This lecture will give an overview over American history from a cultural studies point of view. Guiding concerns will be main currents of thought (history of ideas), the successive media revolutions, American myths and ideologies, changing ideas about the nation and the individual, the transformation of gender roles, the crucial role of race/ethnicity, the influence of science, technology and capitalism. The lecture will keep to the time-honored period markers in order to give students some orientation (while also questioning these periods). Headings will be: 1492—the conquest of America; City upon a Hill—the Puritan experiment; The Age of Reason/Age of Revolutions; Sentimentalism and the Reform Age; American Renaissance and Westward Expansion; Slavery and Emancipation; The Age of Realism and Science; Populism and Progressivism; The Gilded Age, Naturalism and the Frontier Thesis; American Modernism; The Harlem Renaissance; The Great Depression; Counterculture and Postmodernism; Contemporary Discussions.
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Reading and Preparation:
- Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation. A Concise History of the American People. New York: McGraw-Hill, 82015.
- The powerpoint presentations used in the lecture will be available for viewing and downloading on the e-learning platform Moodle (link in Agnes) before each lecture. The key will be announced in the first lecture. You will also find the syllabus and a bibliography in Moodle.
Definitions of 14 terms or concepts from the lecture (Klausur) as part (BA Englisch) or whole (BA Amerikanistik) of the Module-Examination