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Peter Mancall, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History and Anthropology, University of Southern California

Robert C. Ritchie, Director of Research at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens


This seminar will explore the initial creation of “America,” with a particular focus on the period from European contact (starting in 1492) through the establishment of permanent colonies in English North America (1620). We will draw extensively on Native American and European understandings of the early colonial period in territory stretching from Arctic Canada to Brazil, which will necessitate wrestling with both oral and written sources. We will also examine visual and material evidence relating to local and long-distance travel and trade, including the dangers migrants faced on the high seas and the woes that came to Natives who suffered from an invasion of European diseases as well as the threats to their communities and ways of life posed by land-hungry colonizers and soul-hungry priests. The seminar will include a visit to a colonial Spanish mission site as well as the chance to look at rare maps and other manuscript materials in the collections of the Huntington Library. “America,” the seminar will suggest, cannot be understand only as a physical place. Instead, we need to recognize it as the location for countless encounters, which together led to far-reaching changes in the lives of indigenous Americans as well as European and African travelers.


Readings are sent by the Institute to seminar participants. Please check back soon for a list of readings.

Travel & Accommodations

University of Southern California is located within Los Angeles, California. The nearest airport is Los Angeles International Airport. For more information on the campus please click here.

Participants will be in on-campus dormitories in single rooms, but may share bathrooms and common space with other participants.


Meals will be provided by the Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History.

Travel Reimbursement

Each summer seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar.

Participants traveling internationally or from Alaska and Hawaii receive a $500 stipend in lieu of reimbursement upon completion of the seminar.

Applicants to seminars should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the $400 allowance is insufficient to cover all travel expenses. Our reimbursement policy has changed from previous years. For more information on our policy click here.

Graduate Credit

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State University to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers. For more information click here.


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

July 7th, 2013 5:00 PM   through   July 13th, 2013 9:00 AM
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA
United States
Seminar Fee
Attending $50.00
Not Attending $0.00

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