Sustainable Development Discourses in Colonial Latin America and Winnebago


122 Q1

Fall 2013


Dr. Rocío Cortés

Office: 321 Radford Hall

Class: Tuesdays and Thursdays Clow 19

Office Hours T and TH 8:30-9:30, 3:00-4:00 and by appointment


UW-Oshkosh is a Liberal Arts Institution


Liberal Education is a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of values, ethics, and civic engagement. These broad goals have endured even as the courses and requirements that comprise a Liberal Education have changed over the years.  Characterized by challenging encounters with important and relevant issues today and throughout history, a Liberal Education prepares graduates both for socially valued work and for civic leadership in their society. It usually includes a general education curriculum that provides broad exposure to multiple disciplines and ways of knowing, along with more in-depth study in at least one field or area of concentration.     


(Original source: Advocacy “What is a liberal education?” and by COB Bill Wresch)



Course Description


We create our sense of place through processes that are both rational and emotional. Our attachment to a particular place can be the result of our knowledge of its geography, of the richness of its landscapes, of the flora and fauna, of its history, and/or of the people who inhabit it. Our knowledge of our sense of place is also emotional. Our senses help us to create a sense of familiarity, of belonging to a community and to nature. Taking care of our place is also our responsibility to have a sustainable world.


Our time reflects the preoccupation with sustainability, which, according to World Commission on Environment and Development, should meet “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” The interconnections between society, economy, and nature—THE THREE PILLARS of sustainability—will serve as the basis of our analysis for this course. Five centuries ago, when Europeans traveled and settled in the Americas, the view of the environment and the construction of a sense of place were also determined by their historical frame and cultural expectations. However, Spaniards in the regions of what we call now Latin America, or other Europeans in North America were only a small part of the population. After the Spaniards and European took possession and populated lands that displaced natives, the indigenous population had to adapt their sense of place in new territories with the new arrivals. Not only the sense  of space had to be reconfigured to accommodate the new colonial and settlement situation but also, the use of natural resources by European and natives, reflected aspects of cultural idiosyncrasies and economic purposes.


How are we going to analyze those aspects? For this course, we will read primary texts by writers of European and Indigenous descent. We will also read articles or “secondary texts” that will bring theoretical approaches about how Europeans and Indigenous peoples interpret their environment and each other.


Three Indigenous narratives will open our course on the genesis of three major native groups: The Mayan’s Popol Vuh, The Aztec’s La leyenda de los soles (The Legend of the Suns) and Andean’s stories of the creation of the world. We will also include a few stories on the origins of the world by the Ho-Chunk or Winnebagos comparing the peculiarities of their cosmovisions.  That is to say that we will discuss how natives conceived the world and its creation to have a better understanding of their views of the cosmos or what will be referring in the course as “cosmovision.” We will also read narratives by Europeans written during the ages of exploration, conquest, and colonization (sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Latin America, and seventeenth to nineteenth centuries in Wisconsin).


Course Objectives


How will this course relate to Question 1: How do people understand and create a more sustainable world? Knowing about sustainability is one of the main philosophies of our institution. Sustainability is about helping us live up to our fullest potential, as individuals and as a society. Sustainability is about working towards a future in which ALL human beings can enjoy a decent quality of life, while ensuring that we do not endanger the natural resources and environments upon which we depend. Nature is a category constructed by language and cultural beliefs.  For Europeans who arrived to America during the sixteenth century, Judeo-Christian religion and Greco-Roman culture helped shape discourses on the environment that were man-centered or anthropocentric. In other words, men were to use, enjoy, or dispose nature and its resources. But that was not the case of the views of many of the indigenous groups of the Americas. In our analysis of the narratives, we will take into account the man-centered views to compare with indigenous views and with eco-centered ones important to sustainability. These analyses will help us to understand the history of how discourses shape our views of the world and so can help us to thoughtfully question, analyze and come up with creative solutions to construct a more sustainable environment.

On the USP and the Signature Questions


The University Studies Programs is your gateway to a 21st century college education at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.  This Quest I course is the first in a series of courses you will take to introduce you to the campus and all it has to offer, the vibrant Oshkosh community, and the challenges and opportunities of academic life as you pursue a liberal education.  In these courses, you’ll be exposed to three “Signature Questions” that are central to a UW Oshkosh education:

·         How do people understand and engage in community life?

·         How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?

·         How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?


The Quest classes are designed to provide a solid foundation for the rest of your education here, no matter which major you choose.  Your USP courses will also provide the opportunity for you to Explore and Connect as you begin your college education.  For further information about the unique general education at UW Oshkosh, visit the University Studies Program website

Student Learning Outcomes


One of the main learning outcomes will be in accordance with UWO “Knowledge of sustainability and its applications is the ability to understand local and global earth systems; the qualities of ecological integrity and the means to restore and preserve it; and the interconnection of ecological integrity, social justice, and economic well-being.”

·         Knowledge: Students will acquire basic knowledge on the principals of literary textual analysis and on how to research and use the library for their projects.

·         Students will acquire knowledge on the principles of sustainability and theories of analysis for literary texts on the subject such as eco-literature.

·         Analysis: Students will learn to analyze how cultural background and language influence in our views of the world and that of the construction of a sense of place by comparing European and Indigenous discourses on nature.

·         Application: Students will be able to articulate theories on eco-literature and sustainability to thoughtfully, analyze primary texts.

