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Grant number: FB-57537-14

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Leila C. Zenderland
California State University, Fullerton (Fullerton, CA 92831-3599)

Finding the "Class of 1933": Studying Culture, Personality, and Nationality in an Age of War

I propose to spend one year working on a book about a unique transnational educational experiment. Called the "Seminar on the Impact of Culture on Personality," it was funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and held at Yale during the 1932-33 school year. Leading this seminar were Edward Sapir, an anthropologist who studied Native Americans, and John Dollard, a social psychologist interested in the dynamics of racism. Invited to come to the U.S. to participate in it were 13 social scientists, each chosen to represent a different "contemporary culture." My book reconsiders the transnational significance of this seminar in particular, and of "culture and personality studies" more broadly, by tracing the accomplishments and failures of this "Class of 1933." In doing so, it offers a comparative history of the uses of social science research, particularly during World War II. It also shows how "culture and personality" scholars developed the modern psychosocial concept now called "identity."

Project fields:
History of Science; Intellectual History

Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2015 – 7/31/2016