American Identities (HIST*4180) | College of Arts

American Identities (HIST*4180)

Code and section: HIST*4180*01

Term: Fall 2016

Instructor: S. Nance


This course asks to students to analyze and devise ways of talking and writing about
how Americans have constructed and enacted identities as citizens and consumers by
investigating concepts such as 'race', ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, regional distinction, nationalism and celebrity. HIST 4180 also trains students in:

  • - communicating research findings
  • - orally critiquing their peers’ research
  • - developing excellent writing skills
  • - reading and critiquing historical monographs
  • - conceptualizing problem-based research projects
  • - engaging in advanced secondary and primary source research

This class is an honors research seminar, which means: In order to develop a context
and analytical questions for their own research, students will first read a series of scholarly monographs and create critical reading guides for them. They will also lead seminar discussions exploring these books by way of their guides and some primary source research appropriate to the topic at hand. They will also write a short review paper drawn from those readings interrogating an identity concept and the scholarly debate around it. Thereafter, students will pursue research projects on an identity, persona or expressive practice they find intriguing, giving a short research proposal oral report in Week 8, and a formal research oral report on their findings in one of Week 10, 11 or 12. In consultation with Dr. Nance, students will finally complete a corresponding research project final paper, due during the examination period.


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