Courses: Fall 2021

To apply for the Pace-Gilder Lehrman MA in American History Program, click the “To Apply” menu option

Registration for the Fall 2021 semester will begin shortly.

American Immigration History

with Madeline Y. Hsu, Professor of History, University of Texas at Austin 

Widely considered a wellspring for US greatness, immigration has also been an abiding site of our deepest conflicts. The republican foundations of the United States with its promises of democracy and equality for all seem to strain against high numbers of immigrants from parts of the world barely conceived of by the Founding Fathers, much less as sources of new citizens. What is the breaking point for the assimilating powers of US democracy, and how much does national vitality rely upon continued influxes of a diversity of immigrants with their strenuous ambitions and resourcefulness? Today we remain embattled by competing beliefs about how immigration shapes our nation’s well-being and to what ends we should constrain whom we admit, whom we exclude, and who can become citizens and in what numbers. This course guides students to better understand the terms by which immigration functions as a core aspect of US national identity and its contested history into our present quandaries.

The American Civil War

with Allen Guelzo, Senior Research Scholar, Council of the Humanities, Princeton University; Director, James Madison Program’s Initiative in Politics and Statesmanship

This is a course of study in the most tragic conflict in the history of our nation, the Civil War. Not only does the Civil War contain all the elements of a national epic—the war of brother against brother, the idealism of the anti-slavery movement, the dramatic intensity of battles, surrenders, and even assassination—but its long-term legacies are still very much with us. The political and social struggles over which the Civil War was fought still await final resolution in our national life.

Capitalism in American History

with David Sicilia, Associate Professor of History and Henry Kaufman Chair of Financial History, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland

By 1900, the United States was the world’s leading economy. Through a clear definition of capitalism and a set of core questions, this course explores how capitalism emerged in British North America; economic dimensions of the American Revolution and Constitution; the role of slavery, the state, and corporations in nineteenth-century capitalist expansion; America’s unique pathways to industrialization; the rise of big business and its impact on US politics, society, and industrial work; the Second Industrial Revolution; causes of the Great Depression; how the New Deal and World War II created a mixed economy; the predominance of consumerism in postwar America; the erosion of US global competitiveness in the 1970s; the rise of neoliberalism and financialization since the 1980s; and the impact of economic theory on economic policymaking.

The 1960s in Historical Perspective

with Michael Flamm, Professor of History, Ohio Wesleyan University, and Michael Kazin, Professor of History, Georgetown University

This course explores a controversial era shrouded in myths and memories. Among the topics it examines are the presidencies of John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon; the Civil Rights Movement; the Vietnam War; the New Left; the counterculture; the women’s movement; the gay movement; the conservative movement; the international dimension of youth protest; and the legacies of the 1960s. The aim of this course is to provide a balanced history of a turbulent time that continues to influence American politics, society, and culture.

Historiography and Historical Methods

with Andrew Robertson, Professor of History, Lehman College and CUNY Graduate Center

Historiography is the study of historical writing. Students enrolled in this course will journey through American history guided by Professor Andrew Robertson and seven other professors (Zara Anishanslin, University of Delaware; Ned Blackhawk, Yale University; Kristopher Burrell, Hostos Community College; Sarah King, SUNY Geneseo; Lauren Santangelo, Princeton University; Nora Slonimsky, Iona College and the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies; and Wendy Wall, Binghamton University). Students will read and discuss historical interpretations of the American past as they have changed over time in specific chronological periods: colonial/Revolutionary history, the early nineteenth century to Reconstruction, the Gilded Age to the Cold War, and the 1960s to the present. This course will also present lectures on the evolving historiographies of African American history, Native American history, and women’s history by scholars specializing in those fields. The historical methods portion of the course will teach students to interrogate primary sources and to read secondary sources with a critical eye.

Thesis/Capstone Course

The Thesis/Capstone course will be offered every semester.

To apply for the Pace–Gilder Lehrman MA in American History Program, click “To Apply” in the menu.