HIS 306N • History of New Orleans
This course examines the history of New Orleans from its founding in 1718 as part of a French outpost until the present in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The course is divided into three chronological sections. The first (c. 1718 to 1820) examines the early development of the Crescent City under the French and then the Spanish, the rise of African slavery in the region, the development of the lower Mississippi valley as a full-blown slave society. The second section (c. 1820 to 1945) explores important commercial role of New Orleans within the antebellum South, the rise of the Carnival tradition, the abolition of slavery, and the place of New Orleans within the Jim Crow South. Finally, the third section (1945 to the present) examines migration from the countryside into the city, and the development of an economy dependent on tourism, and, of course, the impact and significance (to the extent we can know it) of Hurricane Katrina. Common themes in the course will be race relations, the relative commercial importance of the city, the impact of natural and unnatural disasters, and-especially-the extent to which the history of the crescent city is-or is not- representative of the history of urban America in general.
There will be three examinations in this course, two mid-terms and a final. The mid-terms will each count for 30% and the final (which will have a cumulative component) will count for 40% of the course grade. The exams will consist of objective and essay questions on the material from the readings and lectures. Exams will not be given ahead of schedule, nor will any make-ups be given, for any reason. Class attendance is expected and contributions to class discussion may improve a student's grade.
(Tentative) Required Texts (I'll probably only assign three texts, the following are just some ideas of what they might be) Joan B. Garvey and Mary Lou Widmer. Beautiful Crescent: A History of New Orleans Richard Campanella. New Orleans Then and Now Pierce F. Lewis. New Orleans: the Making of an Urban Landscape Louise McKinney. New Orleans: A Cultural History (Cityscapes)