81946 - Historical Anthropology and Early Modern Globalisation (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students will show understanding of the political, economic, and cultural European expansion in America and the Philippines in the 16th and 17th centuries as one of the key phenomena that ignited the process of early modern globalization. they will be aware of early modern globalization from the perspective of historical anthropology, stressing how the global circulation of goods, people and ideas was combined with unprecedented processes of cultural hybridization. A proper historical and anthropological understanding of such processes requires to go beyond traditional Eurocentric notions of acculturation and westernization in order to adequately recognize the active role played by indigenous groups and individuals in the shaping of the emerging global world. At the end of the course, the student will be able to contextualize the European conquest of America within a global historical and cultural framework, as well as to independently engage in the critical analysis of historical sources and early ethnographic records. The student will also be able to deploy such analytical skills to professional activities linked with the popularization and public use of historical and anthropological knowledge.

Course contents

The course focuses on the political, economic, and cultural European – mainly Iberian – expansion in America during the 16th and 17th centuries as one of the key phenomena that ignited the process of early modern globalization. We will look at early modern globalization from the perspective of historical anthropology, stressing how the global dimension of early modern colonialism, characterized by the worldwide circulation of goods, people and ideas, fostered unprecedented processes of cultural interaction and hybridization as well as the creation of new political and cultural identities. A proper historical and anthropological understanding of such processes requires to go beyond traditional Eurocentric notions of acculturation and westernization in order to adequately recognize the active role played by indigenous groups and individuals in the shaping of the emerging global world.

Part of the course will be devoted to the analysis of the textual sources produced in the context of European/indigenous interactions in the New World, with a special focus on how indigenous voices can be glimpsed in those incipient forms of ethnographic records that, in their turn, witness the early emergence of anthropology as a constitutive facet of early modern European colonial experience. A specific attention will be devoted to the early circulation of ethnographic artefacts and how their observation and description by different social actors generated diverse discourses on the relationship between cultural difference and shared humanity.

Provisional weekly schedule:

Week 1: The historical context of early modern globalization

Week 2: Cultural identities and ethnogenesis in early modern times

Week 3: Knowledge and imperialism in early colonial America

Week 4: The ethnographic work of Christian missionaries in New Spain

Week 5: Objects, words and ethnographic literature in early modern Europe

Readings/Bibliography

The following reading list is only addressed to students attending classes. It is divided into parts corresponding to the weeks of frontal lessons. Students attending classes must read the texts before attending classes of the week, in order to be able to discuss their contents during classwork. The texts will also constitute part of the bibliography to be used to write the final paper (see below).

All the readings are downloadable at the "teaching resources on Virtuale" link of this website, whose access is restricted to students with credentials from the University of Bologna.

Week 1:

Andrien, Kenneth, “The Spanish Atlantic System”, in Jack P. Greene and Philip D. Morgan (eds.), Atlantic History. A Critical Appraisal, pp. 55-79. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

Subrahmanyam, Sanjay, "Holding the World in Balance: The Connected Histories of the Iberian Overseas Empires, 1500–1640", American Historical Review, 2007, pp. 1359-1385.

Gruzinski, Serge, “Les mondes mêlés de la monarchie catholique et autres ‘Connected Histories’”. Annales, 56(1), 2001, pp. 85-117.

Week 2:

Sidbury, James, and Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, “Mapping Ethnogenesis in the Early Modern Atlantic”, William and Mary Quarterly, 68 (2), 2011, pp. 181-208.

Gruzinski, Serge, “The Net Torn Apart. Ethnic Identities and Westernization in Colonial Mexico, Sixteenth-Nineteenth Centuries”, in Remo Guidieri, Francesco Pellizzi, and Stanley J. Tambiah (eds.), Ethnicities and nations: processes of interethnic relations in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific, pp. 39-56. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1988.

Silverblatt, Irene, “Becoming Indian in the Central Andes of Seventeenth Century”, in Prakash (ed.), Imperial Aftermaths and Postcolonial Displacements, pp. 279-298. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995.

Week 3:

Elliot, John H., “The Discovery of America and the Discovery of Man”, in John H. Elliott, Spain and Its World, 1500-1700, pp. 42-64. Yale: Yale University Press, 1989.

Pagden, Anthony, Chapters 1, 2, and 6 of The Fall of Natural Man. The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Cohn, Bernard, "Introduction", in B. Cohn, Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge, pp. 3-15. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.

Week 4:

Ríos Castaño, Victoria, "Missionary-Ethnographers and Cultural Translator in the Colonisation of New Spain", in Stephen Kelly and Davod Johnston, Betwixt and Between. Place and Cultural Translation, pp. 122-133. Newcastle Upon Thyne: Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 2007.

