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From the Pilgrims to the Present: An Introduction to American Studies

Vak
2021-2022

Admission requirements

No admission requirements.

Description

This course offers a survey of American history from the Early Republic to the present. It provides the basis for a better understanding of the United States, its society, its institutions, and its role in the world. The lectures will follow a chronological path and will highlight the foundational elements – and innermost contradictions – of the United States. Students will thus explore the causes and effects of the American Revolution; the institutional consolidation and continental expansion of the Republic; the socio-economic causes of the Civil War; the setbacks of the Reconstruction as well as the many hopes of the Progressive Era; the transformation of the US into a multicultural empire and its rise as a world power; the New Deal and its legacies; the Cold War and its socio-political repercussions; the crisis of US global hegemony; the US-led global war on terror and its long-term consequences; the structural inequalities and ideological and ecological challenges that currently confront the United States. To prepare for the lectures, students are required to read relevant primary sources, pertinent literature, and classic texts in American culture, politics, and society.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

The student can:

  • 1) organise and use relatively large amounts of information;

  • 2) reflect critically on knowledge and understanding as presented in academic literature.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

  • 3) The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically;
    -in the specialisation General History of the place of European history from 1500 in a worldwide perspective; with a focus on the development and role of political institutions;
    -in the track American History of American exceptionalism; the US as a multicultural society and the consequences of that for historiography; the intellectual interaction between the US and Europe;

Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific lecture course

The student:

  • 4) has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically of:
    -in the track American History American exceptionalism; the US as a multicultural society and the consequences of that for historiography; the intellectual interaction between the US and Europe;

  • 5) has knowledge of:
    -American history and culture from its colonial beginnings in the early seventeenth century to the present;
    -the American political system and to a number of central themes and concepts in U.S. history, such as republicanism, Manifest Destiny, and the ideology of domesticity;
    -historical debates about a.o. slavery, multiculturalism, and American exceptionalism.

  • 6) The student has knowledge of basic research skills.

Timetable

The timetables are available through MyTimetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Independant study of literature

Assessment method

Assessment

The course will be assessed through two subtests, covering all course objectives:

  • Midterm examination: take-home assignment; brief essay

  • Final examination: multiple choice questions and open essay questions

Weighing

  • Midterm examination: 40%

  • Final examination: 60%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average.

Resit

Both midterm and final examination can be retaken.
The resit exam will take place in one single resit, at which both subtests are offered. For this resit three hours will be reserved, so that students will be able to retake both subtests, if necessary.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

BA History Year 2 Lecture course (5EC)

  • Assigned primary sources will be available on the Brightspace site

Minor/pre-master American Studies (10EC):

  • Assigned primary sources will be available on the Brightspace site

  • Jill Lepore, These Truths: A History of the United States (W.W. Norton 2018; available Bol.com and Amazon.com).

Registration

Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available on the website.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Studeren à la carte.

Registration Contractonderwijs.

Contact

  • For course related questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.

  • For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga.

Remarks

This introductory course can be followed as a BA lecture course for 2nd-year History students (5EC) and as part of the BA-minor American Studies (10EC).

  • Students who take the course as 5EC BA lecture course will be required to take a written exam on lecture notes and assigned primary sources and a take-home exam;

  • Students who take the course as part of the minor in American Studies or as an elective course (10EC) are required to read both primary sources and the textbook (Jill Lepore, These Truths: A History of the United States) and to take a written exam on lecture notes, assigned primary sources and textbook and a take-home exam.

  • International students can opt for either the 5EC or 10EC option.