History 3033 Fall 2004


General Guidelines

MW, 2-3:15 p.m.
Room: 214 South Shepler Tower


The Atlantic World, 1400-1850:
Africans, Americans, and Europeans on the Move
Doug Catterall
office: 634 South Shepler Tower
work telephone: 581-2949
e-mail: dougc@cameron.edu

Office Hours: MW, 10-11 a.m., 1-2 p.m., 3:30-4:30 p.m.; TTh, 1-3 p.m.; and by Appointment

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.

The Seminar Environment

A seminar is a course in which the basis for instruction is discussion.  Discussion is, of course, a collective enterprise, which means that this course works bests if everyone participates.  Participation chiefly means contributing ideas to our considerations of the various issues with which this course deals.  Thus, while I am the instructor, this is a course that you will very much be responsible for shaping.  I invite you to take advantage of the unique opportunities that a seminar environment offers.

As this course depends on a lively discussion environment, it is essential that there be freedom for everyone to contribute.  This means that disagreements over issues are in order.  Personal attacks, insults, or other disruptions of the discussion environment (e.g. arriving late, leaving early, talking with other students during class, sleeping, reading, passing notes), however, are not acceptable.

This is an advanced, 4000-level course and it is expected that you come into the course with some preparation both in terms of the skills needed to write a research paper and in terms of the context that we will be engaging with: early modern Europe.  I will not be able to provide a survey-type overview of the material in the course.  I will, of course, be happy to answer individual questions of a more general nature outside of class, but class discussion will focus on the assigned readings for the course.


Secondary Source Readings:

Philip D. Curtin, The Rise and Fall of the Plantation Complex: Essays in Atlantic History, Second Edition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

Alison Games, Migration and the Origins of the English Atlantic World (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001).

Bernard Moitt, Women and Slavery in the French Antilles, 1635-1848 (Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2001).

David Northrup, Africa's Discovery of Europe, 1450-1850 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002).

Matthew Restall, Maya Conquistador (Boston: Beacon Press, 1998).

Primary Source and Additional Secondary Source Readings:

James Williams, A Narrative of Events since the First of August 1834, editied by Diana Paton (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001).

Primary and Seconday 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 or making multiple copies of the reading may violate U.S. copyright laws.


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.

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 will 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: Informal writing(s), class discussion and the in-class source analytical essay will be worth 20% of the final grade. You can receive up to 2 points for each day's class participation (for a total of 60 points), 30 points for informal writings and 30 points on the reading quiz. An A in participation requires a minimum of 100 points, a B 90 points, a C 80 points, a D 70 points.

Papers: You will have to write two primary-source-based reaction papers for this course, the first one due in the eighth week and the second one due in class on December 15, 2004. Both papers must be typed in double-spaced 12-pt. Times Roman font, and appropriately footnoted.  The first source paper will be worth 20% of your final grade and the second 25% of the final mark.  You will also have to complete a book review for the course on one of the major secondary sources that we read this term, which will be worth 15% of your course mark. This will be due in the final week of regular classes.  Due dates for the papers are listed below.  General guidelines for the papers are 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 20% 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 15, 2004, 1-3 p.m.

Table of the Course Components and Their Weighting

Course Component
Component Weight in Course Mark
Discussion 10%
Informal Writings
In-Class Analytical Essay
Reaction Papers 45%
Book Review 15%
Final Examination 20%

Guidelines for Academic Work:

Classroom Environment: Talking to your classmates or others outside the context of classroom activities is rude and will not be tolerated.  Reading outside materials, listening to music, taking telephone calls on your cell-phone, and similar non-class related activities are equally unacceptable.  I expect all students to be respectful of one another's right to speak and express opinions.  Disagreements and different viewpoints are welcome, but debates should not involve insults.  Finally, food and drink are permitted in class as long as courtesy is observed; e.g. if you haven't quite finished your cup of coffee, do bring it along to class, but turning the classroom into a cafeteria is not permissible.  

