MWF 1-1:50 p.m.
The Atlantic World, 1400-1850:
Office Hours: M W F, 11A-12P, 2-3P, 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 in search of commercial and imperial opportunities soon led to the colonization of Latin America and 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 the Americas. Our study of this and the previous topic will also 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 later 18th century and the 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
to improve in the following three areas of intellectual endeavor:
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:Egerton, et al., The Atlantic World: A History, 1400-1888 (Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, Inc., 2007).
Matthew Restall, Seven Myths of the Spanish Conquest (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004).
James Sweet, Recreating Africa: Kinship, Culture, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441-1770 (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2003).
Primary Source and Additional Secondary Source Readings:
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 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
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,
formal writings, and an essay examinations.
Participation (100 points):
a. Attendance and Discussion (120 points possible): This is an upper division course run largely as a seminar. Participation in discussion is therefore mandatory and your grade will suffer if you do not participate. You can earn up to 3 points for each day you come to class, depending on your contributions to class discussion and classroom activities. No credit will be extended for partially attended classes.
Presentation(50 Points): A 15-20 minute presentation of
the findings of your final research paper on Surinam.
Table of the Course Components and Their
Calculation of your mark: In this course 750 points is a perfect score. Thus an A requires a minimum of 675 points, a B at least 600 points, a C at least 525 points, a D at least 450 points. Anyone earning less than 450 points fails the course and earns a mark of F.
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 a letter 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.
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
engage in all academic pursuits in a manner that is above reproach.
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
For examples of academic dishonesty please see the full version of
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
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
its guidelines. In cases of plagiarism, the Department of History
and Government at CU follows the plagiarism policy in the current
Handbook," as described in Sections 4.07 and 4.08 of the CU Code of
Conduct. Penalties for plagiarism as defined by the Student Code
Please heed this warning as I am
quite serious about it.
Disability Statement: As per
the Office of Student Development, "It
is the policy of
Website for this office:
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Please Note: The Syllabus is Subject to Change if that Becomes Advisable or Necessary!
Week 1 Living in an Atlantic World Society Today
(1.14) Why Does Atlantic History Matter?
(1.16) What Is the Atlantic World for Historians?
Week 2 The Genesis of an Atlantic World
(1.19) Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday--NO CLASS
(1.21) Iberian and West African Societies to 1492.
Week 3 Iberian Expansion into the Americas, c. 1492-1600.
(1.26) Iberians in the Americas: Early Expeditions
(1.28) Iberians in the Americas: Imperial Consolidation
Week 4 Spanish Expansion into the Americas Reconsidered.
(2.2) More Myths About Spanish Soldiers
(2.4) Myths About Native Americans
(2.6) Myths About Native Americans
Week 5 Recreating the Conquest of the Mexica.
(2.11) Examining the Evidence 2: From the return of
Cortés to Tenochtitlan (June 1520) to the final conquest of
Tenochtitlán (August 13, 1521)
(2.13) Examining the Evidence 3: Depicting the Conquest
Week 6 European Dynamics and the Atlantic World
(2.16) Religion and Politics in 16th-Century Europe
Read: The Atlantic World, 148-183.
(2.20) A Dutch Colony in North America? Classifying New Netherland
Read: Read the following sections--"Manhattan," "Long Island," "Connecticut," "Hudson River," and "Albany"-- (and by this I mean you need to read the introductory section and explore all of the related links!) at the following web site on New Netherland: http://www.nnp.org/vtour/index.html. Classify the colony the Dutch established in what is now New York using the model in The Atlantic World on pages 168 & 169. Does your classification agree with the text or not?
Turn In: First Primary Source Essay
Week 7 The Establishment of Plantation
Colonies c. 1500-1800
(2.23) How Did Slaves Come to the Americas
(2.25) Changes in Consumption and Economic Structures in
Africa, Europe, and the Americas
(2.27) Ethnicity and Culture in the Atlantic World, 1450-1830
(3.4) Slave/Master Relations in Brazil
Week 9 African and Brazilian Religious
(3.9) African Divination, Alternative Medicine, and Witchcraft
(3.11) African Religion and Catholicism
Week 10 Introducing Dutch Plantation Culture
(3.23) Introducing Surinam
Read: Stedman's Surinam, xi-Chapters 3.
(3.25) Warfare in Surinam
Discuss: Midterm results; Sweet, 161-171.
Week 11 British, French, and Native
Interactions in New England, 1700-1800
(3.30) Warfare in Surinam 2
(4.1) Slave Life in Surinam
Discuss: Sweet, 191-230.
Week 12 Secondary Literature on Surinam
(4.6) Stedman's Final Days in Surinam
Literature Presentation/Discussion: Surinam and the Wider Caribbean
Literature Presentation/Discussion: Surinam and the Wider Caribbean
(4.13) Warfare in the Atlantic World 1
(4.15) Warfare in the Atlantic World 2
(4.17) Warfare in the Atlantic World 3
Week 14 Writing Week
(4.20) Warfare in the Atlantic World 4
(4.22) Peer Critique Day
(4.24) Draft Conferences
Week 15 The End of the Atlantic World
(4.27) Warfare in the Atlantic World 5
(4.29) The End of Empire 1
(5.1) The End of Empire 2
Week 16 Finals Week
(5.4) Final Review
and that the web-syllabus is the syllabus of record.