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HIS3212 : Reconstruction and the New South, 1865-1900

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Bruce Baker
  • Owning School: History, Classics and Archaeology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
  • Capacity limit: 40 student places

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


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

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion561:0056:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading561:0056:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching113:0033:00seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study551:0055:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Seminars encourage independent study and promote improvements in oral communication, problem solving skills and adaptability. The final seminar will be run partly as a workshop to discuss the essay and work on it in a group setting, promoting collaborative work and group communication.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination14402A100A 24-hour take-home exam- consist of one section with gobbet questions to assess students' familiarity with key primary sources and their ability to analyse them and one section with an essay question to assess overall grasp and synthesis. 3 hours max
Formative Assessments

Formative Assessment is an assessment which develops your skills in being assessed, allows for you to receive feedback, and prepares you for being assessed. However, it does not count to your final mark.

Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2M200 words. In-class practice with gobbet question analysing primary sources. Will be peer assessed and discussed in class to address any concerns with the assessment format and how to respond to it. This feeds into both parts of the exam.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The gobbet formative assessment allows students to familiarise themselves with this format, to practice close analysis of a primary source, and to receive formative feedback from both the instructor and their peers.

The 24-hour take-home exam assesses through both the gobbet questions and the essay question students' grasp of the primary source material for the module and their ability to analyse it. The essay question also assesses their grasp of the larger themes of the module and the connections between 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.

Reading Lists