HIST 1985 From Subjects to Citizens: The Making and Unmaking of Early America (also AMST 1985, ASRC 1985) (HB)(HST-AS) (HPE, HNA)
Tuesday and Thursday: 2:55-4:10 plus discussion
Professor Casey Schmitt
On the eve of the American Revolution Britain administered 26 colonies—not just the 13 that would become the United States. British North America’s dramatic struggle for independence has led many history textbooks to read the revolution back into colonial history, focusing on those 13 North American colonies that would become the United States, often at the expense of global connections that defined the colonial and revolutionary periods. As this class will explore, key elements of early American history can only be understood through a broader perspective, from the economic growth of New England as a result of the African slave trade and exchange in the Caribbean, to the use of citizenship as a category of exclusion in response to the myriad inhabitants—European, Indigenous, and African—who neighbored or lived within the original 13 colonies. In this course, we will explore the history of early America from the 1490s through the 1800s from a global perspective. Voices usually peripheral to the narrative of American development, from enslaved African mariners to Spanish American nuns, will become central to processes of cultural encounter, labor exploitation, revolutionary upheavals, and state formation that shaped the making and unmaking early America.