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UNIT 25: Global Popular Culture

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READINGS

Reading 1

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). From chapter 20, "The Crossroads of History: Culture, Identity, and Global Community," pp. 934–40.

Abstract: This essay explores the interactions of cultures through the globalization of popular cultural forms. In particular, it looks at music that was created from the cross-fertilization of many traditions, literature that crossed national boundaries, and the role of film as global artistic expression. In so doing, it traces some of the ways the world has become increasingly interconnected—and transformed—by popular culture.

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Reading 2

Candice Goucher, Charles LeGuin, and Linda Walton, In the Balance: Themes in Global History (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 1998). From chapter 19, "Resistance, Revolution, and New Global Order/Disorder," pp. 840, 877–80.

Abstract: This essay explores the ways that popular forms were used in a variety of contexts to resist imperialism or to promote revolutionary ideas. From revolutionary literature in China to resistance literature in the Afro-Caribbean world, it demonstrates the ways that literary styles were borrowed and adapted to serve the cause of resistance. In addition, music and dance forms frequently advocated change through words or movement, and sometimes empowered people by mocking those in power.

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Reading 3

Donald White, "The "American Century" in World History," Journal of World History 3, no. 1 (Spring 1992): 105–28.

Abstract: The rise and recent noticeable decline of the United States as a preeminent power raises the issue of its influence not on current international politics, but on world history. In his famous essay "The American Century," published in February 1941, Henry Luce, the publisher of Time and Life magazines, set forth a program by which a preeminent United States might make contacts across space and time like those of past empires and powers, thereby influencing global economic development, culture, philanthropy, and democratic institutions. Luce gave popular expression to America's postwar role, prompting considerable foreign reaction in addition to domestic debate. This article focuses on Luce's thought about American cross-cultural influence on world history and the reaction of other peoples to it as glimpsed in the foreign press and writings.

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