This course examines pivotal issues and moments in U.S. history, where morals, justice and power took on heightened urgency, becoming focal points of public debate. With an eye to present-day concerns, the course will explore race and slavery; bodily autonomy; freedom of speech and assembly; and the market as a model in a democracy. We will study both the voices of actors in the past and influential historical writing, examining contending views, resolutions reached or not reached, tracing the play of debate in a range of sources, including speeches, stories, political debates, and legal cases.
This course fulfills an elective requirement and counts toward the Ethics and Leadership concentration
Amy Dru Stanley is an Associate Professor in UChicago’s History Department. Her research and teaching focus on US history, from the early Republic through the Progressive Era. She is especially interested in the history of capitalism, slavery, and emancipation, and the historical experience of moral problems. Methodologically, she works at the intersections of intellectual, social, and legal history. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships, from institutions including the Center for Human Values at Princeton University, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Museum of American History, the American Bar Foundation, and the New York University Law School. She has also been awarded the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2009 and a Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring in 2005.