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By the time Jean-Paul Sartre first visited the United States in the winter of 1945, he was already fascinated by American culture. A bookish child, he had grown up reading not only French classics but also American detective novels; he romanticized the Wild West along with medieval France. While teaching in a lycée in Le Havre in 1931–1932, he discovered the fiction of William Faulkner and John Dos Passos, whom he described in an essay six years later as “the greatest writer of our time.” Like many Europeans experiencing the United States for the first time, Sartre saw much to like and much to loathe. New York City, he wrote in 1945, “is for far-sighted people, people who can focus on infinity.” Sartre and his fellow French visitors were put up at the Plaza and welcomed in New York by members of the École Libre des Hautes Études, which had already greeted many French and German émigrés fleeing the Third Reich. During their eight-week stay, the French guests of the US government traveled to Pittsburgh, Chicago, Hollywood, Washington, D.C., and rural Georgia, and – from a plane swooping too close for comfort – marveled at the Grand Canyon.
The rise of the social sciences in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century America has been an especially fruitful topic for intellectual historians over the past four decades. An early, prominent explanation of the new levels of institutional power and intellectual authority achieved by the social sciences stressed the sense of interdependence created by the expansion of the market and the rise of new communications technologies. Others have emphasized intellectual struggles for authority among religious, popular, and scientific approaches to knowledge. Still others have laid the credit, or blame, for the ascension of the social sciences on liberal elites’ consolidation of their power after the collapse of monarchical authority and the successful repression of Marxist challenges. Two celebrated accounts have argued that ideological conditions, whether pervasive beliefs in American exceptionalism or visions of “scientific democracy,” shaped the development of the social sciences and their claims to intellectual authority. In the case of specific disciplines, like sociology and political science, the most supple histories have shown how broad changes in the structure of American capitalism created the conditions of possibility for new forms of knowledge about the social world, while more subtle intellectual shifts created openings for particular practices.
We exhibit a numerical method to compute three-point branched covers of the complex projective line. We develop algorithms for working explicitly with Fuchsian triangle groups and their finite-index subgroups, and we use these algorithms to compute power series expansions of modular forms on these groups.
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