HIST 210 Collapse of the United States

INSTRUCTOR: Dr. Albert Kuhn (History)
TERM: October 30 – December 20

This class will provide an in-depth analysis of the collapse of the United States of America. Clark’s Bannon, being the standard history of the period, will be read in light of three larger types of work:

  1. Theoretical histories on disruptions to the constitution of the state, as observed by its participants
  2. Experiential histories of witnesses to the dissolution of the state
  3. Comparative histories of other great historical collapses

Students are free to choose any of these works but will be asked to report on their reading regularly.

Theoretical histories
Malthus, Essay on the Principle of Population (1798)
Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835-40)
Club of Rome, The Limits to Growth (1972)
Richard Sennett, The Fall of Public Man (1977)
Reinhart Koselleck, Critique and Crisis: Enlightenment and the Pathogenesis of Modern Society (1988)
Mary Ann Glendon, Rights Talk: The Impoverishment of Political Discourse (1993)
Robert D. Putnam, Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2000)
John Michael Greer, Twilight’s Last Gleaming (2013)
Dmitry Orlov, Living in a Burnt Out Earth (2019)
Ross Douthat, The Winter of our Discontent: Rediscovering Our Biblical Roots in a Time of Crisis (2020)

Experiential histories
George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (2013)
Alexander Zaitchik, The Gilded Rage: A Wild Ride Through Donald Trump’s America (2016)
Yasha Levine, Surveillance Valley: The Rise of the Military-Digital Complex (2017)
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, Death Throes of the Beast: An Outsider’s History of Washington, 2017-2021 (2022)
Charlotte Allen, The Wall: An Oral History (2022)
Julia Hahn, The Days of the Coup (suppressed, c. 2024) – mimeographs available in my office
Anonymous, Hunger (2028)
Rod Dreher, Weakness, Our Strength: Encounters with Faith (2030)
William Hogeland, The Founders of the Republic of New England (2031)
Phil Klay, If This Is a Man (2039)
Tulsi Gabbard, Reflections (2055)

Comparative histories
Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian (excerpts)
Cicero, Political Speeches
Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West (1916-8)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, November 1916 (1984)
Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution (1989)
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Saved by Randomness: Surviving the Civil War in Lebanon (2022)
Andrei Raevsky, How the Second Rome Fell (2033 [suppressed, 2023])

Final reading
Clark, On Bannon (2041)

Grading
Final essays should connect the message of Bannon to at least three of the assigned readings, and to the duties owed by citizens to our own republic. Essays are due no later than December 23 and will be returned after Christmastide.

Posted: February 10th, 2017 | Politics