The Legends of Sleepy Hollow

headless_horseman2A scary story:

Once upon a time there was a story that was about . . . well, it was maybe about a lot of things, like frustrated masculinity, or colonialism, or early-national political uncertainties, but it was definitely not about a guy on a horse who really did not have a head. Or about his three companions, the other three horseman of the apocalypse. Or about the occult purposes of the Boston Tea Party. Or George Washington’s bible. The lost colony of Roanoke? Also no. And then that story was given a “modern-day twist” so as to be about all of those things. But the scary part is that the result is … fun. Even to an historian. Continue reading

The Week in Early American History

TWEAH

In looking at the weeks ahead, I note with some chagrin

That my work remains unfinished though my lectures must begin.

And so instead of planning class, which should engage my time,

I present the Week in History, to YOU! Today! In rhyme!

Continue reading

Early American Film in the Classroom

The Junto has published a number of posts about early America in popular culture and media. Until the last few years, films and television shows about early America have been relatively scarce, outside a number of multi-episode public television and cable documentaries. However, in addition to HBO’s John Adams, there are a number of projects in the works including a television series about the Sons of Liberty and another about John Brown. As the semester nears and my teaching duties turn to the American Revolution, I have inevitably been thinking about early American multimedia in the undergraduate classroom. Continue reading

The American Revolution: The TV Series

TV-test-patternA couple of weeks ago, the American History Guys at Backstory took on the issue of representations of history in film. Of most direct interest to those of us here at the Junto was the interview of Mark Peterson by Peter Onuf, asking why there were so few movies about the American Revolution, and why they were so terrible. The answer Peterson proffered was about patricide. The difficulty of evoking sympathy for the killing of a father figure that wasn’t manifestly evil led the British to be portrayed as caricatured villains – and even Hollywood audiences weren’t buying a tale so badly spun. Continue reading