The People of Charleston and the Urban South, 1787-1901

HST-475: Senior Seminar (Fall 2011)

Charleston: Meeting Street Panorama (1860)

Source: "Panoramic view of Charleston, from the spire of St. Michael's
Church, 1860" Library of Congress, American Memory: Civil War Stereographs

Table of Resources

Course Description
Contact Prof. Benson

Academic Integrity Policies
ADA Accommodations

Research Resources
Steps for Building Your Bibliography
Structured Outlining: Classifications
Final Term Paper Requirements and Suggestions
Chicago Manual Footnote Standards Quick Guide
Discusion Board Requirements and Suggestions
Course Discussion Board

Schedule of Seminar Meetings and Assignments

Wednesday (24 August)

Course Introduction and Overview; Potential Primary Sources
We will have class for the full scheduled time period today.

Librarians Steve Richardson and Debbielee Landi will describe various primary resources available for your projects on Charleston and other urban South communities. We will have an open discussion about how your previous history courses might help to frame our work in the seminar. We will consider what we mean by the ideas of community history, social history, urban history and southern history.

Before our session, please read the article by Furman alum and nationally recognized community historian O. Vernon Burton, "Reaping What We Sow: Community and Rural History," Agricultural History 76 (Autumn 2002), 631-58. Take a few minutes to review your history portfolio.

Wednesday (31 August)

The Communities of Charleston in Personal Context
Before the session, please read through the first three chapters of Richard Coté, Mary's World.

A 4-7 page essay about the historical and methodological insights your previous history courses bring to the subject of this seminar will be due at class time. You may make reference in your paper to the Burton essay and the Cote book as well as your previous coursework.

Please post a one paragraph summary of your key "takeaways" from the exercise to the Course Discussion Board and Workspace (either before or after class).

Wednesday (7 September)

Mary's World
Finish reading Coté, Mary's World in preparation for class discussion.

Before class, please prepare a two to three paragraph term paper prospectus and an annotated bibliography of the main primary and secondary sources you expect to use for your project.

Above all, the prospectus should clearly state what your research question is. What is the scholarly mystery, gap in the existing histories, or personal intellectual curiosity that you think your paper will resolve? How, by discovering new information, linking old information to new sources, or comparing two old bodies of information that have never been put side-by-side before, will you make an original contribution? What is the scope in time and place of your intended project as you see it right now? What are your intended communities? What will be your primary methodological or theoretical approach? Will this be social history, family history, military history, political history, cultural history? Will it involve statistical, geographical, literary, critical theory, or post-colonial approaches? Who are the two or three scholars whose historiographical interpretations have most dominated your proposed area of study? What do you think makes the primary sources for this project so compelling, at least as understand them from the finding aids and descripions? Ask a flood of questions to me, Mr. Richardson, and Ms. Landi.

Please create a research journal subtopic under your name on the course discussion board. (You may create a personal Google doc or other public blog if you want to instead -- just post a link.) You will discuss the prospectus in small groups and the seminar as a whole.

The prospectus should explicitly state what your research question is, what problems you intend to answer in the paper that the existing scholarship has left open, and why your primary source core appears to be a good means for helping you to explore these issues.

You will need to make a brief entry in your research journal for each personal research session over the course of the term. These should be entered as soon as possible after the research session has been completed. It should describe the footnotes, bibliographies, dictionaries, and databases you used during the session, and a general summary of both successes and dead ends in finding specific sources. Journals that are kept current will receive higher scores. The journal will be part of your final project submission.

Please post a copy of the prospectus (no bibliography needed) to the Course discussion board and workspace before class.

Wednesday (14 September)

Charleston's History: The Grand Narrative

Read Rosen, A Short History of Charleston, through Chapter 8.

A first final draft of your first and last paragraphs and an outline listing the major points of your argument and the sources used to back them will be due at class time.

Please post a copy of this document to the Course discussion board and workspace before class, along with any comments you would like to add with it.

Wednesday (21 September)

The Majority Perspective
Read Bernard Powers, Black Charlestonians: A Social History, 1822-1885 in preparation for class discussion. Please browse through some of the History Engine episodes, using the keyword "Charleston" as your search term.

Three History Engine style primary source write-ups extracted from the body of your paper are due at class time today. (You may find it helpful to read the relevant portions of their guide to writing episodes, though we will not be contributing to their database this term.) Each of these should be two to three paragraphs long. These will need to combine a brief description of your source with appropriate secondary references to place the content in context.

Please post a copy of the write-up that you like the most to the Course Discussion Board and Workspace for potential discussion in class. Please post a paragraph or so reacting to the content of the Powers book and how its arguments intersect with the Mary's World monograph.

Wednesday (28 September)

Initial Project Results
The first draft of your term paper (8-10 pp.) will be due by class time today. Please bring three copies to share for the peer review process.

