The Gilded Age and Progressive Era

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Rotary Clubs and the Culture of Capitalism

Ep. 9

What is a Rotary Club? Who is a Rotarian? The answer might surprise you. This club has over 35,000 offices around the world, in almost every country. It began in 1905 in Chicago, and its history tells the story of American capitalism, racism, gender bias, and class identity. Independent scholar Brendan Goff talks with me about his new book Rotary International and the Selling of American Capitalism, an extensively researched book and a deep dive on the organization.


Essential Reading:

Brendan Goff, Rotary International and the Selling of American Capitalism (2021).


Recommended Reading:

Maureen A. Flanagan, Seeing with Their Hearts: Chicago Women and the Vision of the Good City, 1871-1933 (2002).


Paul A. Kramer, “Embedding Capital: Political-Economic History, the United States and the World,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 15 (July 2016): 331-362.


Roland Marchand, Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business (1998).


Khalil Muhammed, The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America (2010).


Peter James Hudson, Bankers and Empire: How Wall Street Colonized the Caribbean (2017).

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