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Slavery, Civil War, Reconstruction
A Revolution, A Constitution, A Nation
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Book Reading Group

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The book circle is a non-credit reading group for teachers interested in getting together to read and discuss recent books on various topics in American history with other professionals. The books are free, the setting is structured but relaxed. Dr. Adam Laats is the discussion facilitator.

To join the book circle, contact the Center at (607)-777-6769 or ctah@binghamton.edu.

Schedule For 2006-2007:

Spring 2007:"Women's Rights in Upstate New York"

At TST BOCES Campus-Smith Building: Monday, March 5, 7-9. Lori Ginzberg, Untidy Origins: A Story of Women's Rights in Antebellum New York (2005)

Ginzberg looks at the radical local actions of six women who petitioned New York State for equal political rights two years before the Seneca Falls Convention. She places their lives in the broader narrative of intellectual and political history.

At TST BOCES Campus-Smith Building: Monday, May 21, 7-9.
Judith Wellman, The Road to Seneca Falls: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the First Women's Rights Convention (2004)

Wellman, a professor at SUNY Geneseo, has written extensively on the women's rights movement. She uses social and community history to show how the convergence of legal reform, radical Quakerism and anti-slavery led to the first women's rights convention.

Fall 2006:"Memory in American History"

At TST BOCES Campus-Smith Building: Thursday, Nov. 2, 7-9.

Alred Young, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party(1999)

Young takes a new look at the events leading up to the American Revolution, using biography to examine historical memory and to uncover how and why the Tea Party became an Important part of telling and retelling of the history of the Revolution.

At TST BOCES Campus-Smith Building: Thurs., Dec. 14, 7-9pm
David W. Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001)

No historical event has left as deep an imprint on America's collective memory as the Civil War. David Blight explores the path of remembering and forgetting revealing the tragic costs to race relations and America's national reunion.

Schedule for 2005-2006:

SPRING 2006: "A Biographical Approach to Religion and Politics in American History"

At TST BOCES: Wednesday, March 1, 7-9 pm
At Binghamton Univ.: Tuesday, March 7, 7-9 pm

Nick Salvatore, Singing in a Strange Land: C.L. Franklin, the Black Church, and the Transformation of America (2005)

This biography of C.L. Franklin combines many strands of American history in the twentieth century: the power of the black church, the story of civil rights in both the North and the South, and the rise of gospel, blues and soul music. Born in rural Mississippi, Franklin grew to be a prominent Detroit preacher, and the father of Aretha.

At TST BOCES: Wednesday, April 26, 7-9 pm
At Binghamton Univ.: Tuesday, May 2, 7-9 pm

Fran Grace, Carry A. Nation: Retelling the Life (2001)

This recent biography of Carry Nation is a long overdue and multilayered look at the many facets of a very controversial figure. Again, using biography to cover multiple threads of American history, Grace is able to link Nation to religious change, moral reform, the role of women in politics, and the complex culture of populism in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

FALL 2005: "Defining America: Politics and Expansion in the Nineteenth Century"

At TST BOCES: Tuesday, October 25, 7-9 pm
At Binghamton Univ.: Tuesday, March 7, 7-9 pm

Roger G. Kennedy, Mr. Jefferson's Lost Cause: Land, Farmers, Slavery, and the Louisiana Purchase(2003)

Kennedy's study of the impact of the Louisiana Purchase of land use and the growth of slavery exposes the gaps between Jefferson's aspirations and what actually happened. By examining Jefferson's character and ambitions, Kennedy shows how early American leaders struggled to create a nation, and the ways in which the outcome was not inevitable.

At Binghamton Univ.: Wednesday, Nov 30, 7-9 pm
At TST BOCES: Wednesday, December 7, 7-9 pm

Richard J. Carwardine, Lincoln: Profiles in Power (2003)

This prize winning new political biography of Abraham Lincoln focuses on his rise to power and how he shrewdly used that power as president to put together a broad coalition of support.

