History 102: The United States Since 1865

(Spring 2017, Section 1833)

Classroom: Monday: Center 3 C-236

Wednesday: Center 3 C-461

Monday, Wednesday 1-3:15 pm and 1-2 pm

Course website:

Instructor: Emily Brooks

Office: C-459, Room EE

Office Hours: Mon 3:15-4:15, Weds 2-3

This course will explore some of the major themes in U.S. history from 1865 to 2001. It is intended to provide a general framework for understanding change over time in this period, and to give students opportunities to practice analyzing and deconstructing historical arguments. Examinations of social movements and collective struggle will feature prominently in this course. We will consider how race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality and other vectors of difference have contributed to change over time.

A central goal in this course is to give students experience thinking, speaking, and writing about history.

Class Structure:

There are two meetings a week for this course. These meetings will be centered on discussions of the course readings. In these discussions we will work through the readings together. We will think about the arguments the author is making and how they support their arguments with evidence. We will consider historical context. We will talk through parts of the reading that we found confusing. We will discuss difficult language, or challenging sources. We will finish the class with a clearer understanding of the material than when we began. Since every class will involve a discussion of the assigned readings, it is essential that you complete the assigned readings before class and bring the readings to class with you. All students will be expected to participate in class, which will be difficult without completing the reading. The reading will be college-level, and may require you to use a dictionary. Do not get frustrated if you find the material challenging. Allow time for yourself to read and re-read the materials and to take notes as you read, and bring up questions in class. You will be responsible for about 45-50 pages of reading a week.

All readings will be available in a coursepack, which I will give you.

Attendance and Participation Policies:

Attendance and participation will be part of your final grade, so by coming to class and speaking up you will improve your grade. Students may also contribute to their participation grade by turning in optional written responses to discussion questions distributed in advance of class. Repeated absences, or coming to class unprepared and without having completed the reading, however, will lower your grade.

I expect that you will participate in this class with integrity. That means that you will come to class on time, be focused, and that whatever work you submit for this class will be your own. Students who plagiarize will receive a zero on the assignment, and may fail the course. Writing is an essential part of processing information, so copying the writing of others detracts from your own ability to grapple with the ideas and arguments that we will be covering in class. Additionally, citations are part of how scholars engage in conversation with each other, across time and space. We will be thinking about how to digest and intervene in these conversations, and proper citations are a key part of this. We will discuss what constitutes plagiarism, but if you have any questions about this over the course of the semester, please ask me. Having academic integrity also means that you will be respectful during class, both toward your instructor and to your fellow classmates. That means not disrupting others, not texting, emailing, or using your cellphone during class. If you are being disruptive I may ask you to leave the classroom.

There are no excused or unexcused absences for this course. Students who miss more than three class meetings will receive a reduction in their course grade. If, however, during the semester you have an emergency, or you find yourself continually having difficulty coming to class, please let me know. We will discuss it and figure out the best plan to move forward.

20% of Final Grade

Additionally, if any factors you cannot control — public transportation availability/safety, mental or physical health challenges, family safety in the midst of changing immigration policies, etc. — are interfering with your ability to benefit from this class experience, know that there are many resources available to you through LaGuardia.

Some of these resources are housed at the Wellness Center in room C-249, email, and phone 718-482-5471, and others — including legal counseling, financial assistance, health care enrollment, etc. — can be accessed through Single Stop (linked here:

Free and confidential immigration assistance is available through CUNY Citizenship Now, linked here: and CUNY CLEAR, linked here:

Please feel free to reach out to me for additional assistance


The assignments for this course will include three blog posts, and two papers.

Blog Posts:

Each student will be responsible for three blog posts over the course of the semester. Two of these posts will be responses to the readings and one will be a discussion of an event that we have attended as a class or an event that you have attended alone. In the first class, you will choose two readings to which you would like to write responses. You will then be responsible for writing and posting these two posts on the blog before we meet in class to discuss that reading. These posts are intended to be open-ended writing assignments in which you think through themes and topics from the readings. They will be graded, but they do not need to be as formal or as polished as a paper. You should feel free to ask questions, make connections across readings, or just write about one element of the reading that struck you. In order to get full credit, the posts must be at least 300 words, the words must be your own, the post must discuss at least one reading from the course, and it must be posted before that week’s deadline.

20% of Final Grade


You will be required to write two papers in this course. The first paper will be a midterm paper. In it you will be asked to answer a question that engages with the readings we have completed for class. This paper will not require outside research. You will have the option of turning in a revised version of this paper after you receive your grade.

The final paper will be a research paper on a topic of your own choosing that will draw on primary and secondary sources. This paper is intended to serve as an opportunity for you to learn more about the history of a question or topic that interests you and feels relevant to your own life. With that in mind, part of this assignment will be to attend an event somewhere in NYC that connects to your research topic and to write a blog post about that event. This paper will involve multiple assignments over the course of the semester that will culminate in a final research paper. We will discuss this in detail over the course of the semester.

