History 571 Early America

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History 571 - Early America
Instructor: Birte Pfleger

Office: KHC 4033

Office hours: Tuesdays 4:00-5:30pm and Thursdays 10:30-11:30pm

Phone: (323) 343-2044

History Department: (323) 343-2020


E-mail: bpflege@calstatela.edu

Web address: http://www.calstatela.edu./faculty/bpflege/

In this graduate seminar we will read and discuss selected books in Early American history to consider different approaches and themes to studying colonial history. It is essential that you come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings. Taking notes (5-7 pages) while you are reading each book is essential to writing book reviews, preparing for class discussions as well as in preparation for your comprehensive exams.

Your Grade

Discussion leadership (1) 15%

Review of Reviews (1) 10%

Participation 15%

Book Reviews (6) 60%

(93-100% = A; 92.9-90% = A-; 89.9-87.5%= B+; 87.4 - 83%= B; 82.9.-80% = B-; 79.9-77.5% = C+; 77.4 -73% = C; 72.9-70 = C-; 69.9-60 = D; 60- = F)


• To be eligible for full credit you must complete assigned readings before class, arrive to class on time and participate actively in class discussions every week. Please email me if you are unable to attend class. Absences will affect your grade.

• All late assignments will automatically be penalized one letter grade. Please notify me if you are unable to turn in an assignment on time. I do not accept more than one late assignment.

• Please read the university policy on plagiarism

Each student will have the opportunity to lead class discussions on assigned readings at least once during the quarter (depending on enrollment). Your job for the day will be to introduce the readings to us briefly (no lecture or summary of the book) and to lead the group through the important issues of the readings. Think of this as a team teaching exercise. You should begin with a brief introduction to the author (find out what else he/she has written, where the author teaches etc. The Internet is a great place to search for that information). After that you will launch the group into a discussion of the issues: what does the author argue? What evidence does the author use? How does she/he make the argument? Do you see problems with the book? How does the book relate to other readings or discussions? What questions are not addressed? Please prepare a one-page outline of the author’s background and a list of questions. I will be happy to make copies of the final draft. Each discussion leader is required to submit discussion questions etc. to me via email at least 48 hours before our class meeting.
Each student will also compile a review of reviews at least once during the quarter. You will need to find as many published scholarly reviews of the assigned book as possible (between 5-10) and present to the class an informed overview of how the scholarly community has received a particular work. You should provide everyone with a 1-2 page handout that includes a bibliography of the reviews you consulted and briefly highlights reviewers’ responses. Most reviews will be full of praise – don’t go to great lengths summarizing those. Instead concentrate on WHY the reviewers liked the book and look for aspects reviewers’ found lacking. Briefly researching each reviewer’s background (field of expertise, publications) can often reveal why a reviewer liked or disliked certain aspects of a book. I will be happy to make copies of your review of reviews for everyone.
You will write reviews on SIX of the assigned books. You may choose the six books. Each review is due on the day we discuss the book. So please plan ahead. Reviews received after we discuss the book will be penalized at least one letter grade. Your analytical book review must be two pages long (I will stop reading at the bottom of page 2), double-spaced, 12-point Times font with one-inch margins, numbered pages and a separate cover sheet. Reviews are due at the beginning of class. Please read the book review instruction handout. If you consulted scholarly reviews of the book, you MUST cite and include copies of the reviews with your own paper.

September 23: Introductions; expectations; what do we know about Early American history?

September 30: Colin Calloway, New Worlds For All; Indians, Europeans, and the Remaking of Early

America (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998).
October 7: Daniel Richter, Facing East from Indian Country: A Native History of Early America

(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001)

October 14: Jack Greene, Pursuits of Happiness; The Social Development of Early Modern British

Colonies and the Formation of American Culture (Chapel Hill: The University of North

Carolina Press, 1988)

October 20: Last day to register to vote in November election.
October 21: Ira Berlin, Many Thousands Gone (Cambridge: Harvard University Press,1998)
October 28: Sharon Block, Rape & Sexual Power in Early America (Chapel Hill: The University

of North Carolina Press, 2006)

November 4: Election Day Kirsten Fischer, Suspect Relations (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,


November 11: Veterans Day. No Class

November 18: David D. Hall, Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgment: Popular Religious

Belief in Early New England (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1990)
November 25: Philip Otterness, Becoming German; The 1709 Palatine Migration to New York (Ithaca,

NY: Cornell University Press, 2004).

December 2: Jon Sensbach, A Separate Canaan; The Making of an Afro-Moravian World

in North Carolina, 1763-1840 (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press,


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