Introduction to American History Semester Gasal 2013/2014

Instructor   : Ari Adipurwawidjana
Contact       :,,
+62227790212 (office)
+62227533278 (home)
+6287822118131 (cell)



I. Course Description

In this course, through reading primary texts, students will be introduced to the highlights of the history of the geographic area known at present as the territory of the United States of America, which includes the 50 states, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and other outlying territories in the Caribbean and the Pacific, though most of the discussion will cover the area of the 48 contiguous states. This course will cover the pre-Columbian times, the arrival of the Spanish, the colonial period under both the British and the French (and in the case of New York, the Dutch), the period following the Declaration of Independence, the period of industrialization and the Civil War, the post-bellum period, the early twentieth-century, the period surrounding the Second World War, the period surrounding the Vietnam War/Cold War and the Civil Rights Movement, the Gulf Wars (from the Reagan Era to 9/11), and the present. Discussion will focus on issues concerning class, race, gender, religion, and cultural hegemony in general (including matters pertaining to such monumental cultural phenomena as the advent of the Hollywood motion picture industry, the popular music industry, and the sports industry). This course will not only explore the internal developments in U.S. cultural history in general but also how the so-called “American cultural hegemony” may have spread to and influenced cultures abroad as well as particular cultures within the confines of U.S. political borders. Though the main focus of this course is the historical cultural and literary developments; social, economic, and political contexts will be covered to give proper perspectives. Also, there will be discussions about local historical events within the wider context of world history, particularly to the history of Britain. Each meeting will begin with issues from the Civil War and before, then jump to the present (the 20th and 21st centuries) to see how that issue have developed.


II. Required Texts

Students must gain access to the following texts:

  1. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations
  2. Creation of the Whites (Yuchi Oral Narrative)
  3. Columbus, Christopher. Journal of the First Voyage to America.
  4. De Ortemin, Don Antonio. Letter on the Pueblo Revolt of 1680
  5. Harriot, Thomas. A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia.
  6. Smith, John. Excerpt from The Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the Summer Isles. Book III, Chapter 2; and from Advertisements for the Unexperienced Planters of New-England, or Anywhere, Or the Pathway to Experience to Erect a Plantation.
  7. Revel, James. “The Poor, Unhappy Transported Felon.”
  8. Winthrop, John. A Modell of Christian Charity
  9. Rowlandson, Mary. A Narrative of the Captivity and Restauration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.
  10. Sewall, Samuel. The Selling of Joseph.
  11. Franklin, Benjamin. The Way to Wealth.
  12. Paine, Thomas. Excerpt from Common Sense. “Thoughts on the Present State of American Affairs.”
  13. Jefferson, Thomas. The Declaration of Independence.
  14. Irving, Washington. Rip Van Winkle.
  15. Occom, Samson. A Sermon Preached by Samson Occom.
  16. Wheatley, Phillis. “On Being Brought from Africa to America.”
  17. Apess, William. An Indian’s Looking-Glass for the White Man.
  18. Fuller, Sarah Margaret. Excerpt from Woman in the Nineteenth Century.
  19. Thoreau, Henry David. “Resistance to Civil Government.”
  20. Douglass, Frederick. “What to a Slave Is the Fourth of July?”
  21. Lincoln, Abraham. “Address at the Dedication of the Gettysburg National Cemetery.”
  22. Fern, Fanny. “The Working Girls of New York.”
  23. King, Martin Luther. “I Have a Dream.”


