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    Vassar College
   
 
  Oct 24, 2017
 
 
    
Catalogue 2017-2018
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HIST 274 - Beyond Jamestown and Plymouth Rock: Revisiting, Revising, and Reviving Early America

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
Without ignoring the Pilgrims, Pocahontas, and other popular icons of colonial times, this course will put them into a larger context of what unfolded between 1500 and 1750 when three worlds bordering the Atlantic—western Europe, west Africa, and eastern North America—first came together. The new American world that emerged from this momentous encounter was at once stranger and more interesting than conventional wisdom would have it. Slaves who became free and Indians who became Puritan, con men who tricked gullible colonists and pious folk who heckled learned ministers—these and other forgotten actors join the usual suspects (Saints and witches, John Smith and Benjamin Franklin) on a crowded colonial stage. While keeping in mind that the genesis of America today can be found in that long-ago era—the tangled roots of race relations, the curious blend of materialism and lofty ideals, the boisterous political culture, the freedom for self-fashioning—we will take early America as much as possible on its own terms rather than on ours. James Merrell.

Two 75-minute periods.



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