Bruce E. Baker

HIS2212: History and Memory in the United States

Tutor: Dr Bruce Baker
Armstrong Building Room 1.24
(0191) 208 3636
Office Hours: Mondays 13:00-15:00; Tuesdays 14:00-15:00
Semester: 2
Lectures: Monday 11:00-12:00 BSTC 1.48
Seminars: Tuesday 11:00-13:00 Armstrong 1.04, Thursday 11:00-13:00 BSTC 2.41B, Thursday 16:00-18:00 BSTC G.34

Module Content:

This course examines how Americans have thought about their past and how that is significant to our understanding of American history. Beginning soon after independence, Americans worked to shape the historical memory of the nation's origins in order to help define a distinctively American identity. As divisive issues arose, so too did conflicting ideas about the national past. The course begins with a thorough consideration of the origins of the study of historical memory and the wealth of recent literature that provides a methodological and theoretical framework for these studies. Overviews of historical memory in the United States sets out the major topics and issues and their interrelations. The course then gives special attention to how memory and identity have been mutually constituted by looking at case studies associated with particular regions, social groups, and events.

Teaching and Assessment

Lectures, Seminars, Study Groups and Private Study

This module is taught by means of a combination of lectures, seminars, and private study. All students are expected to attend one lecture and one seminar each week. If you are unable to attend any of these meetings due to illness, or for any other reason, please e-mail me in advance. The purpose of the lectures is to provide you with the essential knowledge for the module and to introduce you to key concepts and themes in this subject. The seminars will allow you the opportunity to work in small groups in order to discuss core reading and key issues. Alongside the classes you are expected to complete 170 hours of private study during the course of the semester, this should include time spent reading around the lecture topic, preparing for seminars, researching and writing your essay and revising for the exam.


I will be available during my weekly Office Hours for individual advice and guidance. If the Office Hours are not convenient, you can make an appointment with me for an alternative time the following week.


In order to prepare for the lectures and seminars you will be expected to undertake approximately 10 hours of reading each week. The reading list below should provide a basis for background reading for the lectures and preparatory reading for the seminars as well as for the more detailed study that will be expected on this module. This list is, however, only a starting point and you should feel free to pursue and develop your own interests within the field.

Since most of the course involves trying to understand how historical events were remembered and presented, the lectures will mostly focus on an overview of the historical event in question and the seminar will analyse how it has been incorporated into historical memory. There will be separate reading lists for the lectures and the tutorials, but you will get the most out of the module if you have read all of the week's material before attending the lecture.


This module will be assessed by one 2,000-word essay, a portfolio of weekly writing assignments that will total 2,000 words, and an unseen exam that will be held during the Semester 2 assessment period.

If you are an Erasmus student you may opt to submit a 2,000-word essay instead of sitting the exam. If you wish to do this, please contact me to discuss a question as soon as possible.

Writing Portfolio

Each week, you should write a brief essay of approximately 200 words responding to one of the key readings for the seminar for that week. There is great flexibility in the content of these brief essays; the idea is to get you to begin thinking and responding to the readings before we gather for the seminar, and they will provide part of the basis of our discussion. These papers should conform in style to the standard guidelines for essays, and they will be handed in at the beginning of class each week (please bring yourself a spare copy to refer to during the discussion). If you are unable to hand in the portfolio component in class, you will need to submit a PEC form to request an extension. At the end of the semester, your portfolio of document discussions must contain 10 items, which will each make up 2.5% of the mark for the module.

Essay Question

Write a review essay covering two books (or six articles) on the historical memory of a topic in U.S. history of your choice. This is not just a book report, but a critical evaluation and comparison of the works being reviewed. You should be responding to this question as you review your books or articles: What does using the approach of memory studies add to our understanding of this historical topic?

Deadline 12:00 Monday 14 May 2018

Weekly Reading

N.B. Most of the items listed here are available in the Robinson Library, with a few exceptions. If you are unable to find an item that you want you may wish to make use of other libraries in the area. If you still can't find it, please let me know.