Attendance: As noted above, regular attendance is crucial to your success in this class.  If you miss class regularly, your grade will suffer.  I would also like to note that frequent lateness in coming to class and frequent early departures will also be penalized as these habits are rude to your fellow classmates and to me as the instructor.  I will take attendance daily in this class and an absence is an absence and will be counted as such.  

Preparation: All assignments for a given day, whether reading or writing, are to be completed before the class meets on that day.  I also recommend that you take notes as you read and during lectures and discussions as this will make studying for the quizzes and writing the papers for the class less of a challenge.

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 seven days 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.  Exception to the above policy: For the final paper of the course, due on December 15, you must turn the paper in (i.e. physically submit it to me) five days from the due date; thus no papers will be accepted after December 20.  This exception is essential as I must have your grades in by Wednesday December 22.


Late Informal Writings and Missed Participation Opportunities: No late informal writings will be accepted, so don't ask.  Moreover, if you miss class you miss that day's participation regardless of your reasons for having to do so.  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 the appropriate number of participation points, 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.

Academic Dishonesty: As per Section 4.07 of the CU Student Handbook: "Each student is expected to engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach. Students are expected to maintain complete honesty and integrity in the academic experiences both in and out of the classroom. Any student found guilty of academic dishonesty… will be subject to disciplinary action."  For examples of academic dishonesty please see the full version of Section 4.07 at: http://www.cameron.edu/student_development/student_conduct/academic.html

Among the most serious offenses a student can commit is plagiarism, which 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 such essays you must cite all primary and secondary sources you use in accordance with the proper conventions.  Instructions on the basics of citation may be found under the general guidelines for papers.  before any formal essays come due.  If for some reason you do not choose to examine this page, know that you will not be exempt from following its guidelines.  In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the current "Student Handbook," as described in Sections 4.07 and 4.08 of the CU Code of Student Conduct.  Penalties for plagiarism as defined by the Student Code of Conduct include:

1) The student may be required to perform additional academic work/project not required of other students in the course;

2) The student may be required to withdraw from the course with a grade of "W" or "F"; or

3) The student's grade in the course or on the examination or other academic work affected by the dishonesty may be reduced to any extent, including a reduction to failure. 

Please heed this warning as I am quite serious about it.

Disability Statement: If you have a documented disability or suspect that you have a learning problem and need reasonable accommodations, please notify me as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

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Schedule of Readings, Lecture Topics, Assignments and Activities

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

Week 1 Living in an Atlantic World Society Today

(8.23) Introduction. 

(8.25) Defining the Atlantic World and Its Importance.
Read: ***Overview of U.S. Immigration History and Policy by Christopher Jencks and the Responses **: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/14868, http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15423

Week 2 The Coming of the Atlantic World

(8.30) Spain and Portugal in the Opening of the Atlantic World to Europeans.
Curtin, 3-28; Vasco da Gama, Round Africa to India**

(9.1) African Contacts with Europeans to 1650
Northrup, xi-xv, 1-23.

Week 3 West Africa's Politial Economy, c. 1400-1650. 

(9.6) Labor Day--No Class
Northrup, 24-49.

(9.8) Politics, Religion, and Economy
Read: Curtin, 29-45; Selections from Leo Africanus, The History and Description of Africa**: Timbuktu.***; Selections European Voyage Accounts**; Richard Eden on Benin***, Dom Francisco on Kilwa.

Week 4 The Spanish in the Caribbean and Mexico, c.1492-1550.

(9.13) The Spanish in the Caribbean
Read: Curtin, 58-64; Assigned selections from: The Writings of Christopher Columbus, 33-51; Assigned selections from Bartholomew de Las Casas: his life, apostolate, and writings, 311-328.**

(9.15) Cortez and Mexico.
Curtin, 64-70, The True History of the Conquest of Mexico, 240-262**; ***The Broken Spears, 70-90.**

Week 5 The Spanish and the Maya: Conquest and Accommodation.

(9.20) Preconquest Maya Society.
Read: Restall, 3-28.

(9.22) The Maya Response to Conquest.
Restall, 29-50.

