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American Culture by waterwolltoremilion


									American Culture
• The development of the culture of the United States of
  America — music, cinema, dance, architecture, literature,
  poetry, cuisine and the visual arts — has been marked by a
  tension between two strong sources of inspiration:
  European sophistication and domestic originality.
• At the beginning of her third century, nearly every major
  American city offers classical and popular music; historical,
  scientific and art research centers and museums; dance
  performances, musicals and plays; outdoor art projects and
  internationally significant architecture.
• This development is a result of both contributions by
  private philanthropists and government funding.
                  1. Literature
• In the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries,
  American art and literature took most of its cues from
  Europe with writers such as Nathaniel Hawthorne,
  Edgar Allan Poe.
• By the middle of the nineteenth century, Henry David
  Thoreau established a distinctive American literary
• In the century's second half Mark Twain and poet Walt
  Whitman were major figures; Emily Dickinson, virtually
  unknown during her lifetime, would be recognized as
  America's other essential poet.
• Eleven U.S. citizens have won the Nobel Prize
  in Literature, most recently Toni Morrison in
  1993. Ernest Hemingway is the 1954 Nobel
• Herman Melville's Moby-Dick, Twain's The
  Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and F. Scott
  Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby—may be
  dubbed the "Great American Novel.”
                          1.1 Poetry
• Arose first during its beginnings
  as the Constitutionally-unified
  thirteen colonies
• Most relied on contemporary
  British models of poetic form,
  diction, and theme.
• However, in the 19th century, a
  distinctive American idiom began
  to emerge.
• By the later part of that century,
  when Walt Whitman was winning
  an enthusiastic audience abroad,
  poets from the United States had
  begun to take their place at the
  forefront of the English-language
•   This position was sustained into the 20th
    century to the extent that Ezra Pound and T.
    S. Eliot were perhaps the most influential
    English-language poets in the period during
    World War I.
•   By the 1960s, the young poets of the British
    Poetry Revival looked to their American
    contemporaries and predecessors as
    models for the kind of poetry they wanted
    to write.
•   Toward the end of the millennium,
    consideration of American poetry had
•   Poetry, and creative writing in general, also
    tended to become more professionalized
    with the growth of creative writing
    programs in the English studies
    departments of campuses across the
                1.2 Comic Books
• Since the invention of the comic book format in the 1930s,
  the United States has been the leading producer with only
  the British comic books (during the inter-war period and up
  until the 1970s) and the Japanese manga as close
  competitors in terms of quantity.
• Comic book sales began to decline after World War II.
• In the 1960s, comic books' audience expanded to include
  college students. The 1960s also saw the advent of the
  underground comics.
• Later, the recognition of the comic medium among
  academics, literary critics and art museums helped solidify
  comics as a serious artform with established traditions,
  stylistic conventions, and artistic evolution.
                2. Television
• There are three basic types of television in the
  United States: broadcast, or "over-the-air"
  television, which is freely available to anyone
  with a TV in the broadcast area, cable
  television, and satellite television, both of
  which require a subscription to receive.
       2.1 Broadcast Television
• A decentralized, market-oriented television
• No national broadcast programming services.
• Local media markets with their own television
• Stations may sign affiliation agreements with
  one of the national networks.
• The three major commercial
  television networks in the
  U.S. are NBC and CBS and
• In big cities, affiliates of
  these networks almost
  always broadcast in the VHF
  band, which, in the days
  before cable became
  widespread, was premium
  real estate.
• Major-network affiliates run very similar
• Saturday mornings usually feature network
  programming aimed at children (including
  animated cartoons), while Sunday mornings
  include public-affairs programs that help fulfill
  stations' legal obligations to provide public-
  service programming.
• Sports and infomercials can be found on weekend
  afternoons, followed again by the same type of
  prime-time shows aired during the week.
  2.2 Other Over-the-Air Commercial
• From 1955 until 1986, all English-language
  stations not affiliated with the big three
  networks were independent. Many independent
  stations still exist in the U.S..
• In 1986, however, the Fox Broadcasting Company
  launched a challenge to the big three networks
  and has established itself as a major player in
  broadcast television.
   2.3 Cable and Satellite Television
• Unlike broadcast networks, most cable networks air the
  same programming nationwide.
• Top cable networks include USA Network, ESPN and Versus
  (sports), MTV (music), Fox News (news), Sci Fi (science
  fiction), Disney Channel (family), Nick and Cartoon Network
  (Children's), Discovery Channel and Animal Planet
  (documentaries), TBS (comedy), TNT (drama) and Lifetime
• Cable-TV subscribers receive these channels through local
  cable system operators. By law, cable systems must include
  local over-the-air stations in their offerings to customers.
• Today Direct broadcast satellite
  television services offers programming
  similar to cable TV.
• Dish Network and News Corporation's
  DirecTV are the major DBS providers in
  the country.
• In 2008, Sky Angel became the first in the U.S.
  to launch a nationwide multi-channel platform
  of television programming.
• Currently, more than 70 channels of Christ-
  centered and family-friendly television and
  radio programming are currently available
  across the contiguous U.S..
• Subscribers do not need an outside dish or
  antenna to receive Sky Angel programming.
                  3. Dance
• Great variety in dance in the United States.
• Home of the Lindy Hop, Rock and Roll, and
  modern square dance.
• A variety of social dance and concert or
  performance dance forms with a range of
  traditions of Native American dances.
       3.1 African American Dance
• Vernacular dances which have
  developed within African
  American communities in
  everyday spaces.
• Usually centered on social
  dance practice.
• characterized by ongoing
  change and development and
  their 'stealing' or 'borrowing'
  from other dance traditions.
• An important example: Alvin
  Ailey and the Alvin Ailey
  American Dance Theater
3.2 Swing Dance
         • A group of dances
           that developed
           concurrently with the
           style of jazz music in
           the 1920s, 30s and
         • The most well known
           is lindy hop.
         • Now found globally
                3.3 Modern Dance
• Developed in the early 20th century.
• The early innovators: Isadora Duncan,
  the dance company of Ruth St. Denis
  and her husband-partner, Ted Shawn,
  her pupils Doris Humphrey, Martha
• More of a way to express your feelings
  and emotions in a deep dance.
• Later choreographers: Merce
  Cunningham, Alvin Ailey.
• Recently, Mark Morris and Liz Lerman
  have shown that graceful, exciting
  movement is not restricted by age or
  body type.
               4. Visual Arts
• Visual arts of the United States refers to the
  history of painting and visual art in the United
            4.1 Eighteenth Century
• Most of early American
  consists of history painting and
• Painters such as Gilbert Stuart
  made portraits of the newly
  elected government officials,
  while John Singleton Copley
  was painting emblematic
  portraits for the increasingly
  prosperous merchant class,
  and painters such as John
  Trumbull were making large
  battle scenes of the
  Revolutionary War.
          4.2 Nineteenth Century
• America's first well-known
  school of painting—the
  Hudson River School—
  appeared in 1820.
• The Hudson River painters'
  directness and simplicity of
  vision influenced such later
  artists as Winslow Homer
  (1836-1910), who depicted
  rural America—the sea, the
  mountains, and the people
  who lived near them.
• Paintings of the Great West,
  particularly the act of
  conveying the sheer size of
  the land and the cultures of
  the native people living on
  it, were starting to emerge
  as well.
• Many painters who are
  considered American spent
  some time in Europe and
  met other European artists
  in Paris and London, such as
  Mary Cassatt and Whistler.
        4.3 Twentieth Century
• Controversy soon became a way of life for
  American artists.
• After World War I many American artists also
  rejected the modern trends.
4.4.1 The American Southwest
              • New artists’ colonies started
                growing up around Santa Fe
                and Taos, the artists
                primary subject matter
                being the native people and
                landscapes of the
              • Walter Ufer, Bert Greer
                Phillips, E. Irving Couse,
                William Henry Jackson, and
                Georgia O'Keeffe are some
                of the more prolific artists
                of the southwest.
           4.4.2 Harlem Renaissance

