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Professor: Jordana Dym
Office: TLC 326
Office Hours: M, W, 2-3: or by appointment


Class Times/ Location:
MWF 12:20-1:15 Dana 181

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Skidmore College
LS 210
Spring 2002

Travel Writers & Travel Liars in Latin America, 1500-1900


Welcome to Travelers & Travel Liars in Latin America. This webpage should provide access to all of the resources you need to do well in this class.

Course Description

This class examines the ideas and impact of European & North writers in Latin America and the Caribbean, from the 16th through early 20th centuries. The course is divided into two periods. The first section covers writing as part of conquest and the invention of America, and includes texts by conquerors and missionaries, as well as pirates and sailors, bureaucrats and scientists. The second section, after examining the scholarly literature's discussions of themes of imperial writing, has students examine original works by diplomats, missionaries, businessmen, military men, novelists and a photographer, as well as women travelers of the nineteenth century to see how well the scholarship identifies the themes & ideas of the travel writers.

This course will meet twice weekly for lectures and discussion of course materials. In addition, there will be an extra course hour which will meet in a multi-media room. During the first month of the class, students will use this hour to learn the basics of web development (organization, design, publishing, Dreamweaver). For the rest of the course, students will use this hour to work on the class web-page.

Readings from the course are of two kinds: theoretical articles that introduce students to the theories of travel writing for each of the two periods, and primary sources, that is, texts of travel writers from the conquest to the early 20th century. All of the texts chosen are available in English, so no knowledge of Spanish is necessary to complete the requirements of the course.

Course Objectives

This course has two primary objectives: to develop familiarity with the genre of travel writing as a means to study historical events, personalities and processes in the context of Latin America; and to have students combine new technology with methods of historical thinking and analysis in a group setting, with a final project rather than a final paper. Both of these objectives intend to encourage acquisition of analytical tools (reading, writing, oral presentation) that they can apply in upper-division college courses as well as in their future professional lives.


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