HISTORY 440 - American Thought and Culture Since 1940
Section: 001
Term: WN 2018
Subject: History (HISTORY)
Department: LSA History
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:

How did Americans experience “the Fifties” or “the Sixties” or “the Seventies”? Are those the most significant terms for understanding how consciousness has changed over time in the United States? Perhaps there are better ways to grasp how the ideas and feelings that make up people’s experience have changed or remained the same. This course examines over seven decades since the beginning of World War II to find the main currents of American thought and culture and discern the watershed changes that have really mattered—and that make our ways of experiencing the world like or unlike that of our grandparents.

We will study a wide range of ideas and cultural dispositions over the past 75 years: the definitions of liberalism, conservatism, and radicalism: the question of conformity and nonconformity, youth and rebellion; the relation between modern science and human values; the heyday of artistic modernism to be followed by new departures called “postmodernism”; the ways race and class were understood to constitute American society; the rise of feminist theory in its varieties; the place of religion in American consciousness and politics; and finally the combined issues of “globalization,” capitalism and crisis, and the fate of U.S. world dominance.

Course Requirements:

A focus on careful reading and analytical writing about the texts (primary and secondary) that we study.

Intended Audience:

Upper-division, all disciplines

Class Format:


HISTORY 440 - American Thought and Culture Since 1940
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 022637923X
A War for the Soul of America, Author: Andrew Hartman, Publisher: University of Chicago Press 2016
ISBN: 9781883011529
Baldwin - Collected Essays / Notes of A Native Son / Nobody Knows My Name / The Fire Next Time / No Name in the Street / The Devil Finds Work, Author: Baldwin, James., Publisher: New York, NY 1998
ISBN: 9781784780531
Dialectic of Sex, Author: Firestone, Shulamith., Publisher: Verso 2015
ISBN: 022632415X
How Reason Almost Lost Its Mind, Author: Paul Erickson et al., Publisher: University of Chicago Press 2015
ISBN: 0231172443
Political Freud, Author: Eli Zaretsky, Publisher: Columbia University Press 2015
ISBN: 0393307387
The culture of narcissism : American life in an age of diminishing expectations, Author: Christopher Lasch., Publisher: Norton Norton pbk 1991
ISBN: 0674064348
The last utopia : human rights in history, Author: Samuel Moyn., Publisher: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press 1st Belkna 2012
ISBN: 0742535428
The world turned inside out : American thought and culture at the end of the 20th century, Author: James Livingston., Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers 2012
ISBN: 9780156906500
Totalitarianism : part three of The Origins of totalitarianism, Author: Arendt, Hannah., Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1985
ISBN: 9780465060689
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria, Author: Beverly Daniel Tatum, Publisher: Basic Books REVISED 2017
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