AMS 386 • CULTURAL HISTORY OF U.S. SINCE 1865
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
Cultural history is sometimes described as what people thought, how they behaved, and the interactions between them. While this is always a complex process, it becomes even more complicated after the American Civil War. While the name of the undergraduate class "MAIN Currents in American Culture" makes sense for the first half of the course dominated by rural Anglo-Americans, post-Civil War and especially twentieth century American society defies any attempt to categorize it easily. Immigrants and African-Americans dominated entertainment in the 1920s; the doctrine of modernism denied final answers; and pragmatism opposed the very concept of truth.
This seminar taught in conjunction with the AMS 356/HIS 356K lecture course identifies some of what appear to be those ideas. social movements, and behavior up to about 1980 that have had the most impact on contemporary Americans' understanding of ourselves as a culture. Discussion will involve lecture material and a combination of primary and secondary material. Students will be responsible for most of the reading for the 356 class as well as assigned reading. Each student will be primarily responsible for the conduct of one class during the semester. Also, students will be responsible for a bibliographic essay on a particular theme, movement, institution, behavior, etc. of their choice. Still, the main thrust of the class will be upon the reading and discussion, and a grade for participation will be given.
Tentative Reading List: David Hollinger and Charles Cappen, The Intellectual Tradition volume two Carl Degler, In Search of Human Nature Clifford Shaw, The Jack Roller John Dewey, School and Society/The Child and the Curriculum Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization Malcolm Cowley, Exile's Return John Dower, War Without Mercy or Embracing Defeat Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream