Honors | American History I
H105 | 6568 | Konstantin Dierks


This course provides a topical introduction to American history from
the era of Columbus's exploration of the "New World," up through the
era of the American Civil War. Because not every topic can be
covered equally in a course that spans four centuries of American
history, as our guiding themes we will focus on cultural tensions
between freedom and unfreedom, between equality and inequality, and
between prosperity and poverty.  Has it ever, for example, been
possible in American history to imagine "equality" without at the
same time excluding some people?  In examining such cultural
tensions, we will look in particular at how notions of gender,
class, and race have changed over time, first in a "colonial"
context when European peoples sought to transfer ideals and
practices to the challenging new environment of North America, and
then in a "postcolonial" context when competing social groups
struggled for position in the young American nation. Throughout the
course, we will situate North America and then the United States not
only in a multicultural but also in a global context. Special
attention will be paid, as well, to how the lives of ordinary people
intersected with broader sweeps of history.  To test the continuing
resonance of early modern American history, we will scrutinize not
only struggles for social dominance or self-determination by people
in the past, but also struggles over the meaning of historical
memory by people in the present.

This sentence remains true:  The honors section of H105 will be
devoted to weekly class discussions of the topics covered in the
lectures and assigned readings.