History | Colloquium United States History
H650 | 3148 | Friedman
A portion of the above section reserved for majors
Above section meets with HIST H680
TOPIC: INTERPRETATIONS OF AMERICAN CULTURE: FROM
TOCQUEVILLE THROUGH POSTMODERNISM
The colloquium is designed to give graduate students a broad
overview of the major interpretations of American culture from
Tocqueville’s classic DEMOCRACY IN AMERICA to leading
postmodernists. Prominent interpreters like Jane Addams, W.E.B.
DuBois, Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, Erik Erikson, David Reisman,
Ralph Ellison, Hanna Arendt, and Carol Gilligan shall be
considered. As well, we shall study the work of collectivities like
the Culture & Personality Movement and the Critical Theorists.
Finally, we shall be attentive to the way historians have utilized
these “classic” interpretations in their scholarship.
Considerable effort shall be made to see the potential utility of
major cultural interpreters as one prepares for doctoral
examinations, writes scholarly papers, and structures a syllabus for
an undergraduate course. Indeed, students shall have the
opportunity to probe most deeply into those interpreters who are
most congruent with their own work and needs. In addition to class
discussions and the writing of critical papers on the literature,
each student shall be asked to meet regularly with the instructor so
as to shape course material to fit his/her most pressing needs.