Despite the dominant historical narrative of American “exceptionalism,” imperial practices are at the heart of United States history and the formation of an American colonial state. In this course, we survey the emergence of the United States as an empire in the Caribbean and Pacific at the turn of the century (1890s-1910s). First, we examine imperial transitions during the mid-nineteenth century, when the United States was emerging as an empire, the traditional Spanish Empire was contracting, and the British Empire was expanding. The formation of the American empire, therefore, was shaped by competing international actors and great historical change. Second, we examine the history of four United States colonies in the Caribbean and Pacific: Hawaii, the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Class readings and lectures privilege the perspective of Caribbean and Pacific peoples. We highlight the multiple ways colonial societies responded to the United States, including radical nationalism, autonomism, and annexation. Throughout the course, we pay particular attention to how racial ideologies informed colonial practices.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Professor del Moral.
If Overenrolled: Priority given to American Studies majors.