HIST 7000: All about Narratives and Metaphors!

This week we look at the influential and controversial musings of Hayden White, who is about as close to a “theorist” as we get with historians (and he was a comp lit professor).  We also check in with geographer Anne Buttimer on the way that we construct pictures of the world as scholars, and the implicit conceptual models that stand behind them. Finally, the esteemed historian of slavery Walter Johnson introduces us to agency, a crucial historical concept that we all want a little more of–most of the time.

Add your responses to the readings as comments on this post.  If you run into problems, please do not hesitate to contact the instructor via email.

Posted in Uncategorized | 8 Comments

Welcome to Spring 2017!


Suffer not a woman to run for president

This semester, Gelato Orphans will be the home of readings, discussions, and updates for HIST 7000.  (Students in HIST 8885 should visit our digital history site, Normal Accidents.) Each week there will be a post on the assigned readings, and students should respond with their interpretations of the material as a comment on this post. Be sure to include your name in case your WordPress username is not easily identifiable.

The syllabus (with links to readings) can be found on the menu to the right, or in this PDF.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Final Exam Study Guide – Maymester 2016


The Cold War





John F. Kennedy (JFK)

Lyndon B. Johnson (LBJ)

“Daisy” ad

The Civil Rights Movement

Brown v. Board of Education (1955)

Betty Friedan

The Voting Rights Act (1965)

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Stokely Carmichael

The Rise of the New Right

The Vietnam War


Jimmy Carter

Iran Hostage Crisis

Anita Bryant

Ronald Reagan

The War on Drugs

After the Cold War

Mikhail Gorbachev

Bill Clinton


The “New Economy”

Welfare reform (1996)

America in Globalization and War

2000 Presidential election

The Iraq War (2003)

“Weapons of mass destruction”

Hurricane Katrina

Global Financial Crisis (2008)

Barack Obama


Essay Questions:

What was “containment”?  How did anxieties over Communism influence American foreign policy and life at home in the United States?  Give at least three explicit examples of how the US government acted to fight Communism at home and abroad during the Cold War, and the consequences these actions had.

What strategies did members of the civil rights movement use to combat racist oppression of African Americans in the 1950s and 1960s?  What specific tactics were used to dismantle segregation and fight for greater political, social, and economic equality during this period, and what were the movement’s greatest successes?

What did Betty Friedan mean by “the problem that has no name”?  In what ways were women limited by law and tradition in the 1950s, and in what ways did the feminist movement fight to expand freedom for women in the United States during the 1960s and 1970s?  Give specific examples of laws, court rulings, and/or cultural attitudes that changed during this period.

What factors gave rise to the New Right in the 1960s, 1970s, and the 1980s?  Why did conservatism begin to appeal to more American voters during this period, following a long period of liberal dominance from the time of FDR’s New Deal in the 1930s to LBJ’s Great Society/War on Poverty in the 1960s? Be sure to cite specific issues and/or events that led to greater political success for conservatives and the Republican Party.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HIST 2110 Maymester 2016 – Exam 2 Study Guide

Black Codes



Fourteenth Amendment

Gilded Age

Jim Crow

Booker T. Washington

Eugene Debs

Settlement houses

Plessy v. Ferguson

Birth of a Nation

W.E.B. DuBois

Margaret Sanger

Alice Paul

Marcus Garvey

The Great Migration

Essay Questions 

What does Jourdon Anderson’s letter to his former master tell us about the changing relationship between black workers and white landowners in the wake of Emancipation? If he had decided to go back, what kind of economic arrangement do you think might have developed between Jourdon Anderson and P.H. Anderson?

In what ways did the US government attempt to break the will of Native American communities that resisted conquest and control during the late nineteenth century?

Describe at least three problems that farmers faced in the late nineteenth century, and then discuss ways that the Populists hoped to remedy those problems.

Describe the differences between Booker T. Washington and Marcus Garvey’s visions for improving the lives of African Americans in the early twentieth century.

How does the 1927 film The Jazz Singer portray the challenges that immigrants faced in assimilating to life in the United States?

Why did the members of the Bonus Army march on Washington?  How did the authorities respond to their demands, and what happened when they arrived in the nation’s capitol?  (Draw on Malcolm Cowley’s 1932 account in The New Republic.)

Crash Course Videos


The Industrial Economy

Westward Expansion

Growth, Cities, and Immigration

Gilded Age Politics

The Progressive Era

The Roaring Twenties


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HIST 2110: Maymester Exam 1 Study Guide

Important Names and Terms

Columbian Exchange

The Black Legend


Triangular trade

Middle passage

Anne Hutchinson

Old Deluder Satan Law

Stamp Act of 1765

Articles of Confederation


3/5ths Compromise

Alien and Sedition Acts

Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions

Marbury v. Madison

The Missouri Compromise

William Lloyd Garrison

Compromise of 1850

Abraham Lincoln

John Brown

Emancipation Proclamation

Possible Essay Questions

What factors motivated Europeans to colonize the Americas? What were they seeking, and how did different groups of colonists–French, Spanish, and English–differ in their goals for colonization?

