HIST 1950 The Invention of the Americas (also LATA 1950) (GHB) (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS) (EC-LASP) (HPE, HGS)
Monday and Wednesday: 2:45-4:00 with informal discussions
Professor Ernesto Bassi
When did the 'Americas' come in to being? Who created 'them' and how? What other geographic units of analysis might we consider in thinking about what Iberian explorers and intellectuals initially called the 'fourth part' of the world? Given the scope and extent of the Spanish and Portuguese empires, could 'the Americas' extend from the Caribbean to the Philippines? This course takes up such questions as a means to explore the history of what would become—only in the nineteenth century—'Latin America.' We move from the initial "encounters" of peoples from Africa and Iberia with the "New World," the creation of long-distance trade with, and settlement in, Asia, and the establishment of colonial societies, through to the movements for independence in most of mainland Spanish America in the early 19th century and to the collapse of Spanish rule in the Pacific and Caribbean later that century. Through lectures, discussions and the reading of primary sources and secondary texts, the course examines the economic and social organization of the colonies, intellectual currents and colonial science, native accommodation and resistance to colonial rule, trade networks and imperial expansion, labor regimes and forms of economic production, and migration and movement.