This graduate course trains PhD students to read, analyze and discuss some of the scholarly studies that have shaped debates about the history of the United States in the twentieth century. If there is one major theme, it is probably the rise of the state and its relationship to individuals, social movements, politics, and the economy. In examining this theme and others, we will pay particular to the roles of racial, class and gender identities.
The course prepares graduate students for qualifying examinations, establishes foundations for teaching survey courses in U.S. history, stimulates thinking about connections between specialized fields of American history, promotes critical analyses of the strengths and limitation of existing historical studies, and encourages creative thinking about the directions for future research. For that reason, it examines subfields along their own trajectories but also as part of the larger paths taken by the historical profession over the past sixty years.