History | American Pleasure: Leisure and Enjoyment in the Modern U.S.
A200 | 15272 | McGerr
Above class open to undergraduates only
This course explores the conflicted response to pleasure in the
United States from the 1870s 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,
eating, gambling, prostitution, contraception, pornography, smoking,
vacations, popular music, radio, movies, television, and Christmas
and other holidays.
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. One or two
required films will be screened for the class outside of regular
class meetings. Each student will write several short response
papers, a mid-term exam, and a final examination.