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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joseph Wycoff
HIST 498
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in History

Each seminar examines a different subject or problem. A quarterly list of the seminars and their instructors is available in the Department of History undergraduate advising office.

Class description

American Modernity and Its Discontents, 1876-1929

The period from the the Gilded Age through the “Roaring Twenties” is often regarded as the moment at which “modern America” took shape from the cultural and material transformations of industrialization, urbanization, consumerism, telecommunications, entertainment, etc. This seminar will examine how print media (and some visual media) represented the conditions and demands of “modern life” in the decades before and after the turn of the twentieth century. The course will consider both advocacy (modernism) and opposition (antimodernism) to the profound changes in the United States. The readings will focus on cultural, social, and intellectual history of the period.

Student learning goals

The course will emphasize sources found in the American Periodical Series Online, a digitized collection of 1,000+ magazines, but students' research will not be limited to print media.

General method of instruction

As a senior seminar, students will need to manage the reading load and actively participate in weekly discussions.

Recommended preparation

There are no prerequisites for the course. Interest and familiarity with U.S. history or subjects related to the theme of this course may be helpful.

Class assignments and grading

The primary assignment for the course is an original historical essay of 15-20 pages. There will be 2-3 smaller assignments related to the research process for this paper.

Grades will be assigned based on discussion participation, the short assignments, and the research paper.


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 Joseph Wycoff
Date: 10/16/2008