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Products for grant RA-50142-14

Long-Term Research Fellowships at the Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science
Babak Ashrafi, Philadelphia Area Center for History of Science

Grant details:

“Victor Gruen’s Retail Therapy: Exiled Jewish Communities and the Invention of the American Shopping Mall as a Postwar Ideal” (Article)
Title: “Victor Gruen’s Retail Therapy: Exiled Jewish Communities and the Invention of the American Shopping Mall as a Postwar Ideal”
Author: Joseph Malherek
Abstract: This essay focuses on the formation of the architect Victor Gruen’s ideology in interwar Vienna and his early experiences in the United States, where he embraced his identity as a Jewish refugee by managing a theater troupe of exiled Viennese, and where he found jobs and established himself as an architect and designer in part through his contacts in the community of émigré Jews in New York. The communitarian spirit of Gruen’s cabaret performers, combined with the progressive social vision of the Viennese Social Democrats and the entrepreneurialism of immigrant professionals, coalesced in the person of Gruen, who channeled those energies into his vision for the shopping center, a distinctly American manifestation of a central European ideal. It was an architectural form that expressed both the idealism of social democracy and the optimism of postwar America; it was the product of one émigré’s stubborn progressivism and determination to transcend a traumatic past by realizing a positive vision for the future. Yet "the mall" would ultimately succumb to commercial imperatives that compromised this vision, much to the dissatisfaction of its inventor.
Year: 2016
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: The Leo Baeck Institute Year Book is the pre-eminent journal on Central European Jewish history and culture. This well-established publication covers cultural, economic, political, social and religious history, the impact of antisemitism and the Jewish responses to it. The Year Book is the publication of the Leo Baeck Institute, founded in 1955 for the study of the history and culture of German-speaking Central European Jewry. The journal of record in its field, the Year Book features the world's most prominent experts in the social, cultural, intellectual and political history of Jews in Central Europe after 1789, including the Holocaust.
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Leo Baeck Institute Year Book 61 (2016): 1-14
Publisher: Oxford University Press

“From the Ringstraße to Madison Avenue: Commercial Market Research and the Viennese Origins of the Mass Culture Debate, 1941–1961,” (Article)
Title: “From the Ringstraße to Madison Avenue: Commercial Market Research and the Viennese Origins of the Mass Culture Debate, 1941–1961,”
Author: Joseph Malherek
Abstract: Paul Lazarsfeld's social research organizations, as centres for cosmopolitan refugees who pioneered communications studies, were instrumental in producing some of the most prominent mass-culture critics in the post-war US—both native and emigre—including C. Wright Mills, Leo Lowenthal, Theodor Adorno, and David Riesman. But among Lazarsfeld's fellow Viennese colleagues, perhaps the most prominent in the contemporary popular mind was Ernest Dichter, a psychological consultant to marketers who probed the unconscious of consumer subjects in an effort to reveal their hidden motivations. Dichter was not a critic of mass culture but rather a celebrant who was embraced by the American business class. He entered into the public sphere, however, as the subject of criticism in journalist Vance Packard's exposé The Hidden Persuaders. Lazarsfeld saw no essential contradiction between the critics of mass culture and its industrial purveyors; instead, he saw these forces existing in a dialectical relationship with one another. In this sense, it was no accident that his research institutes nurtured both cultural critics and the agents of industrial mass society.
Year: 2017
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Canadian Review of American Studies publishes essays, review essays and shorter reviews whose purpose is the multi- and inter-disciplinary analysis and understanding of the culture, both past and present, of the United States - and of the relations between the cultures of the U.S. and Canada.
Access Model: open access
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Canadian Review of American Studies 47 (2017): 261–87
Publisher: University of Toronto Press

"Creating Circumstances: Edward Bernays, Psychoanalysis, and the Making of American Consumer Culture" (Blog Post)
Title: "Creating Circumstances: Edward Bernays, Psychoanalysis, and the Making of American Consumer Culture"
Author: Joseph Malherek
Abstract: In 1929, it was socially acceptable for women to smoke at home and in certain public spaces, such as a hotel lobby. Smoking on the streets, however, was another matter altogether. George Washington Hill, the president of the American Tobacco Company, sought to quash this old taboo. He enlisted a public relations consultant, Edward Bernays, who had, in his years as a press agent, perfected the art of “creating circumstances” that would attract favorable coverage—and thus free publicity—in newspapers. For this job, Bernays consulted a psychoanalyst who suggested that smoking cigarettes was a sublimation of oral eroticism—to do it openly would be a dramatic symbol of women’s emancipation. The cigarettes would become, the psychoanalyst said, “torches of freedom.” This led Bernays to stage a parade on Easter Sunday of 10 young debutantes who would, in the interest of the “equality of the sexes,” light their cigarettes and march down New York’s Fifth Avenue—with male escorts—to proclaim their liberation and equality. Bernays exploited his connections with the press to ensure that the parade would be widely photographed and covered in newspapers. In the end, the march caused a national stir, and Bernays had effectively used the press to transform the progressive impulse of feminism into a boost in cigarette sales for his client.
Date: 3/23/2017
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: AHA Today publishes posts on a variety of topics relevant to AHA members and the history discipline. Authors may reflect on current historical research or projects, issues of importance to the history profession, and methods for teaching history. Pieces should be substantive in nature, not simply accounts or summaries of the topics being covered; posts should have a main idea and examine the subject from a specific perspective. The AHA is interested in the experiences and work of members and historians at large, and we encourage submissions for AHA Today
Blog Title: AHA Today