Week 6 The Maya in the Later Colonial Period

(9.27) Maya History of the Conquest.
: Restall, 53-103.
Write: In-Class Source Analytical Essay.

(9.29) Maya Identity in the Seventeenth Century.
: Restall, 104-128, 144-178.

Week 7 Mutual Influences: England and the Atlantic World, c. 1650.

(10.4) London and the Atlantic World.
Read: Games, 1-41.

(10.6) Who were the seventeenth-century English migrants to the Americas?
Read: Games, 42-71.

Week 8 The English and the Portuguese in the Caribbean and South America.

(10.11) The English Plantation Colonies 1
Curtin, 73-85; Games, 72-101

(10.13) The English Plantation Colonies 2
Read: Curtin, 46-57; Games, 102-131.
Turn In:
First Primary Source Reaction Paper

Week 9 The English and the Dutch in North America.

(10.18) Puritans in New England.
: Games, 132-189.

(10.20) The English Atlantic: A Comparative View.
 Read: Games, 190-216; Selection from: ***William Cronon, Changes in the Land, 54-81**; ***John Winthrop on the Massachusetts Bay Colony**; ***New Netherland Web-Site Selections "Manhattan," "Hudson River," and "Albany"** at: http://www.nnp.org/newvtour/

Week 10 Africa and the Atlantic Economy.

(10.25) Commerce in Africa.
Northrup, 50-76.

(10/27) The Impact of Atlantic Trade in Africa
Northrup, 77-106.
Week 11 The Impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade on Africa.

(11.1) Finding European Labor for Caribbean and North American European Settlements, 1700-1800.
Northrup, 107-140;

(11.3) The Slave Trade in Sources: Written and Visual

Read: ***Jean Barbot's Account** of the slave trade at: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/black_voices/voices_display.cfm?id=31
and ***James Barbot's 1732 account** of a shipboard slave revolt at: http://www.digitalhistory.uh.edu/black_voices/voices_display.cfm?id=36
and ***Alexander Falconbridge on the slave markets** at :
and be prepared to discuss three images (not maps thus) from the following image gallery** (n.b. bring the images you analyze with to class): http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/.

Week 12 Africa and Migration during the 17th and 18th C.

(11.8) Placing Africans in a Caribbean Context: the beginnings of the French Antilles.
Moitt, 2-33 and Please Review: Northrup, 125-136 and the first web reading on Barbot assigned for 11.3.

(11.10) Gender and Labor in the French Antilles.
Read: Moitt, 34-79. 

Week 13 Women, Family, Labor, and Revolt in the French Antilles and North America.

(11.15) Daily Life for Women in the French Caribbean and Colonial Virginia.
: Moitt, 80-124; ***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.

(11.17) Women, Freedom, and Revolution in the French Antilles and Beyond.
Curtin, 144-169; Moitt, 125-150.

Week 14 The End of the Plantation System?

(11.22) Abolition in the Caribbean 1
Curtin, 173-203; Williams, Narrative of Events, xiii-lv, 3-37.

(11.24) Thanksgiving: No Class

Week 15 Africans and Europe in the Eighteenth Century. 

(11.29) Abolition in the Caribbean 2
Williams, Narrative of Events, 47-129.

(12.1) Africans and the European Enlightenment.
Northrup, 141-187.
Turn In: Book Review

Week 16 Other Responses to Enslavement and Marginalization in the Americas.

(12.6) Manumission, Runaway Slave Communities, and Pirates.
Curtin, 86-110; Moitt, 151-176; ***Selection from C. R. Pennell, ed., Bandits at Sea: A Pirates Reader (in the CU Library Reserve).**
Excerpt from: Pirates of the Caribbean.

(12.8) Film Discussion.  
Review: Curtin, 86-110; Moitt, 151-176; selections from Pennell
Pick Up: Questions for Final Examination.
Turn In: Informal Writing #4


Week 17 Finals Week

(12.15) Finals Day.
Take: Final Examination

Turn-In: Final Draft of Second Formal Writing

Please note, the syllabus is subject to change if I judge that this is necessary
and that the web-syllabus is the syllabus of record.

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