Compare tony horwitzs version of the civil war
1. The re-enactors in Tony Horwitz’sConfederates in the Attic are on a quest for authenticity. Are they also “willfully misremembering the past?” Compare their version of the Civil War to the story D.W. Griffith tells in The Birth of a Nation and make an argument about how the memory of the war has been used to imagine and construct ideas about race, citizenship and nation.
2. As we have argued in class, the language of the Declaration of Independence is aspirational; it outlines the ideals for an emerging nation in opposition to an imperial power. Using James Welch’s Killing Custer make an argument about how those ideals are present and/or contradicted in the Battle of Little Bighorn and the stories we have told ourselves about it.
3. In lecture Kristin has talked about evolving ideas about citizenship and what it means to serve that nation. Nash’s “The Black American’s Revolution” looks at the service of African Americans in the American Revolution and Alcott’s Little Women focuses on the lives of women in the North during the Civil War. Thinking about the ways that the idea of serving the nation shifted between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, make an argument about how putting the citizen soldier at the center of U.S. nationalism has been linked to maintaining boundaries of national belonging.
4. In Playing Indian, Phil Deloria demonstrates how American colonists used Indians as “oppositional figures” when imagining a national self, while at the same time adopting aspects of “Indianness” to claim an indigenous identity that predated the British. Compare this with Cecilia O’Leary’s examples, in To Die For, of practices of patriotism after the Civil War and make an argument about how national identity have been constructed and contested.