In 1941, the imperious Henry Luce, the publishing magnate of Time Magazine and other journals of news and opinion, declared that the 20th century should be "the American Century."And, indeed it was. American economic and military power reigned supreme, our culture was in high demand and high regard around the world, and the United States was undergoing a democratic foment at home and projecting a progressive imageabroad. Throughout the balance of the 20th century, the United States remained the most significant player on the global stage. But, what are the implications of this American Century?

One thing we know is that brief though it has been, the 21st century has challenged our notions of America's place in the world. The United States already has a very different relationship with the rest of the world. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989—and the subsequent drawing back of the Iron Curtain—we have witnessed the rise of a neoliberal economic order, the beginnings of a massive global labor migration, the growing threat of global climate change, the rediscovery of poverty around the world, September 11th and the "war on terrorism," and, of course, global economic crisis. Unsurprisingly, these currents and events have led to a renewed interest in the history of U.S. foreign relations—itself re-christened as the study of 'the U.S. and the World.' Whereas the "old" diplomatic history sought to understand the levers and gears of international history on battlefields, in formal treaties, among statesmen, and at peace conferences, we will be casting a much wider net. This spring, we will explore the history of "America in a global context" by looking at culture and cultural exchange, at migrations and social movements, at the role of economics and commerce, and at new interpretations of war and politics.



Note Legend


Spring Semester 2011

Instructor: Dr. Paul Kelton, University of Kansas

Creating a New Nation Colloquium 1 Syllabus

Here are samples of the book reviews written by the teachers for the course:

Pursuits of Happiness Review


A Spirited Resistance Review


Unruly Americans Review


The Unknown American Revolution Review


Changes in the Land Review





Colloquium 2 - U.S. History, 1815-1865: The Making and Breaking of a Nation

Fall 2011

Dr. Jennifer Weber

Download the syllabus and writing checklist.

Reading List and book questions:



Cain, William Lloyd Garrison and the Fight Against Slavery


Faust, This Republic of Suffering



Finkelman, Defending Slavery


Gallagher, The Confederate War


Howe, What Hath God Wrought



Johnson, Soul by Soul



McPherson, Crossroads of Freedom


Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing History


Trefousse, The Causes of the Civil War


Colloquium 3 - The Making of Modern America, 1865-1920

Dr. Kim Warren

Download the syllabus.

Book list:

Boarding School Seasons

Childs, Boarding School Seasons



White, Railroaded

Trouble in Mind

Litwack, Trouble in Mind

Gender and Jim Crow

Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow

Playing Indian

Deloria, Playing Indian

Manliness and Civilization

Bederman, Manliness and Civilization

Review 1

Review 2

Review 3

The One Best System

Tyack, The One Best System

The Quest for Citizenship

Warren, The Quest for Citizenship

Child-Sized History

Schwebel, Child-Sized History

Doctor Mom Chung of the Fair-Hair Bastards

Wu, Doctor Mom Chung of the Fair-Hair Bastards

Review 1

Review 2

Land of Home

Grossman, Land of Hope