SUMMER 2018: American Studies 101AC - Age of Monopoly

This course satisfies the American Cultures requirement.

Summer Session A (6 weeks - 5/21 - 6/29/18)
4 units
MTW 12-3
155 Kroeber
Instructor: Michael Cohen
Class # 14166

This course will consider the making of modern American culture between the end of the Civil War and the start of the First Great Depression.  In these years the United States transformed itself from an isolated and agrarian nation into the richest, most urbanized nation in the world.  These enormous changes were driven by the astonishing growth of industrial and finance capitalism into a vast corporate empire of monopolies in money, steel, tobacco, movies, food, oil, electricity, organized crime, etc.  With this corporate growth and concentration came tremendous social, political, racial and sexual conflicts characterized by the clash of labor and capital, the triumph of Jim Crow white supremacy, the mass immigration of workers from Asia, Mexico and Europe, the cataclysmic end to 400 years of Indian Wars, the growing woman’s movement, and the vibrant outbreak of radical social movements demanding a “cooperative commonwealth.”  This class will consider the economic and political changes of the Age of Monopoly through a study of its culture, for it was this half-century that gave birth to modern American culture in the form of illustrated magazines and comic strips, world's fairs and amusement parks, Wild West shows and vaudeville, the advertising and public relations industry, window shopping and department stores, skyscrapers and national parks, military buildups and IQ tests, talk radio and Jazz music, automobiles and suburbs, and most importantly, the Hollywood movie.