Imagining a New World

Imagining a New World


(ambient music) – Okay, everybody, we’re
gonna get started now. I just wanna introduce myself. I’m Professor Kathleen Donegan. I’m in the Department of English. The first thing I wanna
say is I wish you could see what I see now. It’s really wonderful to
see you all here and ready and eager to listen and to have you here. And, you know, in a lecture, one of the nice things
about the lecture is that everybody’s listening to the same story. So, as opposed to a seminar where everyone’s thinking
in their own thoughts and bringing them to bear, in a lecture, everyone’s kind of following along the same story. So, there becomes this kind of wave of concentration in the room that feels really nice
as the story continues. So, I thought we would
just begin with a story. And this is in the spring of 1503. The explorer Amerigo
Vespucci wrote to his patron and he expressed with utter confidence something that had never
been imagined before. In his first words he wrote, “In past days, I wrote to you fully “of my return from new countries. “And it is lawful to call it a new world.” It was the first time the
phrase had even been uttered. It was to change the
known history of the globe and all the people in it. Vespucci’s letter was soon
published under the Latin title Mundus Novus, the new world. And immediately it became a
sensation all across Europe. It stunned. It astonished. The news separated the
past from the present, the ancestors from the living, yesterday from today. The first sentence continues, “None of these countries
were known to our ancestors. “And to all who hear about them,
they will be entirely new.” Imagine it, a new world. This is just what Europe did. It imagined the place, its people, its possibilities. It imagined its strangeness, its dangers, its differences. It imagined submission,
and it imagined violence. It imagined spreading the word of God, and it imagined taking the wealth of man. Even the newness of the
new world was imagined. Because it was, in fact, an old world. Indeed, it was the first
world to the only world, to the 10 million people
whose ancestors lived there for some 40,000 years. But for those millions, it
became a new world, too, with the arrival of
travelers from unknown lands. Travelers who stayed. What do they want here? What would they do here? What in our long history would
teach us how to manage this? So in 1503, when that
ink pressed that page and spelled out the words Mundus Novus, it was suddenly a new world for everyone. I used this title, Imagining a New World, to invite you into this counter from the European imaginary. In our day, we use the word imaginary to describe things that
really don’t exist, things that only live in fantasy. But when people of past
centuries used the word, the imaginary referred to
what could be imagined, what could be given meaning. The imaginary was what the
mind could image forth. So when I talk about
a new world imaginary, I refer to what was
thinkable in this encounter. And that changed more and more as news of the new world
traveled across the ocean. Much of what was thinkable
was based on new knowledge. But much of it was also
based on projection, on misunderstanding, on desire, on fear. Knowledge and imagination
were not separate, but rather, they work
to create one another. The words Mundus Novus brought
forth not only a new reality, but also a new dream for Europe. Thus, what we were taught was discovered was also importantly imagined, in the oldest sense of that word. When Europe looked across
the Atlantic and wrote, and drew, and painted, and engraved, and read, and envisioned, and circulated what they saw there, every new document imbued
that world with meaning. They were not only depicting, but they were also, as we’ll
see, imagining a new world. This is what the world looked like for many centuries before
Vespucci and Columbus before him. The first map of this sort that we know of was made by an 8th-century monk. It’s referred to as a T and O map. It represents a total integration of the secular and religious knowledge, the space of this world and
the cosmos of the other. It shows us a physical plan because it charts the known world. It also shows us a metaphysical plan. Because it reveals the meaning and the purpose of that world. The O is the world itself. It is perfection. It is the encircling ocean. It is God’s compass upon the deep. The T is the cross that
divides the world into parts, the three continents, Asia, Africa and Europe. Sometimes these are named
for Noah’s three sons who repopulated the world after the flood and were the fathers of the
three great races of men. At the axis point was
Jerusalem, the promised land, the center around all things turned. All of nature here is unfolding
according to God’s plan. The world is perfect. It is stable, order,
meaningfully ordained. Now, it’s 1506. Look how much the world has changed. This is the first printed map to show the discoveries
in the Western Hemisphere. For the first time, the known
world included the new world. The map with all its advances still expresses both knowledge and belief. In both senses, the map is a world view. But this is a world with changing
and changeable conditions. This is not divinely ordered space, but rather an earthly place in a different and historical way. So, the details of the coasts are here. And some details of the interior are here. But much remains unknown. There’s an open ocean between
North and South America. Notice the continent stretching
to the end of the Earth. Imagination lives in this map. Desire lives here. Ambition lives here. There had been many voyages
of exploration and discovery in the years immediately
preceding this map. The continent of Africa was rounded. New Finland was found. And, of course, Columbus explored the Caribbean in South America, at once thinking he
had reached the Indies. But also revealing a place
and people altogether unknown. Maps were made of these voyages, but they were held in secret, their information closely guarded. In fact, there’s only one copy of this map still in existence. Here, the world is imagined as whole, but the real world was
also known to be divided and competitive and acquisitive, anxious to establish monopolies and to turn geography into possession. Maps like these were
kept under lock and key. For when it came to the
riches of new world, finders would be keepers. And of those riches, imaginations soared. Therefore, maps also mapped out power and mapped out imagined supremacy over the worlds they depicted. This map printed the next year was the very first to christen the new found lands, America. Look how it looms, leaning
over the known continents, rising upon them like a
harbinger of things to come. The world was no longer bound around in perfect circular geometry. New geographical information
stretched it outward like a theater’s proscenium. Even so, the continents started
to break through the frame, indicating that there was more there than even a theater of
the world could contain. The nude ground was indisputable. The world was now divided
into four parts, not three. And the new continent was
named not for a biblical figure but for a contemporary one, America. This inset above the map
is an homage to Vespucci who seems to hold the border
of the world in his hands as if pulling open its limits. In this image, the newly-known
continent is pictured somewhat differently,
correcting the main map. The gap between the Northern and Southern Americas is closed. The boundaries of the southern continents assume a different shape. And so even in this insert, we can see knowledge is still influxed. Even on a single page, we can see them working
hard to get it right. Here we are just over
30 years after Columbus, the new world is printed on
its own as a single land mass. The Caribbean Islands are
more fully articulated, the coastlines are more precise. But you’ll see North America
is nearly split in two. That’s because the explorer Verrazzano believed that in the outer
banks of the Carolinas, there was access to an ocean connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific, the new world to the old. So for a mapmaker, to be up-to-date with the
very latest information was also to be prone to mistake, to an explorer who looked out on a bay and thought he saw the sea. Munster’s map of the new world was probably the most widely distributed map of America in its time. And prominent in its pronouncement is the great ship plowing through it. European ships ever coming, ever holding course, dominating the seas, parting the waves and
entering the new world as a massive and inexorable force. Munster’s map is newly
populated in another way, too. Instead of the great
explorers presiding over it, here, we get images of flora and fauna, and people within it, and folklore and
mythology make a comeback. For the only human depiction in the map is an image of new world cannibals, dismembered head and legs and all. Which tells us that even by the 1520s, projecting wild and savage
and unnatural characteristics onto the native inhabitants
of the new world was already well-established. And it was all of the piece with the most advanced
