93417 - Us History (50)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The aim of the course is to gain for students a general knowledge of the history of the United States, from the birth of the Republic to Trump's America, and to deepen, above all, the historical and political process of construction and transformation of the state and nation: from the revolution to the democratization of the mid-nineteenth century, from the civil war to the progressive era, from the welfare state of the New Deal to the neoliberal turning point of the 1980s and 1990s. At the end of the course, students must: know the institutions and the political system of the United States; know how to identify the main political, social and cultural continuity and ruptures in American history; know the general themes of the historiographical debate and the most important historical interpretations of certain passages of American history; know how to present and argue events, themes and concepts of the political and intellectual history of the United States.

Course contents

The course is organised into lectures and seminars, according to the logic of the inverted classroom. Lectures (26 hours) aim to introduce students to the core tenets of the discipline. Seminars (12 hours) aim to provide occasions for in-depth discussions of class materials. The division into lectures and seminars is specified in the schedule below. In the seminar section, students are divided into two groups, each of which must attend 6 seminars. The activation of online classes will depend on the evolution of the pandemic situation.

Students are required to carefully read the assigned materials before the sections of seminars: active participation will be required starting from the use of knowledge acquired with the materials for the realization of thematic insights. Taking into account this mode of teaching, the course is organized in two modules.

The course is organized in two modules.

The first module consists of 10 hours – 5 lectures – dedicated to the history of the Early Republic from the Declaration of Independence to the Civil War. This module focuses on Arnaldo Testi's manual, La formazione degli Stati Uniti, Bologna, Il Mulino 2003, (Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5). These 10 hours are followed by 6 hours – 3 seminars. Seminars will be held for the two groups on 3 essays about the construction of the American state and nation from the Revolution to the Civil war. The essays will be available from September on the platform iol.unibo.it. At the end of this first module there will be a first two-hour mid-term written test with open questions on the lectures and seminars held.

The second module of the course consists of 12 hours – 6 lectures – dedicated to the history of the American twentieth century, from the progressive era to the New Deal, from the consensus of the Fifties to the social movements challenging the liberal order, from the neoconservative and neoliberal reaction to the presidencies of Obama and Trump. This module focuses on Arnaldo Testi's manual, Il secolo degli Stati Uniti, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017 (pages 86-96, 151-178, 189-195, 201-204, 214-217, 243-249 are excluded). These 12 hours are followed by 6 hours – 3 seminars – which will be held for the two groups on 3 essays on the theme of the transformation of the American State throughout the twentieth century. The essays will be available from September on the platform iol.unibo.it. At the end of this second module there will be a second two-hour mid-term written test with open questions on the lectures and seminars held.

Only the students who will attend lectures and seminars regularly (at least 80%) will be able to take the two mid-term tests at the end of each module and participate in the oral exam as attending students. Each test (the two mid-term written tests and the final oral test) are valid for 1/3 of the final grade. Papers presented and active participation with questions during seminar sections will award 0 to 3 points toward the final grade. For the oral examination, students can choose one book between:

  • Tiziano Bonazzi, La rivoluzione americana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018
  • Matteo Battistini, Storia di un feticcio. La classe media americana dalle origini alla globalizzazione, Milano, Mimesis, 2020.
  • Bruno Cartosio, I lunghi anni Sessanta: movimenti sociali e cultura politica negli Stati Uniti, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2012.
  • Elisabetta Vezzosi,Madri e Stato. Politiche sociali negli Stati Uniti del Novecento, Roma, Carocci, 2002.

Readings/Bibliography

For attending students:

First mid-term test:

Arnaldo Testi, La formazione degli Stati Uniti, Bologna, Il Mulino 2003, (Capitoli 2, 3, 4, 5)

And three essays that will be available from September on the platform iol.unibo.it

Second mid-term test:

Arnaldo Testi, Il secolo degli Stati Uniti, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2017 (pages 86-96, 151-178, 189-195, 201-204, 214-217, 243-249 are excluded)

And three essays that will be available from September on the platform iol.unibo.it

Final ora exam, one book between:

  • Tiziano Bonazzi, La rivoluzione americana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018
  • Matteo Battistini, Storia di un feticcio. La classe media americana dalle origini alla globalizzazione, Milano, Mimesis, 2020.
  • Bruno Cartosio, I lunghi anni Sessanta: movimenti sociali e cultura politica negli Stati Uniti, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2012.
  • Elisabetta Vezzosi, Madri e Stato. Politiche sociali negli Stati Uniti del Novecento, Roma, Carocci, 2002.

For not attending students:

Arnaldo Testi, La formazione degli Stati Uniti, Il Mulino 2003;

Arnaldo Testi, Il secolo degli Stati Uniti, Il Mulino, 2017.

And two books between:

Matteo Battistini, Una Rivoluzione per lo Stato. Thomas Paine e la Rivoluzione americana nel Mondo Atlantico, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2012

Matteo Battistini, Storia di un feticcio. La classe media americana dalle origini alla globalizzazione, Milano, Mimesis, 2020.

Tiziano Bonazzi, Abraham Lincoln. Un dramma americano, Il Mulino, 2016

Tiziano Bonazzi, La rivoluzione americana, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2018

Bruno Cartosio, I lunghi anni Sessanta: movimenti sociali e cultura politica negli Stati Uniti, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2012

Bruno Cartosio, Dollari o no. Gli Stati Uniti dopo la fine del secolo americano, Roma, Derive Approdi, 2020.

Stefano Luconi, Matteo Pretelli, L’immigrazione negli Stati Uniti, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2008.

Nadia Venturini, La strada per Selma: la mobilitazione afroamericana e il Voting Rights Act del 1965, Milano, Angeli, 2015.

Elisabetta Vezzosi, Madri e Stato. Politiche sociali negli Stati Uniti del Novecento, Roma, Carocci, 2002

Robert Wiebe, La democrazia americana, a cura di Tiziano Bonazzi, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2009

Teaching methods

Lectures and Seminars

Assessment methods

For attenting students: two mid-term written tests, papers presented and active participation during seminar sections and final oral exam

For not attending students: oral exam.

Teaching tools

Essays, documents, slides, power point.

Office hours

See the website of Matteo Battistini

See the website of