Module Catalogue 2021/22

HIS3212 : Reconstruction and the New South, 1865-1900

  • Offered for Year: 2021/22
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Bruce Baker
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Pre Requisite Comment


Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The American Civil War brought the slave society of the South to an end and raised questions that would take half a century, and more, to answer: how could those who controlled the land continue to produce cotton and other export staples in a labour regime that was based on race but without the compulsions of slavery? How could former slaves find a place in new social and political systems? What effects would the integration of the region into national economic structures have on the lives of its inhabitants? This course examines these questions, studying the rise and fall of African American political power during Reconstruction, the changes in agriculture and the rise of industrialisation, racial violence and the origins of the segregation and disfranchisement of African Americans, and the fate of Progressive Era reform in the South. We will use a wide range of primary source material, including published works, manuscript collections, newspapers, and government records, most available in digital form.

This course is intended:

•To familiarise students with the historiographical literature relating to the American South between the Civil War and World War I
•To introduce students to historical research and to guide them in the analysis of primary documents and texts.
•Thereby to enable students to develop their own interpretation of the period.
•To provide an opportunity of investigating in some depth selected problems, including the appraisal
of selected source material and the critical examination of current historiography.
•To provide an opportunity to acquire a sound general knowledge of the subject, reading widely and
critically in the primary and secondary literature associated with it and to develop the capacity for independent study.

Outline Of Syllabus

The following is a guide only. Actual subjects may differ from those listed.

Civil War and the Collapse of Slavery
The Failure of Land Reform
The Death of Reconstruction
King Cotton
The New South
Lynching and Violence
Agrarian Protest

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

- In-depth knowledge of the period 1865-1914 in the history of the American South.
- Knowledge of different aspects of this period (political, social, economic, etc.) and an understanding of the interrelationship between them.
- Detailed knowledge of, and ability to engage with, the key historiographical debates concerning this period.
- General knowledge of the range of primary sources available for the study of this period and detailed experience analyzing some of those sources.

Intended Skill Outcomes

• Students are expected to improve their ability to read quickly and with an eye for the distinction
between the particular and the general (in taking notes on the material they read to prepare
themselves for seminars and the examination).
• To argue clearly and succinctly both on paper (in their essay and examination) and orally (in their
contributions to seminars)
• To manage their time (in order to prepare for the seminars and the examination.)
• Students will thus develop their capacity for independent study and critical judgement and the ability to respond promptly, cogently and clearly to new and unexpected question arising from this study.
• They will also develop associated skills in research, critical reading and reasoning, sustained
discussion and appropriate presentation of the results.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture21:002:00intro & concluding lecture PiP
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials71:007:007 recorded lectures: online lectures count towards contact hours
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion561:0056:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading561:0056:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00seminars all PiP
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:002 essay surgeries
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study551:0055:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lecture materials build on the assigned readings to give students the basic understanding of each week's topic. The weekly seminars will discuss the primary sources and the lecture materials.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M251000 words
Essay2A753000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essays will test the ability to research, develop, and communicate an argument about a particular subject. This calls for both general knowledge and a detailed understanding of sources relating to the course topics.

Work submitted during the delivery of the module forms a means of determining student progress.

Submitted work tests intended knowledge and skills outcomes, develops key skills in research, reading and writing.

This module can be made available to Erasmus students only with the agreement of the Head of Subject and of the Module Leader. This option must be discussed in person at the beginning of your exchange period. No restrictions apply to study-abroad, exchange and Loyola students.
All Erasmus students at Newcastle University are expected to do the same assessment as students registered for a degree.
Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending semester 1 only are required to finish their assessment while in Newcastle. This will take the form of an alternative assessment, as outlined in the formats below:

Modules assessed by Coursework and Exam:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be one essay in addition to the other coursework assessment (the length of the essay should be adjusted in order to comply with the assessment tariff); to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Exam only:
The normal alternative form of assessment for all semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be two 2,000 word written exercises; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Modules assessed by Coursework only:
All semester 1 non-EU study abroad students will be expected to complete the standard assessment for the module; to be submitted no later than 12pm Friday of week 12. The essays should be set so as to assure coverage of the course content to date.

Study-abroad, non-Erasmus exchange and Loyola students spending the whole academic year or semester 2 are required to complete the standard assessment as set out in the MOF under all circumstances.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2021/22 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2022/23 entry will be published here in early-April 2022. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.