AMH 6290

Readings in Modern American History

CBD 230

 

William A. Link

Spring 2005

233 Keene Flint Hall  392-0271, ext. 269

Office hours:

linkwa@ufl.edu

    Tues., 2:30-3:45, Thursday, 10:30-noon, or by appointment           

 

 

 

                                                                                                                                                          

Required Books (all books are available at Goerrings Book Store):

      

Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers' Republic

George Chauncey, Gay New York:  Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay Male Work, 1890-1940.

Karen Ferguson, Black Politics in New Deal Atlanta

Jeanette Keith, Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight: Race, Class, and Power in the Rural South during the First World War.

John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment.

Linda Gordon, The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction.

Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods: the Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion.

Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound.

Mary Renda, Taking Haiti.

George Sanchez, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and                             Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945.

Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit.

Timothy Tyson, Radio Free Dixie.

Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the American Right.

 

 

Course description

 

This course seeks to expose graduate students to the changing interpretations about the United States during the 20th century. Although the class is organized chronologically, our emphasis will be primarily topical and historiographical, including a sampling of social, cultural, intellectual, diplomatic, and political approaches. In each of the classes, students will be asked to consider important issues and the diverse ways in which historians have attempted to address them.

Students should keep in mind that this is a readings seminar, not a research seminar.  Our primary focus will be on how the historical literature on particular topics has changed over time and where it might head for the future, how historians have agreed and disagreed, and how compelling their arguments are for us as historians.  Necessarily, the class will be entirely discussion in format, based upon a program of readings completed in common and individually. Students must read all of the required books listed above, and there will be additional reading requirements as described below.

Objectives

 

After completing this course, students should be able to:

 

  1. read and analyze works of history, with particular attention to argument;
  2. improve their ability to communicate clearly and concisely, verbally and in writing;
  3. understand the broad trends in the historiography of 20th century American history;
  4. pass the preliminary exam in 20th century U.S. history, given next fall.

 

 

Minimal expectations:

 

 

  1. Attend all classes. I will allow one excused absence, if students provide notice of the need to miss class for an acceptable reason at least 24 hours in advance. After a first excused absence, I will deduct a full grade for every class missed.
  2. Complete the assigned weekly readings before each class.
  3. Participate regularly in class discussions.
  4. Complete all papers by the deadline. Late papers will be penalized by a full grade for every 24 hours.

 

Groups:

 

All students are assigned to one of two groups, each of which is split in two. The sole purpose of these groups is to organize the writing of papers and serving as resource persons (see below). There are no requirements for group presentations, etc.  The groups are organized as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Group 1:

 

Group 2:

 

Group 1a:

 

Atkins, Margaret
Snyder, Jennifer
Shaughnessy, Joseph

 

Group 2a:

 

Berson, Thomas
Wickerd, Garry
Black, Joel

Group 1b:

 

Moore, Courtney
Boyce, Benjamin
Wicker, Ragan

Bryson, Heather

 

Group 2b:

 

Lundock, Tori
Moffett, Anthony

Mercer, William

 

 

 

Writing assignments: 

 

All papers must be emailed to me at linkwa@ufl.edu no later than 4:00 on the day of class.  I will return the papers to you via email, barring unforeseen circumstances, no later than a week after you have turned them in.  I require two different sorts of papers, but in both I’m looking for good, crisp writing, clear thinking, tight organization, and general coherency and cogency. These are NOT “book reports”:  instead of summarizing the books, I expect you to identify the author’s argument, show how well that argument is demonstrated, and assess the work against the general literature on the subject.  Writing assignments include the following:

 

  1. Analytical book reviews:  All student are required to completed 5 analytical book reviews of approximately 900 words from our list of common readings. Each student will be assigned to one of two alternating groups. Group 1 papers are due Jan. 11 and 25, Feb. 8, March 8, and April 5. Group 2 papers are due Jan. 18, Feb. 1 and 22, March 29, and April 12.

 

  1. Historiographical review essay: Complete a 2,400-3,000 word historiographical paper which summarizes, analyzes, and critiques the common reading in combination with a mix of six-eight books/articles on one of the following topics:  The Cold War Abroad (March 15) or The Cold War at Home (March 22).  In advance of your paper, I will expect a brief prospectus and syllabus, with deadline to be announced. These will be presented in draft form to the class.