European knowledge of the time. South American cannibals
were not only thinkable, they were something
Europeans could easily read. Unlike the medieval marker of the unknown, here, there be dragons. Cannibals appeared as the
threat within what was newly, what was scientifically known. Here, there be cannibals. And here, too, there be
the ships of civilization coming toward them for
better or for worse. By the middle of the 16th century, there was huge demand for new maps, not only to imagine the
new world, but to use it. This map is from the Portolan tradition, which showed the trade
routes and shipping lanes, the ports and harbors, the waterways which guided the pilots who guided the ships that guided the capital back into Europe. This map is about capital. It’s really about turf. The ports are fully articulated, the harbors are carefully drawn. It meticulously labeled. Each of these orange
lines is a place name. At the center are the courses
the Spanish treasure fleets used to reach their
possessions in the new world where they loaded their ships with silver and gem stones and other riches, and then rode the currents
home laden with wealth. The map is not only
accurate, it’s beautiful. This one was made as a presentation copy which tells us that maps
were considered art objects as well as objects of use. And that money people
involved in the new world were eager to display them and
to look at them all day long. This is 1570. It’s Ortelius’ map of the world from the first truly modern atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, or
the theater of the world. The atlas was the first
systematic collection of maps and became the gold standard. Going through 40 editions in 40 years, appearing in Latin, Dutch, German, French, English, Spanish, Italian. It was immediately
established as the authority for all of Europe. So for Europe, Africa
and most parts of Asia, it’s remarkably accurate. For the new world, it
presents the newest standard, but we still see misleading suggestions that persist in the European imagination. There may be a Northwest Passage. South America is huge. There’s an enormous Southern Continent. So this map simultaneously represents the most up-to-date knowledge, but it’s also a projection
of desire and imagination. What lies in those unexplored places? What fills the span between
the know and the unknown? What exists inside those borders? Questions like these
allow us to read the past, past the dichotomy of
whether any map or any text is true or false, right or wrong, reliable or unreliable. It can be both. So many texts are both. This is why we need to
bring the skills of literary or critical analysis to
historical artifacts. So that we don’t become tyrannized by this single criteria of accuracy, so that we don’t narrow
our thinking to the point that precision is the only value, so that we can recover the
imagined world as well. This is the final map we’ll look at, and the final English image of the world before colonization. This one map became acknowledged as the supreme cartographic
artifact of the 16th century. And why? Because it was a true chart that made the whole world usable. Wright, a mathematician, combined a scholar’s theoretical
representation of the world with a sailor’s practical needs. This map was a huge cartographical
and navigational advance. It was a no-nonsense image of the world with no illustrations,
no decorative panels, no theatrical metaphors. Instead, we find compasses, rules for determining distance, practical aids to navigation across all known space. It’s the whole world, and it can be traversed and traveled. This map gives the what,
the where, the how, and, importantly, it limits itself to the land already discovered. It eliminates all features
based on conjecture. Now we have white space. Here, there’s no need
for the world to appear closed off, intact, complete. The circle is literally open. After this map, the basis for representing
the world in cartography remained essentially unchanged from what was developed by
the end of the 16th century. Basically, until the
picture of Earth from space, the modern method of depicting
the world was established. But what of the method
of depicting its people? That, too, had a long tradition. Travelers since the Great
Escape reports of barbarians, derived from the Greek
word for any non-Greek. But in the late medieval period, no traveler’s report was more influential than that of Sir John Mandeville, or, rather, Mandeville was
probably the supposed author, probably a pseudonym, but the readers didn’t care. The book’s popularity was enormous, unprecedented, stretching across Europe for undiminished over four centuries. Columbus carried it on his voyages. Mandeville’s Travels was one
of the first secular books ever to be printed, a rarity which speaks to a huge demand. If the author himself was not a witness to
the places he recounts, he surely had access to a good library. He also had access to a wild imagination. Mandeville combined an
early claim to authority. Geography as advanced as he knew was a truly bizarre creations. Creatures as strange as he could imagine. It made the text irresistible. Here are a the Blemmye, a race of headless people with
their faces on their chest. They were supposed to be harmless. Here are the Sciapodes, people with one gigantic foot which they used to shade
themselves from the sun. Here are the Cyclopes, a one-eyed people. Here is a race of two-headed pygmies. Here are the dreaded Cynocephali. These were the dog-headed people who waged fierce war and drank
the blood of their enemies. The Cynocephali would eat their own gore if they could not reach their foe. They were ferocious, unlike anything Europe had seen. These fantastic creatures
can seem ridiculous. But they also give us a serious clue into how Europe imagined other worlds. That which existed beyond one’s circuit was fundamentally different. The consequences of
this idea were profound. “This fantastic other world
existed,” as one scholar writes, “beyond the border of what was known. “It was a place for the
imagination to take over, “where fantasies and
anxieties could be projected, “and where the other could
be most clearly shown.” When Europeans travel to the new world, to the very edge of what they knew, and even beyond to that, they weren’t literally looking
for Blemmye and Sciapodes, but they did keep an eagle eye out for a people like those Cynocephali who may have traded
their dog heads for human but who still had a wild, a savaged, and unnatural taste for blood. How would the inhabitants
of the new world react to the inhabitants of the old? Would they attack them? Would they welcome them? Fall down and worship them, resist them, submit to them? In the first woodcut
illustrating Columbus’ landing, and look how early this, the response was to turn
their backs and move away. In this artist’s eye, native people are innocent
in their gestures, uncivilized in their nakedness, but they are also physically huge, towering over the Spanish
ships that approach and push against their shores, dwarfing the tiny heads
of the European explorers. The woodcut literalizes a truth, native loomed very large in
the European imagination. Perhaps even larger than the
explorers who encountered them. Perhaps even larger
than the overseeing king with his scepter, crown and throne. Crowding the right half of the image, there represented as a
whole population in motion, one whose numbers are uncountable as they push off the
right margin of the scene back into a land that is clearly theirs. If Columbus is to encounter them, what he will encounter is
their turn away from him. That was an image that
needed to be corrected. In this engraving, that first imaginary
is turned on its head. Here, Columbus is the
powerful figure at the center where, in the European
imagination, he belongs. He is impeccably dressed
even after a long sea voyage. In his hand, he brandishes
the scepter of Spain whose power is one with the masts on those majestic ships behind him, ships that stretch across the ocean and balance on the horizon. Directly behind Columbus
stand two heavily armed men. Their swords point to three other men who are planting the
cross in this newly found but, more importantly, newly claimed land. The erect confident men, the scepter, the mast,
the swords, the cross, the whole left side of the
painting is about power and the men who fully posses it. In the right side of the painting, there is no power here. The Native Americans are disorderly, they lean forward, they lean back, they turn this heads this way and that. They seem apprehensive and unsure. And in this uncertainty, they offer Columbus their
precious medals and jewels. Their only action is to give the Europeans what the Europeans want. In the background, three natives
have made another choice. They flee with raised
arms and flailing legs away from the conquerors and
their unassailable power. So on one side, advanced and aggressive. On the other, timid and tractable. This is how the story
was going to be told. This is how images came to naturalize the unending force and violence which was the lifeblood of colonialism. But as with so many
