History | Americans Discover the World
J400 | 12049 | Dierks

Above class open to majors only
Above class open to undergraduates only
J400: P-HIST J300

This course examines the construction of “knowledge” about the rest
of the world by Americans in two critical periods of American
history.  The first covers the era when the colonies were part of
the British empire, and their relationship to the rest of the world
was determined by their membership inside an empire.  The second
concerns the era when the United States became an independent nation
developing its own relations in the “family of nations.”  One of the
first steps the young United States took in the 1790s was to open
trade relations with China and India.  So, how did Americans learn
about the rest of the world?  What kinds of images did they have of
other parts of the world?  How segregated or interconnected did they
imagine the world to be?  How often did Americans go out into that
wider world?  What parts of the world came to America?  Throughout
the course we will use American images of and interconnections with
the world in the past to interrogate America’s place in the global
world today.