Visions of enterprising settlers, hearty Puritans, and righteous patriots in search of freedom and prosperity tend to dominate U.S. popular conceptions of the period from Euramerican contact in the New World to just after the American Revolution. Life in the colonies and the early-republic of the U.S., though, was shaped by its inextricable enmeshment in global empires and international trade networks, ongoing exchange and struggle with native peoples, territorial and commercial competition among European powers, and the development of extensive systems of indentured servitude and enslavement. In this course, we will explore a range of different kinds of texts from the 1520s to the 1820s that offer incredibly rich, complex, and captivating portraits of this dense web of shifting political, economic, and cultural relations. Of particular concern to us will be the ways different authors seek to comment on and thereby help (re)shape the social conditions that surround them and the role that form/genre plays in this process. Authors may include Hern�n Cortés, �lvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca, John Smith, Thomas Hariot, Edward Waterhouse, John Winthrop, Anne Bradstreet, Roger Williams, Aphra Behn, Mary Rowlandson, John Eliot, Jonathan Edwards, Samson Occom, Briton Hammon, Thomas Jefferson, Olaudah Equiano, Phillis Wheatley, Judith Sargent Murray, Philip Freneau, Washington Irving, Nancy Ward, and William Apess. Students will be assigned a short close-reading exercise and two 6-8 page essays.