KC Johnson

Lit. of American History, II (spring 2017)

History 80010

Lit. of American History, II

Weds. at 4.15pm


  • Weekly reading
  • Designated 1000 word essays (due Tues. at 5, via e-mail, as assigned below) summarizing the review literature on the common assignment and examining the book’s role in the historiography
  • 5-6 supplementary book assignments, with bullet-point summary to be posted on the course website
  • Final examination at the end of the semester

My Contact Information:

Required Books:


Feb. 1: Reconstruction

Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877

Feb. 8: Late 19th Century

Charles Postel, The Populist Vision (Maayan Brodsky)

Supplementary readings:

  • Kristin Hoganson, Consumers’ Imperium: The Global Production of American Domesticity (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) (Madeline DeDe-Panken)
  • Sven Beckert, The Monied Metropolis: New York City and the Consolidation of the American Bourgeoisie, 1850-1896 (Cambridge University Press, 2001) (Sean Enos-Robertson)
  • Richard Franklin Bensel, The Political Economy of American Industrialization, 1877-1900(Cambridge University Press, 2000) (Renata Limon)

Feb. 15: No class (transition day)

Feb. 22: Progressive Era

Daniel Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age (Madeline DeDe-Panken)

supplementary readings:

  • Michael McGerr, The Decline of Popular Politics: The American North, 1865-1928 (Oxford University Press, 1986) (Evan Turiano)
  • Robert Wiebe, The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (Hill and Wang, 1966) (Richard Naclerio)
  • Moshik Temkin, The Sacco-Vanzetti Affair: America on Trial (Yale University Press, 2011) (Adam Kocurek)

March 1: New Deal, World War II

Ira Katznelson, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (Richard Naclerio)

Supplementary readings:

  • Alan Brinkley, End of Reform: New Deal Liberalism in Recession and War (Vintage, 1996) (Madeline DeDe-Panken)
  • Colin Gordon, New Deals: Business, Labor, and Politics in America, 1920-1935 (Cambridge University Press, 1994) (Sean Enos-Robertson)
  • Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago (Cambridge University Press, 1990) (Renata Limon)

March 8: Mid-Century Race & Gender

Michael Klarman, From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality (Renata Limon)

supplementary readings:

  • K.A. Cuordileone, Manhood and American Political Culture in the Cold War (Routledge, 2012) (Maayan Brodsky)
  • Michael Pfeifer, Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874-1947 (University of Illinois Press, 2004) (Evan Turiano)
  • George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 (Basic, 1994) (Adam Kocurek)

March 15: Race, Liberalism & Urbanization

Thomas Sugrue, Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Adam Kocurek)

supplementary readings:

  • David Freund, Colored Property: State Policy and White Racial Politics in Suburban America (University of Chicago Press, 2007) (Madeline DeDe-Panken)
  • Joshua Freeman, In Transit: The Transport Workers Union in New York City, 1933-1966 (Oxford University Press, 1989) (Sean Enos-Robertson)
  • Owen Gutfreund, Twentieth-Century Sprawl: Highways and the Reshaping of the American Landscape(Oxford University Press, 2005) (Renata Limon)

March 22: United States & The World

Fredrik Logevall, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (Sean Enos-Robertson)

supplementary readings:

  • Niall Ferguson, Kissinger: 1923-1968: The Idealist, Volume One (Allen Lane, 2015) (Maayan Brodsky)
  • John Lewis Gaddis, George F. Kennan: An American Life (Penguin, 2011) (Richard Naclerio)
  • Kurkpatrick Dorsey, Whales and Nations: Environmental Diplomacy on the High Seas (University of Washington Press, 2014) (Evan Turiano)

March 29: The 1970s

Meg Jacobs, Panic at the Pump (Evan Turiano)

supplementary readings:

  • Jefferson Cowie, Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class(New Press, 2010) (Evan Turiano)
  • Judith Stein, Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies (Yale University Press, 2010) (Sean Enos-Robertson)
  • William Graebner, Patty’s Got a Gun: Patricia Hearst in 1970s America (University of Chicago Press, 2008) (Renata Limon)

April 5:  Conservatism

Alan Brinkley, “The Problem of American Conservatism,” American Historical Review, Volume 99, Issue 2 (Apr. 1994), 409-429; Matthew Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics in the Sunbelt South (Madeline DeDe-Panken)

supplementary readings:

  • Joseph Crespino, In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution (Princeton University Press, 2007) (Maayan Brodsky)
  • Kevin McMahon, Nixon’s Court: His Challenge to Judicial Liberalism and Its Political Consequences (University Press of Chicago, 2011) (Richard Naclerio)
  • Steven Miller, Billy Graham and the Rise of the Republican South (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009) (Adam Kocurek)

April 19: History & Memory

Philip Napoli, Bringing It All Back Home: An Oral History of New York City’s Vietnam Veterans (Maayan Brodsky)

supplementary readings:

  • Patrick Hagopian, The Vietnam War in American Memory: Veterans, Memorials, and the Politics of Healing (University of Massachusetts Press, 2009) (Madeline DeDe-Panken)
  • Linethal and Engelhardt, eds., History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past(Holt, 1996) (Evan Turiano)
  • Alessandro Portelli, They Say in Harlan County: An Oral History(Oxford University Press, 2010) (Renata Limon)

April 26: Recent History                                      

Lawrence Wright, The Looming Tower (Sean Enos-Robertson)

Supplementary readings:

  • Louis Hyman, Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink (Princeton University Press, 2010) (Maayan Brodsky)
  • Colin Gordon, Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health Care in 20thCentury America (Princeton University Press, 2004) (Richard Naclerio)
  • Susan Levine, School Lunch Politics: The Surprising History of America’s Favorite Welfare Program (Princeton University Press, 2008) (Adam Kocurek)

May 3:  Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

Dale Carpenter, Flagrant Conduct: The Story of Lawrence v. Texas (Adam Kocurek)

supplementary readings:

  • Lauri Lebo, The Devil in Dover: An Insider Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America (New Press, 2009) (Madeline DeDe-Panken)
  • David Garrow, Liberty and Sexuality: The Right to Privacy and the Making of Roe v. Wade (Berkeley: University of California Press, rev. ed.) (Sean Enos-Robertson)
  • Kristin Luker, When Sex Goes to School: Warring Views on Sex—And Sex Education—Since the Sixties (WW Norton, 2006) (Evan Turiano)

May 10: History & Biography

David Nasaw, The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life of and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy (Evan Turiano)

supplementary readings:

  • Robert Caro, Master of the Senate: Years of Lyndon Johnson, Vol. 3 (Knopf, 2002) (Maayan Brodsky)
  • Susan Quinn, Eleanor and Hick: The Love Affair that Shaped a First Lady (Penguin, 2016) (Richard Naclerio)
  • Linda Greenhouse, Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun’s Supreme Court Journey (Times Books, 2007) (Adam Kocurek)

May 17: Review

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