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This course traces the travels and writings of four important observers of the United States: Alexis de Tocqueville, Max Weber, G.K. Chesterton, and Sayyid Qutb. The course will consider their respective journeys: Where did they go? With whom did they talk? What did they see? The historical scope and varying national origins of the observers provide a unique and useful outsider’s view of America–one that sheds light on persisting qualities of American national character and gives insight into the nature and substance of international attitudes toward the United States over time. The course will analyze the common themes found in the visitors’ respective writings about America and will pay particular attention to their insights on religion, democracy, agrarianism, capitalism, and race.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
A midterm examination, two short essays, and a final paper.
Priority given to Sociology, History, Anthropology, and American Studies majors.
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada