Thursday, December 6, 2012

British Colonial America Readings for Spring 2013

I am teaching a course on British Colonial America in the Spring 2013 semester.  I just submitted my reading list (at least in terms of textbooks). The stuff I assigned is pretty traditional fare, but all of the books are VERY teachable.  It is not always easy to find new and cutting edge scholarship that teaches well and is undergraduate accessible.

Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial VirginiaThis book is a classic and it still works very well in the classroom.  There is certainly more up-to-date scholarship on the early Chesapeake, but Morgan remains the most teachable.  I like to bring the more recent scholarship to bear on Morgan's narrative during lectures and class discussion.

Daniel Richter, Facing East From Indian Country.  Works very well with undergraduates.  Provides a great lesson in historical thinking and historical empathy.

Peter Wood, Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina.  Classic work on colonial South Carolina.  Again, I try to introduce more recent scholarship during the discussion of this text.

Harry Stout, The Divine Dramatist: George Whitefield and the Rise of Modern Evangelicalism. A great read for my Christian undergraduates.  Stout does not a nice job of exploring the roots of evangelicalism.  I was going assign Catherine Brekus's new biography of Sarah Osborn for my unit on the Great Awakening, but I think I will wait for the paperback.

Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography.  See below.

Susan Klepp and Billy Smith, ed., The Infortunate: The Voyages and Adventures of William Moraley, An Indentured Servant.  William Moraley is the anti-Franklin.  Teaching his story alongside Franklin's is like reaching a state of pedagogical nirvana.

Ned Landsman, Crossroads of Empire; The Middle Colonies in British North America.  How can I not include my dissertation adviser's new book?

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750.  There is so much good stuff on Puritanism in New England, but Ulrich provides an excellent opportunity to discuss women's history.


3 comments:

Gabriel said...

Looks good, John! I am just wrapping up "Colonial North America" and we read Resendez, A Land So Strange (about Cabeza de Vaca), Greer's Bedford edition of the Jesuit Relations, Pagan's Anne Orthwood's Bastard, Hoffer's Cry Liberty (on the Stono Rebellion), and Kenny's Peaceful Kingdom Lost (about PA and its relationships with the Delaware, Conestoga, and Iroquois). All were successful, I think, though the stories in A Land So Strange and Cry Liberty were probably most popular.

Michael Hattem said...

I recently reviewed Landsman's Crossroads of Empire and found it to be an excellent all-around introduction to the middle colonies. Even better is his From Colonials to Provincials, which seems to me to be one of the most undergraduate-friendly surveys of eighteenth-century American cultural/intellectual history available.

John Fea said...

I couldn't agree more, Michael. Of course, as a Landsman student, I am biased.