HIST 1362: US History Since 1876
Professor Cameron Blevins (he/him/his) | firstname.lastname@example.org
M/W 9:30-10:45am, Remote Course (via Zoom)
Office Hours (via Zoom): Tu/Th. 11:00am-12:00pm & by appointment
What does it mean to be an American? How has that meaning changed over the past century and a half? What does it mean to “reform” society and how have different groups pursued this change? Where does the impending 2020 election fit within a longer history of American politics? How did we end up where we are today? These are just some of the questions at the heart of HIST 1362, which provides an overview of U.S. history from the 1870s to the present.
This class is in many ways not a typical introductory history course. So what makes this class different?
- This course will NOT attempt to “cover” everything. That would be impossible. Instead, we will be moving chronologically through different periods of American history by focusing on one topic or theme from that period. This means that we will be skipping past major events and topics in U.S. history. That’s okay!
- You will NOT be evaluated on how well you can memorize a series of events, people, and dates. History isn’t about what happened (“just one damn thing after another”); it’s about analyzing evidence and material from the past and then using that evidence to build larger interpretations, stories, and narratives. This course is focused on developing your ability to think historically rather than accumulating historical facts.
- You will NOT be learning just about the past. Throughout the semester, we will be connecting historical events to things that are happening today, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the removal of Confederate monuments to the 2020 Presidential election. The ultimate goal of this class is to equip you with the knowledge and skills to understand how American history continues to shape the present.
Student Learning Outcomes
What will you learn by the end of the semester? This can be broken into two categories, Skills and Knowledge.
- Evidence: Put historical documents, materials, and other sources “on the witness stand” and interrogate them as potential evidence for understanding the past.
- Interpretation: Assemble evidence into interpretations, stories, or narratives about the past, taking into account things like causation, continuity and context.
- Empathy: Develop the ability to see the world from the perspective of other people in both the past and present.
- Identity and Citizenship: Understand how American identity has been defined and contested over time.
- Protest and Reform: Compare and contrast the priorities, strategies, and outcomes of different movements for change in U.S. history.
- Politics and Elections: Understand the mechanics of U.S. democratic politics and identify key turning points and trends in that history.
- History and Memory: Analyze how Americans remember their collective past and the ways in which history is used in the present.