History Department
History Department

Henry Wiencek

B.A. (History), Haverford College

Henry Wiencek



The History of Oil & Gas, Environmental History, The American South, Digital/Public History


Henry A. Wiencek is a Ph.D. candidate in modern U.S. history. His interests revolve around the late nineteenth and early twentieth century American South, particularly the economic and ecological impact of oil extraction, transportation and refining in the region. His dissertation examines the emergence of Louisiana's oil industry and compares its economic, cultural, and environmental impact across several "boomtown" communities. 

Henry also has a keen interest in public history and the use of digital technology to teach, research, and present historical information. Between 2012 and 2014, he was the graduate assistant at Not Even Past, editing, promoting, and contributing material for the site. He has also guest hosted several episodes of UT's "15 Minute History" podcast. 


HIS S315K • The United States, 1492-1865

83315 • Summer 2017
Meets MTWTHF 11:30AM-1:00PM CLA 0.112

This class will be a survey of American history from the arrival of Columbus to the Civil War. Students will learn about the dramatic changes that occurred to North America’s politics, social world and economy, from the colonial era to the urbanizing and industrializing society that fell into disunion. Secondary literature from American Yawp will form the backbone of our course, but primary documents will also supplement each week, providing contextualizing and challenging our discussions.

This survey will particular consider how the American environment figured into historic changes. Nature provided early Americans with sustenance, material wealth, and also a space to implement their unique economic, political, and cultural systems. The ways in which they interacted with water, animals, and the land mirrored patterns of colonialism, slavery, "free soil,” and industrialization, just to name a few. In other words, changes in the land reflected changes in American history.

Readings May Include:

[Instructor will provide free online access to these materials]

American Yawp [online resource]

Primary Documents in American History, Library of Congress [online resource]

Gilder Lehrman’s Featured Primary Sources [online resource]


Alfred Crosby. “Reassessing 1492,” American Quarterly, Vol. 41, No. 4 (Dec., 1989), pp. 661-669


Edmund Morgan, “Slavery and Freedom: The American Paradox,” Journal of American History, Vol. 59, No. 1 (Jun., 1972), pp. 5-29

Jan Lewis, “The Republican Wife: Virtue and Seduction in the Early Republic, William and Mary Quarterly, Third Series, Vol. 44, No. 4 (Oct., 1987), pp. 689-721

Allen Walker Read, “Could Andrew Jackson Spell?” American Speech, Vol. 38, No. 3 (Oct., 1963), pp. 188-195

Richard Flores, “Memory-Place, Meaning, and the Alamo,” American Literary History, Vol. 10, No. 3 (Autumn, 1998), pp. 428-445


Grading Policy


Exams: 60%

Quizzes: 30%

Attendance/participation: 10%

Curriculum Vitae

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