Summer 2010 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Three wars in our nation's history have had a profound impact on our shared destiny and culture: the Revolutionary War in the 18th century, the Civil War (1861-1865) in the 19th century, and the Second World War in the 20th century. This interdisciplinary seminar will consider the literature, history, and arts of the American Civil War beginning with the bitter conflict over slavery (Uncle Tom's Cabin) and ending with its cultural continuation in the 20th century (I'll Take My Stand, Gone with the Wind).
In many ways, the American Civil War was the first modern war, encompassing the new technologies of mass destruction, railroad transportation, and civilian involvement.
We will look at fiction (Stowe, Crane) and poetry (Whitman), history (McPherson), criticism (Wilson), photography, and music, so as to understand the Civil War's causes, conflicts, and consequences. We will also view excerpts from films, from the racist "Birth of a Nation," to "Gone with the Wind," to Ken Burns's documentary on the war.
Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage.
Ian Frederick Finseth, The American Civil War: An Anthology of Essential Readings.
James McPherson, Battle Cry of Freedom.
John Crowe Ransom et alia, I'll Take My Stand.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Walt Whitman, Drum Taps, etc.
Edmund Wilson, Patriotic Gore.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Daily quizzes on the readins, viewings, and discussion (20%), a course project chosen in consultation with the instructor. The project might be a traditional research paper, a conference talk, a teaching unit for elementary, middle, or high school or community college, or a creative project with an accompanying essay. The proposal will be broken down into three components: a preliminary proposal with bibliography (20%), a draft project (20%), and the completed project (20%). There will also be a class presentation, done individually or with others (20%).