HIST 5124: U.S. History since 1877
CRN 17173, Tuesday, 2:00-4:50 p.m., 427 Major Williams
Instructor: Dr. Mark V. Barrow, Jr.
Office: 432 Major Williams; E-mail: email@example.com
Office Hours: T, Th, 11:00-12:00 noon, and by appt.
Phone: 231-4099 (o); 552-5876 (h)
This course explores major themes, critical issues, and core literature in United States history from 1877 to the present. Through readings, discussions, and writing assignments, students will develop the skills needed to evaluate the work of fellow historians while honing their own writing, discussion, and research skills. At the same time, the course provides a useful foundation for those who will teach a U.S. history survey course to secondary students or undergraduates.
This course is reading intensive. Each week we will not only read a book (usually a monograph) but also one or two scholarly articles or book chapters that provide a theoretical, historiographical, and/or methodological framework for the assigned book. In making decisions about which readings to include from the large body of literature in the field, I have tried a strike a balance between a small number of studies that are now generally regarded as classics (e.g., Kathy Peiss's Cheap Amusements) and a much larger number of books introducing recent trends in the field (e.g., the growing interest in cultural history and transnational history). I have also sought to achieve a broad chronological coverage and to pick books that are generally considered good reads.
The following required books are available from the University Bookstore, Volume Two Bookstore, and the Tech Bookstore. They are also available at the reserve desk (for two-day checkout) and through various online booksellers (e.g., amazon.com, bookfinder.com, bn.com), which often offer discounts or have less expensive used copies available. In addition to the books listed below, I will post the "framework" articles online or pass them out in class.
1. Class participation. This is a reading- and discussion-based course, so obviously full participation is critical to its success. Everyone is expected to attend each scheduled class meeting, to carefully and critically read all assigned material (including the questions posted by discussion anchors) before coming to class, and to actively participate in our deliberations.
2. Short Weekly Analytical Papers (SWAPs). To sharpen writing skills, help focus ideas, and facilitate discussion, each week each participant will turn in a short (ca. 1 p., double spaced) analytical paper centered on the reading for that week. Weekly analytical papers may assess the strengths and weaknesses of the assigned reading, respond to its major arguments, evaluate its thesis or use of evidence, critically examine its theoretical and/or methodological frameworks, relate it to other readings for the course (assigned or recommended), or (preferably) some combination of these approaches. Simple summaries will not suffice; these weekly papers must come to terms with the significance of the reading. Regardless of the particular strategy adopted for doing this, papers should also be concise, well written, carefully proofread, and demonstrate a thorough command of the assigned reading. SWAPs will not receive an individual letter grade (I use a less-formal check/check+/ check- evaluation system), but they will count toward the participation component of your final grade. We may also occasionally do peer evaluations of SWAPs.
3. Discussion Anchors. On most weeks one or two volunteers (depending on the final size of the class) will be responsible for leading class discussion. Discussion anchors are expected to be especially familiar with the reading for the week, to compose a brief set of questions to help guide our discussions, to provide a brief introduction to the discussion (no more than ca. 5 minutes), and to locate a minimum of four published book reviews of the reading assignment that they will incorporate into the discussion. Discussion anchors must post a set of broad discussion questions (which should be jointly constructed when there are two anchors) on the class listserv no later than twenty-four hours before class (you will have to use your Virginia Tech e-mail account to submit items to the class listserv). During class they will not only lead discussion, but also be available to answer questions, share resources, and summarize major arguments of the reading.
4. Short Critical Book Reviews. Each student will write three critical reviews (3-4 pp., double-spaced, ca. 750-1000 words each) of a given week's book. The due dates for these reviews are listed on the course schedule, below. On days when critical reviews are due, no one needs to write a weekly analytical paper, but discussion anchors should still submit a list of discussion questions to the class listserv. Late papers will be penalized by having points deducted from them. We'll talk more about what these reviews should look like later in class.
5. Essay Review. The final writing assignment is a longer (ca. 6-8 pp., double-spaced) critical essay review of a recent book on modern American history, chosen in consultation with the instructor. The review should not only assess the strengths and weaknesses of the book in question, but it should also properly "place" it in the historiography. In preparation for the essay review (and so we can all learn more about recent scholarship in the field), on the last day of class each student will make a short presentation on their book. The final assignment is due on Thursday, May 1, by 5:00 p.m.
