May 25, 2024  
College Catalog 2023-2024 
College Catalog 2023-2024 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

HIST 149 - First Encounters

This introductory course invites you to reflect on how past peoples have confronted the other and the alien. How do we behave in the intense moments of first encounters with substantially different people? What are the patterns, pitfalls or unspoken protocols? Case studies we will consider may include first meetings between Vikings, Spaniards, Englishmen, and Native Americans (1000, 1500s and 1620s), missionaries and native peoples in Canada and Africa (1600-1700), Dutch merchants and Chinese warlords (mid-1600s), Europeans and Australian aborigines (late 1700s), doctors and Goliath pygmies (early 1900s), and humans and extraterrestrials (1950-present). In revisiting these moments, we will practice four mainstays of academic conversation. We will read closely and critically, and often quickly and widely, for the purposes of scholarly analysis; we will respond to and make use of the work of others; we will draft and revise texts; and we will make our writing public. These skills are applicable across disciplines and outside of college, but this course focuses on them through the particular lens of History. Class assignments are designed for you to become familiar with the conventions followed by professional historians, culminating in a final assignment where you will present your own original interpretation of a firsthand report of encounter. For the History major, this counts towards the “Colonization & Empire,” “Global/Comparative” and “pre-1800” thematic fields. Alternate years. (4 Credits)