With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Richmond is undertaking a project to internationalize the study of American history and culture. Working with visiting scholars and international partners, faculty at the University of Richmond and allied colleges will develop innovative multidisciplinary courses that explore the United States and its place in the world.

Site design: Nathan Altice
Digital Scholarship Lab


The University of Richmond's "Tocqueville Seminars" initiative takes its inspiration from Alexis de Tocqueville, the nineteenth-century French political theorist, social critic and traveler whose landmark work, Democracy in America, has played a formative role in discussions of American national character. Once considered a canonical figure in a field that privileged the exceptional qualities of a seemingly unified American experience, Tocqueville may yet be relevant to emerging trends in American studies that emphasize the politics of cosmopolitanism and imperialism; global exchanges of peoples, cultures and economic power; histories of racial, ethnic and religious violence; and subjectivities and citizenries that traverse national boundaries.

Tocqueville's comparativist approach to American political institutions, history and culture-along with his wide-ranging writings on issues as diverse as empire and slavery-challenges contemporary Americanists to situate their scholarship and teaching within global networks of exchange, power and influence.

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June 6-10, 2011

  • Tocqueville Seminars Summer Institute
  • University of Richmond

View the full Summer Institute schedule.

New Media Research Studio: Digital America

The New Media Research Studio allows students to explore digital networks as a dynamic, living "text" of American culture. Students will engage digital media as online "travelers" that seek to understand the changing shape of American culture and identity as it is created, portrayed, and archived within the network. Students will also analyze, connect, and introduce texts to our classroom community as well as the broader community of digital users. Through thoughtful blog posts, students will work to obtain an audience beyond the classroom, while synthesizing a (hopefully) diverse collection of comments from various readers.

This seminar will take place Spring semester 2012.

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Americans in Paris

In fall 2010, Professor Suzanne Jones’s first-year seminar “Americans in Paris” discussed what Americans hoped to find in Paris that they did not find in the United States. The seminar wrote blog essays focusing on a particular American expatriate, created a map pinpointing where many of these American visitors lived in Paris, and constructed a timeline indicating when they were in residence. Seminar participants researched the reasons these Americans went abroad and the social, political, and/or aesthetic context they lived in while there.

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Latinization of Southern Space and Place

This project investigates how the myriad discourses of migration and globalization have become manifest graphically across social spaces and street graphics in the contemporary American South. In explosions of color and juxtaposition, this digital collection documents some of the significant ways the large and unprecedented Latino migration to the South has transformed and shaped visual spaces and street graphics in this new borderland of cultures.

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Franco-American Gangster Films

The Digital Scholarship Lab, in collaboration with Professor Timothy Barnard (William + Mary) and Professor Christophe Damour (University of Strasbourg, Alsace, France), designed a data collection/visualization project based on gangster films from the United States and France. Students in their respective film seminars were asked to watch films and record a number of time-stamped data points, including the film protagonist's presence and absence onscreen, their acts of violence, and whether they were speaking or silent. This data was then collected in a single database and output as a number of web-based visualizations using the lightweight Javascript framework Protovis.

This project is ongoing.

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