The final grade for the course will be based on the following formula:
• Participation (including weekly analytical papers) 40%
• Discussion Anchors 10%
• Critical reviews (3 @ 10 % each) 30%
• Final Essay Review 20%
Students are expected to follow the Virginia Tech Graduate Honor Code for all assignments. While I don't mind if you collaborate with others or look at published material related to the assigned readings (in fact, I strongly encourage both of these things), ultimately the ideas you express in your writing and presentations should be your own or be properly attributed. Otherwise we would all be forced to live in world of deceit and distrust that most of us would prefer not to inhabit.
A Final Word:
The above discussion sounds more
formal than I would like, but I think it's important to make the ground rules
clear at the outset. What I want
to say now is that I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to read,
ponder, and discuss with you some important scholarship from a field in which
I am passionately interested. I
also want you to know that I am here to help you learn. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns,
difficulties related to this course, or even if you just want to chat about
the issues it raises. I know
that approaching a professor can be intimidating for some, but I want to assure
you that I enjoy meeting with students and I do everything I possible to make
myself accessible to them.
Week 1: January 15
Week 2: January 22
Peter Charles Hoffer, Past Imperfect: Facts, Fictions, Fraud—American History from Bancroft and Parkman to Ambrose, Bellesiles, Ellis, and Goodwin (New York: Public Affairs, 2004).
Ron Robin, Scandals and Scoundrels: Seven Cases That Shook the Academy (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004).
Ian Tyrell, Historians in Public: The Practice of American History, 1890-1970 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005).
Ellen Fitzpatrick, History's Memory: Writing America’s Past, 1880-1980 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2004).
Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The "Objectivity Question" and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988).
Edward T. Linenthal and Tom Englehardt, eds., History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past (New York: Henry Holt, 1996).
Eric Foner, Who Owns History?: Rethinking the Past in a Changing World (New York: Hill and Wang, 2002).
Georg Iggers, Historiography in the Twentieth Century: From Scientific Objectivity to the Postmodern Challenge (Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 1997).
AN INDUSTRIALIZING NATION
Week 3: January 29
Industrialization and Labor
David Brody, "Workers and Work in America: The New Labor History," in James B. Gardner and George Rollie Adams, eds., Ordinary People and Everyday Life: Perspectives on the New Social History (Nashville, Tenn.: American Association for State and Local History, 1983), 139-155.
James Green, Death in the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement, and the Bombing That Divided Gilded Age America (New York: Pantheon, 2006).
Paul Averich, The Haymarket Tragedy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984).
Paul Krause, The Battle for Homestead, 1880-1892 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992).
Sharon Smith, Subterranean Fire: A History of Working-Class Radicalism (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006).
David Montgomery, The Fall of the House of Labor: The Workplace, the State, and American Labor Activism (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987).
Leon Fink, Workingmen's Democracy: The Knights of Labor and American Politics (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1983).
Herbert Gutman, Work, Culture, and Society in Industrializing America: Essays in American Working-Class History (New York: Vintage, 1977).
Melvin Dubofsky, Industrialism and the American Worker, 1865-1920 (Wheeling, Ill.: Harland Davis, 1996).
Week 4: February 5
Thomas Bender, "Introduction: Historians, Nation, and the Plentitude of Narratives," in Thomas Bender, ed., Rethinking American History in a Global Age (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002), 2-21. [University of California Press website, http://www.ucpress.edu/books/pages/9525.html/]
Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, "An Overview of the Progressive Era," and "Historians Ask, ‘Who Were the Progressives?," in Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, ed., Who Were the Progressives? (New York: Bedford/St. Martins, 2002), 3-24.
Daniel Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000), specific pages TBA.
Michael McGerr, A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003).
Robert H. Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (New York: Hill and Wang, 1967).
Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916 (New York: Free Press, 1963).
Arthur S. Link and Richard L. McCormick, Progressivism (Wheeling, Ill.: Harlan Davidson, 1983).
Elizabeth Sanders, Roots of Reform: Farmers, Workers, and the American State, 1877-1917 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999).
Nell Irvin Painter, Standing at Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1988).
Royn Muncy, Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1890-1935 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).
Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform: From Bryan to FDR (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1955).
Week 5: February 12
Gender and Culture
Critical Book Review #1 Due
T. J. Jackson Lears, "The Concept of Cultural Hegemony: Problems and Possibilities," American Historical Review 90, no. 3 (June 1985): 567-593. [JSTOR]
Linda Kerber, "Gender," in Anthony Mohlo and Gordon S. Wood, eds., Imagined Histories: American Historians Interpret the Past (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998), 41-58.
Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986).
Warren Susman, Culture as History: The Transformation of American Society in the Twentieth Century (New York: Pantheon, 1984).
