HUM 2450.B01/B02 Assignments
06/29-07/02/04 (Week 1)

Assignments can be updated at needs/speed of the class; you will be notified of updates by e-mail, and are responsible for checking the page after notification. Click on links for online readings.

  • for MONDAY July 5 -- off for Independence Day

  • for TUESDAY June 29
    -- continue online notes for this section available now!
    -- Pohl Ch.1 54-72
    Online readings:
    -- New England Primer [1683]. This Primer, which went through several editions over decades, was used by young English-descended colonial students in New England. The images and text in the primer served not only to educate children in the basics of reading, but also conveyed religious and moral messages in keeping with colonial American society.
    -- Cotton Mather, "The Devil in New England" [1692]. Cotton Mather, who served as a judge in the infamous 1692 Salem witch trials, was a Presbyterian minister from Boston. This text, an excert from his Wonders of the Invisible World in which he "proved" the existence of witches and the devil, is an example of the kind of hellfire-and-brimstone sermonizing that pervaded much of colonial New England at the time. It reveals the Puritan belief in the continual proximity of the Devil and other supernatural forces to colonial civilization. A hoot.
    -- Johnathan Edwards (no, not the t.v. "psychic") "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" (excerpt) [1742]. If you thought Mather was fun, wait until you read Edward's treatise from fifty years later. Now this is hellfire-and-brimstone! Edwards, a clergyman from Connecticut who was fired by his Northhampton, Massachusetts, church in 1750 for being too strict with his congregation, began the "Great Awakening" of fundamentalist religion in New England through writings such as this which introduced the now famous concepts of the elite, predestination, and grace.

  • for WEDNESDAY June 30
    online notes forthis section available now!
    -- Phyllis Wheatley, "On Being Brought from Africa to America" [1773] (look on that page for this title and click the link). Wheatley was the first black woman published in America. Educated by her masters, she wrote poetry on Christian and domestic themes. This poem gives one particular perspective to black slavery, that we will compare and contrast to others.
    -- Benjamin Franklin, "A Conversation on Slavery", and "The Sommerset Case and the Slave Trade". Franklin, one of the most famous colonial American people of letters (and one of the lauded "Founding Fathers" -- he's on the $100 bill) here speaks out against slavery from a white perspective. He bases his arguments on principles that would come into contest during the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the U.S. Constitution.
    -- Philip Freneau, "To Sir Toby" [1784] (scroll down that page for this poem). Freneau, whose work is often discussed in tandem with Wheatley's, denounces slavery in this poem.
    -- Ouladah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olandah Equiano or Gustavus Vasa, Written by Himself (extract 2), (extract 3) [1793]. Writing under his adopted slave name of Gustavus Vasa, black slave Ouladah Equiano's personal account describes in detail his capture in Africa and his transportation to the Americas during the harrowing trans-Atlantic crossing called the "Middle Passage" in which as many as sixty million captive Africans died.

  • for THURSDAY July 1
    continue online readings

  • for FRIDAY July 2
    Journal #1 due -- see Cultural Events & Sample Journal page for guidelines and assignment.
    -- online notes for this section available now!
    -- Pohl Ch.2. 74-98, 104-112
    Online readings:
    -- Thomas Paine, "Common Sense [1776]. Paine's "pamphlet" influenced Jefferson and the other composers of the Declaration and Constitution. It remains one of the hallmarks of Enlightenment (and native-American)-influenced thought of the Revolutionary period.
    -- Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of Independence [1776]. The biggie, wherein Jefferson and his Revolutionary chums break America's ties with George III, King of England, over the Taxation Without Representation issue (all matters of religious freedom & etc. aside). Herein, the leaders of the Revolution came to think of themselves as "Americans."
    »» Links:
    Schedule for Week 3
    Back to HUM 2450.B01/.B02 Mainpage