Eric Fassin, a French historian who specializes in French American relations, recently remarked that for European intellectuals ‘America is a good thinking tool.’ In this history of ideas course, we will explore the trope of America in European discourse in the last two centuries. Alexis de Tocqueville’s important synthesis ‘Democracy in America’ (1835 – 1840) will structure our conversations. The rest of the readings cover multiple methodological approaches to the subject.
Literature: Benjamin Franklin. Information to Those Who Would Remove to America (1784)
https://founders.archives.gov/documents/Franklin/01-41-02-0391; J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American farmer (1782) https://avalon.law.yale.edu/subject_menus/letters.asp, Frances Trollope, Domestic manners of Americans (1839):
https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=chi.19934724&view=1up&seq=183, René de Chateaubriand, Atala (1801) https://www.gutenberg.org/files/44427/44427-h/44427-h.htm, Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1835 – 40), German edition: Über die Demokratie in Amerika 'Reclams Universal-Bibliothek' (2022).