Race and the Environment in the Atlantic World
This course explores how the ecologies of the Atlantic World became ground zero for the global processes of racialization, colonization, and capital accumulation. Focusing on topics such as European landfall, the Middle Passage, plantation slavery, Indigenous and maroon resistance, mineral extraction, and tourism, we will study how the racialization of people became tied to the transformation of natural environments. At the same time, we will examine how racialized, colonized, and enslaved people formed life-sustaining relationships with the flora and fauna of the New World, placing a particular emphasis on Caribbean ecologies. We will analyze theoretical works by Sylvia Wynter and Kathryn Yusoff, primary sources including Columbus’s letters and Esteban Montejo’s Biography of a Runaway Slave, and fictional works by Michelle Cliff and Octavia Butler.
Class Notes:To enroll in an HL90 seminar, students must apply on the Hist & Lit website.