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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michael C Reese
HSTAA 303
Seattle Campus

Modern American Civilization From 1877

Emergence of modern America, after the Civil War; interrelationships of economic, social, political, and intellectual developments.

Class description

The instructor believes that studying our nationís past helps us better understand the present. Lectures and readings focus on four major themes: 1) shifting patterns in immigration and race relations; 2) the transformation of gender roles; 3) the changing political economy of the US, especially the growth of federal power; and 4) the expansion of American power abroad. In addition, this class is designed to improve studentsí ability to interpret a wide variety of primary sources, including memoirs and autobiographies, photographs, speeches, newspaper articles, legal proceedings, and political cartoons.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Class time is divided roughly equally between lecture and discussion of the course readings. The vast majority of class readings are primary sources, and the reading load will average about 160 pages per week.

Required texts: Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives; Nancy Woloch, ed., Muller v. Oregon: A Brief History with Documents; Martin Luther King, Jr., Why We Canít Wait; Course reader (2 volumes)

Recommended preparation

Due to the extensive work with primary sources, some previous exposure to college-level history is strongly recommended.

Class assignments and grading

Students will write four mini-essays (2 pages each) and one critical essay (5Ė7 pages long). All writing assignments will be based on course readings rather than outside research.

Final grades for HSTAA 303 will be determined as follows:

Mini-essays 20% (5% each) Critical essay 25% Midterm exam 15% Final exam 20% Participation in discussions, debates, and activities 20%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Michael C Reese
Date: 06/14/2005