• In the 1920s and 30s a new generation of
  educated and politically astute African-American
  men and women emerged who sponsored
  literary societies and art and industrial exhibitions
  to combat racist stereotypes.
• Though the movement included artists from
  across America, it was centered in Harlem, and
  work from Harlem graphic artist Aaron Douglas
  and photographer James VanDerZee became
  emblematic of the movement.
                     4.4.3 New Deal Art
• The first of these projects, the
  Public Works of Art Project
  (PWAP), was created after
  successful lobbying by the
  unemployed artists of the Artists'
• The PWAP was followed by the
  Federal Art Project of the Works
  Progress Administration
  (FAP/WPA) in 1935.
• Thomas Hart Benton, John
  Steuart Curry, Grant Wood, Ben
  Shahn, Joseph Stella, Reginald
  Marsh, Isaac Soyer, Raphael Soyer,
  and Jack Levine were some of the
  best known artists.
            4.4.4 Abstract Expressionism
• In the years after World War II,
  a group of New York artists
  formed the first American
  movement to exert major
  influence internationally:
  abstract expressionism.
• It has always been criticized as
  too large and paradoxical, yet
  the common definition implies
  the use of abstract art to
  express feelings, emotions,
  what is within the artist, and
  not what stands without.
     4.4.5 After Abstract Expressionism

