United States

History 106: The Development of the United States, 1877-present

The purpose of this class is to study the development of American society from the end of Reconstruction to the present. Emphasis will be placed on the institutions, ideas, and movements which have shaped modern American society. Using both primary and secondary material, the course will not only discuss the chronological development and changes in American society, but also will discuss such topics as industrialization, urbanization, consumption, and popular culture, rise of mass society and mass politics, America as a world power, civil rights and women's movements, Vietnam, and Watergate.

Prof. Ferguson, 3 credits, TuThF 10:00-10:50

-Open to first-year students


History 259: Special Topic: History of the American West

Beginning with the question "What is the West?" we will consider the West as a physical and imagined place, uncovering the ways that mythic representations have obscured a much richer past. We will examine encounters between many groups of western people, including those from North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Through discussions of Native American nations, the overland trails that brought settler-colonists west, and the U.S.-Mexico War and its aftermath, we will consider the contentious and often violent process by which the west became "American." Through the lens of dime novels, Wild West shows, and Hollywood westerns, we will explore the historic significance of the often-contested cultural representations of the frontier. Finally, we will investigate key themes of 20th-century U.S. History, such as immigration, labor and race relations, the growth of suburbs, and the conservation and environmental movements, within the context of the West. Distribution area: social science.

Prof. Ferguson, 4 credits, TuTh 1:00-2:20

-Open to first-year students


History 290: The History and Sociology of Rock'n'Roll

This course will examine the development and significance of the musical genre typically known as "rock ‘n' roll," from its origins in the 1940s and 1950s to the present. In order to understand this important phenomenon, the course will explore the rural and urban roots of blues, jazz, and folk music from which much of rock ‘n' roll is ultimately derived; the development of the Cold War culture in the post-World War II years; the social and political upheavals of the 1960s; and the cultural and political fragmentation of American society in the past three decades. Particular attention will be paid both to the development of a distinct youth/alternative culture in response to (and supportive of) the development of rock ‘n' roll, as well as to the gradual acceptance and integration of various forms of rock music into conventional economic and cultural systems. The course will focus upon the distinctive historical events and trends in the United States that have shaped and been associated with this type of music through the years, and subject these events and trends to theoretical analysis from a variety of sociological perspectives. This class will combine lectures with discussion, and there will be out-of-class listening assignments, as well as papers and exams or quizzes.

Prof. Schmitz, 4 credits, TuWThF 10:00-10:50

-Open to first-year students.
-May count toward the College's Alternative Voices and Cultural Pluralism requirements


History 370: Gendered Lens on United States History

This class explores the uses and meanings of gender categories in the history of the United States. It explores how these categories have been deployed in a multicultural nation, and asks in what ways other kinds of social and geographic boundaries - for example race, class, region, ethnicity, sexuality, citizenship - have shaped gendered experience, and when. In the past half-century, constructing and rewriting the history of people called "women" led to an interrogation of gender categories and boundaries, such that understanding U.S. history now demands attention to the ongoing reconstructions of masculinities and femininities, and their intersections with other ways of delineating difference, and power. This class explores gender ideologies and gendered experience in a range of contexts from the 18th through the 20th centuries. Readings include primary and secondary sources; papers and discussion required.

Prof. Ferguson, 4 credits, MW 2:30-3:50

-May count toward the College's Alternative Voices and Cultural Pluralism Requirements
-May count toward the Gender Studies major


History 378: Special Topic: The United States and Wars with Iraq

This course will trace the path and nature of U.S. involvement in the Middle East from World War II down to the present in order to understand the increasing involvement of America in the region and the two wars the United States has fought against Iraq. American policy will be examined in the context of post-1945 U.S. foreign policy and how America responded to the decolonizing Third World, the perceived danger of communist expansion and influence in the Middle East, the strategic and economic importance of the Middle East, and in particular the Persian Gulf, Saddam Hussein, and September 11, 2001. Distribution area: social sciences.

Prof. Schmitz, 4 Credits, MWF 1:00-1:50

-Fulfills the United States geographical area or Comparisons and Encounters major requirement