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The Humanities and the Dream of America - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Humanities and the Dream of America

Geoffrey Galt Harpham


This book argues that today's humanities are an invention of the American academy in the years following World War II, when they were first conceived as an expression of American culture and an instrument of American national interests. The humanities portray a “dream of America” in two senses: they represent an aspiration of Americans since the first days of the Republic for a state so secure and prosperous that people could enjoy and appreciate culture for its own sake; and they embody in academic terms an idealized conception of the American national character. Although they are struggling ... More

Keywords: humanities, American academy, American culture, American national interests, national character, higher education, crisis

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780226316970
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226317014.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Geoffrey Galt Harpham, author