• During the 1950s abstract painting in America
  evolved into movements such as Neo-Dada, Post
  painterly abstraction, Op Art, hard-edge painting,
  Minimal art, Shaped canvas painting, Lyrical
  Abstraction, and the continuation of Abstract
• As a response to the tendency toward abstraction
  imagery emerged through various new
  movements like Pop Art, the Bay Area Figurative
  Movement and later in the 1970s Neo-
   4.4.6 Other Modern American Movements

• Members of the next artistic
  generation favored a
  different form of abstraction:
  works of mixed media.
• Realism has also been
  popular in the United States,
  despite modernist
  tendencies, such as the city
  scenes by Edward Hopper
  and the illustrations of
  Norman Rockwell.
                5. Theater
• Theater of the United States is based in the
  Western tradition, mostly borrowed from the
  performance styles prevalent in Europe.
• Regional or resident theatres in the United
  States are professional theatre companies
  outside of New York City that produce their
  own seasons.
5.1 Early History
         •   The birth of professional theater in
             America may have begun with the
             Lewis Hallam troupe that arrived in
             Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1752. The
             Hallams were the first to organize a
             complete company of actors in
             Europe and bring them to the
         •   In the 18th century, laws forbidding
             the performance of plays were
         •   In 1794, president of Yale College,
             Timothy Dwight IV, in his “Essay on
             the Stage”, declared that “to indulge
             a taste for playgoing means nothing
             more or less than the loss of that
             most valuable treasure: the immortal
                      5.2 The 19th Century
•   “The Walnut” is the oldest theater in
    America. The Walnut's first theatrical
    production, The Rivals, was staged in
•   William Shakespeare's works were
    commonly performed.
•   American plays of the period were
    mostly melodramas.
•   A popular form of theater during this
    time was the minstrel show, which
    featured white actors dressed in
    “blackface .
•   Throughout the 19th century, theater
    culture was associated with
    hedonism and even violence, and
    actors (especially women), were
    looked upon as little better than
• Burlesque—a form of farce
  in which females in male
  roles mocked the politics
  and culture of the day—
  became a popular form of
  entertainment by the
  middle of the 19th century.
• Criticized for its sexuality
  and outspokenness, this
  form of entertainment was
  hounded off the “legitimate
  stage” and found itself
  relegated to saloons and
         5.3 The 20th Century
• Vaudeville was common in the late 19th and early
  20th century, and is notable for heavily
  influencing early film, radio, and television
  productions in the country.
• By the beginning of the 20th century, legitimate
  (non-vaudville) theater had become decidedly
  more sophisticated in the United States.
• More complex and sophisticated dramas
  bloomed in this time period, and acting styles
  became more subdued.
• While revues consisting of mostly
  unconnected songs, sketches, comedy
  routines, and scantily-clad dancing girls
  dominated for the first 20 years of the 20th
  century, musical theater would eventually
  develop beyond this.
• The massive social change that went on during
  the Great Depression also had an effect on
  theater in the United States.
• The years between the World Wars were years
  of extremes. Eugene O'Neill's plays were the
  high point for serious dramatic plays leading
  up to the outbreak of war in Europe.
• After World War II, American theater came into
  its own. Several American playwrights, such as
  Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, became
• In the Sixties, experimentation in the Arts spread
  into theater as well, with plays such as Hair
  including nudity and drug culture references.
• In the late 1990s and 2000s, American theatre
  began to borrow from cinematic and operatic
     5.4 American Theater Today

