Sunday, October 4, 2009

William Bartram Primary Source

My paper topic is William Bartram and the contribution he made to the racialization of Native Americans during his travels through the southern United States. One main primary source is his book, Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida. In this book, he documents his travels and everything he sees or discovers. I picked this source because it was authored by the man this paper intends to research. There are plenty of interpretations of his work, but the topic of racialization in the way he described Native Americans must be looked at through his own words first. Besides this, the book also tells us about what his main objectives were and his possible biases. The book not only includes his representations of Native Americans, but also includes descriptions of animals and plants that had probably never been seen by Bartram’s American and European readers. As a work of Natural History, at least according to Bartram, the work was meant to record and provide a window to the natural world that Bartram saw throughout the newer regions in the United States. There are many editions of Bartram’s Travels, but this one is a direct facsimile of the version first published in London in 1792. I hope that because of this direct transfer, Bartram’s thoughts will be less skewed then later interpreted editions.

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