Summer 2013 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This is a graduate-level introduction to, and overview of, recent scholarship in the field of nineteenth-century American cultural history. It has two primary purposes: to introduce students to the distinctive varieties of cultural history and their interpretive approaches; and to provide an overview of issues specific to nineteenth-century American culture. The first purpose involves a focus on methodology, conceptual approaches, and the ways in which cultural historians differ among themselves, as well as from non-cultural historians. The second purpose is more concerned with the substantive questions of the nineteenth century: e.g. how did culture and values change in response to the emergence of a market society? In what way did the changing legal status of slaves and free laborers shape new values about gender and individual rights? What role did cultural memory play in reconstructing the nation in the period after the Civil War? What accounts forthe fascination with deception of the senses in popular culture? What are the cultural consequences of new forms of communication? Was nineteenth century culture "transnational," and if so, in what sense?
Wendy Bellion, Citizen Spectator: Art, Illusion, and Visual Perception in Early National America
David Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory
Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War
Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market
Jackson Lears, Rebirth of a Nation
Susan Pearson, The Rights of the Defenseless
David Sehat, The Myth of American Religious Freedom
Amy Dru Stanley, From Bondage to Contract: Wage Labor, Marriage, and the Market in the Age of Slave Emancipation
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Class participation, one short book review, one annotated bibliography (15-20 pages).