Pirates and Piracy in History, Fiction, and Metaphor

Spring 2017

FRPG 2058
Instructor: Elun Gabriel
Meeting Days/Times: Tuesday and Thursday 10:10 a.m. to 12:20 p.m.
This course is equivalent to a 100 level HIST course and fulfills the FYS and HU general education requirements.

From the Roman Empire to the Spanish Caribbean in the “Golden Age of Piracy” to nineteenth-century China to the Horn of Africa today, from Treasure Island to Pirates of the Caribbean, from DVD copyright warnings to the European Pirate Parties, piracy has influenced geopolitics, provided opportunities to the oppressed and the desperate, represented a scourge to established states, and symbolized both criminality and freedom. In this class, we will first explore the phenomenon of piracy in some key historical eras from the perspective of both pirates and the societies that fought against them; we will then analyze fictional representations of pirates; finally, we will consider the use of piracy as a metaphor in the current age of global information circulation. Students will pursue individual research projects on a historical case of piracy or its representation in fiction or culture.

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