HIS 350L • PLURALISM IN EARLY AMERICA-W
How to write a history of cultural pluralism? Did it exist in colonial America? Has pluralism ever really existed in practice as defined by the OED? What are some other wordsperhaps ones that come from the colonial period itselfthat might better account for variations, interactions and historical conditions on the ground? Through what methods and perspectives have a number of creative historians concerned with such questions addressed them in their regional studies of everyday life in early America? The goal of this reading and research seminar is to trace the social, cultural, racial, tribal, economic, and religious origins of what we now call "multiculturalism," in myth and reality, as it was (or was not) lived and experienced in early America. In so doing, we will read widely and try to encompass the new histories of race and slavery and Indian and European encounters in our inquiries.
This seminar meets the substantial writing component. Every student is expected to engage the assigned weekly readings closely and attentively and to produce a 2-page (maximum) weekly critique as well as a 5-page research prospectus at the end of the semester. The weekly critiques are intended to help students formulate questions and consider problems they discover in the readings. Each week, three students will be chosen to read aloud their papers at the beginning of class to stimulate discussion. I do not grade according to percentages, but the majority of your grade will be determined by the quality of your weekly papers and active participation in class discussion.
Texts & Readings Thomas J. Archdeacon, "The Formative Period, 1607-1790," in Becoming American: An Ethnic History , 1-26 James Axtell, Ethnohistory: An Historian's Viewpoint; The Invasion Within: The Contest of Cultures in Colonial North America, in The European and the Indian: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America, chapts 1 and 3; and Colonial America without the Indians, in After Columbus: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America, chapt 11. Week four: The Indian Perspective Facing East Daniel K. Richter, Facing East From Indian Country Week five: Middle Colonies (a classical perspective) J. Hector St John de Crevecoeur, Letters From an American Farmer Week six: Middle Colonies (NY) Russell Shorto, Island at the Center of the World Week seven: Middle Colonies (NY and slavery) Shane White, Somewhat More Independent Week eight: Middle Colonies (PA) James T. Lemon, The Best Poor Mans Country Week nine: Upper South (VA) April Lee Hatfield, Atlantic Virginia Week ten: Lower South Alan Gallay, The Indian Slave Trade Week eleven: West Indies (Jamaica) Trevor Burnard, Mastery, Tyranny, and Desire Week twelve: The Southwest James F. Brooks, Captives and Cousins Week thirteen The Southwest (Film, 1996) John Sayles, Lone Star