THE NATION AS A CULTURAL PROJECT
Political Science 190.316
Johns Hopkins University
September 13: Organizational Meeting
September 20: Colonizing America
Patricia Seed, "Taking Possession and Reading Texts: Establishing the Authority of Overseas
Empires," William and Mary Quarterly 49 (1992), pp. 183-209.
"Royal Ordinances Concerning the Laying Out of New Towns (1573)," edited by Zelia Nuttall, The
Hispanic American Historical Review 5 (May 1922), pp. 249-54.
"Lord Baltimore's Instructions to Colonists (1633)," The Calvert Papers, pp. 131-40.
"The Charter of New England (1620)," and "Agreement between the Settlers at New Plymouth
(1620)," in Francis Newton Thorpe, ed., The Federal and State Constitutions (Washington, DC:
Government Printing Office, 1909), pp. 1827-41.
"Essay on the Ordering of Towns (1635)," Winthrop Papers (Boston: Massachusetts Historical
Society, 1931), Volume III, pp. 181-85.
"Instructions for Granting Lands in Carolina (1682)," in W. Keith Kavenagh, ed., Foundations of
Colonial America: A Documentary History, Volume III -- Part 2: Southern Colonies, pp.
Correspondence relating to the establishment of a French colony in Mississippi, 1701-08, in Dunbar
Rowland and Albert Godfrey Sanders, eds., Mississippi Provincial Archives, 1701-29, Volume
II (Jackson: Press of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, 1929), pp. 9-46.
J. Brian Harley, "Rereading the Maps of the Columbian Encounter," Annals of the Association of
American Geographers, Volume 82(3), 1992, pp. 522-42.
Gregory Waselkov, "Indian Maps of the Colonial Southeast," in Peter H. Wood, Gregory A.
Waselkov, and M. Thomas Hatley, eds., Powhatan's Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1989), pp. 292-343.
September 27: British Colonialism: Environmental Perspectives
William Cronon, Changes on the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (New
York: Hill & Wang, 1983).
Timothy Silver, A New Face on the Countryside: Indians, Colonists, and Slaves in South Atlantic
Forests, 1500-1800 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990).
October 4: Spanish Colonialism: Through the Lens of Gender
Ramón Gutiérrez, When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and
Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846 (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991).
October 11: French Colonialism: An Economic Approach
Daniel H. Usner, Jr., Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in a Frontier Exchange Economy: The Lower
Mississippi Valley Before 1783 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992).
October 18: Captivities
Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, Castaways, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).
Alden T. Vaughan and Edward W. Clark, eds., Puritans Among the Indians (Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1981).
Robert J. Allison, ed., The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Written by Himself
(Boston: Bedford Books of St. Martin's Press, 1995).
October 25: Writing on the Land
John R. Stilgoe, Common Landscape of America, 1580-1845 (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1982), pp. 1-134.
Annette Kolodny, The Land Before Her: Fantasy and Experience of the American Frontiers,
1630-1860 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1984), pp. 1-89.
November 1: The American Revolution
Ann Fairfax Withington, Toward a More Perfect Union: Virtue and the Formation of American
Republics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991).
Ruth Bogin, "'Liberty Further Extended': A 1776 Antislavery Manuscript by Lemuel Haynes,"
William and Mary Quarterly 40 (1983), pp. 85-105.
Herbert Aptheker, ed., "Through the Revolutionary Era," A Documentary History of the Negro
People, Volume I (New York: Citadel Press, 1951), pp. 1-16.
November 8: Republican Citizenship: Masculine
Michael Warner, The Letters of the Republic: Publication and Public Sphere in Eighteenth-Century
America (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990).
Richard D. Brown, Knowledge is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America,
1700-1865 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp 65-196.
November 15: Republican Citizenship: Feminine
Linda Kerber, Women of the Republic: Intellect & Ideology in Revolutionary America (New York:
W.W. Norton & Company, 1980).
David Grimsted, "Anglo-American Racism and Phillis Wheatley's 'Sable Veil,' 'Length'ned Chain,'
and 'Knitted Heart,'" in Ronald Hoffman and Peter J. Albert, eds., Women in the Age of the
American Revolution (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1989), pp. 338-444.
Judith Sargent Murray, "On the Equality of the Sexes," The Massachusetts Magazine (March
1790), 132-35; (April 1790), 223-26.
Phillis Wheatley, frontspiece and prefatory material to 1773 edition of Poems, "To the Right
Honourable William, Earl of Dartmouth, Mis Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for North
America &c.," "America," "Letter to Samson Occum, February 11, 1774, in John Shields, ed.,
The Collected Works of Phillis Wheatley, pp. 1-7, 73-75, 134-35, 176-77.
November 22: Constituting America
Robert A. Ferguson, "'We Do Ordain and Establish,': The Constitution as Literary Text," William
and Mary Law Review 29 (1987), pp. 3-25.
Robert A. Ferguson, "'We Hold These Truths': Strategies of Control in the Literature of the
Founders," in Sacvan Bercovitch, ed., Reconstructing American Literary History (Cambridge:
Harvard University Press, 1986), pp. 1-28.
Wayne Franklin, "The US Constitution and the Textuality of American Culture," in Vivien Hart and
Shannon C. Stimson, eds., Writing a National Identity: Political, Economic, and Cultural
Perspectives on the Written Constitution (Manchester, England: Manchester University Press,
1993), pp. 9-20.
Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "Dis-Covering the Subject of the 'Great Constitutional Discussion,'
1786-89," Journal of American History (December 1992), pp. 841-73.
Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Articles of Confederation, and Constitution of
the United States
Benjamin Rush, "Address to the People of the United States," American Museum, January 1787, in
Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution (Madison: State Historical Society of
Wisconsin, 1981), Volume XIII, pp.46-49.
An Old Whig I, Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, 12 October 1787, in DHRC XIII:376-79.
Brutus I, New York Journal, 18 October 1787, in DHRC XIII:412-21.
Publius [Alexander Hamilton], The Federalist 1, New York Independent Journal, 27 October
1787, in DHRC XIII:494-97.
Publius [John Jay], The Federalist 2, New York Independent Journal, 31 October 1787, in DHRC
A Landholder II, Connecticut Courant, 12 November 1787, in DHRC XIV:92-95.
Publius [James Madison], The Federalist 10, New York Daily Advertiser, 22 November 1787, in
Cato V, New York Journal, 22 November 1787, in DHRC XIV:182-85.
An Old Whig VII, Philadelphia Independent Gazetteer, 28 November 1787, in DHRC
Philadelphiensis II, Philadelphia Freeman's Journal, 28 November 1787, in DHRC XIV:251-55.
Hugh Henry Brackenridge, "Cursory Remarks on the Federal Constitution," Gazette Publications
(Carlisle, PA: Alexander & Phillips, 1806), pp. 77-79.
"Speeches by Melancton Smith," 21 June 1788, in Herbert Storing, ed., The Antifederalist: Writings
by the Opponents of the Constitution (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1985), pp. 338-44.
November 29: American/English: Language, Literature and Independence
Cathy N. Davidson, Revolution and the Word: The Rise of the Novel in America (New York:
Oxford University Press, 1986).
Noah Webster, "American Glory Begins to Dawn" and "The Revolution . . . Was but Just Begun,"
On Being American: Selected Writings, 1783-1828, edited by Homer D. Babbidge, Jr. (New
York: Frederick A. Praeger, Publishers, 1967), pp. 20-26, 62-73.
Marc Shell, "Babel in America; or, The Politics of Language Diversity in the United States," Critical
Inquiry 20 (Autumn 1993), pp. 103-27.
December 6: Making Spaces for the Nation: The Northwest Territory, the District of Columbia, and the Lewis & Clark Expedition
Peter Onuf, "Liberty, Development, and Union: Visions of the West in the 1780s," William and
Mary Quarterly 43 (1986), pp. 179-213.
Northwest Ordinance, Journals of Congress, May 1785, pp. 375-81.
Bates Lowry, Building a National Image (Washington: National Building Museum, 1985), pp.
A.P. Nasatir, ed., Before Lewis and Clark: Documents Illustrating the History of the Missouri,
1785-1804 (St. Louis: St. Louis Historical Documents Foundation, 1952), pp. 712-14, 719-25,
Thomas Jefferson, "Confidential Message Recommending a Western Exploring Expedition"
Frank Bergon, ed., The Journals of Lewis and Clark (New York: Penguin Books, 1989), pp.
xxiii-xlvi, 96-121, 324-51.
Please answer one of the following questions. You will have three hours in which to write your answers. You may bring two 5"x8" cards with you into the exam.
1. Contemporary political scientists typically treat American politics as if it were an essentially secular phenomenon. Yet a number of the texts we've read this semester invoke or analyze religion. Judging from these works, what would an exclusively secular account of 17th and 18th century American politics overlook or obscure? Or, conversely, what aspects of early American politics come into focus when you pay attention to religion?
2. How/Does nature fit into an account of the nation as a cultural project?
3. In "Unspeakable Things Unspoken," her 1990 Tanner Lecture on Human Values, Toni Morrison writes
We can agree, I think, that invisible things are not necessarily "not-there"; that a void may be empty, but is not a vacuum. In addition, certain absences are so stressed, so ornate, so planned, they call attention to themselves; arrest us with intentionality and purpose, like neighborhoods that are defined by the population held away from them. Looking at the scope of American literature, I can't help thinking that the question should never have been "Why am I, an Afro-American, absent from it?" It is not a particularly interesting query anyway. The spectacularly interesting question is "What intellectual feats had to be performed by the author or his critic to erase me from a society seething with my presence, and what effect has the performance had on the work?" What are the strategies of escape from knowledge? Of wilful oblivion?
Select an account of colonial or early American politics that we've read this semester which you believe would have to have been written differently had it paid attention to African-Americans. Use one or more of the African-American authored texts we've read to explore how the absence of African-Americans from the first text was produced, what it makes possible, and what it shuts down.
4. Why is it (and what does it mean) that native Americans, who occupied such a central place in the works we read about settlement and colonization, are much less prominent in the texts we've used to discuss the American revolution and the early republic? How/Would our accounts of nation-building look different if we treated the relationships between the newly independent United States and native peoples as important aspects of that project?
5. Smith-Rosenberg argues that "the war that had freed Americans from colonial domination had also transformed them into one of the world's great colonizing peoples." Analyze her claim by selecting a practice common to both colonial and early national politics (e.g., mapping, writing, land use, the promulgation of charters and constitutions) and comparing its use, form, and meaning under these different regimes.