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American Culture Studies

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Topics in AMCS: Archiving St. Louis: The City as the Crossroads of the World

American Culture Studies 336 - Spring 2020

In 1904 a burgeoning St. Louis played host to the centennial commemoration of the Louisiana Purchase and the first Olympiad outside Europe, memorable events for the largest small city of the Midwest aspiring to emulate the cosmopolitan urban hubs of the north and east. The spectacle of the 1904 World's Fair featured hyperbolic optimism about the 20th century and about American identity as an emerging military, intellectual, and industrial-capitalist power. But for all the opulence and promise of world-building a better future, the Fair also highlighted many themes marking a cultural and political transition to the 20th century fraught with racial tension, colonialism and war, economic disparity, technological change, and decay of a 'moral public.' With the World's Fair serving as a backdrop, we'll explore the St. Louis region of this era from a number of vantage points, including industrialism and manufacturing (read: beers and cars), progressivism in technology and politics, urban planning, neighborhood formations, and racial separation and violence, among others. Our principle resource will be the substantial holdings of the Missouri Historical Society's archives, and we'll work with professional archivists to navigate our region's history and identity through a wide variety of primary materials. Regularizing the experience will help students understand the organizational culture and logistical methodologies of archives (including the principles of collecting, preserving, and accessing) while promoting independent research and generative research questions. This course satisfies the AMCS fieldwork requirement.
Course Attributes: EN HBU BAAS HUMFA HUMAR HUM

Section 01

Topics in AMCS: Archiving St. Louis: The City as the Crossroads of the World
INSTRUCTOR: Walsh
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