Research Seminar 2: 19th Century Then and Now
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleLET-ETCAMB302
Credits (ECTS)5
CategoryBA (Bachelor)
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Arts; English Language and Culture;
dr. W.C. Versteeg
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
dr. W.C. Versteeg
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2018
PER 1-PER 2  (01/09/2018 to 01/02/2019)
Starting block
Course mode
RemarksAccessible to exchange students.
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesYes
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
At the end of the course, the student will have:
  • acquired knowledge of and insight into the expressions and works of the most important American writers, scholars, intellectuals, and artists that shaped 19th century society, politics, and culture and how this impacted past and present perceptions of regional and national identities and notions of race, class, and gender within them
  • acquired the ability to critically analyze and interpret 19th-century American literary and cultural products and place them in a cultural-historical, social and political context;
  • acquired knowledge of the most important contemporary and current critical interpretations of these products and the ability to link these products and political expressions to current events;
  • gained experience in presenting, researching and writing about 19th-century American political, historical, literary, and cultural expressions, applying interdisciplinary approaches and accounting for shifts in understanding from the 19th to the 20th and 21st century.
19th century America was the time that the United States came into its own as a culture, a society, and a world power distinct from Europe, deeply shaped by influences from across the world and by its own internal dynamics which at one point nearly tore it asunder. At the time, artists, intellectuals, politicians, and observers of US society and culture discussed these transformations and the nature of America with great fervor. Today, we continue this tradition as scholars, readers, and popular culture consumers. Yet, crucially, the ways in which we interpret the 19th century differ in fundamental respects from how Americans at the time viewed it. This tension – between how 19th century Americans experienced society and how this has been rewritten and re-imagined and how this influences today’s society from attitudes to federalism, gender, race and civil rights struggles to the nativism and populism of Donald Trump – will be the driving force of the seminar. Central foci will be how crucial developments of the 19th century such as the fight over slavery, the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution, the western movement, and the drive for empire shaped regional identities, cultures, and interactions. This will be done by analyzing the political expressions and cultural products of some of the 19th century’s greatest writers, artists, activists, politicians, and intellectuals as well as 20th and 21st century scholarly work and popular cultural expressions dealing with 19th century topics, and linking them to current events. As such, this course combines the various interdisciplinary approaches that American Studies has to offer – ranging from the literary to the socio-cultural to the historical and political – as well as requires students to carry out a research project of their own in either the literary-cultural or political-historical field.
Assumed previous knowledge
Note for exchange students: you cannot take this course if your English proficiency level is not at least C1 (TOEFL, IELTS, TOEIC or Cambridge). A statement from your home university won't be accepted.

Recommended materials
To be announced
Title:To be announced.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Attendance MandatoryYes

Midterm Take Home
Test weight40
Test typeTake-home test
OpportunitiesBlock PER 1, Block PER 2

Minimum grade

Final Take Home
Test weight40
Test typeTake-home test
OpportunitiesBlock PER 2, Block PER 3

Minimum grade

Test weight20
Test typeParticipation
OpportunitiesBlock PER 2

Minimum grade