Week 1 Lecture: Introduction to Historical Memory

Principal Reading:
  • W. Fitzhugh Brundage, "I've studied the history of Confederate memorials. Here's what to do about them." Vox Aug. 18, 2017, available online here.
  • Probably more readings as things unfold between now and Jan. 2018 when this module starts.
  • Mason Adams, "How the Rebel Flag Rose Again--and Is Helping Trump," Politico, 16 Jun. 2016, online here.
Additional reading:
  • Paul Connerton, How Societies Remember (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989)
  • Patrick Hutton, "Recent Scholarship on Memory and History," The History Teacher 33:4 (Aug. 2000): 533-48.
  • Kerwin Lee Klein, "On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse," Representations 69 (2000): 127-50.
  • David Lowenthal, The Past Is a Foreign Country (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).
  • Jeffrey K. Olick and Joyce Robbins, "Social Memory Studies: From 'Collective Memory' to the Historical Sociology of Mnemonic Practices," Annual Review of Sociology 24 (1998):105-40.

Week 1 Seminar: Historical Memory in the United States

Principal Reading:
  • David Thelen, "Introduction: Memory and American History," Journal of American History 75:4 (Mar. 1989): 1117-29.

Week 2 Lecture: Theory and Methodology in Memory Studies

Principal Reading:
  • James Fentress and Chris Wickham, Social Memory (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1992), Ch. 2.
Additional Reading:
  • John E. Bodnar, Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), Ch. 1, 13-20.

Week 2 Seminar: Social Memory vs. Public Memory vs. Collective Memory vs. Historical Memory

Principal Reading:
  • Alan Confino, "Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method," American Historical Review 102 (Dec. 1997): 1386-1403.
Additional Reading:
  • Maurice Halbwachs, On Collective Memory. Translated by Lewis A. Coser (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992).
  • Pierre Nora, "Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Memoire," Representations 26 (Spring 1989): 7-24.
  • Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (Boston: Beacon Press, 1995)

Week 3 Lecture: Non-U.S. Case Studies

Principal Reading:
  • Yael Zerubavel, "The Death of Memory and the Memory of Death: Masada and the Holocaust as Historical Metaphors," Representations 45 (1994): 72-100.

Week 3 Seminar: Non-U.S. Case Studies

Principal Reading:
  • Robert Moeller, "War Stories: The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany," American Historical Review 101 (Oct. 1996): 1008-1048.
Additional reading:
  • Olive Anderson, "The Political Uses of History in Mid Nineteenth-Century England," Past and Present 36 (Apr. 1967):87-105.
  • Gudmundur Halfdanarson, "Pingvellir: An Icelandic 'Lieu de Memoir'", History and Memory 12:1 (2000): 5-29.
  • Christopher Hill, "The Norman Yoke," in Hill, Puritanism and Revolution: Studies in the Interpretation of the English Revolution of the Seventeenth Century (London: Secker and Warburg, 1958), 58-125.
  • Neil Jarman, "Commemorating 1916, Celebrating Difference: Parading and Painting in Belfast," in Adrian Forty and Susanne Kuchler, eds., The Art of Forgetting (Oxford: Berg, 1999), 171-95.
  • Pieter Lagrou, "Victims of Genocide and National Memory: Belgium, France, and the Netherlands, 1945-1965", Past and Present 154 (Feb. 1997): 181-222.
  • Bill Melman, "Claiming the Nation's Past: The Invention of an Anglo-Saxon Tradition," Journal of Contemporary History 26:3/4 (Sept. 1991): 575-95.

Week 4 Lecture: The Civil War

  • Read any standard overview of the Civil War. Particularly recommended is Susan-Mary Grant, The War for a Nation: The American Civil War (New York: Routledge, 2006).

