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Regional and Topical Surveys

HIST 165 American Identity


Taught as schedule allows (consult the Course Directory)

This course will examine the history of what Americans have thought of themselves and of how that self-conception has changed over time. It will attempt to answer such questions the content of the core values and beliefs that Americans are assumed to share, who belongs and who doesn't, what is the American Dream and who is allowed to pursue it, is there an American national character and in what ways is it distinctive, how is an American hero supposed to act and how one can spot villains, why metaphors of identity are useful and why they fail, and whether it is possible to know the meaning of being an American, given our ever-changing cultural, racial and ethnic diversity.