Print Study Room: Purple Nation

“Purple Nation: Welfare and Politics” with Associate Professor of Social Work Pat Oles

Red and blue states combine to form a purple nation. Enduring arguments about race and gender, the role and scale of government, the benefits and problems inherent in a market economy, and the primacy of family and civil society complicate the development of a social safety net in the United States.

These arguments are illustrated below with art from the Tang collection and other sources. In this class, students will nominate additional images to expand and extend the site.

Post War

The Sixties


Write an essay (800–1,000 words) contrasting two objects or images—one object should be selected from the Tang collection and one from another source. The essay should elaborate 1) how each of the objects reveal social, political, and/or economic influences on social welfare policy in 20th-century USA and 2) discuss the implications of the contrasting images. The images/objects do not have to have been created during the same era but they should be representations of a similar time period.
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