Schedule for 2004-2005:

SPRING 2005: "Jim Crow in American Life"

February 23 (March 1 for on-line group): Peter Irons, Jim Crow's Children: The Broken Promises of the Brown Decision (Penguin, 2002)

Written by a scholar with a commitment to democratic education, this book describes the history of school desegregation in the decades since 1954. He weaves together the stories of lawyers, politicians, and ordinary people who have fought on both sides of the segregation issue.

April 28 (May 4 for the on-line group): William Chafe, Raymond Gavins, and Robert Korstad (Eds.), Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South (New Press, 2001).

Based on interviews collected by the Behind the Veil Project at Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies, this book presents a wide selection of oral histories describing the lives of African Americans under the twentieth century system of racial segregation.

FALL 2004: "New Worlds, Old Worlds: North America in the Colonial and Revolutionary Era"

Tuesday, October 12 (October 13 for on-line group):
Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Indians and English: Facing off in Early America (Cornell, 2000)

In this important book, Kupperman extends her earlier work on the cultural confrontations and exchanges between Native Americans and English colonists by arguing that these relationships were more complex, and less one-sided, than scholars have previously thought.

Wednesday, November 17; (November 16 for on-line group): Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-1782 (Hill and Wang, 2001)

While many historians have noted localized smallpox outbreaks during the Revolutionary Era, Fenn is the first to describe the continent-wide epidemic that killed an estimated 125,000 people and helped to shape a critical period in American history. Fenn traces the impact of the disease on the Revolutionary War, on enslaved blacks, and on the balance of power between Native Americans and Europeans.

Schedule for 2003-2004:

SPRING 2004: "America Becomes Modern"

Tuesday, February 24: Edward Larson, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion (1997)

Pulitzer prize winner Edward Larson takes a new look at the Scopes trial, the myths surrounding it, and the trial's long-term implications for the role of religion in American public life.

April 22: Andrew Hurley, Diners, Bowling Alleys and Trailer Parks: Chasing the American Dream in Postwar Consumer Culture (2001)

A fun social and cultural history of postwar America, this book is also a serious historical examination of the economic struggles and aspirations of working and middle class Americans in the latter half of the 20th Century.

FALL 2003: "New York State's Frontier History"

October 16, 2003: Alan Taylor, William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Fronter of the Early American Republic (1996)

This Pulitzer prize-winning book combines biography and social history to examine the relationship between the facts of life on the New York frontier and the fiction created by William Cooper's son, James Fenimore Cooper.

December 9, 2003: Carol Sheriff, The Artificial River: The Erie Canal and the Paradox of Progress, 1817-1862 (1996)

Sheriff's very readable book looks at the building of the Erie Canal and how it shaped the economy and society of upstate New York. From the emerging market economy and early commercial life of New York, Sheriff branches out to examine republicanism, reform, immigration, religion and the idea of progress in nineteenth-century America.

Schedule for 2002-2003:

SPRING 2003: "Equal rights struggles in the Cold War era"
(Deadline for joining is January 31, 2003)

March 5, 2003: Mary Dudziak, Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (2000).

In this book, Dudziak examines the black Civil Rights movement in the 1950s. She discusses how race relations and early Cold War foreign policy were connected by the concerns of foreign nations over American racial segregation.

April 9, 2003: Daniel Horowitz, Betty Friedan and the Making of the 'Feminine Mystique": The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism (1998).

The Feminine Mystique was one of the founding documents of the modern women's movement. Horowitz examines Friedan's background in leftist politics during the Cold War, and how she constructed an image of herself as a discontented housewife.

FALL 2002: "History and Memory"

October 30, 2002: Alfred Young, The Shoemaker and the Tea Party: Memory and the American Revolution (1999).

Young's book is about the relatively unknown life of George Hewes, a cobbler who participated in the famous Boston Tea Party in 1773. Young discusses how an ordinary person gets caught up in extraordinary events, and how we as a nation construct our history and memory of those events.

December 4, 2002: David Blight, Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (2001).

Blight's book is about how white Americans from both the north and south redefined their understanding of the causes and meaning of the Civil War as they attempted to reconstruct the nation.

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