HIST 357

(Re)Constructing the Nation: U.S. 1865 - 1914

This course explores the United States in the transformative period from the end of the Civil War to the beginning of World War One. Investigations will be focused on three important domestic issues of the period--the reconstruction of the nation and of the concept of race in the aftermath of the Civil War; the development of an industrialized economy and the attendant changes in Americans' lives; and the politics of reform that emerged repeatedly during these years as Americans fought over the nature of citizenship, freedom, and justice in a rapidly changing nation. Implicit in all of these topics is the growth of the United States into a world power. All of these topics have been dramatically reconceptualized by historians in recent years, and this course emphasizes the exploration of these recent trends in the historiography of the era, including for instance new work in the history of race, gender, class, culture, the environment, and transnational relationships, as well as efforts to employ multiple historiographical lenses in intersecting ways that reflect more accurately the complexity of the past. Students also have the chance to work with a wide range of primary sources, and to conduct their own research. The course facilitates students' understanding of their own world as they discover the roots of contemporary American life in the structures and lived experiences of this earlier period.