Just after the end of the First World War, a new creature appeared on the streets of cities around the world. Her hair was short, as were her skirts. She smoked, wore lipstick, and went out dancing without a chaperone. No one knew what to make of her. To some, she was dangerous; to others, exciting. She was the flapper, garçonne, neue Frau, moga, modeng xiaojie, kallege ladki, la pelona: all terms for what we will call the “Modern Girl.” This course examines the so-called Modern Girl of the 1920's and 1930's, considering how she reflected—and helped to create—a new “modern” lifestyle. The Modern Girl was both a fictional creation and a flesh-and-blood creature. We will investigate “her” in her many manifestations, from fiction, film, and advertisements, to the sound of her heels clicking on actual city streets. Modern Girls really did exist around the world, and, while this course will concentrate on the West, we will also look at examples from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
This course meets SAS Core Historical Analysis goals H and L.