Class #55

Social History Of America’s Underclasses From The Gilded Age To The 1920s: African Americans, Native Americans, Women, Children & Immigrants

Lou Covotsos

September 19 - September 25, 2021

instructor imageUnlike the traditional study of history, with its emphasis on presidential and Congressional politics, legislation, elections, foreign affairs and macro-economic trends, social history focuses on the lives of ordinary people. With an emphasis on the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this class will explore what it was like to be an “underprivileged” or “marginal” member of the American experience.

A one-word description of African Americans, women, children, Native Americans and immigrants as an “underclass” or “marginal” challenges the diversity of each of these groups as well as the richness of their contributions to multi-cultural America.

The African American experience will focus on the passage from slavery to Jim Crow. For women, emphasis will be on the development of having a separate, equal sphere of influence and the rise of social feminism. For children, who were once viewed as miniature adults, you’ll learn how they came to be regarded as beings to be nurtured and protected. And for Native Americans and immigrants, the class will explore the unique challenges they faced in seeking to either maintain or to cast off their cultural heritages. Combined, the social history of these groups provides a unique lens on modern America.

Ideally, each student will have the opportunity to read an original source, assigned before class, and share that source with the class. In addition to discussions, the class will be livened up with documentary films.

Lou Covotsos earned both a master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Chicago in modern United States history, with an emphasis on both women’s studies and the southern United States. After going on to earn his J.D., Lou became associate professor of law at the Loyola University of Chicago School of Law for 25 years, teaching legal analysis to first-year law students. He has pursued his first love—history—by crafting several social history classes that he has presented at both The Clearing and for Learning in Retirement. Lou retired to Door County with his wife, Daniele, in 2010, where they live year-round.

Lou will contact students prior to class.

Level: All levels

Pricing (per person):
$1120 Dorm Room Package*
$1220 Two-Person Room Package*
$1835 Single-Person Room Package* (limited availability)
$625 Commuter Package** (limited availability)

*package includes tuition, lodging & 16 meals
**package includes tuition & 5 meals