We sometimes hear that the United States is a young country. What is age for a nation, and how does it compare to age for an individual? How young is America, who are young Americans, and how do individuals and cultures make sense of their development? This program combines the study of history and developmental psychology to explore adolescence and national, social, and personal identity.
History asks us to use evidence to understand the lives and world views of people in the past. Questions of inclusion and power - who is advantaged and who is disadvantaged - are informed by analyses of race, class, gender, and sexuality. The history component of this program will focus on the political, social, and cultural history of the United States from the Civil War to the present. In particular, we will focus on the modernization of political, economic, and cultural systems, and how adolescents and young people both influenced and were affected by these changes. In addition to looking chronologically at changes from the mid-nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries, there will be several deep dives into questions of particular interest to many Evergreen students across broad periods of American history. These will include: the history of American business and its discontents, exploring how market capitalism developed in the United States and how it has been contested or resisted; the development of racism and racial inequalities from settler colonialism, racial slavery, and segregation, and how people of color have demonstrated resistance and resilience; the ways gender and sexuality have shaped power and privilege, and especially how queer, non-binary, and trans Americans have challenged structural oppression.
Psychology asks us to use the scientific method to describe, predict, and explain behavior and mental processes in the present. Questions of development, about constancy and change over time, are investigated in the contexts of the physical, cognitive, and social domains. The psychology component of this program will focus on the development of adolescents (ages 13-18) and emerging adults (ages 18-25). In addition to looking at major developmental theories, such as Piaget's theory of cognitive development, Erikson's psychosocial theory, and Bronfenbrenner's ecological model, there will be several deep dives into questions of particular interest to many Evergreen students: the changes in autonomy, exploring how we become independent from our parents; the development of our sense of self including self-esteem, self-concept, and identity; and the ways our peers and friends influence us.
Together, both portions of the program will interrogate what has been similar and what has been different in the lived experiences of young people in the United States since the Civil War era. And what, we shall ask, will the future hold?
This program will lead students through intermediate-to-advanced work in the humanities and social sciences as part of the Culture, Text, and Language in World Societies Path of Study. The program will be reading, writing, and research intensive. Students will be expected to demonstrate growth in reading historical texts and psychology research, independently researching in primary and secondary sources, analytical writing, and critical academic thinking. By the end of the program, students will develop skills in asking critical questions, finding answers to those questions through independent research, and persuasively communicate their findings in writing.
Classroom activities for the fall quarter will prioritize in-person learning as much as possible, especially seminars. Some lectures and workshops may be delivered online via Canvas and Zoom.
Previous study in the humanities and social sciences, particularly US history or psychology, is strongly recommend for students joining the program in winter quarter.
psychology, social work, history, public history, American studies, education, politics