International Perspectives on American Democracy, Growth, and Expansion

Friday, January 6, 2012: 9:30 AM
Chicago Ballroom H (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Jeremi Suri, University of Texas at Austin
This paper will examine the narration of three key themes in American history -- democracy, growth, and expansion -- by historians in different geographies. The paper will emphasize debates about agency, periodization, and, most of all, consequences. What did these themes mean for the United States and the world? What were their causes and dynamics? What were their limitations and their costs? The paper will also address the different comparative frames that are, implicitly or explicitly, applied to the analysis of American history. Based on the author's own biases and areas of expertise, the analysis will draw heavily on American and European interpretations, but the paper will seek to cover other perspectives in a suggestive and serious way. The conclusion will point to new areas for cooperation, synthesis, and fruitful interaction between scholars who share similar interests from different geographical perspectives. The conclusion will also suggest some institutional mechanisms for improving and deepening transnational dialogues about American history.
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