Welcome to History 465!

I’m really excited about this syllabus. I think Jamestown and all the historical issues surrounding it are fascinating, and I’m looking forward to exploring them with students.

History 465: From Roanoke to Jamestown: English Colonization of North America, 1550-1650

The first English settlements in North America—at Roanoke in the 1580s and in Jamestown starting in 1607—are the stuff of myth. Who hasn’t heard of the Lost Colonists of Roanoke, the triumphal settling of Jamestown, and Pocahontas saving John Smith from a grisly execution? The trouble with myths, though, is that they usually ignore or distort historical evidence, and they obscure the actual experiences of the people involved in iconic events. In this course, we’ll read many original sources as well as historians’ interpretations of them in order 1) to rethink those myths, and 2) to answer important questions about English ideologies of colonization. We’ll also think about how we should understand Indian responses to the English invasion, and how Jamestown should be commemorated. Overall, this course will be governed by two overriding questions: what happened at Jamestown? And, why does Jamestown matter?

Required Readings:
∑ Karen Kupperman, Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony, 2nd ed. (2006)
∑ Thomas Hariot, A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia Britannia (1590)
∑ James Horn, A Land as God Made It: Jamestown and the Birth of America (2005)
∑ Rountree, Powhatan, Pocahontas, Opechancanough: Three Lives Changed by Jamestown (2006)
∑ Edward Wright Haile, ed., Jamestown Narratives: Eyewitness Accounts of the Virginia Colony (1998)

1st short writing assignment…………..10%
2nd short writing assignment………….20%
Proposal and presentation…………….10%
Final writing assignment………………40%

Please note the meaning of “participation” is not showing up to class and sitting like a lump on a log. Your presence in class requires active involvement in our discussions: asking questions of the readings, commenting on readings, and responding to your classmates’ ideas. Your participation grade also includes the class session in which you lead our discussion (we’ll talk more about that as soon as enrollment is stabilized).

A note on absences: Many aspects of your work rely on collaboration with your classmates, and so unexcused absences harm everyone in the class, not just yourself. I take attendance at each class; after three unexcused absences your final grade, based on the percentages listed above, will fall by one letter grade. Your grade will fall by another letter grade for each unexcused absence after the third. That means even the perfect A student will fail the course after six absences. So, the moral of the story is…come to class!

If you are sick or have a personal emergency that requires your absence from class, please provide the appropriate documentation and I will excuse you. You may come to office hours or make an appointment with me to discuss material you missed.

The two short writing assignments will be 3-5 pages in length, and will respond to visual materials we discuss in class. The final writing assignment, for which you will also write a short proposal and give a short presentation in class, will be on a topic of your choosing and will be 12-15 pages in length. We’ll discuss that in greater detail later in the semester.

I will NOT accept late papers. Papers are due at the beginning of class on the due date (unless otherwise noted)…not halfway through the class, not at the end of class, not slipped under my office door sometime after the start of class. Only illness and personal emergency are suitable excuses for turning in a paper late with no penalty. Papers turned in late without verification of illness or personal emergency will receive a grade of ZERO.

If you are traveling on the day a paper is due for an athletic event or other college event, you must make arrangements with me to turn in your paper before you leave. I do not accept emailed papers (as we all know, attachments sometimes get lost—there is no substitute for a hard copy!).

All assignments in this course are covered by the honor code. You may NOT work together on writing assignments UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED.

Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations must speak with me during the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. Students with disabilities should also contact Disabled Student Services in the Ley Student Center.

Tsenacommacah and its Environs, 1550
Tuesday August 28 Introduction and syllabus
Thursday August 31:
∑ Helen Tanner, “The Land and Water Communication Systems of the Southeastern Indians” in Waselkov, Wood, and Hatley, eds., Powhatan’s Mantle, 27-42 (on reserve).
∑ John F. Scarry, “The Late Prehistoric Southeast” in Hudson and Tesser, eds., The Forgotten Centuries, 17-35 (on reserve).

Ajacán, 1567-1571
Tuesday September 4:
∑ Lewis and Loomie, Spanish Jesuit Mission in Virginia, 3-64 (on reserve).
∑ Letters of Quirós, Segura, and Rogel in Lewis and Loomie, Spanish Jesuit Mission in Virginia, 85-122 (on reserve).