Nan Endstad, Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure: Working Women, Popular Culture, and Labor Politics at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).
Kathy Peiss, Hope in a Jar: The Making of America's Beauty Culture (New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998).
Lauren Rabinovitz, For the Love of Pleasure: Women, Movies, and Culture Turn-Of-The-Century Chicago (New York: Rutgers University Press, 1998).
Angela Y. Davis, Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, Bessie Smith, and Billie Holiday (New York: Pantheon, 1998).
David Nasaw, Going Out: The Rise and Fall of Public Amusements (New York: Basic Books, 1993).
Week 6: February 19
Race in the New South
Peter Kolchin, "Whiteness Studies: The New History of Race in America," Journal of American History 89, no. 1 (2002): 154-173. [Project Muse]
Grace Elizabeth Hale, Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940 (New York: Pantheon, 1998).
David Roediger, Working toward Whiteness: How America's Immigrants Become White: The Strange Journey from Ellis Island to the Suburbs (New York: Basic Books, 2005).
David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (New York: Vintage Books, 1998).
Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color: European Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race (New York: Routledge, 1998).
Jennifer Rittenhouse, Growing Up Jim Crow: The Racial Socialization of Black and White Southern Children, 1890-1940 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).
Noel Ignatiev, How the Irish Became White (New York: Routledge, 1995).
Ian Lopez, White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race (New York: NYU Press, 1996).
C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966).
Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1996).
Week 7: February 26
Science, Sexuality, and the State
Frank Dikötter, "Race Culture: Recent Perspectives on the History of Eugenics," American Historical Review 103, no. 2 (April 1998): 467-478. [JSTOR]
Alexandra Minna Stern, Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).
Joanna Schoen, Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Abortion, and Sterilization in Public Health and Welfare (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005).
Wendy Kline, Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001).
Mark Largent, Breeding Contempt: The History of Coerced Sterilization in the United States (Piscataway, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2007).
Edward J. Larson, Science, Race, and Sex: Eugenics in the Deep South (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995).
Christine Rosen, Preaching Eugenics: Religious Leaders and the American Eugenics Movement (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).
Daniel Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1985).
Week 8: March 4
Week 9: March 11
Science, Religion, and the Law
Robert A. Ferguson, "Chapter One: Where Courtrooms and Communities Meet," in The Trial in American Life (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007). [http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/243252.html]
Paula S. Fass, "Making and Remaking an Event: The Leopold and Loeb Case in American Culture,” Journal of American History 80 (December 1993): 919–951. [JSTOR]
Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion (New York: Basic Books, 1998).
Ronald Numbers, The Creationists: From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design, expanded ed. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006).
Peter J. Bowler, Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons: Evolution and Christianity from Darwin to Intelligent Design (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2007).
Edward J. Larson, Trial and Error: The American Controversy over Creation and Evolution, 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).
Michael Lienesch, In the Beginning: Fundamentalism, the Scopes Trial, and the Making of the Antievolution Movement (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).
Lynn Dumenil, The Modern Temper: American Culture and Society in the 1920s (New York: Hill and Wang, 1995).
Stanley Coben, Rebellion against Victorianism: The Impetus for Cultural Change in the 1920s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).
David Joseph Goldberg, Discontented America: The United States in the 1920s (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999).
Week 10: March 18
Race and the Politics of Resistance
Robin D. G. Kelley, "'We Are Not What We Seem': Rethinking Black Working-Class Opposition in the Jim Crow South," Journal of American History 80 (June 1993): 75-112. [JSTOR]
Kevin Boyle, Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age (New York: Henry Holt, 2004).
James R. Grossman, Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989).
James N. Gregory, The Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2007).
Robin D. G. Kelley, Culture, Politics, and the Black Working Class (New York: Free Press, 1994).
Kimberly L. Phillips, AlabamaNorth: African-American Migrants, Community, and Working-Class Activism in Cleveland, 1915-1945 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999).
Victoria W. Wolcott, Remaking Respectability: African American Women in Interwar Detroit (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000).
James S. Hirsch, Riot and Remembrance: America's Worst Race Riot and Its Legacy (Boston: Mariner Books, 2003).
William M. Tuttle, Race Riot: Chicago and the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1996).
Week 11: March 25
The New Deal
Critical Book Review #2 Due
Bernstein, Barton J. "The New Deal: The Conservative Achievements of Liberal Reform," in Barton J. Bernstein, ed., Towards a New Past: Dissenting Essays in American History (New York: Pantheon, 1968), 63-88.
