LAS 366 • DEMONOLOGY AND COLONIZATION-W
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
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.