National Collegiate Honors Council



Date of this Version


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Published in Breaking Barriers in Teaching and Learning, edited by James Ford and John Zubizarreta. National Collegiate Honors Council Teaching and Learning Monograph III (2018), 254p


Copyright © 2018 by National Collegiate Honors Council.


At Southern Oregon University, a course designated as HON 315: Perspectives on Twentieth-Century American Identity has been developed and offered with a high degree of success for several terms. Its pedagogical flexibility, high level of student participation, and exceptionally high course-evaluation ratings from students indicate that it might serve as a useful model for honors programs and colleges as a lower-level honors course in United States history or perhaps adapted to other disciplines. The course description is as follows:

This course is a study of the development of the United States in the twentieth century and early twenty-first century, focusing on the evolution of American identity, society, and culture. Throughout the term, the course progresses sequentially, examining specific years as focal points for comparative analysis. The criteria for selecting particular years are subjective, based on the instructor’s choices, but not random. The twenty years, designated as focal points, represent pivotal moments in larger movements and trends involving race, class, and gender; the development of advertising and consumer culture; the emergence and evolution of mass popular culture; the onset of major social movements, especially those in pursuit of civil rights, women’s rights, and LGBTQIA+ rights; changes in patterns of daily living; and the burgeoning role of science and technological change in transmitting culture and affecting daily life.