HISTORIOGRAPHY OF THE UNITED STATES SINCE 1865
Syllabus, Spring 2004
Mark Kornbluh (E-Mail: Mark@mail.matrix.msu.edu)
Time: Tuesdays 3:00-6:00, 300 Auditorium
Office: 310 Auditorium; Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:00-3:00, and by appointment (355-9300)
This course is a graduate reading seminar in modern United States historiography. Our readings and discussions will focus on interpretive historical works on the central issues in twentieth-century political, social, and cultural history.
REQUIRED BOOKS: All of the books have been ordered through MSU bookstores and are available through Amazon.com. The articles will all be handed out in class.
Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America.s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877.
C. Vann Woodward, Origins of the New South.
Edward Ayers, Promise of the New South.
Nell Irvin Painter, Standing At Armageddon: The United States, 1877-1919.
Robert Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920.
Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America.
Gabriel Kolko, The Triumph of Conservatism: A Reinterpretation of American History, 1900-1916.
Maureen Flanagan, Seeing With Their Hearts: Chicago Women and the Vision of the Good City, 1871-1933.
Lawrence Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of Cultural Hierarchy in America.
John F. Kasson, Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century.
Robert and Helen Lynd, Middletown
William Leuchtenburg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal.
Alan Brinkley, The End of Reform: New Deal liberalism in Recession and War.
Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939.
Elaine Tyler May, Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era.
Amy Swerdlow, Women Strike for Peace: Traditional Motherhood and the Radical Politics in the 1960s
William H. Chafe, Civilities and Civil Rights: Greensboro, North Carolina, and the Black Struggle for Freedom.
Manning Marabel, Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction in Black America, 1945-1982.
Neil Sheehan, A Bright and Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and American in Vietnam.
Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life.
Lillian Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers: A History of Lesbian Life in Twentieth-Century America.
Susan Faludi, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women.
JANUARY 13: INTRODUCTION
Recommended Readings on Modern American Historiography:
Eric Goldman, Rendezvous with Destiny.
Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform.
Gabriel Kolko, Main Currents in Modern American History.
Louis Galambos, America at Middle Age.
Robert Wiebe, The Segmented Society.
Peter Novick, That Noble Dream.
January 20: RECONSTRUCTION
READ: Foner, Reconstruction: America.s Unfinished Revolution.
Recommended Readings on Reconstruction:
Leon Litwack: Been in the Storm So Long.
Kenneth Stampp, The Era of Reconstruction.
Michael Perman, Reunion Without Compromise.
Mark Summers, Railroads, Reconstruction, and The Gospel of Prosperity.
George Rable, But There Was No Peace: The Role of Violence in the Politics of Reconstruction.
January 27: THE NEW SOUTH
GUEST PROFESSOR: Peter Knupfer
READ: Woodward, Origins of the New South; Ayers, Promise of the New South.
Recommended Readings on the New South:
Stephen Hahn, Roots of Southern Populism.
Harold Woodman, King Cotton and His Retainers.
C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow.
Roger Ransom and Richard Sutch, One Kind of Freedom.
Jonathan Wiener, Social Origins of the New South.
Nell Painter, The Exodusters.
J. Morgan Kousser, The Shaping of Southern Politics.
Michael Hyman, The Anti-Redeemers.
FEBRUARY 3 : THE EMERGENCE OF MODERN AMERICA
READ: Painter, Standing at Armageddon, pp. 1-282, 344-99. Wiebe, The Search for Order, pp. 1-223 and 286-303.
Recommended Readings on the Birth of Modern America:
Lewis Atherton, Main Street on the Middle Border.
Samuel Hays, The Response to Industrialism.
Alan Dawley, Struggles for Justice.
Olivier Zunz, Making America Corporate, 1870-1920.
FEBRUARY 10: POPULISM and PROGRESSIVISM
READ: Goodwyn, The Populist Moment, and Kolko, Triumph of Conservatism.
Recommended Readings on Progressivism:
Arthur S. Link and Richard L. McCormick, Progressivism.
Arthur Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era.
George Mowry, The Era of Theodore Roosevelt.
John D. Buenker, Urban Liberalism and Progressive Reform.
Jane Addams, Twenty Years At Hull‑House.
Michael McGerr, The Decline of Popular Politics.
David F. Noble, America By Design.
Stephen Skowronek, Building a New American State.
John Higham, Strangers in the Land.