 

General discussion responsibilities:

 

All students are expected to come to class prepared to engage in dialogue and discussion. This doesn’t mean necessarily dominating the discussion; good discussion very often means listening and reacting to the thoughts and responses of your peers.  In whatever form it appears, good discussion means active engagement. I will periodically adopt various strategies to insure wide participation, such as asking students to read their papers or calling on people to speak.  Each student should come to class with a brief statement of the book’s thesis and its significance:  we will start class by asking everyone to read and discuss these.

 

Discussion facilitators:

 

Each student will serve as a discussion facilitator for one class session.  The discussion facilitator will work ahead of time with the instructor in devising questions. Students should submit their questions and bibliography (see below) no later than Monday morning, and I will expect a conference in advance of class.  Discussion facilitators will shape discussion, but I intend to be very actively involved in interjecting with my own questions.  In addition to leading class with questions, facilitators will be specifically responsible for providing 1) an analysis of relevant book reviews about the common readings, 2) an overview of the historiography of the topic, and 3) a one-page bibliography of the most important books on that week’s topic.

 

Resource persons: 

 

During the course of the semester, students will be assigned to serve as a resource person for additional books during each session; students will serve in this capacity three times.  Each student will be assigned to one of four groups, composed of three students, according to the following schedule: group 2a (Jan 11, Feb. 8, March 15), group 2b (Jan. 25, March 8, April 5), group 1a (Jan. 18, Feb. 22, March 29), and group 1b (Feb. 1, March 22, and April 12).  Rather than present a formal report, I will ask students to comment on these books during the course of the broader discussion.

 

Grading:

 

Class discussion (including serving as discussion leader and resource person): 25 percent; 5 analytical book reviews, 50 percent; historiographical essay, 25 percent

 


Course schedule:

 

1.  January 4                          Introduction

 

 

2.  January 11            Imperialism

 

Group 1 analytical reviews due

Group 2a resource persons

Discussion facilitator:          Heather Bryson

 

Common:                                Mary Renda, Taking Haiti

 

Resource readings:     Gary Gerstle, American Crucible  (2001)

                                                            Emily Rosenberg, Financial Missionaries (1999)

                                                            Matthew Frye Jacobson, Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876-1917 (2000)

                                                            Louis Perez, The War of 1898: The United States and Cuba in History and Historiography (1998)

 

3.  January 18            The Age of Progressivism

 

Group 2 analytical reviews due

Group 1a resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Courtney Moore

 

 

Common:                    Linda Gordon, The Great Arizona Orphan Abduction.

 

Resource readings:     Daniel T. Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings:  Social Politics in a Progressive Age (1998)

Michael McGerr, A Fierce Discontent: The Rise and Fall of the Progressive Movement in America, 1870-1920 (2003)

Nancy Hewitt, Southern Discomfort (2001)

Elizabeth Sanders, Roots of Reform (1999)

 

           

4.   January 25:         Gender and Sexuality

 

Group 1 analytical reviews due

Group 2b resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Thomas Berson

 

 

 

Common:                              George Chauncey, Gay New York:  Gender, Urban Culture and the Making of the Gay Male Work, 1890-1940.

 

Resource readings:  Sarah Deutsch, Women and the City: Gender, Space, and Power in Boston, 1870-1940 (2000)

Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Supremacy in North Carolina, 1896-1920 (1996)

John D’Emilio, Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities: The Making of a Homosexual Minority in the United States (1983)

Nan Enstad, Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure (1999)

Sara Evans, Personal Politics:  The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left.  (1979)

 

 

 

5.     February 1:  Race and Ethnicity

 

Group 2 analytical reviews due

Group 1b resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Margaret Atkins

 

 

Common:                    George Sanchez, Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and                              Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900-1945

 

Resource readings:     Leon Litwack, Trouble in Mind

Grace Elizabeth Hale, Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890-1940

                                                            Frederick Hoxie, A Final Promise: The Campaign to Assimilate the Indians, 1880-1920

      Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color:  European

      Immigrants and the Alchemy of Race.

      Louise Newman, White Women’s Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States (1999).

     

     

6. February 8:           World War I

 

Group 1 analytical reviews due

Group 2a resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      William Mercer

 

 

 

 

Common:                    Jeanette Keith, Rich Man’s War, Poor Man’s Fight

 

Resource readings:     Robert H. Ferrell, Woodrow Wilson and World War I, 1917-1921 (1985)

                                                                                                              David Kennedy, Over Here:  The First World War and American Society (1980)

                                                                                                              Ronald Schaeffer, America in the Great War: The Rise of the War Welfare State (1991)

Paul L. Murphy, World War I and the Origins of Civil Liberties in the United States

Robert Zieger, America's Great War: World War I and the American Experience (2000)

