Fall 2016 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
THIS COURSE IS AVAILABLE TO DOCTORAL STUDENTS ONLY.
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.
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.)