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Regional Cultures of the American South


Admission requirements

Both BA-Werkcolleges passed.


This course will examine plantation, subsistence, and mountaineer culture in the American South, from the late 18th century to the present. Did a distinctive culture in the South emerge, and how has it been reshaped and reinterpreted? Methods explored will include staple theory, historical geography, cultural anthropology, psychohistory, and Foucauldian genealogy. Primary materials discussed will include literature, music and objects.

Course objectives

General learning objectives

    1. divise and conduct research of limited scope, including:
      a. identifying relevant literature and select and order them according to a defined principle;
      b. organising and using relatively large amounts of information;
      c. an analysis of a scholarly debate;
      d. placing the research within the context of a scholarly debate.
    1. write a problem solving essay and give an oral presentation after the format defined in the Themacolleges, including
      a. using a realistic schedule of work;
      b. formulating a research question and subquestions;
      c. formulating a well-argued conclusion;
      d. giving and receiving feedback;
      e. responding to instructions of the lecturer.
    1. reflect on the primary sources on which the literature is based.
    1. select and use primary sources for their own research.
    1. analyse sources, place and interpret them in a historical context.
    1. participate in class discussions.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

    1. The student has knowledge of a specialisation, more specifically of {choose from list below}
    • in the specialisation General History the place of European history from 1500 in a worldwide perspective; with a focus on the development and role of political institutions;
    • in the track American History American exceptionalism; the US as a multicultural society and the consequences of that for historiography; the intellectual interaction between the US and Europe;
    1. Knowledge and insight in the main concepts, the research methods and techniques of the specialisation, more specifically of choose from list below
    • in the specialisation General History the study of primary sources and the context specificity of nationally defined histories;
    • in the track American History exceptionalism; analysis of historiografical and intellectual debates;
  • Learning objectives, pertaining to this specific seminar*
    The student will:

    1. Understand the labor regime on tobacco, rice, and cotton plantations;
    1. Explore the international financial panics of 1793, 1819 and 1873 and their effect on the South;
    1. Understand how the American Civil War, the New Deal (1933-41), and the Civil Rights movement (1950-present) reshaped the South;
    1. Interpret the literature of the American South using a historical framework.


Zie Rooster Geschiedenis (in Dutch)

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hrs = 280 hours

  • Practical work: discussion 3 hours per week x 13 weeks = 39 hours

  • Assessment: 1,5 hours for midterm, 2 hours for final examination = 3,5 hours

  • Literature: 80 pages per week x13 weeks = 1040 pages = approximately 148 hours total

  • Assignment: 90 hours (necessary hours to write a paper (including research and reading secondary literature)

Assessment method

  • Written paper (ca. 7200 words, based on problem-oriented research using primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-5, 8-12

  • Oral presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 3, 5-7

  • Participation
    Measured learning objectives: 8-12

  • Assignment 1 (analytical essay)
    Measured learning objectives: 3, 5, 6-12

  • Assignment 2 (2nd analytical essay)
    Measured learning objectives: 3, 5, 6-12

  • Assignment 3 (3rd analytical essay)
    Measured learning objectives: 3, 5, 6-12

Written paper: 45%
Written paper proposal: 10%
Oral presentation: 10%
Participation: 5%
Assignment 1: 10%
Assignment 2: 10%
Assignment 3: 10%

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the written paper must always be sufficient.

Written papers should be handed in within the given deadline (in Dutch)

The written paper can be revised, when marked insufficient. Revision should be carried out within the given deadline (in Dutch)


Blackboard will be used for distributing pdfs for reading and for posting analytical essays.

Reading list

All readings available as pdfs on Blackboard


Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable


Scott Reynolds Nelson