Michael L. Goldberg
Examines key events and problems in U.S. history from the Civil War to the recent past. Focuses on the practice of "doing history" by applying historical thinking skills to a wide rage of primary documents.
This course is an upper-division survey of US history from 1865 to the present, with a special focus on the interplay between politics and culture. We will be going beyond simply learning the content to mastering skills necessary for historical understanding. Students will be working with primary sources (sources of information from the historical periods we will be studying) to solve historical problems. This course counts towards the U.S. history requirement for education students.
Student learning goals
Comprehend the basic historical content presented in the course, both the broad outlines and the specific historical problems (see basic themes in course introduction, above).
Analyze a variety of primary sources in historical context, including: images, print media, advertising, government and political documents, personal letters, and oral histories.
Gain command of historical concepts, including continuity and change, compare and contrast, historical agency and motivation, cultural diversity, and cause and effect.
Develop a historical interpretation based on a comparative analysis of two sets of primary sources.
Gain a better understanding of the role of history in shaping the present and future, and the use of historical thinking to help comprehend current problems and possible solutions.
Refrain from imposing present-day narrative frameworks and assumptions on historical events.
General method of instruction
Lecture, small group workshops (almost every class), and full class discussion. Each class will be focused on a specific historical problem.
Class assignments and grading
Preparation forms, three take-home essays, participation, oral history report.
Class participation, which includes completing preparation forms for each class and attending small group discussion, counts for 25% of grade. Class attendance in order to participate in small groups is therefore very important. 20/20/25% for take-home exams, and 10% for oral history report.