depictions of the other, imagination was radically split. Tractable but savage, timid but murderous. The violence that was enacted toward them was then projected onto them. Everywhere, starting right
after Columbus’ landing and lasting forward through
the next century and beyond, Indians were represented
as the most unnatural, kind of carnal, inhuman,
viscous, savage, cannibal. They broke every taboo including the last prohibition
of eating human flesh. They were the Cynocephali incarnate. The text accompanying this image reads, “They are handsome, well-shaped in body. “Naked. “They posses nothing individual. “The men take those who please them, “be they mother, sisters or friends, “they make no distinction. “They fight with each
other, “they eat each other, “even those who are slain “and hang the flesh of them in the smoke. “They become 150 years of
age, and have no government.” In this woodcut, in
addition to the leg and head hanging over the fire, we see a man consuming an arm in the far left of the picture. Next to him, a man and woman
engage in open sexuality as do the two men to
the right of the image. The family group in the center is likewise exposed in their nakedness. The children are unprotected from the horrid scene around them. They are schooled from infancy in the unnatural customs of the people. Why were cannibals so ubiquitous in representations of the new world? Because they reinforced,
in the deepest way, the antithesis of civilization. Their bodies had no integrity and were dismembered and consumed at will. The cannibal represented a people, a practice and a place. As such, cannibals were
depicted on maps and engravings with remarkable regularity. While other forms changed
to represent new knowledge, the image of the cannibal stayed the same, reinforcing a deeply held
cultural image of native people as uncivilized, elaborating and reelaborating
their fundamental difference, their shocking customs, their savage nature, and their everlasting inferiority. Here’s another woodcut. This one from German soldier
Hans Staden’s narrative of his captivity among the
Tupinamba in modern-day Brazil. The Tupi were known to taste the flesh of their most fearless
enemies at ritual executions, ceremonial incorporating the
bravery of the slain warrior while glorying over his defeat. Even this practice, though, we know about solely
through European accounts. In Staden’s treatment, these native rituals become
the full-blown cannibalism of the European imagination. Boiling head, feral crowd, children stoking the fire. In the top left of the picture, some are already tucked in to
a feast of brains and flesh indicating that this is a serial practice. Into the far right, the berated figure of Staden stands, praying at the demonic festival. Staden’s account was an
international bestseller, reaching a whopping 76 European editions in several languages. With the continual circulation of this particularly intense
insistence on the cannibal, European ways of imagining
and interpreting the other became set. In this illustration, we see
the elaboration of the feast, which grew more and
more detailed over time. Cannibalism was deployed as a
report of a cultural practice, but it was really the result
of a cultural politics. What is most unbelievable is that Europeans believed it. Native people were being translated into something less than human whether in their servile submission or in their inherent ferocity. From there, it was easy
to justify conquest. Still, it had to be lawful. This is part of the Requerimiento, a speech that, as its name indicates, was required to be recited in the moments before every scene of encounter turned into a scene of possession. This is how it reads in part. “But, if you do not do this,” meaning submit to the Spanish crown and to Christian religion, “if you do not do this, and
maliciously make delay in it, “I certify to you that,
with the help of God, “we shall powerfully enter your country “and shall make war against you “in all ways and manners that we can “and shall subject you to the yoke “and the obedience of the
church and their highnesses; “we shall take you and your
wives and your children “and make slaves of them, “and as such shall sell
and depose of them; “and we shall take away your goods, “and we shall do you all the mischief “and damage that we can, “as vassals who do not obey “and who refuse to receive their lord, “and resist and contradict them: “and we protest that
the deaths and lossage “which shall accrue from
this are your fault, “and not that of their
highnesses, or ours, “nor of these cavaliers who come with us.” This was said every time the
Spanish entered native ground. Conversion and conquest went hand in hand. If the requirement was not
met, carnage would follow, subjugation, enslavement, death. But it would be a just war. The Requerimiento was
read in Castilian or Latin to crowds of Native Americans who had absolutely no way of
understanding its fatal words. It was often read from the prow
of a ship to an empty beach or proclaimed in the middle
of an abandoned village. It was not only an ultimatum, it was also an act of
absolution for the Spanish who would then enact ruthless war against those whose land
they had intruded upon with unshakeable intent
to conquer it at any cost. In the 1520s, the conquistador
Pedro Alvarado and his army defeated the Kingdom of Guatemala. A Spanish friar, Bartolome las Casas, was witness to the war. He later wrote, “This
I declare for a truth “that the outrages committed
by him that went to Guatemala “would afford matters
sufficient for an entire volume. “Slaughters, injuries, butcheries, “and inhuman desolation
so horrid and detestable “would shake the present as
well as future ages with terror. “The Kiche people initially
tried to quell the violence “with offers of gifts and goods, “but they later convinced
their warriors to fight. “They thought it would be
better to meet death fighting “than to be butchered without cause. “But they’d already been
decimated by European disease “which preceded the
Spanish wherever they went “and to which native
people had no immunity. “They were unprepared for
a war that used horses “which they had never seen before, “iron, steel, “gunpowder, “fighting dogs. “They were unprepared for mass slaughter. “War tactics and technologies of the Kiche “and other Mayans were very different. “Their victory is relied upon
taking high-level captives “and stealing goods from enemy kingdoms, “and raids and ambush,
and poisoned arrows. “The outcome was decided
over battles, not over years. “But the Spanish were barbarous,
merciless, relentless. “Nonetheless, the Kiche
devised this strategy. “They would dig enormous
holes in the highways “and fill them with stakes and pikes. “Then they would cover the holes “so the horses and
riders couldn’t see them. “Then in the horses and riders fell “and were gored to death.” las Casas describes the
Spanish reaction to this. “Many of the Indians of
what age or sex whatsoever “were taken and cast into these
ditches that they had made. “Nay, they threw them, women with child “and as many aged men as they laid hold of “until they were all
filled up with carcasses.” That’s what we see here. “Neither the attempt at peace, “nor the strategies of war, “nor the resistance of the warriors, “but rather the living
thrown into the hole “on top of the dead. “And the carcasses piled up there. “The wholesale slaughter
under which Guatemala fell.” Spanish atrocity did not go
unnoticed by the rest of Europe. Like las Casas, they were appalled. Conquest there must be, but not like this. How are their actions different from those of the cannibal butcher shops? These were men who
pretended to civilization, to Christianity, who acted as envoys of the crown. But las Casas reported how
the Spanish set men on fire, how they hung them in mass, how they crushed the skulls
of babies against walls, and more everywhere they went over and over. In Spanish, las Casas’ book was titled A Brief Account of the
Destruction of the Indies. But when it was translated into English, it was called the Tears of the Indians, being a historical and true account of the true massacres and slaughters of above 20 millions of innocent people committed by the Spaniards to the total destruction
of those countries. Written in Spanish by Casas,
an eyewitness to those things. Under the English hand,
the Black Legend was born. Another force would have to enter the race for new world possession, for riches, for land, for the spread of civilization. Another force, one that would maintain its composure. When the English defeated
the mighty Spanish armada, in the European mind, the victor was catapulted
into world supremacy. It’s hard to estimate the… I’m a little, did you see this slide? Okay, because I think I
got one ahead of myself. This is an intense slide. Okay. Now we’re onto the armada. So it’s hard to overestimate the triumph in Protestant England. This is the famous portrait of Elizabeth marking the victory. It is all glory. She herself is outfitted in
all the glory of her rule. Behind her are two windows. On the left window are
