AMS 386 • Cultural History of the U.S. Since 1865
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
This course will survey the development of American culture from 1865 to the present, with emphasis on the themes of modernization and modernity; internationalism and the globalization of American culture; and the "unraveling of America" in the decades following World War II. Taught as a companion to the undergraduate lecture course, Main Currents in American Culture, this course is designed to give students firm grounding in the overarching themes as well as the historiography of American cultural history since 1865. We will be reading a selection of important primary and secondary texts as a class, with individual students also presenting supplementary materials. Students will be expected to attend lectures and do most of the readings assigned in the lecture course; our discussions will build on and extend that content. Each student will be responsible for running one meeting of the seminar, and reporting on supplemental reading. Writing assignments will include frequent response papers, a close reading of a primary text, and a final bibliographic essay on any topic from the period. As part of the class I plan to introduce students to major archival collections at UT such as the Harry Ransom Humanities Center and the Center for American History.
Possible Texts (final list will be shorter) Janet Davis, The Circus Age Gail Bederman, Manliness and Civilization Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic Matthew Frye Jacobson, Whiteness of a Different Color or George Sanchez, Becoming Mexican American James Agee and Walker Evans, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men Elizabeth Cohen, A Consumer's Republic Christina Klein, Cold War Orientalism Doug Rossinow, The Politics of Authenticity Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind Mike Davis, City of Quartz