Ríos Castaño, Victoria, “Domesticating the Nahuas: Sahagún's Cultural Translation of Nahua Gods and Ceremonies in Book I of Historia universal de las cosas de Nueva España”, Romance Studies, 27(3), 2009: 211-222.

Botta, Sergio, “Towards a Missionary Theory of Polytheism: The Franciscans in the face of the Indigenous Religions of New Spain” in S. Botta (ed.), Manufacturing Otherness. Missions and Indigenous Cultures in Latin America, pp. 11-36. Newcastle Upon Thyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2013.

Week 5:

Text of the Descrittione dell'India Occidentale

Domenici, Davide, "Missionary gift records of Mexican objects in early modern Italy", in Lia Markey and Elizabeth Horodowich (eds.), The New World in Early Modern Italy, 1492–1750, pp. 86-102. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017.

Thomas, Nicholas, "Material Culture and Colonial Power: Ethnological Collecting and the Establishment ofColonial Rule in Fiji", Man, New Series, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Mar., 1989), pp. 41-56.

Pels, Peter, “The Anthropology of Colonialism: Culture, History, and the Emergence of Western Governmentality”, Annual Review of Anthropology, 1997, pp. 163-183.

Students not attending classwork must read three books chosen in the following list to prepare their final exam:

Abulafia, David, The Discovery of Mankind. Atlantic Encounters in the Age of Columbus. Yale University Press 2008.

Cañizares-Esguerra, Jorge, How to Write the History of the New World. Histories, epistemologies and Identities in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2001.

Earle, Rebecca, The Body of the Conquistador: Food, Race and the Colonial Experience in Spanish America, 1492–1700. Cambridge University Press 2012.

Gruzinski, Serge, The Mestizo Mind: The Intellectual Dynamics of Colonization and Globalization. Routledge 2002.

Gruzinski, Serge, Les quatre parties du monde. Histoire d'une mondialisation, Paris, Éditions de La Martinière, 2004

Hanke, Lewis, All Mankind Is One: A Study of the Disputation Between Bartolome De Las Casas and Juan Gines De Sepulveda in 1550 on the Religious and Intellectual Capacity of the American Indians, Northern Illinois University Press 1974.

Mignolo, Walter, The Darker Side of the Renaissance. Literacy, Territoriality, & Colonization. Ann Arbor: The UNiversity of Michigan Press, 2005 (2nd edition).

Pagden, Anthony, The Fall of Natural Man. The American Indian and the Origins of Comparative Ethnology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982.

Ríos Castaño, Victoria, Translation as Conquest. Sahagún and Universal History of the Things of New Spain. Madrid-Frankfurt: Iberoamericana-Vervuert, 2014.

Van Deusen, Nancy E., Global Indios. The Indigenous Struggle for Justice in Sixteenth-Century Spain. Durham & London: Duke University Press, 2015.

 

Students who would like to consult a handbook in order to explore the historical context of the early modern era can see:

Kümin Beat (ed.), The European World 1500-1800. An Introduction to Early Modern History. London and New York: Routledge, 2018 (3rd edition).

Restall Matthew, and Kris Lane, Latin America in Colonial Times. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

Teaching methods

Teaching method will be based on both frontal lessons and collective discussions.

During frontal lessons the teacher will introduce general topics and connected scholary debates, then discussing in detail some specific example based on textual or visual sources in order to introduce the students to actual source-reading activity. Students will be encouraged to comment and ask questions.

Every week a certain amount of time (approx. 2 hours) will be specifically devoted to collective discussion of the readings and of the themes exposed during the frontal lessons. Students will be strongly encouraged to actively take part in the discussion.

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

Students attending classwork will write a final paper on a topic agreed with the teacher and based both on the references listed in the reading list and on further specific bibliography selected by the student.

The grade assigned to the paper will be based on:

- selection of the topic and its relatedness with the course content

- ability to identify relevant bibliography

- critical analysis

- clarity in structure and aims

- language proficiency

Students that do not attend classwork will have to pass an oral exam, with questions aimed to verify the student's knowledge of the themes treated in the program's texts. The questions will be aimed at testing the student's ability in exposing with an appropriate language some of the topics tackled by the books, as well as his/her skills in making connections between different texts in order to build an argument.

Proper language and the ability to critically speak about the books' content will lead to a good/excellent final grade

Acceptable language and the ability to resume the books' content will lead to a sufficient/fair grade.

Insufficient linguistic proficiency and fragmentary knowledge of the books' content will lead to a failure in passing the exam.

Teaching tools

During frontal lessons the teacher will do ample use of power point presentations containing maps, as well as a good deal of textual and visual sources commented upon during the lesson.

After class, the powerpoint files will be uploaded in the teaching material section of the website, so that students will be able to download them.

Office hours

See the website of Davide Domenici