III. Course Assignments
Students will be expected to:

  1. Participate in class activities as well as in discussions on virtual discussion media. The quality of such participation will be reflected in the grade item labeled “Participation.” To ensure a class atmosphere conducive for discussion and learning activities, the instructor and the students are required to turn off (or at least silence) any electronic equipment (especially cellular phones) unless they are needed for a particular activity. Laptop or notebook computers are, however, encouraged to be utilized for internet searching, reading, and note-taking purposes.
  2. Secure regular access to the Internet. Students should regularly check the for information posted in the instructor’s Facebook page (; tweets on Twitter @adipurwawidjana, @GemasiUnpad, @EnglishLibray and @EnglishUnpad (which students should have already followed anyway), and (both to which students should have already subscribed); and Students anticipating problems in this matter should notify the instructor. Students anticipating problems in this matter should notify the instructor.
  3. Always bring required texts and any handout previously distributed in class or online.
  4. Have read works to be discussed in class on a particular day as well as those mentioned in this syllabus though not necessarily discussed in class.
  5. Take four scheduled tests and two in-class examinations (mid-term and final). Should a student find herself in a situation in which they may miss a class meeting where a test or an examination is scheduled, she should notify the instructor before class starts either via e-mail or by phone for the instructor to consider whether he will give the student a make-up test or examination.
  6. Write a research paper. This paper will be in the form of a thesis-driven argumentative essay (not a report) based on a critical reading of a report of an event, a cultural phenomenon or artifact, or a text/document. Students planning to or having decided to concentrate on literary studies are encouraged to do the last. The paper will be coverless. The paper will be identified with the student’s name and number on top right-hand corner with pagination on every page on the top right-hand corner except on the first page. The paper will be supplied with a Works Cited or References page. It will be computer-generated with a 4-cm left margin and 3 cm for all other margins. Both hard and soft copies will be submitted. In hardcopy form, the paper will be printed on both sides of the sheet. Students are encouraged to submit several rough drafts before submitting the final draft for grading. In lieu of a research paper, students may make a documentary film showing an Indonesian subject within the context of American history. As for the research paper, the various stages of of the film-making process from the raw footage to the rough cut to the final cut must be submitted as drafts.

IV. Grading System
A. A student’s final grade will be determined based on the following criteria:



Test 1


Test 2


Test 3


Midterm Exam


Final Exam





B. The total of all grade items will be converted to letter grades according to the following criteria:

80-100 = A
68-79 = B
55-67 = C
45-54 = D
00-44 = E

V. Attendance

Students will be allowed four (4) unexcused absences out of the sixteen (16) class sessions (excluding UTS and UAS). Unexcused absences include those instances when students are hindered from coming to class due to alarm-clock malfunction, prolonged breakfasts, traffic problems, incidental mild health issues, and unexpected minor domestic emergencies. Note, however, though there is no penalty for such failure to attend class, an absent student will not receive points for participation or activities conducted in class that day. Tardiness of more than fifteen (15) minutes into class time will count as an unexcused absence. Only absences due to severe health problems, and serious domestic situations will be considered as excused absences. For excused absences, a student must provide a written justification from a relevant authority. A student must confer with the instructor to determine whether a medical condition is mild or severe, or whether a domestic emergency is minor or serious. Excused absences cannot be an excuse for failure to submit assignments on time.


VI. Academic Dishonesty

A. If the instructor believes that a student has plagiarized in an assignment, the student will be given an “0” for the assignment.

B. If a student is unsure about what type of writing practice may be considered as plagiarism, she or he must ask the instructor.

C. If a student is found to have plagiarized or inappropriately used external materials (oral, written, printed, or digital) in a particular activity, she or he will receive appropriate penalties for that particular assignment.

D. If a student persists in committing academic dishonesty for more than one assignment after the instructor’s having warned her on the first occasion of the violation, she will receive an E for the course.

E. If a student commits academic dishonesty for more than three assignments, the instructor will submit a recommendation to the University to have the student suspended or expelled in accordance to University policy as posted on


VII. Course Schedule

The course will follow the following tentative schedule. When references to required texts are mentioned, students are to have read the materials before they come to class. Activities may be added or omitted during the course of the semester, depending on what the class seems to need collectively. The class may need to discuss having additional sessions.


August 26/28 Introduction to the course; Syllabus Overview of world history and when you, I, and America entered it; What are the wars that mark history?
September 2/4 America before It Was English: Texts numbers 1-4; Multiculturalism
September 9/11 Colonial America as Plantation: Texts numbers 5-7; America as Empire Test 1
September 16/18 Colonial America as the Puritan Promised Land: Texts numbers 8-10; the American Crusades and the American Work Ethic.
September 23/25 The Beginning of the United States: Texts numbers 11-16; Democracy
September 30/October 2 The Problem with Being Politically Independent: Texts numbers 17-20; Civil Rights for all Genders, Races, Creeds, and other Groups.
October 7/9 Industrialization and the Civil War: Texts numbers 21- 23; the Global Cultural Industry and the Global Imagination
October 14/16

October 21/23

October 28/30

November 4/6

November 11/13

November 18/20

November 25/27

December 2/4

December 9/11

December 16/18

December 30


Westward Expansion and the Conquest of the Frontiers

Mid-Term Exam

Rise of Big Business and World Wars

The Cold War and Globalization, Civil Rights Movement

The Gulf Wars

Cultural Hegemony

Review, paper/film consultations and unresolved issues

Review, paper/film consultations, and unresolved issues

Review, paper/film consultations, and unresolved issues

No Class

Final Exam

Test 2


Test 3


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