What Do Early Americanists Offer the Liberal Arts?

Today at The Junto, I have a post intended to contribute marginally to the latest round of why-and-whither-the-humanities essays.

Instead of making a case for the liberal arts, though, I ask what early American studies per se can offer the liberal arts. Obviously, early Americanists should be able to do whatever any other historians can do for a person's education. But what can we offer that is distinctive?

I argue that early American scholarship has typically been understood as useful for civic and political reasons. But we also need to be able to explain how it matters for humane reasons. I hope to put up a post next week to explore some possible solutions.

 Course of study for Amherst College students in 1824, from the college   Catalogue   (printed at Northampton, Mass.)

Course of study for Amherst College students in 1824, from the college Catalogue (printed at Northampton, Mass.)