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Bruce J. Schulman
Boston University (Boston, MA 02215-1300)
"Are We A Nation"?: The Emergence of the Modern United States

A new treatment of what historians often call  "the Progressive Era," this book shows how the meaning of American nation-building underwent a profound shift in the years 1896 to 1929--from knitting together geographic regions to knitting together diverse peoples and cultures--just as the U.S. was emerging as a world power, international economic leader, and reservoir of displaced persons from around the globe.

A reinterpretation of the early twentieth century US, the study explores the transformation of American nationhood between 1896 and 1929 -- the era in which the United States emerged as a world power, international economic leader, and reservoir for displaced persons from across the globe. Most studies of the period have focused on the so-called Progressive Era. They overlook the larger processes of national integration and transformation that the Progressives, their rivals and their successors negotiated. At the same time, the book addresses enduring questions about nation-building: both as a process -- how can people build functioning nation-states out of diverse regions and peoples -- and as a matter of concept: what are the constituents of a nation? How do people understand nationhood and how have those conceptions changed over time? The US in this period offers a telling case because nation-building shifted from knitting together regions to integrating diverse peoples and cultures.

Project fields:
Cultural History; Political History; U.S. History

Public Scholars

Research Programs

$42,000 (approved)
$42,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2017 – 4/30/2018