English 166AC

Special Topics in American Cultures: Race and Revision in Early America

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2011 Donegan, Kathleen
Donegan, Kathleen
TTh 9:30-11 101 LSA

Other Readings and Media

Morrison, T.: A Mercy; Shakespeare, W: The Tempest: A Case Study; Cesaire, A.: A Tempest; Jefferson, T.: Notes on the State of Virginia; Brown, W.: Clotel, or the President


In this course, we will read both historical and literary texts to explore how racial categories came into being in New World cultures and how these categories were tested, inhabited, and re-imagined by the human actors they sought to define. Our study will be organized around four early American sites: Landfall in the North Atlantic, Jamestown fort, Witchcraft at Salem, and Jefferson’s Virginia. These sites will function as interpretive nodes; in each place, African, Native, and European ways of making meaning collided and concepts of racial difference were created. The effect, of course, was never total, and we will study how racial constructions forged at each site have been re-imagined and revised throughout American cultural history to the present day.

This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.

It also satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

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