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Ku Klux KultureAmerica and the Klan in the 1920s$
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Felix Harcourt

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226376158

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226376295.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

Ordinary Human Interests

Ordinary Human Interests

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Ordinary Human Interests
Source:
Ku Klux Kulture
Author(s):

Felix Harcourt

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226376295.003.0001

This introductory chapter considers the Ku Klux Klan of the 1920s within the larger context of cultural studies. Drawing on the work of Michael Denning, this chapter challenges traditional understandings of the Klan as organization and proposes that the Klan would be better understood as a cultural movement. In looking at the communities of consumption that formed around the middlebrow mass culture of Klannish cultural ephemera, the chapter argues that the Jazz Age is misnamed. The 1920s did see a clash between modernism and Victorianism but also a melding of these intellectual strands, exemplified in the cultural life of the Ku Klux Klan.

Keywords:   Ku Klux Klan, 1920s, cultural studies, Jazz Age, modernism, victorianism, mass culture, middlebrow, communities of consumption

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