Course: Understanding the Nineteenth-Century South

HC 444H/431H

Professor: Tim Williams

Graduation Requirement: This class will fulfill both of the following requirements: a Social Science Colloquium and an AC Multicultural class. If the student has already taken a Social Science Colloquium, this class will fulfill both of the following requirements: an Elective Colloquium and an AC Multicultural class.

The South is perhaps the most mythologized region in the United States, as countless works of fiction, history, film, and journalism reveal. Indeed, the beginning of the twenty-first has seen a renewed interest in this region’s past, as Americans commemorate the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, consider the lasting effects of American slavery and emancipation, and seek to understand a resurgence of racial violence throughout the nation. It is imperative, then, that we today understand the nineteenth-century South.

This course explores both the history of the South as well as the history of ideas about the South. We will explore these interrelated issues from the perspective of nationalism, the nineteenth-century’s most prescient and enduring global issue. In the process, we will explore how southerners and northerners viewed and grappled with this region as part of a global order in which a host of issues took on a southern accent: slavery, mastery, honor, race, regionalism, intellectual life, and popular culture. We will read a variety of scholarly books and articles on the topic, as well as a variety of primary sources. Assignments will include writing book reviews of scholarly work, leading discussions based on outside reading, and at least one crucial essay on the course themes and readings.