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The Oxford History of the Novel in EnglishVolume 6: The American Novel 1879-1940$
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Priscilla Wald and Michael A. Elliott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780195385342

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195385342.001.0001

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The Novel and the Rise of Social Science

The Novel and the Rise of Social Science

(p.405) 25 The Novel and the Rise of Social Science
The Oxford History of the Novel in English

Susan Hegeman

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the convergence of the social sciences and the American novel in the early twentieth century. It considers how literary and journalistic writers shared the general thematic interest in American modernity with social scientific writers, as well as the emergence of New York and Chicago—specifically the Sociology Department at the University of Chicago and the Anthropology Department at Columbia University—as important sites for intellectual exchanges between novels and the social sciences. More precisely, it explores the confluence between anthropology and bohemia in New York and between sociology and bohemia in Chicago. It also describes a second “great scientific revolution” of social science known as social engineering, whose purpose is to change the way of thinking scientifically about human relations and social issues. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the state of American social science during World War II and the years after that.

Keywords:   social sciences, modernity, New York, Chicago, novel, anthropology, bohemia, sociology, social engineering, University of Chicago

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