Fall 2019 Courses

The Fall 2019 semester begins September 26 and concludes December 18.


The Civil War Rank and File

with Professor Robert Bonner, Professor of History and Department Chair; Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor in Biography at Dartmouth College

This course pursues an extended consideration of the personal letters, diaries, and drawings produced by Civil War soldiers and nurses. Such material provides unparalleled access to the vivid experiences of enlistees in Confederate and US armies and in the associated medical corps. Gripping testimony from this “People’s Contest,” supplemented by scholarly accounts, will introduce students to the rigors of war, the burdens of separation from loved ones, and the jolting experience of combat.

Additionally, the course offers a range of perspectives on the most revolutionary period of American history, as chattel slavery was overthrown, racial hierarchies were recast, and Americans witnessed a fundamental shift in role of government and the meaning of citizenship. In reflecting on historians’ use of letters and diaries, the course raises broader questions about building life stories from self-authored evidence.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 74407, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 74408-74412


The Lives of the Enslaved

with Professor Daina Ramey Berry, Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professorship in History; Fellow of Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History; Fellow of George W. Littlefield Professorship in American History at the University of Texas at Austin

This course is a study of enslaved people. It is a course about the ways human beings coped with captivity. It is also a course that listens to their voices through audio files, diaries, letters, actions, and silences. Centering the people of slavery rather than viewing them as objects shifts the focus to their commentary on slavery. In addition to listening to enslaved people, students will have the opportunity to engage some of the most cutting-edge scholarship on the subject. Although the early literature objectified enslaved people and hardly paid attention to their experiences, work published since the Civil Rights Movement and into the twenty-first century offers rich accounts of enslaved life.

By approaching the institution of slavery in the United States from the enslaved perspective through firsthand accounts of their experiences, students will have the opportunity to engage a variety of sources including narratives, plantation records, podcasts, short films, and other media. Some of the specific themes addressed include gender, sexuality, region, labor, resistance, pleasure, love, family, and community among the enslaved.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 74425, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 74426-74430


The History of American Protest

with Professor John Stauffer, Sumner R. and Marshall S. Kates Professor of English and of African American Studies at Harvard University

This interdisciplinary course examines the rich tradition of progressive protest literature in the United States from the American Revolution to the rise of globalization, hip-hop, and modern-day slavery. Using a broad definition of “protest literature,” we focus on the production and consumption of dissent as a site of social critique, using a wide variety of print, visual, and oral forms.

We examine the historical links between forms of protest, social change, and meanings of literature; and we explore how various expressions of dissent function as political, ideological, rhetorical, aesthetic, and performative texts within specific cultural contexts. “Readings” range from novels and political pamphlets to photographs, music, sociology, and history.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 74413, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 74414-74418


Conflict and Reform: The United States, 1877–1920

with Professor Michael Kazin, Professor of History at Georgetown University

This course is about the history of the United States during a period of great social change and conflict. Over these four decades, the United States became a predominantly urban and industrial nation, a nation of immigrants and wage-earners, an imperial nation, and a nation where progressive reform was the order of the day—though its definition and aims were furiously contested. We will seek to understand how and why these tumultuous changes occurred—and who gained and who lost in the process.

Registration information: CRNs: Lecture Section: 74419, Lab (Discussion) Sections: 74420-74424


Thesis/Capstone Course

The Thesis/Capstone course will be offered every semester.

Registration information: CRNs: 74431-74434


To apply for the Pace–Gilder Lehrman MA in American History Program, click “To Apply” in the menu.