History 603: American Historiography, 1865-Present

Spring 2004

Thursday 9:30-12:15, 214 Herter


Professor Laura Lovett

635 Herter Hall



Office Hours: M 1:15-2:15, F 2-2:30 and by appointment




This course is designed to introduce a range of interpretations of historical writing on the United States since the Civil War. We will consider both classic texts and recent contributions, which address important themes and debates that have shaped and continue to shape the writing of United States history.  This course will give you the opportunity to engage with these debates in discussion and in written scholarly critiques.



Peter Novick, That Noble Dream, Cambridge University Press (1988)

W. E. B. DuBois, The Souls of Black Folks. Dover  (1994)

William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis. W.W. Norton & Company (1992)

Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform. Vintage; (1960)

Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment. Oxford University Press (1978)

Julia Foulkes, Modern Bodies. The University of North Carolina Press (2002)

Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow. Univ of North Carolina Pr (1996)

Lizbeth Cohen, Making a New Deal. Cambridge University Press (1991)

Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of Urban Crisis. Princeton Univ Pr (1998)

John Gaddis, We Now Know: Rethinking Cold War History. Oxford Press (1998)

Charles Payne, I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the

Mississippi Freedom Struggle. University of California Press  (1996)

David Glassberg, A Sense of History. Univ. of Massachusetts Press (2001)

Additional Selected Articles and Chapters


Optional: John D'Emilio & Estelle Freedman, Intimate Matters. Univ of Chicago Pr. (1997)


These books are on reserve.  Articles and chapters are available on the course website.


Course Website:  http://webct.oit.umass.edu



Participation  (40%)

            You are required to attend all class meetings, to have read the assigned material in advance, and to enthusiastically engage in discussion. By 9pm on Wednesday, everyone must post an agenda item on the relevant discussion page at the WebCT site for this course.  Agenda items can be questions or comments that you would like to address during the seminar meeting.  They should reflect your thoughtful consideration of the assigned reading.



            You will be asked to make a presentation to the class concerning the reading and historiography for two of the class meetings. You may wish to read additional material on the relevant historiography.   For each presentation, you will write a 10page paper critically explicating and responding to the appropriate historiography.  This paper must be distributed at least 48 hours before class.  Your oral presentation should summarize your paper's main points and foster a discussion of the relevant historiography.


Papers (60%)

            You must write and circulate two 10 page historiography essays.  Each of these essays will be graded.  In addition, you must choose one of these essays for revision and expansion in light of class discussion and commentary.  It is to your advantage then to generate the best discussion you can in class in order to facilitate your paper revisions.  Your revised paper should be 15-20 pages in length and is due on Monday, May 17th.


Schedule: (Subject to change)


1/29    Introduction


2/5      The American Historical Profession 


            * Peter Novick, That Noble Dream

            * W. E. B DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk, Chapters 1-4

            * Reading: Civil War and Reconstruction

*"Interchange: The Practice of History," Journal of American History, 90 (September 2003)

*Patricia Limerick, "Dancing with Professors: The Trouble with Academic Prose"


2/12    Labor

Annelise Orleck - Guest - Additional Informal Meeting


*Herbert Gutman, "Work, Culture, and Society in Industrializing America, 1815-1919," in Gutman, Work, Culture, and Society in Industrializing America(Vintage 1976), pp. 3-78.

*Nancy Hewitt, ""The Voice of Virile Labor": Labor Militancy, Community Solidarity, and Gender Identity among Tampa's Latin Workers, 1880-1921," in Work Engendered, Ava Baron, Ed. (Cornell Univ. Press, 1991), pp. 142-167.

*Ava Baron, "Gender and Labor History: Learning from the past, Looking to the Future," in Work Engendered, Ava Baron, Ed. (Cornell Univ. Press, 1991), pp. 1-46.

*Annelise Orleck, "Wage-earning Women," A Companion to American Women's History. Nancy Hewitt, Ed. (Blackwell, 2002), pp. 250-273.

*Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Unequal freedom : how race and gender shaped American citizenship and labor (Harvard 2002).


2/19    The West and the Environment


* William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis

*Donald Worster, "Transformations of the Earth," Journal of American History 76 (1990) 1087-1106.

*William Cronon, "Modes of Prophecy and Production," Journal of American History 76 (1990) 1122-1131.