What factors contributed to the rise of African slavery in the South? (Explain at least three.)

Describe how the experience of African slaves in the Americas differed, based on region, type of work, etc.

How did Hamilton and Jefferson differ in their visions for the new United States? How did their philosophies differ in terms of government and the economy?

How did the “market revolution” change American society?  What economic and technological factors helped expand market capitalism in the early to mid-nineteenth century?

In what ways did the United States’ triumph in the Mexican War create problems that led to the Civil War?

What was Abraham Lincoln’s initial strategy for handling the secession of the Southern states. What factors led the President to reframe the Civil War as a “war for emancipation” or freedom?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

HIST 2110 Lecture Notes (Maymester 2016)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Excerpt from Kennan’s Long Telegram

861.00/2 – 2246: Telegram

The Charge in the Soviet Union (Kennan) to the Secretary of State


Moscow, February 22, 1946–9 p.m. [Received February 22–3: 52 p.m.]

511. Answer to Dept’s 284, Feb 3 [13] involves questions so intricate, so delicate, so strange to our form of thought, and so important to analysis of our international environment that I cannot compress answers into single brief message without yielding to what I feel would be dangerous degree of over-simplification. I hope, therefore, Dept will bear with me if I submit in answer to this question five parts, subjects of which will be roughly as follows:

(1) Basic features of post-war Soviet outlook.

(2) Background of this outlook

(3) Its projection in practical policy on official level.

(4) Its projection on unofficial level.

(5) Practical deductions from standpoint of US policy.

I apologize in advance for this burdening of telegraphic channel; but questions involved are of such urgent importance, particularly in view of recent events, that our answers to them, if they deserve attention at all, seem to me to deserve it at once. There follows

Part 1: Basic Features of Post War Soviet Outlook, as Put Forward by Official Propaganda Machine

Are as Follows:

(a) USSR still lives in antagonistic “capitalist encirclement” with which in the long run there can be no permanent peaceful coexistence. As stated by Stalin in 1927 to a delegation of American workers:

“In course of further development of international revolution there will emerge two centers of world significance: a socialist center, drawing to itself the countries which tend toward socialism, and a capitalist center, drawing to itself the countries that incline toward capitalism. Battle between these two centers for command of world economy will decide fate of capitalism and of communism in entire world.”

(b) Capitalist world is beset with internal conflicts, inherent in nature of capitalist society. These conflicts are insoluble by means of peaceful compromise. Greatest of them is that between England and US.

(c) Internal conflicts of capitalism inevitably generate wars. Wars thus generated may be of two kinds: intra-capitalist wars between two capitalist states, and wars of intervention against socialist world. Smart capitalists, vainly seeking escape from inner conflicts of capitalism, incline toward latter.

(d) Intervention against USSR, while it would be disastrous to those who undertook it, would cause renewed delay in progress of Soviet socialism and must therefore be forestalled at all costs.

(e) Conflicts between capitalist states, though likewise fraught with danger for USSR, nevertheless hold out great possibilities for advancement of socialist cause, particularly if USSR remains militarily powerful, ideologically monolithic and faithful to its present brilliant leadership.

(f) It must be borne in mind that capitalist world is not all bad. In addition to hopelessly reactionary and bourgeois elements, it includes (1) certain wholly enlightened and positive elements united in acceptable communistic parties and (2) certain other elements (now described for tactical reasons as progressive or democratic) whose reactions, aspirations and activities happen to be “objectively” favorable to interests of USSR These last must be encouraged and utilized for Soviet purposes.

(g) Among negative elements of bourgeois-capitalist society, most dangerous of all are those whom Lenin called false friends of the people, namely moderate-socialist or social-democratic leaders (in other words, non-Communist left-wing). These are more dangerous than out-and-out reactionaries, for latter at least march under their true colors, whereas moderate left-wing leaders confuse people by employing devices of socialism to seine interests of reactionary capital.

So much for premises. To what deductions do they lead from standpoint of Soviet policy? To following:

(a) Everything must be done to advance relative strength of USSR as factor in international society. Conversely, no opportunity most be missed to reduce strength and influence, collectively as well as individually, of capitalist powers.

(b) Soviet efforts, and those of Russia’s friends abroad, must be directed toward deepening and exploiting of differences and conflicts between capitalist powers. If these eventually deepen into an “imperialist” war, this war must be turned into revolutionary upheavals within the various capitalist countries.

(c) “Democratic-progressive” elements abroad are to be utilized to maximum to bring pressure to bear on capitalist governments along lines agreeable to Soviet interests.

(d) Relentless battle must be waged against socialist and social-democratic leaders abroad.

Part 2: Background of Outlook

Before examining ramifications of this party line in practice there are certain aspects of it to which I wish to draw attention.