Week 4 Seminar: Contested Memories of the Civil War

Principal Reading:
  • David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001), Prologue (pp.1-5), Ch. 2 (pp.31-63), Ch. 6 (pp.171-210), Ch. 9 (pp.300-337).
  • Robert Cook, "The Quarrel forgotten? Toward a Clearer Understanding of Sectional Reconciliation" Journal of the Civil War Era 6:3 (2016): 413-436.
  • Bruce E. Baker, Review of Caroline E. Janney, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation, Civil War Monitor 4 Sep. 2013.
Additional reading:
  • Caroline E. Janney, Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013).
  • Nina Silber, "Reunion and Reconciliation, Reviewed and Reconsidered," Journal of American History 103:1 (Jun. 2016): 59-83.
  • W. Fitzhugh Brundage, "Race, Memory, and Masculinity: Black Veterans Recall the Civil War, 1865-1915." In Joan Cashin, ed., The War Was You and Me: Civilians in the American Civil War (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2002), 136-156.
  • Karen L. Cox, Dixie's Daughters: The United Daughters of the Confederacy and the Preservation of Confederate Culture (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2003).
  • Alice Fahs, "Remembering the Civil War in Children's Literature of the 1880s and 1890s," in Alice Fahs and Joan Waugh, eds., The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 79-93.
  • Gaines M. Foster, Ghosts of the Confederacy: Defeat, the Lost Cause, and the Emergence of the New South (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987).
  • Patrick J. Kelly, "The Election of 1896 and the Restructuring of Civil War Memory," in Alice Fahs and Joan Waugh, eds., The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 180-212.
  • James M. McPherson, "Long-Legged Yankee Lies," in Alice Fahs and Joan Waugh, eds., The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 64-78.
  • Kirk Savage, Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth-Century America (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1997).
  • Jon Wiener, "Civil War, Cold War, Civil Rights: The Civil War Centennial in Context, 1960-1965," in Alice Fahs and Joan Waugh, eds., The Memory of the Civil War in American Culture (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004), 237-257.
  • Robert J. Cook, Troubled Commemoration: the American Civil War Centennial, 1961-1965 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007)

Week 5 Film: The Uprising of '34

There will be a showing of The Uprising of '34 on Monday, 26 February 2018, 10:00-12:00, Armstrong 3.38.

There will also be a one-hour surgery in my office on Monday, 26 February 2018, 12:00-13:00 if you want to discuss your essays.

Week 6 Lecture: Workers

  • John Womack, Jr., "Letter to the Editor," International Labor and Working-Class History 78:1 (Fall 2010): 181-183.
  • James Green and Elizabeth Jameson, "Marking Labor History on the National Landscape: The Restored Ludlow Memorial and its Significance," International Labor and Working-Class History 76:1 (Fall 2009): 6-25.
Additional reading:

Week 6 Seminar: Discussion of The Uprising of '34

Principal Reading:Additional reading:
  • John A. Salmond, The General Textile Strike of 1934: From Maine to Alabama (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2002)
  • Janet Irons, Testing the New Deal: The General Textile Strike of 1934 in the American South (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2000)
  • Vincent J. Roscigno and William F. Danaher, The Voice of Southern Labor : Radio, Music, and Textile Strikes, 1929-1934 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004)
  • Vincent J. Roscigno and William F. Danaher, "Media and Mobilization: The Case of Radio and Southern Textile Worker Insurgency, 1929 to 1934," American Sociological Review 66:1 (Feb. 2001): 21-48.
  • Annette C. Wright, "The Aftermath of the General Textile Strike: Managers and the Workplace at Burlington Mills," Journal of Southern History 60:1 (Feb. 1994): 81-112.
  • Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, James Leloudis, Robert Korstad, Mary Murphy, Lu Ann Jones, Christopher B. Daly, Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987), 183-357.

Week 7: Essay surgery

  • There will be an optional surgery in my office to consult about essays from 13:00-16:00 on Monday, 12 March 2018. The regular lecture and seminars will not meet this week.

Week 8 Lecture: The South

  • Blain Roberts and Ethan J. Kytle, "Looking the Thing in the Face: Slavery, Race, and the Commemorative Landscape in Charleston, South Carolina, 1865-2010," Journal of Southern History 78:3 (Aug. 2012): 639-684, available online here.