Wednesday (5 October)

Material Culture, Economics, Geohistory and Historical Memory

Read the article by John Michael Vlatch, "'Without Recourse to Owners': The Architecture of Urban Slavery in the Antebellum South," Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture 6 (1997): 150-160. Then read the review essay by Gaines Foster, "The Market, Cultural Persistence, and Economic Change in the South" Reviews in American History, 18 (March 1990): 71-76. Read the article by Amy Hillier, "Invitation to Mapping: How GIS Can Facilitate New Discoveries in Urban and Planning History" Journal of Planning History 9 (May 2010): 122-34 [p-doc-f here]. Finally, read the review by Carter Hudgens of the books by Stephanie Yuhl, Golden Haze of Memory and Maurie McInnes, The Politics of Taste in Antebellum Charleston, in Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 65 (June 2006), pp. 310-312.

Please post a paragraph or two reflecting on these pieces and synthesizing their most important insights to the Course Discussion Board and Workspace before class.

Wednesday (12 October)

Politics and Social Order in the Coming of Secession

Work through the brief chapters on The Pre-Civil War South and The Impending Crisis from the University of Houston's Digital History on-line textbook site. Read and outline the model article by Daniel W. Crofts, "Late Antebellum Virginia Reconsidered," Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 107 (Summer, 1999): 253-286. Please use specific structured outlining classifications as well as these guidelines for how to write an abstract to complete your work. We will read and discuss these pieces for structure and evaluate a series of scholarly article abstracts in class today.

Your individual outline of the Crofts article and an abstract of your own article will be due in class today. Please submit the outline in print or e-mail to me directly but do not post it to the DB. Do post a copy of your abstract of your own term paper to the Discussion Board, however.

Wednesday (19 October)

Secession as an Urban Problem
Read Frank Towers, The Urban South and the Coming of the Civil War in preparation for class discussion. Read through this brief summary of the concept of integrative complexity. Participant pairs (TBA at class time) will take turns being discussion leaders for one chapter from the book.

We will consider how to evaluate and create sophisticated original thesis arguments. Please post an informal account of your intended argument revisions to the course discussion board.

Wednesday (26 October)

Gender and Religion in Community Context
All participants will read Pease and Pease, Ladies, Women, and Wenches. One half of the class will also read Jacob M. Blosser, "Constructing Modernity: Historical Imagery and Religious Identity in Charleston's Great Awakening" [p-doc-f here] South Carolina Historical Magazine 106 (October 2005): 212-234. The other half will read Otis Westbrook Pickett, "'We are Marching to Zion:' Zion Church and the Distinctive Work of Presbyterian Slave Missionaries in Charleston, South Carolina," [p-doc-f here] Proceedings of the South Carolina Historical Association (2010): 91-104, in preparation for class discussion.

We will work on gathering, reviewing and evaluating related literature, the importance of bibliography chaining and the value of thematic and "mid-range scope" literature for framing projects in broader context.

Please post a paragraph or two reflecting on the book and your assigned article to the Course Discussion Board and Workspace before class.

Wednesday (2 November)

Disasters of the Urban South
Fires, Epidemics, Hurricanes, Earthquakes and Wars (articles T.B.A. read in pairs).

Your revised article outline will be due at class time. Please e-mail me or hand me a print copy.

Wednesday (9 November)

Sports in Charleston and the Nation
Read Randy J. Sparks, "Gentleman's Sport: Horse Racing in Antebellum Charleston" South Carolina Historical Magazine 93 (January 1992): 15-30, and D. L. MeMahieu, "The History of British and American Sport. A Review Article," Comparative Studies in Society and History 32 (Oct., 1990): 838-844.

We will consider techniques for presenting and reviewing primary evidence.

Please post a paragraph or two commenting on the Sparks and MeMahieu articles to the Course Discussion Board and Workspace before class.

Wednesday (16 November)

Charleston and the Gilded Age Urban South in Global Context
Reading Assignments T.B.A.

Wednesday (23 November)

No Session: Thanksgiving Break
Happy Holidays!

Wednesday (30 November)

Final Regular Meeting
Today's session will be devoted to peer reviews of penultimate final drafts. Please e-mail a copy of your final paper to me and to your peer review partners at least 24 hours before class. Please post a copy to the Course Discussion Board and Workspace. During the session you will complete this peer review worksheet. For the second peer review, use this second version instead.

peer review partner groups:

Monday (12 December 3:30 PM)

Final Draft of Final Paper
Meeting details T.B.A.

Assignment Percentages

Class participation30 %
Previous Courses Essay8 %
Term Essay: First Draft12 %
Peer Review Comments5 %
Term Essay: Penultimate Draft10 %
Term Essay: Final Submitted Draft and Research Journal25 %
Discussion Board Postings10 %

Note: The instructor reserves the right to change any provisions, due dates, grading percentages, or any other items without prior notice. All assignments on this schedule are covered under the university's policy on plagiarism and academic integrity. See the syllabus statement for further details. This page was last updated on 10/2/2011.