ENAM 485: American Studies Seminar (S99)

The South in the Depression

ver 1.1: 02/08/99

Course Objective:

WPA Project

CULTURAL OBJECTS II (S96): The Idea of the South.

Texts: Guide to the Old Dominion (optional)
Terry Cooney, Balancing Acts.
T.H. Watkins, The Great Depression: America in the 1930s.

Calendar: 1/20: Organizational Meeting

    Bryan 343, 1:00-3:30 (W)

1/25: The Idea of the South:

  • Readings:
    • Edward Ayers, Introduction from American Regionalism.
    • Edward Ayers, What Do We Talk About When We Talk About the South? from American Regionalism.
    • Michael O'Brien, The Mind of the Old South and its Accessibility, from Rethinking the South pp. 19-37. (C)
    • John Shelton Reid, The South: Where is it? What is it?,Southerners as an American Ethnic Group, New South or No South, and Thoughts on the Southern Diaspora, from My Tears Spoiled My Aim (C)
    • David Singal, Cavalier Myth and Victorian Culture from the War Within: From Victorian to Modernist Thought in the South, 1919-1945, pp. 11-33. (C)
    • C.Van Woodward, The Search for Southern Identity, The Historical Dimension, and The Irony of Southern History from The Burden of Southern History. (C)
    • Charles R. Wilson and William Ferris, eds., Encyclopedia of Southern Culture.(C)
      • Environment, pp. 315-321, Air Conditioning, pp. 321-323, Kudzu, pp. 383-384, Landscape -- Cultural, pp. 533-541.
      • History and Manners, pp. 583-595, Foodways, pp. 613-614, Manners, pp. 634-637.
      • Names, Personal, pp. 778-779, Names, Place, pp. 779-780.
      • Mythic South, pp. 1097-1099, Stereotypes, pp. 1125-1127.
      • note: The whole section on the Mythic South is useful and interesting.

  • Recommended:

2/1: The Depression I: Political Economy

  • Readings:
    • T.H. Watkins, The Great Depression.
  • Recommended:
    • Frederick Lewis Allen, Only Yesterday: An Informal History of the 1920s.
    • Frederick Lewis Allen, Since Yesterday: The Nineteen-Thirties in America.
    • Daniel Aaron, The Strenuous Decade.
    • Malcolm Cowley, Exile's Return: A Narrative of Ideas.
    • Malcolm Cowley, The Dream of the Golden Mountain: Remembering the 1930s.
    • Arthur Ekirch, Jr., Ideologies and Utopias: The Impact of the New Deal on American Thought.
    • Harvey Green, The Uncertainty of Everyday Life.
    • Frederick Hoffman, The 1920s.
    • Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to F.D.R.
    • W. F. Leuchtenberg, Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.
    • R.S. and H. Lynd, Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts.
    • Henry F. May, The End of American Innocence.
    • Arthur M. Schlesinger, jr., The Coming of the New Deal.
    • David A. Shannon, ed., The Great Depression.
    • Howard Sitkoff, A New Deal for Blacks: The Emergance of Civil Rights as a National Issue.
    • Studs Terkel, Hard Times.
    • Susan Ware, Holding Their Own: American Women in the 1930s.
    • Robert Zieger, American Workers, American Unions, 1929-1985.
  • Suggested:

2/8: The Depression II: The Culture of Depression

  • Readings:
    • Terry Cooney, Balancing Acts
  • Recommended:
    • Daniel Aaron and Robert Bendiner, eds., The Strenuous Decade: A Social and Intellectual Record of the 1930s.
    • Martha Banta, Taylored Lives: Narrative Productions in the Age of Taylor, Veblen, and Ford.
    • Alan Jenkins, The Thirties.
    • Roland Marchand, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940.
    • Richard Pell, Radical Visions and American Dreams.
    • Daniel Singal, The War Within: From Victorian to Moderninst Thought in the South, 1919-1945.
    • Harold Stearns, ed., America Now: An Inquiry into Civilization in the United States.
    • Warren Susman, Culture as History.
    • Warren Susman, ed., Culture as Commitment.
  • Suggested:

