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Cultural Excursions

Marketing Appetites and Cultural Tastes in Modern America

Neil Harris’s scholarship of the past twenty-five years has helped to open up the study of American cultural history. This long-awaited collection gathers some of his rich and varied writings. Harris takes us from John Philip Sousa to Superman, with stops along the way to explore art museums and world fairs, shopping malls and hotel lobbies, urban design and utopian novels, among other artifacts of American cultures.

The essays fall into three general sections: the first treats the history of cultural institutions, highlighting the role of museums; the second section focuses on some literary, artistic, and entrepreneurial responses to the new mass culture; and the final group of essays explores the social history of art and architecture. Throughout Harris’s diverse writings certain themes recur—the redefining of boundaries between high art and popular culture, the relationship between public taste and technological change, and the very notion of what constitutes a shared social experience. Harris’s pioneering work has broadened the field of cultural history and encouraged whole new areas of inquiry. Cultural Excursions will be useful for those in American and culture studies, as well as for the general reader trying to make sense of the culture in which we live.

462 pages | 33 halftones | 6.90 x 10.00 | © 1990

Culture Studies

Geography: Cultural and Historical Geography

History: American History

Table of Contents

1. Four Stages of Cultural Growth: The American City
2. All the World a Melting Pot? Japan at American Fairs, 1876-1904
3. Museums, Mechandising, and Popular Taste: The Struggle for Influence
4. A Historical Perspective on Museum Advocacy
5. Cultural Institutions and American Modernization
6. Great American Fairs and American Cities: The Role of Chicago’s Columbian Exposition
7. Museums: The Hidden Agenda
8. Utopian Fiction and Its Discontents
9. The Drama of Consumer Desire
10. John Philip Sousa and the Culture of Reassurance
11. Who Owns Our Myths? Heroism and Copyright in an Age of Mass Culture
12. Collective Possession: J. Pierpont Morgan and the American Imagination
13. The Changing Landscape
Spaced Out at the Shopping Center
Living with Lobbies
Parking the Garage
14. Iconography and Intellectual History: The Halftone Effect
15. Color and Media: Some Comparisons and Speculations
16. Pictorial Perils: The Rise of American Illustration
17. Designs on Demand: Art and the Modern Corporation
Illustration Credits

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