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The H-Net Community: Building Bridges


July 31, 1998 - H-Net, Humanities and Social Sciences OnLine, and Michigan State University announce the release of a new web-based publishing project. The authors of Pluralism and Unity (http://www.expo98.msu.edu) investigate the multiple dimensions of American modernity and pluralism. Currently on display at the American pavilion of the World Expo in Lisbon, Pluralism and Unity brings the most contentious issue of our century to life using the latest web-publishing tools and methods.

Pluralism and Unity explores controversial issues of American identity from the beginning of the 20th Century and speaks to the continued relevance of the debate over what it means to be, or not to be, a member of a larger collective. Viewed from the current climate of strife in Northern Ireland, Nigeria, Mexico, China, and other nations, the authors believe that the debate presented in this project is as crucial today, in many places of the world, as it was at this point in American history. With the mass immigration of peoples to the United States, the large movements of people within the nation itself, the rise of industrialization and urbanization, and the expansion of American power to the Pacific and the Caribbean, the conversation about what it meant to be an American was as complex as the people who helped shape it.

The world wide web provides a unique stage on which such complexity can be presented and appreciated. Through a creative juxtaposition of images, texts, and sounds, Pluralism and Unity showcases a collection of viewpoints and forces the viewer to confront the enormous intellectual and creative energies that have been dedicated to this issue across the spectrum of American society rather than to rely on a single vantage point. At times, the viewer is asked to consider several different, and often conflicting, voices speaking on a single issue. William James, Randolph Bourne, Daniel DeLeon, John Dewey, Jane Addams, Horace Kallen, Scott Nearing, Max Eastman, William Cowper Brann, and Madison Grant will explain their approaches to the idea of pluralism. At another time, the viewer is invited to consider the overlapping of gender and nationalism in the music of Irving Berlin, and is invited to read Sui Sin Fah's short story of love and revenge in the context of the debate over race. At all times, he or she is presented with the opportunity to see things as they have never before been seen.

Created by Professor David Bailey of Michigan State's history department and David Halsted of H-Net, Pluralism and Unity will be of interest to teachers, students, and engaged citizens concerned with the issues surrounding human encounters. [an error occurred while processing this directive]