Flapper Joshua Zeitz Essay Outline

Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern

Joshua Zeitz, Author . Crown $24.95 (338p) ISBN 978-1-4000-8053-3

This is an entertaining, well-researched and charmingly illustrated dissection of the 1920s flapper, who flouted conventions and epitomized the naughtiness of the Jazz Age as she "bobbed her hair, smoked cigarettes, drank gin, sported short skirts, and passed her evenings in steamy jazz clubs." Cambridge historian Zeitz identifies F. Scott Fitzgerald as "the premier analyst," and his muse and wife, Zelda, "the prototype" of the American flapper. Others who invented aspects of the flapper mystique were New Yorker writer Lois Long, who gave readers a vicarious peek into the humorous late-night adventures of the New Woman; designer Coco Chanel, whose androgynous fashions redefined feminine sexuality as they blurred the line between men's and women's roles in society; fashion artist Gordon Conway, whose willowy and aloof flappers were seen by millions of American and European magazine readers; and Clara Bow, who breathed life into the flapper on the silver screen. The Klan, Zeitz relates, denounced flappers as evils of the modern age, and advertisers exploited the social anxieties of would-be flappers by appealing to the conformist at the heart of this controversial figure. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/12/2005
Release date: 03/01/2006

Open Ebook - 259 pages - 978-0-307-52382-2

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The United States, 1920-1960

Syllabus and Survival Guide

History 474A – Spring 2014

Tuesday 7:00 pm – 9:45 pm, Sierra Hall 288




Dr. Thomas W. Devine

Office Hours: Sierra Tower 624, Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:00-2:00 and by appointment gladly given.

Email: tom.devine@csun.edu Phone: (818) 677-3550

Teaching Assistant: Johnathan Hayward Email:  johnathan.hayward.571@my.csun.edu

Spirit of the Course


This course will offer an interpretive survey of political, cultural, economic, and social trends in the United States between 1920 and 1960. Since it is impossible to “cover” everything in a class that meets officially only 14 times, out of necessity, the syllabus will be selective in the topics that it addresses. Rather than emphasize “coverage” (i.e. what happened), we will focus on why specific events and trends took on larger significance over time (i.e. so what?)The course is structured chronologically, but there will be some discontinuities in the timeline as we explore particular themes – gender roles, race relations, popular culture, diplomacy, and so on.


In addition, the course will provide you with ample opportunities to improve your writing. We will be working on how to write a coherent, logical essay that takes a particular point of view and makes a persuasive case for it – a skill that will serve you well in the world beyond History 474A. In fact, it is no coincidence that many employers in various fields say they like to hire History majors. They know that History students have been trained to think critically, analyze data effectively, argue persuasively, and write clearly – all skills in high demand (and very low supply) in today’s job market.


Finally, as someone who believes an informed citizenry is vital to sustaining the health of a democracy, I hope that by studying the unfolding of American history in this period, you will leave the course a more informed citizen than when you entered. Today, Americans are astonishingly ignorant of their own nation’s history and even more clueless about the world around them. This is not only embarrassing but unfortunate, for as George Orwell reminds us in his novel1984, those who have no knowledge of the past are not only powerless, they are inevitably dominated by those who do possess such knowledge – something to think about as we begin the semester.


The following books – listed in the order in which we will read them – are available at the Matador Bookstore.All other readings will be provided in class or made available on the web syllabus.The Bookstore sends back all books after week four of the semester, so if you plan to purchase your books there, you should buy all of them early in the semester.


• Joshua Zeitz, Flapper: A Madcap Story of Sex, Style, Celebrity, and the Women Who Made America Modern

• David Ruth, Inventing the Public Enemy: The Gangster in American Culture, 1918-1934

• Jeffrey P. Moran, The Scopes Trial: A Brief History with Documents

• Patrick Maney, The Roosevelt Presence: The Life and Legacy of FDR

• Paul Fussell, Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in the Second World War

• Sloan Wilson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit

• Thomas Hine, Populuxe


To subvert the system and to save yourself some money, you should consider buying used copies of the books.You are likely to find used or discounted copies at significantly lower prices at the following websites:


www.bookfinder.com; www.half.com; www.amazon.com; www.abebooks.com

Requirements & Grading


1st Paper--10%

Option A due February 16


Option B due March 14


2nd Paper--20%

Option A due April 26


Option B due May 9


Primary Source Assignment--20%

Option A on “The Modern Woman” due February 22


Option B on “World War II Ads and Images” due April 5  


Final Exam [May 13, 8:00-10:00]--25%



• All grading is based on 100 points and will be done on the +/ – system.

• You must write 2 analytical papers. For each assignment, you may choose whether you wish to do Option A or Option B. If you do both, I will count only the higher grade.

