Art of Democracy : A Concise History of Popular Culture in the United States

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-10-01
  • Publisher: Monthly Review Pr

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"Cullen's strength comes from his understanding of how the different strands of American society intertwine in imaginative, unpredictable ways ... The shape and vitality of pop culture's next era will depend, at least in part, on commentators like Cullen." --Washington Post Book World"A thoroughly engaging look at American culture ... Cullen's articulate prose is spiced with wicked wit and he loves a good story ... Demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of complex cultural forces." --Publishers Weekly"Reflecting both the strengths and weaknesses of an unusually dynamic area of historical scholarship,The Art of Democracyis one of the best surveys of the history of American popular culture." --Journal of American History"An exceptionally well-written and engrossing introduction to the nonelitist art forms of American popular culture ... Highly recommended." --Library Journal, starred review"Should be kept on hand to restore our faith in the things that matter to us." --American StudiesPopular culture has been a powerful force in the United States, resonating within the society as a whole and at the same time connecting disparate and even hostile constituencies. The novels of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the theater and minstrel shows of the mid-19th century, movies and the introduction of television and computers in the 20th century are the building blocks that Jim Cullen uses to show how unique and vibrant cultural forms overcame initial resistance and enabled historically marginalized groups to gain access to the fruits of society and recognition from the mainstream.This updated edition contains a new preface and final chapter which traces the history of contemporary computing from its World War II origins as a military tool to its widespread use in the late 20th century as a tool for the masses. Cullen shows how the computer is reshaping popular culture, and how that culture retains its capacity to surprise and disturb.The highly acclaimed first edition ofThe Art of Democracywon the 1996 Ray and Pat Brown Award for "Best Book," presented by the Popular Culture Association.

Table of Contents

Preface & Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1(8)
Novel Approaches
The Rise of Popular Culture
A Closer Look A Temple of the Imagination
Democratic Vistas
The Emergence of Popular Culture, 1800--1860
A Closer Look The Astor Place Riot The Art and Life of Fanny Fern
Stages of Development
The Segmentation and Consolidation of Popular Culture, 1860--1900
A Closer Look Coney Island The Dark Humor of Bert Williams
Midiating Communities
Popular Culture and Modern Technology, 1900--1945
A Closer Look Chaplin's Business Billie Holiday, The Jazz Singer
Small Screens
Popular Culture in the Age of Television and Beyond, 1945--2000
A Closer Look A Bunker Mentality The Integrated Sound of Los Lobos MTV
Harmonic Convergence?
Across the Digital Frontier
A Closer Look Your Idea Here
Notes and Further Reading 319(36)
Index 355

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