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American Intellectual History: A Very Short Introduction

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen

December 2021

ISBN: 9780190622435

160 pages

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £8.99



Long before the United States was a nation, it was a set of ideas, projected onto the New World by European explorers with centuries of belief and thought in tow. From this foundation of expectation and experience, America and American thought grew in turn, enriched by the bounties of the Enlightenment, the philosophies of liberty and individuality, the tenets of religion, and the doctrines of republicanism and democracy. In engaging and accessible prose, Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen's introduction to American thought considers how notions about freedom and belonging, the market and morality - and even truth - have commanded generations of Americans and been the cause of fierce debate.

  • Examines the history of American thought from the pre-contact period to the present day
  • Written by one of the most distinguished intellectual historians of her generation
  • Contains insights into key moments of American intellectual transformation, from the Enlightenment, transcendentalism, and Social Darwinism to progressivism, conservatism, and postmodernism
  • Explores American history by way of ideas, thinkers, and intellectual movements

About the Author(s)

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, Merle Curti and Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is the Merle Curti and Vilas-Borghesi Distinguished Achievement Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she teaches US intellectual and cultural history. She is the author of American Nietzsche, which won the American Historical Association's John H. Dunning Prize, the Society for U.S. Intellectual History Book Award, and the Morris D. Forkosch Prize for the Best First Book in Intellectual History.

Table of Contents

    1. World of Empires: Precontact-1740
    2. America and the Transatlantic Enlightenment: 1741-1800
    3. From Republican to Romantic: 1800-1850
    4. Contests of Intellectual Authority: 1850-90
    5. Modernist Revolts: 1890-1920
    6. Roots and Rootlessness: 1920-45
    7. The Opening of the American Mind: 1945-70
    8. Against Universalism: 1962-90s
    Epilogue: Rethinking America in an Age of Globalization; or, The Conversation Continues
    Further Reading

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