History 3033    Fall 2001

MWF, 10-10:50 a.m.
Room: 114 West Hall


The Atlantic World, 1400-1850:
Africans, Americans, and Europeans on the Move
Doug Catterall
office: 217 N West Hall
work telephone: 581-2949
home telephone: 536-7950
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu

Office Hours: M, W, F, 1-3 p.m.; Th 9 a.m.-12 p.m., 4 p.m.-5 p.m.

Goals and Approach:

In this course we will explore the movement of people, ideas, and material goods between societies in Africa, Europe and the Americas between 1400 and 1850. The ongoing ties between these regions created what historians call the Atlantic world and in this course we will be exploring what linked the diverse cultures of the Atlantic world and how they became connected.

The course begins with the birth of the Atlantic world in the 15th century. In this century the Portuguese navigators like Vasco da Gama cracked the wind code of the Atlantic, making possible a more regular contact between African and European cultures. Portuguese and Spanish exploration of the African coast and then the Americas soon led to the colonization of Latin America. Contacts between the Spanish and Portuguese side also changed life in Africa as well. Having examined these early interactions, we will look at the 17th-century efforts of the Dutch, English and French to establish colonies in North America and the Caribbean. Our study of this history will introduce us to the complex relationships between Europeans, Native Americans and Africans in the Americas, all of whom found themselves living in a world that was not the home they had known. Next the course looks at the long-term influence of the slave trade on African societies in the 17th and 18th centuries and the impact of Atlantic world migration on Europe in the same period. Finally we will consider the changing world of the 18th and first several decades of the 19th century, with its more regular commercial relations, larger European migrations, increasingly marginalized Native Americans, and intensified Atlantic slave trade.

Through this course you will learn to think in an integrative way about the histories of Africa, Europe, and the Americas, a valuable skill in an increasingly interconnected world. It is also my aim that each of you will improve your writing and discussion skills; your capacity for critical thought and analysis; and your ability to read insightfully.

Specific Objectives of the Course:

This course will provide you with opportunities to improve in the following three areas of intellectual endeavor: Contextual Knowledge:
In this course you will improve your knowledge of the events, historical actors, and transformative trends that connected and influenced Africa, the Americas, and Europe.  With resepect to Europe you will learn about European efforts to explore and colonize the Americas and to manipulate societies in Africa to serve their goals of economic and political development as well as the transformations of Europe itself in this era.  You will also learn about how African societies were changing, socially,politically, and economically and how they responded to and influenced the efforts of Europeans to obtain labor and other commodities and how Africans in the Americas changed the "New World." Finally, you will learn about the response of indigenous societies in the Americas to the arrival of Europeans (and Africans) and the creation of the European-dominated colonial societies that largely replaced the indigenous societies of the Americas.  Given the complex processes this course tracks you will also gain exposure to the use of the following analytical categories: gender, ethnicity, identity, labor systems, political institutions, and social rank.

Historical Thinking:
Since this is a seminar in which our main goal will be to understand how different historians have tried to understand complex historical phenomena, you will improve your ability to evaluate conflicting interpretations of past events and issues.  You will do this in two ways: 1) by contributing to discussions in class, which is a major component of the course grade, and 2) by writing the reaction papers and working papers that form the writing component of the course.

Historical Research Skills:
The reaction papers in this course are not full-length research papers.  They do, however, involve you in a very intensive engagement with primary as well as secondary sources and demand that you utilize many of the skills necessary to a research paper.  Therefore, you will gain significant experience in using textual sources to perform historical research and you will learn how to organize the insights that you gain about the past from these sources.  In addition, we will discuss how historians have tried to relate their work to that of other historians (historiography); how they have used sources to explore the past (methodology); and how historians deal with the complex task of defining change, continuity, and the causes behind each.  Thus, you will be thinking about how to conduct, organize, and present research by examining and dicussing how others have done these things and you will gain a knowledge of the terms and categories that historians use when they practice their craft.

Ideal Environment:

The heart of the class-room environment (for me) rests in respect, enthusiasm, and openness. This may sound general, so I will elaborate. Enthusiasm means a persistent willingness to tackle the problems that come up in the readings and assignments for each week. It does not mean that everyone always has to show up happy and cheerful, but readiness to make a contribution to class is a must. Respect in the classroom means valuing each person's participation, not because their ideas are the best (although you might think so), but because they are trying to make a contribution to the group. Openness lies in the freedom for people to express their thoughts and opinions, which includes scope for debate and disagreement with me or anyone else. The closer we approach this ideal environment, the more the classroom will be an effective space for clarifying, making manageable and even experimenting with the issues confronted in the course. This ideal may not always be achievable, but in my view we should always strive for it. Dramatic deviations from the ideal ought to be avoidable and I will be particularly hard on persons whose behavior makes it difficult for others to learn. Personal attacks, for example, will not be tolerated in the classroom.


