Module Catalogue 2019/20

HIS3212 : Reconstruction and the New South, 1865-1914

  • Offered for Year: 2019/20
  • 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.

Seminar 1 – Civil War and the Collapse of Slavery
Seminar 2 – Emancipation
Seminar 3 – Reconstruction
Seminar 4 – The Failure of Land Reform
Seminar 5 – The Death of Reconstruction
Seminar 6 – King Cotton
Seminar 7 – The New South
Seminar 8 – Lynching and Violence
Seminar 9 – Agrarian Protest
Seminar 10 – The Rise of Jim Crow
Seminar 11 – The South Enters the Twentieth Century, Reluctantly
Seminar 12 – Revision

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
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading551:0055:001/3 of guided independent study
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching13:003:00Revision seminar
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching113:0033:00Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study541:0054:001/3 of guided independent study
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem solving skills and adaptability. A workshop will be used to discuss the essay and work on it in a group setting, promoting collaborative work and group communication.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination602A30Unseen exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay2M25Essay/doc.commentary of 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Essay2M25Essay/doc.commentary of 2,000 words (including footnotes but excluding bibliography)
Portfolio2M2010 weekly writing assignments totaling 2000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

Exams test acquisition of a clear general knowledge of the subject plus the ability to think and analyse a problem quickly, to select from and to apply both the general knowledge and detailed knowledge of aspects of the subject to new questions, problem-solving skills, adaptability, the ability to work unaided and to write clearly and concisely.

Documentary commentary exercises and examinations test knowledge and understanding of the texts set for the module. The ability to compare and contrast related source texts on a common subject. The ability to expound and criticize a textual extract lucidly, succinctly and with relevance in a relatively brief space, and, in an exam, underpressure of time.

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 2019/20 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 2020/21 entry will be published here in early-April 2019. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.