English 203

Graduate Readings: Colonial America in the Atlantic World

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2008 Donegan, Kathleen
Donegan, Kathleen
T 3:30-6:30 301 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Andrews, W. (ed.): Journeys in New Worlds Bauer, R. (ed): Early Americas Digital Archive; Behn, A: Oronooko; Bradford, W.: Of Plymouth Plantation; Brockden Brown, C.: Wieland; Byrd, W.: A History of the Dividing Line; Caretta, V. (ed): Unchained Voices; Hariot, T.: A Brief and True Report; Lake, H.: The Code of Handsome Lake; Ligon, R.: A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados; Rowson, S.: Charlotte Temple; Smith, J: Generall History; Williams, R.: A Key into the Language of America; Course pack of critical readings


This course will locate colonial and early national texts from North America in the broad circuit of the Atlantic world, examining that Atlantic context both as a cultural arena and as a critical construction. Through close literary readings, we will study the mediation of consciousness, epistemology, power, and identity through textual production in an era defined by unprecedented levels of global circulation of goods, peoples and ideas. Because this is a course in colonial literatures, our primary texts will include a great many genres: settlement histories, personal narratives, sermons, prophecy, translation guides, civic texts, natural sciences, dramas, and early novels. Given that scholars of early America have so recently and so radically re-conceived this field of study, we will also take up the challenge of examining how intellectual projects are shaped through critical discourse. This is field that has, with fair rapidity, broadened its scope from a myopic obsession with New England divines to a global purview that links Native America, Europe, Africa, North and South America, the Carribean, and all the waterways between them. How, in this transformation, do theory and methodology interact? How can older and newer critical models claim to map the same territory? How does critical practice translate across disciplines? What is the status of the text in the meantime? These and allied questions will give us plenty to discuss. Two 10-page essays and one seminar presentation on secondary critical materials are required.

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