C O U R S E D E S C R I P T I O N
This course is a survey of United States history up to 1865. Special attention is given to the ways in which ideas about race, gender, and citizenship were constructed during this period, as well as how they evolved over time. The course is not designed to teach students “how we got where we are today,” but rather, it is designed to have students study past events, societies, people, places, things, and ideas in order to highlight the complexities of the present and the value of doing history. As such, we will spend a significant amount of time in class focusing on the development of skills used by historians in assigning historical significance, identifying instances of continuity and change, and in approaching the study of the past with historical empathy. The course is structured both chronologically and thematically: That is to say, while we move from the distant past to 1865 in the content of this course, we will often pause to explore historical themes that tend to fit less neatly in a standard chronology.
Selected Class Materials