American Revolutions and Counterrevolutions: A Short 18th Century
Spring 2014 not offered
This course examines the pendulum swings of struggle in three realms whose conflicted history defines the American Enlightenment: democracy, racial equality, and early feminism. We will study the Great Awakening in New England, the American Revolution and the conflict over the U.S. Constitution, the impact of the French and Haitian revolutions in America, and the transatlantic influence of Mary Wollstonecraft. Our focus will be on a narrow historical period, less than three quarters of a century, but we will gesture toward generalizations about the nature of Enlightenment thought as such: how its claims on behalf of universal humanity could (and can) be used as a tool to effect real social equality, and how we are to understand the relationship between political speech and social conflict. Our texts are not specifically literary, but we will pay attention to literary and rhetorical effects. Our interest lies not only in the political claims of these texts, but also in how our writers make their claims. We will close the course by opening a discussion on the current state of claims for universal human rights.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)
Thomas Jefferson, selections
Peter Oliver, ORIGIN AND PROGRESS OF THE AMERICAN REBELLION
Thomas Paine, selections
Mary Wollstonecraft, A VINDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMAN
Hamilton, Jay, Madison, THE FEDERALIST
Edmund Burke, REFLECTIONS ON THE REVOLUTION IN FRANCE
C.L.R. James, THE BLACK JACOBINS
Poems by Phillis Wheatley, Francis Williams, Jupiter Hammon, and others.
Selections from Jonathan Edwards, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Elizabeth Ashbridge, Benjamin Franklin, and others.
|Examinations and Assignments:
Weekly short memos (2pp.); two medium-length essays (5-7pp.); one in-class presentation.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments:
Pre-requisite overrides will be granted to students who have taken a 200 level course in literature or American History. This course meets the English Department's Literary History II and Literature of Difference requirements for the English major; Research Option to fulfill English major honors thesis requirement.
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