Contemporary U.S. History and Politics

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

This course is designed specifically for English Language Learners interested in further developing their English skills in a challenging college-level academic setting.

This course offers an introduction to the history and politics of the United States since 1945. It identifies and discusses major social, economic, and cultural developments during this period, and the impact they have had on the nature and direction of U.S. politics and policies. Attention will also be devoted to how the United States became a global power in these decades, and how this has affected U.S. politics and society. This course proceeds chronologically but revolves around some key themes: major social, economic, and cultural transformations; the contested development of American political institutions, including the presidency, Congress, and Supreme Court; and questions of identity and citizenship. Some major topics this course will discuss include Cold War politics and culture; social movements on the political left and right; the era of globalization and the impact this has had on domestic and foreign policy; political polarization; and the “war on terror.”

This course discusses and analyzes major topics and issues such as the Cold War at home and abroad, the “Red Scare,” the civil rights movement, immigration, and the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Some major questions include: why has U.S. politics become so polarized in recent decades? How is immigration affecting contemporary U.S. society and politics? Is it accurate to speak of the rise (and possibly the decline) of an American empire during this period?

Students will learn about U.S. politics, history, and society in various ways. There will be lectures, readings, videos, classroom activities, a short writing assignment, group work, and a final presentation that will require independent research.

The course provides a foundation for the further study of U.S. politics, history, and foreign policy at university. This course will provide students with a deeper understanding of U.S. politics and history, but also the ability to find and process information and the capacity to effectively convey their ideas both orally and in writing. In particular, this course seeks to provide students with skills essential not only for the study of U.S. politics and history, but in virtually any endeavor beyond the classroom where analytical judgment and critical thinking are required.

This course is taught by an instructor with over 15 years experience teaching American politics and American foreign policy to high school and college students.

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

* Identify, explain, and give examples of significant developments in American politics, culture, and society since the mid-20th century.

* Connect developments in the United States to changes in its global role.

* Understand and discuss contemporary debates and developments in U.S. politics, culture, and society in a more informed manner.

* Gain confidence and experience to take courses on U.S. history and politics at the university level.

* Examine and analyze historical developments in the United States through knowledge of institutional, social, cultural, and political evolution and change.

Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this course. However, some familiarity with U.S. history or politics and/or the U.S. role in the world would be valuable.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPS0976
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

[email protected] for English Language Learners

A select group of non-credit courses in the liberal arts and sciences supplemented with English language learning, two weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For University-bound English language learners completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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