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Approaching the Past: Remembering American History
Much of what we know and understand about American history is rooted in the received narrative of our national history, a history that is constructed of individual, collective, and a national memory of the past and its meanings. This course will examine some forms through which American historical memory is presented and (re)presented, such as monuments, museums, novels, film, photographs, and scholarly historical writing, by considering a number of pivotal events, institutions, or eras in American history. Potential topics are slavery, race, and the Civil War; westward expansion; the Great Depression; World War II; the Sixties; the war in Viet Nam; and the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001.
Format: seminar; discussion
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
weekly response papers, a book review, an exercise with the Williams College Museum of Art, and a final project to be completed in consultation with the professor; students will be required to lead a class discussion
restricted to History majors and sophomores planning to major in History
senior, then junior, History majors