the English galleons awaiting the Spanish fleet. On the right window are the Spanish ships floundering in defeat. In between, Elizabeth. And through her, all of
England reigned supreme. But here’s the important thing. Her hand rests on a globe and her fingers rest on America. This is the map of her power. The defeat of the armada
was a European battle, but it was all about America. That was the imagination, that was the object, that was the goal. The defeat of the armada
showed that England must and could do battle. And it would move that
battle across the Atlantic. England, now the premier
naval power of Europe, dominated the seas. And that domination led directly to plans for imperialist expansion
into the new world. England had already been on
the shores of North America. They sent exploratory missions, looked for places to settle, and took native translators
back to England. Whether these men were
ambassadors or captives or spies or all three, it’s hard to pin down. And they wrote about these
adventures to eager audiences. Early attempts at colonization, like the colony at Roanoke, had failed, resulting in violence and abandonment. Nonetheless, what was
happening at this time was about more than establishing
European settlements. It was also about feeding
European imagination with a true belief in
the English as a world, and, especially, a new world power. This required new kinds of information produced expressly by English
men of English voyages. A man named John White was
sent with the Roanoke voyages to capture that world on paper. He was an accomplished
artist and mapmaker. His images of America
were the most true to life ever been produced by a European. Here’s the image of
Englishmen entering Virginia. And White is not reluctant
to show realistically the enormous challenge of reentering the Carolinas’ Outer Banks. We see ships wrecked at the attempt at they actually were. The monster in the sea is perhaps a metaphor for these dangers, the one fancy that White allowed himself in all of his images of the settlement. This is also the one image that shows anything of the Europeans. Once on the shores, native
people became his only subject. This image shows the village of Secotan. Now, compare it to all
those cannibal villages where we saw legs and heads and arms hanging from the rafters. Compare it to the group
of disordered Indians, either turning confusedly
this way and that, or gathered chaotically
around a burning kettle, or flung indiscriminately into a pit. Here, all is orderly, neat and logical. Secotan is shown as an agrarian town without defenses or stockades. The watercolor shows
houses in the village, places of meeting and worship, a fire circle for solemn speeches, a dance crowd for celebrations, and an extensive agricultural practice. People are gathered
around the fire circle, they are gathered in the dancing ground, they are gathered in the
village thoroughfares. These people are not wanderers. They are not like beasts of the forest. White introduces native civilization to the English imagination. And it is unlike anything they’ve seen. Their cultural activities
bear a mark of exoticism, but they’re more intriguing
than threatening or fantastical. Here, people dance around a pole, much like folk festivals
so familiar in England. The accompanied text tells us that although their
movements vary individually, together they keep a rhythm
with their feet and instruments. Again, it’s drawn from the life, and not from fantasy. While the standard European viewer may have seen naked antics, culture is clearly depicted here, in their decorated bodies, in
their ornament and jewelry, in their instruments,
the tall carved figures, in the embrace of the central figures. English people believed that once they landed in the Americas, they would find a howling wilderness. They continue to believe that because wilderness was something that was
supposed to be tamed. But very early on in the English
presence in Native America, there were also these
finely articulated reports that to enter the new world
was to enter Indian cultures in all their strange and complex fullness. Here, a man and woman take a meal. Their features are native, so is their squatting position, and the large wooden platter laid out on a reed mat before them. But they’re also highly individualized. What’s interesting here
is White’s intimacy with his subjects. In Roanoke, he’s seeing not only the overview of the village, not only the public ritual of the dance, but also the private scenes like this, the daily meals. As an official observer and recorder, White must know all the
elements of native culture including their diet. But there’s a familiarity here, too. Although absent from the rendering, White has been invited into this scene. Engravings of White’s watercolors, along with the scientist Thomas Harriot’s report of Virginia, were published in 1590 as
the brief and true report of the new found land of Virginia. Together, Harriot and White
had been charged with gathering as much information as possible
about the new found land, and rendering it in concrete ways. Detailed, accurate,
comprehensive, methodical, their work accomplished
every goal set for it. Taken on its own, each man’s work rendered the new world in
ways it had never seen before. Published together, the
effect was groundbreaking. That volume was prized for the exhaustive and remarkable firsthand
knowledge it contained. Harriot and White offered an emphatic view of what was there. And all of Europe awaited the view. When White’s watercolors were
translated into engravings for that published volume, something happened to native people. Their faces and bodies changed, their postures, their context. Little changes perhaps, but
enough to make a difference. See here how the couple’s
legs are elongated from a squat to a lounging position, from a position uncommon and
uncomfortable to Europeans to something that looks
more like picnicking. See the more articulated musculature, like classical figures. See especially the woman’s face. With Europeanized
features, eyebrows raised, mouth slightly open, she looks directly at the viewer, beckoning him to come into the scene. The ground before them is
now filled with native craft. It is also filled with the
fruits of land and sea. And behind them where the
watercolor simply had empty space, the engraving adds
gently rolling hillscape, a succumb sky. This is an image that
invites the imagination of European viewers. Natives are different,
but not too different. They resemble Europeans
in a more innocent age. As such, they can be
brought into civilization. If only someone would take
charge enough to teach them. Here are the two pictures side by side. See what you make of the differences. They may seem subtle enough, but they’re enough to give a
different sense to the scene. The text is provided by Thomas Harriot who’s careful to note, “They are very sober in
their eating and drinking, “and consequently very long-lived “because they do not oppress nature.” Here, admiration, indifference, and innocence and
primitiveness and potential are all intertwined. The imagination can’t
settle on a single vision, but entertain multiple possibilities of who these people are, who they would be amongst the English and who the English would be amongst them. Here’s White’s watercolor
of an Indian in body paint. Look at the artful application of paint on the man’s neck and
torso and arms and legs. It begs us to imagine
the scene of applying it. Here, the warrior has
readied himself for battle, and every stroke of paint on his body carries cultural meaning. And what do we have here? A doubled view, like a specimen, front and back. The warrior is now free of paint, which is the mark of culture, but elaborately muscled,
which is the mark of nature. He looks like the David
in his contrapuntal pose. He’s not prepared for war, but rather for the hunt
which precedes behind him. Bows and arrows trained on
deer, and not on other men. The warrior in body paint
has been both elevated and somehow domesticated, made exotic and classical
at the same time. This is the version that
entered the European imagination as they saw these stunning figures. They were adjusted to a European eye, an eye that wanted to see
some version of the known reflected in the wholly separate culture that they were trying to posses. Even White, in his immediate experience, could not escape from forms of mediation. The Indian man takes a familiar power pose in European portraiture as seen here in the double portrait of Sir Walter Raleigh and his son. So even in these portraits, which were, essentially, field drawings, artistic conventions
couldn’t help but creep in. On the one hand, there was seeing. For clearly White, living
among the Algonquin saw this man in many, many
postures and gestures. On the other hand, there
was representation. In between the two, there was a gap as artist sought to represent the extreme novelty they were seeing through ways they had been taught to see. Did this erase native difference, domesticate native foreignness, deny the uniqueness or a
radically different culture? Or, did it grant to native people what European observers
