This course focuses on the Great Depression and World War II and how they led to a major reordering of American politics and society. We will examine how ordinary people experienced these crises and how those experiences changed their outlook on politics and the world around them.
This class examines how and why twentieth-century Americans came to define the ŰĎgood lifeŰ through consumption, leisure, and material abundance. We will explore how such things as department stores, nationally advertised brand-name goods, mass-produced cars, and suburbs transformed the American economy, society, and politics. The course is organized both thematically and chronologically. Each period deals with a new development in the history of consumer culture. Throughout we explore both celebrations and critiques of mass consumption and abundance.
This course provides a basic history of American social, economic, and political development from the colonial period through the Civil War. It examines the colonial heritages of Spanish and British America; the American Revolution and its impact; the establishment and growth of the new nation; and the Civil War, its background, character, and impact. Readings include writings of the period by J. Winthrop, T. Paine, T. Jefferson, J. Madison, W. H. Garrison, G. Fitzhugh, H. B. Stowe, and A. Lincoln.
English and American backgrounds of the Revolution; issues and arguments in the Anglo-American conflict; colonial resistance and the beginnings of republicanism; the Revolutionary War; constitution writing for the states and nation; and effects of the American Revolution. Concerned primarily with the revolutionary origins of American government. Readings emphasize documents from the period -- pamphlets, correspondence, the minutes or resolutions of resistance organizations, constitutional documents and debates.
This is a seminar course that explores the history of selected features of the physical environment of urban America. Among the features considered are parks, cemeteries, tenements, suburbs, zoos, skyscrapers, department stores, supermarkets, and amusement parks. The course gives students experience in working with primary documentation sources through its selection of readings and class discussions. Students then have the opportunity to apply this experience by researching their own historical questions and writing a term paper.
This course is a seminar on the history of institutions and institutional change in American cities from roughly 1850 to the present. Among the institutions to be looked at are political machines, police departments, courts, schools, prisons, public authorities, and universities. The focus of the course is on readings and discussions.
The American Yawp constructs a coherent and accessible narrative from all the best of recent historical scholarship. Without losing sight of politics and power, it incorporates transnational perspectives, integrates diverse voices, recovers narratives of resistance, and explores the complex process of cultural creation. It looks for America in crowded slave cabins, bustling markets, congested tenements, and marbled halls. It navigates between maternity wards, prisons, streets, bars, and boardrooms. Whitman’s America, like ours, cut across the narrow boundaries that strangle many narratives. Balancing academic rigor with popular readability, The American Yawp offers a multi-layered, democratic alternative to the American past.
This Gallatin seminar links the #blacklivesmatter” movement to four broader phenomena: 1) the rise of the U.S. prison industrial complex and its relationship to the increasing militarization of inner city communities 2) the role of the media industry in influencing national conversations about race and racism and 3) the state of racial justice activism in the context of a neoliberal Obama Presidency and 4) the increasingly populist nature of decentralized protest movements in the contemporary United States. In this course we will be mindful of an important distinction between #blacklivesmatter (as an emergent movement that has come into existence within roughly the past three years) vs. a much older and broader U.S. movement for black lives that has been in existence for several centuries (which can be traced back to at least the first slave uprisings in the antebellum south). Part of our goal then, we be to think about how the former has been influenced by the latter and to what ends. Among the many topics of discussion that we will debate and engage this semester will include: the moral ethics of black rage and riotous forms of protest; violent vs. nonviolent civil disobedience; the hyberbolic media myth of “black on black” crime; coalitional politics and the black feminist and LGBTQ underpinnings of the #blacklivesmatter movement; the similarities and differences between the blacklivesmatter movement and the U.S. civil rights movement; and the dynamics of political protest among the millennial and post-millennial generations.
Our reading material will often be supplemented with live, in-person dialogues with contemporary grassroots activists who are currently involved in the movement. Through our readings and direct engagements with activists on the frontlines, we will ask: How, when, and in what ways is it possible for us to stand in formation against the treacherous legacies of capitalist patriarchal white supremacy?
This course surveys the social science literature on civil war. Students will study the origins of civil war, discuss variables that affect the duration of civil war, and examine the termination of conflict. This course is highly interdisciplinary and covers a wide variety of cases.
The role of the family in human evolution, and as a symbol in our own social and political lives. Topics include: sex, marriage, and parenting; the labor market; class, race, and ethnicity; and the family's probable future. We begin by considering briefly the evolution of the family, its cross-cultural variability, and its history in the West. We next examine how the family is currently defined in the U.S., discussing different views about what families should look like. Class and ethnic variability and the effects of changing gender roles are discussed in this section. We next look at sexuality, traditional and non-traditional marriage, parenting, divorce, family violence, family economics, poverty, and family policy. Controversial issues dealt with include day care, welfare policy, and the "Family Values" debate.
