Magic, Science, and the Poetics of colonial American Writing, 1492-1800
What was an "early" "American" literature before there was a United
States? What was
an early American "literature" before the eighteenth century, when our contemporary notions about "literature" took shape? Why weren't there any novels written in the early Americas at the time when Europeans wrote a Don Quixote or a Robinson Crusoe? Why the preponderance of religious genres and the pragmatic functionality of secular colonial prose--never quite "literary" or "scientific"? In order to be able to answer these and other questions in this course, we will have to revisit the Western archaeology of knowledge from the point of view of its colonial peripheries. For the last century or so, historical accounts of modernity--from Nietzsche to Horkheimer/Adorno and Foucault--have been firmly entrenched in Eurocentric narratives of a dialectic of time, departing, as they do from Greek antiquity or the Protestant Reformation, to arrive at the Enlightenment and
the eighteenth-century bourgeois revolutions. In this course, by contrast, will consider colonial American writing from the point of view of a "dialectic of space"--by reading colonial writing in the context of imperial (mercantilist) economies of knowledge production and by inscribing Catholic southern Europe, Africa, and the Americas (the "Atlantic world")--in order to provide a more synretic historiographic model of "the making of the West". Along with theoretical and historiographic readings by Michel Foucault, Enrique Dussel, Jose Antonio Maravall, Julie Solomon and others, we will read colonial American texts, by Native, African, and European writers in the various imperial dependencies, such as Cabeza de Vaca, Thomas Harriot, John Smith, Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, Olaudah Equiano, Alonso Carrio de la Vandera and Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur.
WEEK 1: Introduction
-Watch video: The Tempest
Solomon, "Going Places: Absolutism and Movement in The Tempest."
WEEK II: Resemblance and Translation
-Foucault The Order of Things.
-Cheyfitz, The Poetics of Imperialism.
-Grafton, New Worlds, Ancient Texts.
-O'Gonnan, The Invention of America.
-Columbus, Four Voyages.
-from Raleigh Discovery ... (x)
-from Vespucci, Letters (x)
-Foucault, "Of Other Spaces."
WEEK III: Metaphor and Conquest
-Todorov, The Conquest of America
-Mackenthum, Metaphors of Dispossession
-Hulme, Colonial Encounters.
-Leonard, Books of the Brave.
-Sayre, Les Sauvages Americains
-Cervantes, The Devil in the New World
- Seed, Ceremonies of Possession.
-from Cortes (X)
-John Smith, A Selection of his Writings.
WEEK III: Pilgrimage and Empire
-Pagden, European Encounters with the New World.
-Maravall, Culture of the Baroque
-Fowler and Greene, eds., The Project of Prose in the early modern European and New World
-Cabeza de Vaca, The Account
-(Optional): Movie: Cabeza de Vaca.
WEEK IV: Science and Absolutism
-Solomon, Objectivity in the Making.
-Albenese, New World, New Science.
-Thomas Harriot, A Brief and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (x)
-Solomon, "The Know, to Fly, to Conjure." (x)
WEEK V: The Myth of Modernity (1): colonial semioses
-Enrique Dussel, The Invention of the Americas.
-Walter Mignolo, The Darker Side of the Renaissance.
-Guaman Poma de Ayala, A letter to the King. (x)
-from Leon Portilla, The Broken Spears.
WEEK VI: Baroque Dreams
Veliz, The New World of the Gothic Fox.
Raina, The Lettered City.
-Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Poems, Protest, and a Dream.
-(optional:) Movie: Yo, la peor de todas, I, the worst of all
WEEK VII: Gothic Nightmares
Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic.
Hall, Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgement.
Hartman, Providence Tales and the Birth of American Literature.
Egan, Authorizing Experience.
Goddu, Gothic America
-Mary Rowlandson, The Goodness and Sovereignty of God. (in Martin).
-Susanna Martin, Examination of Susanna Martin [in the Salem Witchcraft trials] (x).
-Cotton Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World. (x)
WEEK VIII: American Picaros
Maravall, Utopia and Counter- Utopia in the Quixote.
Adams, Travelers and Travel Liars
-Siguenza y Gongora, Misfortunes of AlonsoRamirez. (x)
-Ebenezer Cook, The Sot- Weed Factor (x).
WEEK IX: Empires of Science
Shapin, A Social History of Truth.
Boas Hall, Promoting Experimental Learning
Stearns, Science in the British Colonies of America
-Byrd, History of the Dividing Line. (in Martin)
WEEK X: The Myth of Modernity (II): Atlantic Dialectics
Gilroy, The Black Atlantic
Roach, Cities of the Dead
Gates, ed. Race, Writing, and Difference.
Soja, Postmodern Geographies.
-Equiano, The Interesting Narrative.
WEEK XI: Mercantilist Poetics
-Wallerstein, The Modern World System II.
-Gerbi, The Dispute of the New World.
-Regis, Describing Early America.
-Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia.
WEEK XII: Empires Dismembered
Clifford and Marcus, Writing Culture.
Fliegelman, Prodigals and Pilgrimes.
-Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer
-Clifford, "On Ethnographic Authority." (x)
WEEK XIII: Nations Embodied
Pratt, Imperial Eyes.
