American Chameleon: Individualism in Trans-National Context

Richard Orr Curry, Other Kent State University Press $35 (276p) ISBN 978-0-87338-443-8
Although Curry ( Freedom at Risk ) and Goodheart ( Abolitionist, Actuary, Atheist ) clearly aim for an academic audience, general readers, too, will appreciate these 11 erudite but accessible essays on the American concept of individualism. ``The Emergence of an Individualistic Ethos in American Society,'' by Curry and Karl E. Valois, considers some of the factors in the emergence of individualism as this country's dominant ideology in the mid-19th century; among them are the influence of enlightenment ideals, the decline of ``deferential politics'' (in which power is the natural province of a privileged few) and the rise of evangelical Christianity. In ``Can a Woman Be an Individual?'' Linda K. Kerber explores the few ways women historically have been able to gain ``individual authenticity,'' noting that the rhetoric and imagery of individuality have traditionally served the interests of men. Loren Schweninger's ``From Assertiveness to Individualism'' probes black cultural values and shows how the assertiveness demonstrated by slaves who acquired their freedom evolved into ``full-blown individualism'' that, for blacks, could be contradictory and even pernicious. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1991
Release date: 01/01/1991
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-0-87338-448-3
Open Ebook - 289 pages - 978-1-61277-054-3
Open Ebook - 289 pages - 978-1-61277-055-0
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