English 166AC

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

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2013 Donegan, Kathleen
TTh 2-3:30 2 LeConte

Book List

Brown, W.: Clotel, or the President’s Daughter; Cesaire, A.: A Tempest; Jefferson, T.: Notes on the State of Virginia; Morrison, T.: A Mercy; Shakespeare, W.: The Tempest: A Case Study


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, Pocahontas and the 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.

English 166AC satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.

This course satisfies the pre-1800 requirement for the English major.

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