Memory in the 19th-Century United States

History 103D.003

Spring 2015
Day & Time: 
Tu 2-4

The United States is a young nation with a short history. In the nineteenth-century, Alexis de Tocqueville famously faulted Americans for not only being individualistic but also for having no sense of the past. A similar critique exists in popular culture today, where conservative politicians decry the historical knowledge of American citizens. And yet, the ways in which we remember the past fundamentally shape our present and our future. This seminar explores the evolving relationship between memory and history in the nineteenth-century United States. Specifically, it examines the ways in which Americans of different racial and ethnic groups remembered seminal moments such as the Salem Witch Trials, The American Revolution, and the Civil War. Taking memory of the nineteenth-century United States as its starting point, this course will prompt students to explore the nature of historical memory and the practice of history.

Course Books

California Vieja: Culture and Memory in a Modern American Place by Phoebe S. Kropp University of California Press. ISBN: 978-0520258044 Required
Promised Lands: Promotion, Memory, and the Creation of the American West by David M. Wrobel University Press of Kansas. ISBN: 978-0700618231 Required
Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence by Boyd Cothran University of North Carolina Press. ISBN: 978-1469618609 Required
The Northern Cheyenne Exodus in History and Memory by James N Leiker and Ramon Powers University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN: 9780806142210 0806142219 Required
The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Vintage. ISBN: 978-0679766445 Required
Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America by Kirk Savage Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691009476 Required
Slavery Before Race: Europeans, Africans, and Indians at Long Island's Sylvester Manor Plantation, 1651-1884 by Katherine Howlett Hayes NYU Press. ISBN: 978-1479802227 Required
Making Slavery History: Abolitionism and the Politics of Memory in Massachusetts by Margot Minardi Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0199922864 Required
The Specter of Salem: Remembering the Witch Trials in by Gretchen A. Adams University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0226005430 Required
The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution by Alfred F. Young Beacon Press. ISBN: 978-0807054055 Required