History | American Pleasure Wars
A200 | 10547 | McGerr
A portion of this class reserved for University Division
orientation program students
This course explores the conflicted American response to pleasure
from the colonial period to the present. We will focus particularly
on the ways that many Americans have tried to regulate and abolish
certain forms of enjoyment. Topics include alcohol, gambling,
prostitution, contraception, pornography, smoking, theater and
movies, and Christmas.
In developing your understanding of the issues noted above, this
class pursues the aims common to introductory history courses.
Through lectures and assignments, you will practice using the
analytical tools of historians. You will increase your ability to
think historically, to recognize how the past conditions the present
and the future, to analyze historical evidence, and to read, view,
and write critically.
All reading assignments, including articles and primary sources,
will be available online on the Oncourse website. A required
film, "The Traffic in Souls," will be screened outside of class
hours. Each student will write three quizzes, three short papers,
two in-class tests, and a final examination.