History 101.008

Fall 2007
Instructor (text): 
204 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
TuTh 12:30-2
Anna Armentrout is a PhD candidate in history. She studies post-World War II U.S. history and her interests include the relationship between experience and authority, public policymaking, communities of knowledge, travel and authenticity, gender, and comparative imperialism and colonialism.

This course will help students pursue research topics related to how Americans have experienced, imagined and understood the rest of the world. We will ask and attempt to answer some of the following questions:

In what capacities have groups or individual Americans experienced the world beyond U.S. borders (i.e. travel, tourism, military, diplomatic, academic, missionary work)? How have these experiences informed American understandings of other nations, peoples and cultures? How have American experiences abroad affected both personal and national perceptions of other peoples and places as well as perceptions of the United States? How have these ideas been brought back to the United States and articulated, diffused and negotiated? Do these ideas affect public and foreign policy? How do individual experiences abroad compete with or reinforce other sources of knowledge about the world? How are images of other places and peoples situated within particular social, political, cultural and economic contexts?

While the above questions may tell us much about the United States, students interested in other regions may be able to participate in this seminar to consider a related but distinct set of questions: How are the United States and Americans perceived and discussed abroad? Are these ideas developed and dispersed through contact with Americans or through interaction with policies, media sources, etc.? If interested in this option, proficiency in language and a background in the region's history will be necessary for both primary source interpretation and contextual analysis. Please see course instructor about this possibility.

While as a group we will primarily consider the 20th century, students with a particular interest in the nineteenth century are welcome to pursue earlier topics.