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Defining the Human: Competing Race Explanations in Early-Modern Thought
CHUM 285
Fall 2008
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: FIST 285, AMST 285

While this seminar examines the notion of race during the early-modern era, it will eschew the white/black, masters/slave binary that tends to characterize contemporary accounts of early-modern raciology. Instead, we will look at how the advent of a modern, scientific explanation of a common root for all races, monogenesis (Maupertuis), introduced the threat of sameness for many Enlightenment-era thinkers. We will also look at monogenesis's counterpoint, early polygenetic theory. This interdisciplinary class will include readings from Dominican missionaries in the Caribbean, armchair naturalists working in Paris and London, and selections from travel compilations, all of which tackled the question of the conceptual status of "the varieties of the human species." In addition to these texts, we will also read abolitionist authors who, by the late 18th century, realized that the most effective arguments against the institution of slavery needed to humanize the African "species" in a way that previous antislavery writers had not.

Essential Capabilities: Intercultural Literacy, Writing
Intercultural literacy - this course will examine a series of different European views of Africans.
Writing - this class will have a substantial writing component, including re-writes.
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: HA RLAN
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUN-16-2024
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