class meets in "round table" seminar discussions weekly, where we
look in depth one particular issue of modern America and ask "why?".
These are classic, interactive seminars - in which each student comes to the
class having read the assigned texts and shares his/her opinions on the
subject. Careful reading is especially important because each set of seminar
readings usually represents differing points of view on the subject of the day.
In these seminars there are no correct or incorrect answers, the aim is to
"think out loud", offering your thoughts to your colleagues in the
circle. If everyone does this, the seminar provides insight into the question -
but because we are talking about real life history, there is never any ultimate


1. Introduction: Background, Outline and Course Requirements

2. The Foundations of Modern America 1: The Death of Slavery
and the Birth of Jim Crow

3. The Foundations of Modern America 2: Industrialism,
Immigration and Imperialism

4. Henry Ford, the "Roaring 20's” and the American

5. The Great Depression, the Great Change

6. WWII and the Cold War

7. Vietnam and the War at Home

8. The Fight for Civil Rights

9. Civil Rights Expanded - People of Color, Women and

10. 21st Century America: Post "9/11"

11. Student Research Reports 1

12. Student Research Reports 2


1. ATTENDENCE - no more than 2 absences.

2. PREPARATION - read (i.e. print and note) ALL texts and
come to each seminar prepared to analyze them.

3. VOLUNTARY PARTICIPATION - free offering of ideas in
conversation at EACH seminar meeting.

4. RESEARCH PROJECT - Select any topic (dealing with modern
America) that interests you, research it from sources in the collection in my
office, the library, the Internet, or other sources at your disposal, and
become the “expert” on that subject within the class. That means that we will
turn to you for additional information whenever the discussion touches your
chosen subject. The point is for everyone in the class to benefit from each
student's research. In addition, there will be time set aside for short (15
minute) presentations.

objectives can be summarized as follows:
1. To demonstrate to students that history is an ongoing process with links
across all disciplines and ages, and not "isolated, irrelevant and
2. To focus students learning on critical thinking, giving them a variety of
points of view on historical issues.
3. To encourage students to question stereotypes and accepted opinion.
4. To help students identify with actors in the past and therefore personalize
history and relate it to their own culture and everyday experiences.