Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century
Author: John E. Bodnar
Publisher: Princeton University Press
In a compelling inquiry into public events ranging from the building of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial through ethnic community fairs to pioneer celebrations, John Bodnar explores the stories, ideas, and symbols behind American commemorations over the last century. Such forms of historical consciousness, he argues, do not necessarily preserve the past but rather address serious political matters in the present.
In Bonds of Affection, a group of scholars explore the manner in which Americans have discussed and practiced their patriotism over the course of two hundred years. To what extent has the promise of a "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" explained citizen loyalty? Have there been any other factors in American history that account for the attachments individuals have felt toward their nation - such as devotion to home and family
A collection of essays by prominent scholars from many disciplines on the construction of public memories. The study of public memory has grown rapidly across numerous disciplines in recent years, among them American studies, history, philosophy, sociology, architecture, and communications. As scholars probe acts of collective remembrance, they have shed light on the cultural processes of memory. Essays contained in this volume address issues such as the scope of public memory, the ways we forget, the relationship between politics and memory, and the material practices of memory. Stephen Browne's contribution studies the alternative to memory erasure, silence, and forgetting as posited by Hannah Arendt in her classic Eichmann in Jerusalem. Rosa Eberly writes about the Texas tower shootings of 1966, memories of which have been minimized by local officials. Charles Morris examines public reactions to Larry Kramer's declaration that Abraham Lincoln was homosexual, horrifying the guardians of Lincoln's public memory. And Barbie Zelizer considers the impact on public memory of visual images, specifically still photographs of individuals about to perish (e.g., people falling from the World Trade Center) and the sense of communal loss they manifest. Whether addressing the transitory and mutable nature of collective memories over time or the ways various groups maintain, engender, or resist those memories, this work constitutes a major contribution to our understanding of how public memory has been and might continue to be framed.
Democracy and Public Policy in an Age of Inequality
Author: Joe Soss,Jacob S. Hacker,Suzanne Mettler
Publisher: Russell Sage Foundation
Category: Political Science
Over the past three decades, the contours of American social, economic, and political life have changed dramatically. The post-war patterns of broadly distributed economic growth have given way to stark inequalities of income and wealth, the GOP and its allies have gained power and shifted U.S. politics rightward, and the role of government in the lives of Americans has changed fundamentally. Remaking America explores how these trends are related, investigating the complex interactions of economics, politics, and public policy. Remaking America explains how the broad restructuring of government policy has both reflected and propelled major shifts in the character of inequality and democracy in the United States. The contributors explore how recent political and policy changes affect not just the social standing of Americans but also the character of democratic citizenship in the United States today. Lawrence Jacobs shows how partisan politics, public opinion, and interest groups have shaped the evolution of Medicare, but also how Medicare itself restructured health politics in America. Kimberly Morgan explains how highly visible tax policies created an opportunity for conservatives to lead a grassroots tax revolt that ultimately eroded of the revenues needed for social-welfare programs. Deborah Stone explores how new policies have redefined participation in the labor force—as opposed to fulfilling family or civic obligations—as the central criterion of citizenship. Frances Fox Piven explains how low-income women remain creative and vital political actors in an era in which welfare programs increasingly subject them to stringent behavioral requirements and monitoring. Joshua Guetzkow and Bruce Western document the rise of mass incarceration in America and illuminate its unhealthy effects on state social-policy efforts and the civic status of African-American men. For many disadvantaged Americans who used to look to government as a source of opportunity and security, the state has become increasingly paternalistic and punitive. Far from standing alone, their experience reflects a broader set of political victories and policy revolutions that have fundamentally altered American democracy and society. Empirically grounded and theoretically informed, Remaking America connects the dots to provide insight into the remarkable social and political changes of the last three decades.
This book analyzes the relation of public memory to history, forgetting, and selective memory in three late-twentieth-century cities that have confronted major social or political traumas—Berlin, Buenos Aires, and New York.
In building this narrative, Bodnar shows how the idealism of President Franklin Roosevelt's Four Freedoms was lost in the public commemoration of World War II, how the war's memory became intertwined in the larger discussion over American national identity, and how it only came to be known as the "good warmany years after its conclusion.
