QUESTIOS FOR WEEK 3: FIRST ENCOUNTERS

 

Your answers should be as complete and thoughful as possible. You are strongly encouraged to include quotations from the readings (properly cited). Please type your answers and submit them in class.

 

1. What kind of evidence supports the idea that a Malian king reached the New World over a century before Columbus?

2. How does the Iberian experience in the Atlantic Islands fit into (or change) the conventional narrative of the "discovery" of the New World?

3. Elaborate on the following quotation from Chasteen: "Along with the practical skills of the Islamic world, the Moors brought with them the learning of the Greeks and Romans, better preserved in the Middle East during the Dark Ages." p. 30. How does this fit into (or change) the conventional narrative of the history of civilization?

4. Chasteen states on p. 40 "Europeans and Africans had more in common with each other than with indigenous Americans." Explain. How does this fit into (or change) the conventional narrative surrounding Atlantic slavery?

5. What was the encomienda system and how was it "familiar"?

6. How are women portrayed in Chasteen's account of the first enounters?

7. Please interpret the the following statement from Restall: "In presenting historical interpretations of the Conquest as myths rooted in cultural conceptions, misconceptions, and political agendas of their time, I am aware that I too am inescapably influenced by the language and concepts of my own culture."

8. Please attempt to answer Restall's question "Does this ambiguous relationship between myth and history, or their fusion into mythistory, undermine the quest to find truths about the past?"

9. How does Restall challange "The Myth of Exceptional Men"? Be specific: What are the myths exactly? How does Restall show these conventional narraties to be false?

10. What is the difference between using the terms "discovery," "encounters," and "conquest"? How does the use of these terms affect how we understand the history of the Americas? Or put another way, how do each of the terms imply different conceptions of the founding of the Americas?