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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Spring 2008

HIS 350L • Nation and Empire-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

This course focuses on the formation of borders and the crossing of such borders in the historical relations between the United States and the world. Using comparative and transnational approaches, we will ask how formal colonialism, imperialism, continental expansion, and transcultural encounters shaped the development of the modern American nation.

Popular and scholarly perceptions of the United States, from the American Revolution against the British Empire to the Cold War against the evil empire0 of the Soviet Union, have argued that the notion of an American empire is a contradiction in terms. The American nation, it has been argued, is inherently anti-imperialist in its foreign policy, intervening in foreign countries only to liberate and defend the oppressed from other imperialists. An opposing view holds that, from the conquest of North American lands to the post-twentieth-century global role of superpower,0 imperial expansion and the subjugation of others have enabled American national development. This course invites you to study the developments and differing interpretations of United States nationhood in relation to concepts of empire and imperialism. This course is a weekly seminar that emphasizes critical reading skills, collaborative learning, engaged discussion, research and writing. Students are expected to read 150-200 pages per week, attend all class meetings, contribute substantially to class discussions, and complete all formal and informal writing assignments. With the guidance of the instructor, students will design their own research projects that address the course themes of national identity, world history and colonialism. This course fulfills the Substantial Writing Component requirement.

Grading Policy

Attendance and participation Presentation and discussion leading 1-2 pp. weekly position paper on assigned reading and class discussions 10-15 page paper


Laura Briggs, Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (2002) Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow: Americas Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq (2006) Melani McAlister, Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945 (2005) Pablo Mitchell, Coyote Nation: Sexuality, Race, and Conquest in Modernizing New Mexico, 1880-1920 (2005) Jeffrey Ostler, The Plains Sioux and U.S. Colonialism from Lewis and Clark to Wounded Knee (2004) Noenoe K. Silva, Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism (2004) Haunani-Kay Trask, From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai`i (1999)


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