American Studies | Colloquium in American Studies / Topics: Introduction to Modern America
G620 | 22207 | Michael McGerr

(4 cr. hrs.)
Jointly offered with HIST-H650
This colloquium offers an intensive introduction to the study of the
history of the United States from the late-nineteenth to the early
twenty-first centuries.  Covering a wide range of topics, the class
focuses particularly on two issues.  First, we will study attempts
to situate the long sweep of national history within the development
of capitalism, globalization, liberalism, and imperialism.  Second,
we will analyze the linkages between private and public—between
individual identity and experience on one hand and politics, popular
culture, and consumption on the other.  In addition, the course
considers the diversity of historically-informed writing from
academic monographs and syntheses to polemics, fiction, film, and

Members of the class are expected to complete the assigned readings
and film listed below, to participate in class discussion, and to
write two short critical papers and one longer historiographical

The assigned readings and film are:
Rosalyn Baxandall & Linda Gordon, eds., Dear Sisters: Dispatches
from the Women’s Liberation Movement
Daniel Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society: A Venture in
Social Forecasting
George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making
of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940
Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumer’s Republic: The Politics of Mass
Consumption in Postwar America Citizen Kane
John Dos Passos, The 42nd Parallel
Niall Ferguson, Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire
Jeffrey Frieden, Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the
Twentieth Century
Steve Fraser & Gary Gerstle, The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order
Louis Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America
Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Parts I & II
Michael McGerr, A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the
Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920
Alan Matusow, The Unraveling of America: A History of Liberalism in
the 1960s
Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality
in Postwar Detroit