This module may be taken by students on the MA in History, the MA in Modern History, the MA in the History of Race in the Americas, or any taught Master's student outside the History Department.
To examine the cultural and social implications of the encounter between Europeans and American indigenous peoples during the period of Spanish conquest and early colonisation, focusing on Spanish perceptions and treatment of native peoples, contemporary concepts of human difference, missionary ideology, and the role of Church and State in the formation of state policy towards native peoples.
The intellectual purpose of this module is to analyse the historical roots of European concepts of 'race', to introduce the conceptual framework which informed early debates about the nature of 'Indians', and to provide opportunities to reflect upon both contemporary writing about native peoples and recent historical readings of such literature. In pursuit of this purpose, students will engage in developing skills of research, analysis and debate through the media of seminar discussions and presentations, and the independent preparation and writing of a 5,000 word essays. The essay will provide students with the chance to choose and frame a topic worthy of analysis in the light of the advanced literature in the relevant area of study; to construct their own bibliographies from books, articles and websites; to gather evidence and use it to shape a cogent and coherent extended analytical discussion; and where appropriate to deploy evidence from primary sources
Seminar 1: First Sightings: Columbus and the 'marvellous'
Seminar 2: First Images: The Indian as Angel and Devil
Seminar 3: The Debate about Cannibalism
Seminar 4: 'Fatal Impact': Las Casas and the attack on genocide
Seminar 5: Aristotle and the American Indian: The Natural Slavery Debate
Seminar 6: Franciscan Millenarianism and Indian Evangelisation:The 'Spiritual Conquest' of Mexico
Seminar 7: Histories of Indians: The Indian in early European Histories
Seminar 8: Indian Histories: Native Cultural Responses
Christopher Columbus, (trans & ed. P. Cohen) The Four Voyages
Hernán Cortés(trans & ed. A. Pagden), Letters from Mexico
Stephen Greenblatt, Marvellous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World
Tzevtan Todorov, The Conquest of America: The Question of the Other
John L. Phelan, The Millenial Kingdom of the Franciscans
Anthony Pagden, The Fall of Natural Man: The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology
Anthony Pagden, European Encounters with the New World
Hugh Honour, This New Golden Land
Serge Gruzinski, The Conquest of Mexico: The Incorporation of Indian Societies in the Western World, 1600-1800
1 assessed essay of 5,000 words: the course is taught in weekly 2-hour seminars.