Money and the Muse: An Introduction to Cultural History

Culture is one of the most complicated concepts, and yet we use the word all the time. This course is about how to think about culture, introducing you to the field of cultural history. Through this exploration into cultural history you will learn how to analyze and articulate how people ascribe meaning to various ideas, objects, and practices. We focus on two meanings of culture: first, the worldview definition: how do you analyze how people construct meaning? Second, we focus on the arts. The argument of this course is that cultural objects tell us about how people make sense of the world around them, especially in places like Eastern Europe where art took on political and social significance it did not elsewhere. Culture helps us analyze...culture.

Dr. Mayhill Fowler

A historian and associate professor in the Department of History at Stetson University, where she also directs the Program in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies. She holds a Ph.D. from Princeton University (2011). She was a Mihaychuk Fellow at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute (2012) and the Petro Jacyk Fellow at the University of Toronto (2012-2013). Her first book, Beau Monde on Empire's Edge: State and Stage in Soviet Ukraine (Toronto, 2017), tells the story of the making of theater both Soviet and Ukrainian through a collective biography of young artists and officials in the 1920s and 1930s. Her book project War Stories: Theater on the Frontlines of Socialism investigates how societies explain war and entertain soldiers through the story of PrykVO, the theater of the Carpathian Military District (or former Soviet Army Theater) in Lviv. A third research project, Comrade Actress: Soviet Ukrainian Women on the Stage and Behind the Scenes, re-thinks theater in Ukraine over the long 20th century through a focus on its women. She was a faculty member with the International Summer School of the Social Sciences from 2013-2019 and a member of the organizing committee of the Danyliw Seminar in Ukrainian Studies from 2014-2019. She is a member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society in New York. She holds a master’s degree in Acting (MFA) from the National Theater Conservatory (2000) and a BA in Slavic Languages from Yale University (1996).

Dr. Fowler is affiliated with the Center through research and teaching.

Research Interests: theater history, cultural history, cultural infrastructures, Jewish history and culture, gender history, borderlands, transnational teaching.

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