This course is no longer being offered.
As everyone from Stephen Colbert to the Tea Party Patriots to the Occupy Wall Street protestors demonstrate, Americans from all sides of the political spectrum have embraced the populist appeals of the Tea Party story. In this course we examine why the theme of the Tea Party continually reemerges in American culture, and why it will remain a critical symbol for years to come.
Through movies and blogs, diaries and archival documents, and pundits and propaganda, we will examine how the symbol and story of the Tea Party has both divided and united Americans since the late 18th century. Americans have always relied on a "usable past" to push their political messages, but in this course we explore how the historical past is both open to interpretation and based on concrete evidence. We begin with the Boston Tea Party and the American Revolution, and proceed by looking at how a little-known shoemaker helped turn an obscure protest into an American symbol. Tracing the populist shades of the story through Andrew Jackson, the Civil War, the Populist Party, and the Great Depression, we spend the last half of the course examining the Reagan-era roots of the contemporary Tea Party resurgence. This course will serve as an excellent introductory course to the fields of U.S. History, Political Science, American Studies, Cultural Studies, and Sociology.
As a writing-intensive course with a heavy emphasis on multimedia content, this course will prepare students for college excellence by enhancing their argumentative writing, Internet-based research, and critical reading skills. Students will move beyond the typical five-paragraph paper by exploring counter-arguments, narrative style, and college-level research methods. As a discussion-based course with a multicultural curriculum, students will develop the vital communication skills necessary in a diversifying world. By the end of this course, students will have developed the skills necessary to interpret, through writing and through discussion, U.S. history and politics at a college-level.