ENG 4936  Honors Seminar: Conquest, Slavery, and Revolution

T 2-3; R 3 Turlington 2303
Leah Rosenberg
Office: 4363 Turlington
Office Hours 10:30-12:00 Tuesdays and Thursdays and by appointment.
email: rosenber@ufl.edu  Telephone: 392 6650 ext. 238
website with link to syllabus: www.clas.ufl.edu/users/rosenber

 2004 is the bicentennial of the Haitian Revolution, a date that marks the establishment of the first black republic and the one successful slave rebellion in the new world. The forthcoming bicentennial points to the great similarities and differences between the Caribbean and the United States. The history of the Caribbean, like that of the United States, is a story of conquest, slavery, and revolution. Like many writers in the United States from Harriet Beecher Stowe to Toni Morrison, Caribbean writers have been haunted by a history that is as elusive as it is omnipresent. Like some of their U.S. counterparts, Caribbean writers sought to write not only the story of European conquerors and slave owners, but also the stories of the people who were conquered and enslaved. In so doing, Caribbean and U.S. writers alike have confronted the challenge of writing about people who left few written records and whose lives have often been neglected by historians or portrayed from the perspective of their antagonists, slave owners and colonists. Thus, for example, in the 1770s, Edward Long a prominent British historian and planter argued that Afro-Caribbeans were not human. A century later James Anthony Froude famously claimed of the Caribbean that there are no people there in the true sense of the word, with a character and purpose of their own. We examine the strategies Caribbean and U.S writers have used to create art from these absences and denials through an analysis of literary and historical writing. Authors will likely include: Bryan Edwards, Edward Long, James Anthony Froude, Hannah Craft, Frances Harper, Earl Lovelace, Kamau Brathwaite, Louise Erdrich, and Michel Trouillot.


*Analyse literary approaches to representing history and compare these with recent methods in the field  of history.
* engage in a comparative study of U.S. and Caribbean literature focused on colonialism and slavery.
* use  primary sources -- manuscripts, rarebooks, maps, newspapers --  in literary analysis.
* become familiar with UF's collections of  rarebooks, manuscripts, newspapers and other primary sources.


Attendance, Participation, Preparation  (20 % of the class grade)
(1) Attendance.
More than two absences will lower your grade. Two latenesses=one absence. Being absent for more than two weeks (six 50 minute class periods) of class will result in failure.
(2) Participation
Read the material, think about it, take notes, be ready to discuss it. You may be asked to focus on a particular aspect or section of the reading.  Participation also includes contributing to the course by interacting with other people and their ideas.  So listen attentively and respond thoughtfully. Think about how you might draw other class members into the conversation. If you are very quiet, think about how to contribute more regularly. If you talk a great deal, focus on learning how to encourage other students to participate.  Attending the course without participating produces a grade of C+ for attendance and participation.

Bi-weekly Journal [30 % of class grade]

You must complete four of the six Journal assignments, with #3 required for everyone.  Each assignment will require responding to the readings for a two week period.  I will provide one or more questions for each week of reading. These will help us to focus the class discussion by enabling all of us to prepare the same topics for discussion. The length of these responses will vary depending on the question, but I expect that all together each  week will require between 1-3 pages.  Check schedule for Due dates. You may turn them in via email (rosenber@ufl.edu).


Presentation (A) (Duration ten minutes) : [10 % of class grade]
This presentation will correlate with the first paper assignment.  It asks you to examine and evaluate your chosen author’s use of historical sources in the text the class is reading. You will present the class with (1) a description of your chosen author’s uses of historical sources; (2) a description of relevant primary resources ( manuscripts, rarebooks, newspapers or other documents) with attention paid to those located in the UF library collections; and (3) an introduction to what you see as the critical issues raised by the author’s use of history or of a particular historical document.  Due date: This presentation will be made on the last day of class discussion of the text.

Presentation (B) (Duration: 7 minutes): [5% of the class grade]
In this presentation, you will present the central argument of your research paper with reference to the evidence you employ.  The purpose of this assignment is to give you experience of presenting your work and to provide feedback for your final project as you are in the final stages of completing it.


Short paper (A) (5-6 pages) [12% of class grade]
Analysis of one author’s use of one historical source or context. This paper will build on your first presentation.Please use a primary historical or literary document other than the literary text you are have chosen.  You can choose another literary text pertinent to the text the class is reading as your focus for this paper. For instance, you could analyse a slave narrative that we have not read as a class and consider its implications for either of the narratives we have read; or , you might choose to focus on a different narrative of discovery or different literary representative of the discovery. Please make use of the UF Special Collections and Latin American Collection. This paper will be due one week after the final day of class discussion scheduled for the book and thus  one week after the presentation.

