Each semester I teach the second half of the U.S. history survey, I incorporate an additional type and set of texts to enrich the course. In one semester, I used the landscape of the Chicago region on walking tours and depicted in maps and photographs to illustrate key points like transportation improvements, industrial concentration, and mid-century urban renewal. In another, I used college novels dramatize the changing goals of higher education and the shifting demographics of the college-going population (and to contextualize students’ own experiences).
This course, offered under the general education title “American Revolutions,” examined the transformation of the American economy from an agricultural producer to an industrial juggernaut, then to a post-industrial, knowledge economy, and finally to a finance-oriented service economy. In addition, the course explored key intellectual trends in economic thinking, including classical liberalism, progressivism, mid-century liberalism, and neoliberalism. Key assignments included labor histories of students’ families, based on family interviews; and economic histories of students’ hometowns.
History of U.S. Higher Education Fall 2010 (Temple University)