“Texts of Imagination and Empire: The Founding of Jamestown in its Atlantic Context” is an NEH summer institute for college teachers that will be directed by Karen Ordahl Kupperman, Professor of History at New York University. The institute will be hosted by the Folger Shakespeare Library from 19 June to 28 July 2000.
The institute will place the establishment of the first permanent English settlement on America’s east coast in the context of contemporaneous French and Spanish efforts and within the Atlantic context in which all such enterprises were undertaken. It will explore the kinds of assumptions and expectations that European promoters and migrants brought to the business of colonization, including their ideas about other peoples, their notions of the engines of economic growth, and their conception of how society is constituted and how it could be replicated in a new setting. It will also explore the assumptions on which the Powhatans and other coastal Algonquians acted in allowing the first settlers to become established. Finally, the institute will consider the range of options open to Africans in this early period when the institution of slavery was coming into being in English colonies, and the ways in which they adapted their own traditions in unanticipated circumstances.
The distinguished interdisciplinary visiting faculty includes James Axtell, Emily C. Bartels, Ira Berlin, Cary Carson, Dominique Deslandres, Andrew Hadfield, James Horn, William M. Kelso, Jane Landers, John M. Murrin, Helen Rountree, David Harris Sacks, Ian Smith, and Walter W. Woodward. The readings draw on a mix of disciplinary approaches and modes of scholarly analysis, and the principal focus of the meetings will be on the primary sources of the period. Participants will work with the early printed versions of documents held at the Folger Library, with the remains of the built and archaeological record in Jamestown itself, and with a range of other “primary” materials available on academic and institutional websites. In the course of the institute, participants will create a multifaceted web site with such features as a set of images culled from the Folger’s collections, links to documents and other teaching and research materials on the web, and suggested syllabi and bibliographies for undergraduate courses.
Complete application information, including eligibility requirements and details of stipend support, is available from the Folger Institute. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or to have a packet sent. The application information may also be downloaded from the Folger’s website at http://www.folger.edu/institute.
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