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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

William J Rorabaugh
HSTAA 410
Seattle Campus

American Social History: The Modern Era

Survey of American society and institutions from Reconstruction to the present with special attention to reform, poverty, social mobility, immigrant and ethnic groups, the city and law enforcement.

Class description

This course examines American society and its values since 1865. We will consider the economic structures, social processes, the stresses of change, life styles, and popular attitudes. Topics include Reconstruction, immigration, the 1920s, the Cold War, and recent charges.

Student learning goals

To be able to understand better American society and culture, especially in its historical dimensions; to see past and present connections.

To be able to think better critically, including argument from evidence; to challenge stereotypes.

To be able to place apparently disparate topics into comparative relationships; to understand and use comparisons and contrasts.

General method of instruction

Lectures plus Friday discussions.

Recommended preparation

US History Survey course, or a good knowledge of US history.

Class assignments and grading

DuBois, Souls of Black Folk; Bellamy, Looking Backward; Goldman, Living My Life; Lewis, Main Street; Kerouac, On the Road; Wolfe, Bonfire of the Vanities. The six paperbacks will be discussed in class. There will be one midterm and a final exam. Exams are essay question. Not a W course.

Discussion of reading - 25% Midterm Exam - 25% Final Exam - 50% Attendance at discussions is required.


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 William J Rorabaugh
Date: 10/29/2012