History 3033 Spring 2011


General Guidelines

TTh 11A--12:15P
Room: Conwill Hall 108

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: T-Th, 2-4P, 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.

Discipline-Specific Objectives of the Course:

This course will provide you with opportunities to improve in the following three areas of intellectual endeavor:

Historical Knowledge: Graduates will demonstrate a satisfactory* ability to recall, apply,  and appraise the explanatory value of factual knowledge related to:

1) U.S. History

2) European History
3) World History

Analytical Skills: Graduates will demonstrate the ability to interpret historical texts for meaning.

Expository Writing:
Graduates will demonstrate the ability to construct and defend a sustained and coherent argument based on both primary and secondary sources.

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)

The Human Tradition in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800, edited by Karen Racine and Beatriz G. Mamigonian (Lanhan, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2010)

Jon F. Sensbach, Rebecca's Revival: Creating Black Christianity in the Atlantic World  (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005)

Camilla Townsend, Malintzin's Choices: An Indian Woman in the Conquest of Mexico (Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press, 2006)

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 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, 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 each start the semester with 4 participation points and you can earn up to 4 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.

b. Credit for Participation: A perfect score in participation is 100 points.  Thus you need a minimum of 90 for an A, at leasts 80 for a B, at least 70 for a C, and 60 points for a D.  Anything less than that is an F.

Papers (450 Points): You will have to write two primary-source-based reaction papers for this course. Both papers must be typed in double-spaced 12-pt. Times Roman font, and appropriately footnoted.  The first source paper, which is to be 4-5 pages in length, will be worth 150 points and the second, 8-10 pages in length, 300 points (broken down into 200 points for the paper, 50 points for the mandatory drafting process, and 50 points for a 15-20-minute presentation on the secondary literature related to your paper topic).  Due dates for the papers are listed below.  All papers must be submitted via the course Blackboard module using the Paper Submission Portal.  If you are unfamiliar with this method of submitting papers let me know and I will assist you.  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.
Midterm Examination (150 Points): This will be an objective question, short-answer, and essay-based  examination taken through the course's Blackboard module, which is where you will also find the review sheet for this examination.  The examination period will run from 12:00 a.m. on 3.21 to 11:59 p.m. on 3.27.

Final Paper 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 Weighting

Course Component
Component Weight in Course Mark
100 Points
Reaction Papers 450 Points
Midterm 150 points
Final Presentation 50 Points
750 Points

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.

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.

E-mail: Communication will often occur via e-mail, which I will send you through Blackboard.  Since Blackboard uses your Cameron University e-mail account, this means that you must check your Cameron University e-mail account to participate in this course.  If you don't know how to access your CU e-mail account, please see the common syllabus attachment or the intructions below. If these instructions there are insufficient, I will be happy to help you with all this if need be. But remember, I will assume that you know how to access and use your e-mail and if you do not make use of your CU e-mail account you will certainly miss out on some crucial information this term and it will be more difficult to do well.

For those not aware of the basics of accessing student e-mail please read the following: "Student email accounts and other services may be found at http://studentmail.cameron.edu The User Name Construction link provides information about user names and passwords. Students should check their Cameron email regularly regardless of whether or not they have other email accounts. A student who wishes to be contacted at an address other than Cameron email should be sure to keep a current preferred address on record in MyCU."

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.

Missed Participation Opportunities: If you miss class, you miss that day's participation regardless of your reasons for having to do so.  Remember, though, that you have the potential to earn more points than you are responsible for, 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: As per the Office of Student Development, "It is the policy of Cameron University to accommodate students with disabilities, pursuant to federal and state law.  Students with disabilities who need classroom accommodations must make their requests by contacting the Office of Student Development at (580) 581-2209, North Shepler Room 314."

Website for this office:


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Schedule of Readings, Lecture Topics, Assignments and Activities 

Week 1 Living in an Atlantic World Society Today
(1.11) Introduction. 

(1.13) What Is the Atlantic World for Historians?
Read: The Atlantic World, 1-38.

Week 2 The Genesis of an Atlantic World
(1.18) Meso-American, Iberian, and West African Societies to 1492.
The Atlantic World, 41-76; Selections from Leo Africanus, The History and Description of Africa**: Timbuktu.***; Selections European Voyage Accounts**; Richard Eden on Benin***, Dom Francisco on Kilwa; Vasco da Gama, Round Africa to India**

(1.20) Iberians in the Americas: Early Expeditions
Read: The Atlantic World, 77-113.

Week 3 Iberian Expansion into the Americas, c. 1492-1600. 
(1.25) Iberians in the Americas: Imperial Consolidation
Read: The Atlantic World, 92-113; Malintzin's Choices, 1-29.

(1.27) Malintzin and the Spanish Conquest 1
Read: Malintzin's Choices, 30-84.

Week 4 Spanish Expansion into the Americas Reconsidered.
(2.1) Malintzin and the Spanish Conquest 2
Read: Malintzin's Choices, 85-125.

