Jun 21, 2024  
College Catalog 2015-2016 
College Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

HIST 251 - Pirates, Translators, Missionaries: Between Atlantic Empires

Why are cultural intermediaries often remembered as villains or traitors? This course calls the popular stereotype into question by focusing on four dramatic case studies of notorious but pivotal mediators who moved between the Spanish, Aztec, English, French, Kongolese and Portuguese empires of the early modern period. Among others, we will consider conflicting primary source accounts and current scholarship about the Dona Marina, the Mexica translator for the Army of Cortes; Nathaniel Courthope, and English profiteer who made a fortune peddling nutmeg between India and New York; two competing French pirates who sacked the South American port city of Cartagena de Indias twice in a single month; and Dona Beatriz, an Kongolese convert to Christianity who was burned at the stake for professing that she was possessed by the spirit of Saint Anthony. This diverse group of pirates, missionaries and translators walked a similar tightrope between worlds, both liberated and constrained by their border crossings. We will evaluate how gender, race, religion, and imperial loyalties affected the survival of this small group of interlopers, and how, in spite of this, they came to disproportionately influence events in the Atlantic world. This course fulfills both the global/comparative and pre-1800 requirements for the major. Every other year. (4 Credits)