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Dr. Jesse Peters
PO Box 1510
Pembroke, NC 28372

Phone: 910.521.6635

Location: Dial 260 A
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Honors 3000: Cultures in Contact (Belize) Spring 2009 TR 2:00-3:15

Instructor: Dr. Jesse Peters
Office:  Old Main 204
Office Phone:  521-6841, 521-6635
Office Hours: TR 1:00-2:00; email; and by appointment

Course Objectives

This course is designed to introduce students to a specific world culture (in this case Belize) through a variety of methods. The readings will include sociological, economic, historical, and fictional accounts of this country. Our objective here will be to learn about Belize while also learning how to approach the study of and engagement with a culture other than our own. We will have to be acutely aware of our own ethnocentrism and cultural lenses as we examine the differences we find. By the end of the course, you will be familiar with current events and issues (both historical and contemporary) facing Belize. We will work towards understanding the complexity of the issues surrounding cross-cultural contact by studying all sides and engaging in intellectual inquiry.

In many ways, the course is an exercise in what Mary Louise Pratt refers to as the "contact zone." She says, "I use [this term] to refer to the space of colonial encounters, the space in which peoples geographically and historically separated come into contact with each other and establish ongoing relations, usually involving conditions of coercion, radical inequality, and intractable conflict. . . . By using the term 'contact,' I aim to forground the interactive, improvisational dimensions of colonial encounters so easily ignored or surpressed by diffusionist accounts of conquest and domination. A 'contact' perspective emphasizes how subjects are constituted in and by their relations to each other. It treats the relations among colonizers and colonized, or travelers and 'travelees,' not in terms of separateness or apartheid, but in terms of copresence, interaction, interlocking understandings and practices."

Ultimately, students enrolled in HON 3000 will gain new perspectives and strategies for approaching all types of cultural contact. You will hopefully become comfortable negotiating differences and adapting to change whether it be geographic or philosophical.

Note: Part of the requirements for the course is participation in a week long trip to Belize for first hand experience with the culture. The trip will take place either over Spring Break or immediately after the May graduation ceremony. Students are encouraged to apply for the Maynor Study Abroad Scholarship to offset the cost of the trip. Please do this ASAP.

Required Texts:

Imperial Eyes , Mary Louise Pratt
Belize: A Concise History, P. A. B. Thomson
Colonialism and Resistance in Belize: Essays in Historical Sociology, O. Nigel Bolland
The Making of Belize: Globalization in the Margins, Anne Sutherland

General Information

During the semester, you will be assigned a group to work with. The group will be responsible for one panel presentation on a specific topic relative to Belize. Additionally, you will write an individual essay on your group's topic. You are also required to keep a weekly journal which will be posted on the Blackboard discussion board within our course site. These entries will involve short summaries of assigned readingsas well as your reactions to them. I want you each to try to remain constantly aware of how your own cultural experiences shape your reactions to what you learn about Belize. There will also be a midterm and a final exam.

Take heed of the following:

1. Attendance is mandatory. If you miss class, you are responsible for familiarizing yourself with the material you missed. If you miss more than 4 classes, I can fail  you--no questions asked. I suggest saving your absences for when you are sick or have an emergency; that's what they are for.
2. I do not accept late papers or assignments of any kind without my previous consent. See me ahead of time if  you have problems with assigned due dates. Also, be sure to talk to me if you are  having trouble with assignments.
3. You will be assigned to work with a group throughout the semester; groups may be  changed at mid-semester. Attending all meetings  is mandatory. Missing meetings or group sessions will count as absences.
4. I would appreciate all work done outside of class to be typed, double-spaced.  However, the individual essay must be typed.
5. Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated (talking while others are talking, coming in late, cell phones ringing, rude comments, etc.). If behavior like this persists, you will be asked to leave the class and receive a grade of F for the course.
6 . Plagiarism will result in an F in the course, and you will be reported to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. If you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism, please see me to discuss the issue. The University writing center is also an excellent source of information and advice on your writing.

Note: Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services (Career Services Center, Room 210, 521-6270) and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first week) as possible. All discussions will remain confidential.


Blackboard Journal 100 pts. 10%
Panel Presentation 200 pts. 20%
Individual Essay 100 pts. 10%
Midterm Exam 200 pts. 20%
Final Exam 200 pts. 20%
Contact Essay 200 pts. 20%
Total 1000 pts. 100%

I use a thousand point grading system. All grades will be given as numbers with final grades computed as follows: A=933-1000; A-=900-932; B+=866-899; B=833-865; B-=800-832; C+=766-799; C=733-765; C-=700-732; D+=666-699; D=633-665; D-=600-632; F=<600.


