HISTORY 460/560 III
AMERICAN INTELLECTUAL HISTORY: THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
TOPIC: IDENTITY AND BELONGING
Tuesday/Thursday: 12:30-1:50 in 360 Condon
Professor Ellen Herman
office: 239 PLC
phone number: 346-3118
e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
office hours: Tuesday, 2:00 - 3:30; Thursday, 2:00 - 3:30
This course explores significant themes in 20th-century intellectual and cultural life by engaging a series of conversations about the place of the individual in a modern, mass society. The emphasis in this course will be on the work of people--mainly social reformers, social critics, and social scientists--who self-consciously formulated arguments about the thing we call "society."
We will begin by asking some basic questions. Who are intellectuals? What work have they done, why has their work mattered, and what is involved in thinking historically about ideas? At the beginning of the course, we will consider why race and nation matter in contemporary culture and strive to understand the history of today's conversation about diversity, multiculturalism, and the enduring challenge of forging a common culture in a multiethnic, multiracial society.
The course will then move on to consider how three of the most important legitimizing ideals of 20th-century life--democracy, science, and personality--have shaped the cultural meanings of individual and collective experience. Never straying very far from the social environments that nurtured these ideals, we will consider them from the vantage points of Progressive-era reform, the dramatic expansion of the welfare state from the New Deal through the 1960s, and the dramatically changing international role of the United States during world wars and Cold War.
Format: This course will combine lectures with frequent discussions and occasional films. Students are expected to come to class with the required reading for that day completed and ready to talk! Active participation is the most important part of the course. Graduate students will meet separately with the professor, at a time to be arranged. Additional reading and writing will be required.
Writing Requirements: There will be two short Internet exercises, two five-page essays, and a take-home final exam. The first essay (due on November 2) will be devoted to one of the first three required texts: McBride, Hollinger, or Tocqueville. The choice of which book to write about will be left up to students, but the expectation is that the paper will take the form of a book review attentive to the historical context of the author's ideas. The second essay (due on November 23) will be a short intellectual biography of a 20th-century thinker whose ideas are relevant to the subject matter covered in this course. The choice of who to write about will again depend upon student interest, but you are required consult with the professor early on in the term for help in selecting a figure and identifying appropriate material about him or her. The final week of the course will be devoted to group presentations of these intellectual biographies.
The final exam will consist of essay questions that integrate major themes from the course as a whole. It will be handed out in class on December 2 and will be due exactly one week later, on December 9.
Lateness Policy: No late assignments will be accepted and no makeup exams will be given. Students who miss deadlines will be given an F for that assignment.
Academic Honesty: If this course is to be a worthwhile educational experience, your work must be original. Plagiarism and other forms of cheating are very serious infractions and will not be permitted. Students who are uncertain about exactly how to cite published, electronic, or other sources should feel free to consult with the instructor. There will be a brief essay-writing tutorial during class time before the first essay is due.
Accommodations: If you have a documented disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please arrange to see me soon and request that Disability Services send a letter verifying your disability.
attendance and participation: 20%
exercises and essays: 55%
take home final exam: 25%
Books and Required Reading:
The following books are required and have been ordered through the university bookstore. They can also be found on library reserve. Article-length readings can be found in a course packet (CP), also on library reserve. Titles below are listed in the order in which they will be read in the class.
James McBride, The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother (Riverhead, 1996).
David A. Hollinger, Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism (Basic Books, 1995).
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, vol. 2 (Vintage, 1990).
B.F. Skinner, Walden Two (Prentice Hall, 1976).
Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (Dell, 1983).
week 1: Men and Women Thinking
Tuesday, September 28: What is intellectual history about?
Thursday, September 30: Intellectual Keywords: Race and Nation
weeks 2 and 3: Solidarity
Tuesday, October 5: Descent, Difference, and the Problem of Commonality
Thursday, October 7: Race and Its Meanings
Tuesday, October 12: Between Universalism and Tribalism? Whatever happened to the family of man?
This cite contains information about pluralism, including the debates about it by a range of early 20th-century American intellectuals. Write one concise, carefully crafted paragraph describing some aspect of pluralism's history that you encountered there. Due today, at the beginning of class.
Thursday, October 14: Nation and Its Meanings
week 4: The Historical and Institutional Geography of Intellectual Labor
Tuesday, October 19: In and Out of the Ivory Tower
Thursday, October 21: Industrialism, Interdependence, and the Problem of Value in a Disenchanted World
weeks 5 and 6: Democracy
Tuesday, October 26: Tocqueville and Democracy in America
http://www.tocqueville.org/ (The Alexis de Tocqueville Tour)
Write one concise, carefully crafted paragraph describing some aspect of Tocqueville's life, travels, or historical moment that you encountered. How does it illuminate the ideas expressed in Democracy in America? To be turned in today at the beginning of class.
Thursday, October 28: Tocqueville and Democracy Today
guest lecture: Ed Weeks, UO Deliberative Democracy Project
Tuesday, November 2: Jane Addams: The Reformer as Thinker
Thursday, November 4: Towards Social Democracy
weeks 7: Science
Tuesday, November 9: Social Knowledge and Social Engineering
Thursday, November 11: B.F. Skinner: The Experimentalist as Public Philosopher
film: "Margaret Mead: The Observer Observed"
weeks 8 and 9: Personality
Tuesday, November 16: The Psychological Society
film: "In Search of Ourselves"
Thursday, November 18: Sex, Gender, and the Therapeutic Sensibility
Tuesday, November 23: Society as the Patient
November 25: THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
week 10: Student Group Presentations
Tuesday, November 30
Thursday, December 2final exam to be handed out in class; due December 9