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The Chautauqua Moment


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Chautauqua's Liberal Creed An American Forum: Methodist Camp Meetings and the Rise of Social Christianity Canopy of Cultures: Democracy Under the Big Tent of Prosperity The Never-Ending Vacation: Boosters, Tourists, and the Fantasyscape of Chautauqua Inventing the White Public: Webs of Region, Race, and Nationalism in the Chautauqua Movement From Parlor to Politics: Chautauqua and the Institutionalization of Middle-Class Womanhood Useful Knowledge and Its Critics: The Messiness of Popular Education in the 1890s Success Through Failure: Chautauqua in the Progressive Era

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More than a college or a summer resort or a religious assembly, the Chautauqua movement was a composite of all of these, and for five decades after it began in 1874, Chautauqua dominated adult education and reached millions with its summer assemblies, reading clubs, and traveling circuits. This critical study weaves the threads of Chautauqua into a single story and places it at the vital center of fin de siecle cultural and political history.

About the Author

Andrew C. Rieser is a past fellow of the Pew Program in religion and American history at Yale University and has taught at several universities in New York and the Midwest.


"Rieser's study supersedes all other accounts about Chautauqua, the places, and the fabled cultural movement connected with it... Recommended." -- Choice "Andrew C. Rieser breaks new ground in his sophisticated and exhaustive treatment of Chautauqua. Rieser's breadth of topics is impressive." -- Robert D. Johnson, The Journal of American History "As the first critical analysis of this influential social movement, this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the process of creation of white, middle-class identity and the assertion of the hegemony by that class." -- The Annals of Iowa " The Chautauqua Moment is a rich, multi-faceted exploration of one of the... Most influential and elusive movements... Students of state history will learn much from The Chautauqua Moment." -- Thomas N. Baker, New York History "Destined to be a seminal text not only on the Chautauqua moment but also on... the progressive-era white middle class." -- Amy Kittelstrom, Reviews in American History "Rieser winsomely and insightfully presents and analyzes the flaws, the merits, and the contradictions... of the Chautauqua movement." -- Paul Hillmer, H-Net Reviews

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