Course Name: Walk the Plank! Pirates Past, Present, & Fictional
Instructor: Bethany Packard
September 19 is International Talk like a Pirate Day. A pirate Halloween costume is as easy as an eye-patch and a plastic hook. The series of Pirates of the Caribbean movies seem unending. Generic views of swashbuckling pirates with peg legs drinking rum and hoarding pieces of eight are firmly integrated into our popular culture. In this class, we will explore how these stereotypes formed and consider how they color our reactions to contemporary piracy. The course will include historical pirates, like privateer-made-good Sir Francis Drake and the notorious Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. We will look beyond the Caribbean and read captivity narratives about the pirates of the Barbary Coast. In addition to historical perspectives, the class will consider contemporary Somali pirates, and national and international responses to them. We may also branch into technological forms of piracy. Finally, we will encounter fictional pirates like Captain Hook, Long John Silver, and One-Eyed Willie of The Goonies. These common reading and viewing experiences will provide a foundation of shared knowledge and interconnecting questions, while serving as a springboard for your own research projects.