Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happiness: State of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

Course Description 222114

In this course we're going to study how "happiness" and "the good life" have been variously defined and debated in U.S. history. Our emphasis throughout the term is going to be on the processes of "doing" history; in other words, we're going to go about our study of history as historians do, by locating, analyzing, and comparing primary documents pertaining to "the good life" as they are rooted in particular historical contexts and periods. We'll work on sharpening skills in writing and analysis that are important to your success in college and whatever career path you wish to undertake. But beyond this, careful consideration of "happiness" and "the good life" in historical perspective is invaluable in gaining a sense not just of where we've been, but where we are and where we're going in a nation and world facing enormous changes and challenges. The study of history is useful not only in exploring the past, but also getting a firmer grasp on the present, and the future.

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