American pragmatism can be best understood against the background of 20th-century American culture and politics. The essays in this volume, by philosophers, cultural critics, and historians, explore the development of pragmatism in this context. The emphasis in this volume is on the interrelations between the philosophical or foundational issues raised by pragmatism as a philosophical movement, and the cultural, political, and educational programs that have been associated with pragmatism from James, Dewey, and Mead to Rorty and Cornel West. The book is divided into three parts, reflecting the periods of Progressivism, Positivism, and Postmodernism. The contributors explore the ways in which pragmatist writings have been appropriated or misappropriated in the literature and practice of Progressive reformers, positivist academics, end-of-ideology liberals, and postmodernists.