William Leuchtenberg, "The Achievements of the New Deal," in Howard Sitkoff, ed., Fifty Years Later: The New Deal Evaluated (New York; Alfred A. Knopf, 1995), 211-31.
Wolfgang Schivelbusch, Three New Deals: Reflections on Roosevelt's America, Mussolini's Italy, and Hitler's Germany, 1933-1939 (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006).
Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995).
David Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999).
William E. Leuchtenberg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal (New York: Harper and Row, 1963).
Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle, eds., The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Order, 1930-1980 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989).
Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993).
Joseph Scharz, The New Dealers: Power Politics in the Age of Roosevelt (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993).
Week 12: April 1
The Cold War at Home
Kimmo Ahonen, "Anticommunism in the 1950s: Post-Cold War Interpretations," in Ausma Cimdina and Jonathan Osmond, eds., Power and Culture: Hegemony, Interaction, and Dissent (Pisa: PLUS-Pisa University Press, 2006), 117-131. [http://www.cliohres.net/books/2/08_Ahonen.pdf]
Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America (Boston: Little, Brown, 1998).
David Johnson, The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).
John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2005).
Richard Fried, Nightmare in Red: The McCarthy Era in Perspective (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).
Tom Wicker, Shooting Star: The Brief Arc of Joe McCarthy (New York: Harcourt, 2006).
Robert Griffith, The Politics of Fear: Joseph R. McCarthy and the Senate (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1970).
John Gaddis, The Cold War: A New History (New York: Penguin Press, 2005).
Peter J. Kuznick and James Gilbert, eds., Rethinking Cold War Culture (Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001).
Week 13: April 8
The Post-War Consumer Culture
Susan Strasser, "Making Consumption Conspicuous: Transgressive Topics Go Mainstream," Technology and Culture 43 (October 2002): 755-770. [Project Muse]
Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumer's Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2003).
Daniel Horowitz, The Anxieties of Affluence: Critiques of American Consumer Culture, 1939-1979 (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2004).
Gary Cross, An All-Consuming Century: Why Commercialism Won in Modern America (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000).
Daniel Thomas Cook, The Commodification of Childhood: The Children's Clothing Industry and the Rise of the Child Consumer (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2004).
Charles F. McGovern, Sold American: Consumption and Citizenship, 1890-1945 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006).
Susan Strasser, et al., eds., Getting and Spending: American and European Consumer Society in the Twentieth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
Week 14: April 15
The Long Sixties
Rick Perlstein, "Who Owns the Sixties?: The Opening of a Scholarly Generation Gap," Lingua Franca (May/June 1996). [http://linguafranca.mirror.theinto.org/9605/sixties.html]
Alan Petigny, "Resisting the Complacency Narrative: Sixties Social Unrest and Its Relation to the 1950s," Reviews in American History 34, no. 2 (2006): 238-43. [Project Muse]
Mark H. Lytle, America's Uncivil Wars: The Sixties Era from Elvis to the Fall of Richard Nixon (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).
Todd Gitlin, The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage (New York: Bantam Books, 1987).
Terry H. Anderson, The Movement and the Sixties (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).
Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: Civil War of the 1960s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999)
James Miller, "Democracy in the Streets": From Port Huron to the Siege of Chicago (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1987).
Kenneth Heinemann, Campus Wars: The Peace Movement at American State Universities (New York: NYU Press, 1992).
David Farber, ed., The Sixties: From Memory to History (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1994).
Arthur Marwick, The Sixties: Cultural Revolution in Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, c.1958-c.1974 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998).
David Chalmers, And the Crooked Made Straight: The Struggle for Social Change in the 1960s (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, 1991).
William Chafe, Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980).
Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2003).
Week 15: April 22
The New Conservatism
Critical Book Review #3
Alan Brinkley, "The Problem of American Conservatism" and comments, American Historical Review 99, no. 2 (April 1994): 409-52. [JSTOR]
Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).
Donald T. Critchlow, Phyllis Schafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman's Crusade (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).
Matthew B. Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).
Kevin M. Kruse, White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).
Gil Troy, Morning in America: How Ronald Reagan Invented the 1980s (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005).
Rick Perlstein, Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of American Consensus (New York: Hill and Wang, 2001).
Dan T. Carter, The Politics of Rage: George Wallace, the Origins of the New Conservatism, and the Transformation of American Politics (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1995).
Jonathan Schoewald, A Time for Choosing: The Rise of Modern American Conservatism (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001).
Week 14: April 29
Presentation on Recent Book in Modern American History Due
May 1, by 5:00 p.m.
Final Essay Review Due