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Golden Age Pirates




Dr. Kate Swanson

Program Summary

Everyone knows about Caribbean pirates, but have you ever stopped to question just how much of what we see is historically accurate? Do you wonder why pirates have captured the public imagination for over 300 years? In this course, we’ll try to answer these questions by exploring the history, archaeology, and pop-culture of pirates. By the end of the semester, you will be adept at academic research and challenging stereotypes. You will also be a scholar of pirate history and familiar with the origins of pirate lore and mythology. (WARNING: This course might ruin certain pirate movies for you, as you will have to watch and analyze some of them for homework).

HIST 111: Historical Perspectives: Golden Age Pirates
In the history course for this FYE, we examine pirates from a few different angles. We begin with historical accounts of pirates to understand them as people as well as their world and experiences on the high seas. Because not everything is written down, we also look at the archaeology of these marauders and explore the shipwrecks of some famous pirates, including “Black” Sam Bellamy, Edward Teache or Blackbeard, and William Kidd. Once you have a firm understanding of the historical and archaeological facts, we consider how pirates are portrayed in popular culture and whether or not the stereotypes we know and love are valid. This portion of the class includes a few movies, a lot of jokes and songs, and even some TV commercials and possibly costumes.

GEN 101 GP: ILC Golden Age Pirates
In the ILC class for this FYE, we focus on how to conduct original research on pirates and how to present our findings in both written and spoken formats. We also explore time management and study skills that will help you succeed in college and beyond.