Discussion Essay # 2 Prompt -Africans in the Americas through Independence. DUE by Monday Oct. 3rd by 11:59pm; Response essays by Wed. Oct 5th by 11:59pm

Carlos Contreras (He/Him)

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Discussion Essay # 2 Prompt –Africans in the Americas through Independence

A two-part discussion essay to be posted in the Discussion Board by this title.

DUE: due by Monday Oct. 3rd by 11:59pm.

Response Essays (2) by Wednesday Oct. 5th by 11:59pm

After having seen and taken notes on all of our films (see these early, links in Canvas), viewed our lectures and read our chapters and articles through “Colonial Legacies III”: African Slavery through Independence” (lectures, Chasteen’s Born in Blood and Fire, our second book, Wood’s Problems in Modern Latin American History[1], and our “Black in Latin America” & “Black Atlantic” films), write a two-part essay in which you address the following:

Part I: Film analysis. Write a well-developed short essay in which you analyze one important theme, or one central idea from our “Black in Latin America” and “The Black Atlantic” films (you’ve seen them all, but here you’re writing in detail about one). Describe that issue in detail, and provide us with historical background from our lectures and readings from Chasteen and from our Wood and Alexander reader short articles so that we can fully understand the theme you’re developing.

Then discuss all of the ways that issue is important for our understanding of the Americas during the middle and late colonial period and why it would be important for the modern era.

Examples of themes that these films deal with: 1) historical roots and origins of African slavery to the Americas; 2) how does the slave trade affect each of those countries- the United States, Brazil, Haiti, the Dominican Republic? (tell us the history of those differences); 3) How does “race-based slavery” emerge in the modern world and what are the consequences of that? 4) In what ways do African cultures (music, dance, language…) reshape those countries and how does this relate to “transculturation”; 5) How does each nation come define “blackness” and what are some consequences of that (legal, and social)? 6) How does African slavery shape the United States (building it, as well creating a social and racial hierarchy that the nation is still grappling with today? These are just a few examples of the themes that these films deal with- there are lots more). Choose one and go deep!

Length of Part I: one to two robust, well-developed paragraphs with specific examples.

Part II: Primary Source Analysis. Write a well-developed short essay in which you analyze the importance of one of the following primary sources or scholarly accounts (all are in Canvas). You’ve read them all but are writing about onehere.

*Primary Source in Canvas: “Olaudah Equiano Describes the Middle PassageLinks to an external site.” 1789 (Read “American Yawp, ” Ch.3 , Sect. II “Slavery and the Making of RaceLinks to an external site.” for important historical context).

*“A Cuban Slave’s Testimony” by Esteban Montejo (Primary Source in Wood & Alexander pp. 55-60)

*“Day on a Coffee Plantation” by Stanley Stein (scholarly account in Wood & Alexander pp. 60-63)

*“Black Wet Nurses” edited by Robert Conrad (primary source in Wood & Alexander pp. 66-68, both parts; Distinguish between the newspaper ads and the French traveler Charles Expilly.

*“Becoming ‘Legally White’ in Colonial Venezuela” (primary source, 1796, by Caracas City Council)

* “On Men’s Hypocrisy” by Sister Juana Inés de la Cruz (primary source in Canvas) (See

*The “Casta” Paintings (most are by Miguel Cabrera in the early 1760s, primary sources in Canvas in the PPT “Colonial Legacies II and III”). There are several, discuss more than one

* “The Vision of Father Morelos” by Enrique Krauze (this is correct spelling; a scholarly account in Wood & Alexander pp. 34-37 with Morelos’ speeches and principles for future constitution)

* “What Independence Meant for Women” by Sarah Chambers (scholarly account in Wood & Alexander pp. 37-41)

* “War to the Death” by Simón Bolívar (primary source pp. 32-33)

*Podcast “Throughline”, episode “America’s Caste SystemLinks to an external site.” (interview with scholar Isabel Wilkerson, 8-2020, on one of America’s most consequential ‘colonial legacies)

After having read them all, discuss all of the following about the document or primary source you’ve chosen to analyze (you’ve read them all and are analyzing one document for your essay and commenting on a different one that you didn’t write about):

a) Tell us all about the document that you’ve chosen. Is it a primary source (an eyewitness account), or a secondary source (a scholarly interpretation)? This is important to know. If yours is a primary source, tell us: who wrote it? to whom? when? why? what was its purpose?

*If it is a scholarly account or podcast (that interviews scholars), discuss all of the contributions of this article or podcast to our understanding of the Americas.

b) Provide historical context from our lectures, readings and films. Situate that document historically. Tell us the history behind the primary source or document. What is happening in the region and what is going on at the time this primary source is produced?

c) Analyze the primary source- interrogate it, ask questions about it. Then tell us all of the ways this source is valuable for our understanding of the Americas.. Primary sources are valuable for us, but we also need to ask questions about them. What kind of language does it use? Who is the audience? What are some assumptions the author or artist makes? Can you identify biases? In examining the “casta paintings,” for example, what assumptions does the painter Miguel Cabrera make about peoples of mixed ethnicities? Another example: Esteban Montejo, our former enslaved person who escaped slavery in Cuba, was interviewed by the anthropologist Miguel Barnett when Montejo was an old man (over 100). He was also one person on a plantation of dozens of people of different ethnicities and who spoke different languages. How might this affect the story that he tells? Another example: In our primary source “Black Wet Nurses”, the section “The Black Wet Nurse as a status symbol”, the French writer Charles Expilly writes about how wet nurses were treated “very well” (among other things). How does he form his conclusions? Can we take his conclusions at face value? Why or why not? Lastly, tell us what contributions your primary source or document makes to our understanding of the history of the modern Americas and why that matters today.

Length of Part II: Two robust and well-developed paragraphs with specific examples

Length of the whole essay (both parts): Three to four well developed paragraphs with specific examples

Submit both parts together to the Discussion Board in Canvas (just label each part: Part I, Part II).

Response to TWO of your classmates’ posts/insights. You are also required to respond to at least TWO other student’s post (see the due date for that one). You can amplify on a point made, raise a related point, discuss the issue in relation to other documents, agree or disagree with supporting evidence (in a constructive way), and/or raise new informed questions that we should all think about. At least should be on a different film or primary source you didn’t write about in your original essay. Two well-developed, and well-supported paragraphs should suffice for your responses.

Format/Works cited: Because you’re using documents from our books, just cite the documents (which document, from which book and what page) and give me a brief ‘works cited’ at the end. Style: History and Social Sciences Use Chicago Manual of Style. English and others use MLA. Which one you use is your choice so long as you’re consistent. Here is GC Library’s Citations GuideLinks to an external site..

The Grossmont College Writing & Humanities CenterLinks to an external site. can help you draft this essay (any step of the way, from outlining it to writing it. They are in the Tech Mall, 70-119. You can stop by, no appointments are necessary, or call them at (619) 644-7516

Please feel free to stop by or Zoom in to our office hours , Tech Mall, 70-218. I can answer any questions, clarify anything, or if you’d like to run ideas by me, feel free.

Grading rubric in Canvas

Disc Essay 2_Africans-Independ_Online-2.pdf