Research Article

Gender and Modernity in Transnational Perspective: Hugo Münsterberg and the American Woman

Rena Sanderson

In one of the first and best-known collections of cultural criticism in America, Civilization in the United States (1922), Harold Stearns begins his chapter on “The Intellectual Life” with this widely quoted passage:

When Professor Einstein roused the ire of the women's clubs by stating that “women dominate the entire life of America,” and that “there are cities with a million population, but cities suffering from terrible poverty – the poverty of intellectual things,” he was but repeating a criticism of our life now old enough to be almost a cliché. Hardly any intelligent foreigner has failed to observe and comment upon the extraordinary feminization of American social life, and oftenest he has coupled this observation with a few biting remarks concerning the intellectual anaemia or torpor that seems to accompany it.

Assistant Professor of English at Boise State University. She has written essays devoted to Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Linda Hasselstrom.