Of course there are requirements. Every course has them. Course-work consists of four elements: participation in discussion, informal writings, formal writings, and an essay examinations.


a. Preparation: In order to understand what I have to say and participate in class discussions and other activities you will need to do the assigned readings. Please budget time to complete readings for the day in which they appear in the assignment and reading schedule. The readings are in two forms, which are listed below.

Secondary Source Readings:

Alexandra Parma Cook and Noble David Cook, Of Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance: A Case of Transatlantic Bigamy (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1992).

John Thornton, Africa and Africans in the Making of the Atlantic World, 1400-1800 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Paul E. Lovejoy and Nicholas Rogers, eds., Free and Unfree Labour in the Making of the Atlantic World (Frank Cass Publications, 1995).

Primary Source Readings:

The Broken Spears: The Aztec Account of the Conquest of Mexico, edited and with an introduction by Miguel Leon-Portilla (Boston: Beacon Press, 1992).

Stedman’s Surinam: Life in an Eighteenth-Century Slave Society, edited by Richard Price and Sally Price (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1992).

Primary Source Selections in Paper and Web-Based Form: These readings will be noted in the syllabus with **.  Should the reading not be in the public domain, I will indicate this with a ***.  This means that downloading the reading may violate U.S. copyright laws.

Most important for an overview of the issues we discuss will be the secondary source readings. For the in-class assignments and the take-home assignments, the primary source readings will be crucial. All of the above items are required for the course and may be purchased at the campus bookstore, with the exception of on-line readings and paper readings, the latter of which I will usually distribute in class; in some cases I may have to have the CU Print Shop produce these readings, in which case they will be available to you at reproduction cost at the Print Shop.  Please note, any reading assignments listed below that are not in one of the books you purchase will be available on-line or in paper form.  Some readings in paper form will be available in the CU library reserve.  I will give notice of this in class.

b. Discussion: This may seem like a small thing and something unrelated to the real stuff (passing the exams and hammering out the papers). I cannot stress enough, however, that participation in discussion will count in your grade and that effective participation almost always improves performance in the pressure situations. I will gauge participation on a daily basis with a check, check-plus, check-minus system.

c. Informal Writings: Occasionally I may assign short writing exercises to help focus our discussions. The emphasis will vary from paper to paper. Informal writing will also be graded with a check, check-plus, check-minus system and include comments.

d. In-Class Source Analytical Essay: At the beginning of week five of the course you will write an in-class, source-based analytical essay for me based on the first cultural encounter we analyze: the Spaniards and the Native Americans of the Caribbean and South America.  This essay will serve as preparation for your first essay and will also count towards your participation mark in the course, being worth 5% of your total grade.

e. Credit for Participation: I will count each day you show up in class and each informal writing as one participation measurement for which you can receive up to 10 points.  In addition your in-class source-based analytical essay is worth approximately 9 more measurements To have a fair shot at an A in participation you must have a minimum of 48 measurements or a potential to recieve 480 points.  If you have less than 48 measurements, then your  participation grade will naturally suffer.  Informal writing(s), class discussion, and the in-class essay will be worth 25% of the final grade. And, if you look at the breakdown of grading in the course, you will notice that no other portions of the course are, individually, worth more.

Papers: You will have to write two primary source reaction papers for this course, the first one due in the sixth week and the second one due in the final week of term. Both papers must be typed and the second paper will involve a rough draft, due in the twelfth week of class. You must turn in a rough draft for the second paper. The first paper will be worth 20% of your final grade and the second paper 30% of your grade, with the rough draft worth 10%   and  the final draft 20%.  Due dates for the papers are listed below.  General guidelines for the papers will be available by clicking the hypertext in this sentence.  You can access specific guidelines for each of these projects by looking for the due date of each paper below, where you will find hyperlinks that will take you to a page containing additional information.
Final Examination: This is worth 25% of the total grade and will be based around a set of questions handed out in advance. The final examination is scheduled for Thursday, December 13, 2001, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Guidelines for Academic Work: Late Papers: The following policy applies to all late papers for this course that will receive aletter grade.  All papers submitted at any time on the day that the paper is due will be considered on time.  Papers submitted after that date, no matter what the reason may be, will be automatically marked down one grade.  You will then have tendays from the original due date to turn in the paper.  If in that time you are unable to complete the work, the paper will receive a zero. 


