Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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1. Native Voices   

1. Native Voices

•  Unit Overview
•  Using the Video
•  Authors
•  Timeline
•  Activities
- Overview Questions
- Video
- Author
- Context
- Creative Response
- PBL Projects

Activities: Author Activities

Thomas Harriot - Teaching Tips

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  • Have your students write an ethnographic account of their own family, class, or school as if they were outside observers. You may want to have them do this in two stages: first, have them compose a description of behavior and practices without any analysis; second, have them switch papers with another student and analyze the "meanings" of the group. This short-circuits students' assumptions that they already know these meanings, and it can viscerally implant the sense of unease or even invasion on the part of the object of the ethnography.

  • Students often assume that Renaissance explorers used our own understandings of race and "otherness" when categorizing Native Americans, even though our notions of race today are much indebted to Enlightenment (i.e., eighteenth-century) thought. Show your students Konrad Kolble's map of the New World, which depicts four famous European explorers at its corners, and ask them to identify what makes these figures, literally and conceptually, different from the depictions of Native Americans? What does this map infer about what makes someone civilized or savage? How are these categories reflected in White's drawings and Harriot's descriptions?

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