recognized as humanity? Did it elevate them from a crude nature? Certainly, there was a notable transition between watercolors and engravings, but this pairing shows us that even in the meticulously
direct observer like White, he was trained to see in
certain culturally-bound ways and to apply those forms
to the world around him. Look how much this picture
of what White and Harriot called the Conjurer resembles the classical figure of Pan, the Greek god of hunters and the wilds. Importantly, the shaman is
not represented as a demon, but rather as a classical figure. Thus, he can almost be assimilated by analogy with English folk culture and with classical antiquity. The artistic image created a mental image of movement, power and vibrancy rather than the dark
brooding demonic force. Of course, the latter
still existed powerfully in the European imagination and would for hundreds of years, but at this very early point, there also existed a counterpoint, a man flying forth in the
light of his unearthly powers. In the end, the watercolors
were individual items, while the engravings could
be reproduced widely, and they were. Everywhere that the new
world was the subject, the engravings of White’s
figures were found. The engravings were exquisitely detailed. They were beautiful, in fitting with an expensive travel book. They created a novel
and noble visual culture that could be put to many uses. They were classical and exotic at once. These watercolors dominated
the European imagination. The market had spoken. For armchair explorers,
these would be the figures that fueled the imagination
of the new world. So that even when it came to John Smith’s painstaking map of Virginia, where every creek, town, village, byway was visited by Smith himself, the figures reenter to establish this not only as a new world space but as an Indian space. Look how massively the
Native Americans, men, looms over the map, dwarfing
everything within it, dwarfing, especially, the small but ubiquitous wooden ship opposite him. So on Smith’s map, you have
both empiricism and imagination. Smith’s map is exquisitely detailed with the authority of
his personal experience, and yet dominating over is the figure of the Indian in body paint, which becomes the imaginative realm of the world that Smith has depicted. So we know that empiricism and imagination exist hand in hand. This sounds like something
that you say in college, right? Empiricism and imagination
exist hand in hand. But we’ve known this
ever since we found out that the story of
pilgrims was not all this. And yet we resurrect
it every Thanksgiving. It’s true that the English separatists who called themselves pilgrims shared a feast with the Wampanoag Indians after a successful harvest, the first harvest after a punishing winter that killed half their people. We know this happened
because Edward Winslow wrote, “Our harvest being gotten in, “our governor sent four men a fowling “so that we might, after a
special manner, rejoice together. “Amongst us was their
greatest king, Massasoit, “with some 90 men, “and whom for three days
we entertained and feasted. “They went out and killed five deer. “And although it not always so plentiful “as it was at this time with us, “yet by the goodness of
God, we are far from want.” But we know peace and plenty
were not always the case. The Wampanoag and the
English did enter a treaty, but it was because they needed each other due to long-lasting and deep hostilities with the Narragansett and the Pequot. Massasoit’s Wampanoag were weakened, dissimilated by disease, a killer, that as we saw with the Spanish, preceded and accompanied
Europeans wherever they went. However, this Thanksgiving, as we call it, is what we celebrate. So though an event did
happen in some fashion, our memory of it, there’s a difference
between event and memory, our memory of it relies on and reproduces an elaborate imagination of what things were like in the new world. Because if 90 Wampanoag were at the feast, many thousands of native
people throughout New England passed through this other state. Here is Governor William
Bradford’s depiction of what happened in one trading place where Indians and English
lived side by side. He writes, “For it pleased God “to visit these Indians
with a great sickness “and such a mortality that of a thousand, “above 9 1/2 hundred of them died, “and many of them did rot above
ground for want of burial. “These Indians that lived
about their trading house “fell sick of the small pox
and died most miserably; “for a sorer disease cannot befall them, “they fear it more than the plague. “For, usually, they that have this disease “have them in abundance, “and for want of bedding
and linen and other helps, “they fall into a lamentable condition “as they lie on hard mats, “the pox breaking and mattering “and running into one another, “their skin cleaving by reason thereof “to the mats they lie on. “When they turn, a
whole side will flay off “at once as it were, “and they will be all of a gore blood, “most fearful to behold. “And then being very sore, “what with cold and other distempers, “they die like rotten sheep.” Bradford goes on to
describe their inability to help each other. “They’re crawling about on all fours, “they’re dying on the way
to get a little water.” Here, we see native
suffering fully embodied in full and detailed view. Bradford chose bodies in pain in a visceral way. Part of this disease belongs
to their primitive condition, and yet even as they crawl on all fours, they die like sheep, innocent. Still Bradford cannot
veer from the full dissent into their corrupted bodies. The pox breaking and mattering
and running into each other. The skin flaying, the gore blood. In the end, they cannot help each other. They descend into the
stuff of pure matter, unrelieved by the possibility of grace. That grace was everywhere the
providence of the pilgrims, who even when their own died felt themselves to be watched over by God who eased corruption and elevated
the spirit from the body. Imagine if of every 10 people you know, nine of them died a horrible death right in front of your eyes. And yet when the Europeans witnessed this, even in rare compassion, they believed it was what pleased God. It pleased God to clear the
land for European possession, to clear away the primitive heathen, to make room for the
civilized, the Christians, the ones who (mumbles)
people of the new world with the strength of
their bodies and spirits, their civilization and religion, their firm knowledge that the
land was theirs to posses. It was the future pointed
to by the finger of God. The colonial captain, John Mason, who led the attack on the Pequot also said that the finger of God was on the matchlocks
of the colonial soldiers who set fire to the Pequot Fort. It was 1637, and the powerful Pequot had
demonstrated their resistance to the colonial effort to
dominate the fur trade. The colonists called them insolent and concluded the only
way to discipline them was to destroy them. This illustration was published with English accounts of the massacre. Colonists came in the predawn hours to set fire to the Indian village. They killed over 500
men, women and children. The engraving shows
the homes at the center surrounded by fortifications. Surrounding that are the armed colonists, guns raised and ready. Surrounding them are their Mohegan and Narraganset allies, who, though reluctant to join the English, had their own reasons to
want to check Pequot power. But they were horrified when they witnessed the
English way of warfare, which was total. “It was too furious,” they said. “It slayed too many men.” But Mason declared that on that day God laughed his enemies and the enemies of his people to scorn by making the fort into a fiery oven. What does this illustration show of the chaos and the fury, of the horror and mass death, of the burning and the bleeding, of the screaming and the running, of the smoke and the flames? Nothing. It shows us concentric circles each perfectly formed, each ordered and complete. It powerfully contains
our imagination of war. The map returns the viewer to stasis. Within that stasis, the wholesale killing of
the fort’s inhabitants seems to be the necessary
outcome of the encounter. It was what God ordained. And so we come back to the
circle ordained by God. Before the discovery of
the fourth continent, which is to say before the
creation of the new world, the vision of the globe was bound, perfect in its meaning. The very compass that
God laid upon the deep. But after European
knowledge of that continent, the world became binocular. The circle doubled to represent
an old world and a new. And in the passage between them flowed knowledge and desire, fantasy and fear, curiosity and violence, information and imagination. And where are we now? What is our new world? According to the motto of Google Earth, you now have the whole
world in your hands. So what do we imagine? Is it its oneness or its multitudes? Is it its timelessness
or its vulnerabilities? Is it our deep knowledge of the globe or depths that are yet unexplored? The technologies of the early modern world allow them to find and also
to imagine a Modus Novus, a new world. News of it separated the
past from the present, yesterday from today. Our technologies have also created a world that even two decades
ago was unimaginable. Immediate personal access to unlimited geospatial
data visualization, or what we call Google Earth, was put in the palm of
your hands with your iPhone only 10 years ago. It is stunning. It is astonishing. And yet as we click and type and swipe, as we search and send and return, we are in a way echoing an older time, a time when the known
world opened exponentially. The global imaginary changed then, and it’s changed again today. Even as we hold a vast
and virtual knowledge in our very hands, we, too, are imagining a new world. (audience applauds) Thank you. Thanks very much. So let’s take a stretch. (laughs) So now I wanna talk to
you a little bit about studying the humanities at Berkeley, which is what I do in
the English Department and what I hope many of you will do. Maybe you’re a little curious
about how we do things there. But I like to tell a story, so I’m gonna start by telling a story and then get into what we’re
doing in the humanities. So the story is this, that once there was, it’s a real story. Okay, so (audience laughs) once there was a mother and a daughter. And every year, the mother
would give the daughter a present for her birthday. When the girl was very young,
the gifts were really simple, like a feather or a
pretty bead or a marble. And as the girl got older, the gifts became more elaborate, like a kaleidoscope or
a bag with fringe on it, a little bracelet. And each year they sat
across from one another in this anticipation as
the gift was about to be exchanged between them. So on the girl’s 18th birthday, the mother came but she
came with empty hands. And the girl wondered what had happened, wondered if something went wrong. And so the girl just said,
“Mother, it’s my birthday.” And the mother said, “Yes, it is. “And today I am giving
you the most precious, “best gift in the world. “Today, I’m giving you yourself.” So for you, precisely
because you are sitting here, you have been given yourself this week in a powerful way. Now, the question is what
are you going to do with it? I suggest that you give
yourselves very fully to this opportunity. I suggest that you read
everything that is put before you. And I suggest, especially,
that you open your minds to what people have
thought about being human and about that most precious thing, human experience, to explore how people have made
meaning of that experience, how they’ve understood
human difficulty or beauty, how they’ve understood creation or loss, how they’ve contemplated in silence or acted in passion, how they’ve entered into mysteries, how they’ve arrived at knowledges. Explore how people have
looked at the divide that separates us, and how they’ve tried to bridge it. I encourage you to study
how the case of being human has been shaped and
recorded and preserved. This is why we study the humanities, to enter into the minds of others who have thought deeply
about what it is to be human. We study the works that they’ve created in attempt to understand this world, all the philosophies and religions, all the literatures, the
paintings, the sculptures, all the music and performances. We examine the ways that
people of all times and places have meditated on this human condition and have allowed their imaginations to give it shape and form. And you should pursue this
broad and very meaningful study with your eyes and heart, and minds wide open. The humanities are vital. Become vital in studying them. Vitality is inherent in
every human act of making. Everyone who writes, in
some way, has to write. No one writes idly. Writing is hard work. Making art is hard work. Philosophy is hard work. If something in you doesn’t
absolutely have to do it, chances are you won’t do it. So when we encounter the creative act, when we encounter the act of mind, we are encountering a sense of urgency. Something needs to be said, to be seen, to be heard, to be thought, not only for the artist alone but for the artist in
communication with others. Sometimes this audience
is ready-made and waiting. Charles Dickens kept the city of London waiting in bated breath for a over a year while he gave out
installments of Bleak House. Sometimes this audience is barely imagined or centuries down the road. Emily Dickinson wrote 1,800
poems in her lifetime. They weren’t published
until a lifetime later. But to all, there’s a sense of urgency in what brings one to the page. And to be a student of the humanities is, ultimately, to mirror
this sense of urgency. We align ourselves with the
page in order to bring back what was brought there in the first place. And we connect to what’s come before us. We also bring new and
different questions to the page so that the meaning of a work of art keeps changing and changing over time. Now, your professors
have spent their lives honing the civility to align
and connect and expand. This is a great gift of human practice. They’ll do everything they can
not only to pass it onto you, but to evoke it in you, to create all the conditions that allow it to proceed from you, to think alongside you, to make reading different because you’re the one
that’s asking the questions. This is what you deserve. Because you’ve come here for
a great and lasting education and you’ve worked hard for. It’s common to think what you deserve is based on what you’ve already done. You deserve the honor roll because you worked so
hard in all your classes, you deserved admissions to
a high-ranking university because you worked to do everything right for the past four years. You deserve to come here because you found and
followed your passion in junior college. Deserving, in this way,
refers to something that’s already complete. But I wanna suggest
another type of deserving. You deserve to have
something offered to you because you want that thing
so genuinely and so much. You deserve to have
something taught to you because you so crave that knowledge. You deserve to learn
because it fills a need that is real and that can’t
be filled any other way. Each of you deserves a deep
and meaningful education not because of what
you’ve done to get here, but because of what you now want from this remarkable place. What you want has truth in it. If you crave this education, if you’re willing to devote your time, your mind, your heart to it, then you deserve everything
that is available in every classroom you enter not because of what you’ve been, but because of what you’re becoming, because of what you can be. That’s why you’re here. Now let me tell you a little bit about where I live in the university, my intellectual home here, which is in the Arts and Humanities. There are 19 departments
in the Arts and Humanities. If we think about them in large clusters, there are kind of four clustered groups. There’s literature and languages, philosophy and rhetoric, global cultures, and art and artmaking. So the clusters are only
meant to give us a sense of what the humanities are as a whole, but within each cluster,
there’s so much going on. There’s art history, classics, English, comparative
literature, film and media, East Asian cultures, Near-Eastern studies, philosophy, rhetoric, all the languages with
all of their cultures, all of the arts, all of that is going on
in Arts and Humanities. So, it’s kind of hard to wrap our minds about the learning that
goes on in our fields. But I just wanted to give
you a couple of glimpses of what you might find
studying in this division. So, we teach no fewer than 65 languages. I just wanna say that again, 65 languages. You can study ancient cultures
by using digital tools. You can study Shakespeare and
perform him in the same class. You can study film in
over a dozen departments. When you study words,
you will learn everything from close reading to linguistic theory. When you study images,
you can look at everything from ancient Buddha sculptures to contemporary installations. When you study philosophy, you
will join a group of students that grows every single year. You can write poetry with a poet laureate. A Fulbright or MacArthur
or Guggenheim fellow may well be behind the lection. The English Department is the number one
department in the nation. It’s the number one English
Department in the nation. The Humanities have more faculty members who have won the
Distinguished Teaching Award than any other division on campus. This is the university’s
highest teaching award. Our classes are smaller in the Humanities. For lower division, they are 65% smaller than the average UC Berkeley class. Our professors teach more. We prioritize and cherish the opportunity to know our students. In my department, for example, 70% of your courses will
be taught by a professor. Even now, your professors
are waiting to meet you. They are waiting to invite
you into conversation, this I know. I am, I talked to them. We are. And this is a hugely important fact. The satisfaction rate of students
in the Art and Humanities is, overwhelmingly, the highest on campus. I mean, double some divisions, right? The satisfaction rate is,
overwhelmingly, the highest. Which means that, of any other
group of students on campus, Arts and Humanities students feel they’ve made the right choice. So, in the Humanities, beyond teaching you this exceedingly broad range of topics offered by the study of
language and culture, we also dedicate ourselves to teaching critical thinking and reading. Our graduates are highly skilled in analyzing all kinds of texts, in constructing arguments, in
communicating persuasively, and in using that most powerful tool, the written word. These are immensely valuable skills, both in the university and beyond it. Humanistic methods and knowledge can be brought powerfully to
bear on any field of endeavor. Humanity students pursue careers in law, cultural institutions,
technology, business, medicine, government, education,
international affairs, because they’ve been taught to think critically and creatively, to explore and ask
thought-provoking questions, to hone their insights
and to arrive at clarity. These skills are much
needed in today’s world. Humanities careers are found anywhere where creative inquiry, critical thinking and cogent expression are essential. Which is to say anywhere. But you’ve just arrived. You haven’t even really begun yet. You’ve just heard your lecture, but be prepared to be blown
away by possibly hundreds more. And by your seminars where
you’ll think with each other under the guiding hand of a professor. And through that spontaneous
but learned conversation, arrive at something completely original. And by your Office Hour visits. Don’t forget to go to Office Hours. The professor’s there waiting to see you. There, you have one on one conversations about what you’re writing and
reading and thinking about. I mean, I walk by and see students lined up outside the professor’s
door for office hours. And I smile because I know that every single one of those students is gonna be so much richer
by the end of the day. And the beauty here is that
each of these experiences will build and build day by day as you make this place
more and more your own. Until when you say, “I’m from Cal?” That will mean a whole world to you. So even as the newest members
of this Berkeley community, you’re already involved
in shaping the campus. You’re here as a group for
a world class education. And you’re also here as individuals. You do possess that most
greatest gift, yourself. Now, I dare you to share it with us. And I promise you the results
will be extraordinary. Thank you. (audience applauds) (audience member speaks inaudibly) Sure, we have a little time for questions. There’s a microphone down here. So, if you’d like to come
and talk a little bit, that would be welcome. Anything about the Humanities, study in the Humanities, that as well. Yes. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Oh, my goodness. Well, I would have to say a couple. One is, I have a class called 130A, and it’s a survey of
early American literature. And it fulfills a requirement for pre-1800 literature
in the English Department. So a lot of people take it
to fulfill that requirement. And so they come in not thinking that they’re
gonna like it very much. Because they think it’s
just gonna all be Puritans. So it’s really, really fun
to take a group of people who have a lot of preconceived notions about what really America, you know, pilgrimy kind of stuff is, and bring them all the way
through that historical period. And end with a really, really rich and complex understanding. That is something I really love to do. And then another kind
of class that I teach are small writing classes about writing the critical essay or writing really
accessible academic prose. And there, we work in really
tight groups in workshops. I love seeing things go from idea to draft to finished product. Those are the two that
come to mind immediately. Yeah. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Oh, that’s a really hard one. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Well, I mean, in some ways I
would say my favorite book is Moby-Dick even though
that’s a standard answer, but it’s only because
every time you go into it, you come out a different person. And no matter how many times you read it, it’s like water, it changes
underneath your hands. And that’s a wonderful experience. But I also have a book that really turned me on to
early American studies that’s a very slim 34-page
captivity narrative from 1692. And I would say a book
that had an impact on me, those 34 pages changed my life because I started to ask
questions in a whole new way about a whole new world. So, there’s that one too. A big one and a little one. (laughs) (audience member speaks inaudibly) Well, there are many ways. Every class will have that
as one of the goals, right? So that you don’t just have content goals, you have method goals, right? How do you teach someone to ask the right kinds of questions that will result in
original argument, right? And then beyond that, once you’ve arrived at original argument, how do you express it in a way that is most persuasive and beautiful
to other readers, right? So, every class is going
through those three stages as well as covering their content. Most professors give intermediary
assignments along the way. And so I think one thing
is really understanding what the assignment is about. So if it’s assignment that’s about method, about asking questions, to really concentrate on that and don’t just start to think you’re gonna start to write your paper for that one, you know, that that’s installment one. So that’s one thing. Another thing is to
really use Office Hours, both with your GSI, if you have one, a reader for a lecture
and with the professor. Because if you start to work early enough, if you have drafts, if you have outlines, it’s really a tutorial that goes through those kinds of materials so that you’re not alone in the field. You have people whose
goal is to help you become a better writer, no matter what
it is that you’re studying. And then I would also
say the last thing is, so the first thing is pay attention to what
you’re being asked to do, and know that those are
very particular skills. Go and talk to someone about
it as often as you can. And then the last thing is, when you’re reading critical articles, stop enough to say to yourself, “How did she do that? Like, “How did she get
from that first paragraph “to the second paragraph? “Where is she laying out her argument? “Is she laying out her argument
in the fourth paragraph? “How did she get that far? “How did she make this transition?” So to analyze the people who are doing it really well and really seamlessly, and then steal their techniques. Yeah, sure. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Yeah, it’s a really good question. Because I think that now,
this is just my opinion, is that the powers of technology are awaiting the most imaginative questions possible. And then they will manifest
answers to those questions. So, it’s a real what if time. What if this, what if that, you know. Because I think that the questions now, we’re in a time of great curiosity and insight and creativity. We can be, right? Because we have to
outstretch the technology which will race up to meet us. And so that’s what I think,
it’s more like a what if time. As opposed to this time
where things existed, and it was like what is over there? Let me try to imagine what’s over there. Now, it doesn’t exist yet. And we can make our technology
race up to meet our question. Those two things are different, yeah? Yeah. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Well, there are two types of classes, lectures and discussion. Most people include some
discussion in their lectures. So end the lecture a little
soon and have some discussion or have some discussion in the lecture. But those small seminars are 12-person, 15-person seminars are mostly
upper division classes. However, there’s a series
called the Freshmen Seminar and the Sophomore Seminars
where you get those small classes taught by a professor. And that’s an option for students who want that small class
experience early on. And then also in your R&C classes, in your Reading and Composition classes, those are small classes as well. But the big classes, there’s
a lot to be said for them. But it needs to be balanced as well. You know, not just being
someone who takes in everything, but someone who also can produce. Yeah. Oh. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Okay, well, I was gonna say there’s a creative writing minor which
is available across divisions, but if you’re looking for
extracurricular ways to do it, in some departments there are peer-led creative writing workshops. And that’s not a class,
that’s just something that, like there are some in
the English Department, that’s something that students
who kind of couldn’t get, like didn’t have enough of a portfolio to get into a creative writing class, but still wanted to do it. So they have peer-led workshops. The other thing just to take note of is that there are over 100
publications on campus. And those are not
connected to any classes. But I could see you getting hooked up in one of those publications