• Broadway productions still entertain millions
  of theatergoers as productions have become
  more elaborate and expensive.
• Notable contemporary American playwrights
  include Edward Albee, August Wilson, Tony
  Kushner, David Henry Hwang, John Guare, and
  Wendy Wasserstein.
                 6. Cuisine
• The cuisine of the United States is a style of
  food preparation derived from the United
• The cuisine has a history dating back before
  the colonial period.
• With European colonization, the style of
  cookery changed vastly.
• The style of cookery continued to expand into
  the 19th and 20th centuries
               6.1 Pre-1492
• Cookery style varied greatly from group to
• Nutrition was an issue for most hunting and
  gathering societies.
                       6.1.1 Plant Foods

• The Native Americans had at least 2,000 separate plant foods which
  contributed to their cooking.
• Indigenous root vegetables included camas bulb, arrowhead, blue lapine,
  bitterroot, biscuit root, breadroot, prairie turnip, sedge tubers, and
  whitestar potatoes (Ipomoea lacunosa) along with the sweet potato and
  white potato.
• Greens included salmonberry shoots and stalks, coltsfoot, fiddlehead fern,
  milkweed, wild celery, wood sorrel, purslane, and wild nasturtium.
• Other vegetables included century plant crowns and flower shoots, yucca
  blossoms, tule rootstocks, amole stalks, bear grass stalks, cattail rootstocks,
  narrowleaf yucca stalks, and sotol crowns.
• Fruits included strawberries , huckleberries, blueberries, cherries, currants,
  gooseberries, plums, crab apples, raspberries, sumac berries, juniper
  berries, hackberries, elderberries, hawthorne fruit, pitaya, white evening
  primrose fruit, and yucca fruit.
• Nuts proliferated in the diet as well
• Legumes included peanuts, screwbeans, honey locust beans, and
  mesquite beans
               6.1.2 Land Animal Foods
• The largest amount of animal protein came from game meats.
• Large game included bison, deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and
  bear, mountain lion, along with goat and pronghorn being found in
  the Rocky Mountains.
• The small game cooked included rabbit, raccoon, opossum, squirrel,
  wood rat, chipmunk, ground hog, peccary, prairie dog, skunk,
  badger, beaver, and porcupine.
• Game birds included turkey, partridge, quail, pigeon, plover, lark
  and osprey. Water fowl was quite abundant and varied, particularly
  on the coasts such as ducks, geese, swan, crane and sea crane.
• Other amphibious proteins included alligators and frogs, which the
  legs were enjoyed from, especially bullfrogs. Snail meat was also
  enjoyed, along with various turtles such as the painted turtle, wood
  turtle, and snapping turtle along with their eggs.
                 6.1.3 Seafood

• Saltwater fish eaten by the Native Americans
  were cod, lemon sole, flounder, herring, halibut,
  sturgeon, smelt, drum on the East Coast, and
  olachen on the West Coast.
• Crustacean included shrimp, lobster, crayfish, and
  giant crabs in the Northwest and blue crabs in the
  East. Other shellfish include abalone and geoduck
  on the California coast, while on the East Coast
  the surf clam, quahog, and the soft-shell clam.
  Oysters were eaten on both shores, as were
  mussels and periwinkles.
               6.2.3 Vegetables

• A number of vegetables grew in the northern
  colonies, which included turnips, onions,
  cabbage, carrots, and parsnips, along with a
  number of beans, pulses and legumes.
  Pumpkins and gourds were other vegetables
  that grew well in the northern colonies; often
  used for fodder for animals in addition to
  human consumption.
            6.2.4 Alcoholic Drinks

• Rum was the distilled spirit of choice as the main
  ingredient, molasses, was readily available from
  trade with the West Indies.
• Further into the interior, one would often find
  colonists consuming whiskey, as they did not have
  similar access to the sugar cane. They did have
  ready access to corn and rye, which they used to
  produce their whiskey.
• Hops only grew wild in the New World, and as
  such, importation from England and elsewhere
  became essential to beer production.

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