HIST 450-30-804, Fall 1999, 238 Dumbach
Timothy J. Gilfoyle, Associate Professor of American History
Office hours: Monday, 8 a.m. - Noon
The "United States was born in the country and has moved to the city." RichardHofstadter, The Age of Reform (1955), 23.
This course examines that social movement and the evolution of the United States from arural and small-town society to an urban and suburban nation. Cities, and especiallyChicago, have long offered some of the best laboratories for the study of American history,social structure, economic development and cultural change. Certain problems and themesrecur throughout the course of American urban and cultural history which will be focalpoints of this seminar: the interaction of private commerce with cultural change; the rise ofdistinctive working and middle classes; the segregation of public and private space; theformation of new and distinctive urban subcultures organized by gender, work, race, religion,ethnicity, and sexuality; problems of health and housing resulting from congestion; andblatant social divisions between the rich and poor, the native-born and immigrant, andblacks and whites. This colloquium will thus provide a historiographical introduction to themajor questions and issues in the culture and social life of American cities.
The course requirements include one 15-20 page typewritten essay (50%), an oral report(25%) and class participation (25%). Essay guidelines can be found at the end of thissyllabus. A primary responsibility of students is to complete the weekly readingbefore the date of the scheduled class and contribute their thoughtful,reflective opinions in class discussion. The readings can be interpreted in a variety of waysand students should formulate some initial positions and questions to offer in the classdiscussion. For every article or book, students should be prepared to answery allof the questions found in the "Critical Reading" section of the syllabus below. All requiredreadings may be purchased at Beck's Bookstore in the Granada Center on Sheridan Road. Students do not have to buy any of the books since each one has been placed on reserve atCudahy Library.
Students who are disabled or impaired should meet with the professor within the first twoweeks of the semester to discuss the need for any special arrangements.
William Cronon, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (New York:W.W. Norton, 1991).
Oral Report: "William Cronon's Nature's Metropolis: A Symposium,"Antipode, 26 (1994), 113-76.
Peter A. Coclanis, "Urbs in Horto," Reviews in American History, 20 (1992),14-20.
David Schuyler, The New Urban Landscape: The Redefinition of City Form inNineteenth-Century America (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ. Press 1986).
Oral Report: Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar, The Park and the People: AHistory of Central Park (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1992).
16 Sept.: MIDNIGHT BIKE RIDE - Urban and Social History in Chicago (Rain Date: 23Sept. 1999)
Preliminary bibliographies due.
Timothy J. Gilfoyle, City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and theCommercialization of Sex, 1790-1920 (New York: W.W. Norton, 1992).
Timothy J. Gilfoyle, "Prostitutes in History: From Parables of Pornography toMetaphors of Modernity," American Historical Review, 104 (Feb. 1999), 117-41.
Oral Report: George Chauncey, Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and theMaking of the Gay Male World (New York: Basic Books, 1994).
William R. Leach, Land of Desire: Merchants, Power and the Rise of New AmericanCulture (New York: Random House, 1993).
Oral Report: Lawrence Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow: The Emergence of CulturalHierarchy in America (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1988, pp. 1-82, 219-42.
Richard Bushman, The Refinement of America (New York:Knopf, 1991), pp. xi-xix, 353-447.
William Riordan, Plunkitt of Tammany Hall, introduction by Terrence McDonald(New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 1992), orig. 1905), esp. "How George Washington PlunkittBecame Plunkitt of Tammany Hall."
Oral Report: Philip J. Ethington, The Public City: The Political Construction of UrbanLife in San Francisco, 1850-1900 (New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1994), pp. 1-42,345-418.
Terrence J. McDonald, The Parameters of Urban Fiscal Policy: SocioeconomicChange and Political Culture in San Francisco, 1860 - 1906 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986), ix-xii, 1-18, 85-115, 262-82.
Terrence J. McDonald, "The Problem of the Political in Recent American UrbanHistory: Liberal Pluralism and the Rise of Functionalism," Social History, 10(1985), 324-45.
Robert A. Orsi, The Madonna of 115th Street: Faith and Community in Italian Harlem,1880-1950 (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1985).
Oral Report: Robert A. Orsi, "The Religious Boundaries of an Inbetween People: StreetFeste and the Problem of the Dark-Skinned Other in Italian Harlem, 1920-1990,"American Quarterly, 44 (1992), 313-47.
Clifford Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures (New York: Basic Books,1973), pp. 3-32, 87-141.
Carol Willis, Form Follows Finance: Skyscrapers and Skylines in New York andChicago (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 1995).
Oral Report: Daniel Bluestone, Constructing Chicago (New Haven: YaleUniversity Press, 1991).
Stanley K. Schultz, Constructing Urban Culture: American Cities and CityPlanning, 1800-1920 (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press, 1989).
Lizabeth Cohen, Making a New Deal: Industrial Workers in Chicago, 1919-1939(New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
Oral Report: "Symposium on Making a New Deal by Lizabeth Cohen," LaborHistory, 32 (1991), 562-598.
