History | 19th Century American Lives: Biography, Autobiography, and Microhistory
J300 | 10954 | Gamber


Above class COLL intensive writing section
Above class open to undergraduates only
A portion of the above class reserved for majors

What can studying individual lives teach us about history?  This
class addresses that question by considering three distinct but
related genres:  biography (an account of one personís life),
autobiography/ memoir (an individualís account of his/her own life
or parts of his/her life), and microhistory (an account in which a
historian uses specific individuals or events as a means of
illuminating larger issues).

Our common reading will include examples of all three genres and
will encompass both famous and ordinary nineteenth-century
Americans.  You will also have the opportunity to read a biography,
autobiography, or microhistory that deals with a nineteenth-century
individual or event that interests you.  And you will have the
opportunity to write a biography or microhistory based on your own
research in primary sources.

Requirements:  This is a seminar, which means that your attendance
and active participation are essential.  Because this is an
intensive-writing seminar, we will devote significant time and
attention to the art and craft of writing. To that end, you will
complete brief weekly writing assignments, three short (3-5-page)
papers, and one longer research paper of approximately 10 pages.