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Viewing: HIST 121 C1: Silver&Gold in Americas

Last approved: Wed, 26 Sep 2018 17:20:05 GMT

Last edit: Tue, 18 Sep 2018 16:11:08 GMT

First Name Last Name Userid Title Home School Org Short Name
Ann Farnsworth-Alvear farnswor ASSOC PROFESSOR HISTORY School of Arts and Sciences Department of History
Spring 2019
Fall 2018
Silver&Gold in Americas
Precious metals shaped pre-Colombian economies and socio-cultural processes in the Americas for thousands of years, before Europeans arrived. After 1492, gold and silver sent from the "New World" to the "Old World" changed economies all over the world. Locally, mining centers were places marked by forced labor, conspicuous consumption, and the destruction of ecosystems. Internationally, gold and silver prices have long had outsized effects on monetary and trade policies. This course uses case studies to delve into the fascinating history of precious metals and mining in North and South America. We will analyze documents describing the gold objects ransacked by Spanish conquistadors, examine 17th Century proto-industrial silver mining at Potosi, trace the impact and human cost of the huge gold strikes in Minas Gerais, in colonial Brazil, read new work on the California and Yukon moments of "rush" and their long-term impact on US monetary policy, and follow new reports about the conflicts at the heart of transnational gold mining in the present. Students will gain experience working with primary sources and will produce an in-depth research paper.
LALS 121 - Silver and Gold in the Americas from pre-history to the present
Every Other Term

Foundational Approach

Course usually offered in spring term
Cross Cultural Analysis
Ann Farnsworth-Alvear
Standing Faculty
Standing Faculty

Methods of Assessment

One in-depth research paper, with course infrastructure designed to coach undergraduates through the note-taking process, the preparation of a professional-quality annotated bibliography, and a final paper of 20 pages.
Weekly quizzes based on readings.
In-class exercises centered on primary source material.

Cross Cultural Analysis

We take precious metals as a lens through which to look at labor, environmental change, and monetary processes.
May I ask who wrote this question? I would love to talk for a few minutes with the colleagues who drafted this, to better understand what they imagine an instructor would write here. The short answer is we consider the 'culture aspects' listed here through visual evidence, texts, and work by historians. A longer answer would require many pages.
By tracing economic, environmental, political, and cultural processes that hinge on the production of silver and gold across centuries.
Through structured, in-class exercises such as those I developed in Hist070 and 071.

Cultural Diversity in the US


Quantitative Data Analysis


Formal Reasoning


Administrative Fields

Key: 803