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On the eve of World War I, this number had roughly doubled.In Western Europe, already half of the population was urban.On the one hand, students examine the dynamics of modern racism; on the other hand, students explore the contours of African American social, cultural, and intellectual history.In the middle of the 20th century, only 16 percent of Europeans lived in cities.African American history is an important window into the history of the United States and the rise of the modern world.This course explores classic narratives and examines major developments.As different as they were from each other, neither the Native Americans who lived in North America, nor the Europeans who colonized that region, nor the Africans whom the colonists imported as slaves had any intention of establishing a new nation.
Yet precisely for this reason, cities also inspired vitriol and opposition—from nationalist back-to-nature advocates afraid of the negative consequences of their “cosmopolitan nature” to health-care professionals worried by the detrimental effects of the cities on their inhabitants’ health.
Though many of these cities were small, with fewer than 20,000 inhabitants, the European metropoles grew, too.
By 1920 in Germany, for example, 21 percent lived in cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, up from only five percent in 1871.
In our consideration of this question, we will focus on two interrelated themes: how these different cultures interacted with and affected one another and how Americans defined their identity.
Who was considered American, and what did it mean to be an American?
What was the relationship between American identity and other forms of social identity, such as gender, class, race, and culture?