10 November 2006

Welcome to History 566

At long last, I have finished my syllabus for the graduate readings seminar in early American history. I've titled it Readings in North American History, 1500-1800. While the course focuses most heavily on British North America, every week's readings contain some comparative material about Spanish and/or French North America. The readings contain material about the Caribbean as a matter of course. I've tried to incorporate recent historiographical developments that emphasize borderlands and comparative colonization in the early modern era. I hope it will also expose graduate students to developments in the prehistory and history of native North Americans and to recent reinterpretations of the history of slavery.

Students will read 14 books in their entirety, including Richard White's The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815,, which many people mentioned as a must-read for grad students (an assessment with which I heartily agree), and J.H. Elliott's 2006 masterpiece of synthetic history, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830. Students will also read numerous book chapters, book parts, and articles. I've also listed helpful reference material to help students lacking background in early American history catch up.

I am deeply indebted to the many graduate readings seminar syllabi I have accumulated over the years; I borrowed topics, assignment ideas, and readings from many of them. I'll also note the Word does not transpose well into Blogger. Please bear with the formatting snafus.

Lastly, I invite the Weekly (sub)Standard to sneer. :)

Readings in North American History, 1500-1800

This graduate readings seminar introduces recent problems and questions as well as enduring issues in early American history. It is arranged both thematically and chronologically. Students will be expected to explore three key elements of early American historiography: chronology (the basic timeline and narrative of historical development), major events and turning points (periodization), and they will be expected to engage in critical analysis of the major works and themes in the field. By the end of the course you should be familiar with broad themes and interpretations in early American history, in preparation for oral exams, research in early American history, and teaching the first half of the standard American history survey.

If you feel you need a refresher course on background and basic chronology, you should consult Alan Taylor’s American Colonies (Viking, 2001) or D.W. Meinig’s The Shaping of America, vol. I (Yale, 1986). For a historiographical overview, you should read the relevant articles in Daniel Vickers, ed., A Companion to Colonial America (Blackwell, 2003). For the English background, you should consult the first two volumes of The Oxford History of the British Empire or Keith Wrightson’s English Society, 1580-1680 (London, 1982). For the Spanish in North America, see especially David Weber, The Spanish Frontier in North America (Yale, 1992). For the French in North America, see especially W.J. Eccles, The French in North America, 1500-1765 (Michigan State, 1998). These books are all on reserve at Fondren Library for you to consult.

Each student in the course will participate in weekly discussions, review one week’s readings, and write a historiographical essay, due at the end of the semester (in lieu of a final exam). All reading is required. Students should take notes on individual readings as well as make synthetic notes on each week’s topic as a whole. For the week you select to write a review of the readings, you must also submit (by 8pm on Sunday the evening before class) a set of concise questions for the seminar, distributed via email to me and to the whole class. Your review of one week’s readings will be 8-10 pages in length, and your final paper, on a topic of your choosing, will be 12-15 pages. You are expected to do substantial additional reading for the final paper; you will consult with me to formulate a topic and I will make recommendations for additional readings. A prospectus and annotated bibliography for the final paper is due on our final class meeting, Monday, 23 April 2007. The final paper is due to my office by 12 noon on Monday, 7 May 2007. No late papers will be accepted and no extensions will be granted (except in the case of severe illness or other personal emergency—any excuses must be accompanied by appropriate documentation).

Your grade will be based on active participation in class discussion (30%), the 8-10 page review and pre-circulated questions (30%), and the final paper (40%).

Books that are assigned in full are available for purchase at the bookstore. All books are also on reserve at Fondren Library. All assigned articles are online and available via JSTOR, History Cooperative, or Synergy.

Monday 8 January: Introductions
For our first class, please read the following short articles, and prepare a 3-5 page essay answering the question “Why study early American history?” This essay won’t be graded, but I will read it and return it with comments. As you read and write, you should also consider three key questions: what should be the geographical boundaries of early America? When should “early America” begin? And, who were the early Americans?
? James A. Hijiya, “Why the West is Lost” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. vol. 51, no. 2 (April 1994), 276-292. (JSTOR)
? Michael McGiffert, et al., “Forum: Why the West is Lost” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. vol. 51, no. 4 (October 1994), 717-754. (JSTOR)
? Gordon S. Wood, “A Century of Writing Early American History: Then and Now Compared; Or, How Henry Adams Got It Wrong” American Historical Review vol. 100, no. 3 (June 1995), 678-696. (JSTOR)
? Philip Morgan, “Rethinking Early American Slavery,” and Gary B. Nash, “The Concept of Inevitability in the History of European-Indian Relations,” in Pestana and Salinger, eds., Inequality in Early America (Dartmouth, 1999), 239-291. (on reserve)
? Joyce E. Chaplin, “Expansion and Exceptionalism in Early American History Journal of American History vol. 89, no.4 (March 2003), 1431-1456. (available via History Cooperative)

