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Journal of American History

2002 Syllabi
Teaching outside the Box

Editors' Introduction
Gary J. Kornblith & Carol Lasser

U.S. Women Activists
Catherine Badura
Syallbus: 1998, 2000 | Article

The Black Athlete
Amy Bass
Syllabus | Article

Recovering Detroit's Past for History & Theater
Charles Bright

American History Since 1865
A. Glenn Crothers
Syllabus | Article

Intro to American History
John J. Grabowski
Syllabus | Article

American History
Cecilia Aros Hunter & Leslie Gene Hunter
Syllabus | Article

In Search of America's Civil Rights Movement
Alyssa Picard & Joseph J. Gonzalez
Syllabus | Article

Out of Many: Histories of the U.S.
David A. Reichard
Syllabus | Article

Women & Social Movements
Kathryn Kish Sklar
Syllabus | Article

Law & Society in American History
John Wertheimer
Syllabus | Article

Colonial & Revolutionary History of the Southern Tidewater
James P. Whittenburg
Syllabus | Article

American National Character
Michael Zuckerman
Syllabus | Article

American History Since 1865

H106, Section #J727
Spring 2001; MW, 11:00-12:15 p.m.

A. Glenn Crothers
Indiana University Southeast

Oral History Web site:

Course Goals, Expectations and Requirements:

This survey course is designed to introduce students to the major themes and events in U.S. history since 1865. The focus of the course will be on broad themes and concepts, but a basic knowledge of the historical narrative will also be expected. Students are required to read all assigned material; the written assignments, quizzes and exam questions will be directly related to the readings. All students are also required to record and transcribe an oral history interview with a local community member who has lived through the Great Depression (details to follow). Readings and supplementary materials will be discussed in class. Attendance in class and participation in discussions is essential for success in the course. Completion of all assignments is required to pass the course.

Required Reading:

Gary B. Nash, et al., The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society, Brief Third
Volume 2 (New York: Harper-Collins Publishers, 2000).

Additional Reading (Required):
Thomas Bell, Out of This Furnace (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1976; originally
published 1941).
Studs Terkel, Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression (New York: The New Press,
2000; originally published 1971).
William Leuchtenburg, "The Achievement of the New Deal" in The FDR Years: On Roosevelt
and His Legacy
(New York: Columbia University Press, 1995), 236-282.
Matthew Dallek, "Liberalism Overthrown," American Heritage 47 (October 1996), 39-60.
Albert French, Patches of Fire: A Story of War and Redemption (New York: Anchor Books,

All the books are available at the University Book Store. Out of this Furnace and Hard Times are also available on overnight reserve at the library. The articles are all available on overnight reserve at the library. Ask for them at the circulation desk by my name, the course number, and title of the article.


The grade will be determined in the following manner:

Quizzes- 15 percent
Mid-Term Exam - 20 percent
Interview Transcript - 15 percent
Interview Presentation - 10 percent
First Draft of Interview Paper -
5 percent
Final Draft of Interview Paper - 15 percent
Final Exam - 20 percent

There will be four quizzes on the readings, one of which will not count towards the final grade. The exams will draw material from both the reading and lectures. Both exams will be composed of essay-type questions. Each student (working in teams of two) will also conduct an interview with a local community member who lived through the Great Depression. Each team will produce a transcript of the interview, and will give an oral presentation about their interview to the class. In addition, each student will individually produce a short paper (3-4 pages) based on the interview.

Course Outline: (subject to change)

Week of January 8:
Course Introduction; The New South and Western Expansion.
Nash, 416-440.
Begin Out of This Furnace.

Week of January 15:
An Introduction to Oral History.
Nash, 441-465.
Continue Out of This Furnace.

Week of January 22:
The Machine Age I: Industrialization, Urbanization, and Immigration.
Nash, 466-516.
Finish Out of This Furnace.

Week of January 29:
The Machine Age II: Progressivism and the Reaction to Industrialization.
Nash, 543-571.
Begin Hard Times.

Week of February 5:
The Imperial Republic and America's Entry into World War I.
Nash, 517-542, 574-599.
Continue Hard Times.

Week of February 12:
The Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.
Nash, 600-633.
Continue Hard Times.
Prepare Interview Questions.

Week of February 19:
FDR and the New Deal
Nash, 633-656.
Finish Hard Times.
Read Leuchtenburg, "Achievement of New Deal."

Week of February 26:
Mid-Term Exam, Monday, February 26, 2001.

Week of March 5:
America and World War II.
Nash, 657-685.

Week of March 12:
Cold War America.
Nash, 711-744.
Begin Patches of Fire.