Kathleen Kennedy, Disloyal Mothers and Scurrilous Citizens: Women and Subversion during World War I  (1999)

 

 

 

7:  February 15:        NO CLASS

 

 

8.     February 22:       The 1920s and the Cultural Revolt

 

Group 2 analytical reviews due

Group 1a resource persons

Discussion facilitator:          Benjamin Boyce

 

 


Common:                                Edward J. Larson, Summer for the Gods: the Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion

 

Resource readings:     Joel A. Carpenter, Revive Us Again: The Reawakening of American Fundamentalism

John V. Baiamonte, Spirit of Vengeance: Nativism and Louisiana justice, 1921-1924 (1986)

Paula Fass, The Damned and the Beautiful: American Youth in the 1920's (1977)

Nancy MacLean, Behind the Mask of Chivalry:  The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan (1994)

George Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism (1980)

 

 

 

9.  March 1:               Spring Break

 

 

10.  March 8:                         The New Deal

 

Group 1 analytical reviews due

Group 2b resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Garry Wickerd

 

 

Common:                    Karen Ferguson, Black Politics in New Deal Atlanta

 

Resource readings:     Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939

                                                            Anthony Badger, The New Deal:  The Depression Years, 1933-1940 (1989).

William Leuchtenberg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal

 

 

 

11.  March 15:           The Cold War Abroad

 

Group 1 historiographical review essays due

Group 2a resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Tori Lundock

 

 

Common:                                John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment

 

Resource readings:     John Fousek, To Lead the Free World: American Nationalism and the                                     Cultural Roots of the Cold War

Thomas Borstelmann, The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race                            Relations in the Global Arena

Melvyn Leffler, A Preponderance of Power

 

 

 

12: March 22:            The Cold War at Home

 

Group 2 historiographical review essays due

Group 1b resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Jennifer Snyder

 

 

 

Common:                    Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound

 

Resource readings:     Elen Schrecker, Many are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America

                                    Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound

Steven J. Whitfield, Cold War Culture

Michael J. Hogan, Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the National Security State

Stephen J. Whitfield, The Culture of the Cold War (1996)

 

 

13. March 29:            Consumerism

 

Group 2 analytical reviews due

Group 1a resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Ragan Wicker

 

 

Common:                    Lizabeth Cohen, A Consumers' Republic

 

Resource readings:     W. T. Lhamon, Deliberate Speed:  The Origins of a Cultural Style in the American 1950s (1990)

Walter Hixson, Parting the Curtain:  Propaganda, Culture, and the Cold War, 1945-1961 (1998)

Lynn Spiegel, Make Room for TV:  Television and the Family in Postwar America (1992)

Paul Boyer, By the Bomb’s Early Light:  American Thought and Culture at the Dawn of the Atomic Age (1985)

Lary May, ed., Recasting America:  Culture and Politics in the Age of the Cold War (1989)

 

 

14. April 5:                The African American Freedom Struggle

 

Group 1 analytical reviews due

Group 2b resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Joel Black

 

 

Common:                                Timothy Tyson, Radio Free Dixie

 

Resource readings:     John Dittmer, Local People

                                                            Brian Ward, Just My Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness, and Race Relations

Charles Payne, I’ve Got the Light of Freedom

Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement (2003)

Michael J. Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights:  The Supreme Court and the Study for Racial Equality (2004)

John D’Emilio, Lost Prophet:  The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin  (2003)

 

 

15.     April 12:  The Urban Crisis

 

Group 2 analytical reviews due

Group 1b resource persons

Discussion facilitator:                      Joseph Shaughnessy

 

 

Common:                                Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit

 

Resource readings:     Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (1985)

Jill Quadagno, The Color of Welfare: How Racism Undermined the War                                         on Poverty (1994)

Becky M. Nicolaides, My Blue Heaven: Life and Politics in the Working                                              Class Suburbs of Los Angeles, 1920-1965 (2002)

                                                            Adam Rome, The Bulldozer in the Countryside (2001)

                                                            Robert O Self, American Babylon : Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland, Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America (2003) 

 

 16.  April 19                          Cultural Politics and the New Right

 

Common:                                Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right

 

Resource readings:     Bruce Schulman, The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics (2001)

Thomas and Mary Edsall, Chain Reaction: The Impact of Race, Rights, and Taxes on American Politics (1991)

Dan Carter, The Politics of Rage (1995)

Maurice Isserman and Michael Kazin, America Divided: The Civil War of the 1960s (2000)

Matthew Dallek, The Right Moment : Ronald Reagan's First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics (2004)