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Week 2

Thursday 11 October

-Two-hour seminar: Islands
Readings
  • Primary sources

-Selection of paintings of Tahiti by Paul Gauguin (see document)

-Christopher Columbus, Letter on the First Voyage, addressed to Luis de Sant Angel, 1453 (see document)

  • Secondary Sources

Alfred W. Crosby, The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1972), chap. 1, 2, 3.

Douglas Bronwen, ‘Voyages, Encounters, and Agency in Oceania: Captain Cook and Indigenous People’, History Compass, 6/3 (2008), pp. 712–737

Seminar questions

1-How is ‘nature’ represented in the primary documents?
How might we discuss these document in terms of environmental history?
How might we talk about nature having an agency in these two documents?
How is the natural world represented by Columbus and Gauguin? What are the differences, similarities and connections between these two descriptions?

2-According to Crosby, how did Europeans conquer the New World?

3-What were the consequences of the arrival of Europeans in the New World? Try to name at least 3.

4-How can a study of the environment help us understand the consequences of the arrival of Europeans in the New World?

5-How can we define the term “Columbian exchange”?