Can you define modernism and postmodernism?

Cover of the Junto
The Junto Publication

The terms modernism and postmodernism can be evasive, but they they can also help us understand our culture over a long and important century.

Many of us are able to vaguely understand these terms, and we may be able to point out trends that fall into each category. But because they have been used so widely and generously, it is difficult to really understand them completely. 

This website does not aim to bring about perfect understanding of the terms modernism and postmodernism. It only attempts to introduce these terms and place them in context of large historical events of the 20th century.

Goals of the Project

This website has three purposes.

  • to make difficult philosophical concepts such as these more accessible. There are pages outlining the terms modernism and postmodernism as well as a page with some themes further explained. There is also a page with all the important philosophers who influenced these periods and their main ideas.
  • this website aims to analyze the culture of Gettysburg College within these periods. It is a study in how students related to the larger events of the country and whether they exhibited trends similar to many Americans. This is done through analyzing publications and student writing throughout the 20th century.
  • this website looks to analyze contemporary writings in order to understand the evolution of the self. Through looking at publications throughout the 20th century and today, clear patterns begin to emerge. 


There are two important drop down tabs in the navigation menu. Under the first you may find explanations of the modern and postmodern eras, discussion of themes, and the philosopher bios. The tab student works carries all of the publications that are analyzed on this website. The last part of this project, in which I analyze the contemporary version of the self may be found in the page, “Where are we now.” For any further information, please look under the About page.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.