History 121

United States since Reconstruction • Spring 2018

A portion of the Statue of Liberty on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876

Course Description

Welcome to History 121.

This course is an introduction to the history of the U.S. from the end of Reconstruction to the present. It will cover a wide range of topics organized around a few central themes. One: it will examine the changing dimensions of American identity, paying close attention to the roles of race, ethnicity, religion, region, class, politics, ideology, and gender in defining “American-ness.” Two: it will examine American capitalism, looking at it through the lens of industrial growth and decline, labor and immigration, the environment, consumerism, government power, and globalization. And, three: it will examine American power in the world, focusing on its rise in the late 19th century, on its uses from westward expansion through the recent wars in the Middle East, and on its meanings for American culture, politics, and society.

Through lectures, readings, discussions, films, and exams, students will not only explore the changing contours of American life, but they will also have the opportunity to develop as writers, researchers, critical thinkers, and problem solvers.

Please note: this course meets on Mondays and Wednesdays in HSS 362. Friday classes will be conducted as an online component, in which students listen and respond to a presentation, a film, or a primary source document.

This course satisfies these requirements: 1)GE -- D2-LD, American Institutions, US History, 2)History Major – LD requirement

This website is designed as an interactive syllabus. Here you will find all the basics, including weekly schedules, assignment descriptions and due dates, and writing resources. Bookmark it, and use it in conjuction with iLearn.

Class Time

MW 3:10-4:00p and F online

Class Location

HSS 362

Required Texts

  • Ida B. Wells, Southern Horrors & Other Writings (ISBN: 978-0312116958)
  • Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried (ISBN: 978-0544309760)
  • Various documents via iLearn
  • TEXTBOOK: Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty: Brief, VOL. 2 (4th or 5th edition; ebook, used, or rental are fine; ISBN: 978-0393614169)

Books are available at the SFSU student bookstore, through online book outlets, and on reserve in the Library..

Sitting Bull, Chief of the Lakota Sioux, pictured here with a ceremonial pipe, 1885