FIRST REVIEW DUE FEBRUARY 13
FEBRUARY 17: PROGRESSIVISM II
GUEST PROFESSOR: Maureen Flanagan
READ: Flanagan, Seeing With Their Hearts; Deborah Gray White, "The Cost of Club Work: the
Price of Black Feminism," in Nancy Hewitt and Suzanne Lebsock, Visible Women: New Essays on American Activism (Urbana, 1993); and chapter 1 of James Connolly's book, The Triumph of Ethnic Progressivism: Urban Political Culture in Boston, 1900‑1925 (Cambridge, 1998), titled "Politics and Society at the End of the Nineteenth Century" (p. 15‑38).
FEBRUARY 24: THE TRANSFORMATION IN CULTURE.
READ: Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow; and Kasson, Amusing the Million.
Recommended Readings on the Intellectual and Cultural Transformation:
Douglas Tallack, Twentieth-Century America.
Morton White, Social Thought in America.
Jackson Lears, No Place For Grace.
Alan Trachtenberg, The Incorporation of America.
Roy Rosenzweig, Eight Hours For What We Will.
Lewis A. Erenberg, Steppin' Out.
MARCH 2: THE TWENTIES
READ: Robert and Helen Lynd, Middletown; Susman, "'Personality' and the Making of Twentieth‑Century Culture;" and "Culture Heroes: Ford, Barton, Ruth."
Recommended Readings on the Twenties:
Barry Karl, The Uneasy State.
Allan J. Lichtman, Prejudice and the Old Politics.
Malcolm Cowley, Exiles Return.
David Levering Lewis, When Harlem Was in Vogue.
Paula Fass, The Damned and the Beautiful.
Loren Baritz, ed. The Culture of the Twenties.
Ann Douglas, Terrible Honesty.
MARCH 9: SPRING BREAK: NO CLASS
MARCH 16: DEPRESSION AND RESPONSE.
READ: Leuchtenberg, Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal; Brinkley, The End of Reform.
Recommended Readings on the Thirties:
Paul Conkin, The New Deal.
Peter Temin, Did Monetary Forces Cause the Great Depression?
Ellis W. Hawley, The New Deal and Problem of Monopoly.
Steve Fraser and Gary Gerstle, The Rise and Fall of the New Deal Social Order.
Alan Brinkley, Voices of Protest.
Susan Ware, Partner and I: Milly Dawson, Feminism, and New Deal Politics.
MARCH 23: LABOR AND CULTURE
READ: Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago.
Recommended Readings on Labor History:
Christopher Tomlins, The State and the Unions;
Melvyn Dubofsky, Industrialism and the American Worker.
David Montgomery, The Fall of the House of Labor.
David Montgomery, Worker's Control in America.
Gary Gestle, Working Class Americanism.
SECOND REVIEW DUE MARCH 23
MARCH 30: WOMEN AND COLD-WAR CULTURE
GUEST PROFESSOR: Lisa Fine
READ: May, Homeward Bound; Swerdlow, Women Strike for Peace.
Recommended Readings on the Fifties:
John Diggins, The Proud Decades.
Paul A. Carter, Another Part of the Fifties.
Alonzo Hamby, Beyond the New Deal.
Fred I. Greenstein, The Hidden-Hand Presidency.
David Caute, The Great Fear.
Richard Pells, The Liberal Mind in a Conservative Age.
Paul Boyer, By the Bomb's Early Light.
Stephen J. Whitfield, The Culture of the Cold War.
Diana Crane, The Transformation of the Avant-Garde.
April 6: CIVIL RIGHTS
READ: Chafe, Civilities and Civil Rights; and Marable, Race, Reform, and Rebellion.
Recommended Readings will be distributed in class.
APRIL 13: VIETNAM.
READ: Neil Sheehan, A Bright and Shining Lie.
Recommended Readings will be distributed in class.
APRIL 20: CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN CULTURE I
GUEST PROFESSOR: Kirsten Fermaglich
READ: Peter Novick, The Holocaust in American Life
APRIL 27: Gender and Contemporary America
READ: Faderman, Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers; Faludi, Backlash.
Recommended Readings will be distributed in class.
FINAL REVIEW ESSAY DUE MAY 7.
