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 (identity), the transformation of gender roles, the crucial role of race/ethnicity/ability, 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.
Classroom format: As the average grades turned out to be significantly lower in the hybrid format of last year, I will exclusively offer this lecture in the lecture hall. If you want to participate in the lecture, you will have to be there in person.
Please sign up for this lecture in Agnes – in this way I can send you the Moodle link (access to many pieces of information) per mail!
Reading and Preparation:
- Brinkley, Alan; Giggie John and Andrew Huebner. The Unfinished Nation. A Concise History of the American People. New York: McGraw-Hill, 102022. (You can also buy a much less costly older edition! No problem – there are also many used versions! Plus, you’ll find the book in our Lehrbuchsammlung in the Grimmzentrum)
- The powerpoint presentations used in the lecture will be available for viewing and downloading on the e-learning platform Moodle as a pdf before the online lecture – so that you can have a look at them before. The key to the course will be announced through Agnes (please check the email you use for Agnes!). You will also find the syllabus and a bibliography in Moodle.