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

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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.