The Big Apple in the 20th Century: NYC Cultural History

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Brought to you by Odyssey 

March 22, 2023 - April 26, 2023 (6 sessions)

Wednesdays, 6:30PM - 8:30PM


Course Description:

We begin with a look at NYC culture in the Progressive era, the 'Teens and the 20's, with a focus on the personalities of bohemian Greenwich Village, the Ashcan School of painters, the 1913 Armory Show, and the advent of Modernism and the evolution of NYC's early skyscrapers. We look at F. Scott Fitzgerald's Jazz Age essays and the "strange bedfellows" of Fifth Avenue socialites and collectors and hard-core radical leftist intellectuals and labor leaders. We then move uptown for a look at the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920's and 30's -- when Harlem really was in vogue. After the Crash of '29 and during the "lean years" of the 1930's, the arts turned toward social realism, supported by the politics of Mayor LaGuardia and FDR's New Deal. We explore three iconic projects of the era: the creation of Rockefeller Center; Robert Moses' early parkway projects; and the 1939 World's Fair, a "World of Tomorrow" ironically at odds with the true urban character of NYC. Our course moves on to an examination of two contrasting visions of the nature of the city: that of the Master Builder and Power Broker, Robert Moses, and the contrasting vision of Jane Jacobs, whose vision of urban neighborhood life countered the "tower in the park" vision of the professional urban planners. We conclude with an overview of NYC as "The Unfinished City."


Johns Hopkins Tuition Remission & Refund Policies 

50%    Johns Hopkins alumni
80%    Full-time Johns Hopkins faculty or staff
50%    Spouse or domestic partner of full time Johns Hopkins faculty or staff
Johns Hopkins alumni, staff, faculty and their spouse or domestic partners are eligible for tuition remission for Odyssey lifelong learning courses. Select the correct ticket pricing during registration. If we cannot confirm your eligibility, you will be requested to pay the full registration price for the course.

The Johns Hopkins Alumni Association is committed to providing reasonable and appropriate accommodations to participants with disabilities. Participants who need accommodations must notify the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association at at least four weeks prior to the beginning of class.

If a course is canceled or closed, the registrant is notified immediately, and a full refund is processed automatically unless another course is requested. Registrants who wish to withdraw from an active course must complete the online Odyssey Refund Request Form. Attach any documentation to support your request (e.g., medical documentation, family crisis documentation, etc.).

100% refund- Prior to the start of the course.

50% refund- During the first week of the course.

No refunds will be given after the first week of each course unless in exceptional cases.

Please note, refunds apply only to the tuition portion of an Odyssey participant’s charges and are not applicable to any fees or gifts made to the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association. Registrants will be notified by email if a refund is approved  within (5) business days.

ABOUT George L. Scheper, PhD
Senior Lecturer, Advanced Academic Programs, Johns Hopkins University

George L. Scheper (Ph.D., Princeton) is Senior Lecturer in Liberal Arts and former Director of the Odyssey Program (lifelong learning and educational enrichment for adults) at Johns Hopkins University. His interdisciplinary humanities teaching focuses on Pre-Columbian and Native American Studies, and on urban cultural histories, especially of NYC and of turn-of-the-century culture circa 1900. He has directed fifteen National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Summer Institutes for college and university faculty on Pre-Columbian and Native American topics, convened onsite in the U.S., Mexico, and Central and South America. His publications include many articles and reviews on cultural studies; a survey of British Literature text for a tele-course by Maryland Public Broadcasting; a bio-critical study of Oxford don and detective fiction writer J. I. M. Stewart.

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 Event Date
Wednesday, March 22, 2023
6:30pm EDT

Wednesday, April 26, 2023
8:30pm EDT

1-800-JHU-JHU1 (548-5481)

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Thank you for your interest in Odyssey. This course is now closed. For questions or if you would like to be placed on the waiting list, please contact