Syllabus- Themes in American History (HIS1000)

Syllabus- Themes in American History (HIS1000) - Fall 2007...

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Fall 2007 Julie Des Jardins History 1000 [email protected] Baruch College Diversity of Experience and Perspective in American History Is there a “core” American culture that has developed over time? Traditionally, scholars have rooted “Americanness” in the political culture of a distinct group of historical patriots: typically white-Anglo men of privilege who settled in the American Northeast. Indeed, this focus has made sense insofar as this distinct group of Americans seemed responsible for the legal and political apparatus of the nation-state that became America. But what if we tried to see the nation’s past through other eyes? What if along with the public, political, and official realms of the past we also explored the social, the private, and the everyday interactions that took place between Americans at the very same time? Perhaps we would perceive American history as more than the story of the nation-state and its builders; it would also be the story of other Americans—women, minorities, the poor, the socially marginalized—who served as agents of political, social, and cultural change. If we focused on the daily struggles of diverse Americans in the South, Midwest, and Far West, as well as in New England, we would see that American history is much more complex and diverse than what traditional political narratives have led us to believe. These other Americans were not peripheral characters in the nation’s history, but shapers of the many cultures that have come together to form the hybrid culture we know as “American.” This course will not offer a comprehensive narrative of American history in the same way an American history survey would. The lectures and assignments will run chronologically, but you will have to rely on your textbook for a cohesive narrative and more comprehensive understanding of many of the political and military events in our nation’s history. The thrust of the material covered in lectures will reveal the complex social and cultural terrain on which political events occurred. This course will proceed along the presumption that up-close examinations of points of contact between disparate American groups will help us locate that elusive thing we call American identity. Because we will attempt to view the past from the perspectives of Americans whose views are often not engaged in textbooks, the narrative that will begin to take shape may look unfamiliar. Nevertheless, in a college as culturally diverse as this one, such multiple perspectives are resonant and empowering lenses on the past. Required Texts Theda Perdue and Michael Green, eds. Cherokee Removal, A Documentary History Tindall and Shi America , brief edition Note on the Reading Of course I expect you to read the assigned pages, but you should really also take the time to read unassigned sections of the textbook if they will help orient you. This course
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course HIST 1000 taught by Professor Desjardins during the Fall '08 term at CUNY Baruch.

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Syllabus- Themes in American History (HIS1000) - Fall 2007...

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