American Revolutions

Courses in this cluster examine the manyfold legacies of colonialism and anti-colonialism in the broader Atlantic world, with an emphasis on historical and ongoing revolutionary change among colonized peoples and their descendants.

Course Descriptions

CC100: Memory and Identity in Haitian Literature

Instructor: Alistaire Tallent
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 13917
Block: 1

Given the dramatic events and heartbreaking scenes of devastation coming out of Haiti this past year, it can be hard to imagine a significant literary tradition existing amid such chaos. And yet, despite—or perhaps because of—over two centuries of political instability and economic struggle, Haiti has produced an extraordinary body of literature, written in French, Haitian Kreyòl, and English. In this course we will examine a few of these works to uncover the lingering legacy of the Haitian revolution in how twentieth and twenty-first-century authors understand their own challenges. Comparing these fictional accounts with other forms of interpretation, including the visual arts, film, opera, historical essays, and newspaper accounts, we will identify the ways that writers manipulate narratives of the past with careful use of language and imagination to explore their own identities and make sense of often troubling reality.

CC120: Marie de France: Gender, Race, Class, Authority

Instructor: Re Evitt
CRN# 13918
Block: 3

In this course we’ll explore Marie de France’s unusual positionality as a woman writing fiction in twelfth-century France and England. In her fables and lais, Marie is obsessed with wounds, monstrosity, and hybridity as markers of gender, ethnicity, race, class. Through fiction, she provides a cognitive literary map that “call[s] attention to the complexity of borders of all kinds, reminding us that beneath the master narratives of conquest, colonialism, and assimilation we are likely to find an array of shifting political, linguistic, and socio-cultural affinities in which relations of power are negotiated in various, sometimes unpredictable, ways” (Kinoshita and McCracken, “The World of Marie”). We’ll consider how Marie maps the erased ethnicities that inform her culture and reveals gender double-standards that haunt marriage and illicit love, equally in her world and ours. We’ll develop a collection of creative “covers” of Marie’s work that allow you to explore—through your own contemporary lenses—the nuances of the different social and cultural challenges she writes about. Throughout the seminar, students will develop their close reading, critical analysis, and researched writing skills through paired critique and draft-revision writing workshops. Written work will include short response papers, comparative close reading, and researched critical analysis opportunities.

Note: Some writing workshops may take place in the afternoon, 1:00-3:00 pm, after a writing morning.


CC100: Atlantic Revolutions, 1688-1804

Instructor: Bryan Rommel-Ruiz
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Historical Perspectives
CRN# 13919
Block: 1

This course examines the revolutions that transformed the Atlantic World from England’s Glorious Revolution in 1688-89 to the Haitian Revolution in 1804. We will also explore the two major upheavals in between, the American and French revolutions. Looking at original documents and scholarly interpretations surrounding these events, this course will ask students to engage with fundamental questions about the nature of revolutions, and the ways those that defined this period in Western history shaped the modern world.

CC120: Fashionable Revolutions: Clothing, Class, Empire, and Gender in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World

Instructor: Jennifer Golightly
CRN# 13920
Block: 2

This course will examine the ways in which women’s dress during the Age of Revolutions was a point of intersection for changing ideas about class, race, women’s roles in society, maternity, commerce and empire, and women’s education. Using a cultural historicist approach, we’ll investigate the very drastic shifts in women’s fashion that occurred between 1770 and 1805 and how those shifts are linked to changing global and cultural power structures as well as to a hardening of attitudes about femininity and gender more broadly. We’ll talk about fabrics (how, where, and by whom they were manufactured), shapes (from structured and strictured to loose and flowy), and styles (including the mania for towering hairstyles pre-French Revolution and the fake-pregnancy bump fad of the Regency era). We will use this thematic focus as a lens for exploring writing about historical and cultural topics. We’ll look at models of writing in public history, cultural history, and investigate writing as a process of thinking connected to discipline-based modes of inquiry. We’ll also spend time reflecting on our own writing processes and how to adapt what works for us as individuals to the requirements of specific genres and audiences.


CC100: Black and Brown Muslims in White America

Instructor: Peter Wright
Learning Across the Liberal Arts Designation: Analysis & Interpretation of Meaning
CRN# 13872
Block: 1

In this CC100 course, we investigate the often-neglected histories of Black and Brown Muslims as they have negotiated a place for themselves as Muslims in the context of a hegemonic White (Euro-American) Protestant milieu. In the process, we discover how Islam has served minority communities as a site of religious creativity and adaptation, as well as an emblem of a distinctive, if often contested, religious identity—both before and after 9/11.

CC120: Sport, Media, and Society

Instructor: Taylor Nygaard
CRN# 13873
Block: 4

This course examines the ways in which discourse surrounding sports influences culture, politics, and identity. Using the tools of media and cultural studies students analyze the discourses surrounding topics such as the rhetorical construction of the athlete, sporting events, athletes as racialized and gendered bodies, the commodification of the athlete, athletes and activism, as well as fandom and identification. This isn’t a class about the rules or the appreciation of sport. It’s about how sport is commemorated, how its heroes and villains are constructed and represented, and most importantly what that tells us about how contemporary popular culture values different racial, gendered, and class identities. The aim of the course overall is to introduce students to the kinds of questions scholars ask in studying sport and to enable students to improve their writing by learning to assess and analyze sources more carefully, and to position their own perspective among others in a way that is informed, critical, and civil.

Note: This course will require out-of-class screenings. Most will be available via streaming platforms.


Report an issue - Last updated: 10/18/2022