America's Empires: Historical

Term: Spring 2011

Subject Code: GHIS

Course Number: 5125

Empire is a keyword of our time. It has been in great use since the American invasion of Afghanistan and then Iraq-either to celebrate or to castigate US foreign policy-but even before 9/11, thinking of the US in terms of empire informed the study of American history. This seminar addresses the utility and feasibility of empire as a term of analysis in US history. It takes an expansive view of empire that includes diverse systems of domination and inequality, inside and outside the formal boundaries of the US, and aspects of private well as public lives. The emphasis is the social, cultural, and daily dimensions of imperial power rather than diplomacy and strategy. Examples, from the conclusion of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth, include western expansion, post-Civil War Reconstruction, race and domesticity, and the global process of "Americanization," in other words, the transnational presence of the US as a model for social relations, political structures, and popular culture. (This course has been approved to fulfill requirements for Sociology at NSSR and is Cross-listed as GPOL 5125 at NSSR and LHIS 4567 at Eugene Lang College.)

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