27 November 2006

Jamestown: a "positive" contribution from the South?

While munching on pumpkin bread and apple pie and reading the Houston Chronicle over breakfast on Saturday, a Letter to the Editor caught my eye. I enjoy reading Letters to the Editor; sometimes people write the darndest things. On this bright post-Thanksgiving, a letter writer wrote one of the more puzzling screeds about the "first" Thanksgiving, the founding of Jamestown, and the place of "the South" in history I've ever read. It begins as a lament that so few Americans today know the country's history (a lament I happen to share), and then ends in a lament for the lost positive contributions of the South to that history (a lament I, ah, do not happen to share).

Here's the letter:
The Chronicle's Nov. 23 article "Think you know what happened at first Thanksgiving? Well, think again" was correct to state that most Americans think they know the "story of Thanksgiving ... and most would be wrong."

How many people today even remember or know about the Jamestown Colony, which was here in 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims?

This is just another example of the rewriting of American history to downplay or to eliminate anything positive from the South.

(The original article is a fairly innocuous fluff piece about what the Pilgrims and their Indian neighbors actually ate at the "first Thanksgiving" and also points out that there is no historical continuity between that event and today's Thanksgiving holiday.)

I'm not sure, though, that there's a connection between our collective lack of knowledge about the Plymouth colony and a lack of knowledge about the founding of Jamestown in 1607. Most American schoolchildren could probably tell you that there were English people at Jamestown in 1607. Most would probably also tell you something garbled and mythological about John Smith and Pocahontas. So I think there's a general awareness there of Jamestown, but probably not the kind of awareness professional historians would welcome.

It's that third paragraph that gets me: in it the letter writer implies that there has been an intentional rewriting (by persons unknown) of the historical record to supplant Jamestown with Plymouth, and in so doing, to discredit the "South."

Nothing could be further from the truth. There's a great deal of interest right now in Jamestown; the four hundredth anniversary of English settlement at Jamestown is next year and so a number of scholars are interested in reevaluating the event. We now know far more about tidewater Virginia's native people before and after settlement, more about the English who formed that little settlement, and more about the development of a slave-driven tobacco plantation culture in the Chesapeake than we did fifty years ago, the last time Jamestown celebrated an anniversary.

Now this issue of discrediting positive contributions from the "South:" the south as we understand it today did not exist in 1607. All of North America, was, in English eyes, "Virginia." In fact, Virginia-the-continent was the "North": that is, it was north of Spain's American possessions. The "south" as a geographical and cultural construct did not yet exist and would not for at least another 150 years.

Now, to the final claim: was Jamestown indeed a "positive" contribution to American history? I generally tend to stay away from blatant value judgments in historical thinking. Permanent English settlement in North America is a fact of life as we now know it; assigning a value to that is diificult and ahistorical. But I can say that the experience of permanent English settlement was not a positive one for the vast majority of people who participated in it--Indians, English, and Africans alike.

The English arrival in 1607 heralded the beginning of fifty years of intermittent Anglo-Indian warfare peppered by mutual violence of the most horrendous sort. For example, in an act of revenge for the death of an English captain named Ratcliffe, George Percy led a raid against the Paspahegh in November 1609. After burning the village's houses and fields, the English captured the Paspahegh werowansqua and her children. The English, Percy wrote, decided not to keep the children alive, pitching them out of their canoes and "shoteing owtt their Braynes in the water." The werowansqua they kept alive for a time, eventually deciding to stab her repeatedly with a sword instead of burning her at the stake. Captain Ratcliffe, in whose name this slaughter was carried out, was killed by a group of Powhatans (possibly Nansemonds) who executed him in Algonkian ritual fashion by scraping his flesh "from his bones with mussell shelles and before his face throwne into the fyer."

Of course, the gory deaths of many Powhatans and Englishmen are vastly outnumbered by deaths from starvation and disease. Settlement was hardly positive. It was dirty, brutal, and deadly, and on this legacy our country was built.


20 November 2006

Eric Keroack--it gets worse

In my post below, I wrote about Bush's nomination of Eric Keroack to head the Department of Health and Human Services Family Planning Division. (This is the Federal agency that oversees contraception programs for poor women.)

Keroack's position on contraception, if one wants to call it that, is bizarre and certainly calls into question his ability to do the job properly. But now Andrew Sullivan has a link to a PDF of a powerpoint presentation Keroack regularly gave. The presentation calls premarital sex "germ warfare" and also claims that premarital sex is addictive and acts like an opiate on the brain.

This is a deeply unhealthy attitude towards human sexuality. Adult Americans should be free to make their own choices about their sexuality without government interference--yet this pitiful excuse for a medical doctor peddles fear and misinformation and is about to use our tax dollars to continue his crusade.

Where's the outrage?

If you need more reasons to oppose Keroack and his message, you need only read this Washington Post commentary. Key point? A HHS spokeswoman was unable to confirm whether or not Keroack would prescribe oral contraceptives to unmarried women. What Americans don't need are doctors with federal dollars telling them what to do with their bodies and making moral judgments about their medical decisions.


