English 166AC

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

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2017 Donegan, Kathleen
TTh 12:30-2 3 Le Conte

Book List

Brown, W. W.: Clotel; Cesaire, A. : A Tempest; Conde, M.: I, Tituba; Morrison, T. : A Mercy; Shakespeare, W.: The Tempest

Other Readings and Media

course reader


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 at Jamestown, Witchcraft at Salem, and Jefferson’s Virginia. In each of these places Native, European, and African ways of making meaning collided, and concepts of racial difference were formed. These sites will function as interpretive nodes; for each, we will read a selection of primary documents and then explore how racial constructions forged at each site have been re- imagined and revised throughout American cultural history to the present day. 

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

This course satisfies UC Berkeley's American Cultures requirement.

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