United States

103D.005 Fall 2018 Building the Twentieth-Century American State

How can we make sense of the rise of the modern American state in the twentieth century? As a series of battles over electoral politics and the rules governing access to participation and representation in the polity? As a history of the evolving role and powers of the state – especially the federal government – in the American political economy? Or as a history of changing rights and legal systems that Americans have fought for, encountered, and contested both in court and the court of popular opinion?

103D.006 Fall 2018 American Values: Regulating Morality in the United States

"Morality” is a devilishly flexible rhetoric, a language invoked to tell people how to act and how to be good, or, conversely, to criticize and to shame. This course uses morality as a lens through which to understand and assess twentieth-century American history. It examines how state and non-state actors have attempted to regulate the lived experiences of Americans and explores the conflicts that ensue over what, exactly, is correct, right, or good for individuals, society, and the state. What are "American values"? Are they religious? How have they changed?

103D.002 Fall 2018 Age in America

This course uses age as a category of analysis through which to examine United States history from the colonial period through the twentieth-first century. It challenges students to consider age, not as a series of immutable milestones, but as a historically constructed social, cultural, and legal signifier whose meaning has shifted over time. Some of the significant questions this course will address are: How and why have Americans celebrated specific chronological ages? How has the American legal system influenced the setting of certain age milestones?

103D.004 Fall 2018 Making a Modern African American Liberation Struggle: From Civil Rights to Black Power and Beyond

The African American Liberation Struggle, broadly conceived, is the enduring, multi-faceted, and complex freedom struggle waged by Africans in the Americas from the period of enslavement down to the present. Our focus will be a narrow and specific location and time within that broad and centuries-long liberation/freedom struggle: the US from 1940 to 1980. Commonly referred to as the Civil Rights (1940-1966) and Black Power (1966-1980) Eras, the modern African American Freedom Struggle has yielded a rich and stimulating body of work, including works of culture and history.

103D.003 Fall 2018 "The Personal Is Political”: U.S. Social History after World War II

"The personal is political” declared feminists in the 1960s. They viewed marriage, career, and family as personal choices constrained by political policies. African Americans also sought personal freedoms, such as public access to restaurants, hotels, and schools, which similarly ignited political firestorms. Many other groups, such as Latinos, Native Americans, and gays also recognized the personal as political in the post-War II years. And in many cases, individuals and groups overlapped, sometimes with conflicting claims!

103D.001 Fall 2018 America and the World in 1968

Fifty years later, the flashpoints and transformations of 1968 continue to captivate historians. For the United States and much of the world, the year was defined by political, social, and cultural upheaval. This seminar will ponder the major events, themes, and trends that many scholars see as evidence of a revolutionary moment. Assigned readings with be divided between sources grounded in the United States and material on other places like Saigon, Paris, Prague, and Mexico City.

C139C Summer 2018 Civil Rights and Social Movements in U.S. History

In their fights for justice and equality, civil rights and social movements have put  democratic practices and institutions in the United States to test. This course explores the long (chronological) and wide (geographic) civil rights movements of the South, the North, and the West Coast, tracing their multiracial, multiethnic, and multicultural aspects since the Second World War. How ​did ordinary people and grassroots activists aim to influence electoral processes, legislation, and court decisions?

103D.003 Spring 2018 The University: Its History and Future

This seminar will focus on the “modern” university, especially as it developed in the United States during the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. Beginning as colleges to prepare young men for the ministry, colleges expanded their mission, and in many cases evolved into universities, in the nineteenth century. The nineteenth century also saw the emergence of the “public” university, first in Virginia, then Michigan, and then in many more states after the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862.

103D.001 Spring 2018 Culture and Politics in the 1970s

Since about 2000, a growing number of historians have turned to the 1970s, claiming to reinterpret a misunderstood, and as some had even described it, “eminently forgettable” decade. The 1970s was more than the ten years between the 60s and the 80s. In this seminar, we will examine the major historical processes of this period with an emphasis on connections to contemporary politics, economics, and culture.

103D.002 Spring 2018 U.S. Foreign Policy and the Rise of Terrorism

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush asked: “Why do they hate us?” His answer was “they hate our freedoms.” Some scholars agreed, arguing that Osama bin Laden and his ideological predecessors hated secular, democratic, materialist Western culture. Other scholars have argued that bin Laden, while a security threat, was also a rational actor waging an insurgency against specific U.S. policies in the Middle East that bin Laden repeatedly condemned. In this course we will ask: Why did bin Laden perpetrate the September 11th attacks?

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