Undergraduate Humanities Forum 2006-7: Travel

Document Type

Presentation

Date of this Version

April 2007

Comments

2006-2007 Penn Humanities Forum on Travel, Undergraduate Mellon Research Fellows.

URL: http://humanities.sas.upenn.edu/06-07/uhf_fellows.shtml

Abstract

The past twenty years have been witness to what can be called a dialogue on the subject of the American postwar suburb. Keep in mind that though there has almost been three quarters of a century since the end of the Second World War and the inception of the post war suburb, only recently has there been a dialogue instead of a hostile chorus of criticism. Therein lies the tension between title and subtitle of this paper; after all, a dialogue by definition should have a back and forth, a point and counterpoint, while a jeremiad uniformly bewails. There has and continues to be a kind of intellectual default that pervades popular and scholarly examinations of the suburb. We cannot necessarily be sure from where this kind of stance was derived, whether the popular critique takes its cues from the scholarly or vice versa. When examining both popular and scholarly criticism it is easy to see that there is a kind of uniformity of deprecation, of judgmental displeasure toward the suburb. If we discount those boosters who might have had a vested interest in selling goods and houses, then we can only really begin to see a critical defense of the suburb in the past 20 years.

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Date Posted: 06 August 2007