17 November 2006

Friday Cat Blogging with Pepper the Crazy Cat

Well, folks, it's gotten cool here in Texas. Mom has this thing against the gas company; she doesn't want to give them any more money than strictly necessary so she didn't actually turn on the heat until last night. I had to find other ways to keep warm.

Sometimes if Mom is around, I'll snuggle up with her. (Those are Mom's knees in the foreground of the picture.)

If Mom isn't around, I make do with other warm things. Here I am, snug as a bug in a...blanket.


Now that the election's over...

...let's start thinking seriously about reproductive health policy in this country. Two stories in the news have shaken me out of my first-semester-teaching isolation and reminded me that though the Dems have retaken Congress (finally!), important battles need to be fought to ensure that Federal agencies cease disseminating Bush administration nonsense about women's reproductive health.

Bush has just nominated Dr. Eric Keroak to head the Department of Health and Human Services' Family-Planning programs office. Dr. Keroack currently heads the Dorchester, MA-based Christian pregnancy-counseling service "A Woman's Concern" finds contraception "demeaning to women."

Yes, if you just did a head-swivel on that one, you're not alone. How can a man who represents an organization that is basically anti-contraception and who believes that contraception is demeaning possibly head a federal agency that advocates contraception for poor women?

Following on that point, I'd love to know how controlling one's own reproduction and gaining the ability to have children only when childbearing is financially and emotionally feasible is demeaning. I'm not sure anyone can explain that to my satisfaction. This is just a reminder that not only is this administration anti-legal abortion, it is also anti-contraception.

In other news: the Government Accountability Office has announced that the Department of Health and Human Services routinely distributes inaccurate information about human sexuality, contraception, and sexually-transmitted infections to teenagers. The Department's response? No one has sufficiently defined what "scientifically accurate" means, so it has no way of judging the information it produces.

This would be laughable if it weren't so dangerous: among the information distributed is the assertion that latex condoms do not block HIV (they do).

What makes the situation worse is that the Department is spending millions preaching the same dangerously inaccurate information to adults. If you haven't heard of it yet, you've heard of it now: the Bush administration's abstinence-only message for twenty-and thirty-somethings. I guess this is what Andrew Sullivan refers to as big-government conservatism--the movement that enjoys peering into the bedrooms of adult Americans. (If you didn't vote Democratic in the recent election, I hope you voted Libertarian.)

**UPDATE** The NRO's Kathryn Jean-Lopez attempts to explain Keroack's position:
"Passing out contraception without any deeper context or conversation is degrading and disrespectful — to men and women..."
Um, I'll second Andrew Sullivan on this. I don't see how it can't be degrading and disrespectful of adult men and women to accompany contraceptives with government-provided information about the immorality of their contraceptive decisions. I sure as heck don't look to the government for deeper context or conversation about anything that has to do with my own personal intimate relationships. The idea that government does/should have that role is patently offensive. Andrew's right: these folks are NUTS.


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.

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Friday Cat Blogging with Pepper the Crazy Cat!

Hi folks,

Mom didn't take any new pictures of me for awhile, but here I am in my favorite spot in the house, basking in the bathroom sink. I like it almost as much as I like the shower, but not quite as much...


05 November 2006

Burn an Effigy for me!

Remember, remember
The Fifth of November!

(I find myself deeply interested, suddenly, in early modern Catholic-Protestant terrorism. Perhaps there are historical lessons that need to be learned there.)

01 November 2006

My first guest post ever

I've written a post for colleague and fellow Cliopat Mark Grimsley's Blog Them Out of the Stone Age, entitled "What Happens when Non-Military Historians Teach Military History? (answer: students and instructor alike learn a lot from the experience)."

Hop on over and check it out!

(BTW, Mark uses Wordpress, and I think I'm now a convert. It's really time to ditch blogger and move Historianess to its own URL and take care of my own hosting...)

A Giant of Anthropology

Sharon at Early Modern Notes brings us the word that noted anthropologist Clifford Geertz has died at the age of 80.

Geertz was well-known to historians; historians have employed Geertz's method of "thick" ethnographic description of other cultures to the documents and artifacts of the past. Geertz's work influenced early American history particularly through Rhys Isaac's path-breaking (and Pulitzer prize-winning) 1982 book The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790. As the field of early American community studies morphed into microhistory, Geertz's methods and insights proved very useful to historians reconstructing ordinary lives in the past.

I had to read Geertz's most famous article "Notes on the Balinese Cock-Fight," which appeared in the journal Daedalus in 1972. At the time I did not appreciate the article's significance; only later as I read more deeply in early American history did I realize how much Geertz's ethnographical method had shaped my own field. (We also studied the limninal spaces of Victor Turner and the South Pacific observations of Sahlins and Obeyesekere that same week; neither anthropologist has made such a deep impact as Geertz.)

There are several links over at Savage Minds.