The Transformation of Tradition in American Culture
Author: Michael Kammen
Mystic Chords of Memory "Illustrated with hundreds of well-chosen anecdotes and minute observations . . . Kammen is a demon researcher who seems to have mined his nuggets from the entire corpus of American cultural history . . . insightful and sardonic." —Washington Post Book World In this ground-breaking, panoramic work of American cultural history, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Machine That Would Go of Itself examines a central paradox of our national identity How did "the land of the future" acquire a past? And to what extent has our collective memory of that past—as embodied in our traditions—have been distorted, or even manufactured? Ranging from John Adams to Ronald Reagan, from the origins of Independence Day celebrations to the controversies surrounding the Vietnam War Memorial, from the Daughters of the American Revolution to immigrant associations, and filled with incisive analyses of such phenonema as Americana and its collectors, "historic" villages and Disneyland, Mystic Chords of Memory is a brilliant, immensely readable, and enormously important book. "Fascinating . . . a subtle and teeming narrative . . . masterly." —Time "This is a big, ambitious book, and Kammen pulls it off admirably. . . . [He] brings a prodigious mind and much scholarly rigor to his task . . . an importnat book—and a revealing look at how Americans look at themselves." —Milwaukee Journal
The Uses of Tradition in the Early Twentieth Century
Author: David Glassberg
Publisher: UNC Press Books
What images shape Americans' perceptions of their past? How do particular versions of history become the public history? And how have these views changed over time? David Glassberg explores these important questions by examining the pageantry craze of the
"Hue-Tam Ho Tai's masterful collection of essays that explore how the past is being remade in contemporary Vietnam constitutes a welcome addition to the study of the larger problem of engineering memory, especially in political cultures where the identity of the nation-state is in a considerable state of flux . . .. This book also suggests that the 'commemorative fever' that is sweeping Vietnam is about more than Vietnam's history. It also has a great deal to do with the problems premodern cultures presented to those who promoted the creation of contemporary states. In this regard both Vietnam and this book offer all scholars of nationalism and remembering in the West a fascinating perspective on their own nations."--John Bodnar, Chancellors' Professor of History at Indiana University, from the Foreword
When people experience a traumatic event, such as war or the threat of annihilation, they often turn to history for stories that promise a positive outcome to their suffering. During World War II, the French took comfort in the story of Joan of Arc and her heroic efforts to rid France of foreign occupation. To bring the Joan narrative more into line with current circumstances, popular retellings modified the original story so that what people believed took place in the past was often quite different from what actually occurred. Paul A. Cohen believes this interplay between story and history is a worldwide phenomenon found in countries of radically different cultural, religious, and social character. He focuses on Serbia, Israel, the Soviet Union, China, Great Britain, and France, all of which experienced severe crises in the twentieth century and, in response, appropriated age-old historical narratives that resonated with what was happening in the present to serve a unifying, restorative purpose. A central theme in the book is the distinction between popular memory and history. Although vitally important to historians, this distinction is routinely blurred in people’s minds, and the historian’s truth often cannot compete with the power of a compelling story from the past, even when it has been seriously distorted by myth or political manipulation. Cohen concludes by suggesting that the patterns of interaction he probes, given their near universality, may well be rooted in certain human propensities that transcend cultural difference.
Beginning outside the boarded-up windows of Columbine High School and ending almost twelve years later on the fields of Shiloh National Military Park, Hallow This Ground revolves around monuments and memorials—physical structures that mark the intersection of time and place. In the ways they invite us to interact with them, these sites teach us to recognize our ties to the past. Colin Rafferty explores places as familiar as his hometown of Kansas City and as alien as the concentration camps of Poland in an attempt to understand not only our common histories, but also his own past, present, and future. Rafferty blends the travel essay with the lyric, the memoir with the analytic, in this meditation on the ways personal histories intersect with History, and how those intersections affect the way we understand and interact with Place.
Using examples ranging from classical rhetoric to contemporary crises like 9/11, Public Forgetting demonstrates how communities may adopt idioms of forgetting in order to create new and beneficial standards of public judgment.
National Cultures, Sexual Identity Politics, and the Discourse of Rights
Author: Carl Franklin Stychin
Publisher: Temple University Press
Category: Political Science
The dynamics of identity politics frequently have been studied from the perspective of 'outsider' groups, those outside the bounds of the imagined community. But how does this dynamic play out in the construction of the 'national imaginary'? This book helps reformulate how we use rights - to what end and through what means.
Liberalism, Democracy, and Working People in American Film
Author: John Bodnar
Publisher: JHU Press
From Tom Joad to Norma Rae to Spike Lee's Mookie in Do the Right Thing, Hollywood has regularly dramatized the lives and struggles of working people in America. Ranging from idealistic to hopeless, from sympathetic to condescending, these portrayals confronted audiences with the vital economic, social, and political issues of their times while providing a diversion—sometimes entertaining, sometimes provocative—from the realities of their own lives. In Blue-Collar Hollywood, John Bodnar examines the ways in which popular American films made between the 1930s and the 1980s depicted working-class characters, comparing these cinematic representations with the aspirations of ordinary Americans and the promises made to them by the country's political elites. Based on close and imaginative viewings of dozens of films from every genre—among them Public Enemy, Black Fury, Baby Face, The Grapes of Wrath, It's a Wonderful Life, I Married a Communist, A Streetcar Named Desire, Peyton Place, Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Coal Miner's Daughter, and Boyz N the Hood—this book explores such topics as the role of censorship, attitudes toward labor unions and worker militancy, racism, the place of women in the workforce and society, communism and the Hollywood blacklist, and faith in liberal democracy. Whether made during the Great Depression, World War II, the Cold War, or the Vietnam era, the majority of films about ordinary working Americans, Bodnar finds, avoided endorsing specific political programs, radical economic reform, or overtly reactionary positions. Instead, these movies were infused with the same current of liberalism and popular notion of democracy that flow through the American imagination. -- Steven J. Ross, author of Working-Class Hollywood: Silent Film and the Shaping of Class in America
World War I and the Politics of Commemoration in America, 1919-1933
Author: Lisa M. Budreau
Publisher: NYU Press
The United States lost thousands of troops during World War I, and the government gave next-of-kin a choice about what to do with their fallen loved ones: ship them home for burial or leave them permanently in Europe, in makeshift graves that would be eventually transformed into cemeteries in France, Belgium, and England. World War I marked the first war in which the United States government and military took full responsibility for the identification, burial, and memorialization of those killed in battle, and as a result, the process of burying and remembering the dead became intensely political. The government and military attempted to create a patriotic consensus on the historical memory of World War I in which war dead were not only honored but used as a symbol to legitimize America’s participation in a war not fully supported by all citizens. The saga of American soldiers killed in World War I and the efforts of the living to honor them is a neglected component of United States military history, and in this fascinating yet often macabre account, Lisa M. Budreau unpacks the politics and processes of the competing interest groups involved in the three core components of commemoration: repatriation, remembrance, and return. She also describes how relatives of the fallen made pilgrimages to French battlefields, attended largely by American Legionnaires and the Gold Star Mothers, a group formed by mothers of sons killed in World War I, which exists to this day. Throughout, and with sensitivity to issues of race and gender, Bodies of War emphasizes the inherent tensions in the politics of memorialization and explores how those interests often conflicted with the needs of veterans and relatives.