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Jacqueline Jones, Chair 128 Inner Campus Dr., Stop B7000, GAR 1.104 Austin, TX 78712-1739 • 512-471-3261

Fall 2006

HIS 363K • Demonology and Colonization-W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
40740 -TBA


Course Description

There is perhaps no better way to get into the cultural and intellectual history of the early modern Atlantic world than through the history of the Devil in Spanish and British America. This course explores demonology as it pertains to colonization. For reasons that this course will try to explain, early-modern Europeans were obsessed with the Devil. They thought Satan was not simply a metaphor for evil but an actual physical presence, capable of possessing bodies, unleashing storms, and deceiving the senses. When the Europeans colonized the New World they thought that the Devil was so entrenched there that it was practically impossible to uproot. Although there were millions of demons all over the world, Satan was thought to be the strongest in America. This simple insight led European settlers to see colonization as an epic, chivalric struggle of liberation. Both in Spanish and British America colonists saw colonization as an ongoing epic battle to defeat a Devil bent on manipulating nature, Indians, foreign enemies, and heretics to destroy European settlements. This course will shed light on all these and other aspects of colonization as a battle against Lucifer. This is a reading- and writing-intensive class.

This course seeks for you to partake of the excitement of being a scholar and a historian. It is my goal to give you the tools to learn how to read critically (reading is not an innate skill; it takes time and training to do it well) and how to reconstruct and understand sympathetically bygone cultures using images and texts. These are two basic skills in the historian's tool-kit that will serve you well the rest of your life, regardless of the profession you end up choosing. Lesser goals for this course are for you to become familiar with some possible historical interpretations of the Renaissance, the Reformation, and Early Modern British and Spanish America.

Grading Policy

Weekly reports on readings (50 %) Take-home exams (25 % each) Attendance is mandatory; a full letter grade will be taken out for every three absences.


All the text are available at the UT Coop and can be checked out overnight at the PCL book reserve. Fernando Cervantes, The Devil in the New World (Yale, 1997) Cotton Mather, Wonders of the Invisible World Being An Account of the Trials of Several Witches Lately Executed in New England (Kessinger Publishing, 2003) also available on-line through electronic reserve (different edition, 1866) Jose de Acosta, Natural and Moral History of the Indies (Duke University Press, 2002) William Shakespeare, The Tempest (Folger Shakespeare Library) Washington Square Press, 2004) Richard Godbeer, The Devil's Dominion: Magic and Religion in Early New England (Cambridge, 1992) Electronic Reserve: Most of the readings for this course are on-line through electronic reserve at the following web-page: It is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to download the readings and to let me know EARLY in the semester if you have problems doing so.


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