One of my teaching duties during my Fulbright year is to teach two weeks of “Philosophy of Science II: American Studies as Meta-Science.” This course is the second part of method/theory sequence required by all American Studies undergraduate majors. Each member of the American Studies faculty teaches two weeks of the course, on topics that speak to their expertise.
One of my assigned topics is “American Intellectual History.” Go figure. I’m to frame this topic as a general method, and assign a 40-page text that represents the method. I have some ideas about what to assign, but I’m interested in what USIH readers think are some of the best essays in American intellectual history. I’m looking for an essay that will allow me to discuss historiographical approaches. But, as opposed to an historiographical essay, I’d rather have students read a text that demonstrates one particular approach.
I know the lines are blurry here: historiography is intellectual history. So I won’t constrain the discussion by imposing any rules—as if you all would follow my rules in any case! Suggest away!