The Findlen article brought up so many fascinating points to ponder.

First. On page 9 Findlen discusses the idea of other worldliness and the usefulness of some goods in the Americas that are not of particular value in Europe.  Before our previous class, I never considered the title given to the the land mass of the Americas.  The New World.  Just the title creates a place completely foreign, ‘out of this world’, and unrecognizable to everything Europeans knew.  However unlike most understandings of other it is not necessarily negative.  ‘New’ gives the idea of a fresh start, a chance to build upon European culture, but make it better.  I have zero anything to back this up, but thinking about it critically the word choice of ‘New World’ and what it must have been like for the earliest explorers to finally make land fall brings to mind Revelations 21:1 “Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.” Does the name New World call back to Revelations or is it just to designate its otherness?

Second.  We’ve talked a lot about how to hold an exhibit that displays art from other cultures in a thoughtful way that places the artifacts in their historical context.  However, on page 11 they bring to light the stories of certain objects that originated in African cultures, but made its way to European culture.  How would these objects be included in an exhibit?  They have had two different uses in different cultures.  Almost like the Islamic rugs of the last readings.  How do we acknowledge both cultures without making one other?

Third. Personally on page 14 when they mention using literary sources to piece together history I mentally responded ‘well duh? of course!’.  At Hope 3/4 of the research papers I’ve written have included a significant section in which I analyze literature to put together a picture of the society I’m writing about.  This made me question why literary sources seems to be worth specifically pointing out.  When you’re a proper historian and can interact with real artifacts are more basic, easily accessible historical sources forgotten?   Is it the limitations on my primary source research material that pushes me to use literary options so often?

I think I ask more questions than I answer.

Katelyn Kiner – Hope College – 2017


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