Cultural Excursions: Marketing Appetites and Cultural Tastes in Modern America

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University of Chicago Press, Oct 15, 1990 - Social Science - 453 pages
Neil Harris's scholarship of the past twenty-five years has helped to open up the study of American cultural history. This long-awaited collection gathers some of his rich and varied writings. Harris takes us from John Philip Sousa to Superman, with stops along the way to explore art museums and world fairs, shopping malls and hotel lobbies, urban design and utopian novels, among other artifacts of American cultures.

The essays fall into three general sections: the first treats the history of cultural institutions, highlighting the role of museums; the second section focuses on some literary, artistic, and entrepreneurial responses to the new mass culture; and the final group of essays explores the social history of art and architecture. Throughout Harris's diverse writings certain themes recur—the redefining of boundaries between high art and popular culture, the relationship between public taste and technological change, and the very notion of what constitutes a shared social experience. Harris's pioneering work has broadened the field of cultural history and encouraged whole new areas of inquiry. Cultural Excursions will be useful for those in American and culture studies, as well as for the general reader trying to make sense of the culture in which we live.
 

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Contents

Introduction
Four Stages of Cultural Growth The American City
All the World a Melting Pot? Japan at American Fairs 187619O4
Museums Merchandising and Popular Taste The Struggle for Influence
A Historical Perspective on Museum Advocacy
Cultural Institutions and American Modernization
5
Great American Fairs and American Cities The Role of Chicagos Columbian Exposition
19
Museums The Hidden Agenda
Collective Possession J Pierpont Morgan and the American Imagination
13
Living with Lobbies
65
Parking the Garage
83
Iconography and Intellectual History The Halftone Effect
97
Color and Medici Some Comparisons and Speculations
Pictorial Perils The Rise of American Illustration
15
Designs on Demand Art and the Modern Corporation
17
Notes
11

The Drama of Consumer Desire
1
John Philip Sousa and the Culture of Reassurance
Who Owns Our Myths? Heroism and Copyright in an Age of Mass Culture
Illustration Credits
15
Index
19
Copyright

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About the author (1990)

Neil Harris, professor of history at the University of Chicago, is the author of The Artist in American Society: The Formative Years, 1790-1860 and Humbug: The Art of P. T. Barnum, both published by the University of Chicago Press.

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