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As we approach the 250th anniversary of the American Revolution, there are timeless as well as new questions about its legacy. Situating the struggle for American independence amidst the broader transformations of the Age of Revolutions, this course explores the meanings and scope of revolution, both in the long eighteenth century and in contested memories today. By considering how contact and imperial expansion in North America set the stage for global conflict over sovereignty and freedom, we will study how complex interactions between Indigenous people, enslaved people, and settler colonialists fermented equally complex views and ideologies surrounding revolution. This process was not limited solely to British North America, but in the Haitian and French revolutions as well. We will explore how the American Revolution was remembered by subsequent generations: as a singular event, a cluster of ideologies and protests, and in comparison with other late eighteenth-century movements. We will especially consider whose voices surrounding revolution are celebrated, criticized, or left out altogether. Drawing on public and digital history resources as well as archival studies, the course will focus on how the study of the Age of Revolutions speaks to contemporary understandings.
• Twelve lectures
• Primary source readings to complement the lectures
• A certificate of completion for 15 hours of professional development credit
Readings: The suggested readings for each seminar session are listed on the “Resources” link on the course site. Please note that you are not required to read or purchase any print materials. The quizzes are based on the lectures.
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Dr. Nora Slonimsky teaches courses on the history of early America, digital humanities, and the development of media, politics, and intellectual property at Iona College. As the director of the Institute for Thomas Paine Studies, she oversees the Thomas Paine Studies minor and instructs a centerpiece course in the Hynes Institute Innovation ICT. Her research interests include political economy, legal history, communication, and book history in the eighteenth-century anglophone world. Dr. Slonimsky serves as the social media editor for the Journal of the Early Republic and has published in Early American Studies and on the websites The Junto and Teaching US History. Her first book, The Engine of Free Expression: Copyrighting Nation in Early America, is under contract with University of Pennsylvania Press. The Engine of Free Expression won the SHEAR dissertation prize and was a finalist for the Zuckerman Prize in American Studies.