We will talk more about the specifics of the papers as their due dates approach. They should, however, be double-spaced, in 12-point times New Roman Font, have 1-inch margins, and include proper citations using the Chicago Manual of Style footnotes. Papers must be turned in in hard copy form. Papers will not be accepted via email. Late papers will be marked down a half grade level for each class meeting that they are late, and will only be accepted one week after the due date.

Midterm Paper 30%

Final Paper 30%

Total Grade Breakdown:

Attendance and Participation: 20%

Blog Posts (3): 20%

Midterm paper: 30%, Due Wednesday, April 5,

Optional revision due: Monday, May 8

Final Research Paper (all staged parts): 30%

            Primary Source Description: due Monday, May 1

            Secondary Source Analysis: due Wednesday, May 17

            Integrated Research Paper: 30%, due Monday, June 5

Total: 100% 


The Writing Center:
Located in B200, tutors in The Writing Center are available (by appointment or by dropping in) to help you workshop your writing at various stages. You can find out more about The Writing Center’s services at this link:

Schedule and Assigned Readings:

Monday, March 6

Introduction: Course Requirements and Themes and a Civil War

Wednesday, March 8 (last day to change course sections, add course or drop for 75% refund on March 10)

Reconstructing the Nation: Differing Visions and Struggles over the Postwar Nation

Reading: Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877, pp.352-371

Monday, March 13

The End of Reconstruction, the Rise of Jim Crow

Reading: Steven Hahn, “Continuing the War: White and Black Violence During Reconstruction” and David Blight, “Ending the War: The Push for National Reconciliation” From Major Problems, pp. 18-36.

Wednesday, March 15

The U.S. State vs. American Indians

Reading: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous People’s History, Ch. 8, pp.140-161

Monday, March 20

No class, holiday

Wednesday, March 22

The Politics and Policies of Chinese Exclusion

Reading: Stacey Smith, Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and reconstruction pp.206-230

Monday, March 27

U.S. Empire Abroad and Anxieties at Home

Reading: Kristin Hoganson Fighting for American Manhood, pp.133-155

Wednesday, March 29

Field Trip to Museum of Chinese in America 

Monday, April 3

The Dangers of Industrial Work and Industrial Workers

Reading: Sven Beckert, The Monied Metropolis, pp. 273-292

Wednesday, April 5

The “New” Immigration

Reading: Adam Rome, “Nature Wars, Culture Wars: Immigration and Environmental Reform in the Progressive Era,” Environmental History, Vol. 13 No.3 (July. 2008), pp.432-453

*****Midterm Paper Due****

Monday, April 10- April 18 Spring Recess No class

Wednesday, April 19

Victories and Limitations of the Women’s Suffrage Movement

Reading: Christine Stansell, The Feminist Promise, pp. 155-174.

Monday, April 24

The Great Depression

Readings: Irving Bernstein, The Lean Years: A History of the American Worker, 1920-1933, pp.437-455

Wednesday, April 26

Workers, the New Deal, and Early Civil Rights Organizing

Reading: Paul Street, The “Best Union Members”: Class, Race, Culture, and Black Worker Militancy in Chicago’s Stockyards during the 1930s, Journal of American Ethnic History, Vol. 20, No.1 (Fall 2000), pp.18-42.

Monday, May 1

Mid-Semester Check-In

No Reading

**Primary Source Description and Analysis and Preliminary Research Question Due**

Wednesday May 3

No class, Holiday

Monday, May 8

WWII on the Home Front

Readings: David Yoo, Growing up Nisei: Race, Generation, and Culture among Japanese Americans of California: 1924-1949 pp.95-115, 122-123

*****Midterm Optional Rewrite Due****

Wednesday, May 10

Early Gay Rights in the Cold War Context

Reading: Daniel Hurewitz, Bohemian Los Angeles and the Making of Modern Politics, Ch.6 pp. 231-252

Monday, May 15 (Last Day to officially withdraw from a Course)

The Cold War in Culture and Domestic Politics

Landon Storrs, The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left pp.144-164

Wednesday, May 17

Building the 1950s Ideal: The Environmental Costs of Constructing Suburbia

Reading: Adam Rome, Bulldozer in the Countryside, pp.45-50, 57-72

****Secondary Source Description and Analysis Due****

Monday, May 22

Early Civil Rights

Reading: Danielle McGuire, At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance- A New History of the Civil Rights Movement, pp. 70-93

Wednesday, May 24

Civil Rights at CUNY: Students and the Black Power Movement

Readings: Martha Biondi, Black Power on Campus, pp. 114-141

Monday, May 29

No class

 Wednesday May 31 (Class follows Monday schedule)

The Battle Against the War in Vietnam: Students and the antiwar movement

Reading: Terry Anderson, The War that Never Ends: New Perspectives on the Vietnam War, pp.245-264

Monday, June 5

Feminism in the 1970s

Readings: Laura Kaplan, The Story of Jane: The Legendary Underground Feminist Abortion Service, pp.3-30

****Research Paper Due*****

Wednesday, June 7 (Last class)

Neoliberalism and Mass Incarceration

Readings: Elizabeth Hinton, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass incarceration in America, pp. 307-332


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