From Sept. 20 – 25, Lawrence University’s Bjorklunden is offering these seminars: “Exploring How the United States’ Culture of Conflict Creates Political Quagmires” with Laura C. Smythe and “America at Mid-Century: The Early Fifties in Film, Literature, and Popular Culture” with Jack Rhodes.
Regardless of political affiliation, most people in the United States agree that its political system is a mess. In fact, it is often a remarkably unproductive quagmire. There are two political parties with platforms that appear to be constructed on the basis of opposing one another. Every day we read and hear about American politicians engaging in name-calling and mud-slinging and about gridlock in Congress. What is this conflict culture in the United States? And what impact does that have on its politicians and political system? In this seminar, both of these topics will be explored through the study of conflict theory and through the analysis of several memorable and fairly recent political events.
The era following World War II and encompassing U.S. involvement in Korea and the Cold War continues to fascinate those interested in American popular culture. During the second term of Harry Truman and the first term of Dwight Eisenhower, Americans, weary of war and trying to readjust to peacetime normality, confronted a fast-changing world which included the advent of television, the growth of drive-in movie theaters, the rapidly-expanding use of automobile and airplane transportation, a technological revolution in both the household and workplace, the fear of Communists in the neighborhood, and the threat of nuclear annihilation. Against this tumultuous and energetic background, filmmakers, screenwriters, poets, short story writers, musicians, and radio and television personalities all made distinctive artistic contributions that defined their era and its place in American cultural history. “America at Mid-Century” will re-examine some classic icons of the popular arts of America in the early fifties, with special attention to Hollywood’s depiction of this unique historical moment.
Seminar classes are held at Bjorklunden’s lodge, just south of Baileys Harbor, and meet weekday mornings and some evenings. Each seminar includes meals prepared by Bjorklunden’s resident chef. For complete course descriptions, fees and registration dates call 920.839.2216, email [email protected] or visit their website here.