Americans in the 1890s faced wrenching social upheaval. Immigrants came
the thousands; cities grew and changed; the frontier offered promise and
hardship; roles for women and men were challenged; industrial workers and
farmers challenged the capitalist system; the promise of Reconstruction
withered. Profound conservatism and radical ideas clashed, and both shaped
the culture as we moved into the new century. One hundred years later, we
face many of the same issues. From the 1990s perspective, we will explore
the issues of the earlier decade, concentrating on primary sources - books,
newspapers, essays, and photographs. Students will also use the Internet's
rich resources. Credit will be awarded in history, literature and cultural
The order in which we will read these is tentative but the first week is
Winter Quarter Reading List
firm. We will read additional articles available for purchase in the
program packet sold through the TESC book store. (Usually packets are not
available until just before the quarter begins.)
LeWarne, Charles. Utopias on Puget Sound. Chpts. 1-3, 6-7
Bellamy, Edward. Looking Backward.
Alger, Horatio. Ragged Dick (Note that we are having trouble finding
enough copies. Ragged Dick is our probable Alger read.)
Riis, Jacob. How the Other Half Lives.
Sandoz, Mari. Old Jules.
Turner, Frederick Jackson. Frontier Thesis of American History.
Twain, Mark. Connecticut Yankee.
A very useful 1890s web page, with links to articles from mass-circulation
magazines (and lots of other stuff), is located at
http://www.colorado.edu/English/engl4652/ (You may have to get in by going
first to http://www.colorado.edu/English, then scroll down to "Course
offerings" and click on "Syllabi, etc. for English classes."
down to "From Past Semesters" and click on "ENGL 4652: The
American 1890s -
Mary Klages." It's worth the trip! See especially the "Recommended
Reading" button - links to articles from 1890s magazines.
Winter or Winter/Spring Projects
1. Family history (IF you have not researched this part of your family
before--these time periods, or this family branch, or whatever. Should be
2. Construction of "gender" or "American"
3. Research project, historical, cultural, or literary on topic of your
choice (but NOT a report; the idea is exploration and analysis, which we
will talk about in class)
Note: Projects can be either Winter quarter only, or Winter and Spring
You will also have the opportunity to prepare and present a five minute
talk at some point during the quarter, sharing information you have
researched that is relevant to that day's topic/s. This can be connected
your project or not, as you choose. The idea is to give everyone a chance
to be an "expert," and to give you presentation experience. You'll
for the topic and day of your choice.