Key Concepts in American Cultural History

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Bernd Engler, Oliver Scheiding (Eds.)

Key Concepts in American Cultural History. From the Colonial Period to the End of the 19th Century

ISBN 978-3-88476-975-1, 748 S., geb., € 45,00 (2., verb. u. erw. Aufl., 2007)

"Key Concepts in American Cultural History" follows a twofold approach: It focuses on historical contexts that encompass central ideas and thoughts that are closely linked to particular epochs in American culture. It is furthermore based on the observation that, in spite of its diversity, American culture was and still is informed by a relatively limited set of ideas which are highly adaptable to new social and political situations. Thus, these ideas could be easily appropriated to individual and communal needs for orientation and sense-making in a world that dramatically changed while America developed from a colonial society to an industrialized world power. The fact that the number of the concepts that define American culture is quite restricted has proven to be an enormous advantage in the formation of an 'American ideology,' as the constant rearticulation of these concepts and their ensuing 'visibility' in the public sphere guaranteed wide-spread identification with the beliefs and cultural norms they represented and propagated. This anthology wants to encourage cross-segmental and diachronic readings that make the student aware of the continuities as well as simultaneous discontinuities of ideological 'formations' which are permanently 'reformed' in response to the changing functions they have to perform in order to promote beliefs by which cultures negotiate contesting interpretations of social reality.

Buchvorschau / Inhaltsverzeichnis (pdf)


"Die in der Anthologie zusammengetragenen Texte sind zuverlässig transkribiert und hilfreich annotiert, die Erörterungen im 'Companion' bewegen sich nah an den Quellen, sind so faktengesättigt wie kenntnisreich und leisten das, was sie leisten sollen, nämlich die breite, problemorientierte Kontextualisierung der historischen Dokumente und ihre diskussionsoffene Einordnung in den Gang der US-Kulturgeschichte."

Volker Depkat, H-Soz-Kult (2010)