(Some of) Everything You Never Learned About U.S. History (Spring 2016)

Instructor: Dr. Eva Swidler

Day/Time: Monday and Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

The U.S. history most of us learn in elementary and high school follows pretty predictable patterns. We start with English settlement and the Founding Fathers, throw in Lewis and Clark and the Civil War, and often don’t get further than World War II. What does the history of our country look like if we learn about the Swedes in the Delaware Valley before William Penn, or the Spanish settlements in Georgia 80 years before Jamestown was founded? What did Native Americans think about the Constitution? How does the Civil War look different when we realize that the U.S. was a global late comer to the movement to abolish slavery? How many times has the U.S. invaded Canada? And how did the U.S. get possession of Guantanamo on the island of Cuba, and hold on to it to this day? Through diverse readings from world history, Native American history, gender history, and more, we’ll take apart the American history we know and see what we come up with when we put it back together.

This course involves a wide variety of reading, including excerpts, chapters, and articles, as well as segments of several books. The class sessions are discussions, based on the readings. There will be several written assignments throughout the semester, but no in-class exams.