The forty years from 1880 to 1920 marked the golden age of the American theatre as a national institution, a time when actors moved from being players outside the boundaries of respectable society to being significant figures in the social landscape. As the only book that provides an overview of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century theatre,Actors and American Culture is also the only study of the legitimate stage that overtly attempts to connect actors and their work to the wider aspects of American life.
Every American city had a small, self-aware, and active black elite, who felt it was their duty to set the standard for the less fortunate members of their race and to lead their communities by example. Rank within this black upper class rested on such issues as the status of one’s forebears as either house servants or field hands, the darkness of one’s skin, and the level of one’s manners and education.
Professor Gatewood’s study examines this class of African Americans by looking at the genealogies and occupations of specific families and individuals throughout the United States and their roles in their various communities. The resulting narrative is a full and illuminating account of a most influential segment of the African-American population. It explores fully the distinctive background, prestige, attitudes, behavior, power, and culture of this class. The Black Community Studies series from the University of Arkansas Press, edited by Professor Gatewood, continues to examine many of the same themes first explored in this important study.
In Indiana in Transition: The Emergence of an Industrial Commonwealth, 1880–1920 (vol. 4, History of Indiana Series), author Clifton J. Phillips covers the period during which Indiana underwent political, economic, and social changes that furthered its evolution from a primarily rural-agricultural society to a predominantly urban-industrial commonwealth. The book includes a bibliography, notes, and index.
Winner of the 1995 University of Illinois Press-National Women's Studies Association manuscript prize
Women's clubs at the turn of the century were numerous, dedicated to
a number of issues, and crossed class, religious, and racial lines. Emphasizing
the intimacy engendered by shared reading and writing in these groups,
Anne Ruggles Gere contends that these literacy practices meant that club
members took an active part in reinventing the nation during a period
of major change. Gere uses archival material that documents club members'
perspectives and activities around such issues as Americanization, womanhood,
peace, consumerism, benevolence, taste, and literature--and offers a rare
depth of insight into the interests and lives of American women from the
fin de siècle through the beginning of the roaring twenties. Intimate Practices is unique in its exploration of a range of
women's clubs--Mormon, Jewish, white middle-class, African American, and
working class--and paints a vast and colorful multicultural, multifaceted
canvas of these widely-divergent women's groups.
Today’s celebrity charity work has deep historical roots. In the 1880s and 1890s, the stars of fin-de-siècle London’s fashionable stage culture—particularly the women—transformed theatre’s connection with fundraising. They refreshed, remolded, and reenergized celebrity charity work at a time when organized benevolence and women’s public roles were also being transformed. In the process, actresses established a model and set of practices that persist today among the stars of both London’s West End and Hollywood.
In the late nineteenth century, theatre’s fundraising for charitable causes shifted from male-dominated and private to female-directed and public. Although elite women had long been involved in such enterprises, they took on more authority in this period. At the same time, regular, high-profile public charity events became more important and much more visible than private philanthropy. Actresses became key figures in making the growing number of large and heavily publicized fundraisers successful. By 1920, the attitude was “Get an actress first. If you can’t get an actress, then get a duchess.” Actresses’ star power, their ability to orchestrate large events quickly, and their skill at performing a kind of genteel extortion made them essential to this model of charity. Actresses also benefited from this new role. Taking a prominent, public, offstage position was crucial in making them, individually and collectively, respectable professionals.
Author Catherine Hindson reveals this history by examining the major types of charity events at the turn of the twentieth century, including fundraising matinees, charity bazaars and costume parties, theatrical tea and garden parties, and benefit performances. Her study concludes with a look at the involvement of actresses in raising funds for British soldiers serving in the Anglo-Boer War and the First World War.
A new edition of a classic work of American history that eloquently examines the rise of antimodernism at the turn of the twentieth century.
First published in 1981, T. J. Jackson Lears’s No Place of Grace is a landmark book in American studies and American history, acclaimed for both its rigorous research and the deft fluidity of its prose. A study of responses to the emergent culture of corporate capitalism at the turn of the twentieth century, No Place of Grace charts the development of contemporary consumer society through the embrace of antimodernism—the effort among middle- and upper-class Americans to recapture feelings of authentic experience. Rather than offer true resistance to the increasingly corporatized bureaucracy of the time, however, antimodernism helped accommodate Americans to the new order—it was therapeutic rather than oppositional, a striking forerunner to today’s self-help culture. And yet antimodernism contributed a new dynamic as well, “an eloquent edge of protest,” as Lears puts it, which is evident even today in anticonsumerism, sustainable living, and other practices. This new edition, with a lively and discerning foreword by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, celebrates the fortieth anniversary of this singular work of history.
