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Popular Culture

Popular Culture Book List

Cover of 'Enchanted Ground'

Enchanted Ground
The Spirit Room of Jonathan Koons
By Sharon Hatfield

In a fascinating work of religious history and cultural inquiry, Hatfield brings to life the true story of a nineteenth-century farmer-spiritualist, Jonathan Koons, whom thousands traveled to Ohio to see. As heirs to the second Great Awakening, he and his followers were part of a larger, uniquely American moment that still marks the culture today.

Cover of 'Gone Dollywood'

Gone Dollywood
Dolly Parton’s Mountain Dream
By Graham Hoppe

Country music superstar Dolly Parton’s Dollywood is a 150-acre fantasyland that hosts three million people a year. What does it tell us about the modern South, and in turn what does that tell us about America as a whole? Hoppe blends tourism, public history, and personal reflection into an unforgettable interrogation of Southern American identity.

Cover of 'Market Encounters'

Market Encounters
Consumer Cultures in Twentieth-Century Ghana
By Bianca Murillo

By emphasizing the centrality of human relationships to Ghana’s economic past, Murillo introduces a radical rethinking of consumption studies from an Africa-centered perspective. The result is a keen look at colonial capitalism in all of its intricacies, legacies, and contradictions, including its entanglement with gender and race.

Cover of 'America’s Romance with the English Garden'

America’s Romance with the English Garden
By Thomas J. Mickey

America’s Romance with the English Garden is the story of the beginnings of the modern garden industry, which seduced the masses with its images and fixed the English garden in the mind of the American consumer; the story of tastemakers and homemakers, of savvy businessmen and a growing American middle class eager to buy their products.

Cover of 'A Necessary Luxury'

A Necessary Luxury
Tea in Victorian England
By Julie E. Fromer

Tea drinking in Victorian England was a pervasive activity that, when seen through the lens of a century’s perspective, presents a unique overview of Victorian culture. Tea was a necessity and a luxury; it was seen as masculine as well as feminine; it symbolized the exotic and the domestic; and it represented both moderation and excess.

Cover of 'Come Buy, Come Buy'

Come Buy, Come Buy
Shopping and the Culture of Consumption in Victorian Women’s Writing
By Krista Lysack

From the 1860s through the early twentieth century, Great Britain saw the rise of the department store and the institutionalization of a gendered sphere of consumption.

Cover of 'The Cut of His Coat'

The Cut of His Coat
Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860–1914
By Brent Shannon

The English middle class in the late nineteenth century enjoyed an increase in the availability and variety of material goods. With that, the visual markers of class membership and manly behavior underwent a radical change.

Cover of 'From Submarines to Suburbs'

From Submarines to Suburbs
Selling a Better America, 1939–1959
By Cynthia Lee Henthorn

During World War II, U.S. businesses devised marketing strategies that encouraged consumers to believe their country’s wartime experience would launch a better America. Advertisements and promotional articles celebrated the immense industrial output that corporations achieved during the war.

Cover of 'Pictorial Victorians'

Pictorial Victorians
The Inscription of Values in Word and Image
By Julia Thomas

The Victorians were image obsessed. The middle decades of the nineteenth century saw an unprecedented growth in the picture industry. Technological advances enabled the Victorians to adorn with images the pages of their books and the walls of their homes. But this was not a wholly visual culture. Pictorial Victorians focuses on two of the most popular mid-nineteenth-century genres—illustration and narrative painting—that blurred the line between the visual and textual.

Cover of 'Pastimes and Politics'

Pastimes and Politics
Culture, Community, and Identity in Post-Abolition Urban Zanzibar, 1890–1945
By Laura Fair

The first decades of the twentieth century were years of dramatic change in Zanzibar, a time when the social, economic, and political lives of island residents were in incredible flux, framed by the abolition of slavery, the introduction of colonialism, and a tide of urban migration.

Cover of 'Media and Dependency in South Africa'

Media and Dependency in South Africa
A Case Study of the Press and the Ciskei “Homeland”
By Les Switzer

Switzer looks at how South Africa’s communications industry, the largest and most powerful on the continent, promotes dependency among the subject African populations. This study of the Ciskei “Homeland”, which has long been a fountainhead of African nationalism and a zone of conflict between blacks and whites, focuses on the privately owned, commercial press and its role in helping to frame a consensus in support of the political, economic and ideological values of the ruling alliance.