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COURSE NAME: "The American 20th Century"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018

INSTRUCTOR: Andrea Lanzone
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:00-4:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Junior Standing; Corequisite: EN 110
OFFICE HOURS: by appointment

History Research Seminar: 300-level history courses designated by the prefix HS-RS indicate courses being offered as Research Seminars. These courses are writing-intensive and help to train students to carry out original research by guiding them through the preparation of a significant research paper. History majors are encouraged to take these before their senior year, and especially before the semester in which they prepare their thesis.
This seminar examines the history of the United States from the closing of the frontier to the present. Although the analysis of the 20th century will generally be chronological, an attempt will be made to trace the importance of key experiences and ideas that have shaped US society during the last 100 years. Special attention will be paid to such topics as the closing of the frontier, immigration, World War I, the Great Depression, the impact of American literature, World War II, the Cold War, the Vietnam War, the Sixties, and to ideas such as democracy, freedom, “American Identity” and the “American Dream.”
There will be two class meetings a week.  This course will be run as a seminar in which students discuss the assigned readings and research projects.


The American 20th Century provides the student with a deep and critical understanding of United States of America in terms of historical events, social systems, economic processes and ideologies. One of the aims of the course is to enhance student's skills in critical thinking and reading. To this end, students shall investigate one key event in the recent history of the United States of America (group discussions will be a central part of the course structure) and develop their abilities to:

  • Formulate a research question about a historical subject.
  • Evaluate primary and secondary sources..
  • Respect academic integrity and ethical standards.
  • Communicate and develop information and ideas.
    Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
    The American CenturyHarold EvansKnopf0-375-70938-X  

    AttendanceAttendance is mandatory. Participation is graded based on the student's comments, questions, active note-taking and general active engagement in class discussions and activities30
    Paper#1Students will develop a paper on one of the problems/issues discussed in class and will analyze its dynamics, problems and prospects15
    Midterm ExamEssay-based exam in which students critically engage with the materials and debates presented in class lectures, discussions and readings10
    Final ExamEssay-based exam in which students critically engage with the materials and debates presented in class lectures, discussions and readings30
    paper#2Students will develop a paper on one of the problems/issues discussed in class and will analyze its dynamics, problems and prospects.15

    AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
    BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
    CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
    DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
    FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.



    More than two absences will have a negative effect on the grade, the more absences, the negative-er the effect. Students cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________

    As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
    John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.




    week 1: The Closing of the Frontier

    week 2: America Moves to the City

    week 3: The Phenomenon of American Immigration

    week 3: Progressivism and the Republican Roosevelt

    week 4: Wilsonian Progressivism Home and Abroad

    week 4: World War I : The War to end War

    week 5: American Life in the Roaring Twenties

    week 6: The Great Depression and the New Deal

    week 7: World War II in Europe

    week 7: America in World War II

    week 8: Midterm exam

    week 8: The 1940s

    week 9: The Eisenhower Era 1952-1960

    week 10: Kennedy’s New Frontier

    week 10: Civil Rights and Vietnam

    week 11: The Seventies

    week 12 The Eighties

    week 13 The Nineties and the New Millennium

    Final exam