U.S. Intellectual History, Mid-19th Century to the Present

History C132B

Fall 2010
102 Moffitt
Day & Time: 
TuTh 3:30-5P

In this course we examine key developments in U.S. thought in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The class looks at how science, the arts and popular culture, philosophy, and education have shaped 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 over the linguistic turn, feminism, multiculturality, gay rights, new developments in science and how contemporary issues relate to earlier debates covered in the class.