Intellectual History of the United States since 1865

History C132B

Fall 2014
219 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
TuTh 330-5P

In this course we examine key developments in U.S. thought since the middle of the nineteenth century, roughly beginning with the reception of Darwin in the 1860s.  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.  The class concludes by examining the foundations for new technologies like information processing and biotechnology provided by earlier developments in U.S. intellectual life, particularly pragmatism and semiotics.  We also look at debates at the end of the twentieth century over race and multi-culturality, national security and the military-industrial-academic complex, economic policy and growing income inequality.

Course Books

Race, Culture, and the Intellectuals 1940-1970 by King, Richard H. Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 9780801880667 Required
Why the American Century? by Zunz, Olivier University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 9780226994628 Required
The Evolutionists: American Thinkers Confront Charles Darwin by Hoeveler, J. David, Jr. Rowman and Littlefield. ISBN: 978-0742511750 Required