(2.3) Examining the Evidence 1: From the Cholulan Massacre (October 1519) to the Tóxcatl Festival (May 1520) & Examining the Evidence 2: From the return of Cortés to Tenochtitlan (June 1520) to the final conquest of Tenochtitlán (August 13, 1521)
Read: Review and carefully analyze those elements of the "Narratives," and "Documents," sections that fall within the period above as specified by the "Timeline" on the Conquest of Mexico Web-Site by Nancy Fitch of Cal-State Fullerton and be prepared to discuss Spanish, Mexica, Cholulan, and Tlaxcalan perspectives**: http://www.historians.org/tl/LessonPlans/ca/Fitch/index.htm.  Note, the section entitled "For the Student" may be helpful in preparing for your analysis.

Week 5 European Dynamics and the Atlantic World
(2.8) Malintzin and the Consolidation of the Spanish Conquest
Read: Malintzin's Choices, 126-187.

(2.10) Religion and Politics in 16th-Century Europe
: The Atlantic World, 115-147.

Week 6
The Establishment of Plantation Colonies c. 1500-1800
(2.15) European Migrations to and Settlement in the Americas
Read: The Atlantic World, 148-183.
(2.17) Individual Settler Lives in the Americas
Read: Racine and Mamigonian, 13-86

Week 7
The Slave Trade in the Atlantic World: An Overview
(2.22) How Did Slaves Come to the Americas
Read: The Atlantic World, 185-214; Racine and Mamigonian, 101-116; and The 18th-Century Slave Trade in Sources Written and Visual: ***Jean Barbot's 1682 Account** of the slave trade; ***James Barbot's 1700 account (published 1732)** of a shipboard slave revolt; ***Alexander Falconbridge's 1788 account of the West Indies slave markets**; and be prepared to discuss three images (not maps thus) from the following image gallery** (n.b. bring the images you analyze with you to class): http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/.

(2.24) Changes in Consumption and Economic Structures in Africa, Europe, and the Americas
Read: The Atlantic World, 217-252; Rebecca's Revival, 1-27.
Turn In: First Primary Source Essay

Week 8 A Black Atlantic?
(3.1) Ethnicity and Culture in the Atlantic World, 1450-1830
Read: The Atlantic World, 255-289; Rebecca's Revival, 28-68

(3.3) Moravian Networks in the Atlantic World 1
Read: Rebecca's Revival, 69-132.

Week 9 A Moravian Black Atlantic
(3.8) Moravian Networks in the Atlantic World 2
Read: Rebecca's Revival, 133-201.

(3.10) Moravian Networks in the Atlantic World 3
Read: Rebecca's Revival, 202-247.

Week 10 Introducing Dutch Plantation Culture
(3.22) Introducing Surinam
Read: Stedman's Surinam, xi-Chapters 3. 

(3.24) Warfare in Surinam 1 and Stedman's First Pronouncements on Slavery
Read: Stedman's Surinam, Chapter 4-7; Racine and Mabigonian, 133-150.

Week 11 Dutch Plantation Agriculture 2
(3.29) Warfare in Surinam 2; Stedman's Next Pronouncements on Slavery; and Urban and Plantation Life in Surinam
Read: Stedman's Surinam, Chapters 8-13.

(3.31) Warfare in Surinam 3 and Plantation Life in Surinam 2
Read: Stedman's Surinam, Chapters 14-20; Racine and Mabigonian, 117-132.
Turn In: Proposal for Final Paper

Week 12 Dutch Plantation Agriculture 3
(4.5) Slave Life in Surinam Warfare in Surinam 4
Read: Stedman's Surinam, Chapters 21-26; Racine and Mabigonian, 183-194.

(4.7) Stedman's Final Days in Surinam
Read: Stedman's Surinam, Chapters 27-30.
Present: Secondary Literature Presentation/Discussion: Surinam and the Wider Caribbean; each student will present two articles on Surinam, tying them also to one article from Racine and Mabigonian.

Week 13
Secondary Literature on Surinam 
(4.12) Warfare in the Atlantic World 1
Read: The Atlantic World, 291-321.

(4.14) Peer Critique Day
Turn In: Rough Draft of Final Paper Including an Extra Copy for Peer Critique; don't forget to make an appointment to discuss your rough draft with me.

Week 14 Imperial Conflict in the Atlantic World
(4.19) Warfare in the Atlantic World 2
Read: The Atlantic World, 323-358.

(4.21) Warfare in the Atlantic World 3
Read: The Atlantic World, 361-389.

Week 15 The End of the Atlantic World
(4.26) The End of Empire
The Atlantic World, 391-425.

(4.28) The End of Slavery
The Atlantic World, 461-493.

Week 16 Finals Week
(5.3) Final, Tuesday, 10:15A-12:15 P
Final Paper Presentations
Turn In: Final Paper (May be turned in through May 7th @ 11:59 p.m. for full credit)
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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