NOTE: At the start of each week, I will post a  lecture video with discussion questions.  I will also provide you with linked readings.

You will be asked to post a response to each week’s topic on our  OPENLAB. This assignment will be due each Monday by noon.

Classes begin Weds. 8/25.  Your Self-Introduction is due Monday, Aug. 30.          


Weekly Schedule


Week 1                                              

  • Register for OpenLab and request membership to our course site
  • Post your introduction to the class on OpenLab
  • Explore class website


Week 2   First Encounters in the New World

Read your classmates’ introductions and respond to one or more of them

View   “Lost History of the Taino People” 

Read Christopher Columbus, “On His First Voyage to America, 1492”  (Here is a PDF version of the letter)

and Bartolome de Las Casas “Destruction of the Indies”

Post a response on OpenLab to a key episode, line, or theme from your readings and/or documentary (Due Monday, Sept. 6)


Week 3  Dutch New York

View “New York: Before the City” (with Eric Sanderson)

ReadBiography of Jacob Steendam and his poem “In Praise of New Netherland” (1636) and Washington Irving “Rip Van Winkle”  (1819)




ViewThe Pilgrims  (PBS FILM) 

Read: William Bradford Of Plymouth Plantation (1650)

Our Story: 400 Years of Wampanoag History

Mexico City to Replace Columbus Statue

Week 5 9/21

Read: Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter (1850)

View:  The Scarlet Letter (Film 1995)


Week 6  9/28

Read: Benjamin Franklin, Autobiography (1790)


Week 7  10/5

1619 Project

Read: Phyllis Wheatley “On Being Brought From Africa to America”

Listen: Venture Smith, A Narrative of a Native of Africa: His Life and Adventures (1798)


Week 8  10/12

Read: 1) Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence (1776)

2) Abigail Adams “Remember the Ladies”

Read: Alexander Hamilton “Examine Well Your Heart”

View: Hamilton: The Documentary


UNIT TWO: The American Renaissance (1820-1865)

Week 9 

Unit 1 Draft Essay due 

Read: 10 Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance”,

2) Emerson “American Scholar”

3) Frederick Douglass  “Self-Made Men”


Week 10 

Read: 1) Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

2) Thoreau, Walden


Week 11:

Read: Edgar Allan Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart”

Listen:  Poe’s “The Raven”  (read by James Earle Jones)


Week 12

Herman Melville  Moby-Dick (film) and excerpts from novel


Week 13

Read: 1) Margaret Fuller “Educate Men and Women as Souls”

2) Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, “Declaration of Sentiments” (1848)

3) Sojourner Truth “Ain’t I a Woman?”

4) Harriet Tubman (FILM)

Recommended: Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (film)


Week 14 

Walt Whitman, Song of Myself (Audio Text)




Week 15 

Frederick Douglass “What to the Negro is the Fourth of July?”

Read: Abraham Lincoln “Gettysburg Address”

View: Glory (Film)

Unit 2 Essay due




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