Skip Course Information

Course Information

Instructor Info:Amy Jordan
Office Extension x5644
Aaron Berman
Office Extension x5377
TA Info:Eric Marshall
Term: 2012F
Meeting Info: Tuesday Thursday
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 108
10:30 AM - 11:50 AM Franklin Patterson Hall (FPH) 108

During the Great Depression, misery was visible. People lined up for soup, furniture of recently evicted tenants cluttered the streets and unemployed workers rode the rails. Today, poverty seems to be less visible. We hear about foreclosures and evictions through statistical rundowns on the nightly news, but are rarely confronted with images. When we compare the Great Depression and the current recession, many questions emerge. Why did people take to the streets during the Great Depression? What did the working class get out of the New Deal and what does the working class today get out of the Stimulus? Why did workers in the Thirties join unions at a record pace, while today membership is in steep decline? During the Great Depression, African Americans paid the price for the passage of social welfare legislation that benefitted White Americans. How does having an African American President complicate the interplay of race and class in American politics? During the Thirties socialism and the Soviet Union stood as viable alternatives to capitalism, while today few challenge the legitimacy of the established economic order. In this course we will be studying the history of the working class's struggle for economic security. We are particularly eager for students to engage with contemporary movements. For example, the anti-foreclosure movement has been active recently in nearby Springfield. Much of the material used in this class will be primary source documents, including memoirs, novels, films and photographs.

Additional Info:

Book list for Fall 2012 (avaliable at the bookstore):

David Kennedy, Freedom from Fear: The American People During Depression and War 1929-1945

Tom Kromer, Waiting for Nothing

John Steinbeck, In Dubious Battle


All books on reserve and available for three hour loan in Johnson library.