English C136

Topics in American Studies: The Progressive Era

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2011 Hutson, Richard
Hutson, Richard
MWF 2-3 100 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Addams, J.: Twenty Years at Hull-House; Cather, W.: O Pioneers!; Cooper, J.: Pivotal Decades, The United States, 1900-1920; Lippmann, W.: Drift & Mastery; Norris, F.: The Pit; Porter, G.: The Rise of Big Business; Sinclair, U.: The Moneychangers; Taylor, F.: The Principles of Scientific Management; Wiebe, R.: The Search for Order


We will look at a number of books, films, etc. from or about the U.S. in the early 20th century, roughly 1890-1916. Modern United States begins to be formed definitively in this period, with important developments in the economy (large corporations, immigration), technology (film, for instance) and responses from the federal government under the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. The period is sometimes referred to as an era of reform, but we will look at the nature of various reforms, in business and in society. Since there will be a number of books, essays, published in this period, as well as some music composed, we can try to think about how well we can we characterize an era from its cultural products.

There will be two take-home mid-term papers, with prompts handed out, roughly, in the fifth week and in the tenth week. A final exam is to be taken at the regularly scheduled time and place. I plan to screen for you some films produced during this era. Some are very short (under 15 minutes), but some are full length (one hour). The films are readily available at the Media Center on the first floor of Moffitt library. They will be considered required texts, along with the books.

This class is cross-listed with American Studies C111E.

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