The Ideas that Made America

Primary Number: AMST 30177

ConStudies Number: CNST 30035

ConStudies CRN: 29342

Primary CRN: 27879

Instructor: Cajka, Peter

Day/Time: TTh 3:30pm-4:45pm

Attributes: HIST - old Core History (HIST) WKHI - new Core History (WKHI)

Location: in DeBartolo Hall 301

America, at its core, is an idea. The lands that became America have been imagined and in certain ways and constantly reimagined. The history of the ideas that made America is less a lesson in philosophy and more about a series of clashes between contending visions: Democracy vs. Republicanism; Free vs. Slave; Christian vs. Secular; Individual vs. Society; and Universal vs. Particular. This course traces a long arc from the Puritans to the Culture Wars to understand the ideas Americans draw upon to comprehend the world and act in it.Lectures and discussions will consider the notions of equality, democracy, pluralism, religious freedom, and the tensions between contending visions for America. Readings for this course will include autobiographies, speeches, sermons, canonical texts, lyrics, novels, newspaper articles, and poetry.