the cinema of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton; the pre-narco Prohibition gangster culture and underground alcohol economy of Al Capone and many others; the post-Russian Revolution radical analyses of Antonio Gramsci (“Americanism and Fordism”), Emma Goldman, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Louis Fraina/Lewis Corey; the black and queer interventions of the Harlem Renaissance; the so-called Lost Generation (e.g., Stein, Fitzgerald, Hemingway) as well as proletarian realisms (e.g., Anzia Yezierska, Abraham Cahan) and Greenwich Village modernisms (Edna St. Vincent Millay, e.e. cummings); radical, avant-garde, and bohemian “little magazines”; architectural, automotive, and aviation innovations; and more besides. This course will be conducted remotely via Zoom.