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The United States in the 21st Century

Instructor(s): Jonathan Levy
Spring 2024
Detail of Jasper Johns's 1954 Flag painting. Poster for The United States in the 21st Century.

This discussion-based common-year seminar is open to first- and second-year students interested in the discipline of history. The ambition of the course is to offer a “history of the present” of the United States. When does history give way to the present? When does the present become the proper subject of history? Asking these questions, the course underscores the ability of the historical method to find interconnections among subjects, whether it is culture, economy, climate, society, or politics, often kept separate by other disciplines. Topics covered will include: the US-led globalization of the turn of the second millennium and its fate; 9/11 and the War on Iraq; the rise of genomic science; transformations of identity, including gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity; the economic origins and aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession; the elections of Obama and Trump; the birth of social media; the problem of climate change; the future of American democracy. Course materials will include political speeches, fiction and nonfiction books and essays, works of scholarship, film, music, and other media.

HIST 17206 | CCCT 17206