Florida, the sunshine state with 1350 miles of coastline was once an outpost of Spain’s 17th century empire. Its history comprises Disney World, the largest Cuban community outside of Cuba, a haven for enslaved Catholics in the 17th century and for an aging, largely white middle class in the 20th. It is the site of the nation’s oldest city, and the home to range of Native peoples. A land of swamps, plantations, cities, islands, strip malls and theme parks is now ground zero in climate change discussions. This “purple state” has decided more than one presidential election. This course will explore the history of the many Floridas. We will move roughly through time as we seek to understand Florida and its place in United States culture. Why do people often think of Florida as “not quite southern” although it borders Georgia and Alabama? When and why did Spain colonize the area? How did they lose it? What is the history of the original inhabitants of Florida and how does that story help us understand it now?
The Class: Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: students will be evaluated on class discussion, three short writing assignments and a final research paper of 15-20 pages on a topic that grows out of our reading
Enrollment Preferences: seniors and History majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
WS Notes: Students will be writing three shorter papers throughout the semester. Two of these will be building up towards the final research paper. The third will be more "experimental"... perhaps a piece of historical fiction or eye witness account. The final paper should exceed 15 pages. Students will receive from the instructor timely comments on their writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.
DPE Notes: We will consider how Florida has defined itself, and been defined throughout American history largely based on various groups that occupied space with combinations of military, technological and economic power. This class will investigate the histories and dynamics of these various occupations and settlements, paying close attention the conflicts over space in rural and urban areas. Histories of African Americans and Native people will be central to our investigation.
Attributes: HIST Group F Electives - U.S. + Canada