Summer 2004

SOCS 635 (AMST)
New World(s) Encounters: Rethinking "Culture," Rethinking Modernity

Eudell,Demetrius L.

06/28/2004 - 08/11/2004
Tuesday & Thursday 05:30 PM - 08:00 PM

Public Affairs Center 136

This course will explore the encounter of 1492 as the moment in which modernity, as our global civilization has come to experience it, would be set in motion by the Judaeo-Christian West, as it was undergoing a profound cultural transformation. The course also examines the prelude to 1492, that is, the scientific and intellectual breakthroughs of the earlier voyages of the Portuguese to the West Coast of Africa in the 1440s that enabled the voyages of Columbus. By examining the expansion of Europe into Africa and the Americas, and the subsequent cultural transformations that ensued, it will be shown that rather than simply "discovering a New World," the Old Worlds of Africa and Europe, as well as the Americas, would be transformed, to constitute a New World. This course interrogates the terms of these encounters, in which the expropriation of the land of the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the enslavement of Africans would be represented as being legitimate and just, and would later serve as the foundation of the modern-world system. Central to this investigation will be an attempt to understand the cultural model of each society in the terms of its own self-conception, which in the case of the European epistemological locus would give rise to the order-instituting discourse of race.

The readings for the course will include Chinua Achebe, THINGS FALL APART; Leon Miguel-Portilla, THE BROKEN SPEARS; Bartolome de Las Casas, THE DEVASTATION OF THE INDIES. We will also read excerpts from the following texts: Daniel J. Boorstin, THE DISCOVERERS; David Eltis, THE RISE OF AFRICAN SLAVERY IN THE AMERICAS; Olaudah Equiano, THE INTERESTING NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF OLAUDAH EQUIANOOl; The Inca Garcilaso, THE ROYAL COMMENTARIES OF THE INCEAS AND GENEARL HISTORY OF PERU; Jacques Le Goff, THE MEDIEVAL IMAGINATION; Samuel Morison, LETTER OF CHRISTOPHER COLUMBUS , ANNOUNCING THE DISCOVERY OF AMERICA; Anthony Padgen, THE FALL OF NATURAL MAN: THE AMERICAN INDIAN AND THE ORIGINS OF COMPARATIVE ETHNOLOGY; and Edmund Spenser, THE FAERIE QUEEN.

Performance in the course will be based on weekly response papers (four pages) as well as an extended final paper (10-15 pages). In addition, oral presentations and regular contributions made to class discussion will be considered in the final evaluation of each student's performance in the course.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
Course Syllabus


Demetrius Eudell (B.A. Dartmouth College; M.A., Ph.D. Stanford University) is associate professor of history. He is author of The Political Languages of Emancipation in the British Caribbean and the U.S. South (University of North Carolina Press, 2002). Professor Eudell's research interests include the history and culture of the Americas, slavery, abolition, and emancipation. Click here for more information about Demetrius Eudell.


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Chinua Achebe, WHEN THINGS FALL APART (Anchor), Paperback

Olaudah Equiano, THE INTERESTING NARRATIVE AND OTHER WRITINGS (Penguin), Paperback

Bartolome de Las Casas, DEVASTATION OF THE INDIES (John Hopkins University Press), Paperback

Miguel Leon-Portillo, BROKEN SPEARS (Beacon Press), Paperback

READING MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323

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