Fall 2016 - Graduate Course Descriptions

Wickberg, Dan
Discipline and Number
HUHI 7305 Section 001
R Time 10:00 AM - 12:45 PM
Course Title
U.S. Intellectual History

Description of Course:


This course is an advanced overview of American thought from the seventeenth century to the present, with a focus on philosophy, political thought, and social thought. 

Topics covered include: Puritanism, the American Enlightenment, evangelical religion, romanticism, feminism, abolition and pro-slavery thought, Darwinism, natural science and religion, modernism and antimodernism, cold war liberalism and its critics, the rise of social science, pragmatism, forms of relativism, postmodernisms. 

We will be reading short excerpts from a number of thinkers, including: John Cotton, Jonathan Edwards, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Stanhope Smith, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sarah Grimke, Catharine Beecher, Frederick Douglass, George Fitzhugh, Abraham Lincoln, Thorstein Veblen, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, William James, W.E.B. Du Bois, John Dewey, Daniel Bell, Thomas Kuhn, Susan Sontag, and Richard Rorty.

In addition, we will be reading a body of important secondary literature to provide a critical overview of the shape of the field and the significant questions and problems American intellectual historians are addressing. This course is designed to provide a pathway for those students considering preparing an examination field in American intellectual history, as well as those who may find it useful to related studies in modern literature and culture.

Required Texts:

Texts being considered for required readings include:

David Hollinger and Charles Capper, eds., The American Intellectual Tradition, 6th edition, two volumes. (Vol. I 1630-1865; Vol. II 1865-2000)

Louis Menand, The Metaphysical Club 

Howard Brick, Transcending Capitalism: Visions of a New Society in Modern American Thought

David Brion Davis, The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation

Angus Burgin, The Great Persuasion: Reinventing Free Markets Since the Depression

Sarah Igo, The Averaged American

Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, American Nietzsche

Eric Slauter, The State as a Work of Art

Mary Jo Buhle, Feminism and Its Discontents: a Century of Struggle with Psychoanalysis

Jamie Cohen-Cole, The Open Mind: Cold War Politics and the Sciences of Human Nature

Jonathan Levy, Freaks of Fortune: The Emerging World of Capitalism and Risk in America

Sarah Rivett, The Science of the Soul in Colonial New England

Daniel T. Rodgers, Age of Fracture

Andrew Jewett, Science, Democracy, and the American University

Fred Turner, The Democratic Surround

James Kloppenberg, Uncertain Victory

Ruben Flores, Backroads Pragmatists

Lisa Tetrault, The Myth of Seneca Falls

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Mandatory seminar attendance, preparation and participation; one oral presentation; one research paper (15-20 pp.)

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