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Imagining the Spanish Empire in Spain and the Americas

Vak
2015-2016

Admission requirements

Only MA-students are admitted.; command of Spanish is desirable.

Description

European political life in the Early Modern period was driven, according to a recent observer, by the ‘dream of a Renaissance of empire as an intellectual, cultural, and political project.’ The Spanish Habsburg monarchs were in an excellent position to pursue this dream, since they possessed the first empire in which the sun never set. But how did this dream of restoring ancient Rome fare when it came into contact with regions, subjects, religions and concepts of kingship that were quite alien to the European experience – as was the case with the Spaniards in the Americas? And what did local subjects of those foreign would-be emperors make of their dreams? How did the colonizers adapt their views to the realities of a new continent? To what extent did indigenous concepts blend with European ideas to create new views of American society and its place in the wider Habsburg Empire?
This course focuses on the way European concepts of kingship, empire and subjects changed in the context of colonial Spanish America, giving rise to an entirely new categorization of empire. We will use treatises, plays, reports of ceremonial occasions and evidence of political and social organization to examine the intellectual, political and social exchange between ‘colonizers’, colonial subjects and other categories in the Spanish colonial empire. During the first meeting, an entry test will be taken on Matthew Restall, Seven myths of the Spanish conquest (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) [full text available in University Librabry).

Course objectives

General learning objectives
The student has acquired:

    1. The ability to independently identify and select literature, using traditional and modern techniques;
    1. The ability to independently identify and select sources, using traditional and modern techniques;
    1. The ability to analyse and evaluate a corpus of sources with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
    1. The ability to analyse and evaluate literature with a view to addressing a particular historical problem;
    1. The ability to independently formulate a clear and well-argued research question, taking into account the theory and method of the field and to reduce this question to accessible and manageable sub-questions;
    1. The ability to independently set up and carry out an original research project that can make a contribution to existing scholarly debates;
    1. The ability to give a clear and well-founded oral and written report on research results in correct English, when required, or Dutch, meeting the criteria of the discipline;
    1. The ability to participate in current debates in the specialisation;
    1. (ResMA only:) The ability to participate in a discussion of the theoretical foundations of the discipline.

Learning objectives, pertaining to the specialisation

    1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of one of the specialisations or subspecialisations as well as of the historiography of the specialisation, focusing particularly on the following:
    • in the specialisation Colonial and Global History: how global (political, socio-economic, and cultural) connections interact with regional processes of identity and state formation; hence insight in cross-cultural processes (including the infrastructure of shipping and other modes of communication) that affect regions across the world such as imperialism, colonisation, islamisation, modernisation and globalization (in particular during the period 1200-1940);
    1. Thorough knowledge and comprehension of the theoretical, conceptual and methodological aspects of the specialisation or subspecialisation in question, with a particular focus on the following:
    • in the specialisation Colonial and Global History: empirical research from a comparative and connective perspective;

Learning objectives, pertaining to this Research Seminar
The student:

    1. Can take a position in the historiographical debates on the history of the Spanish colonial empire.
    1. Develops an awareness of the mutual political, intellectual and social exchange in the Spanish colonial empire.
    1. Is able to conduct a source-driven study of an aspect of political, intellectual and/or social exchange in the Spanish colonial empire
    1. Is able to relate his/her findings to those of the rest of the research seminar group, and collaborate to arrive at comparative conclusions.
    1. Is able to set up and carry out original research that raises new questions and pioneers new appraoches, based on a corpus of sources of a higher complexity in comparison to that used by regular MA students.

Timetable

See Timetable and deadlines History

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

Course Load

Total course load: 10 EC x 28 hrs = 280 hours

  • Amount of lectures: 28 hours

  • Literature 50 hours (time to study the compulsory literature (guideline: 7 pages per hour depending on the material to be studied)

  • Preparation for class / assignments: 28 hours

  • Assignment: 174 hours (necessary hours to write a paper, including research and reading secondary literature)

  • Tutoring 4 hours

Assessment method

Assessment

  • Written paper (ca. 7500 words, based on research in primary sources, including footnotes and bibliography)
    Measured learning objectives: 1-8, 12-15 (ResMA also: 9 and 16)

  • Entry test
    Measured learning objectives: 4, 9-10, 11-12

  • Oral presentation
    Measured learning objectives: 3-7

  • Assignment 1 (research plan)
    Measured learning objectives: 4, 7, 8, 10-15 (ResMA also: 9 and 16)

Weighing
Written paper: 70 %
Entry test: 10 %
Oral presentation: 10 %
Assignment 1: 10 %

The final grade for the course is established by determining the weighted average with the additional requirement that the research plan and oral presentation are completed, and that the written paper is graded 5.5 or higher.

Deadlines
Written papers should be handed in within the given deadline.

Resit
Should the overall mark be unsatisfactory, the paper is to be revised after consultation with the instructor.

Blackboard

Blackboard will be used in this course for:

  • making literature available;

  • receiving feedback;

  • general communication about the course.

Reading list

Matthew Restall, Seven myths of the Spanish conquest (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003) [full text available in University Librabry)

Other titles will be made available via Blackboard.

Registration

Via uSis

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Niet van toepassing

Contact

Dr. E.M.Geevers
telephone: +31 (0)71 527 1736
office: Huizinga Building, 0.11d

Remarks

None