History 101.009

Fall 2005
Instructor (text): 
210 Dwinelle
Day & Time: 
MWF 1-2

Over the century following the American Revolution, as the forces of experimentation, democratization, and expansion were met by interests more conservative and cautious, American culture unfolded in multiple, and sometimes conflicting directions.

In this seminar we will explore these cultural developments. After a brief introduction to the range of cultural expressions emerging during this period, and the social questions attached to these varying expressions, students will be given a great deal of latitude in developing research topics. Students may choose, for example, to explore the changing content of American ideology, or the emergence of new forms of religious expression (evangelicalism, Shakers, Adventism). They may study some form of entertainment (prize fighting, baseball, burlesque, the symphony), or the cultural expressions of a particular group (the urban working class, middle class women). They may choose to explore some literary phenomenon (popular romance, crime narratives, the ";American"; novel), or an author or group of authors (women writers of the antebellum period). There are also many possible topics related to the century's experiments in education, health, marriage, and child-rearing.

The materials available for the study of American culture in and through Berkeley's library are extensive. The library's large collection of bound materials is complemented by a fairly comprehensive microfilm and microfiche collection. Newspapers, journals, tracts, and pamphlets are available in a variety of forms. There are also archival collections on campus of great value to students working in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American culture. The Bancroft Library maintains collections that could be utilized in exploring cultural developments in the western United States, and the Mark Twain Project holds a unique set of materials.