T. J. Jackson Lears draws on a wealth of primary sources — sermons, diaries, letters — as well as novels, poems, and essays to explore the origins of turn-of-the-century American antimodernism. He examines the retreat to the exotic, the pursuit of intense physical or spiritual experiences, and the search for cultural self-sufficiency through the Arts and Crafts movement. Lears argues that their antimodern impulse, more pervasive than historians have supposed, was not "simple escapism," but reveals some enduring and recurring tensions in American culture.
"It's an understatement to call No Place of Grace a brilliant book. . . . It's the first clear sign I've seen that my generation, after marching through the '60s and jogging through the '70s might be pausing to examine what we've learned, and to teach it."—Walter Kendrick, Village Voice
"One can justly make the claim that No Place of Grace restores and reinterprets a crucial part of American history. Lears's method is impeccable."—Ann Douglas, The Nation
Between 1880 and 1920, Muslim Sufi orders became pillars of the colonial regimes and economies of Senegal and Mauritania. In Paths of Accommodation, David Robinson examines the ways in which the leaders of the orders negotiated relations with the Federation of French West Africa in order to preserve autonomy within the religious, social, and economic realms while abandoning the political sphere to their non-Muslim rulers.
This was a striking development because the local inhabitants had a strong sense of belonging to the Dar al-Islam, the “world of Islam” in which Muslims ruled themselves.
Drawing from a wide variety of archival, oral, and Arabic sources, Robinson describes the important roles played by Muslim merchants and the mulatto community of St. Louis, Senegal. He also examines the impact of the electoral institutions established by the Third Republic, and the French effort to develop a reputation as a “Muslim power”—a European imperial nation with a capacity for ruling over Islamic subjects.
By charting the similarities and differences of the trajectories followed by leading groups within the region as they responded to the colonial regimes, Robinson provides an understanding of the relationship between knowledge and power, the concepts of civil society and hegemony, and the transferability of symbolic, economic, and social capital.
In Reconstituting Authority, William Moddelmog explores the ways in which American law and literature converged in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Through close readings of significant texts from the era, he reveals not only how novelists invoked specific legal principles and ideals in their fictions but also how they sought to reconceptualize the boundaries of law and literature in ways that transformed previous versions of both legal and literary authority.
Moddelmog does not assume a sharp distinction between literary and legal institutions and practices but shows how writers imagined the two fields as engaged in the same cultural process. He argues that because the law was instrumental in setting the terms by which concepts such as race, gender, nationhood, ownership, and citizenship were defined in the nineteenth century, authors challenging those definitions had to engage the law on its own terrain: to place their work in a dialogue with the law by telling stories that were already authorized (though perhaps suppressed) by legal institutions.
The first half of the book is devoted in separate chapters to William Dean Howells, Helen Hunt Jackson, and Pauline Hopkins. The focus shifts from large theoretical concerns to questions of contract and native sovereignty, to issues of African American citizenship and racial entitlement. In each case the discussion is rooted in a larger consideration of the rule (or misrule) of law.
The second half of the book turns from the rule of law to the issue of property, specifically the Lockean version of the self that tied identity to legal conceptions of property and economic value. In separate discussions of Charles Chesnutt, Edith Wharton, and Theodore Dreiser, Reconstituting Authority reveals authors as closely engaged with those changing perspectives on property and identity, in ways that challenged the racial, gendered, and economic consequences of America's possessive individualism.
What Du Bois noted has gone largely unstudied until now. In this book, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham gives us our first full account of the crucial role of black women in making the church a powerful institution for social and political change in the black community. Between 1880 and 1920, the black church served as the most effective vehicle by which men and women alike, pushed down by racism and poverty, regrouped and rallied against emotional and physical defeat. Focusing on the National Baptist Convention, the largest religious movement among black Americans, Higginbotham shows us how women were largely responsible for making the church a force for self-help in the black community. In her account, we see how the efforts of women enabled the church to build schools, provide food and clothing to the poor, and offer a host of social welfare services. And we observe the challenges of black women to patriarchal theology. Class, race, and gender dynamics continually interact in Higginbotham’s nuanced history. She depicts the cooperation, tension, and negotiation that characterized the relationship between men and women church leaders as well as the interaction of southern black and northern white women’s groups.