London, 1584
Thursday September 6
∑ Richard Hakluyt, Discourse on Western Planting (1584) (on reserve).
Everyone will read the introduction (xv-xxxi); we will divvy up the other 21 chapters for discussion.

Virginia, 1585-1589
Tuesday September 11
∑ Hakluyt, Discourse of Western Planting, conclude.
∑ Kupperman, Roanoke: The Abandoned Colony, 1-85.
Thursday September 13:
∑ Thomas Hariot, A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia Britannia (1590), read the English version and examine the engravings.
∑ Kupperman, Roanoke, 87-178.
Tuesday September 18:
∑ Hariot, A Briefe and True Report, conclude.
∑ Kim Sloan, A New World, 51-64. Look carefully at the watercolors, 93-147 (on reserve).
Thursday September 20: Why did Roanoke matter?
First Short Writing Assignment due

Jamestown, 1607
Tuesday September 25
∑ Horn, A Land as God Made It, 1-72.
∑ Gabriel Archer, “A Relation,” in Jamestown Narratives, 101-123.
∑ George Percy, “Observations Gathered out of a Discourse,” in Jamestown Narratives, 85-100.
Evening movie: Nightmare at Jamestown
Thursday September 27
∑ Horn, A Land as God Made It, 73-130.
Tuesday October 2
∑ John Smith, “A True Relation,” in Jamestown Narratives, 142-182.
∑ Carville Earle, “Environment, Disease, and Mortality in Early Virginia,” in Tate and Ammerman, eds., The Chesapeake in the Seventeenth Century, 96-125 (on reserve).

A Kindler, Gentler Colonialism? Jamestown, 1608-1609
Thursday October 4
∑ Horn, A Land as God Made It, 131-156.
∑ William Strachey, A Historie of Travail into Verginia Britannia (1610), in Jamestown Narratives, 563-689. (We’ll divide this one by chapter.)

The First Anglo-Powhatan War, 1609-1614
Tuesday October 9:
∑ Horn, A Land as God Made It, 157-224.
∑ J. Frederick Fausz, “ ‘An Abundance of Blood Shed on Both Sides:’ Virginia’s First Indian War, 1609-1614” VMHB 98 (1990), 3-56. (on reserve)
∑ George Percy, “A True Relation,” in Jamestown Narratives, 497-519.
∑ Thomas Dale, “Lawes Divine, Morall, and Martiall, in Jamestown Narratives, 27-37.

Tsenacommacah, 1607-1614
Thursday October 11: (Dr. Goetz in Nova Scotia)
∑ Watch Pocahontas Revealed.
∑ Horn, A Land as God Made It, 225-290.
∑ John Rolfe, “The Pocahontas Letter,” in Jamestown Narratives, 850-856.
Tuesday October 16: No Class, Fall Recess
Thursday October 18:
∑ Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough: Three Lives Changed by Jamestown, xi-175.
Second short writing assignment due

Détente, 1614-1618
Tuesday October 23:
∑ Rountree, Pocahontas, Powhatan, Opechancanough, 175-238.
∑ Karen Robertson, “Pocahontas at the Masque” in Signs (Spring 1996), 551-583 (JSTOR).

The Tobacco Revolution: Englishmen at Jamestown, 1614-1622
Thursday October 25:
∑ The Letters of Richard Frethorne (handout in class)
∑ Emily Rose, “The Politics of Pathos: Richard Frethorne’s Letters Home” in Appelbaum and Sweet, eds., Envisioning an English Empire, 92-108 (on reserve).
∑ Peter C. Mancall, “Tales Tobacco Told in Sixteenth-Century Europe” Environmental History vol. 9, no. 4 (via History Cooperative).
Tuesday October 30
∑ Edmund Morgan, American Slavery, American Freedom, 108-195 (on reserve).
∑ Engel Sluiter, “New Light on the ‘20.Odd Negroes’ Arriving in Virginia, August 1619” WMQ vol. 54, no. 2 (1997), 395-398 (JSTOR).
∑ John Thornton, “The African Experience of the ’20. And Odd Negroes’ Arriving in Virginia in 1619” WMQ vol. 55, no. 3 (1998), 421-434 (JSTOR).