A humorous but entirely factual account of American history from the beginning up to the present.
This subject explores the legal history of the United States as a gendered system. It examines how women have shaped the meanings of American citizenship through pursuit of political rights such as suffrage, jury duty, and military service, how those political struggles have varied for across race, religion, and class, as well as how the legal system has shaped gender relations for both women and men through regulation of such issues as marriage, divorce, work, reproduction, and the family. The course readings will draw from primary and secondary materials in American history, as well as some court cases. However, the focus of the class is on the broader relationship between law and society, and no technical legal knowledge is required or assumed.
This textbook examines U.S. History from before European Contact through Reconstruction, while focusing on the people and their history. Prior to its publication, History in the Making underwent a rigorous double blind peer review, a process that involved over thirty scholars who reviewed the materially carefully, objectively, and candidly in order to ensure not only its scholarly integrity but also its high standard of quality. This book provides a strong emphasis on critical thinking about US History by providing several key features in each chapter. Learning Objectives at the beginning of each chapter help students to understand what they will learn in each chapter. Before You Move On sections at the end of each main section are designed to encourage students to reflect on important concepts and test their knowledge as they read. In addition, each chapter includes Critical Thinking Exercises that ask the student to deeply explore chapter content, Key Terms, and a Chronology of events.
This course examines the history of MIT through the lens of the broader history of science and technology, and vice versa. The course covers the founding of MIT in 1861 and goes through the present, including such topics as William Barton Rogers, educational philosophy, biographies of MIT students and professors, intellectual and organizational development, the role of science, changing laboratories and practices, and MIT's relationship with Boston, the federal government, and industry. Assignments include short papers, presentations, and final paper. A number of classes are concurrent with the MIT150 Symposia.
This course provides an overview of Asian American history and its relevance for contemporary issues. It covers the first wave of Asian immigration in the 19th century, the rise of anti-Asian movements, the experiences of Asian Americans during WWII, the emergence of the Asian American movement in the 1960s, and the new wave of post–1965 Asian immigration. The class examines the role these experiences played in the formation of Asian American ethnicity. The course addresses key societal issues such as racial stereotyping, media racism, affirmative action, the glass ceiling, the "model minority" syndrome, and anti-Asian harassment or violence. The course is taught in English.
This class is a global survey of the great transformation in history known as the "Industrial Revolution." Topics include origins of mechanized production, the factory system, steam propulsion, electrification, mass communications, mass production and automation. Emphasis on the transfer of technology and its many adaptations around the world. Countries treated include Great Britain, France, Germany, the US, Sweden, Russia, Japan, China, and India. Includes brief reflection papers and a final paper.
Hitherto it had gone by the original Indian name Manna-hatta, or as some still have it, 'The Manhattoes'; but this was now decried as savage and heathenish... At length, when the council was almost in despair, a burgher, remarkable for the size and squareness of his head, proposed that they should call it New-Amsterdam. The proposition took every body by surprise; it was so striking, so apposite, so ingenious. The name was adopted by acclamation, and New-Amsterdam the metropolis was thenceforth called. --Washington Irving, 1808 In less tongue-in-cheek style, this course examines the evolution of New York City from 1607 to the present. The readings focus on the city's social and physical histories, and the class discussions compare New York's development to patterns in other cities.
This course teaches critical learning abilities that are skills and attitudes to be taught across the curriculum: communication, problem solving or critical thinking, responsibility, and global awareness or diversity/appreciation. To these, we add information/technology literacy, and lifelong learning. By the end of the course students will be able to: Identify the major political, economic, and social developments in Pacific Northwest history and especially in the state of Washington; Integrate the perspectives of different peoples to interpret Pacific Northwest history; Describe the Pacific Northwestęs role in the context of American and world history; Apply your knowledge of Pacific Northwest history to your life by conducting an oral history and by researching and writing about issues in the region today; and Define current environmental issues in the Pacific Northwest and analyze their historical context.
Examines the history of the United States as a "nation of immigrants" within a broader global context. Considers migration from the mid-19th century to the present through case studies of such places as New York's Lower East Side, South Texas, Florida, and San Francisco's Chinatown. Examines the role of memory, media, and popular culture in shaping ideas about migration. Includes optional field trip to New York City.