Summer 2020 Courses

Black Women’s History

with Kellie Carter Jackson, Knafel Assistant Professor of Humanities and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, Wellesley College

This course focuses on African American women’s history in the United States with certain aspects of black women’s activism and leadership covered within the African Diaspora. We will examine ways in which these women engaged in local, national, and international freedom struggles while simultaneously defining their identities as wives, mothers, leaders, citizens, and workers. The course will pay special attention to the diversity of black women’s experiences and to the dominant images of black women from Mumbet (the first enslaved black woman to sue for her freedom and win) to contemporary issues of race, sex, and class in the Age of (Michelle) Obama. Participants will explore such questions as: What is black women’s history? How does black women’s history add to our understanding of American history? Where should black women’s history go from here?

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 40723, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 40724-40729

The American Revolution

with Denver Brunsman, Associate Professor of History, George Washington University

This course will explore the American Revolutionary era, defined broadly. Participants will gain insight into new scholarly approaches to traditional subjects, including American resistance to British rule, the decision for independence, and America’s victory in the Revolutionary War. In addition, participants will consider marginalized figures and groups, including loyalists, women, African Americans, and American Indians, whose roles challenge conventional interpretations of the Revolution. Finally, the course will examine how the Revolution gave birth to a new—and fractious—style of politics under the Articles of Confederation and US Constitution.

This dramatic range of people and events is not for the faint of heart. Participants will engage in a project as timeless as the Revolution itself: interpreting what exactly American independence meant for the inhabitants of North America and the world.&

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 40658, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 40659-40663

The Kennedy Era

with Barbara Perry, Gerald L. Baliles Professor and Director of Presidential Studies, University of Virginia

At the dawn of the 1960s, polls showed that three-quarters of Americans trusted the national government to do what is right; by 1974, that percentage had plummeted to one-third. In the Kennedy Era, we will explore this crucial turning point in American history when the hope engendered by the Kennedy presidency was dashed by assassinations, racial tensions, Vietnam, and Watergate. John F. Kennedy’s biography, career, rhetoric, and policies give context to the United States’ shift from the relative calm of the postwar era into the turbulent 1960s. Followed by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and Richard Nixon’s Southern Strategy, the fraught era concluded with the unprecedented resignation of a US president, which continues to resonate in today’s polarized politics.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 40779, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 40780-40784 

World War I

with Michael Neiberg, Chair of War Studies and Professor of History, Department of National Security and Strategy, US Army War College

The era of the First World War was a crucial period in the development of modern America, both as a nation on the international scene and in terms of economic, social, and political institutions at home. This course explores American reluctance to enter the war as well as the forces that caused it to abandon its stance of official neutrality; the country’s involvement in the war on the home front and on the fighting front; and its emergence into the postwar world. Instead of focusing on the Great War itself or the influence of the US on its outcome, lectures and readings will examine how American conceptions of identity, democracy, and its role in the world changed over the course of the war.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 40670, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 40671-40675.

World War II

with Michael Neiberg, Chair of War Studies and Professor of History, Department of National Security and Strategy, US Army War College

This course builds context and nuance into the traditional views with which Americans have seen World War II. Although keeping the American experience at the center, it will always view that experience through a global lens. We will challenge some of the myths and half-truths that Hollywood has bequeathed to Americans about the war, while introducing students to some arguments that have emerged from the latest scholarship on themes like the home front, the actual fighting of the war, and the process of peacemaking. This is not the course to learn about George Patton and his tanks; it is intended to be a scholarly and objective analysis of the interplay between US, world, and military history during the most destructive war ever.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 50298, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 50299-50303

Historiography and Historical Methods

with Andrew Robertson, Professor of History, Lehman College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Historiography is the study of historical writing. Students enrolled in 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.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 40676, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 40677-40681

Thesis/Capstone Course

The Thesis/Capstone course will be offered every semester.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 40682, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 40683, 40480, 40481

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