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Readings in American History


Admission requirements


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, slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, Populism and Progressivism, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Cold War. 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

The course aims to make students familiar with a few topics of American history, the academic debates about these topics, and the theoretical issues involved in the debates.


See course-schedule

Mode of Instruction

Literature seminar

Assessment method

Book reviews (6 × 1.000 words) and class participation: 60%
Final paper (3.000 words): 40%



Reading list

  • Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution. A. A. Knopf, 1992.

  • Louis Hartz, The Liberal Tradition in America. Harvest Books, 1991.

  • Eugene D. Genovese, Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. Vintage, 1976.

  • John Hope Franklin, Reconstruction: After the Civil War. University of Chicago Press, 1994.

  • Melvyn Leffler, For the Soul of Mankind: The United States, the Soviet Union, and the Cold War. Hill & Wang, 2008.

  • Thomas Sugrue, Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North. Random House, 2009.


See enrolment-procedure

Contact Information

With the tutor: Prof.dr. A. Fairclough


This literature seminar is a core course in the M.A. in History (American History track). It consists of six meetings of two hours. Attendance is compulsory.