Late Informal Writings: No late informal writings will be accepted, so don't ask.  Remember, though, that your participation grade is a composite of your performance inclass, your in-class analytical essay and your performance on informal writings.  As long as you manage to achieve atotal of 48 measurements, it will not matter to me how you do so.  Although I will obviously keep track of what you do by way of participation I would advise you to remain aware of where you stand for yourself so that you know whether or not you are achieving the necessary minimum level of participation.   

Missed Examinations:Make-ups for the final examination will be allowed only under extraordinary circumstances and the nature of any make-up final given will be determined at my discretion. 

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the representation of the work of another as your own. In all of the writing you do for this course you must make clear to me which ideas in a paper are your own and which come from someone else.  This is especially important for any formal essays you write. In these such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions. I will provide a sheet explaining the basics of citation before any formal essays come due. If for some reason you do not receive a copy of this handout, do not assume you will be exempt from following its guidelines as it will be available on the online syllabus. In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History andGovernment at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the2000-2001 "Student Handbook," pp. 207-211.  Please heed this warning.

Schedule of Readings, Lecture Topics, Assignments and Activities

Please Note: The Syllabus is Subject to Change if that Becomes Advisable or Necessary!

Week 1 Africans and Europeans before the Atlantic World

Introduction. (8/20)

Defining the Atlantic World and Its Importance. (8/22)
Read: Overview of U.S. Immigration History and Policy by Christopher Jencks **: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14868***

Spain, Portugal, and West Africa in the Opening of the Atlantic World to Europeans I. (8/24)
Read: Thornton, Africa and Africans, 1-24.

Week 2 The Coming of the Atlantic World

Spain, Portugal, and West Africa in the Opening of the Atlantic World to Europeans II. (8/27)
Thornton, Africa and Africans, 24-42.

Africans, Europeans, and Trade and Exploration in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries I. (8/29) Read: Thornton, Africa and Africans, 43-57.

Africans, Europeans, and Trade and Exploration in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries II. (8/31) Read: Thornton, Africa and Africans, 57-71. Vasco da Gama, Round Africa to India

Week 3 The Spanish in the Caribbean, c.1492-1520

No Class (9/3)
Read: Assigned selections from: The Writings of Christopher Columbus.**

Columbus and the First Spanish Settlements in the Caribbean. (9/5)
Assigned selections from: The Writings of Christopher Columbus.**

Later Settlement in the Caribbean and the First Moves to the Mainland. (9/7)
Assigned selections from: Bartholomew de Las Casas: his life, apostolate, and writings, 315-335** or The True History of the Conquest of Mexico, 27-51.**

Week 4 The Spanish and the Americas in the 16th C. I

Cortes and the Aztecs I: What the Europeans Thought. (9/10)
Read: The True History of the Conquest of Mexico
, 145-212, 244-266.**

Cortes and the Aztecs II: What the Europeans Thought (9/12)
Read: The True History of the Conquest of Mexico
, 289-361.**

Cortes and the Aztecs III: Aztec Society. (9/14)
The Broken Spears, xxv-xlviii.

Week 5 The Spanish and the Americas in the 16th C. II

Convocation: No Class  (9/17)
Turn In:
Informal Writing #3

Cortes and the Aztecs IV: The Invasion of the Aztec Empire from the Aztec View. (9/19)
Read: The Broken Spears,
thirteen through ninety.

Cortes and the Aztecs V: The Fall of the Aztec Empire. (9/21)
Read: The Broken Spears,
ninety-one through one hundred and twenty-six.
Write: In-Class Source Analytical Essay.

Week 6 The Impact of the Atlantic World on the Iberian Peninsula

The Creation of Spanish Peru. (9/24)
Cook and Cook, Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance, 1-20.

The Creation of Spanish Peru. (9/26)
Cook and Cook, Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance, 21-68.

The Impact of the "New" World on Society in Spain. (9/28)
Cook and Cook, Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance, 71-120.

Week 7 The Beginnings of the Transatlantic Slave Trade I

The Impact of the "New" World on Society in Spain. (10/1)
Cook and Cook, Good Faith and Truthful Ignorance, 121-153.

What Europeans Were Learning of Africa in the 16th Century. (10/3)
Selections from Leo Africanus, The History and Description of Africa**: Timbuktu.***
Selections European Voyage Accounts**, Richard Eden on Benin***, Dom Francisco on Kilwa.

