Despite the dominant historical narrative of U.S. “exceptionalism,” imperial practices are at the heart of U.S. history and the formation of an American colonial state. In this course, we survey the emergence of U.S. Empire in the Pacific and Caribbean at the turn of the century (1890s-1910s). In the mid-nineteenth century, the United States was emerging as an empire, as the Spanish Empire was contracting and the British Empire was expanding. The formation of the United States as an empire, therefore, was shaped by competing international actors and great historical change. We examine the history of four turn-of-the-century U.S. territories in the Pacific and Caribbean: Hawaii, the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Class readings and lectures privilege the perspective of colonial peoples. We highlight the multiple ways colonial societies negotiated U.S. colonial practices. Colonial responses to U.S. imperialism were varied, ranging from radical nationalism, autonomism, and annexation. Throughout the course, we pay particular attention to how racial ideologies informed colonial practices.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor del Moral.
If Overenrolled: Priority given to American Studies majors.