The Global Fantastic: Knowledge Transfer, the Victor's Voice, and Cultural Education in 20th-century Spheres of Influence
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During and after the Second World War, relief efforts for war victims poured into central Europe from across the world.i Aid especially flowed from those countries located outside the territorial war, and especially from the U.S. government and its allies, religious organizations like the Catholic Relief Services, recruited by President (Fortin 303-5, McCleary 56-8). Thus, an American high school English anthology called American Writers, printed in Boston in 1942, bears several interesting stamps. On the top edge, "War Relief Services - National Catholic Welfare Conference - Aid to Prisoners of War," on the fly leaf "Swiss Catholic Charity for War Victims - Freiburg, Switzerland." But what was it doing in Switzerland? Who would have read it? Was it used as a schoolbook? What is the significance that this high school anthology of American literature, transported to Switzerland, is copyrighted for the U.S. and the Philippines?
This artifact and the questions surrounding it form the core of this discussion, which will examine the book in two closely related ways: as a tool in the domestic construction of national American fields of normalization and as a tool in a global, ideological knowledge transfer between the growing empire of the United States and its spheres of influence during the twentieth century.ii Reading images, text, structure, and selection of the text will yield information that will be juxtaposed with socio-historical data regarding publication, location in the schoolbook corpus, and political and cultural ideology. As a commodity, the book stands as a reminder of the complexity of the content, production, transfer, and dissemination of knowledge in the American empire of the 20th century. As a textbook, its subt...
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