History 354-355

HIST 354, 355
American Social History

Catalog Entry

HIST 354, 355
American Social History
Three hours lecture/discussion: (3)

Prerequisite: Three hours of History at the 100 level.

An intensive study of American life, customs, character, and social problems, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. HIST 354 covers the colonial era through the mid-19th century and HIST 355 from the mid-19th century to the present.

Detailed Description of Content of Course
The courses are arranged in a topical fashion and include discussion of the following:

I. The Family
    A. The Family Retreat from the City
    B. The Family in the Emerging Urban Environment
II. Medicine and Health
    A. The Social Transformation of American Medicine
    B. Medicine and Society in the Twentieth Century
    C. Alternative Medicine
III. Work
    A. Making Workers More Efficient
    B. The Corporate Person
IV. Housing
    A. Frank Lloyd Wright and the Prairie Home
    B. The Future of Housing
V. Raising Children
    A. Coping With Adolescence
    B. The High School
VI. Communications
    A. The Telephone
    B. The Age of Television
VII. Consumption
    A. The Department Store
    B. The Mulling of America
VIII. Gathering Places
    A. The Poor Man's Club
    B. Social Life in a Working-Class Tavern
IX. Managing the Environment
    A. Designing Places for Mechanized Leisure
    B. Constructing Make-Believe Cities
X. Old Age
    A. The Obsolescence of Old Age
    B. When to Retire?
XI. Heroes
    A. Horatio Alger, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Carnegie, and the Cowboy
    B. Heroes on the Playing Field

Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

Although the course would generally be classified as lecture, significant portions of class time are devoted to questions designed to stimulate critical thinking skills and the examination of primary documents which introduce students to the basic raw materials of historical study. In addition, regularly scheduled class periods are reserved for discussions on assigned readings and monographs. Students prepare written critical analyses as preparation for thoughtful discussions.

Goals and Objectives of the Course

Departmental Goals and Objectives:
1. Students will practice thinking critically and analytically about historical issues, acquire a broader knowledge and deeper understanding of pertinent historical events and processes, and cultivate a familiarity with the concepts of historical argument and interpretation.

2. Students will develop disciplinary research skills by designing strategies to locate and analyze primary and secondary source evidence, processing and organizing the resultant data, and composing proper citation and bibliographical entries.

3. Students will apply their critical thinking, research, and compositional skills to the creation and presentation of thesis driven essays that discuss, for example, historical social, economic, political, and/or cultural developments and that address issues such as the causes and consequences of historical change and continuity.

Course Goals and Objectives:

1) Students will be able to analyze the modes of everyday life in modern America.
2) Students will be able to demonstrate through oral and written analyses how present social          developments flow from and are intimately connected to the past.
3) Students will develop historical consciousness by comparing and contrasting primary sources.
4) Students will be able to think critically and demonstrate this skill through various modes of writing.

Assessment Measures

Knowledge and understanding of the material covered in this course will be measured using an array of assessment tools that may include, among other things, class attendance and participation, written examinations, formal writing assignments of various types, and informal writing assignments. All exercises are designed to expand the student's ability to evaluate historical events and to develop his or her ability to compose persuasive arguments.

Other Course Information


Review and Approval
October 2010 Reviewed and Approved by Sharon A. Roger Hepburn, Chair