“Chautauqua” was founded in 1874 by the businessman Lewis Miller and Methodist minister, Bishop, John Heyl Vincent. What was Chautauqua? Theodore Roosevelt called it “the most American thing in America.”
William Jennings Bryan believed it a “potent human factor in molding the mind of the nation.” Chautauqua brought the community together for three to five days to study various subjects. This was called “Circuit Chautauqua.” The Agenda was targeted to stimulate the mind and discuss subjects such as political, cultural and social issues of the day.
Chautauqua’s initial manifestation was in western New York State on Lake Chautauqua. The initial focus was to train Sunday school teachers. Quickly expanded its range and was the first to offer correspondence degrees in the United States. At the peak of Chautauqua in the mid 1920’s circuit Chautauqua performers and lecturers appeared in more than 10,000 communities in 45 states to audiences totaling 45 million people. Chautauqua covered every topic from current events to travel to human interest to comic storytelling.
Among many popular performers, Maud Ballington Booth, the “Little Mother of the Prisons,” brought her audiences to tears with her description of prison life and her call to reform. Music was also a primary on the Circuits and bands were particularly popular. Englishman Ben Greet made a name for himself in the United States by importing his spare productions of Shakespeare. These were staged at Harvard University and in Theodore Roosevelt’s White House.
What’s today’s Travelling Culture? We today have internet to travel anywhere in the world and thanks to Google not only information but see that part of earth which we want to take a look. The mankind had traveled a long path with technology and how we perform “mass cultures.” Mass cultures no longer limited to one community, region or country. It’s Global. The whole world has become a mass culture.
We share our cultures through web today. Our thoughts, what we eat what we drink what we do in our leisure time who we hang out with. All of a sudden world seems small yet bombarded with vast knowledge of each other’s cultural experiences. Early days America was shaped by all the early settlers’ culture. Today the world is shaping of each other’s culture through World Wide Web?
For better or for worst the world has changed and changing thanks to technology. We have come from “Tent Culture” to “Internet” culture. Are we ready for ultimate changes that our melting cultures bring in? What exactly would be the ultimate change? What could we do to make these transitions easier on our future generations and for us as well?
I think it’s time we seriously consider these changes not only on our education systems but in our work place as well. How could we blend the world and be productive as one whole happy world? What are your thoughts? Love to hear what you think.
Although, we are addressing the issues I personally believe we are far behind on these critical issues.
P.S. Material and Photo credit goes to its original creators University of Iowa, LoC