English 203

Graduate Readings: American Enlightenment & Revolution

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2010 Tamarkin, Elisa
Tamarkin, Elisa
TTh 2-3:30 223 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Primary readings will include texts by Franklin, Edwards, Jefferson, Paine, Hamilton,  Wheatley, Equiano, Crèvecoeur, P. Oliver, S. Rowson, H. Foster, W. H. Brown, C. B. Brown, R. Tyler, W. Irving, as well as Locke, Hume, Kant, Burke, A. Smith, Priestley, and Gibbon.


This course broadly surveys the cultural history of the Enlightenment in eighteenth-century America.  In readings of literary, political, religious and scientific texts alongside visual culture of the period, we will look at the Revolution's impact on the Atlantic world and at intersections and exchanges between the American Enlightenment and its European counterparts.  Topics to be discussed include the wages of a revolutionary war, ideas of secularism and faith, the language of rights and representation, definitions of liberty and loyalty, the emergence of nationalism and cosmopolitanism, philosophies of race, and the place of feeling in the age of reason.  We will engage with critical and interpretive contexts for print culture and the early American book trade, for neoclassicism and romanticism, for the rise of the novel in America, and for new cultural expressions of the public, the private, and the individual.  Throughout the course, we will also look at materials and methods for literary-historical research in this period and at both the practical experience and theoretical implications of different approaches to the archive.

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