Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Chair

David Atkinson

Committee Member 1

John Larson

Committee Member 2

William Gray

Committee Member 3

Rayvon Fouche


Historians are just beginning to examine the ways in which Americans were affected at home by contact with the peoples and cultures of Europe through consumption. As Kristin Hoganson notes in Consumer’s Imperium, when it comes to Americanization and the globalization of culture “we know more about the outgoing tide than the incoming swells.”1 My dissertation takes the notion of Americanization and inverts it to examine the influence of a European product, the sports car, on American consumers and automobile manufacturers in the postwar period. By using European sports cars as a case study to explore the influence of European culture, modes of production, and manufacturers within postwar America I challenge the myth of postwar American cultural and economic impermeability. Secondly, I argue that the process described as Americanization was one part of a larger process of cultural and economic globalization, and that the globalization of America began immediately following the end of World War II. The tendency to ascribe globalization a national character is a relic of the privileged position that America held when technology and geopolitical reality all made America finally, inescapably, global. Therefore, my work provides a new context for understanding the ultimate collapse of the Bretton-Woods agreements in 1971 and America’s increasingly globalized economy by demonstrating that globalization was a process that began immediately after the end of the war rather than a “shock” that came in the 1970s.