Read e-book online A war for the soul of America : a history of the culture PDF

By Andrew Hartman

When Patrick Buchanan took the degree on the Republican nationwide conference in 1992 and proclaimed, “There is a spiritual warfare happening for the soul of our country,” his viewers knew what he was once speaking approximately: the tradition wars, which had raged in the course of the prior decade and may proceed till the century’s finish, pitting conservative and non secular american citizens opposed to their liberal, secular fellow electorate. It was once an period marked through polarization and posturing fueled through deep-rooted anger and insecurity.
 
Buchanan’s fiery speech marked a excessive aspect within the tradition wars, yet as Andrew Hartman exhibits during this richly analytical historical past, their roots lay farther again, within the tumult of the 1960s—and their value is way more than ordinarily assumed. way over a trifling sideshow or shouting fit, the tradition wars, Hartman argues, have been the very public face of America’s fight over the remarkable social adjustments of the interval, because the cluster of social norms that had lengthy ruled American lifestyles started to cave in to a brand new openness to assorted rules, identities, and articulations of what it intended to be an American. The hot-button concerns like abortion, affirmative motion, artwork, censorship, feminism, and homosexuality that ruled politics within the interval have been indicators of the bigger fight, as conservative american citizens slowly started to acknowledge—if at first via rejection—many basic modifications of yank life.
 
As an ever-more partisan but in addition an ever-more diversified and accepting the US maintains to discover its approach in a altering global, A struggle for the Soul of America reminds us of the way we came, and what the entire shouting has rather been about.

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Extra info for A war for the soul of America : a history of the culture wars

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In a Redstockings consciousness-raising group, she finally came out of the closet as a lesbian. “Coming out” as a political tactic elevated consciousnessraising to a new level of importance for gay liberation. “Speaking freely and honestly to other gays in the protected atmosphere of a consciousness-raising session,” Jay explained, would, in theory, “ramify outward” to obliterate the heteronormativity at the core of traditional American identity. ”51 If gay liberation represented the apex of sixties-era liberation for some, for others it signaled the decline of Western civilization.

Speaking freely and honestly to other gays in the protected atmosphere of a consciousness-raising session,” Jay explained, would, in theory, “ramify outward” to obliterate the heteronormativity at the core of traditional American identity. ”51 If gay liberation represented the apex of sixties-era liberation for some, for others it signaled the decline of Western civilization. ” Conservatives were those most likely to take a dim view of gay liberation. But they 34 C h a pt e r one were not alone.

The dominant tone of gay activism had shifted from demurring to confrontational. The Mattachine Society, the nation’s most prominent homophile organization prior to 1969, relied upon liberal heterosexual allies to speak on behalf of gay rights, since most of its members were hesitant to publicly pronounce themselves gay. Such reticence was logical, of course, given the cultural stigma attached to homosexuality— a stigma reflected by the American Psychological Association (APA)’s designation of homosexuality as pathological.

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