HIS 397K • 1-LIT OF US HIST BEFORE 1865
2:00 PM-5:00 PM
This course is designed to introduce students to the diversity and breadth of writings in early American history and to some of the questions asked by these historians. This area of study has become increasingly vast since historians have ceased to analyze only the British mainland colonies (which later became the United States) and instead have discussed the widespread circulations of peoples, ideas, goods, and microbes in the "Atlantic world." In addition, they have examined large-scale social processes, such as "becoming colonial," that were shared by the mix of peoples in Indian-, Spanish-, English-, French-, and Dutch-controlled areas. This class draws together a group of bookssome canonical, some very newthat exemplify these avenues of thought. In most weeks, we will pair a book with a short original document or a historiographical review essay. A single-semester class needs to be radically limited in scope, so I've chosen to focus primarily on three expansive themes (foundings, racial orders, and powers of communication) in order to draw our attention to issues of historiography rather than to a survey. In addition, we will examine two heightened moments of conflict and debate within the professional field of early American studies to draw out the significance of questions of evidence, narrative, and broad-based canonic versions of the historical story.
Kathleen Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs Cathy N. Davidson, Revolution and the Word Elizabeth Eisenstein, The Printing Press as an Agent of Change David Eltis, The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas David Hall, World of Wonders, Days of Judgment Walter Johnson, Soul By Soul Winthrop Jordan, White Over Black Jane Kamensky, Governing the Tongue Trish Loughran, The Republic in Print Perry Miller, The New England Mind: The Seventeenth Century Peter Novick, That Noble Dream Michael Warner, Letters of the Republic