Fall 2020 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Theme: Reforming the American Dream
To study the development of the modern United States fully, we need to analyze Americans' expectations for how the nation should have changed in the past century. This course explores major shifts in U.S. history through the activism of reformers from the 1890s through the 1990s. We will consider how these reformers used strategies including politics, civil disobedience, entertainment, religion, and environmental activism to promote their visions of an improved society. Specifically, the actions of these reformers reveal various interpretations of the American Dream and its implications for family life, urban planning, criminal justice, race relations, and economics.
YOU WILL READ CHAPTERS FROM THE FOLLOWING BOOKS:
1. Brundage, W. Fitzhugh. Civilizing Torture: An American Tradition. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018. ISBN: 9780674737662. Available as an e-book through UTD Library.
2. Cohen, Nancy. Making a New Deal. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008. ISBN: 978-0521715355
3. Dudziak, Mary L. Cold War Civil Rights. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000. ISBN: 9780691152431
4. Glave, Diana and Mark Stoll. To Love the Wind and the Rain: African Americans and Environmental History. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006. ISBN: 0822958996. Available as an e-book through UTD Library.
5. Horne, Gerald. Black Revolutionary: William Patterson and the globalization of the African American freedom struggle. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2013. ISBN: 9780252037924. Available as an e-book through UTD Library.
6. Kruse, Kevin. One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America. New York: Basic Books, 2015. ISBN: 978-0465049493
7. Larson, Edward. Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion. New York: Basic Books, 2008. ISBN: 978-0465075102. Available as an e-book through UTD Library.
8. May, Elaine Tyler. America and the Pill. New York: Basic Books, 2010. ISBN: 978-0465024599. Available as an e-book through UTD Library.
9. McGirr, Lisa. Suburban Warriors: The Origins of the New American Right. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.ISBN: 9780691165738. Available as an e-book through UTD Library.
10. Mettler, Suzanne. Soldiers to Citizens: The G.I. Bill and the Making of the Greatest
Generation. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780195331301. Available
as an e-book through UTD Library.
11. Robinson, Peter M. The Dance of the Comedians: the people, the president, and the performance of political standup comedy in America. Boston: University of Massachusetts Press, 2010. ISBN: 9781558497337. Available as an e-book through UTD Library.
12. Sugrue, Thomas. Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Post-War Detroit. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014. ISBN: 978-0691162553. Available as an e-book through UTD Library.
13. Tyrrell, Ian. Reforming the World: The Creation of America's Moral Empire. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2010. ISBN: 978-691145211
REQUIRED BOOK FOR CAREER PREP:
Bond, Richard and Pillarisetti Sudhir, Perspectives on Life After a History Ph.D. Washington D.C.: American Historical Association and Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN: 9780872291454.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
The assignments will help you prepare for conference panels, journal article submissions, and U.S. history survey lectures. You will also practice professional communication with a practitioner in your field.
Participation: Facilitate discussion during the week of your choice by introducing the assigned book and asking six questions about it. (12%)
Comparative Essay: Evaluate how a journal article explains the significance of a specific reform strategy differently from one of the class readings. Then analyze how both arguments relate to a theoretical journal article that addresses the American Dream and suggest an additional research approach. (6-7 pages, 20%)
Conference Abstract Assignment: Find a Call for Papers relevant to your research interests and submit an abstract that suggests how your topic shows the impact of American reform activism through the twentieth century. Identify a physical or online archive that would form the basis of your research. Also define one key term that helps readers understand this example of reform. (1.5 pages, 10%)
Biographical Essay: Identify a specific person affiliated with one of the reform strategies covered in this class, and evaluate the historiographical interpretation of that person's work. Suggest 2 key terms that describe that person's work and explain how you could teach them in a U.S. history survey course. (5-6 pages, 20%)
Career Prep Assignment: Choose a chapter from the Perspectives book that represents your preferred career trajectory and use it to craft 3-4 questions you could ask a professional in that field. Identify one of those professionals and summarize her/his responses. (1-1.5 pages, 8%)
Lesson Plan Assignment: Write a potential lesson plan describing one reform strategy, explaining its influence on American society, and tracing its development throughout the 20th century. Revise your previous assignments to include a biographical feature, key terms, and explanations of change over time. Use historical details from at least three primary sources and at least three class readings. Those who teach history during this semester or in the future are welcome to make this assignment practical to their curriculum format. (14-16 pages, 30%)