AS207 — Spring 2009



January 13, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 1


  • Opening Sources

    First, read the following historical documents carefully:

    * Universal Declaration of Human Rights, December 10, 1948:

    * NSC 68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security, April 14, 1950:

    Second, do some general research on the source of the documents and their historical context.

    Third, write a 1-2 page analysis of the ways that these documents might significantly frame our thinking about nation, nationalism, globalization, and American culture after World War II. In doing so, consider what you know about their context, and what you know from your close reading of the documents. What questions do these documents raise for you? Please be specific in your reference to the documents (use quotations and cite them).

January 20, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 2 (Inauguration — No class)


  • Blog posting — Group 1

    Consider the text of President Obama’s Inaugural address. What does this tell you about his theory of nationalism? about the place of the U.S. in the world? How might this relate to the documents from our opening week?

January 27, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 3


  • Blog posting — Group 2
February 03, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 4


  • McAlister, Epic Encounters.

    Introduction – Chapter I.


  • Blog Posting — Group 3
February 10, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 5


  • McAlister, Epic Encounters.

    Chapters II and III.


  • Nationalism and Hegemony, a Problem Assessment

    Length: 3-4 pages. Find and critical gap in the logic of either Anderson or Gramsci and try to bridge that gap with your own formulation.

February 17, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 6


  • Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights.


  • Blog Posting — Group 4
  • Preliminary Project Proposal

    One paragraph on a possible project proposal topic and its relationship to nations/nationalism.

February 24, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 7


  • Project Proposal Research

    No Class this week. Use the time to do your background research for your project proposal. Your first major assignment will be an annotated bibliography, so start investigating the key secondary sources on your topic.

March 03, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 8


  • Gosse, The Movements of the New Left, 1950-1975: A Brief History with Documents.


  • Nationalism and the New Left Inquiry Module

    Length: 3-4 pages. Create an inquiry module on one aspect of the New Left and the concept of nationalism. Select 5-7 sources that help answer your inquiry question. Write an introduction to the module that offers an answer to the question using the sources that you have selected.

March 10, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 9 (Spring Break)

March 17, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 10


  • Blog posting — Group 1
March 24, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 11


  • Rodriquez, Hunger.


  • Blog Posting — Group 2
  • Preliminary Annotated Bibliography
March 31, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 12


  • Levitt, Transnationl Villagers.

    Part I.


  • Blog Posting — Group 3
  • Draft of Significance, Design and Methodology
April 07, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 13


  • Levitt, Transnationl Villagers.

    Part II and III.


  • Post/Trans/Nationalism, a Critique

    Length: 3-4 Pages In this critical essay, you will evaluate the theories of nationalism, post-nationalism, and trans-national that we’ve been discussing for the last few weeks. You may draw upon and comment on any of the reading thus far. What is useful about these theories? What is problematic? For which issues do they account well? For which issues do they account poorly? Is one theory more convincing than another? If so why? How might you revise any or all of these theories so that they would be more useful for your work?

April 14, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 14


  • McAlister, Epic Encounters.

    Chapter IV – Epilogue.


  • Blog Posting — Group 4
April 21, 2009, 4:15 pm 6:35 pm

Week 15


  • Duggan, Twilight.


  • Wrap-up Blog Post (Everyone)
  • About this blog

    In this class we are going to explore issues of nationalism in relation to the U.S. after 1945. What is a nation? What is nationalism? Is the nation-state still relevant? In what contexts? What of trans-nationalism? Or even post-nationalism? These have been key questions for American Studies scholars over the last decade.



McAlister, Melanie. Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and US Interests in the Middle East Since 1945. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.

Dudziak, Mary. Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2002.

Gosse, Van. The Movements of the New Left, 1950-1975: A Brief History with Documents. New York: Bedfor/St. Martins, 2004.

Levitt, Peggy. Transnationl Villagers. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.

Rodriquez, Richard. Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriquez. New York: Dial Trade Press, 2004.

Duggan, Lisa. The Twilight of Equality?: Neoliberalism, Cultural Politics, and the Attack on Democracy. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004.

Volume Chapters

Anderson, Benedict. “Introduction and Chapter I.” Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. New York: Verso, 1991: 1-36.

Appadurai, Arjun. ““Patriotism and Its Futures” and “The Production of Locality”.” Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimenstions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996.


Lears, T.J. Jackson. “The Concept of Cultural Hegemony.” American Historical Review 90, no. 3 (June 1985): 567-593.

Buell, Frederick. “Nationalist Postnationalism: Globalist Discourse in Contemporary American Culture.” American Quarterly 50, no. 3 (1998): 548-591.

Briggs, Laura and et al.. “Transnationalism: A Category of Analysis.” American Quarterly 60, no. 3 (2008): 625-648.



Blogging will be key to the success in this course. For those of you who have never blogged before, no worries. This is not a technically difficult process. It’s more like sending an email than anything else. Pedagogically, however, it serves a number of purposes.

First, blogging allows the members of the class a chance to critically reflect on the readings and our discussions in a public way. Rather than having a private conversation with the instructor through reflection papers, blogging allows the whole class to participate in an ongoing open conversation about the key themes, questions, and problems raised by our materials.

Second, and in a closely related point, blogging encourages vibrant discussion in the classroom. Since every student must critically engage the material before the class meets, the pumps are primed for thoughtful conversation about significant issues when we come together in person.

Finally, blogging leaves an archive of the trajectory of the course–the things in which we are interested and the problems with which we struggle throughout the semester.

To encourage these goals, our blogging will follow a two step process.

  • Initial posting: Each week a student will offer an opening post that will serve as the basis of our conversation for the week. These posts are due the Friday before the class meeting.
  • Response postings: The remaining members of the class, those who did not offer an initial post, will comment on and respond to the initial post. This process will begin our critical discussion before we enter the classroom. These comments and responses are due the Monday before the class meeting.

Some things to consider in your postings include: How does this reading deal with the distribution of power in American society? What frameworks does it offer us for understanding the distribution of power? What do you think is the most interesting part of this reading? Why? What criticisms do you have of the author’s approach? Her use of sources? Has the author overlooked something in her analysis? What will you continue to look for as you read more?

You will be graded both on your Initial postings and on the quality of your participation as a commenter and responder.

Project Proposal

Length: 8-10 Pages

In this assignment, you will create a proposal for a project of your choosing that in some way relates to the discussion we’ve been having about nationalism and American Studies after 1945. The sections of the proposal will include an Abstract, Background, Goals and Objectives, Design and Methodology, Potential Significance, and a Review of Key Literature.

Abstract: 100 word overview of your project.

Background: This should provide a brief overview of the research, placing it in the context of previous research in the field, identifying deficiencies in understanding that logically complitment the objectives.

Goals and Objectives: This should explain the outcomes of the project.

Design and Methodology: This should explain the means for fulfilling the outcomes of the project, including the major organizational scheme.

Potential Significance of the Research This should answer the “So What?” question. What new important knowledge will be obtained; what substantive questions will be answered; what in the larger context will be the contribution to the field?

Review of Key Literature This is an annotated bibliography that presents the major related works in the field. Annotations should include a summary of the work and it’s findings, as well as evaluation of the relevance of that work for the project. Annotations should be no longer than 200 words.