2/15: Writing the Depression:
  • Readings: NOTE: For those not already digitizing a text, I'll assign one of the following texts for scanning, marking up, and posting.
    • William Faulkner,
    • Eudora Welty,
    • from A Modern Southern Reader, ed. Forkner and Samway. (Clemons Reserve)
      • Caroline Gordon, Old Red.
      • Zora Neale Hurston, The Gilded Six Bits.
      • Katherine Anne Porter, The Jilting of Granny Weatherall.
      • Richard Wright, The Man Who Was Almost a Man.
      • James Agee, Knoxville: Summer 1915.
    • from Southern Stories, ed. Arlin Turner (Clemons Reserve)
      • Thomas Wolfe, The Lost Boy.
      • Erskine Caldwell, Saturday Afternoon.
    • Recommended:
      • Twelve Southerners, I'll Take My Stand especially
        • John Crowe Ransom, Reconstructed but Unregenerate
        • John Crowe Ransom, A Statement of Principles
        • Frank Owsley, The Irrepressible Conflict
        • Robert Penn Warren, The Brian Patch
        • John Donald Wade, The Life and Death of Cousin Lucius
        • Andrew Nelson Lytle, The Hind Tit
    • Suggested:
      • Louis D. Rubin, jr., ed., Southern Renascence: The Literature of the Modern South.(Clemons Reserve)
      • Daniel Aaron, Writers on the Left.
      • Ralph Bogardus and Fred Hobson, eds., Literature at the Barricades: The American Writer in the 1930s.
      • Alfred Kazin, Starting Out in the Thirties.
      • Richard King, A Southern Renaissance: The Cultural Awakening of the American South.
      • Jerre Mangione, The Dream and the Deal: The Federal Writers Project.
      • Harvey Swados, ed., The American Writer and the Great Depression.
      • Cecelia Tichi, Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, Culture in Modernist. America.

2/22: Picturing the Depression
  • Reading:
    • Fleishhauer and Brannan, eds., Documenting America: 1935-1943. pp. 15-73, 114-127, 128-145,146-159, 188-205, (R) and available at UVA Bookstore. (Perhaps you can share a few copies of this text.)

  • Recommended:
  • Suggested: NOTE: For those not already digitizing text-and-image, we'll form teams and create an exhibition from some of these texts.
    • William Stott, Documentary Expression and Thirties America (R)
    • Jerry Mangione, The Dream and the Deal.
    • Landon Nordeman, Walker Evans' and Company
    • Herman Clarence Nixon, Forty Acres and Steel Mules.
    • Dorothea Lange and Paul Taylor, An American Exodus.
    • Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White, You Have Seen Their Faces.
    • Richard Wright, Twelve Million Voices.
    • Eudora Welty, One Place, One Time.
    • James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men.
  • Suggested:
    • Karal Ann Marling, Wall-to-Wall America.
    • Jeffry L. Meikle, Twentieth_Century Limited: Industrial Design in America, 1925-1939.

3/1: Constructing/Deconstructing the Depression:

  • Reading:
    • Charles C. Alexander, Here the Country Lies: Nationalism and the Arts in 20th Century America, pp. 109-240. (R)
    • Sue Bridewell Beckham, Depression Post Office Murals and Southern Culture, pp. 21-150. (ASLAB)
    • Jonathan Harris, Federal Art and National Culture: The Politics of Identity in New Deal America, pp.28-43, 64-84. (ASLAB)
  • Recommended:
    • Michael Kammen, Mystic Chords of Memory.
    • Stephen M. Fjellman, Vinyl Leaves.
    • Richard Guy Wilson et al, The Machine Age in America.
    • Richard McKinzie, The New Deal for Artists.
    • Walter D. Teague, Design This Day.
    • Allen Trachtenberg, Brooklyn Bridge.
    • Andrew Bergman, We're in the Money.
    • Robert Sklar, Movie Made America.


3/22:Project Proposals I:

  • Post project proposal, bibliography (text and electronic resources), and work schedule to your home page by Monday.
  • Digitized sections of The Guide are due 3/29.

3/29: 4/5: Project Proposals II:

3/29: Project Design:

4/5: Workshop I:

4/12: Workshop II:

4/19: Workshop III:

4/26: Workshop IV:

5:/3: Workshp V:

NOTE: Hypertext Projects due: 5/14. This will include migrating the projects to .xroads.virginia.edu, testing them for functionality, and registering them with the appropriate web engines and indices.