Julie Ellison
(h) 662-2280 / (o) 763-6048*, 763-4639
Office hours: Mondays 9-12 3259 Haven and by appointment 4008 Fleming

Reading Assignments

January 12 Introduction: How to Read The Shipping News

Questions arising from intergeneric practices and the culture of multiplicity. Survey of the field: From nationalism to internationalism, from literature to culture, "area studies," "rim studies," interdisciplinarity, relationally, and the problem of comparison. Temporality and the return of geography.

4 pm Attend talk by job candidate

January 19 No class: MLK Day

Cornel West, 10 am, Hill Auditorium

Special event on Sunday Jan 25: Free public premiere of Prof. James Standifer's documentary "Porgy and Bess: An American Voice"

Acquire course pack this week--leave yourself time!
January 26 Poets, Provincials, and the News

William Cowper, The Task (1785) Books I and IV, including footnotes, and photocopies of the Morning Chronicle and General Evening Post (handout)

Skills assignment

  • a. Using the microfilm reader/printers in the Serials Room of the Graduate Library, read several issues of a British or British North American newspaper. The material must date from 1783. Photocopy the issue, or part of an issue, that strikes you as the most interesting. Bring the photocopies to class.
  • b. 10-minute class presentations: The challenge is to convey the excitement and significance of your materials to other members of the class. You may zero in on a particular newspaper item or on the relationships among different kinds of content. Feel free to use graphics, the blackboard, handouts. If you need an overhead or slide projector, let me know no later than Thursday Jan 22.
February 2 The Categories of "Space," "Geography," "Scapes" and "Globalization": Transnational Cultural Studies

** Meet in 4006 Fleming (tentative) for worldwide web demo
  • Timothy Brennan from At Home in the World: Cosmopolitanism Now (Coursepack)
  • Patricia Yaeger, "Introduction: Narrating Space" from The Geography of Identity (Coursepack)
  • Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead ch 1, esp. 25-31
February 9 "Print Culture": What Does It Explain?

  • John Feather, from The Provincial Book Trade in Eighteenth-Century England (Coursepack)
  • Richard D. Brown, from Knowledge is Power: The Diffusion of Information in Early America (Coursepack)
  • David S. Shields, "Introduction: Of Civil Discourse and Private Society" and ch. 2, "Belles Lettres and the Arenas of Metropolitan Conversation" Civil Tongues and Polite Letters in British America

Skills Assignment: Site Visits

Find a site on the worldwide web containing primary resources that can be useful in this seminar. Then go to Special Collections (Rare Book Room) in the Graduate Library and locate an archival item that is pertinent to the material on the web site you have located.

Prepare a sheet containing the URL (address) for the web site and bibliographical info on the print material. Write a 1-page description and evaluation of both items, making sufficient copies for everyone in the class. For the web site: be sure to specify the institutional sponsor, the individuals who maintain the site, the date of the most recent update, convenience (do you spend forever waiting for the page to materialize on your screen?), and sources of support (foundations, federal agencies, universities). For the printed item, include what you have been able to discover about its provenance. The Special Collection staff should be able to help you figure out when and how this item came to reside at the University of Michigan.

February 16 "The Atlantic": The History of a System

** Meet in Clements Library (facing the Law School on South University, next to the President's house)

  • Ian K. Steele, from The English Atlantic (Coursepack)
  • David Cressy, from Coming Over (Coursepack)
  • John Feather, from The Provincial Book Trade (Coursepack)
  • Richard D. Brown, from Knowledge is Power: The
  • Diffusion of Information in Early America (Coursepack)
February 23 Making Up Magazines (And Anthologies)

Barbara Benedict, from Making the Modern Reader:

  • Cultural Mediation in Early Modern Literary Anthologies (Coursepack)
  • Kathryn Shevelow, from Women and Print Culture: The Construction of Femininity in the Early Periodical (Coursepack)
  • Jon Klancher, from The Making of English Reading
  • Audiences in conjunction with Thomas Carlyle's "The Signs of the Times" (Coursepack)

Skills Assignment:

Using the collections of the Clements Library, find a magazine, essay-periodical, review, or quarterly that had some degree of transatlantic circulation in the eighteenth or early nineteenth century. Write a one-page report on this periodical, making sufficient copies for everyone in the class.

March 9 Worldly Manners and Imperial Sensibility:

The Tatler and The Spectator

Selections from Addison and Steele, stressing starred items:

  • Tatler 1, 21, 25, 158, 163, 164, 167*, 181, 224, 229, 271
  • Spectator 1, 2, 6, 10, 11*, 37, 50*, 69*, 324*
  • Peter Hulme, from Colonial Encounters (Coursepack)
  • Roach, Cities of the Dead, chs 3-4
  • Shields, Civil Tongues and Polite Letters, pp. 262-74

* Plan group presentations for next week

March16 Either/Or, Both/And, Back-and-Forth Narratives:

Family, Class, and Captivity

  • Charlotte Lennox, Euphemia (Coursepack II) OR Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Huntly OR Maria Edgeworth, Belinda
  • Ellison, "There and Back: Transatlantic Novels and Anglo-American Careers" (handout)

Group presentation:

The seminar will hear from small groups according to who read what: the Euphemias, the Edgars and the Belindas. Each small group will prepare a 20-minute presentation about "their" text. Feel free to come in costume.

* Due in class: 1-page statement of term paper topic

March23 Poetry, Slavery, and Revolution

Carretta, Unchained Voices: selections by Jupiter Hammon, Phillis Wheatley, Francis Williams, and "Belinda." Read the Introduction to the volume and the footnotes for each selection. (The edition of choice remains the Schomburg's The Collected Works of Phyllis Wheatley, ed. John Shields, if you are writing on Wheatley.)

  • Ellison, "The Politics of Fancy in the Age of Sensibility" (Coursepack)
  • Paul Gilroy, from The Black Atlantic (Coursepack)

March 30 Labor, Color, Captivity

In Carretta, Unchained Voices: The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, The African and A Narrrative of the Lord's wonderful Dealings with John Marrant, a Black.

  • Selections from antislavery periodical (Coursepack)
  • Peter Linebaugh, "All the Atlantic Mountains Shook" (Coursepack)
April 6 Conversation, Race, and Nation

  • Freneau, The Rising Glory of America
  • Selections from American Gentleman and How to Behave
  • Shields, Civil Tongues and Polite Letters, chs. 5, 6, and 7 to p. 226

April 13 Individual or Group Presentations on Periodicals, Newspapers, or Transatlantic Careers. Presentations Should Develop from Research on Final Papers
April 20 Next Steps in Transatlantic Studies

April 22 Day after Classes End: Class Symposium in 4006 Fleming

Mini-conference format: 20 min individual presentations with questions and suggestions for revisions

April 27 Term paper due, 5 pm, Ellison's Haven Hall mailbox


Weekly e-mail:

The day before each class, I would like to receive an e-mail from each member of the seminar -- a substantial paragraph in length -- containing some initial thoughts and queries pertaining to the week's reading. Clearly, everyone in the class has to be on e-mail! I will set up a group e-mail for us--transan@umich.edu, probably--and you should send your feedback to the group address. I have decided not to assign a short paper in this course but rather to weight weekly preparation more heavily.

Class Symposium:

A mini-conference in which short papers, distilled from the term paper projects, will be presented to the group for feedback and questions.

Term Paper:

18-20pp. on a topic of your choosing. Bibliography and annotation required. You may not submit a paper for credit in more than one course without advance consultation with both professors involved. See syllabus for topic due date. I do take into account essayistic skill--style, argument, exemplification--in grading all papers.