English C136

Topics in American Studies: The Great Exhaling: American History, Culture and Politics, 1946-1952

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2016 Moran, Kathleen and Marcus, Greil
MW 4-5:30 + discussion sections 2 LeConte

Book List

McLuhan, Marshall: The Mechanical Bride; Roth, Philip: I Married a Communist; Salinger, J. D.: Catcher in the Rye

Other Readings and Media

Additional Readings will be collected in a Reader available at Copy Central on Bancroft and on bcourses.


1948 was the year that America–after the Great Depression, after the Second World War, after sixteen year of the all but revolutionary experiment in national government of the New Deal–let out its collective breath. Finally, that great exhaling said, we can go back to real life–but what was “real life?” Centering on 1948, but moving a few years back and a few years forward, this class will explore the sometimes instantly celebrated, sometimes all but subterranean experiments in American culture and literature that tried to raise and answer that question. The artists, writers, filmmakers, painters, musicians, poets and social theorists who emerged to tell that national story included Miles Davis and Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg and Ross MacDonald, J.D. Salinger and Ray Bradbury, David Riesman and Marshall McLuhan. This course will follow the traces of this explosion as well as contextualize the America that was being born. It will include films, popular music, Life Magazine, advertising culture and television as well as novels, poetry and discussions of visual images. 

This class is cross-listed with American Studies C111E.

Discussion Sections

101 No instructor assigned yet.
Tues. 12-1 121 Latimer
102 No instructor assigned yet.
Thurs. 12-1 121 Latimer
103 No instructor assigned yet.
Thurs. 4-5 87 Dwinelle
104 No instructor assigned yet.
Tues. 11-12 221 Wheeler

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