HIST 359
Autobiography as History: An American Character?
Last Offered Fall 2007
Division II
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

Historians have long debated whether it makes sense to speak of distinctive national characters-tendencies to think and behave in particular ways that are endemic to specific nations or peoples. In the United States, with its high degree of racial and ethnic diversity, such notions seem especially problematic. Through a reading of selected autobiographies supplemented by other materials, we will seek to test the validity of various conceptions of “American” national character by looking at how individuals in different eras and circumstances have attempted to understand and interpret their own life experiences. Readings will include autobiographies by William Bradford, Benjamin Franklin, Frederick Douglass, Mary Chestnut, Jan Addams, Martin Luther King, Michael Herr, Richard Rodriguez, Maxine Hong Kingston, and others.
The Class: Format: discussion
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1350
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: evaluation will be based on a series of 3- to 5-page written assignments and a longer essay due at the end of the semester
Enrollment Preferences: restricted to History Majors
Distributions: Division II
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada

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