This class is a graduate readings seminar. Both attendance and participation at seminar meetings are essential, as is participation on HST801, the electronic discussion list for this course. Discussions will center around the weekly readings. In preparation for these discussions, everyone will be asked to post their responses to the week.s reading on HST801 in advance of the seminar.
The primary written requirements for this class are three review essays. The first two of these are to be short critical book reviews on required readings (4-6 pages). For the first, which is due on February 13, you will have the option to review either Foner, Ayers, Wiebe, Goodwyn, or Kolko. The second review will be due on March 31 and will cover Cohen's book. A description of these reviews is attached to the syllabus. The final review essay is to be a longer comparative work (10-15 pages) covering three to four books, one or two of which will come from the required readings. The final review essay is due on May 7 at 4:00 p.m.
Participation in class discussion and on HST801 will collectively count for 1/3 of the final grade. The two short critical book reviews will count for 1/3 and the longer review essay will count for 1/3 of the final grade.
HST801 DISCUSSION LIST:
This course has an electronic discussion list to facilitate further discussion of the readings and modern American historiography. All members of the class are expected to participate in this electronic discussion list. Before we meet each week, everyone will be expected to post a response to the week.s readings on HST801. I also expect students to utilize the list to extend our discussions beyond the classroom after we conclude our in-class discussion.
The list is unmoderated so that messages submitted by class participants are immediately distributed to other class members.
This discussion list is linked to a website to facilitate retrieval of messages (http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst801/). The HST801 logs which are stored on this site will allow class participants to look back over past conversations on the discussion list and comment upon them. (Discussions from previous year.s course are also archived on the site, so we can see what how previous graduate students responded to many of the books.) The Web site includes a variety of additional information relevant to HST801 course materials including the course syllabus.
To subscribe to HST801, send an e‑mail message to listserv@h‑net.msu.edu
with no subject and only this text:
sub HST801 firstname lastname
Your request should look something like this:
sub HST801 John Smith
You will receive a confirmation that your request has been received.
To unsubscribe, send this message to LISTSERV@h‑net.msu.edu
If you have any questions or experience any difficulties in attempting to subscribe or unsubscribe, please send a message to me at Mark@hs1.hst.msu.edu
CRITICAL BOOK REVIEWS:
In writing a critical book review, you should have two goals in mind. First, you need to present the author's basic thesis. What was the book about? What were the primary points that the author was trying to convey? This part of the essay should be a summary of the book. However, you cannot restate an entire book in a few pages so you need to distill out the most important points. You need to boil down a rich and complex book into its essence. This is, therefore, as much an exercise in synthesis as it is in summary. Second, I want you to evaluate the book. What was convincing? Where was the author's argument weak? You can evaluate the book strictly on internal evidence if you want or you can bring outside material to bear on the issues at hand. The key here is to be critical. This does not mean that you have to find fault with the book, but rather that you need to carefully analyze the book. What were its strengths and weaknesses? In a short review such as this you should focus on two or three main points and cover them in depth, rather than try to discuss every theme in the book. For examples of this type of review, take a look at Reviews in American History.
Good writing is especially important in these essays. There is an art to writing a good critical book review. Your essay should have a clear thesis, a logical structure with good transitions from paragraph to paragraph, and a resounding conclusion. It is particularly important to make clear what are your views and what are the views of the author. Whether you write your essays in first person or third is a matter of personal style, but you must clearly identify the author's ideas and differentiate them from your own views.
GRADING AND PAPER COMMENTS:
In the body of your papers, a check mark indicates a good point. Several marks are sometimes used for emphasis as are the comments, "good, excellent, or yes." Critical comments on your papers are both substantive and stylistic. Besides factual comments, substantive comments are used to indicate where you fail to fully explain a point, give evidence to support your case, or link your ideas together. Consistency is important and internal contradictions in your papers are noted. I also indicate where your writing and choice of words fail to get your ideas across, as well as places where they are awkward. Spelling, grammatical, and tense errors as well as contractions are unacceptable in graduate papers.
Critical Abbreviations include:
AWK Awkward phrasing or construction.
CW or WC Choice of word is poor.
WW Wrong word. Word does not say what you mean.
Transition Missing a transition.
SP Spelling error.
GR Grammatical error.
Contraction Contraction is used.
Run On Run on sentence.
Tense Wrong tense.
Pronoun Pronoun is unclear or wrong.
??? Point is not clear.
Meaning What you are trying to say is not clear.
Writing Your writing obscures your ideas.