Higginbotham’s history is at once tough-minded and engaging. It portrays the lives of individuals within this movement as lucidly as it delineates feminist thinking and racial politics. She addresses the role of black Baptist women in contesting racism and sexism through a “politics of respectability” and in demanding civil rights, voting rights, equal employment, and educational opportunities.
Righteous Discontent finally assigns women their rightful place in the story of political and social activism in the black church. It is central to an understanding of African American social and cultural life and a critical chapter in the history of religion in America.
This colorful and perceptive study presents persuasive evidence that the saloon, far from being a magnet for vice and crime, played an important role in working-class community life. Focusing on public drinking in "wide open" Chicago and tightly controlled Boston, Duis offers a provocative discussion of the saloon as a social institution and a locus of the struggle between middle-class notions of privacy and working-class uses of public space.
Long before today’s culture wars, the “Third Great Awakening” rocked America. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, evangelists such as Dwight L. Moody and Billy Sunday roused citizens to renounce sin as it manifested in popular culture, moral ambiguity, and the changing role of women.
Sin in the City examines three urban revivals in turn-of-the-century Chicago to show how revivalists negotiated that era’s perceived racial, sexual, and class threats. While most studies of this movement have focused on its male leaders and their interactions with society, Thekla Ellen Joiner raises new questions about gender and race by exploring Third Awakening revivalism as the ritualized performance of an evangelical social system defined by middle-class Protestant moral aspirations for urban America. Rather than approaching these events merely as the achievements of persuasive men, she views them as choreographed collective rituals reinforcing a moral order defined by ideals of femininity, masculinity, and racial purity.
Joiner reveals how revivalist rhetoric and ritual shifted from sentimentalist identification of sin with males to a more hard-nosed focus on females, castigating “loose women” whose economic and sexual independence defied revivalist ideals and its civic culture. She focuses on Dwight L. Moody’s 1893 World’s Fair revival, the 1910 Chapman-Alexander campaign, and the 1918 Billy Sunday revival, comparing the locations, organization, messages, and leaders of these three events to depict the shift from masculinized to feminized sin. She identifies the central role women played in the Third Awakening as the revivalists promoted feminine virtue as the corrective to America’s urban decline. She also shows that even as its definition of sin became more feminized, Billy Sunday’s revivalism began to conform to Chicago’s emerging color line.
Enraged by rapid social change in cities like Chicago, these preachers spurred Protestant evangelicals to formulate a gendered and racialized moral regime for urban America. Yet, as Joiner shows, even as revivalists demonized new forms of entertainment, they used many of the modern cultural practices popularized in theaters and nickelodeons to boost the success of their mass conversions.
Sin in the City shows that the legacy of the Third Awakening lives on today in the religious right’s sociopolitical activism; crusade for family values; disparagement of feminism; and promotion of spirituality in middle-class, racial, and cultural terms. Providing cultural and gender analysis too often lacking in the study of American religious history, it offers a new model for understanding the development of a gendered theology and set of religious practices that influenced Protestantism in a period of enormous social change.
Undermining Race rewrites the history of race, immigration, and labor in the copper industry in Arizona. The book focuses on the case of Italian immigrants in their relationships with Anglo, Mexican, and Spanish miners (and at times with blacks, Asian Americans, and Native Americans), requiring a reinterpretation of the way race was formed and figured across place and time.
Phylis Martinelli argues that the case of Italians in Arizona provides insight into “in between” racial and ethnic categories, demonstrating that the categorizing of Italians varied from camp to camp depending on local conditions—such as management practices in structuring labor markets and workers’ housing, and the choices made by immigrants in forging communities of language and mutual support. Italians—even light-skinned northern Italians—were not considered completely “white” in Arizona at this historical moment, yet neither were they consistently racialized as non-white, and tactics used to control them ranged from micro to macro level violence.
To make her argument, Martinelli looks closely at two “white camps” in Globe and Bisbee and at the Mexican camp of Clifton-Morenci. Comparing and contrasting the placement of Italians in these three camps shows how the usual binary system of race relations became complicated, which in turn affected the existing race-based labor hierarchy, especially during strikes. The book provides additional case studies to argue that the biracial stratification system in the United States was in fact triracial at times. According to Martinelli, this system determined the nature of the associations among laborers as well as the way Americans came to construct “whiteness.”