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American Intellectual History


This course explores major American intellectual traditions such as Puritanism and pragmatism and current American debates about multiculturalism, feminism, and the public sphere. Students will become familiar with the history of these movements and (a few of) the theoretical issues involved on the basis of individual authors who are considered important representative voices. On the reading list are authors such as Jonathan Edwards, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Hannah Arendt, Richard Rorty, and Henry Louis Gates.

Method of instruction

Seminar; attendance is compulsory (see Institute of History Study Regulation for the BA-programme, art. 2).

Course objectives

Een overzicht van de Amerikaanse ideeëngeschiedenis, inzicht in enkele sleutelbegrippen en specifieke kenmerken daarvan.

Required reading

All students: David Hollinger en Charles Capper, The American Intellectual Tradition, 2 parts (New York: Oxford University Press, 5th ed., 2005).
Entry exam (for History programme students): Bruce Kuklick, A History of Philosophy in America, 1720-2000 (Oxford Univ. Press, 2003)


  • written exam with essay questions (for students taking this course as part of their minor-programme)

  • paper (for all other students who are not taking this course as part of their minor-programme)

  • presentation (all students)

  • participation in discussions


Semester II, see timetables.


With the tutor: Dr. E.F. van de Bilt



Application Courses, Seminars and Exams

Via U-TWIST, see application procedures.