Week 8 Seminar: Memory and Southern Culture

Principal Reading:
  • W. Fitzhugh Brundage, "No Deed But Memory," in W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Southern Identity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 1-28.
    Also available online at
  • Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, "'You Must Remember This': Autobiography as Social Critique," Journal of American History 85:2 (Sep. 1998): 439-65.
Additional reading:
  • Bruce E. Baker, What Reconstruction Meant: Historical Memory in the American South (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2007), Introduction, Chapter 2, Conclusion
  • W. Fitzhugh Brundage, The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2005).
  • Melissa Walker, Southern Farmers and Their Stories: Memory and Meaning in Oral History (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2006)
  • Holly Beachley Brear, "We Run the Alamo, and You Don't: Alamo Battles of Ethnicity and Gender," in W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Southern Identity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 299-317.
  • Larry J. Griffin and Ashley B. Thompson, "Appalachia and the South: Collective Memory, Identity, and Representation," Appalachian Journal 29:3 (2002):296-327.
  • Joan Marie Johnson, "'Drill into us . . . the rebel tradition': The Contest Over Southern Identity in Black and White Women's Clubs, 1898-1930," Journal of Southern History 66:3 (2000):525-62.
  • C. Brenden Martin, "To Keep the Spirit of Mountain Culture Alive: Tourism and Historical Memory in the Southern Highlands," in W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Southern Identity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 139-68.
  • Stephanie E. Yuhl, "Rich and Tender Remembering: Elite White Women and an Aesthetic Sense of Place in Charleston, 1920s-1930s," in W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Southern Identity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 139-68.
  • Gregg Cantrell, "The Bones of Stephen F. Austin: History and Memory in Progressive-Era Texas," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 108:2 (2004):144-78.
  • W. Fitzhugh Brundage, "White Women and the Politics of Historical Memory in the New South, 1880-1920," in Jane Dailey, Glenda Elizabeth Gilmore, and Bryant Simon, eds., Jumpin' Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), 115-139.
  • W. Fitzhugh Brundage, "Whispering Consolation to Generations Unborn: Black Memory in the Era of Jim Crow," in Winfred B. Moore, Jr., Kyle S. Sinisi, and David H. White, Jr., eds., Warm Ashes: Issues in Southern History at the Dawn of the Twenty-First Century (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2003), 341-356.
  • Steven Hoelsher, "Making Place, Making Race: Performances of Whiteness in the Jim Crow South," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 93:3 (2003):657-86.
  • Catherine W. Bishir, "Landscapes of Power: Building a Southern Past in Raleigh and Wilmington, North Carolina, 1885-1915," in W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Southern Identity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 139-68.
  • M. M. Manring, Slave in a Box: The Strange Career of Aunt Jemima (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998).
  • P. M. Mercer, "Tapping the Slave Narrative Collection for the Response of Black South Carolinians to Emancipation and Reconstruction." Australian Journal of Politics and History 25:3 (1979):358-73.
  • Jennifer Ritterhouse, "Reading, Intimacy, and the Role of Uncle Remus in White Southern Social Memory," Journal of Southern History 69:3 (2003):585-622.
  • Also see the four conference papers from "Remembering Reconstruction at Carolina" online at

Week 9 Lecture: The American Revolution

  • Read any standard textbook account of the American Revolution.

Week 9 Seminar: Memory of the Revolution in the Early Republic

Principal Reading:
  • Alfred F. Young, "George Robert Twelves Hewes (1742-1840): A Boston Shoemaker and the Memory of the American Revolution," William and Mary Quarterly 38:4 (Oct. 1981): 561-623.
Additional reading:
  • Robert E. Cray, Jr., "Major John André and the Three Captors: Class Dynamics and Revolutionary Memory Wars in the Early Republic, 1780-1831," Journal of the Early Republic 17:3 (Autumn 1997): 371-397.
  • Clifton Hood, "An Unusable Past: Urban Elites, New York City's Evacuation Day, and the Transformations of Memory Culture," Journal of Social History 37:4 (2004):883-913.
  • Benjamin Quarles, "Antebellum Free Blacks and the 'Spirit of '76'," Journal of Negro History 61:3 (July 1976): 229-242.
  • Robert E. Cray, Jr., "Commemorating the Prison Ship Dead: Revolutionary Memory and the Politics of Sepulture in the Early Republic, 1776-1808," William and Mary Quarterly 56:3 (Jul. 1999): 565-590.
  • Dana Gioia, "On 'Paul Revere's Ride' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow," Dana Gioia Online, (and for the poem itself, see revere.html
  • Michael Kammen, A Season of Youth: The American Revolution and the Historical Imagination (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979).
  • Anne Sarah Rubin, "'Seventy-Six and Sixty-One': Confederates Remember the American Revolution," in W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed., Where These Memories Grow: History, Memory, and Southern Identity (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2000), 85-105.
  • Barry Schwartz, "Social Change and Collective Memory: The Democratization of George Washington," American Sociological Review 56 (Apr. 1991): 221-34.
  • Robert A. Selig, "The Iconography of Triumph and Surrender," U.S. Department of State International Information Programs, (see the painting at