West African Society in the 16th and 17th Centuries. (10/5)
Thornton, Africa and Africans, 72-97.
Turn In: First Primary Source Reaction Paper

Week 8 The Beginnings of the Transatlantic Slave Trade II

The Rise of the Slave Trade in Africa.  (10/8)
: Thornton, Africa and Africans, 98-125.

The Role of Slaves and the Slave Trade in Africa and the Spanish Americas, c. 1520-1700 (10/10) Read: Thornton, Africa and Africans, 129 -151; Lovejoy and Rogers, Unfree Labour, 11-35.

The Role of Slaves and the Slave Trade in the Caribbean, c. 1490-1660 (10/12)
Lovejoy and Rogers, Unfree Labour, 36-51.

Week 9 The Northern Europeans Enter the Atlantic World

Dramatizing the Slave Trade. (10/15)

Early Northern European Settlements in the Americas: An Overview. (10/17)

Fall Break (10/19)

Week 10 European Societies and Migration during the 17th and 18th C.

 Finding European Labor for Caribbean and North American European Settlements, 1600-1700.(10/22)
: Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders, **begin at the words: "I resolved, therefore, as to the state of my present circumstances." and end with the words "which perhaps few women have gone through the life of," pages 70-96 using the print preview function of your internet browser.

Finding European Labor for Caribbean and North American European Settlements, 1700-1800. (10/24) Read: Lovejoy and Rogers, Unfree Labour, 102-113.

Placing the Caribbean and North America in Context. (10/26)
Lovejoy and Rogers, Unfree Labour, 71-101 (please note this is a very difficult article so make time to read it carefully and thoroughly).

Week 11 Africa and Migration during the 17th and 18th C.

Changes in European Society as a Result of Atlantic World Migration: Conclusion. (10/29)

The Impact of Migration in the Atlantic World on Everyday Life in West Africa I. (10/31)
Thornton, Africa and Africans, 98-125, 304-334.

The Impact of Migration in the Atlantic World on Everyday Life II. (11/2)
Selections from Jean Barbot, A Description of the Coasts of North and South Guinea and the life of Venture Smith**.
1) Selection 1***
2) Selection 2***
3) Selection 3***

Week 12 Intercultural Relations in North America: Colonies and Mother Countries Again/Europeans, Africans and Native Americans.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony. (11/5)
Selection from: Changes in the Land, 59-107.**

Africans in American Societies. (11/7)
Thornton, Africa and Africans, 152-234.

Colonial Identities in North America. (11/9)
Zuckerman in: Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World.**
Turn-in: Rough Draft of Second Primary Source Reaction Paper

Week 13 Africans in the Americas I: Slavery Comes of Age

 Slave Revolts and Runaway Slave Communities. (11/12)
Thornton, Africa and Africans, 272-303. 
Watch: Amistad

Paper Draft Discussion.   (11/14)
Pick up
: Commented Rough Draft of Second Primary Source Paper.

Freed Slave Narratives. (11/16) Read: Thomas Bluett, Some Memoirs of the Life of Job, the Son of Solomon, the High Priest of Boonda in Africa.** or selection from: The Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Written by himself.

Week 14 Africans in the Americas II: The Case of Surinam

Introducing Stedman. (11/18)
Stedman’s Surinam, 13-84.

Thanksgiving: No Class (11/21-11/23)
Read: Stedman’s Surinam
, 85-175.

Week 15 Surinam in Crisis

The Failure of Surinam I. (11/26)
: Stedman’s Surinam, 176-228.

The Failure of Surinam II. (11/28)
: Stedman’s Surinam, 229-281.

The Failure of Surinam III. (11/30)
: Stedman’s Surinam, 282-318.

Week 16 Patterns of Migration and Cultural Change in the Atlantic World c. 1750-1850

Africa, the Abolition Movement in Europe and the Persistence of Slavery in the Americas. (12/5) Read: Lovejoy and Rogers, Unfree Labour, 150-220.

Black Tars, European Sailors, Sojourners, and Others. (12/3)
Selection from Bolster, Black Jacks, 102-157.** or Selection from Linebaugh and Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra, 248-286.**

The Displacement of Native American Groups in the Americas. (12/7)
An article of your choice on the subject of Native Americans in the Americas during the late 18th/early 19th centuries.

Pick Up: Questions for Final Examination.
 Review (12/10)

Week 17

Finals Day. (12/13) Take: Final Examination
Turn-In: Final Draft of Second Formal Writing

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