Research Programs: Fellowships for University Teachers

Period of Performance

8/1/2008 - 7/31/2009

Funding Totals

$50,400.00 (approved)
$50,400.00 (awarded)

Big Dreamers: A Interpretative History of the American Left

FAIN: FA-54330-08

Michael Kazin
Georgetown University (Washington, DC 20057-0001)

I am applying for a fellowship in order to begin to draft the manuscript of an interpretive history of the radical left in the United States--from the birth of modern social movements in the early 19th century to the present. The project, under contract with Knopf, is driven by an original argument: American radicals have failed to achieve their main political ends or to build either a durable mass movement or a third party of the left. But they have been remarkably successful in carrying out a cultural agenda, although that was never their primary goal. Through a creative engagement with mass culture, leftists did much to initiate what became common, if always controversial, features of American life--such as the popularity of novels and films with an altruistic and populist message, the idea of equal opportunity for all races and both genders and for homosexuals, and open attitude toward sexual behavior, and multicultural education.