Studies in the Intellectual History of Industrializing America, 1867-1910
Teichgraeber also lays the groundwork of a new interpretive framework for understanding this multisided effort. Most native-born American champions of "culture," he contends, viewed it as an authentically individualistic ideal. For them the concept continued to carry its antebellum meaning of self-culture—that is, individual self-development or self-improvement—and thus was quite resistant to closure around any single fixed definition of what being cultivated might mean. They also recognized that in America culture had to connect with the choices of ordinary men and women and therefore had to be fashioned to serve the uses of a democratic rather than an aristocratic society.
To show how and why this inclusive view of culture was accompanied by a prodigious expansion of American cultural institutions, Teichgraeber also explores two of the central but still inadequately mapped developments in the intellectual and cultural history of the industrial era: the multifaceted—and ultimately successful—effort to secure Ralph Waldo Emerson a central place in American culture at large; and the growth and consolidation of the American university system, certainly the most important of the new cultural institutions built during the industrial era.
Elegantly written and featuring twenty-two illustrations, Building Culture expands our knowledge of the formation of modern American culture and opens new paths of inquiry into contemporary cultural and intellectual concerns.
About the Author
"Building Culture expands on Teichgraeber's earlier work to offer important insights on the meanings of 'culture' in American intellectual life in the age of industrialization and sectional reunification. Teichgraeber makes particularly compelling use of two primary examples—the elevation of Ralph Waldo Emerson as the chief voice of American culture for his generation and the infusion of the American universities into public life as agencies of enlightening reform and academic freedom. This exploration of foundational episodes in the history of American culture is well grounded in the author's original research as well as thoughtful readings of the extant literature, and it is certain to be of great interest to scholars in history, literature, education, communication, American studies, and cultural theory."—Lewis Perry, author of Boats Against the Current: American Culture Between Revolution and Modernity, 1820–1860 and Intellectual Life in America: A History
Other Titles by Richard F. Teichgraeber, III
Other Titles in HISTORY / United States / 19th Century