SAN JOSE STATE UNIVERSITY
History 173 – Spring 2010
Professor Ruma Chopra
MW 10:30-11:45 a.m., DMH 165
T, 9:00-10:00 a.m., W, 1:00-3:00 p.m., and by appointment
(You can access the syllabus, handouts, and paper guidelines via this website.)
Welcome to History 173. In this course we will be studying the variety of communities
that emerged out of contact among Native Americans, Europeans, and Africans in North
America from the late sixteenth century to the American Revolution.
sources—travel narratives, court records, sermons, and letters—and scholarly literature,
we will explore the development of colonial societies.
The themes of this course include interactions between people of different racial and
cultural groups, the emergence of chattel slavery, changes in family and community life,
and the connections between American communities and the Atlantic world.
to gaining a solid understanding of significant events in colonial American history,
students will have the opportunity to confront major historical questions such as:
was power understood, exchanged, and lost?
Where did the institution of American
slavery come from, and was its growth inevitable?
How did indigenous people contribute
to the development of colonial socities?
When did colonists start to think of themselves
As a class, we will investigate what the experience of “colonization”
meant in North America, and how it transformed ideas, economies, institutions, and ways
We will have the chance to spend time each week learning to “decode” primary sources
written in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
These texts can be tricky, but are a
fascinating window into the concerns, vocabularies, and world-views of people living
hundreds of years ago.
By the end of the course, you will have the satisfaction of having
mastered the art of reading sermons, advertisements, private letters, and political
Course Format and Requirements
This class will combine lecture and discussion each week.
To get the most out of our
class time, read closely and carefully, and come prepared to discuss the documents and
Please bring the readings to class so that we can examine them in detail