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Read Along With My Gilded Age Graduate Seminar


I’m teaching a graduate seminar this fall on Late 19th Century America. Figured you might all want to read along, so long as you can keep up with the workload which LOL. This reflects the latest developments in the historiography of the period, so if you find things missing, well, you only have so much time, especially since our semesters are kind of short and of course the first class is just introductory material without reading.

September 21: Historiographical interpretations of the Gilded Age


Richard White, “Utopian Capitalism,” in Sven Beckert and Christine Desan, American Capitalism: New Histories

Eric Foner, “Reconstruction Revisited,” Reviews in American History December 1982.

Rebecca Edwards, “Politics, Social Movements, and the Periodization of U.S. History,” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era Vol. 8, No. 4 (Oct.2009), pp. 463-473

Richard Schneirov, “Thoughts on Periodizing the Gilded Age: Capital Accumulation, Society, and Politics, 1873-1898,” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era Vol. 5, No. 3 (Jul.2006), pp. 189-224

Elizabeth Israels Perry, “Men Are from the Gilded Age, Women Are from the Progressive Era,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jan.2002), pp. 25-48

September 28: America in 1865: Read Gregory Downs, After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War

Selections from Jim Downs, Sick from Freedom: African-American Illness and Suffering during the Civil War and Reconstruction and Drew Gilpin Faust, Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War

October 5: The Civil War in the American West: Read Stacey Smith, Freedom’s Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction

Selection from Margaret Jacobs, White Mother to a Dark Race: Settler Colonialism, Maternalism, and Removal of Indigenous Children in the American West and Australia, 1880-1940

October 12: The Failure of Reconstruction: Read David Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory

W.E.B. DuBois “The Propaganda of History,” in Black Reconstruction

Articles about Civil War memory today

October 19: The Creation of Jim Crow: Read Talitha LeFlouria, Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South

Selection from Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow and Grace Elzabeth Hale, Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South

October 26: The Native American Reconstruction: Read Karl Jacoby, Shadows at Dawn: An Apache Massacre and the Violence of History

Selection from Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling over the Memory of Sand Creek

November 2: Gilded Age Capitalism: Read Richard White, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

November 9: The Fight over Capitalism I: What Happened to America? Read Edward O’Donnell, Henry George and the Crisis of Inequality: Progress and Poverty in the Gilded Age

Rosanne Currarino. “The Politics of More: The Labor Question and the Idea of Economic Liberty in Industrial America. Journal of American History, Vol. 93, No. 1 (June, 2006), 17-36

November 16: The Fight over Capitalism II: The Rural Revolt. Read Charles Postel, The Populist Vision

Selection from Richard Hofstadter, The Age of Reform: From Bryan and F.D.R. and Robert D. Johnston. “’The Age of Reform’: A Defense of Richard Hofstadter Fifty Years On,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Vol 6., No.2 (April, 2007),pp.127-137

November 23: The Fight over Capitalism III: Transnational Resistance. Read Timothy Messer-Kruse, The Haymarket Conspiracy: Transatlantic Anarchist Networks

Selections from Eric Rauchway, Murdering McKinley: The Making of Theodore Roosevelt’s America and Daniel Rodgers, Atlantic Crossings: Social Politics in a Progressive Age

November 30: Everyday Life in the Gilded Age I: The Immigrant Experience. Read Hasia Diner, Roads Taken: The Great Jewish Migrations to the New World and the Peddlers Who Forged the Way

Selection from Madeline Yuan-Yin Hsu, Dreaming of Gold, Dreaming of Home: Transnationalism and Migration between the United States and South China, 1882-1943

December 7: Everyday Life in the Gilded Age II: Social History. Read Katherine Turner, How the Other Half Ate: A History of Working-Class Meals at the Turn of the Century

Chapter from Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Women and Leisure in Turn of the Century New York

Of course, on top of all this reading, students will have to write a 12-15 page historiographical paper with a dozen or so additional books. If you want me to assign you some more readings, feel free to ask!

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