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dc.contributor.authorMirakian, Joseph
dc.descriptionSubmitted to the Department of History of the University of Kansas in partial fulfillment of the requirements for departmental honors
dc.description.abstractFor as much of an impact as the great politicians and generals of yesteryear have had on the world’s current state and trajectory, the people themselves deserve equal recognition for getting their societies to where they are today. I do not say this merely in respect to the life’s work of each individual who has walked the earth but also in regard to the ideas and values that have been propagated and passed down through the generations, adapting accordingly to their ever-changing social, political, and economic surroundings. These ideas, which can be anything from specific ideological stances to national images to more innate concepts like freedom and justice, are commonly reflected in a society’s cultural output. Thus, by critically studying and contextualizing media produced by a society in a certain timeframe, one can gain a good deal of insight into the minds of those who produced and consumed said media. This is cultural history.

When I set out to study the American quiz show with a cultural historical lens, two questions were at the top of my mind: “What is the cultural legacy of the quiz show?” and “How has this genre, far from monolithic but relatively consistent in substance from its creation to now, retained such a dedicated following across vastly disparate cultural periods?” There is very little scholarship on this specific subject, so my work can be seen as a convergence of various approaches to the quiz show—standard historical analysis, sociology, and media and television theory are all integrated into this thesis. After my research, I concluded that the quiz show, a cultural institution in the United States from 1936 to present day, reinforces the ideals of the American dream and consumerism due to its audience, which in turn encourages those concepts to appear in future entertainment products. Some significant gaps in scholarship still remain surrounding the quiz show, but I hope to lay the groundwork for further research.
dc.publisherDepartment of History, University of Kansasen_US
dc.rightsCopyright 2022 Joseph Mirakianen_US
dc.subjectQuiz showen_US
dc.subjectCultural historyen_US
dc.subjectUS popular cultureen_US
dc.titleQuestions, Answers, and the American Dream: A Cultural History of the Quiz Showen_US

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