Monday 15 January: Native North America (MLK, Jr. Day—we’ll meet Wed.)
? Inga Clendinnen, Aztecs: An Interpretation (Cambridge University Press, 2001), entire.
? Neal Salisbury, “The Indians’ Old World: Native Americans and the Coming of Europeans” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. vol. 53, no. 3 (July 1996), 435-458. (JSTOR)
? John F. Scarry, “The Late Prehistoric Southeast” in Hudson and Tesser, eds., The Forgotten Centuries: Indians and Europeans in the American South, 1521-1704 (University of Georgia Press, 1994), 17-35. (on reserve)
? Daniel K. Richter, The Ordeal of the Longhouse: The Peoples of the Iroquois League in the Era of European Colonization (University of North Carolina, 1992), 1-49. (on reserve)

Monday 22 January: Encounters
? Karen Kupperman, Indians and English: Facing Off in Early America (Cornell, 2000), entire.
? J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830 (Yale, 2006), xiii-xx, 3-28, 57-87.
? Nicholas P. Canny, “The Ideology of English Colonization: From Ireland to America” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., vol. 50, no. 3 (July 1973), 575-598. (JSTOR)
? Alfred W. Crosby, “Virgin Soil Epidemics as a Factor in the Aboriginal Depopulation in America” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., vol. 33, no. 2 (April 1976), 289-299. (JSTOR)
? Joyce E. Chaplin, Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500-1676 (Harvard, 2001), 1-3, 157-198. (on reserve)

Monday 29 January: Migration
? Bernard Bailyn, The Peopling of British North America: An Introduction (Vintage, 1986), entire.
? J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World, 29-56.
? Allan Greer, The People of New France (Toronto, 1997), 3-26. (on reserve)
? Richard White, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (Cambridge, 1991), ix-xvi, 1-93.
? Virginia DeJohn Anderson, “Migrants and Motives: Religion and the Settlement of New England, 1630-1640” New England Quarterly vol 58, no. 3 (September 1985), 339-383. (JSTOR)

Monday 5 February: Profit
? J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World, 88-116.
? Kenneth Andrews, Trade, Plunder, and Settlement: Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480-1630 (Cambridge University Press, 1984), 1-40, 256-355. (on reserve)
? Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern (Verso, 1997), 127-184, 217-276. (on reserve)
? Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia (W.W. Norton, 1975), 3-212. (on reserve)
? Richard White, The Middle Ground, 94-141.

Monday 12 February: Politics, Authority, and Power
? J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World, 117-183.
? Jack P. Greene, Pursuits of Happiness: The Social Development of the Early Modern British Empire and the Formation of American Culture (University of North Carolina Press, 1988), 1-100.
? Richard White, The Middle Ground, 142-268.
? Gary B. Nash, “The Transformation of Urban Politics, 1700-1764” Journal of American History vol. 60, no. 3 (December 1973), 605-632. (JSTOR)
? Adrian Howe, “The Bayard Treason Trial: Dramatizing Anglo-Dutch Politics in Early Eighteenth-Century New York City” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., vol. 47, no.1 (January 1990), 57-89. (JSTOR)

Monday 19 February: Religion and Belief
? J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World, 184-218.
? Perry Miller, “Errand into the Wilderness” and “The Marrow of Puritan Divinity” in Errand into the Wilderness (Harvard, 1956), 1-16, 48-98. (on reserve)
? David Hall, “On Common Ground: The Coherence of American Puritan Studies” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., vol. 44, no. 2 (April 1987), 193-229. (JSTOR)
? Jon E. Sensbach, Rebecca’s Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World (Harvard, 2005), entire.
? Rhys Isaac, “Evangelical Revolt: The Nature of the Baptists’ Challenge to the Traditional Order in Virginia, 1765-1775” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser. vol. 31, no. 3 (July 1973), 345-368. (JSTOR)
? Mary Maples Dunn, “Saints and Sisters: Congregational and Quaker Women in the Early Colonial Period” American Quarterly vol. 30, no. 5 (Winter 1978), 582-601. (JSTOR)
? Jon Butler, Becoming America: The Revolution before 1776 (Harvard, 2000), 185-224. (on reserve)

