Exploration, Conquest, and Insurrection: The History of the Amazon 1542 to Present|
Fall 2021 not offered
Dark, wild, primitive, Edenic and infinitely wealthy: the Amazon has been many things in many times and places. From the disgruntled Spanish conquistadors who first traversed the jungle's rivers in search of cinnamon, to the 19th-century scientific expeditions of enlightened explorers, to contemporary environmentalists, the Amazon remains a mysterious object of inquiry. It still incites the imagination of travelers, filmmakers, and politicians alike.
This seminar investigates the multiple ways in which the Amazon and its peoples have been portrayed in chronicles, scientific writings, and film. We will confront the historical circumstances, motives and ideologies that prompted each of these depictions and how, in turn, they shaped the colonization of the region. We will pay close attention to genre, and to themes such as cross-cultural encounter, imperialism, and the representation of indigenous societies. We begin in 1542 with the chronicle of Francisco de Orellana. As the first Spaniard to navigate the entire length of the Amazon River, Orellana influenced how Europeans imagined the jungle well into the 19th century. Subsequently, we apply readings in history of science and anthropological theory to Claude LÚvi-Strauss account of Amazonian tribes in Tristes Tropiques (1955). Students will then conduct independent research into a representation of their interest. Possible topics include scientific expeditions in the region, the jungle and modernization, global warming, or human rights. Finally, we will reflect on the Amazon as a metaphor for the human condition with Werner Herzog's film Fitzcarraldo (1982).
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CGST-MN)(EDST)(HIST-MN)(HIST)(LAST)
Gaspar de Carvajal, THE DISCOVERY OF THE AMAZON ACCORDING TO THE ACCOUNT OF FRIAR GASPAR DE CARVAJAL
Euclides da Cunha, THE AMAZON: A LAND WITHOUT HISTORY
Susanna Hecht and Alexander Cockburn, THE FATE OF THE FOREST: DEVELOPERS, DESTROYERS, AND DEFENDERS OF THE AMAZON
Jean de LÚry, HISTORY OF A VOYAGE TO THE LAND OF BRAZIL
Greg Gandin, FORDL┬NDIA: THE RISE AND FALL OF HENRY FORD'S FORGOTTEN CITY
Seth Garfield, IN SEARCH OF THE AMAZON: BRAZIL, THE UNITED STATES, AND THE NATURE OF A REGION
Claude LÚvi-Strauss, TRISTES TROPIQUES
Michele de Montaigne OF CANNIBALS
Walter Raleigh, THE DISCOVERY OF THE LARGE RICH, RICH AND BEAUTIFUL EMPIRE OF GUIANA WITH A RELATION OF THE GREAT AND GOLDEN CITY OF MANOA WHICH THE SPANIARDS CALL EL DORADO
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Three one-page response papers will be due throughout the course of the semester. Assignments will consist of two short papers (4-5 pages), a final paper (12-15 pages) on a topic of the student's choosing, and a presentation based on the final paper.
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
There are no pre-requisites but students that have knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese are welcome to write their final papers using primary sources in these languages.
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