Kathleen Neils Conzen, David A. Gerber, Ewa Morawska, George Pozzetta, RudolphJ. Vecoli, "The Invention of Ethnicity: A Prespective from the U.S.A.," Journal ofAmerican Ethnic History, 12 (1992), 3-63.
Olivier Zunz, The Changing Face of Inequality: Urbanization, IndustrialDevelopment, and Immigrants in Detroit, 1880-1920 (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press,1982).
Movie: The City (1939).
Recommended: Lewis Mumford, The Culture of Cities (New York, 1938),esp. 3-12, 143-299, 392-421, 486-93; idem, The City in History (New York:Harcourt, 1961), esp. 3-54, 119-182, 205-314, 410-578.
Kenneth T. Jackson, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).
Oral Report: Robert Bruegmann, "Schaumburg, Oak Brook, Rosemont, and the Recenteringof the Chicago Metropolitan Area," in John Zukowsky, ed., Chicago Architecture,1923-1993: Reconfiguration of an American Metropolis (Chicago: Art Institute ofChicago, 1993), 159-77.
James L. Wunsch, "The Suburban Cliche," Journal of Social History, 28(1995), 643-58.
Andrew Wiese, "The Other Suburbanites: African American Suburbanization in theNorth before 1950," Journal of American History (March 1999).
Lizabeth Cohen, "From Town Center to Shopping Center: The Reconfiguration ofCommunity Marketplaces in Postwar America."
Thomas W. Hanchett, "U.S. Tax Policy and the Shopping Center Boom of the 1950sand 1960s."
Kenneth T. Jackson, "All the World's a Mall: Reflections on the Social and EconmicConsequences of the American Shopping Center," all in American HistoricalReview, 101 (1996), 1050-1121.
Thomas J. Sugrue, The Originsof the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton: PrincetonUniversity Press, 1996).
Oral Report: "Symposium on Thomas J. Sugrue: The Origins of the Urban Crisis,"Labor History, 39 (1998), 43-69.
Arnold Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago,1940-1960 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1983).
John Findlay, MagicLands: Western Cityscapes and American Culture After 1940 (Berkeley: University ofCalifornia Press, 1993), esp. 1-116.
Mike Davis, Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster(New York: Metropolitan, 1998), esp. 3-194, 357-422.
Allen J. Scott and Edward W.Soja, "Introduction to Los Angeles: City and Region."
Richard Weinstein, "The First American City."
Harvey Molotch, "L.A. as Design Product: How Art Works in a Regional Economy,"all in Scott and Soja, eds., The City: Los Angeles and Urban Theory at the End of theTwentieth Century (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1996), 1-46, 225-75.
Oral Report: Mike Davis, City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles(London: Verso, 1990).
Ted Rohrlich, "Seer of L.A. or Blinded by Its Light?" Los Angeles Times,13 April 1999.
Veronique de Turenne, "Is Mike Davis' Los Angeles All in His Head?"Salon (7 Dec.1998):http://www.salonmagazine.com/it/feature/1998/12/cov_07feature.htm
Roger W. Lotchin, Fortress California, 1910-1961: From Warfare to Welfare (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1992).
Timothy J. Gilfoyle, "White Cities, Linguistic Turns, and Disneylands: Recent Paradigms inUrban History," Reviews in American History, 26 (March 1998): 175-204;reprinted in Louis P. Masur, ed. The Challenge of American History (Baltimore:Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 1999), 175-204.
Movie: Bladerunner (1991).
Discussion and class participation is an important part of student evaluation (25 percent). Incisive, imaginative and thoughtful comments that generate and facilitate discussion areweighed heavily in final grades. Asking questions, responding to student questions andcontributing to an ongoing discussion are a necessary part of the learning experience. Failure to speak in class only lowers a student's final grade. Discussions take place in everyclass period, each worth 2 "points." Students will receive 0 points for nonparticipation, 1point for minimal participation, and 2 points for active participation. Students who raisequestions that generate discussion will earn extra points.
The best ways to prepare for and contribute to class discussion are: 1) complete the readingon time, and 2) critically analyze the reading. The primary goal of critical reading is to findthe author's interpretation and what evidence and influences led to that conclusion. Neverassume a "passive" position when reading a text. If students ask and attempt to answer thefollowing questions, they will more fully comprehend and understand any reading.
1. What is the thesis of the author?
2. Does the author have a particular stated or unstated point of view? How does theauthor construct their argument? Are the author's goals, viewpoints, or agendas revealedin the introduction or preface? Does the author provide evidence to support the argument? Is it the right evidence? In the final analysis, do you think the author proves the argumentor does the author rely on preconceived views or personal ideology? Why do you thinkthat?
3. Does the author have a moral or political posture? Is it made explicit or implicit in theway the story is told? What is the author's view of human nature? Does change come fromhuman agency and "free will" or broad socio-economic forces?
