History | Introduction to Modern America
H650 | 17376 | McGerr
A portion of the above class reserved for majors
Above class open to graduates only
Above class meets with AMST-G620
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
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"
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
Steve Fraser & Gary Gerstle, "The Rise and Fall of the New Deal
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
Thomas Sugrue, "The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality
in Postwar Detroit"