First, it does not represent natural outlook of Russian people. Latter are, by and large, friendly to outside world, eager for experience of it, eager to measure against it talents they are conscious of possessing, eager above all to live in peace and enjoy fruits of their own labor. Party line only represents thesis which official propaganda machine puts forward with great skill and persistence to a public often remarkably resistant in the stronghold of its innermost thoughts. But party line is binding for outlook and conduct of people who make up apparatus of power–party, secret police and Government–and it is exclusively with these that we have to deal.

Second, please note that premises on which this party line is based are for most part simply not true. Experience has shown that peaceful and mutually profitable coexistence of capitalist and socialist states is entirely possible. Basic internal conflicts in advanced countries are no longer primarily those arising out of capitalist ownership of means of production, but are ones arising from advanced urbanism and industrialism as such, which Russia has thus far been spared not by socialism but only by her own backwardness. Internal rivalries of capitalism do not always generate wars; and not all wars are attributable to this cause. To speak of possibility of intervention against USSR today, after elimination of Germany and Japan and after example of recent war, is sheerest nonsense. If not provoked by forces of intolerance and subversion “capitalist” world of today is quite capable of living at peace with itself and with Russia. Finally, no sane person has reason to doubt sincerity of moderate socialist leaders in Western countries. Nor is it fair to deny success of their efforts to improve conditions for working population whenever, as in Scandinavia, they have been given chance to show what they could do.

Falseness of those premises, every one of which predates recent war, was amply demonstrated by that conflict itself Anglo-American differences did not turn out to be major differences of Western World. Capitalist countries, other than those of Axis, showed no disposition to solve their differences by joining in crusade against USSR. Instead of imperialist war turning into civil wars and revolution, USSR found itself obliged to fight side by side with capitalist powers for an avowed community of aim.

Nevertheless, all these theses, however baseless and disproven, are being boldly put forward again today. What does this indicate? It indicates that Soviet party line is not based on any objective analysis of situation beyond Russia’s borders; that it has, indeed, little to do with conditions outside of Russia; that it arises mainly from basic inner-Russian necessities which existed before recent war and exist today.

At bottom of Kremlin’s neurotic view of world affairs is traditional and instinctive Russian sense of insecurity. Originally, this was insecurity of a peaceful agricultural people trying to live on vast exposed plain in neighborhood of fierce nomadic peoples. To this was added, as Russia came into contact with economically advanced West, fear of more competent, more powerful, more highly organized societies in that area. But this latter type of insecurity was one which afflicted rather Russian rulers than Russian people; for Russian rulers have invariably sensed that their rule was relatively archaic in form fragile and artificial in its psychological foundation, unable to stand comparison or contact with political systems of Western countries. For this reason they have always feared foreign penetration, feared direct contact between Western world and their own, feared what would happen if Russians learned truth about world without or if foreigners learned truth about world within. And they have learned to seek security only in patient but deadly struggle for total destruction of rival power, never in compacts and compromises with it.

It was no coincidence that Marxism, which had smoldered ineffectively for half a century in Western Europe, caught hold and blazed for first time in Russia. Only in this land which had never known a friendly neighbor or indeed any tolerant equilibrium of separate powers, either internal or international, could a doctrine thrive which viewed economic conflicts of society as insoluble by peaceful means. After establishment of Bolshevist regime, Marxist dogma, rendered even more truculent and intolerant by Lenin’s interpretation, became a perfect vehicle for sense of insecurity with which Bolsheviks, even more than previous Russian rulers, were afflicted. In this dogma, with its basic altruism of purpose, they found justification for their instinctive fear of outside world, for the dictatorship without which they did not know how to rule, for cruelties they did not dare not to inflict, for sacrifice they felt bound to demand. In the name of Marxism they sacrificed every single ethical value in their methods and tactics. Today they cannot dispense with it. It is fig leaf of their moral and intellectual respectability. Without it they would stand before history, at best, as only the last of that long succession of cruel and wasteful Russian rulers who have relentlessly forced country on to ever new heights of military power in order to guarantee external security of their internally weak regimes. This is why Soviet purposes most always be solemnly clothed in trappings of Marxism, and why no one should underrate importance of dogma in Soviet affairs. Thus Soviet leaders are driven [by?] necessities of their own past and present position to put forward which [apparent omission] outside world as evil, hostile and menacing, but as bearing within itself germs of creeping disease and destined to be wracked with growing internal convulsions until it is given final Coup de grace by rising power of socialism and yields to new and better world. This thesis provides justification for that increase of military and police power of Russian state, for that isolation of Russian population from outside world, and for that fluid and constant pressure to extend limits of Russian police power which are together the natural and instinctive urges of Russian rulers. Basically this is only the steady advance of uneasy Russian nationalism, a centuries old movement in which conceptions of offense and defense are inextricably confused. But in new guise of international Marxism, with its honeyed promises to a desperate and war torn outside world, it is more dangerous and insidious than ever before.

You can read the rest here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment