AFEN BC3525 Atlantic Crossings: The West Indies and the Atlantic World. 4 points.
Not offered during 2019-20 academic year.
Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 20 students.
This course examines the literature of transatlantic travel from Columbus's first voyage in 1492 to Caryl Phillips’s re-tracing of his mother's migration in The Atlantic Sound (2000) to recent re-imaginings of slavery and the Middle Passage by M. Nourbese Philip and Marlon James. Even before Columbus's first encounter, the "Indies" sparked English desires for riches and adventure. We will first investigate how English writers promoted an idea of the West Indies and then came to inhabit its heterogeneous spaces, filling them with longing and anxiety. The class will chart the emergence of modern race thinking from the rich interaction of peoples and goods in the early modern Caribbean. We will also question how ideals of freedom and "English-ness" co-existed with slavery, bondage and creole life. The class will then look at the ways later writers revisit the Caribbean's colonial origins and discuss how notions of the West Indies may haunt modern Atlantic travel.