Histories of Race: Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment|
Fall 2022 not offered
The concept of race was first "invented" during the 18th century by anatomists, natural historians, and, ultimately, the century's classifiers. This class will come to grips with the birth of this concept in two ways. First, we will read excerpts from travelogues to Africa and the Caribbean (as well as short excerpts from natural history) in order to chart the slow and halting creation of the concept of race as it crystallized in European thought during the 18th century. Having studied this "proto-raciology," the class will then examine 16 unpublished manuscripts that were submitted to a contest on the source of "blackness" organized by the Bordeaux Royal Academy of Sciences in 1739. These include essays submitted by priests, anatomists, and partisans of climate theory. Students in this class will actively engage with these materials by producing glossary definitions that will be published along with the entire collection of essays. The ultimate goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the concept of race that will inform their reactions to this question as both a historical concept . . . and an ongoing problem that affects all of us in the present.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ARHA)(CGST-MN)(COL)(FRST-MN)(FRST)(RMST)(SISP)(SISP-ScieDblMjr)
Buffon, Histoire naturelle (1749-)
Maupertuis, La Venus physique (1745)
Montesquieu, De l'esprit des Lois (1748)
Voltaire, La philosophie de l'histoire (1763)
Bernier, "Nouvelle division de la terre"
Essays from the Royal Academy of Sciences 1741 Contest on the Source of Blackness
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Frequent oral presentations
Two short papers
One term paper
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Any student who has completed FREN 215 (with a minimum grade of B) or has placed out of FREN 215 through the placement test may sign up for this course. Readings, written assignments and class discussions will be in French. Only COL students my take this course CR/U. All others must take it for a letter grade. Students who are not admitted to the course through pre-registration are strongly encouraged to submit an enrollment request and attend the first class.
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