Files in this item



application/pdf3030464.pdf (17MB)Restricted to U of Illinois
(no description provided)PDF


Title:A Defining Moment for Dayton: The Scopes Trial as an Act in the Theater of the Modern
Author(s):Nolan, Andrew Shane
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Oberdeck, Kathryn J.
Department / Program:History
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):History, United States
Abstract:Civic leaders in Dayton, Tennessee, played an active role in having John Scopes stand trial for breaking Tennessee's anti-evolution ordinance. This dissertation focuses on their efforts to reject the dichotomy between a modern, forward-looking science and a backward, fundamentalist Christianity. The trial instead provided a forum in which defenders of evolutionary thinking and of religious belief engaged in a contest for cultural authority to shape the contours of the modern United States. Protestant Fundamentalism and biological science both represented modern responses to cultural changes and economic transformations, for each one embodied a sensibility that human ingenuity and a spirit of progress would rejuvenate American society and lead it into the future. When the community of Dayton decided to host the Scopes trial, they hoped it would provide them with an opportunity to present an alternate vision of "modern" America that combined scientific inquiry, industrial development, and conservative religious values as foundations for social order and progress. Defense attorneys and visiting journalists instead transformed the town into a symbol of timeless rural ignorance and religious intolerance. Evoking a history of the town and the process by which its leaders decided to host the Scopes trial helps explain the endurance of conservative religious values and provides a new understanding of the 1920s as a period that inaugurated an ongoing debate over multiple visions of modernity.
Issue Date:2001
Description:379 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3030464
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2001

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics