Amy Feely Morsman came to Middlebury in the fall of 2001. A native Virginian, she earned her degrees from Wake Forest University and the University of Virginia. She teaches courses in American History, primarily around the topics of the Civil War and women's history. Her research interests lie in the historical evolution of gender roles, race relations, and regional differences. Her first book, The Big House After Slavery: Virginia Plantation Families and their Postbellum Domestic Experiment, was published by the University of Virginia Press in 2010. She is working on a new book project that focuses on race relations and the legacy of the abolition movement in the postbellum Northeast.
Morsman has served three years on the college's Faculty Council and is currently elected to the Educational Affairs Committee.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
FYSE1375 - America: Liberty & Justice
America: 'With Liberty and Justice for All'
" . . . with liberty and justice for all": These words conclude the Pledge of Allegiance, written over one hundred years ago to reflect the values of the American nation in the wake of civil war and dramatic social change. Yet throughout the history of this republic, the fruits of liberty and justice have been unavailable to many. We will explore how Americans have envisioned these ideals, and the struggles waged by different groups to realize them. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR
FYSE1419 - Civil War & Civil Rights
Civil War & Civil Rights
War is a time of national emergency, where the rules governing everyday life often get suspended to meet a more pressing need. What rights of citizens remain protected in these circumstances, and what gets sacrificed? Using scholarly works and historical documents from the American Civil War, we will explore the challenging issues that government leaders faced, including the suspension of habeus corpus, confiscation of private property, profiling of certain social groups, censorship of the mails and the press, and conscription of civilians for service in the military. 3 hrs. sem. CW HIS NOR
HIST0204 - U.S. History 1861-2011
United States History Since 1877
In this course we will explore American history from the end of Reconstruction until the present, examining the major issues that Americans faced economically, socially, politically, and culturally. Though course content will focus primarily on the nation's domestic developments, we will also consider the role the United States played in significant world events during the last century. We will make a special effort to employ a multicultural approach through readings and films. This survey is a continuation of HIST 0203, but it is an independent course; there are no prerequisites. Students with AP credit in American history may not take HIST 0204 for credit. 2 hrs. lect., 1 hr. disc. HIS NOR SOC
HIST0212 - Civil War and Reconstruction ▹
Civil War and Reconstruction: 1845-1890
This course explores the era of the American Civil War with an emphasis on the period 1861-1865. It combines lectures, readings, class discussion, and film to address such questions as why the war came, why the Confederacy lost, and how the war affected various elements of society. We will also explore what was left unresolved at the end of the war, how Americans responded to Reconstruction, and how subsequent generations have understood the meaning of the conflict and its legacy. We will make a special effort to tie military and political events to life on the home front. (formerly HIST 0364) 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. HIS NOR
Fall 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017
HIST0373 / GSFS0373 / AMST0373 - History of American Women ▲
History of American Women: 1869-1999
This course will examine women's social, political, cultural, and economic position in American society from 1869 through the late 20th century. We will explore the shifting ideological basis for gender roles, as well as the effects of race, class, ethnicity, and region on women's lives. Topics covered will include: women's political identity, women's work, sexuality, access to education, the limits of "sisterhood" across racial and economic boundaries, and the opportunities women used to expand their sphere of influence. 3 hrs lect./disc. CMP HIS NOR
Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016
HIST0393 / GSFS0393 / WAGS0393 - Gender in Early America
A History of Gender in Early America
Exploration, conquest, settlement, revolution, and nation-building: no course in early American history should ignore such traditional topics. In this course, though, we will examine the various ways that gender shaped these historical processes. How, for example, did colonials’ assumptions about manhood and womanhood affect the development of slavery in America? Or how did the Founding Fathers’ identities as men inform their attitudes about democracy and citizenship? We will scrutinize historical documents, of both a private and public nature, and discuss several recent scholarly works on gender from 1600-1850 to consider these kinds of questions. Pre-1800. 2 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. CMP HIS NOR
Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016
HIST0500 - Special Research Projects ▲ ▹
Special research projects during the junior year may be used to fulfill the research seminar requirements in some cases. Approval of department chair and project advisor is required.
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
HIST0600 - History Research Seminar ▲
History Research Seminar
All history majors who have not taken a writing and research seminar are required to take HIST 0600 in their junior fall or, if abroad at that time, their senior fall semester. In this course, students will conceive, research, and write a work of history based on primary source material to the degree possible. After reading and discussion on historical methods and research strategies, students will pursue a paper topic as approved by the course professors. HIST 0600 is also open to International Studies and Environmental Studies majors with a disciplinary focus in history. 3 hr. sem
Fall 2013, Fall 2016
HIST0700 - Senior Independent Study ▲ ▹
The History Senior Thesis is required of all majors. It is written over two terms, with the final grade applying to both terms. The project is generally begun in the fall and completed during winter or spring. Approval is required to begin the thesis in winter or spring, and such students must still attend the Thesis Writer's Workshops that take place in fall and winter.
Fall 2012, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Winter 2016, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017
HIST1021 - Digital "Twelve Years a Slave" ▹
Building the Digital World of “Twelve Years A Slave”
In 1840 Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana. After regaining his freedom, he wrote his memoir, Twelve Years a Slave. In this course we will use Solomon Northup as a way to understand the diverse worlds that existed within antebellum America. We will study his memoir alongside other materials and conduct historical research on the communities he inhabited as a free man and as a slave. Our work will then focus on the construction of a digital archive that captures the people, places, and issues of his time. HIS NOR WTR