2011-12 Catalog

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Offering Description

Looking Backward: America in the Twentieth Century


Fall 2011, Winter 2012 and Spring 2012 quarters

David Hitchens American diplomatic history
Fields of Study
American studies, economics, history and literature
Preparatory for studies or careers in
the humanities and social sciences, law, journalism, history, economics, sociology, literature, popular culture, cultural anthropology and teaching.

The United States began the 20th century as a second-rate military and naval power, and a debtor country. The nation ended the century as the last superpower with an economy and military that sparked responses across the globe. In between, we invented flying, created atomic weapons, sent men to the moon and began to explore the physical underpinnings of our place in the universe. Many observers have characterized the 20th century as "America's Century" because, in addition to developing as the mightiest military machine on the face of the earth, the United States also spawned the central phenomenon of "the mass": mass culture, mass media, mass action, massive destruction, massive fortunes--all are significant elements of life in the United States.

Looking Backward will be a retrospective, close study of the origins, development, expansion and elaboration of "the mass" phenomena and will place those aspects of national life against our heritage to determine if the political, social and economic growth of the nation in the last century was a new thing or the logical continuation of long-standing, familiar impulses and forces in American life. While exploring these issues, we will use history, economics, sociology, literature, popular culture and the tools of statistics to help us understand the nation and its place in the century. At the same time, students will be challenged to understand their place in the scope of national affairs; read closely; write with effective insight; and develop appropriate research projects to refine their skills and contribute to the collective enrichment of the program. There will be workshops on economic thought, weekly student panel discussions of assigned topics and program-wide discussion periods. Each weekly student panel will provide a means of rounding out the term's work and provide students with valuable experience in public speaking and presentation.

Online Learning
No Required Online Learning
Greener Store
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
April 25th, 2011 This program is no longer offered.