Monday 26 February: Gender and Culture
? Carol Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England (Vintage Books, 1989), 1-116. (on reserve)
? Cornelia Hughes Dayton, Women Before the Bar: Gender, Law, & Society in Connecticut, 1639-1789 (University of North Carolina, 1995), entire.
? Billy G. Smith, “Black Women Who Stole Themselves in Eighteenth-Century America” in Pestana and Salinger, eds., Inequality in Early America (University Press of New England, 1999), 134-159. (on reserve)
? Sarah M.S. Pearsall, “Gender” in Armitage and Braddick, eds., British Atlantic World, 1500-1800 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2002), 113-132.
? Natalie Zemon Davis, “Iroquois Women, European Women” in Hendricks and Parker, eds., Women, Race, and Writing in the Early Modern Period (Routledge, 1994), 423-58.
? Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750 (Vintage Books, 1980), 13-86. (on reserve)
? Joan Wallach Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis” in Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (Columbia, 1999), 28-50. (on reserve)

Monday 5 March: No Class, Spring Break

Monday 12 March: Work
? Jennifer L. Morgan, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery (Pennsylvania, 2004), entire.
? Richard White, The Middle Ground, 94-141.
? Robin Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492-1800 (Verso, 1997), 307-368, 457-508. (on reserve)
? Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom, 213-292. (on reserve)
? Stephen Innes, ed., Work and Labor in Early America, 3-47. (on reserve)
? Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, “Martha Ballard and Her Girls: Women’s Work in Eighteenth-Century Maine,” in Ibid., 70-105.
? Philip D. Morgan, “Task and Gang Systems: The Organization of Labor on New World Plantations,” in Ibid., 189-220.
? Allan Greer, The People of New France, 27-42. (on reserve)
? Trevor Burnard, Mastery, Tyranny, & Desire: Thomas Thistlewood and his Slaves in the Anglo-Jamaican World (University of North Carolina, 2004), 37-68. (on reserve)

Friday 16 March: Attend Jennifer Morgan’s lecture. Time and place TBA.

Monday 19 March: Political Economy
? Albert O. Hirschman, The Passions and the Interests: Political Arguments for Capitalism before its Triumph (Princeton, 1997), entire.
? Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery (London, 1944), chapters 3-5. (on reserve)
? Blackburn, The Making of New World Slavery, 307-400. (on reserve)
? J.E. Crowley, This Sheba, Self: The Conceptualization of Economic Life in Eighteenth-Century America (Johns Hopkins, 1974), prologue, chapters 1, 2, 4. (on reserve)
? Nuala Zahedieh, “Economy” in Armitage and Braddick, eds., The British Atlantic World 1500-1800 (Palgrave, 2002), 51-68. (on reserve)

Monday 26 March: Material Culture
? Richard L. Bushman, “American High-Style and Vernacular Cultures,” in Jack P. Greene and J.R. Pole, eds., Colonial British America: Essays in the New History of the Early Modern Era (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1984), 345-383. (on reserve)
? James Deetz, In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life (Anchor Books, 1996), entire.
? Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth (Knopf, 2001), 41-74 (“An Indian Basket”) and 108-141 (“Hannah Barnard’s Cupboard”). (on reserve)
? Rodris Roth, “Tea-Drinking in Eighteenth-Century America: Its Etiquette and Equipage,” in Robert Blair St. George, ed., Material Life in America, 1600-1860 (Northeastern University Press, 1988), 439-462. (on reserve)
? Laurier Turgeon, “The Tale of the Kettle: Odyssey of an Intercultural Object” Ethnohistory vol. 44, no. 1 (Winter 1997), 1-29. (JSTOR)
? T.H. Breen, “An Empire of Goods: The Anglicization of Colonial America, 1690-1776” Journal of British Studies vol. 25, no. 3 (July 1986), 467-499. (JSTOR)

Monday 2 April: Atlantic Worlds
? J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World, 255-291.
? David Armitage, “Greater Britain: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis?” American Historical Review vol. 104, no. 2 (April 1999), 427-45. (JSTOR)
? John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800, 2nd Edition (Cambridge, 1998), entire.
? Eric Hinderaker, “The ‘Four Indian Kings’ and the Imaginative Construction of the First British Empire” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., vol. 53, no. 2 (April 1996), 487-526. (JSTOR)
? Jack P. Greene, Pursuits of Happiness, 101-169.
? Marcus Rediker and Peter Linebaugh, “The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, and the Atlantic Working Class in the Eighteenth Century” Journal of Historical Sociology vol. 3, no. 3 (September 1990), 225-253. (Synergy)
? Joyce Chaplin, “Race” in Armitage and Braddick, eds., British North America, 1500-1800, 154-172.

