jump to page contentcalifornia state university, sacramento c a l i f o r n i a ' s   c a p i t a l  u n i v e r s i t y

Dr. Lee M. A. Simpson

history dept. | csus home



History 163: History of American Cities

Syllabus :: Objectives :: Assignments :: Grading ::
Text and Materials


Goals and Objectives::

Catalog Description: 

Course Purpose:  This course traces the evolution of American urban centers from the colonial era to the present.  It asks why and how American cities have grown, where city dwellers have come from, how they have lived, and how they have governed themselves.  A secondary consideration is to explore the variety of sources that help us understand the history of cities and the variety of ways that we can use this knowledge to improve our cities today.

Learning Objectives: Upon successful completion of History 163students will be able to:

  • Identify the historical roots of major contemporary issues confronting U.S. society such as race, class, crime, and immigration.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the diversity that exists in American cities.
  • Identify and explain the contributions to American cities of at least two of the following groups: women, ethnic, religious, socio-economic, gays and lesbians, and persons with disabilities.


You will have reading to do for each class period and the detailed class schedule makes those assignments very clear.  There are three texts for this class; all are available at the campus bookstore.  Please bring the appropriate book or books to class.  We will refer to them directly as part of our class exercises.

The examinations make up the main portion of your grade in this course.  There will be two exams during the semester.  They will not be cumulative, but will come out of class discussions and will be conducted in essay format.  Makeup exams will only be permitted for officially documented excuses.  No documentation - No makeup.

The research paper makes up 30% of your graded work for this course.  Each student will choose a specific theme in urban history to research in depth for the semester.  You must use at least five primary sources and five secondary sources for your research.  We will discuss this in greater detail as the course progresses.  The paper should be 8-10 pages long.  Once again, no late papers will be accepted without a documented excuse.

Class participation rounds out your course work.  Students are expected to attend class daily and to contribute to discussion.  Attendance without discussion will net you only a grade of C on this portion of your work.  Skip class at your own risk.

Final Examination:  Mon. Dec. 15, 2003 12:45-2:45


top of page


You will be graded on a midterm examination (25%), a final examination (35%), a semester long research paper (30%) and class participation (10%). 


top of page

Text and Material ::

  • Abbott, Carl.  The Metropolitan Frontier. (1995)

  • Chudacoff, Howard P.  Major Problems in American Urban History. (1994)

  • Jackson, Kenneth T.  Crabgrass Frontiers. (1985)

  • Kenneth Lockridge.  A New England Town.  (1980).


Last Updated November 8, 2002 top of page