As the field of early American literature absorbs the influences of trans-Atlantic and hemispheric models, border zones such as La Florida provide new opportunities for research and classroom study. Given this region’s complicated history, however, the literary history is very difficult to reconstruct. Early descriptions of Florida were written in Spanish, French, Portuguese, English, Latin, German, and native languages, and they took any number of forms, including histories, relaciones, fiction, epic poems, captivity and slave accounts, petitions, diaries, and natural histories. What holds together this diverse body of works? Given the range of materials, one pedagogical approach is to focus on the process of anthologizing itself. Florida offers a test case by which students may replicate the tasks that colonial authors, printers, editors, and anthologists undertook themselves. It provides a test site for micro-histories that, if completed alongside other projects, may be used to redraw the map of colonial American studies.
Think Globally, Dig Locally: Pedagogy and the Archive in Early Florida Literature
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