Intellectual History of the United States since 1865

History C132B

Spring 2014
Day & Time: 
MW 4-530P

In this course we will examine key developments in U.S. thought since the middle of the nineteenth century, roughly beginning with the reception of Darwin in the 1860s. The story told in the class weaves together the history of science, the arts and popular culture, philosophy, and education. Our goal is to trace the effects that ideas--whether they are dominant, challenging, or nostalgic--have had on how Americans live together. The sciences and the arts have provided raw material for an on-going reconstruction of how to understand and interpret the world. They have inspired legislation and regulatory policies. We will consider how intellectual theories have contributed to the growing power of the U.S., to inequality and injustice, and to efforts to reform the nation. Key topics to be addressed include nineteenth-century revolutions in science and religion; the emergence of pragmatism, the first original contribution to philosophy developed within the United States; early twentieth-century debates about modernity, urbanization, economic development, democracy, and pluralism; the impact of psychoanalysis, other new theories of psychological development, and existentialism on U.S. life and thought after World War II; debates at the end of the twentieth century over race and multiculturality, national security and the military-industrial-academic complex, economic policy and growing income inequality relate to earlier debates covered in the class.

Course Books

Race, Culture, and the Intellectuals by King, Richard H. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 978-0801880667 Required
The Human Use of Human Beings by Wiener, Norbert Da Capo Press. ISBN: 978-0306803208 Required
Why the American Century? by Zunz, Olivier University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0226994628 Required
1919 by Dos Passos, John Mariner Books. ISBN: 978-0618056828 Required
The Evolutionists: American Thinkers Confront Charles Darwin 1860-1920 by Hoeveler, J. David, Jr. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN: 978-0742511750 Required
Looking Backward, 2000-1887 by Bellamy, Edward Dover Publications. ISBN: 978-0486290386 Required