Six Great Debates in 19th-Century American Literature (Lecture)

Lecture: Six Great Debates in 19th-Century American Literature: Expansion, Indigeneity, Slavery, Gender, War, Industrialization

This lecture will address the large societal questions that occupied Americans in the 19th century as the new nation defined itself, faced wars from the outside (the War of 1812) and inside (the Civil War) and started some wars on its own (the “Indian Wars” and the Mexican War).  Politics, society, geography, race and gender were intertwined in their contributions to the creation of an American identity.  On the question of expansion, Thomas Jefferson’s Louisiana Purchase suddenly increased the size of the country.  On the question of indigeneity, Andrew Jackson’s ruthless resettlement policies resulted in the Trail of Tears. The Seneca Falls Convention made public claims for women’s rights, and the hotly debated question of race – buttressed on both sides by theology, science, narrative and economy -- split the nation in two. Industrialization brought machines to the (perceived) garden (to borrow Leo Marx’s terminology) and transformed the country’s character from pioneer and rural to proletarian and urban.

This is not an “intro” lecture. It is open to everyone, but it can only be validated as one of the lectures in Module 1 of the BAS_1 program, in Module 5 of the BALET program, or in Module 5 (American Literature) of the MA program.







Gender Studies, Kulturwissenschaften


Universitäre Hochschulen (UH)