History | American History I
H105 | 16931 | Dierks
Above section open to all undergraduates
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. 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.
Reading assignments feature "primary source" documents written by
people in the past; writing assignments entail three short papers
and a take-home final exam.