Monday 9 April: Revolution
? J.H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World, 292-368.
? Bernard Bailyn, The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (Harvard, 1967), entire.
? Gary B. Nash, The Forgotten Fifth: African-Americans in the Age of Revolution (Harvard, 2005), 1-68.
? Edmund S. Morgan, “The American Revolution: Revisions in Need of Revising” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., vol. 14, no. 1 (January 1957), 3-15. (JSTOR)
? T.H. Breen, “Ideology and Nationalism on the Eve of the American Revolution: Revisions Once More in Need of Revising” Journal of American History vol. 84, no. 1 (June 1997), 13-39. (JSTOR)
? Jesse Lemisch, “Jack Tar in the Streets: Merchant Seamen in the Politics of Revolutionary America” William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd Ser., vol. 25, no. 3 (July 1968), 371-407. (JSTOR)
? Charles Royster, “Founding a Nation in Blood: Military Conflict and American Nationality” in Hoffman and Albert, eds., Arms and Independence: The Military Character of the American Revolution (Virginia, 1984), 25-49. (on reserve)

Monday 16 April: Republican Politics
? J. H. Elliott, Empires of the Atlantic World, 369-411.
? Richard White, Middle Ground, 269-523.
? Gordon S. Wood, The Creation of the American Republic, 1776-1787 (University of North Carolina, 1969), 46-124, 393-564. (on reserve)
? Gary B. Nash, The Forgotten Fifth, 69-122.
? Daniel T. Rodger, “Republicanism: The Career of a Concept” Journal of American History vol. 79, no. 1 (June 1992), 11-38. (JSTOR)

Monday 23 April: Republican Culture
? Gordon Wood, The Radicalism of the American Revolution (Vintage, 1991), entire.
? Drew McCoy, The Elusive Republic: Political Economy in Jeffersonian America (Chapel Hill, 1980), pages TBA. (on reserve)
? Linda K. Kerber, “The Paradox of Women’s Citizenship in the Early Republic: The Case of Martin vs. Massachusetts” American Historical Review vol. 97, no. 2 (April 1992), 349-378.
? Gary B. Nash, The Forgotten Fifth, 123-170.
? Jack P. Greene, Pursuits of Happiness, 170-210.

Labels: ,


At Saturday, November 11, 2006 3:28:00 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

Of course, the US is not my thing, but it might be interesting to add something on transportation to the discussion of migration?

At Sunday, November 12, 2006 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Bluestocking said...

I love how you have incorporated different groups of people into each week rather than ghettoizing them into a week on women, and a week on Native Americans, and a week on African Americans and so forth.

The last colonial class that I took was in something like '92. The professor rather resented teaching about any minority status people. (Think of a recent episode of "South Park" in which Mrs. Garrison teaches evolution. That was this professor).

In any case, I moved on to specialize in the nineteenth century because that professor had a much more thoughtful and inclusive view of history. Still, I always tried to keep an eye on what direction colonial scholarship went. You syllabi in the past few months have actually been quite a help. Wish I could sit in on your class. Good luck!

At Monday, November 13, 2006 12:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the syllabus looks fabulous! The syllabus from when I took this course had many of the same readings, and it was hands down my favorite course in graduate school. Some of the books you mentioned have come out since I took this course in 2003, so perhaps I will use your syllabus to catch up on some of these newer works. Like bluestocking, I enjoy following trends in colonial/Atlantic World scholarship, even if I am a nineteenth-century girl at heart!

At Monday, November 13, 2006 5:31:00 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...


I could include some David Beers Quinn on the Atlantic crossing, but honestly modes of transportation had not occurred to me as a topic. :) Quick description of the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century transatlantic migrations: really long and really unpleasant. (It was quicker going back when you had the Gulf Stream working for you rather than against you.)

Blue Stocking--feel free to read along!

Kristen--it's my goal in life to transform nineteenth-century folks into avid colonialists!

At Monday, November 13, 2006 10:34:00 PM, Blogger Nathanael said...

I was not precise: I meant criminal transport.

At Tuesday, November 14, 2006 2:31:00 PM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Oh, I see! There's actually a good little bit on criminal transportation in the Bailyn book for that week; later in the semester the're reading parts of Morgan's American Slavery, American Freedom which also discusses criminal transportation. :)

Come to think of it, though, I don't know of any recent articles on the topic. Surely someone must be studying this, especially for the eighteenth century when criminal transportation out of Britain to the mainland North American colonies becomes crucial to Britain's criminal justice system. (In fact, the penal colony at Botany Bay, Australia came about mostly because the American victory in the Revolution left the British with an overburdened penal system and nowhere to transport the felons!)


Post a Comment

<< Home