HIS 506-1 Historiography of U.S. History Since 1877
T 4:00-6:30 TBA
This course is designed as an over-view of historiographical issues in United States history since 1877 and covers both chronological and topical themes. Students should gain from the course a broad framework for interpreting the varieties of interpretations of American historians from the time of the creation of the American Historical Organization to the present. This course should also help to prepare the student for answering questions on comprehensive exams in American history since 1877.
The first book listed in each section will be read in common as well as all essays assigned from Banner and Courvares. Students should send to the instructor a three page typed, double-spaced critical reflection of the assigned book the day before the class meeting. In addition, students should read the articles assigned in each week’s readings. Students will choose two sessions in which he or leads class discussion and writes a twelve page historiographical overview of the topics. A final essay exam will be given.
Weekly assignments will be made from James M. Banner, Jr., A Century of American Historiography Francis G. Couvares, et al, Interpretations of American History, v 2. An extensive list of books and articles will be assigned for each session.
HIS 552-1 Historiography of European History Since 1789
T 1:00-3:30 Bishop 333
This course is an examination of major issues, interpretations and problems in European history since 1789. Examples of the course’s weekly topics are: The French Revolution; the Industrial Revolution; Nationalism; Liberalism; Class Consciousness and Socialism; the German Sonderweg; Imperialism; Racism; Fascism and Nazism; the Holocaust; 20th Century Capitalism; the Reconstruction of Europe after 1945; Americanization; History and Memory, History and Film. It is this instructor’s intention not to limit the course to one type of history–e.g. social, or political history–but to acquaint the students with various kinds of methodologies, ranging from traditional narrative histories to contemporary cultural histories.
Students are required to read approximately 250 pages each week and write two 10-15 page papers about the historiographical debates covered in class. Students will also make book presentations in class. Grading will be based both on written work and participation to discussions.
HIS 605-1 Understanding the Socio-Political History of American Slavery and Commodification
Dr. Cooper Owens
W 4:00-6:30 Bishop 326
Course Description and Objectives:
“Turning people into slaves entailed more than the completion of a market transaction. . . . The violence exercised in the service of human commodification relied on a scientific empiricism always seeking to find the limits of human capacity for suffering, that point where material and social poverty threatened to consume entirely the lives it was meant to garner for sale in the Americas.” —Dr. Stephanie Smallwood, Historian—excerpted from Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to America
“When we talk about reparations today — however the issue is decided — all we are really doing in a sense is being true to the memory of those who struggled, and who went to jail and worked hard for this cause, and the old ex-slaves who died in poverty and got nothing.” —Dr. Mary Frances Berry, Historian—Beach Institute, GA series on reparations, 3/2002
Forming relevant queries about slavery is akin to opening a securely sealed Pandora’s box. The answers one may find are messy, unsettling, irksome, and revelatory. For example, are politically oriented discussions about slavery still relevant in the 21st century? Why have conversations about reparations stayed on the tongues and in the minds of Americans for over two centuries? What can we learn from historians’ formal study of American slavery? Further, what insights can we develop about the epistemologies, ideologies, and the social world of African merchants, Native American slave owners, European ship captains, slave masters, black and red slaves, and free persons of color? What role did gender, class, and race play in the creation of the “peculiar institution” of slavery?
This course will survey African slavery in the Americas broadly (16th century – 19th century) and the U.S. South during both the colonial and antebellum eras. In addition to centralizing the market costs of slavery and exploring the “world the slaves made,” we will also examine the little-known world of slavery among native peoples, a topic that has been overlooked by most slave scholars. Lastly, we will analyze both the impact and legacy of slavery on contemporary American society.
- Ira Berlin. Generations of Captivity: A History of African American Slaves, (Cambridge: Belknap Press, 2003) ISBN: 9780674016248
- Stephanie Smallwood. Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora, (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2007) ISBN: 978- 0674030688
- Judith Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff . In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2010) ISBN: 978—52-257504
- Celia Naylor. African Cherokees in Indian Territory: From Chattel to Citizens (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008) ISBN: 978-0807858837
- Walter Johnson. Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market, (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001). ISBN: 978- 0674005396
- Edward Baptiste and Stephanie Camp, eds. New Studies in American Slavery, (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006) ISBN: 9780820326948
- Dylan Peningroth. The Claims of Kinfolk: African American Property and Community in the Nineteenth Century South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2002) ISBN: 978-0-8078-5476-1
- Brenda Stevenson. Life in Black and White: Family and Community in the Slave South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997) ISBN: 978-0195118032
- Stephanie Camp. Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press, 2004) ISBN: 978-0807855348
- Robert Blakeslee Gilpin. John Brown Still Lives: America’s Long Reckoning. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011) ISBN: 978-0-8078-3501-2
- Robin Blackburn. The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation, and Human Rights (London: Verso, 2011) ISBN: 978-1844675692
- Mary Frances Berry. My Face is Black is True: Callie House and the Struggle for Ex-Slave Reparations, (New York: Knopf Publishing Group, 2005). ISBN: 9781400040032
HIS 611-1 Readings: Recent Directions in Civil War Era History
M 1:00-3:30 Bishop 333
The era of the Civil War (1848-1877) has attracted study and invited debate since the 19th century. While interest in the period has remained constant, however, the questions historians ask about it have changed considerably over the past 150 years. This course is an introduction to the historiography of the Civil War era with a special focus on recent directions in scholarship. The semester begins with a review of the most prominent historiographical debates surrounding secession, war, and Reconstruction. The bulk of the semester will then focus on historiographical questions that have engaged scholars in recent decades. Topics will include the origins of sectionalism, Northern and Southern nationalism, international dimensions of the conflict, religion and the Civil War, the border and the West, irregular warfare, total war, and the Confederate home front. We will conclude with a discussion of scholarly trends in the field of Reconstruction, including Reconstruction and the West, Reconstruction as a national phenomenon, and new ways of looking at reconciliation and reunion.