The Second Anglo-Powhatan War, 1622-1644
Thursday November 1 (Dr. Goetz in Richmond, VA)
∑ Watch documentary on Martin’s Hundred
∑ Edward Waterhouse, “A Declaration of the State of the Colony…” (London, 1622) (EEBO).
∑ “Chauco,” in the Dictionary of Virginia Biography (handout).
Tuesday November 6
∑ Ian K. Steele, Warpaths, pages TBA (on reserve).
∑ Letter of William C. Capp, Records of the Virginia Company of London (handout).

Life in Tobacco Virginia, 1625-1660
Thursday November 8—Professor Laurel Thatcher Ulrich!
Tuesday November 13
∑ Selections from Hening’s Statutes (handout).
∑ The Case of Alice Boyse (handout).

Towards an English Tidewater, 1644-1660
Thursday November 15
∑ McCartney, “Cockacoeske, Queen of Pamunkey: Diplomat and Suzeraine” in Waselkov, Wood, and Hatley, eds., Powhatan’s Mantle, 243-266 (on reserve).
Tuesday November 21: final project presentations
Thursday November 23—No Class THANKSGIVING RECESS

What Happened at Jamestown? Why does Jamestown Matter?
Tuesday November 27
∑ John Smith, The Generall Historie, in Jamestown Narratives, pages TBA.
∑ Robert Beverley, A History and Present State of Virginia (handout).
Thursday November 29
∑ Rasmussen and Tilton, Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend, entire (on reserve).
∑ Pocahontas plate
∑ Custalow Linwood, The True Story of Pocahontas, pages TBA (on reserve).
∑ Fahrenthold, “A Dead Indian Language is Brought Back to Life” (handout).
Tuesday December 4
∑ Explore the Jamestown 2007 website: http://www.jamestown2007.org/
∑ Watch the ad (URL tba).

The New World, The Movie
Thursday December 6: food, movie, discussion.


8 thoughts on “

  1. That is a great course! I admire the way you explicitly formulate the rules for the course in the syllabus, I am definitely going to do that as well this year — it saves you so much hassle if you don’t have to decide on an individual basis, but can just stick to the rules. Thanks for sharing the syllabus!

  2. Looks so interesting! Maybe this will be the year that I ambitiously read along with your class! Of course, I won’t learn half as much without the benefit of your fine lectures. Mammamoo

  3. Just wondering how strict you are about showing “documentation” for illness or death in the family. Do you actually require a doctors note or obituary? I like your “no late papers” policy and “no emailed papers” policy. Tough but very fair.

  4. I’m pretty strict on sickness and death issues…the health center provides a generic note that I always accept (even though I sometimes suspect that the student’s illness might be spurious). I’ve only had death be an issue once, but due to the circumstances, I didn’t require a note from the Dean (the circumstances were unique but I can’t go into that here without violating the student’s privacy).I find that the “no late papers policy” is very fair and I *never* have students clogging my office hours with requests for extensions. And my grading is never backed up as a result!

  5. This looks like it’ll be a fantastic course! Could I sit in?I wonder what projected enrollment you’re looking at for this course? This looks like a great selection of readings and topics, I’m just wondering how you’ll handle it if the class gets really big.

  6. Interesting stuff. I see that you don’t have Learning Objectives, but rather teaching ones. Your rules sound a lot like my own! I’ve found that if I lay down the rules on participation, it really helps students – and then there are the new things I’ve added to answer student observations “some students get participation points for asking dumb questions.” So now I note in the syllabus (just for them) that I do know the difference between those kinds of questions and substantive, I’ll always deal with both. Meaning that no, thise students don’t ‘get participation points.’ Did we ever need such blurbs as students?

  7. Ancarett–the enrollment is currently at 9 with 1 auditor. I could get one or two more, but that’s unlikely. Upper level courses in the humanities are generally small here.Belle–I sure didn’t need it spelled out for me! But after many painful discussions about what counted as “participation,” I’ve come up with two solutions. In most of my classes I don’t have a participation portion of the grade at all–just a draconian absence policy. But for a course like this, which is a discussion-oriented seminar, I think I do have to have a participation portion, but with rules and guidelines. :)I don’t know what to think of “Learning Objectives.” All the experts say that our syllabi should have them…but for reasons I can’t put my finger on, they make me uncomfortable. So I settle for a general statement about the purpose of the class.

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