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AMST 749 01 (12181) /HSAR733
Material Culture of the Colonial Americas (South and North)
Edward Cooke
M 10.30-12.20 LORIA 360
Fall 2016 
 
This seminar explores the material culture created and used during the period of the European colonization of North and South America. The intent and priorities of Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, English, and German settlers in the period 1500–1800 are explored and contrasted. In looking at the entire colonial period, the course explores the effects of colonial policies on importation and local production, the impact of imported objects and immigrant craftsmen upon local craft structures, the extent of trade and mobility within the colonies, and the movement of raw materials within a global economy. Close analysis of indigenous cultures, the uneven impact of various European powers, and the different market levels in the New World contribute to a more nuanced understanding of cultural transfer, adaptation, imposition, emulation, imitation, and hybridity. The result is a deeper sense of the meaning of objects within empire, and the agency of the colonial craftsmen. Ceramics, glass, textiles, and base metals reveal the vast trade networks that linked the various colonies. On the other hand, furniture, and some textiles often borrowed from European conventions but were translated into local materials wrought by local modes of workmanship.