University of Vermont, Department of History, Professor J. Carr
History 296A:  Community in Early America
Spring 2005.  Wednesday 3:30-6:15 in Wheeler 102
Office Hours:  MWF 10;30-11:30 and by appointment
Office:  211 Wheeler  656-3533

This course examines the formation, development and nature of community in pre-Civil War America.  We will study the foundation and development of specific communities and the evolution of community institutions.  Issues concerning family,  gender, ethnicity, race, deviancy, consumption and material culture, rural life, urban life, and town planning will also be considered.  The readings for this course span almost forty years of scholarship beginning in the 1960s when the study of community became a scholarly concern and pursuit, moving it from the field of antiquarian local and genealogical history.  Students will also undertake a research project of their own on some aspect of community history.

Required Readings Available in the Bookstore:
Sumner Chilton Powell, Puritan Village: The Formation of a New England Town
Helena M. Wall, Fierce Communion:  Family and Community in Early America
Gary B. Nash, Forging Freedom:  The Formation of Philadelphia’s Black
    Community, 1740-1820
Jacqueline Barbara Carr, After The Siege:  A Social History of Boston, 1775-1800
Lisa C. Tolbert, Constructing Townscapes:  Space and Society in Antebellum
John Mack Faragher, Sugar Creek:  Life on the Illinois Prairie
David Schuyler, The New Urban Landscape:  The Redefinition of City Form in
    Nineteenth-Century America

Course Procedures:  This is a demanding reading course and the format of the meetings is based upon seminar discussion not lectures.  Class discussion is the foundation of this course and, in this light, each student is responsible for helping to make the course either a success or a failure.  It is critical that you come prepared with the readings completed as assigned below.  If it seems that students are not completing the required reading, submission of weekly reading outlines of two-three pages will be required.  Therefore, it is a good idea to read critically, take notes on the thesis, themes, arguments, and general content of each assigned reading and come to class with comments, ideas and questions.   Students will choose (or be assigned) weeks when they will be the discussion leaders.  There will be primary source materials (excerpts from town records, city directories and the like) distributed and discussed in class.

Method of Evaluation for Grades:
20%   5 pp. essay on materials covered weeks 1-4.  Due February 16, week 5.
20%   5 pp. essay on materials covered weeks 5-9.  Due March 30, week 10.
10%   4 pp. book review on either Construction Townscapes, Sugar Creek, or The New
Urban     Landscape.  See reading schedule for due dates.
40%  12-15 pp. primary/secondary source research paper.  Due May 11.
10%  Attendance and participation.

Reading Schedule:

Week 1/January 19:  Introduction

The Dynamics of Community Formation and Development

Week 2/January 26:   Read Powell, Puritan Village

Week 3/February 2:  Journal and Reserve Readings on Community
Dinkin, Robert J. "Seating the Meetinghouse in Early Massachusetts," in Robert Blair St. George, ed. Material Life in America.

Kenneth A. Lockridge and Alan Kreider, “The Evolution of Massachusetts Town Government, 1640-1740,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Ser., XXIII (1966): pp. 549-574.  Also in Colonial America:  Essays in Politics and Social Development 1st ed.

John Demos, “Notes on Life in Plymouth Colony,”  William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Ser., XXII (1965): pp. 264-286.  Also in Colonial America 3d ed.

Philip J. Greven, “Family Structure in Seventeenth-Century Andover, Massachusetts,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Ser., XXIII (1966): 234-256.   Also in Colonial America, 3d ed.

Donna Merwick, "Dutch Townsmen and Land Use:  A Spatial Perspective on Seventeenth-Century Albany, New York,” William and Mary Quarterly, 3d Ser., XXXVII (Jan. 1980): 53-78.

Rutman, Darret B., "Assessing the Little Communities of America" William and Mary Quarterly

Family and Community
Week 4/February 9:  Wall, Fierce Communion

Living on the Edge of Community:  The Outcasts   [Paper Due February 16]
Week 5/February 16:  Journal and Reserve Readings on Witchcraft

John Demos, “Underlying Themes in the Witchcraft of Seventeenth-Century New England,”  in Colonial America, 1st ed., pp. 113-134.

Paul Boyer and Stephen Nissenbaum, “Salem Possessed:  The Social Origins of Witchcraft,” in Colonial America 3rd ed., pp. 343-372.

Community Within Community:  African-Americans in the Eighteenth-Century
Week 6/February 23:  Read Nash, Forging Freedom  chapters 1-4
Week 7/March 2:   Read Nash, Forging Freedom  chapters 5-8

Special Collections:  An Overview of the Collections & Library Resources
Week 8/March 9:  Meet in Special Collections.  Additional information to follow. 

Community in Wartime:  Boston in the Era of the American Revolution
Week 9/March 16  
Read:  Carr, After The Siege
Spring Recess:  March 23

Community Development in the Nineteenth-Century Trans-Appalachian West
Week 10/March 30:  [Paper due March 30]
Tolbert, Constructing Townscapes, Part I

Week 11/April 6:  Tolbert, Constructing Townscapes, Part II. 
[Book review due if selecting Tolbert] 

Community Development in Rural Nineteenth-Century America
Week 12/April 13:  Mack Faragher, Sugar Creek, Parts I, II, III

Week 13/April 20:  Mack Faragher, Sugar Creek, Parts IV & V
[Book review due if selecting Mack Faragher]

The “Pastoral City”:  Seeking the Livable Urban Community
Week 14/April 27:  Schuyler, The New Urban Landscape Part I.  Chapters 1-3

Week 15/May 4:  Schuyler, The New Urban Landscape Parts II & III chapters 4-10
[Book review due if selecting Schuyler]

Final Exam Day:  May 11  Research Paper Due

Posted by, 27-Jan-2005
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