Longer paper (B) (10-12 pages) [23% of class grade]
This paper will also analyze the representation of history but it will compare and contrast two authors' treatment of history. This essay may use the first shorter essay. The assignment includes paper proposal  which will be due 27 October.  You may submit a first draft for comment. I encourage you to do this The final paper will be due December 6.  No late paper will be accepted.  The grades for this course are due to the registrar at noon on December 10.

Grading Criteria

The books are available at Goerings Bookstore (1717 NW 1 Ave, 377 3707):

The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus
 Erdrich, Louise and Michael Dorris. The Crown of Columbus
Classic Slave Narratives
 Hall, Douglas.  In Miserable Slavery
 Kemble, Fanny. Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation

Rhys, Jean Wide Sargasso Sea

Morrison, Toni. Beloved

Schafer, David. Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley

 Trouillot, Michel. Silencing the Past

Carpentier, Alejo.  The Kingdom of this World

Alexis, Jacques Steven. Comrade General Sun

Other materials will be on reserve or available as photocopies with the exception of :

 Herbert de Lisser The White Witch of Rose Hall. You will need to order de Lisser’s book over the internet at

You do not need Harper, Frances.  Iola Leroy.  which may be among the books available at Goerings for this class.


Bibliography of relevant Rarebooks in the UF collection

Kingsley Plantation National Park

Other Important information:

Please keep copies of all your papers.  Never give me the only copy of any of your work.

The instructor reserves the right to make any needed changes to this syllabus and course schedule.


University Policy and Services

University of Florida Honesty Policy Regarding Cheating and Use of Copyrighted Materials

Academic Honesty: As a result of completing the registration form at the University of Florida, every student has signed the following statement: "I understand that the University of Florida expects its students to be honest in all their academic work. I agree to adhere to this
commitment to academic honesty and understand that my failure to comply with this commitment may result in disciplinary action up to and including expulsion from the University."

Copyrighted Materials and Software Use: All students are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing copyrighted material and software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate.

Policy Related to Make_Up Exams or Other Work_ There are no exams for this class. However, all papers must be turned in on time. No late work will be accepted unless the student has asked for and been granted an extension at least 24 hours in advance of the deadline.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities _ Students requesting special accommodations must first register with the Dean of Students Office. The Dean of Students will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the Instructor
when requesting accommodation.

Class Demeanor Expected by Instructor _ This class has a list_serv that is used to post questions, class announcements, and responses to questions asked by your classmates. Any notice that is posted will be received by everyone on the class list_serv.  Please check you email daily. Offensive or otherwise inappropriate materials (as judged by the instructor) may result in a student being droppped from the class roster.

University Counseling Services_ Resources are available on_campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career and academic goals which interfere with their academic performance. These resources include:

   1.University Counseling Center, 301 Peabody Hall, 392_1575, personal and career counseling;

   2.Student Mental Health, Student Health Care Center, 392_1171, personal counseling;

   3.Sexual Assault Recovery Services (SARS), Student Health Care Center, 392_1161, sexual counseling

   4.Career Resource Center, Reitz Union, 392_1601, career development assistance and counseling.

Course Schedule

Week One    Narratives of Conquest

Journal Questions for Week 1

8/24     Brathwaite, Kamau Poem on Columbus
            Library Session in Special Collections

8/26     The Four Voyages of Christopher Columbus

Week Two  Literary Representations  of the Conquest  of the New World

Journal Questions for Week 2 -- including questions for the Crown of Columbus

Announcement: Please pick up a xerox copy of November 1492 in Columbus’s journal from my mailbox in the English mail room.

8/31     Columbus’s Journals more excerpts
            Hulme, Peter.  Chapter 1  “Columbus and the Cannibals” in Colonial Encounters (on reserve/photocopies)
            Trouillot, Michel. Chapter 4 “Good day, Columbus”

9/2        Erdrich, Louise and Michael Dorris. The Crown of Columbus

Week Three    In their own Words:  Slave Narratives

9/7     Class cancelled due to hurricane

9/9       Erdrich, Louise and Michael Dorris. The Crown of Columbus
           Journal Assignment #1 Due

Week Four  Narratives of slavery

Journal Questions for Week Four

9/14    9:30  Tour of the Latin American Collection
            The History of Mary Prince in Classic Slave Narratives pp 249-321

