Summer SAVY 2016 (Session 4PM, Day 1) – Fact and Fiction: The New World
Today, we set out on our voyage of learning about the “Age of Discovery,” focusing on the myths told about Christopher Columbus. We learned that Columbus was not the intrepid sailor proving that the world was not flat: actually, Portuguese expeditions had been exploring the Atlantic ocean for decades. If Columbus hadn’t “discovered” America, another European certainly would have. In the process, we had an introduction to reading primary sources (or documents). We talked about what questions to ask ourselves when reading a primary document (Who wrote this? Why? When? For what audience?). We read Columbus’s ship diary in his own words, looking for evidence of what he thought about the indigenous inhabitants, and what his goals were in the voyage (gold, slaves, conversion to Christianity). We found that Columbus’s audience (the Spanish monarchs) made a big difference in the stories he told about the first New World encounters. These myths and inaccuracies may seem harmless, but they affect the way that we interpret our world today, and who is important in it.
Tomorrow, we will be exploring the idea of contrasting perspective – What happens when two versions of the same story collide?