Modern Print Activism in the United States

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  • Edited by Rachel Schreiber, The California College of the Arts, Oakland and San Francisco, USA
  • The explosion of print culture that occurred in the United States at the turn of the twentieth century activated the widespread use of print media to promote social and political activism. Exploring this phenomenon, the essays in Modern Print Activism in the United States focus on specific groups, individuals, and causes that relied on print as a vehicle for activism. They also take up the variety of print forms in which calls for activism have appeared, including fiction, editorials, letters to the editor, graphic satire, and non-periodical media such as pamphlets and calendars. As the contributors show, activists have used print media in a range of ways, not only in expected applications such as calls for boycotts and protests, but also for less expected aims such as the creation of networks among readers and to the legitimization of their causes. At a time when the golden age of print appears to be ending, Modern Print Activism in the United States argues that print activism should be studied as a specifically modernist phenomenon and poses questions related to the efficacy of print as a vehicle for social and political change.

  • Contents: Preface; Introduction; Print culture and the construction of radical identity: Juliet H. Severance and the reform press in late-19th-century America, Joanne E. Passet; Changing feelings: fallen women, sentimentality, and the activist press, María Carla Sánchez; ‘She will spike war’s gun’: the anti-war graphic satire of the American suffrage press, Rachel Schreiber; Publishing a 'fighting spirit': Marianne Moore in the little magazines during WWI, Nikolaus Wasmoen; Holiday activism: Good Housekeeping and the meaning of Mother’s Day, Katharine Antolini; ‘Give this copy of the Kourier magazine to your friend. You will help him. You will also help society’: the 1920s KKK in print, propaganda, and publicity, Craig Fox; Productive fiction and propaganda: the development and uses of Communist Party pamphlet literature, Trevor Joy Sangrey; Containment culture: the Cold War in the Ladies’ Home Journal, 1946-1959, Diana Cucuz; Challenging the Anti-Pleasure League: Physique Pictorial and the cultivation of gay politics, Whitney Strub; Calendar art: how the 1968 SNCC wall calendar brought activism indoors, Lián Amaris; Amazon Quarterly: pre-zine print culture and the politics of separatism, Tirza True Latimer; Crafting public cultures in feminist periodicals, Elizabeth Groeneveld; Works cited; Index.

  • About the Editor: Rachel Schreiber is Associate Professor and Director of Humanities and Sciences at the California College of the Arts in Oakland and San Francisco, CA. She is an artist and cultural historian whose book Gender and Activism in a Little Magazine: The Modern Figures of the Masses was published by Ashgate in 2011. She has published articles in journals including Feminist Studies and the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, and exhibited her visual work internationally.

  • Reviews: 'In an era increasingly dominated by digital social media and their remarkable potential for today’s political activists, this thought-provoking collection illuminates the crucial role mass print culture played in the birth of modern activism. Rachel Schreiber has called upon a strong set of scholars across several disciplines to map a vast terrain of print-based activism, ranging from the activities of the KKK and the Communist Party to the homophile movement of the 1950s. Essential reading for scholars of print culture, modernism, post-WWII political and social history, media studies, and visual culture, and, indeed, for anyone interested in this turbulent period of American history.’
    Mark S. Morrisson, Penn State University and co-editor of the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies

    ‘…this book succeeds both in the organizing vision of the editor and in the rigorous work of the contributors, whose efforts are manifest in the close and careful analysis of each chapter’s wealth of primary sources…Schreiber’s Modern Print Activism in the United States should be viewed, then, as an exciting foray into print culture studies that offers a compelling argument for the importance of twentieth-century print activism by allowing the detailed analyses of the work’s contributors to convey that sense of importance in their research.’
    Publishing History

  • Visit Rachel Schreiber's website.


    Extracts from this title are available to view:

    Full contents list

    Introduction

    Index