Frühling 2017

Spring 2015

German Explorers in South America

Hans Staden went twice to South America, so do we. This will be the second compact seminar about the first German travel reports from the New World (for the first one see Spring 2014) - our trajectory covers Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela. We'll read texts by Hans Staden, Ulrich Schmidl, and Nikolaus Federmann. The course will also draw on modern filmic adaptions of the early reports about "the savages".

Blockseminar in two parts, held in March and May 2015.

Spring 2014

Among the «Cannibals in the New World America»: Hans Staden’s True Story

From 1492, when Europeans first set foot on Central American soil, the clash between the Old and the New World unfolded, with impact on both sides of the Atlantic. Nearly forty years later, the German gunner, Hans Staden, who participated in an exploration of the South American coastline, fell captive to the Tupinambá in Brazil, a tribe reputed to be cannibals, and became famous through the story of his survival and liberation (published in Marbach, 1557).
When Staden circulated his account some thirty years after the events it described, it was disseminated by the modern means of printing, in an imprint with many woodcuts.
No doubt the author had been living off the sensational story for years, but how did its fixing in print, let alone its illustration, transform its impact and implications? At issue is not only what Staden related, but how the story was told in one of the most powerful media of mass communication ever invented. Furthermore, it provides us with a segue to the modern interpreter's stance vis à vis the later Middle Ages, which in some respects are no less remote from our experience than early colonial Brazil was from his own. The course will also draw on modern filmic adaptions of Staden's report.

Blockseminar in two parts, held in February and May 2014.

The paper «Von Tuppin Jmbas, Pirahãs und Canelas - Semantik und narrative Strukturen in Stadens ‚Warhaftiger Historia' im Vergleich mit zeitgenössischen Erlebnisberichten» written by Manuel Bamert was awarded with a semesterprize by the President of the University of Zurich (Semesterprizes).

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