"When C. Wright Mills Worked for the Culture Industry" (Blog Post)
Title: "When C. Wright Mills Worked for the Culture Industry"
Author: Joseph Malherek
Abstract: Known for monumental works in midcentury sociology such as White Collar, The Power Elite, and The Sociological Imagination, C. Wright Mills earned a reputation as an incisive, independent social critic who exposed the biases and banalities of both elite power brokers and ordinary Americans. Yet one of Mills’s assignments early in his career had him conducting a survey in Decatur, Illinois funded by major magazine publisher, Macfadden, which was known for its sensational pulp titles like True Story. Mills had just begun working under Paul Lazarsfeld and Robert Merton at the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia University, where he would eventually join the sociology faculty. Although he worried about how colleagues would perceive his “selling out,” he quickly became engaged in the work when he began part-time in 1944 and then full-time in 1945.
Date: 7/27/2017
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: The University of Toronto Press Journals Division is dedicated to innovation in publishing and the sustainability of scholarly journals. The Journals team works hand-in-hand with editors and associations to assist publications in achieving their goals in the most efficient and cost effective manner – resulting in major strides forward in areas such as online peer review systems and online advance publishing.
Blog Title: University of Toronto Press Journals Blog

“The Industrialist and the Artist: László Moholy-Nagy, Walter Paepcke, and the New Bauhaus in Chicago, 1937-1946.” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “The Industrialist and the Artist: László Moholy-Nagy, Walter Paepcke, and the New Bauhaus in Chicago, 1937-1946.”
Author: Joseph Malherek
Abstract: In 1937, a group of businessmen organized as the Association of Arts and Industries, on the recommendation of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, invited the Hungarian artist and designer László Moholy-Nagy to Chicago to reestablish the Bauhaus school of design, which the Nazis had shut down in 1933. Moholy-Nagy, who was exiled in England at the time, had been a member of the Bauhaus faculty and was a close associate of Gropius, who had turned down the Association’s offer to lead the school. Although the New Bauhaus was forced to close in 1938 after less than a year in operation due to the Association’s withdrawal of financial support, Container Corporation president Walter Paepcke helped Moholy to establish the School of Design in Chicago in 1939, which retained the Bauhaus pedagogy and much of its faculty, including the Hungarian artist György Kepes. Moholy led the design school, which changed its name to the Institute of Design in 1944, until his death in 1946. Drawing on archival resources at the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois, Chicago, this paper looks at Moholy’s immigration to the United States and his close relationship with Paepcke, an arts patron who created jobs for other Bauhaus designers including Herbert Bayer. Moholy and Paepcke attempted to incorporate the socialistic Bauhaus pedagogy with the practical demands of capitalistic American business, and their close personal and professional relationship reveals much about the extent to which such a cultural and economic fusion was possible.
Date: 03/09/2018
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Conference webpage
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Institute for Advanced Study at Central European University
Conference Name: New Perspectives on Central European and Transatlantic Migration, 1800-2000

"The Astonishment of Experience: Psychology as a Citizen Science" (Conference/Institute/Seminar)
Title: "The Astonishment of Experience: Psychology as a Citizen Science"
Author: Alicia Puglionesi
Abstract: Though the origins of scientific psychology in the U.S. are usually traced to the Harvard psychological laboratory established by William James in 1875, experimentation with mental phenomena had a long history as a public practice, a citizen science that pursued what James called “wild facts” embedded in everyday experience. This science, termed “psychical research”, encompassed studies of telepathy, clairvoyance, mediumship, and the emerging notion of a “subliminal” or unconscious self. The Astonishment of Experience shows how field sciences like meteorology and astronomy became models for psychical research, which in turn shaped the professional formation of psychology and its maligned double, parapsychology, in the early twentieth century. Spanning laboratories and asylums, cushioned parlors and remote weather stations, this project presents an expansive vision of how the mind sciences became a site of curiosity, hope, and danger for turn-of-the-century Americans living through unprecedented transformations of subjectivity.
Date Range: 09/15/2017
Location: Stanford University
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Stanford Department of Anthropology web page

“History After the Human” (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: “History After the Human”
Author: Daniel Vandersommers
Abstract: Over the past few years, the Humanities have been confronting a paradigm shift. After the Cultural and Linguistic turns of the 1970s and 1980s, language, meaning, representation, agency, othering, and knowledge-production redefined the Humanities. Now, in 2016, new media, climate change, environmental catastrophe, terrorism, genetic engineering, population growth, and globalization, destabilize the core of the Humanities. These forces (hyperobjects?) are largerthan-human. They are seismic. They are shifting intellectual terrain. And they require a change of perception, a new vision for a new century. As the macro, the “beyond-the-human,” quake the ballast of the Humanities, animals have emerged from the fault lines and fissures. Though animals were domesticated, commodified, and ultimately silenced between the late-Paleolithic and the Present, their voices have begun to resound across the Humanities as it turns toward the Anthropocene. This paper will explore the ways in which animal voices are reverberating within the historical profession. After tracking animals through the environmental history of the 1990s and 2000s, this paper will look toward the new horizons of “animal history.” Not only will this paper seek to define this emerging field, but it will outline the ways that “animal history” (indeed animals themselves) can creatively uncover a livelier, more truthful, and complex past buried beneath an anthropocentric historical tradition.
Date: 11/11/2017
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: SLSA 2017 Program
Secondary URL Description: SLSA 2017 Program
Conference Name: 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for Literature, Science, and the Arts (SLSA)

"The celebrated Grecian dog": Learning from Animals in Peale's Museum (Blog Post)
Title: "The celebrated Grecian dog": Learning from Animals in Peale's Museum
Author: Alicia Pugloinesi
Abstract: not available
Date: 2/15/2017
Primary URL:
Website: Maryland Humanities