In “A People’s History of War in America,” you will explore how conflict, from the colonial era to the present day, encouraged change within American society. By studying how Native American nations, common foot soldiers, enslaved peoples, and marginalized and disfranchised men and women experienced and participated in wars throughout US history, you will develop an understanding of their personal and collective feelings, thoughts, and motivations that spilled forth through war.
The course is especially attentive to the historical role that social ideals have played in the prosecution of war. You will examine how concepts such as freedom, democracy, citizenship, and duty gave meaning to violence, and how in post-war periods, marginalized groups pointed to their collective sacrifice in war and demanded that these sustaining ideals be honored and actualized in American society.
You will read the work of leading historians and engage with a wide variety of source materials. You will debate the meaning of “a people’s history,” learn how such histories are constructed, and grapple with why social historians are motivated to craft “histories from below” that give voice to less conspicuous historical actors. You will also watch films produced to glorify and denounce war. In this way, you will construct a foundation for critical thinking and research in the humanities and social sciences.
“A People’s History…” supports your transition to college by strengthening skills essential for college success. This includes your ability to contribute effectively in seminar discussions and write compelling essays. To these ends, you will learn how to:
• master "intelligent reading" skills to gather critical information from course readings with increased efficiency.
• analyze source material and think historically.
• develop, organize, and craft powerful written arguments supported by concrete evidence.
• improve the analytical depth and clarity of thought and expression in their writing.
• confidently express themselves and their thoughts with concision in group discussions.
No prerequisites are required for this course. A sense of excitement for a journey through three hundred years of US History is welcomed.
Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.