History | American History I
H105 | 13429 | K. Dierks
Above class open to Freshmen and Sophomores only
This course provides an overview of American history from the era of
Columbus's exploration of the "New World," up through the era of the
American Civil War. As our guiding themes we will focus on cultural
tensions between freedom and unfreedom, between equality and
inequality, and between prosperity and poverty. For instance, has
it ever 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, race, and class have changed over time, first in
a "colonial" context in the collision of European, Native American,
and African cultures in the challenging environment of North
America, and then in a "postcolonial" context when competing social
groups struggled for advantage 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
Reading assignments feature "primary source" documents written by
people in the past; writing assignments entail three short
analytical papers and a take-home final exam.