1st Edition

Firsting in the Early-Modern Atlantic World

Edited By Lauren Beck Copyright 2020
    276 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    276 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    For centuries, historians have narrated the arrival of Europeans using terminology (discovery, invasion, conquest, and colonization) that emphasizes their agency and disempowers that of Native Americans. This book explores firsting, a discourse that privileges European and settler-colonial presence, movements, knowledges, and experiences as a technology of colonization in the early modern Atlantic world, 1492-1900. It exposes how textual culture has ensured that Euro-settlers dominate Native Americans, while detailing misrepresentations of Indigenous peoples as unmodern and proposing how the western world can be un-firsted in scholarship on this time and place.

    Introduction: Firsting and the Architecture of Decolonizing Scholarship on the Early-Modern Atlantic World

    Lauren Beck

    Part I: The Foundations for Firsting in Historiography and Literature

    1. John Dee, Humphrey Gilbert, and Richard Hakluyt’s Erasure of Native Americans

    Nate Probasco

    2. The Last of the First? Madness and the Jungle in the Chronicles of the Indies: Lope de Aguirre and His Writing

    Manuel Lucena Giraldo

    3. Dying in their Own Minds: Firsting and Lasting in the Early Jesuit Work with the Tupi Language in Brazil

    Vivien Kogut Lessa de Sá

    4. Literacy and Colonial Beginnings: Inca Garcilaso’s Story of the Letter in Context

    Julián Díez Torres

    Part II: Modernity and Unfamiliarity as Firsting Principles

    5. The Grammar of Inanimacy: Frances Brooke and the Production of North American Settler States

    Rachel Bryant

    6. Firsting and Lasting in the History of Science: Francisco José de Caldas and the Priority Dispute over Hypsometry

    Jorge M. Escobar

    7. History and Progress: Regional Identity and the Useable Past in Nova Scotia, 1857-1877

    Nicolas Haisell

    8. The Afterlife of Settler-Colonial Occupation: Archaeological Excavation as Militarization in the United States-Mexico Borderlands

    Claire Urbanski

    Part III: Un-Firsting the West

    9. American Indian Discovery

    Jonathan DeCoster

    10. Unsettling Spanish Atlantic History: Experiences of the Colonized Through Visual and Material Culture

    Lauren Beck

    11. "This Is an Indigenous City": Un-Firsting Early Representations of Vancouver

    Ashley Caranto Morford

    12. Native American Contributions to Democracy, Marxism, Feminism, Gender Fluidity, and Environmentalism

    Bruce E. Johansen


    Lauren Beck holds the Canada Research Chair in Intercultural Encounter and is Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies at Mount Allison University.

    "A valuable, trendsetting collection for all college libraries."

    -R. Berleant-Schiller, emerita, University of Connecticut, Highly Recommended CHOICE