Engendering Culture: Manhood and Womanhood in New Deal Public Art and Theater (New Directions in American Art) (Paperback)
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Using the iconography of New Deal murals and plays to interpret the cultural history of the 1930s, Engendering Culture demonstrates that the visual and dramatic images of each form contain an underlying vocabulary of gender: a stock of commonly used poses, subjects, settings, and dramatic roles that encode recognizable characteristics of manhood and womanhood.
About the Author
Barbara Melosh is a professor of English and Study of the Americas at George Mason University. She is the author of "The Physician's Hand: Work, Culture, and Conflict in American Nursing.
In this earnest and well-researched book, Melosh examines the visual politics of two New Deal art programs. The Treasury Section of Fine Arts funded murals and sculpture in public buildings and is often confused with the larger Federal Arts Project of the Work Projects Adminstration (WPA). Both programs created a set of cultural images rooted in the paternal liberalism of the times, and Melosh examines dozens of artworks as subtle or overt conveyors of sexual and racial symbolism. With its small illustrations, extensive notes, and somewhat spare analysis, this book will be of most interest to academics. (From Library Journal; David McClelland, Temple Univ. Lib., Philadelphia; Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
I know of no other study that gives us a greater sense of grassroots response to the projects of the New Deal. . . . This is an exceedingly well-written, impressively researched, persuasively argued book with many original and stimulating things to say. (Lawrence L. Levine)
Deeply researched and fascinating to read, Engendering Culture proves Barbara Melosh to be one of the most talented and imaginative feminist historians at work today. (Nancy F. Cott)