9/16   Hall, Douglas.  In Miserable Slavery   chapters 1-3, pp 1-65 plus general introduction

Week  Five  Narratives of Overseers and Owners

Journal Questions for Week Five

9/21     Hall, Douglas.  In Miserable Slavery  (Chapters 9- 11)
            Kemble, Fanny. Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation  (Chapters 4-26 pp 53-186 with special attention to "Psyche" )

9/23     Kemble, Fanny. Journal of a Residence on a Georgian Plantation (St. Simon's Island 199- 278)
           Journal Assignment #2  Due

Week  Six Historiography of Slavery

Journal Questions for Week Six

9/28     Brathwaite, Kamau.  Contradictory Omens  (at least parts I and III)  Copies to read and returned on my office door.

9/30     (required journal assignment) Find one text that describes Caribbeans publishd between 1770-1840. Comment on its representation of slavery and women.  Consider how Patterson and Brathwaite might view these descriptions. I've listed a few possibilities below. However, you are free to choose any such texts in the UF collection.  For other possibilities, see ee the bibliography (Bibliography of relevant Rarebooks in the UF collection)
            Mrs. C.A. Carmichael. Domestic manners and social condition of the white, coloured, and Negro population of the West Indies
            Edward Long,   The History of Jamaica (on reserve)
            Edwards, Bryan. The history civil and commercial, of the British colonies in the West Indies.
            Moreton, J.B. West India customs and manners
            Stedman, John. Narrative of a five years' expedition against the revolted Negroes of Surinam
           Lewis, Monk. Journal of a West India proprietor (on reserve)
            Williams, Cynric. A tour through the island of Jamaica

Week Seven  Romance and Slavery

Journal Questions for Week Seven

10/5     Gone with the Wind (the film) and Herbert de Lisser The White Witch of Rose Hall. You will need to order de Lisser’s book over the internet at

10/7    Discussion continued.
           Journal Assignment #3 Due  required

Week Eight  Modernism and Slavery

Journal Questions for Week Eight

10/12     Rhys, Jean Wide Sargasso Sea
            Hulme, Peter “The Locked Heart”  (on electronic reserve)

10/14     Rhys, Jean Wide Sargasso Sea

Week Nine  Postmodernism and Slavery

Journal Questions for Week Nine

Please note that I have revised the syllabus and added grading criteria in the description of paper assignments above.
10/19    Finish discussion of Wide Sargasso Sea
             9:20 library presentation on documents about the Kingsley Plantation

10/21     Morrison, Toni Beloved
           Journal Assignment #4 Due

Week  Ten Florida and Slavery

10/25    Presentations: Stephanie Evans, Teresa Jaranilla, and Kristin Rossetti on Beloved
                Morrison, Toni Beloved

10/27   Presentation: Craig Peters on Slave Narratives
             Begin discussion of  Schafer, David. Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley [OG]
            Dizard, Robin and Mark N. Taylor,eds. "The African Daughter: a True Tale" [electronic reserve]
            Paper Proposals due

10/30     Field Trip

Week Eleven Historiography of the Haitian Revolution

Journal Questions for Weeks 10 and 11

11/2    Presentation:  Stephen Sivyer on the Kingsley Plantation
           Trouillot, Michel Silencing the Past
           For discussion: Chapters 1 and 5, not that chapter five directly addresses the issues raised by representing slavery for tourists, a question also raised by the                national park at Kingsley plantation         

11/4     Jennifer Flinn Presentation
             Trouillot Chapter 5
             "The African Daughter"


Week Twelve  Nationalism

11/9    Trouillot  chapters 1- 3
           Journal Assignment # 5 Due

 11/11 No Class Veterans’ Day

Week Thirteen The Marvelous Real

Journal Questions for Week Thirteen

11/16   Presentation: Ashley Simon on Gone with the Wind
            Carpentier, Alejo.  The Kingdom of this World
            Geggus, David. Haitian Revolutionary Studies part I -- overview of the Haitian Revolution. Look also at the time line for the Haitian Revolution at the end of the book.  This is an  E-book and is on reserve.

11/18     Carpentier, Alejo.  The Kingdom of this World

Week Fourteen  U.S. Occupation of Haiti

11/23     Research Presentations
11/25     Thanksgiving

Week Fifteen

Journal Questions for Week Fifteen

11/28  First drafts due
11/29  Research Presentations
12/2   Research presentations
12/3  First drafts returned.

Week Sixteen

12/6 Journal Assignment #6 Due
12/7  Final Papers and