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Date of Award
Master of Arts (M.A.)
The main objective before us is to determine how the drama, in its several forms, may be so utilized as to bring about and further Americanization. In attempting to make this theory clear to those who may be more or less unfamiliar with the idea, it will be necessary to consider the definition of Americanization, and to make some decision as to who may be Americanized. It will also be necessary to review, rather briefly, the origin and development of the drama, that it may be seen why drama has been elected as our medium.
There have been several difficulties encountered in the search for material to aid in reaching the stated objective. It has been found that definitions and opinions vary as to the meaning of Americanization, and agree very little concerning who may be Americanized. While the value of the drama as an educational factor is easily recognized, its specific application to Americanization, as herein attempted, has been extremely limited.
To choose a medium which would include all of those who come within the scope of Americanization, one that entailed a simple method of procedure and would appeal to all, was not so easy as it might appear. A large proportion of our population is unreached by the school; a relatively large number is not influenced by the press because of lack of educational advantage. According to President Coolidge: “It is not alone the youth of the land which needs and seeks education, but we have a large adult population requiring assistance in this direction.”
This made it very evident that no medium that required an extended basic education could be used. Some means of transference of values which could be understood by all people, not dependent entirely upon education or upon language was sought.
After a somewhat extended search, it was found that drama may be made a most effective means for Americanization. Some forms of the drama speak a universal language and because of this they appeal both to the native and to the foreign born in America. As a medium for showing the contributions of cultural values to America by the foreign born, the drama has no equal, and it is quite as effective when used to show to the foreign born the American values which they should accept. Drama can be used to influence the native-born, adults and children, to accept cultural values from foreign lands, and it can be a most effective means of disseminating American values to the native-born.
It is sincerely hoped that the conclusion arrived at here may influence communities to do more work along dramatic lines. It is also hoped that the material gathered here may help teachers to formulate definite plans for the use of drama in schools; that it may assist committees in placing dramatic programs in Americanization departments, as a regular part of the work, and that it may help them in planning such programs.
Van Gilder, Florence Scott. (1927). The drama as a factor in Americanization. University of the Pacific, Thesis. https://scholarlycommons.pacific.edu/uop_etds/316