A history of the United States, like that of any nation, can be celebratory or critical, but it is often defined by a self-proclaimed exceptionalism and contained within geographical, political, and cultural boundaries. This course, however, will consider important themes from the American past that connect it to the wider world. If slavery and race, for example, are principal elements of our history, they also shape the history of other regions. How do they compare? The course will also examine topics and scholarship in transnational history, a recent successor to comparative history that demonstrates how American life has been influenced by people and ideas from other parts of the world.
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
George M. Fredrickson, Racism: A Short History
Wim Klooster, Revolutions in the Atlantic World: A Comparative History
Rebecca J. Scott & Jean M. Hebrard, Freedom Papers: An Atlantic Odyssey in the Age of Emancipation
Penny Von Eschen, Satchmo Blows up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War
We will also examine scholarly articles available from JSTOR through the Indiana University libraries or accessible from the web.
Book Reviews (4): 40%
Historiographical Essay: 30%
Discussions (6): 30%