• You must do 1 of the two Primary Source Assignments. If you do both, I will count only the higher grade.

• Late papers will be penalized. Any paper turned in more than a week after its due date will not be accepted.

• Any assignment not turned in or not accepted will receive a grade of ZERO in the calculation of the final grade.


Explanation of Requirements


Class Participation

Though this course will include some lectures, it is not a “lecture course” – the emphasis will be on discussion and classroom interaction rather than listening passively to the professor. Class participation is important and will count heavily in your final grade. Have the reading done BEFORE you come to class and be ready to comment on it – simply being “present” will not earn you a high grade. You will find that the key to success in this class is attending every session and participating in the discussion. If you do those two things, everything else will become easier.



There will be occasional short quizzes throughout the semester. The purpose of the quizzes is to provide you an incentive to complete the reading and to indicate to me who has read and who hasn’t. If you have done all the reading – or even most of it – you should have no difficulty doing well on the quizzes. Racking up high quiz scores is the easiest path to securing a good grade in this class.


Analytical Papers

The two paper assignments will focus on the material covered in the assigned readings and during class discussion.If you wish, you may do both first paper options and I will count the higher grade. Likewise, you may do both of the second paper options and I will again count the higher grade. You must, however, do one of the first two assignments and one of the second two assignments. There will be a choice of topics which will be handed out well before the due date.Papers must be at least 1500 words. Grades will be based on the quality of your ideas and how effectively you present them. Keep your graded papers and refer back to my corrections and suggestions so you do not make the same mistakes again.

Primary Source Assignment

This assignment will allow you to mine cotemporary magazines and newspapers as a way of producing some of your own historical analysis. I will provide you with a choice of topics that lend themselves to primary research in sources available on campus or on the internet. A more detailed description of the assignment will be handed out in class, however you should expect to write an essay of approximately 2000 words.

Final Exam

You will receive a review sheet with 12 questions, 9 of which will appear verbatim on the Final Exam. Of those 9, everyone will have to answer 6. Of those 6, you can choose 5 and the remaining one will be a question that the entire class must answer. The exam will be cumulative, but will emphasize material covered in the second half of the course. You are responsible for bringing an unmarked green book to the final.


The Writing Center

This class is linked to the Writing Center, so when completing one of the two analytical paper assignments, you will submit a draft of your essay to a tutor. The tutor will meet with you to go over the draft and you will then have a week after that meeting to revise and resubmit your essay for a grade. You can set up an appointment with a tutor by calling the History Department at 818 677-3566. All students in this class are required to have at least one meeting with a writing tutor.


Surviving History 474A…

Getting the Reading Done

This class will require extensive reading, some of which you may find challenging, some of which you’ll find more entertaining. It will serve you well if you figure out approximately how many pages you can read in an hour and then calculate how many hours it will take you to read each assignment. Most History majors read scholarly books and articles at about 20-30 pages an hour. Novels generally take less time. If you know ahead of time how long it will take to get through an assignment, you can manage your time more realistically. Don’t read every word of the first third of an assignment but nothing thereafter because you ran out of time. To help insure you get the reading done, make a commitment to reading 10 pages of the next assignment as soon as you get home from class. Once you’re into an assignment, it will be easier to keep going. Each day you put off beginning an assignment makes it less likely you’ll be able to finish it in time for class. If it’s clear you won’t have enough time to complete an assignment, use the study questions to guide your reading. Skim through the book or articles until you come across material that is covered in the questions and then jot down your answers. (This will help when it comes time to write the papers and review for the final exam.)Since the study questions focus on the most important parts of the reading, if you are able to answer them, you will also arrive in class better prepared to participate in the discussion.


Since this class meets only once a week and its success depends on active student participation, it is important – and it is expected – that you will be at every session.I do take attendance before and after the break. If you are a person who rarely comes to class and relies on copying notes from a friend, this is not the course for you. I understand that inevitably an occasion may arise when you are unable to attend.Out of fairness to your classmates who do attend every week, however, each absence past the first two will reduce your final grade. More than four absences over the course of the semester will put in you in jeopardy of failing the class, regardless of your grades on the written assignments.

Laptop Policy

Since “multi-tasking” is a constant temptation, laptops and tablets end up being more of a distraction than an aid. I do not allow you to use them in my classroom unless you have a medical note stating that you must have one.