2/26    Populism


            * Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform, Chapters 2 and 3

            * Lawrence Goodwyn, The Populist Moment

*Worth Robert Miller , "A Centennial Historiography of American Populism,"Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains  16, no. 1 (Spring 1993): pp. 54-69.

* Michael Kazin, The Populist Persuasion, "Inheretance".           


3/4      Race


            * Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow        

*Gail Bederman, ""The White Man's Civilization on Trial": Ida B. Wells, Representations of Lynching, and Northern Middle-Class Manhood," in Manliness and Civilization. (University of North Carolina Press, 1995), pp. 45-76.                       

*Jacqueline Jones, "Race and Gender in Modern America," Reviews in American History 26.1 (1998) 220-238

*Thomas Holt, "Explaining Racism in American History," in Mohlo and Woods, eds. Imagined Histories, pp. 107-119


3/11    Cultural and Intellectual History

            Julia Foulkes -- Guest


            * Julia Foulkes, Modern Bodies                                    

*Margaret Jacobs, "The 1920s Controversy over Indian Dances," in Engendered Encounters (University of Nebraska Press, 1999), pp. 106-148.

* Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements (Recommended)


3/18    Spring Break


3/25    Progressivism


            * Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform, Chapters 4 and 5                        

*Daniel T. Rodgers, "In Search of Progressivism" Reviews in American History Vol. 10, No 4 (1982) 113-132

*Alan Brinkley, "Richard Hofstadter's The Age of Reform: A Reconsideration," Reviews in American History, Vol. 13, No. 3. (Sep., 1985), pp. 462-480.

*Linda Gordon, Pitied But Not Entitled, Chapter 1

*Robyn Muncy, Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1890-193, Chapter 2: A Dominion Materializes: The Children's Bureau, 1903-1917 (Oxford University Press, 1991).

*Daniel Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings, Chapter 2


4/1 Imperialism

            Seminar's Choice:


* Mary Renda, Taking Haiti: Military Occupation and the Culture of U.S. Imperialism, 1915-1940 (University of North Carolina, 2001). 


*James A. Field Jr., "American Imperialism: The Worst Chapter in Almost Any Book," American Historical Review 83 (1978) 644-668.

*Laura Briggs, Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico (University of California Press, 2002).Introduction


* Matthew Jacobson, Barbarian Virtues: The United States Encounters Foreign Peoples at Home and Abroad, 1876-1917 (Hill and Wang, 2000).  

* Kristen Hoganson, Fighting For American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish-American and Philippine-American Wars. (YAle 1998).                  


4/8      The New Deal


            * Lizbeth Cohen, Making a New Deal

            * Alice Kessler-Harris, "Questions of Equity," in In Pursuit of Equity.

*Gerald Grob and George Billias, "The New Deal," in Grob and Billias, Eds., Interpretations of American History 6th Ed. (Free Press, 1992), pp. 271-287.                        


4/15    Urban History


            * Thomas Sugrue, The Origins of Urban Crisis

            * Suzanne Smith, Dancing in the Street, Chapters TBA

            * Mike Davis, "Fortress LA," in City of Quartz


4/22    Sexuality (Optional - Alternate Meeting Time TBA)


            * John D'Emilio and Estelle Freedman, Intimate Matters


4/24    North American Sexualities, Post-World War II Conference

Please pre-register at http://www.umass.edu/history/postww2sexualities/


4/29    The Cold War


            * John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know

* Ellen Schrecker, Many Are the Crimes: McCarthyism in America, Princeton University Press, 1999, Excerpts

*Mary Dudziak, "Birmingham, Addis Ababa and the Image of America: Managing the Impact of Foriegn Affairs on Civil Rights in the Kennedy Administration

*Gerald Grob and George Billias, "America and the Cold War," in Grob and Billias, Eds., Interpretations of American Histor, 6th Ed. (Free Press, 1992), pp. 352-370.                                                                                              


5/6      Civil Rights Movement


            * Charles Payne, I've Got the Light of Freedom                                                          

*Steven Lawson, "Freedom Then, Freedom Now: The Historiography of the Civil Rights Movement," American Historical Review 96, April 1991, 456-471.



5/13    Memory and History

            David Glassberg - Guest


            *David Glassberg, Sense of History