Spring 2016 - HIST 104 D100

The Americas from Colonization to Independence (3)

Class Number: 4188

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Tue, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 19, 2016
    Tue, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jennifer Spear
    Office: AQ 6018
    Office Hours: W 12:00-1:30 & by appointment



A comparative exploration of the colonization of North and South America by the various European empires together with the role of Native and African peoples in the Americas, from the late fifteenth century to the onset of political independence three hundred years later. Breadth-Humanities.


This course is an introduction to the comparative study of the societies and cultures of the Americas from the late fifteenth century to the onset of political independence three hundred years later. We will examine the cultural and economic exchanges and adaptations that took place as Europeans, Africans, and native peoples came into contact in regions as far flung as the southern tip of South America and the Pacific Northwest. In covering such a geographic and chronological scope, this course will not be a comprehensive depiction of the history of the Americas. Rather, we will focus on comparing a set of processes that impacted inhabitants of the entire hemisphere: colonization, economic development (especially the establishment of slave labour regimes), the consolidation of colonial societies, and emancipation (of peoples and colonies). While lectures will focus on outlining these broad processes, tutorials will emphasize the lived experiences of individual historical actors.

* Please note this is a preliminary syllabus: reading materials and assignments are subject to change.


  • Tutorial participation 20%
  • Primary source analysis 20%
  • Essay 25%
  • Final exam 35%



Catalina de Erauso, The Lieutenant Nun: Memoir of a Basque Transvestite in the New World (Beacon Press, 1997).

Randy J. Sparks, Two Princes of Calabar: An Eighteenth-Century Atlantic Odyssey (Harvard University Press, 2009).

John K. Thornton, A Cultural History of the Atlantic World, 1250-1820 (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

All required texts are available for purchase at the bookstore; all are also on 4-hour reserve at Bennett Library.

Registrar Notes:

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