Fordham University: Marriage, Slavery, Empire
Fordham University---English 7809---Marriage, Slavery, Empire: Issues in 19th-Century U.S Literary and Cultural Studies---Fall 2010
Instructor: Glenn Hendler
- An exploration of keywords and questions that concerned American writers in the nineteenth century as much as they animate American literary and cultural studies today. Would new forms of family and sexual life develop in the new republic, or would marriage and normative forms of sexuality stabilize an otherwise chaotic nation? Was slavery compatible with--even essential to--liberal and republican principles? After abolition, would democracy be reconstructed along racialized white supremacist lines? Was it America's "manifest destiny" to expand across the continent and beyond, or was the notion of empire anathema in a democracy? We will examine how literature asked and answered such questions, and discover how intimately related these three issues were in American writers' minds.
You will be divided into three keyword working groups corresponding to the three keywords of this course. Your group's collective task this semester will be to write a keyword essay on your term in the Collaboratory. Even though there are essays on these terms in the book, you’ll quickly see that the scope of your collaborative keyword essay is quite different from that of the essays in the book; the book takes as its archive the field of American cultural studies as a whole, while our archive is primarily the body of critical work on the works of literature we're reading in this course, and—secondarily—the subset of 19th-century American literature that we encounter in this course. Again, to be clear, your essay is primarily about the role of the keyword in the recent critical conversation about nineteenth-century American literature, and not the role of the keyword in the literature itself.
- From early in the semester, members of each group should begin collecting and archiving on the collaboratory site important usages of its keyword. You need not be picky; include obvious variants like "slave" and "imperialist" and "marry" as well. It may be helpful to archive usages of closely related terms as well, and you will want to have discussions, within your group, of what words are closely related. Are "husband" and "wife" useful for the marriage group to track? Should the "slavery" group also track "freedom?" The answers to these and other questions are up to you.
- Note that while each group is primarily responsible for its own keyword, you're welcome to help out other groups by pointing out to them, in the Collaboratory, usages and meanings of their keyword. In fact, the Bibliography assignment above requires that you mine the essays you read outside of class for all three keywords, so you'll be helping other groups out no matter what.
- By the middle of the semester, you will begin the process of writing and revising the essay, a process that I will consider complete at 5pm on Wednesday, December 15. I will give the keyword essay a grade as if it were written by a single student, but I will also give each student a grade based on his or her level and quality of participation in the construction of these keyword essays. The actual grade each student will receive on this assignment will be the average of these two numbers.
- Important: It will be to your advantage, when I do the grading at the end of the semester, to make your contributions visible to me. I can see who made each change in the Collaboratory, so the more you do on the site itself (as opposed to in e-mails or in-person discussions amongst yourselves) the better.
- Do note that the Keywords Collaboratory is a public space, and anyone at all can look at what we write there (though not just anyone can revise what we have written). If you prefer not to be identifiable to anyone beyond our class group, choose a username that does not clearly indicate your real name. Also, if the essay we produce is of a high enough quality, the editors may choose to publish our essay on the site permanently. If you do not wish your name to be attached to such a publication, please let me know by the end of the semester.
This link leads to the collaboratory area where you'll collect and discuss usages of the keyword marriage:
Write, edit, and discuss your group keyword essay on marriage by clicking on this link.
This link leads to the collaboratory area where you'll collect and discuss usages of the keyword slavery:
Write, edit, and discuss your group keyword essay on slavery by clicking on this link.
This link leads to the collaboratory area where you'll collect and discuss usages of the keyword empire:
Write, edit, and discuss your group keyword essay on empire by clicking on this link.
Collaboratory Leads: Glenn Hendler, Fordham University
Instructions for First-Time Users
Students: If you're a student enrolled in this class, you'll have access to edit and create pages. First, you'll need to create an account and email me your user name so I can give you special editing privileges. Please note: You will only be able to modify pages once I have activated your account.
- To create an account, click on the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.
- Submit all the information requested on the registration page. Make sure to remember your user name and password.
- email me your user name so I can activate your account.
- Until I activate your account, you're welcome to experiment with editing pages in the Sandbox. Check out the Help and FAQs pages for tips on how to format pages.
- Once I have activated your account, please do the task below under "Test Area" to confirm that you are able to edit. If that doesn't work, let me know. Assuming it does, I recommend you take some time reading and trying out the editing tasks described on the for new users page.
Other Visitors to the Site: If you're not enrolled in this class, you can still read and comment on the work that we're generating throughout the quarter. This will be a work in progress, so please check back for new additions and developments. You're also welcome to email me with any questions or comments about our course.
Test Area--do this after you've received an e-mail from me saying you're approved
As soon as you've been approved as a collaboratory participant (and to make sure you have been approved), go into the page linked below. In it you'll find the e-mail addresses of all members of the class, including yours. Open the "edit" tab for the page, change the e-mail address to your actual name, and feel free to add a couple of words afterward. For example, if your name is Jane Doe, you'll change "email@example.com" to Jane Doe, and can add "was here" after your name. Save the page, and you should see a sentence that says "Jane Doe was here." If you can't make this change, you aren't properly signed in or haven't been approved yet. Make sure you're signed in, and if you are, check with me to get yourself approved as a participant.
If you have previously been involved in a collaboratory project, and you remember your username and password, you can continue to use them. Even if so, please do go into the test page and follow the instructions above, just to make sure you're still authorized to use the site.
- A page for new users, with basic information about how to do the things you need to do.
- Cheat Sheet of Wiki Markup Language (i.e. how to code in this environment).