Saturday, April 25, 2015

Draft Syllabus, HST 344, The Automobile and American Life, to be Taught in Leipzig, Germany, May 15 to June 19, 2015

    HST 344  -- Science, Technology and the Modern Corporation: The Automobile, American and European Life

            Instructor: John A. Heitmann

            Office Hours: whenever

            Texts:  John Heitmann, The Automobile and American Life.

            Grades: The final grade for this course will be based upon one Mid-Term Exam, (30%), occasional short essay assignments (20%), and a Final Exam (50%).  The grade scale is as follows: A  94 to 100; A-  90 to 93; B+  87-89; B 84-86; B-  80 - 83; C+ 77-79; C 74-76; C- 70-73.  A similar pattern applies to lower grades.  Letter grades are assigned a mid-point numerical grade. Additionally, attendance can influence your final grade at my discretion: if you miss more than 1 class, one letter grade will be deducted from your grade; if you miss more than 2 classes, a two letter grade reduction will take place.  Grade averages may be influenced by such factors as trends over the time of the course; for example, how you finish is far more important than how you start. Policies for exams strictly follows History Department Guidelines, and make-ups will only be offered with a valid, documented excuse.
Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and offenses will be punished accordingly. A first offense will result in a failing grade for the exam or paper in question; a second offense will result in a failing grade for the course.
Course Purpose:  It has been said that the automobile is the perfect technological symbol of American culture, a tangible expression of our quest to level space, time and class, and a reflection of our restless mobility, social and otherwise. But what of cars and European culture?  Far less has been said about this second aspect, particularly in English. In this course we will explore together the place of the automobile in American and European (especially German) life, and how it transformed business, life on the farm and in the city, the nature and organization of work, leisure time, and the arts. This is a most complex transition that we will study, as the automobile transformed everyday life and the environment in which we operate.  It influenced the foods we eat; music we listen to; risks we take; places we visit; errands we run; emotions we feel; movies we watch; stress we endure; and, the air we breathe.


May 18 Introduction;  What our cars tell us about ourselves. The car in                                         everyday life: the automobile age and its contradictions.                                                                          Automotive Pioneers – “European by Birth, American by Adoption.”  WWI.
Reading: Heitmann, Introduction, Chapter 1.
Film Clip from “Horatio’s Drive”
Powerpoint: European Auto Industry Lecture 1

May 19-21 Henry Ford and the Volkswagen;  The European Auto Industry during the 1920s; Opel, General Motors, and Sloanism
Reading: Heitmann, Chapters 2-3.
Powerpoints: WWI Trucks and Ambulance; German Auto Industry 1920s: VW

May 22 –VW Golf in Zwickau; afternoon at the Horch Museum Zwickau

May 23-25 – Long Weekend, Monday holiday – Pentecost

May 26-28 Highways and Autobahnen; The Remarkable European (and especially German) Auto Industry during the 1930s; Distinctive Trends in the American Automobile Industry to 1941
Reading: Heitmann, Chapters 4-6.

Powerpoints: Audi;
May 29 – Mercedes Sprinter plant tour, Ludwigsfelde Berlin; BMW Motorcycle Plant Berlin

June 1-5 at BMW

June 8- 11 WWII
Reading: Heitmann Chapter 7

June 9 – Mid-Term exam

June 10-11 -- The 1950s and 1960s
Reading: Heitmann Chapter 8

June 12 – Stuttgart, Mercedes Benz and Porsche
Powerpoints: Porsche; BMW Eisenach; The Great European Automobile Boom, 1950-1973

June 15 Oil Shock I and II, and the decline of American Hegemony: Global Competition
Reading: Chapter 9
June 16 – Opel in Eisenach BMW Machine tool Factory Eisenach

June 17 The Rise of China as Automobile Consumers and Producers
Powerpoint: Contemporary Automobile Industry Economics
Reading: Heitmann, Chapter 10

June 18 Final exam

June 19 Departure Day                                     

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