History | Movement in 20th Century U.S.
A300 | 6490 | Elson-Kahrl
A portion of the above section reserved for majors
Topic: People in motion, Cultures in Contact: Movement in the 20th
Century United States.
Americans have been said to suffer from the disease of locomotion.
Throughout the twentieth century, the United States has witnessed
several dramatic demographic transformations. Whether the result of
immigration, internal migration or forced relocation, the social and
cultural composition of the American landscape has remained in
constant flux. This course seeks to historicize the movement of
people in the United States during the twentieth century. Beginning
with the influx of peoples of European descent into America’s cities
during the height of the Industrial Revolution and ending with the
increased restrictions and scrutiny placed on immigration in the
post- 9/11 world, this course will examine distinct patterns of
movement in the twentieth century and their impact on American
society as a whole.
Despite the distinctiveness of each instance of movement we will
examine, similar questions will guide us throughout the semester.
What forces compelled the mass exodus of a segment of society or a
distinct culture into or within America? What cultural resources
did these people draw upon in their new environment? In what ways
were their cultural identities affected by the social, political,
and economic conditions of their destinations? How did these
movements impact and reflect larger dilemmas and issues facing the
nation as a whole, for instance in the case of forced movement? We
will seek to accomplish such goals by employing a variety of
resources. A strong emphasis will be placed on utilizing historical
artifacts such as newspapers, novels, film, art and music as
analytical tools. Classes will consist of a combination of lecture
and discussion. Students will be expected to complete weekly
reading assignments and participate actively in the examination and
interpretation of materials.