History | Movement in 20th Century America
A300 | 3114 | Kahrl


Above section open to undergraduates only

Americans have been said to suffer from the disease of locomotion.
Throughout the twentieth century, the United States has witnessed
several dramatic demographic transformations.  Whether as a result of
immigration, internal migration or forced relocation, the social and
cultural composition of the American landscape has remained in
constant flux.  This course seeks to historicize the movement of
people in the United States during the twentieth century.  Topics we
will explore include: the influx of peoples of European descent into
America’s cities during the height of the Industrial Revolution;
Mexican immigration into the Southwest; the Great Migration of
African Americans from the rural South to the urban North; the exodus
of rural farmers from the Great Plains during the Dust Bowl; forced
relocation and internment of Japanese Americans during World War II;
and suburbanization and patterns of residential segregation in the
post-World War II era.

Despite the distinctiveness of each instance of movement we will
examine, similar questions will guide us throughout the course.  What
forces compelled the mass exodus of a segment of society or a
distinct culture into or within America?  What cultural resources did
these people draw upon in their new environment?  In what ways were
their cultural identities affected by the social, political, and
economic conditions of their destinations?  How did these movements
impact and reflect larger dilemmas and issues facing the nation as a
whole?  We will seek to accomplish such goals by employing a variety
of resources.  A strong emphasis will be placed on utilizing
historical artifacts such as newspapers, novels, film, art and music
as analytical tools.  Classes will consist of a combination of
lecture and discussion.