Blackboard Journal (100 pts.)

Each week, you will log into the Blackboard course site and click on the Discussion Board area. I will set up a forum for each week and start a thread on each individual topic/reading we will be covering. You must begin a new thread and then provide a summary of the reading. After your summary, I want you to start a new paragraph and describe your reaction to the article. What did you learn? What questions did it raise in your mind? What questions did it answer? Why do you think you reacted the way you did?

Individual Essay (100 pts.)

This essay will be approximately five pages in length, typed double-spaced with one inch margins on all sides. Do not use a title page; put your name, ID, and title on the top of the first page.  Number all pages. The essay will need to have at least four sources, one of which must be something other than the readings for the course, preferably a journal article. Starting with your topic, you need to develop an essay that explains the key issues and then describes the different opinions on the subject. Your ultimate, goal (thesis) will be developed from what you think needs to be done about the issue. I encourage each of you to meet with me individually to discuss the strategy for the essay.

Panel Presentation (200 pts.)

Each student will be assigned to a group of three or four other students. These groups will work together as you discuss the topics and develop a panel presentation. This presentation should be an introduction, overview, and discussion of a key issue relative to Belize. The best strategy will be for each panelist within the group to tackle an opionion or subtopic within the larger issue. In a clearly organized and logical way, the panelists should explain the issue. Each presenter should use approximately 10 minutes. At the end, the rest of the class will be allowed to ask questions of the panelists. The goal here is to demonstrate your thourough understanding of the issue your group has chosen. You want to be professional, articulate, and knoweldgeable.

Midterm and Final (200 pts. each)

The midterm and final will be designed to test your knowledge of current events, history and public issues within Belize. They will consist of definition, short answer, and essay sections. Following class discussion and taking good notes should prepare you well for these examinations.

Contact Essay (200 pts. each)

This essay will grow out of your feild experiences in Belize. It can be linked to your earlier panel topic and individual essay, but it does not have to be. The essay should be 5-7 pages and draw upon personal experiences and academic sources. Try to combine what you have learned about Belize with what you have learned about yourself. What has the "contact zone" done for you? to you? How has your perception of the world or of yourself changed?


Sometimes the schedule may call for you to log into the Blackboard Course Site rather than meeting in the classroom. There we may chat in the virtual classroom or use the discussion board. Sometimes I will ask you to complete other assignments inside the course site. Being late for these meetings or failing to participate is the same as being late for class. The same goes for absences. The requirements for hardware, software, and skills necessary to successfully navigate this online environment are available here: Online Course Skills.

This publication is available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact Mary Helen Walker, Disability Support Services, Career Services Center, Room 210, 521-6270.

Course Schedule (Always Subject to Change)


6 Introduction to the Course

8 Introduction; Discussion of belize Tourism Website <>

13 Preface to the First Edition; Preface to the Second Edition; Chapter 1 (Introduction) Imperial Eyes

15 Chapter 1 Colonialism and Resistance in Belize

20 Chapters 2-3 Imperial Eyes

22 Chapter 4 Imperial Eyes

27 Chapter 5 Imperial Eyes

29 Chapters 1-2 The Making of Belize


3 Chapters 3-4 The Making of Belize

5 Chapters 5-6 The Making of Belize

10 Chapters 7-8 The Making of Belize

12 Class on Blackboard Chapter 2-3 Colonialism and Resistance in Belize

17 Chapters 6-7 Imperial Eyes

19 Midterm Examination

24 Class on Blackboard Chapter 7 Imperial Eyes

26 Class on Blackboard Chapter 8 Imperial Eyes


2-6 No Class / Spring Break

10 Chapters 9-10 The Making of Belize

12 Class on Blackboard

17 Chapter 4-5 Colonialism and Resistance in Belize

19 Chapter 6-7 Colonialism and Resistance in Belize

24 Chapter 8 Colonialism and Resistance in Belize

26 Visit to Class by Hannah Simpson to discuss Cultural conflict in the Middle East

31 Chapters 1-2 Belize: A Concise History


2 Chapters 3-4 Belize: A Concise History

7 Chapters 5-6 Belize: A Concise History

9 Chapters 7-8 Belize: A Concise History

14 Chapters 9-10 Belize: A Concise History

16 Team reports: Jorge and Cilia (Mayans and Garifuna)

21 Team Reports: Veronica and Amber (Creoles / Crooked Tree); Tiffany and Natasha (Caye Caulker)

23 Individual Essay Due


4 Leave for Belize from Raleigh Airport

15 Contact Paper due via email

Updated: Tuesday, March 10, 2009

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