Society on the Move: The Automobile and Social Change in the USA between 1890 and 1916

Talk by Nils Loth at the Research Seminar of Historical Geography on Mai 09, 2019 from 16:15 to 17:45 in KR1/00.05

The belief in progress of many people was almost unshakeable around 1900. The automobile became a symbol of technical progress. What's more, it became an icon of modernity. It quickly became an integral part of the American way of life and soon became part of the standard of living. The advent of the automobile had a decisive influence on the spatial structure of the USA. How did social change manifest itself in individual defined areas or "spaces"?

On the one hand, the automotive influence on the form of housing and on the other hand on the early American film industry are to be shown. The parallel development of the two innovations automobile and film is remarkable. Southern California is a focal point of these developments because the American film industry settled there. Thus the image of automotive life there was spread throughout the world.

Therefore, the evaluation of early American films produced before 1917, in which the automobile has the secret or obvious leading role, is to occupy a large part of the view.

On the other hand, California's lifestyle was also strongly influenced by the automobile. It had great spatial significance for the entire USA because it served as a national model. Historical lifestyle magazines are an important resource for the reconstruction of these past life worlds. For this reason, individual magazine titles will also be included in the evaluation.