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Americans All: The Cultural Gifts Movement


reviewed by Robert C. Bannister — December 22, 2008

coverTitle: Americans All: The Cultural Gifts Movement
Author(s): Diana Selig
Publisher: Harvard University Press, Cambridge
ISBN: 0674028295, Pages: 384, Year: 2008
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Although the 1920s are often associated with ethnic and racial intolerance, Diana Selig's elegantly crafted study identifies a counter-current in a "cultural gifts movement" (CGM) that celebrated America's ethnic diversity while battling against the prevailing nativism of the decade. Rooted in images of the malleable child going back to John Locke, the movement drew more immediately on developments in the social sciences, notably behaviorist psychology. It was also linked to the crusade for international education spurred by World War I. The result was a liberalism refashioned along cultural lines, a precursor of late 20th century multiculturalism, with both its strengths and weaknesses. The CGM featured a diverse coalition of individuals, organizations, and publications. Its most influential theorist was Bruno Lasker, author of Race Attitudes in Children (1929). Parents' Magazine, edited for three decades by Clara Savage Littledale, lectured adults on the need for teaching tolerance. Rachel DuBois, initially a high... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: December 22, 2008
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15468, Date Accessed: 12/10/2017 8:59:11 PM

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About the Author
  • Robert Bannister
    Swarthmore College
    E-mail Author
    ROBERT C. BANNISTER is a Senior Research Scholar at Swarthmore College. His publications include Social Darwinism: Science and Myth (1979); Sociology and Scientism: The American Search for Objectivity 1880-1940 (University of North Carolina, 1987); and Jessie Bernard: The Making of a Feminist (Rutgers University Press, 1991).
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