4. What assumptions does the author hold about society? Does the author see society ashierarchical, pluralistic, democratic or elitist? Does the author present convincing evidenceto support this view?
5. How is the narrative constructed or organized? Does the author present the story from the viewpoint of a certain character or group? Why does the author begin and end atcertain points? Is the story one of progress or decline? Why does the author write thisway?
6. What issues and events does the author ignore? Why? Can you think ofalternative interpretations or stories that might present a different interpretation? Why doesthe author ignore certain events or facts?
The oral report constitutes 25 percent of the final grade. The purpose of the assignmentis to facilitate and broaden class discussion by comparing another historical writing with therequired class reading. Each week, one student will be responsible for reading andreporting on a selection of articles and/or books. The oral report should: 1) BRIEFLYsummarize the author's thesis, and 2) critically examine the sources, methodology, andstrengths and weaknesses of the thesis or theses, and 3) compare the work or works to therequired reading for that week. The questions employed in the critical reading sectionabove should be applied to in the oral report assignment. Students will present the reportin the beginning or early in the class, whenever it facilitates discussion. The report shouldtake approximately 10 to 15 minutes. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES SHOULD THEREPORT EXCEED 15 MINUTES. Oral report assignments will be made in theintroductory class.
The essay requirement serves several purposes. First, good, thoughtful writing disciplinesand educates the mind. To write well, one must think well. If one's writing improves, sodoes their thinking and intelligence. Second, students personally experience on a first-handbasis some form of historical writing. A research paper relying on primary sources exposesstudents to the challenges, difficulties and even contradictions of analyzing historical events. Ideally, students will think more "historically" as a result of the exercise. Third, the essaycan later function as a writing sample for students applying for future employment positionsas well as to graduate or professional school.
Two types of long essays are acceptable for this course: research and historiographical. Research essays analyze a specific topic using primary or originalsources. Examples of primary sources include (but are not limited to) newspapers,diaries, letters, oral interviews, books published during the period under study, manuscriptcollections, and old maps. A research essay relies on source material produced by thesubject or by institutions and individuals associated in some capacity with the subject. Theuse and immersion of the writer/researcher in such primary and original sources is oftenlabelled "doing history." Most of the articles and books assigned for class discussionrepresent this type of historical writing.
Historiographical essays are based upon at least ten different secondary sources,or what historians have written about a subject. Such a paper examines howhistorians' interpretations have differed and evolved over time regarding a specific topic ortheme. The major focus of a historiographical essay are the ideas of historians,how they compare with each other and how they have changed over time. Examples andmodels for such essays can be found in the following collections:
Louis Masur, ed., The Challenge of American History (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Univ.Press, 1999); originally Reviews in American History, vol. 26, no. 1 (March 1998).
Eric Foner, ed., The New American History (Philadelphia: Temple Univ. Press,1990), especially essays in part II.
Both types of assignments should be the length of a standard scholarly article (approximately15-20 typewritten pages of text, plus notes). Students should select a topic as soon aspossible, in consultation with the instructor. A preliminary bibliography which includesbooks, articles, oral interviews, or other possible sources should be completed and handedin by 2 p.m., Wednesday, 22 Sept. 1999.
All essays should be typed. Students who complete the essay early have theoption to rewrite the paper upon its evaluation and return (remember - the only goodwriting is good rewriting). For students who wish to have the option of rewriting the essay,TWO copies of the first draft of the essay should be in the professor's possessionby 2 p.m., Wednesday, 3 November 1999. All other and rewritten essays are dueat the final class meeting on 1 December 1999. On both dates, students shouldsubmit TWO copies of the essay. Students who rewrite the essay should alsoinclude the corrected first draft.
All final papers should be free of typographical errors, misspellings and grammaticalmiscues. For every eight such mistakes, the essay's grade will be reduced by a fraction (Ato A-, A- to B+, etc.). Essays are to be written for this class ONLY. No essay used to fulfillthe requirements of a past or current course may be submitted. Failure to follow this rulewill result in an automatic grade of F for the assignment. Extensions are grantedautomatically. However, grades on essays handed in 48 hours (or more late) will be reducedby a fraction (A to A-, A- to B+, etc.). Every three days thereafter another fraction will bedropped from the paper's final grade.
Students in search of a paper topic can begin their investigation with a cursory reading ofany published overview on urban history. Examples include:
Raymond Mohl, ed. The Making of Urban America, second edition (Wilmington,Del.: SR Books, 1997).
Eric H. Monkkonen, America Becomes Urban: The Development of U.S. Cities andTowns, 1780-1980 (Berkeley: Univ. of California Press, 1988).
John Reps, The Making of Urban America (Princeton: Princeton University Press,1965).
Sam Bass Warner, Jr., The Urban Wilderness: A History of the American City(New York: Harper and Row, 1972)
The following journals are also useful: Journal of Urban History, UrbanHistory Yearbook, Urban Affairs Quarterly, Urban AffairsReview, and Journal of Social History.
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