ENGL460 - Archival Research Methods in English Studies

Introduces approaches for doing archival research in English studies, exploring how researchers develop their scope and practices of study and how they access and use archival materials electronically and on site to further their research questions. Investigates a historical period, genre, or theme through the lens of manuscripts, ephemera, and other artifacts. Case studies vary by semester.

This particular section investigates fictional and imaginative renderings of “America” against the backdrop provided by manuscripts, ephemera, and other artifacts in several online and physical archives, including Hornbake, the Library of Congress, LUNA: Folger Digital Image Collection, and the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Readings include Aphra Behn, Oroonoko; Rosalie Stier Calvert, Mistress of Riverdale; Equiano Olaudah, The Life of Olaudah Equiano; Thomas Jefferson, Literary Commonplace Book, 1758-1772; Sarah Kemble Knight, Private Journal of a Journey from Boston to New York in the Year 1704; Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels; Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife's Tale; and selected poetry by such authors as Anne Bradstreet, Philip Freneau, Edward Taylor, and Phyllis Wheatley. 
Learning Outcomes:
  • Hone your skills in textual analysis, including archival details such as marginalia or draft variants
  • Learn how archival collections and research questions mutually shape one another
  • Become proficient in accessing and using archival materials
  • Increase your knowledge and understanding of 18th-century literature and culture
  • Expand your awareness of current and historic critical conversations in 18th-century studies
  • Develop authority as a scholar and critic
Methods: Hands-on. Explore virtual, campus, and area archives. Discover materials that relate to and are in conversation with the literature, letters, and life-writing we read together. Write and discuss to sharpen analysis. Share findings in class and online.
Prerequisite: Two English courses beyond the Fundamental Studies courses; or permission of ARHU-English Department