Week of March 19:
The Affluent Society.
Nash, 686-710.
Continue Patches of Fire.
Rough Draft of Paper Due, March 21.

Week of March 26:
March Break

Week of April 2:
The Turbulent '60s.
Nash, 745-764, 772-805.
Finish Patches of Fire.
Read Dallek, "Liberalism Overthrown."
Transcript of Interview Due, April 4.

Week of April 9:
Watergate and the Turn to the Right.
Nash, 765-771, 806-839.
Final Draft of Paper Due, April 11.
Class Presentations begin Wednesday, April 11.

Week of April 16:
Class Presentations.

Week of April 23:
Class Presentations.

Monday, April 30, 2001:
Final Exam, 11:00 a.m. to 12:50 p.m., in CV 207.


Dr. A. Glenn Crothers, Director
007 Crestview Hall, Division of Social Sciences
Indiana University Southeast
4201 Grant Line Road, New Albany, IN 47150
(812) 941-2279

We, the interviewee and interviewer, do convey without reservation to Indiana University Southeast, its successors and assigns, the tape recordings of interviews recorded on the ___ day of ______, 20___ , at _________________________________________________________________________________, as an unrestricted gift, and transfer(s) to the Floyd County Oral History Project of Indiana University Southeast, all legal title, copyright, literary property rights, including transcription and publication rights, in the materials we hold except as noted below; the said gift to be administered by the New Albany/Floyd County Public Library and/or the Indiana University Southeast Library.

(Restrictions or exceptions, if any)




We agree that any items in the materials described which are believed to be inappropriate to the holdings of New Albany/Floyd County Public Library and/or the Indiana University Southeast Library shall be disposed of by either the County Librarian or the University Librarian as he/she sees fit.

Signature of donor(s):



Date _____________




Date _____________





I am very interested in learning what you thought about the oral history project, how you think it could be improved, and what you learned. Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions about the project and return them to me. I appreciate your input and advice. I am particularly interested in any written comments or suggestions you can make.

1) Did you enjoy the oral history assignment?



2) Did you learn much from the oral history assignment?

Learned Nothing
Learned a lot

Comments: (See question 6 below)


3) Do you think the oral history assignment encouraged students to interact and collaborate in the class?

Not at all
Encouraged greatly



4) Do you think future H106 classes should include an oral history component?

Yes      No


5) Do you have any suggestions on how the oral history project can be improved?


6) How did the oral history interview contribute to your learning in this class? What did you learn from the experience?


7) Please provide any comments/suggestions/criticisms not covered above:



This semester you have all had the opportunity to interview a community member who lived through the Great Depression. This paper will be directly related to that project. In a four (4) page, typed, double-spaced paper you should answer the following question: How did the interview help you to understand more fully the nature of the Great Depression and the experience of local people who lived through it?

Make sure that as you answer this question you draw on the research which you did to prepare for the interview. As you think about the paper you should consider more specific questions which relate to the particular reminiscences of the person you interviewed. For example, you might consider what your interviewee's experiences tell you about the impact of the Great Depression on the interviewee's family? about the impact of the Depression on the economy and society of the local area and/or the nation? about the way in which charities, local, state and/or federal governments responded to the Depression? about the way in which the Depression affected people's political attitudes? about American society in the 1930s and/or early 1940s? about specific events that took place within the region (for example, the flood of 1937)? about the reasons why some people were more dramatically affected by the Depression than others? about social attitudes towards women-particularly after many went out to work in large numbers in the early 1940s? Finally, how representative was your interviewee's experience?

In other words, you want to contextualize the experience of your interviewee, to place him or her in a broader historical context and make sense of the stories they tell. In the process, you will be performing the most basic function of the historian: Taking particular historical facts and trying to interpret and make sense of them.

Your paper, then, should do three specific things:
1) Identify your local person, where they lived, and what they did during the 1930s and 1940s (approximately 1/2 page);
2) Describe the specific events of the Depression in which your interviewee was involved (approximately 1 to 1 ½ pages); and
3) Interpret or contextualize your interviewee's experience (approximately 2 pages).

Step three is the most important part of the project. DO NOT SIMPLY SUMMARIZE THE INTERVIEW; A SUMMARY IS A 'C' AT BEST. Thus, you should devote the most time, effort and thought to step three. To do so successfully, you will have to read more broadly about the Great Depression-particularly those aspects of the Depression that were relevant to the reminiscences of your interviewee. Finally, make sure you provide full citations for any sources you consult or any quotations that you use.

First Draft Due Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 (in class).

Final Draft Due Date: Wednesday, April 11, 2001 (in class).

IMPORTANT: I will not accept a final draft (that means you get an 'F') unless I have received a
first draft.