HIS 613-1 Readings in Contemporary U.S. History (Post-1945)
Th 4:00-6:30 Barnard Observatory 108
This course is a rigorous introduction to U.S. history and historiography since 1945. Students are expected to read, on average, between 250-450 pages per week, and write weekly reaction essays as well as three book reviews. Prior advanced training in history—or the subfield of postwar U.S. history—is not required, but a solid grounding in the basics of U.S. history is strongly advised.
For students on the M.A. track, this course has two goals: 1) to expose you to “classics” in the field and to some important and innovative new studies; 2) to teach you how to research, write, and think with historiography in mind. For students on the Ph.D. track, this course’s goals are the same, although it also intends to prepare you for comps. Whether you are a M.A. or Ph.D. student, this course’s required readings draw you into important historical debates regarding postwar U.S. history while the suggested readings provide you a broad sense of the available literature in various sub-fields. The enterprising student might read reviews of these additional books and/or make an effort to figure out their basic arguments. Regardless, all students will draw from the course’s readings when crafting their book reviews and their end-of-term historiographic essay or mock comp.
HIS 685-1 Readings in Middle East History: Orientalism
M 4:00-6:30 Bishop 324
Offering a criticism of Western scholarly and literary production on the Middle East, the book “Orientalism” by Edward Said has become a scholarly landmark, and its theoretical approach has by now found resonance far beyond the confines of Middle Eastern studies. The objective of this course is to understand and assess Said’s discursive approach. In order to do so, students will be reading his criticism in parallel to the scholarship he criticized, as well as more recent critiques of Said’s approach. In the second half of the semester, students will be expected to draw from Said’s methodology in order to analyze a discourse in their own field of specialization (outside of the Middle East).
HIS 686-1 Readings in Colonial Latin American History
M 4:00-6:30 Bishop 333
This course examines key topics in Caribbean historiography from the early-sixteenth to late-nineteenth centuries. Despite surveying a few works on the early history of the imperial Caribbean, the class will focus primarily on the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It will cover historical scholarship on topics such as trade, imperial rivalry, the slave trade and plantation slavery, sugar production, slave revolts, and anti-colonial independence struggles. During the semester, we will get to know fascinating people such as a navigator who obsessed over apocalyptic prophecies (Christopher Columbus), an ingenious and bloodthirsty pirate who became a lieutenant governor (Sir Henry Morgan), a libertine planter (Thomas Thistlewood), and a general fighting for his country’s independence even as it branded him a second class citizen (Antonio Maceo). In the isles of the Antilles, empires fought for control over territory and commerce. A brutal, but incredibly efficient plantation complex took root. Millions of forcibly-imported slaves lived, worked, and bore descendants who later would become citizens of new nations. And the region saw the hemisphere’s largest successful slave revolt. A range of methodological approaches to the British, French, and Spanish Caribbean will facilitate an understanding of its major historiographical currents.
Major course readings may include:
Alejandro de la Fuente, Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century
Richard Dunn, Sugar and Slaves: The Rise of the English Planter Class in the West Indies, 1624-1713
Trevor Burnard, Master, Tyranny, and Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and His Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World
Ada Ferrer, Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868-1898
Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution.
Jane Landers, Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions
HIS 702-1 Research Seminar in U.S. History from the Civil War to the Present
Dr. C. Wilson
M 1:00-3:30 Bishop 333
The goal of History 702 is to produce a 30 page paper based in extensive research in primary sources. The content will focus on the cultural history of the U.S. South, with readings in articles and a few books that will serve as models of research, writing, and historiographical interpretation. Class will meet a few times as a group, but it will mostly involve students doing their own research and writing, submitting various drafts through the semester. Anyone interested in taking the course should consult with the instructor to discuss possible research topics before registering.