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Studiegids

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Readings in American History

Vak
2016-2017

Admission requirements

None

Description

This is a required course for students who start the program in February (instead of Major Issues in American History and Culture, which is only offered in the Fall semester).

This course examines some of the most important scholarly debates about American history, focusing on classic and recently-published works on such topics as the American Revolution, American liberalism, the South, immigration, the frontier, the Cold War, and the women’s movement. In addition to gaining an overview of American history, the course enables students to discuss important books in depth, and to examine the methodological and ideological approaches of leading historians.

Course objectives

Students will acquire knowledge and insight regarding:

  • the history and culture of the United States;

  • debates regarding key themes such as gender, transnational approaches to US history, US politics, and foreign policy;

  • trends in American historiography during the twentieth century and beyond.

Students will practice their ability to:

  • summarize, analyze, and discuss key texts in American history and culture;

  • place those texts in their historical context and identify the political and ethical values that influenced them (relativism);

  • relate historiographical and cultural debates to contemporary issues;

  • write concise pieces that analyse set texts;

  • introduce an oral discussion of a set text;

  • write a historiographical essay about a topic in American history and culture of their choice.

Timetable

See timetable.

Mode of instruction

Literature seminar.

Course load

Total course load for the course (10 ec x 28 hours): 280 hours.

  • class attendance (35 hours);

  • compulsory weekly reading (105 hours);

  • Preparation of oral presentation, writing assignments and research essay: 140 hours

Assessment method

Oral presentation (15%)
Blackboard postings and participation in class discussion (25%)
Historiographical essay (5000 words, 60%)

Blackboard

Blackboard gives access to syllabus, biblioraphy, documentary sources, and additional texts.

Reading list

  • Thomas Borstelmann, The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011)

  • Joanne Freeman, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001)

  • Richard Hofstadter, The American Political Tradition and the Men Who Made It (New York: Knopf, 1948)

  • Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (New York: Knopf, 2013)

  • Jackson Lears, Fables of Abundance: A Cultural History of Advertising in America (New York: Basic, 1994)

  • Jill Lepore, The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010)

  • Lisa McGirr, Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002)

  • William Appleman Williams, The Tragedy of American Diplomacy (Cleveland, OH: World Publishing, 1959)

  • A number of articles on Blackboard.

Registration

Via uSis.

Contact

Prof.dr. R. Mason or Mw. Dr. J.C. (Joke) Kardux (Chair MA North American Studies)

Remarks

The first two books that will be discussed are:

  • Jill Lepore, The Whites of Their Eyes: The Tea Party’s Revolution and the Battle over American History (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010)

  • Joanne Freeman, Affairs of Honor: National Politics in the New Republic (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001)

Students are encouraged to read ahead. These books have been ordered as E-books for the university library, but that may take some time to process.