Common Courtesy

You are at a university among professional people so you should act like you belong here. Do not embarrass yourself by acting rudely. Please turn off and put away all cell phones and other electronic gadgets while you are in class. Playing with your phone during class is rude and people who do it are advertising to those around them that they don’t know how to behave in a professional environment. Please arrive on time and do not walk out in the middle of class unless it is an emergency or you have spoken to me about it ahead of time. Do not begin gathering up your things before the end of the class period. This kind of rude and disruptive behavior reflects poorly on you and distracts your classmates who are paying good money to be here. Please act courteously and professionally. Show some class. It’s part of being an educated person.


Academic Honesty

Do not lie to me about why you missed class or failed to turn in an assignment. It is unnecessary and it insults my intelligence. Do not cheat on quizzes or exams. I will catch you and you will receive an automatic zero for the assignment. Do not plagiarize from written sources or from the web. Since plagiarism is always obvious and easily caught (I know how to use google too), it is better to hand in your own work and get a C- than someone else’s and get an F.If you have plagiarized in the past and gotten away with it, it was not because the professor didn’t know what you were doing.Rather, the professor did not think you were worth the effort of pursuing it. Be advised: I do think you are worth the effort. Any and all plagiarized assignments will receive a grade of zero and put you in jeopardy of failing the course. If you are unsure what plagiarism is, please consult with me or the teaching assistant BEFORE you hand in an assignment.



I appreciate that many CSUN evening students are stretching themselves quite thin, often working full time while taking classes at night.If you are feeling overwhelmed, find yourself falling behind, or are having any problems outside of class that are adversely affecting your performance in class, be sure to let me know. I am more than willing to work with you to insure you “survive,” but I need to know you are having difficulties. Do not wait until the end of the semester when it will be too late. The university will not allow you to withdraw from a class after the drop deadline simply because you are doing poorly. Contact me as soon as a problem arises and we can work something out. If you are struggling academically, both the teaching assistant and I will gladly give you extra help.

Schedule of Topics & Assignments


21 JanuaryIntroduction

An explanation of course objectives, mechanics, and procedures.

Slide #1Slide #2


28 January“These Wild Young People” – Flappers, Sheiks, and the Birth of Modern America


Reading: Joshua Zeitz, Flapper, Chapters 1-12, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25




4 February“The American Gangster” – Capone and Culture in the Jazz Age

Reading: David Ruth, Inventing the Public Enemy


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5/Epilogue


Notes on Inventing the Public Enemy

11 February“From Harding to Hard Times” – Boom, Bust, and the Origins of the Great Depression


Reading:Burton Folsom, “What Caused the Great Depression?”

Warren I. Cohen, Empire Without Tears, Chapter 2

Peter Fearon, War, Prosperity & Depression: The U.S. Economy, 1917-1945, Chapter 3



18 February“Trial of the Century” – Cultural Divisions and the Backlash against Modernity

Reading: Jeffrey P. Moran, The Scopes Trial

25 February“Getting By and Expecting Better” – Everyday Life During the Great Depression


Reading: Lawrence W. Levine, “American Culture and the Great Depression”

James R. McGovern, And a Time for Hope, Introduction, Chapters 4-6


4 March“A First Class Temperament” – Franklin D. Roosevelt as Leader, Politician, and Icon


Reading: Patrick Maney, The Roosevelt Presence, pp. 1-108




11 March“New Deal, Old Deal, Raw Deal?” – Assessing Roosevelt’s Policies


Reading: William E. Leuchtenburg, “The Triumph of Liberal Reform”

Barton Bernstein, “The Conservative Achievement of New Deal Reform”

Jim Powell, FDR’s Folly

Anthony Badger, “The Unanticipated Consequences of New Deal Reform”

David Kennedy, “What the New Deal Did”



18 March“Washington Goes to War” – FDR and World War II

Reading: Patrick Maney, The Roosevelt Presence, pp. 109-203


25 March“The ‘Good War’?” – The Soldier’s Perspective


Reading: Paul Fussell, Wartime, Chapters 1-3, 7, 9-11, 13, 18


1 April“Anxiety and Anticommunism” – Politics, Diplomacy, and the Origins of the Cold War


Reading: Ralph B. Levering and Verena Botzenhart-Viehe, Debating the Origins of the Cold War: The American Perspective



15 April “Out of the Army and Into the Rat Race” – Adjusting to the Postwar World


Reading: Sloan Wilson, The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit


22 April“Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television” – The Cold War at Home

Reading: Peter Biskind, “Pods and Blobs”

J. Ronald Oakley, “Good Times: The American Economy in the Fifties”

Elaine Tyler May, “Explosive Issues: Sex, Women, and the Bomb”

James W. Davidson and Mark H. Lytle, “From Rosie to Lucy”




6 May“I’ll Take It!” Postwar Consumer Culture from Tailfins to TV Dinners


Reading: Thomas Hine, Populuxe [You can skip or skim pp. 139-166]

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