Pages de Jean Kempf — Université Lumière - Lyon 2 — Département d'études du monde anglophone

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M1  — US Art and Culture in the 1930s

The 1930s in the United States cannot be simply reduced to the New Deal, although its politics /policies-- and particularly its cultural policies defined it to a great extent. This course aims at charting the period from the Wall Street Crash in 1929 to the beginning of the war in Europe (the US only became a belligerent per se in 1941).

This class has an usual format: it will be taught as a joint seminar with American studies students from the University of Wyoming. Our weekly session will be divided in two parts: a common visioconference with Wyoming and then a in-class session in Lyon.

As this is a Master's seminar, you will be asked to do weekly readings. Every week,  documents will be posted on Moodle and students will be expected to be able to present and discuss the readings.

I will then wrap up the session by synthesizing the discussions and offering a comprehensive perspective on the topic.

  • Final exam (4h) : a commentary of a primary source or an essay question on the period.
Syllabus (adjusted as we go along)

Jan 27: General introduction: to the class. The Great Depression and the New Deal

Feb 3: Public support for the arts.

Feb 10: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans

Feb 17:

March 3: Berenice Abbott and the American documentary (lecture by Prof. Eric Sandeen)

March 10: Painting: American Scene and Regionalism

March 17:

March 24: Small town America

March 31: Black America

April 7:

April 14: 1930s architecture

April 21: Popular culture (Movies / Hollywood, Music, radio, Comics)

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