Week 10 Lecture: The West

  • Walter Nugent, "Western History, New and Not so New," OAH Magazine of History 9:1 (Fall 1994): 5-9.
  • Patricia Nelson Limerick, "What on Earth Is the New Western History?" Montana: The Magazine of Western History 40:3 (Summer 1990): 61-64.
  • Douglas W. Dodd, "Introduction," The Public Historian 31:4 (Fall 2009): 67-70.

Week 10 Seminar: The West as Symbol

Principal Reading:
  • Paintings by Albert Bierstadt at the Artchive (bottom of the page):
  • F. Palmer, "Across the Continent, Westward the Course of Empire Takes Its Way" (1868)
  • Bryan J. Wolf, "How the West Was Hung, or, When I Hear the Word 'Culture' I take Out My Checkbook," American Quarterly 44:3 (Sep. 1992): 418-38.
Additional reading:
  • Patricia Nelson Limerick, The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of the American West (New York: Norton, 1987)
  • Joy S. Kasson, Buffalo Bill's Wild West: Celebrity, Memory, and Popular History (New York: Hill and Wang, 2000).
  • Barbara Berglund, "'The Days of Old, the Days of Gold, the Days of '49': Identity, History, and Memory at the California Midwinter International Exposition, 1894," Public Historian 25:4 (2003):25-49.
  • Francis Langlois, "Banditisme social, memoire collective et histoire: le role de Jesse James dans la creation de sa propre legend," Canadian Review of American Studies 34:1 (2004):55-82.
  • Richard White, "It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A History of the American West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1991), Ch. 21.
  • Janet Walker, ed., Westerns: Films Through History (London: Routledge, 2001)
  • Alex Nemerov, "Frederic Remington: Within and Without the Past", American Art 5:1/2 (Winter 1991): 36-59.

Week 11 Lecture: Civil Rights Movement

  • Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, "The Long Civil Rights Movement and the Political Uses of the Past," Journal of American History 91:4 (Mar. 2005): 1233-1263.

Week 11 Seminar: The Civil Rights Movement Fifty Years Later

Principal Reading:
  • Kathryn L. Nasstrom, "Between Memory and History: Autobiographies of the Civil Rights Movement and the Writing of Civil Rights History," Journal of Southern History 74:2 (May 2008): 325-364.
Additional reading:
  • Owen J. Dwyer, "Interpreting the Civil Rights Movement: Place, Memory, and Conflict," Professional Geographer 52:4 (2000): 660-671.
  • Renee C. Romano and Leigh Raiford, eds., The Civil Rights Movement in American Memory (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006).
  • Kristen M. Lavelle, Whitewashing the South: White Memories of Segregation and Civil Rights (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015).
  • Denise M. Bostdorff and Steven R. Goldzwig, "History, Collective Memory, and the Appropriation of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Reagan's Rhetorical Legacy," Presidential Studies Quarterly 35:4 (Dec. 2005): 661-690.
  • Larry J. Griffin, "'Generations and Collective Memory' Revisited: Race, Region, and Memory of Civil Rights," American Sociological Review 69:4 (Aug. 2004): 544-557.
  • Larry J. Griffin and Kenneth A. Bollen, "What Do These Memories Do? Civil Rights Remembrance and Racial Attitudes," American Sociological Review 74:4 (Aug. 2009): 594-614.
  • Kim Lacy Rogers, "Oral History and the History of the Civil Rights Movement," Journal of American History 75:2 (Sep. 1988): 567-576.

Week 12 Lecture: Why Historians Study Memory

  • This lecture will bring together themes from across the module and examine why historians have used memory as a method of studying the past.

Week 12 Seminar: Revision

  • This week will be a revision session held in the usual seminar location at the usual time.
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