Pirates and Politics – starting Sept 12, 2019 at 2pm EST

Pirates and Politics – starting Sept 12, 2019 at 2pm EST

Stories of piracy provide the perfect tool for discussing the Age of Discovery to the early 19th century. Piracy thrived at those places where different cultures were meeting for the first time, new lands were being claimed and rulers were fighting economic wars against one another.

Classes will be weekly for 15 weeks. They will last for an hour.

We begin with the Portuguese and Spanish attempting to divide the southern hemisphere between themselves. By their definition, any European ship to trespass in the southern waters was a pirate ship, traveling where it did not belong. This topic will introduce several philosophical themes that will be reoccurring throughout the class.

For example, we’ll talk about how are pirates and privateers were different. Privateers were, by definition, sent out by a legitimate government with authorization to attack ships of a specific nationality, but what makes a government legitimate? During the American Revolution the British treated American seamen as pirates, because to treat them as privateers would be to recognize the authority of the American governments in sending out privateers.

We will talk about the various means by which Europeans attempt to justify their claim to land outside of Europe? The Portuguese claimed exclusive European access to Africa on the basis of the investment they were making in their crusade against the Muslims there. At times Europeans took the attitude that might makes right and at times they claimed under-utilized land was open to those who would make better use of it. We will discussing different examples of colonialism and imperialism, but we’ll also be looking at ways that people resisted the European influence in their lands.

Students will be given homework assignments as well as optional enrichment assignments. They will be asked to participate in discussion.

Course Curriculum

  • A Line Down the Map
  • Religious Divides
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  • King Henry VIII and his Children
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  • Queen Elizabeth Continued
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  • 17th Century Exploration
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  • The Sultan’s Books: War in Morocco
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  • Qing Dynasty
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  • English Civil War
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  • Tangiers and Algiers
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  • Dutch East India Company
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  • Glorious Revolution
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  • Golden Age of Pirates
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  • Trade of Goods and Humans
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  • American Revolution
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  • French Revolution and the Haitian Revolution
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  • End of the Barbary Pirates
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Instructors

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