and working your way through, you know, there’s a whole
kind of extracurricular literary world there beyond
the particular classes. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Yeah, so rhetoric and image have a lot of crossover as do comp lit, and English have crossover as well. I would say that the boundary wavers. So I would say that in
the English Department, the focus is more on studying
texts and analyzing texts. Whereas, in the Rhetoric Department, it’s focused on ways of meaning. So there’s much more theory involved in the Rhetoric Department. So it’s more theoretical,
more philosophy comes in. Not that there’s not philosophy and theory in the English Department, but we’re really text-centered
for the most part, and what has been said, what can be said. Where rhetoric is more like, how does saying happen, you know? How do people create language and meaning? And that’s more what’s
happening in Rhetoric. So Rhetoric can also be very
interdisciplinary as well. Was there one more back here? Yes. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Yeah, I think they know
their professors better, that they feel like they’re
following a real passion more, that the Arts and Humanities have a great breathe of offerings, that they can kind of
stay within the division but have a great breathe of offerings. I think that people who
want to study the arts have tremendous passion for the arts and don’t wanna do
anything else so they have, not that they don’t
wanna do anything else, but they wouldn’t be happy
if thy weren’t in the arts. And so they have a tremendous
level of satisfaction because they are in the arts. But I also think that the
teaching is just extraordinary and there’s a real sense of community in the Arts and Humanities. It’s not a competitive, you
know, bell curve competitive type of I’m-up-you’re-down
intellectual environment. There’s a tremendous sense
of support in community and a lot of people really feel at home in their departments. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Yeah, well, that’s why I
wanted to say at the end, like what do we imagine? Do we imagine its wholeness
or its multitudes? Do we imagine what we
know or what don’t know? And I think that one, this is my opinion, that one of the dangers is the arrogance that comes with technological
powers, you know, and that moving away from the human scale. Just because we can do something, does that mean that we should do it? And moving away from the human scale just because we can picture
and manipulate something in virtual ways. What about the lives that that impacts, the people that are there? So I think that the virtual
can sometimes get too disconnected from the human, and I think that that
is one of the dangers of the kind of new world
that we’re in today. Human time, you know, human
contexts, human space. All these things, yeah. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Can you just speak up a wee bit? (audience member speaks inaudibly) Okay. I’m not teaching any lower
division studies next year, but I will the year after that. I’m also serving now as the associate dean of Arts and Humanities, so my teaching schedule is a little less than it would be otherwise. So, it won’t be until the year after that, I’ll teach a lower division course. And, you know, I started off
as a Victorianist (laughs) and then my interests went across the sea to 19th-century America. And then one of my professors told me that there are two types of kind
of intellectual questions. One type says, “And then what happened?” And the other type said,
“How did it get that way?” And so (laughs) I had the how
did it get that way question. So I started to go back and back in time until I found the colonial hour where I thought things were wild. I thought it was a wild world, and it was, you know, the whole
world around the encounter, people who had never
seen each other before. And in this encounter, to me,
was absolutely fascinating. It was a fascinating place of potential, also a fascinating place of
violence in just not knowing, and what do people do
when they have no idea what their life is now? That just blew my mind. So I just wanted to keep on
reading and reading around that. (audience member speaks inaudibly) I’m sorry, incoming freshman who, what? (audience member speaks inaudibly) Yeah, I think that the Reading load is going to be much higher. So, to make a real calendar and schedule of your reading load, and how you’re gonna get through that, and not just to wait like for each week because sometimes the reading
load will be the less one week and a little more the next week, but to really keep up with the reading. And, again, go to section,
if there are sections, go to section and be
vocal in those sections so that the questions that are like rolling around in the back
of your head get some airing and you get lots of
different opinions on them so that you can kind of
step up to that place. So those would be the two things, the workload and not to keep
your questions to yourself. Those would be the two loads. But I don’t know if I
would recommend taking lots of upper division classes. It depends on what your experiences. I guess it’s an individual case. But those workloads are
significantly higher. Yeah. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Yeah, all the time. Because a lot of the things that I teach are not recognized as literary texts. I teach like the laws of
the Indian Removal in 1830. And I teach like, you know,
Jackson’s address to Congress or Jefferson’s notes on
the state of Virginia. I teach a lot of those kind of text, but I teach them in literary ways. It’s not until later,
much later in my field, that the novel comes. There’s some poetry, but it’s not until the very end of my field in the 1790s that the novel comes. So you have to learn how to bring this kind of literary tool
kit to historical artifacts. And it’s not about just
saying, “What happened?” It’s not just about a vent,
but it’s about representation, it’s about how was that described, what kind of language was brought to it, what is the structure
of this kind of thought? You know, like we were doing today. You know, the map, you could
just say, “The map is the map.” But where does imagination lie in it? So that you get not only what this is, but what this means in
a broader cultural way. So in my classes, when we’re
working on those early texts, that’s something that
we’re doing all the time. (audience member speaks inaudibly) So, yeah, in comparative literature, you’re working in more than
one language, obviously. So that’s the primary difference. And you’re working in the languages in order to get to the reading level where you can read novels in the language. But comparative literature
is also teaching novels in translation, as are the language departments. And I think this is something
that not a lot of people know, but like you can read Madame Bovary in a French class in translation. There are always some of
those classes like that. And that is true in
comparative literature as well. But you’re working on your
languages to get to the point where you’re reading sophisticated college level
text in that language. But the goals of literary
reading are held uncommon. Did you have a question? No. Yeah. (audience member speaks inaudibly) That’s in Spanish. That’d be in the Spanish Department, yup. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Well, one thing that you can do, depending on where you are
in your second language and where you are in your third. I mean, if you wanna do two other
languages other than English. You can go see one of
the student advisers, either in your department or one of the L&S student advisers, and plan out a curriculum for when you would be
able to take, you know, would you be able to take comparative literature
classes in translation up until the point where you could do them in other languages, and what kind of commitment are you making to, say, the French Department, before you switch over to
comparative literature. I’d say that that’s a
kind of individual case, or at least I know it
as an individual case. I don’t know patterns in those cases, so I would recommend talking to an adviser and creating individualized curriculum. This is the other thing,
is that there are L&S, Letters and Science advisers, who are there precisely to help
you put together curriculum. No one expects that with
thousands and thousands of course offerings, that you’re gonna know how to chart a path that’s gonna last you four years. So, I would definitely
take advantage of that. They’re also waiting for you. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Yeah, sure, one more question? (audience member speaks inaudibly) Oh, it’s a captivity narrative, and it’s called The
Captivity of Mary Rowlandson. She was taken captive by
Algonquian Indians for a 11 weeks in King Philip’s war in the 1690s. (audience member speaks inaudibly) It’s awesome. – Is it good?
– Yeah. (audience member speaks inaudibly) Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s awesome. Alright, well, thank you. Thank you for staying. (audience applauds) Thanks so much.

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