Jessica Wang works on nineteenth- and twentieth-century U.S. history and has pursued a wide range of interests related to the history of science and medicine, U.S. political and intellectual history, political theory, urban and social history, and the history of U.S. foreign relations. Her current book project, "Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers: Rabies, Medicine, and Public Health in an American Metropolis, 1840-1920," uses the social history of a dread disease to explore urban social geography, the place of domesticated animals in the nineteenth-century city, the nature of physicians' self-fashioning and the place of pathological anatomy in the construction of medical identity, the institutional contexts of medicine, disease, and public health, and the ties between the public-private relationship, urban governance, and American state-building. This research also rests on Wang's longer-term engagement with questions about the social and political contexts of knowledge, ideas, and public authority, which she has also addressed through studies of cold war American science, science and democratic political theory, social science and New Deal political economy, and internationalism and U.S. foreign relations. Her publications include American Science in an Age of Anxiety (1999), as well as articles in the Journal of American History, Isis, Osiris, the Journal of Policy History, Historical studies in the natural sciences, the Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, and other forums.
This course provides an in-depth survey of U.S. history from 1896 to 1945, a crucial time period when the United States became first an industrial powerhouse and, eventually, a global superpower. We will examine the phenomenon of industrialization and responses to industrial society, the nature and meaning of “modern times,” economic upheaval and social change, the rise of the United States as a world power, and the politics of race, ethnicity, and gender as we explore the history of the United States during the Progressive era, World War I, the 1920s, the Great Depression, and World War II.
Selected topics in the political and economic aspects of American foreign policy from 1870 to 1945.
At the end of World War II, the United States became a global superpower, and it has yet to relinquish that status. This course examines the history of U.S. foreign relations during the cold war and post-cold war eras, or what might be called “the age of American power.” Major themes include the nature of the international system and its possibilities, the structure of the American state and its foreign policy apparatus, major doctrines developed and employed by successive Presidential administrations to guide foreign policy, and the frequent disjuncture between American perceptions of the world and other nations’ and peoples’ perceptions of themselves and their interests. We will also examine the relationship between foreign and domestic policy, the question of American empire and the uses of power, and the threat of mass destruction in the nuclear age.
James Burnham Sedgwick, "The Trial Within: Negotiating Justice at the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, 1946-1948" (UBC, 2012).
Victor J. Rodriguez, "The Practical Man: John Dewey, the Idea of America, and the Making of the Modern Mexican, 1923-1934" (UCLA, 2009).
Megan K. Barnhart, “‘To Secure the Benefits of Science to the General Welfare’: The Scientists’ Movement and the American Public during the Cold War, 1945-1960” (UCLA, 2007).
Peter S. Alagona, “Transforming Conservation: Endangered Species, Biodiversity, and the Political Economy of Science in California” (UCLA, 2006).
Laura J. Gifford, “The Center Cannot Hold: The 1960 Presidential Election and the Rise of Modern Conservatism” (UCLA, 2006).
Amanda K. McVety, “Truman’s Point Four Program and the Creation of America’s Modern Diplomatic Vision” (UCLA, 2006).
Jessica B. Elkind, “The First Casualties: American Nation Building Programs in South Vietnam, 1955-1965” (UCLA, 2005).
Philip Dunlop, "Sideshow Revisited: Cambodia and the Failure of American Diplomacy, 1973" (UBC, 2010).
Photo credit: Catherine Caddigan