Johnson, Satire in Colonial Spanish America
Anderson, Imagined Communities.
-Carrio de la Vandera, A Guide for Blind Travelers between Buenos Aires and Lima (x)
DUE: SEMINAR PAPER: DRAFT AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
Meetings, Drafts, Revisions.
C. TEXTS, EDITIONS
1. ON ORDER
(please purchase in specified editions; books have been ordered at U Book Center and MD Book Exchange.)
William Shakespeare, The Tempest. Signet.
Christopher Columbus, The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus. Penguin.
Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, The Account. Arte Publico.
Sor Juana lnes de la Cruz, Poems, Protest, and a Dream. Penguin.
Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative. Penguin.
Thomas Jefferson, The Portable Thomas Jefferson. Viking.
Wendy Martin, ed. Colonial American Travel Narratives. Penguin.
J. Hector St. John de Crevecoeur, Letters from an American Farmer. Penguin.
John Smith, A Selection of his Writings. Ed. K. 0. Kupperman. North Carolina.
Miguel Leon Portilla, The Broken Spears. Beacon.
2. THEORETICAL/HISTORIOGRAPHIC APPARATUS
(for presentations) Assigned readings on syllabus not ordered at the bookstores will be xerox copied and placed for your convenience in the Assigned Reading Section of the Library (designated in Schedule by "X"). Assigned readings include selections from:
Michel Foucault, The Order of Things
---. The Archaeology of Knowledge.
Jose Antonio Maravall, Culture of the Baroque. Analysis of a historical structure.
---. Utopia and Counter- Utopia in the Quixote.
Stephen Shapin, A Social History of Truth
Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic.
Denise Albenese, New World, New Science.
Julie Solomon, Objectivity in the Making. Francis Bacon and the Politics of Inquiry.
---. "Going Places: Absolutism and Movement in Shakespeare's The Tempest."
---. "To Know, to Fly, to Conjure.
James Clifford and George Marcus, Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography
James Clifford, "On Ethnographic Authority."
Pamela Regis, Describing Early America: Bartram, Jefferson, Crevecoeur, and the Rhetoric of
Marie Boas Hall, Promoting Experimental Learning
Raymond Phineas Steams, Science in the British Colonies of America
Edmundo O'Gorman, The Invention of America
Enrique Dussel, The Invention of the Americas. Eclipse of "the Other" and the Myth of Modernity.
Tzvetan Todorov, The Conquest of America.
Fernando Cervantes, The Devil in the New World.
Patricia Seed, Ceremonies of Possession.
Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World.
Anthony Grafton, New Worlds, Ancient Texts.
Peter Hulme, Colonial Encounters.
Walter Mignolo, The Darker Side of the Renaissance.
Gordon Sayre, Les Sauvages Americains.
Eric Cheyfitz, The Poetics of Imperialism.
Edward Soja, Postmodern Geographies.
Gesa Mackenthum, Metaphors of Dispossession.
Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes.
Henry Louis Gates, ed. Race, Writing, and Difference.
Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic
Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead
Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System 11.
Angel Raina, The Lettered City.
Irving Leonard, Books of the Brave.
Julie Greer Johnson, Satire in Colonial Spanish America.
Percy Adams, Travelers and Travel Liars.
David Hall, Worlds of Wonder, Days of Judgement.
Theresa Goddu, Gothic America
Jay Fliegelman, Prodigals and Pilgrimes.
James Hartman, Providence Tales and the Birth of American Literature.
Jim Egan, Authorizing Experience.
Elizabeth Fowler and Roland Greene, The Project of prose in the early modern European and New
Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities
-2 formal presentations on theoretical/historiographic apparatus, (20%)
-1 leading of discussion on primary text (10%).
-1 seminar paper, including one preliminary draft, 20 + pages (40%)
-1 book review, 5-7 pages (15%)
-participation in discussions (15 %)
You will give two presentations on books of your choice from the theoretical/historiographic apparatus. Each presentation should last about 10 minutes and should result in a subsequent discussion. Unless otherwise agreed, you will be responsible for xerox copying an approximately 20(!)-page selection from the text on which you are presenting and placing it into the folder created for this class in the Assigned Reading Section of the Library. Your presentation should consider the book in its entirety. You may expect everyone in the class to be familiar with your 20-page selection only.
Once during the semester, you will be in charge of leading the discussion on a primary text.
3. Seminar Paper
At the end of the term, you will turn in a 20+ page publishable seminar dealing with some topical, historical, and theoretical aspect of this course. One preliminary draft will be due the week before the final version is due. I will be happy to discuss with you individually your ideas and read/critique additional drafts that you might want to produce.
4. Book Review
Once during the semester, you will turn in a 5-7 page book review which has grown out of one of your presentations on, and subsequent discussion of, a book from historiographic/theoretical apparatus. Your paper should contain two parts: (a) a book review following the conventions of this academic genre; and (b) an application part, pointing out possible and hypothetical implications of this book to one of the primary texts we are reading in this class. This paper will be due no later than one week after you have presented on the book you are reviewing. Ideally, this review paper should assist you in generating ideas, providing perspectives, etc. for your seminar paper.
On days when you are not presenting or leading discussions, you will be expected to participate.