United States

101.004 Fall 2005 Crime and Punishment in American History

This research seminar explores the social, political, and cultural history of crime, criminal law, policing, and punishment in the United States, from 1609 to the present, and guides students through the process of writing a senior thesis in the field. In the first few weeks, we will orient ourselves in the crime and punishment historiography, chiefly by reading and discussing some of its most innovative scholarship.

103D.006 Fall 2005 Brave New Worlds: Biology and American History from the 1860s to the 1990s

At the turn of the 21st century, with the sequencing of the human genome complete, scientists and politicians hailed the coming of a new biotechnological age. Craig Venter prophesied "a new starting point" in human history, while James Watson promised a "giant resource that will change mankind, like the printing press." President Clinton announced that "today we are learning the language in which God created life." These bold visions were accompanied by deep anxieties and fears.

101.006 Fall 2005 The Nineteenth-Century American West

This senior thesis research seminar will center upon the historical terrain of the nineteenth-century trans-Mississippi West. As such, interested students might pursue a wide array of potential research topics: from relations with Nativer Americans, to Gold Rush communities, from gender relations in Gilded Age San Franicsco to an examination of the environmental impacts of the Overland Trail. No special expertise in the subject is require and all avenues of historical inquiry are welcome, as are topics which might slightly overlap into the 18th or 20th centuries.

101.009 Fall 2005 The Formation of American Culture

Over the century following the American Revolution, as the forces of experimentation, democratization, and expansion were met by interests more conservative and cautious, American culture unfolded in multiple, and sometimes conflicting directions.

103D.003 Fall 2005 Soul Power: A Natural History of Black Cultural Politics

This seminar will examine the origins, development, meanings, and consequences of Black Cultural Politics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Put another way, we will examine the nexus between the Black Freedom Struggle, on one hand, and Black Culture, on the other. The particular emphasis will be the relationship between black expressive culture, especially black folk culture and black popular culture, and black politics.

103D.005 Fall 2005 United States Culture Between the World Wars, 1919-1941

This course will explore American culture during the Twenties and Thirties. During these turbulent decades America emerged as a modern society. The nation was forced to come to terms with urbanization; massive internal migrations; an expanding corporate order; a growing consumption culture; and later, the cataclysmic effects of the Great Depression.

103D.002 Fall 2005 Post World War II US: the Unheralded Revolution

Did the formative years of 1945-1960 represent a revolution in progressive reform or the birth of a dynamic conservative movement? Did the US expand its empire "by invitation" or merely resist Soviet expansionism? Did Americans grudgingly accept federal power or did this new Leviathan antagonize its subjects? Those who long for simplicity will be disappointed to learn that the readings for this course will, to some degree, support all of the options enumerated above.


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