·         Engagement: Students, through their interview with a Native American of Winnebago, will engage in bridging and evaluating past and present discourses referent to sustainability, sense of place and nature.

·         Students will engage in campus and community life through co-curricular activities.

·         Ethical Reasoning and Attitudes: Students will be able to critique and explain potential strategies to come up with creative solutions to construct a more sustainable environment.


Program Learning Outcomes


·         Students will be able to describe the value of a Liberal Education.

·         Students will become familiar with the expectations of a college-level education, the UW Oshkosh Essential Learning Outcomes, and the University Studies Program.

·         Students will begin their acculturation to life at this university, developing familiarity with the academic resources and community engagement opportunities at UW Oshkosh.

·         Students will engage in learning communities to enhance their connections to the class, the university, and one another.

·         Students will participate in campus and community life through co-curricular activities.

·         Students will begin to take personal responsibility for their intellectual development by archiving learning artifacts in the ePortfolio






 Course Assignments and Assessments


Students will write four short papers to reflect on our readings, discussions, and other aspects.




The first paper will analyze how the indigenous cultures of Mesoamerica make sense of the cosmos. Students will also take into account the myths of origins of the Winnebago/Ho-Chunk natives and compare and contrast those views. The second paper will analyze how European explorers during the sixteenth and seventeenth-centuries in what is called now Latin America view nature and what are their assumptions on evaluating the indigenous groups they encounter. In addition, the paper should address if the explorers construct a sense of place, and if so, explain how they do that.



The third paper will analyze the different narratives of European about Wisconsin. In an essay students will compare and contrast the point of views of at least three of the authors we read on their views about nature, culture and sense of place.



Forth paper: Students will elaborate on how settlers in Wisconsin make their sense of place.  In the same essay, students will address those point of views with his/her own using his/her knowledge about Winnebago’s bioregions and by means of his/her experiences (visual, intellectual, emotional) of his/her chosen place. Each student will have to go physically to a spot that will be his/her point of reference and familiarize himself/herself with the flora, fauna, geography, and resources to write an informed reply. This fourth paper will be uploaded to the students’ ePortfolio in D2L.





Applications, Knowledge, Analysis and Ethical Reasoning and Attitudes:


In addition to the four short papers, a final project will be required. Students will reflect on how the readings in the course make us more aware that our views of the world are shaped by our beliefs, ideology, culture, identity, etc. How understanding that we all have assumptions about the world make us more aware of our views about cultural differences about nature, and our place in our world. How the readings in this course show us that European and Indigenous peoples have different ways of making sense of the world. Using the book Indian Nations of Wisconsin, and other pertinent sources students will elaborate on what are the views of Native Americans of Winnebago county about the lands and resources where they live. The conclusion of your reflection have to address how this course will help you to make a more sustainable world by understanding the needs of a diverse community and by making sense of the place where you live.  

On Campus Resources


In the University Studies Program, we want you to be successful.  Please visit this resource page (or the D2L course page) to read about all the campus services available to support your success. 



Center for Academic Resources:  The Center for Academic Resources (CAR) provides free, confidential tutoring for students in most undergraduate classes on campus.  CAR is located in the Student Success Center, Suite 102.   Check the Tutor List page on CAR’s website ( for a list of tutors.   If your course is not listed, click on a link to request one, stop by SSC 102 or call 424-2290. To schedule a tutoring session, simply email the tutor, let him/her know what class you are seeking assistance in, and schedule a time to meet. 


Writing Center:  The Writing Center employs specially trained students with a passion for helping their peers become better writers.  The services it offers are beyond merely checking for grammar; instead, the Center strives to teach students the process of good writing.  Appointments are free, confidential, and are at your convenience.  For more information, email, view their website ( ), visit them at SSC 102, or call 424-1152.


Reading Study Center:  The Reading Study Center is an all-university service whose mission is to facilitate the development of efficient college-level learning strategies in students of all abilities.  The center offers strategies for improved textbook study, time management, note-taking, test preparation, and test-taking.  For more information, email, view the website ( , visit them in Nursing Ed Room 201, or call 424-1031.


Library: For Polk Library/Information Literacy contact Ted Mulvey. Mr. Mulvey is an Information Literacy Librarian who is available to assist you as you access, evaluate, and use information in University Studies Program classes. Phone: 920-424-7329; email:  



Desire2Learn and ePortfolio


As you move through your courses at UW Oshkosh, you will archive your learning in an ePortfolio.  The ePortfolio can be found in D2L.  The ePortfolio will help you keep track of papers, speeches, reports, projects, and other assignments in your Quest and Explore courses, so that you can see your progress and connect ideas across different classes.  You can continue to use this portfolio in your major classes, so that you are ready for your Capstone course or experience as you near graduation. You can even use the ePortfolio after you graduate to show evidence of your learning to employers or graduate schools. In this course (and in all your USP courses), a specific assignment has been designated to be uploaded to your ePortfolio.  More details will follow in class. Your peer mentor can assist you with getting your UW Oshkosh ePortfolio started.


All readings from primary and secondary texts will be posted in our course site in D2L in pdf format

All papers will have to be uploaded in the D2L Dropbox by the posted date

You need to upload your documents in MS Word (doc) or (docx)

The third paper will be uploaded to ePortfolio in D2L.

Early Alert


Early Alert is a program that provides you with an Early Grade Report from faculty.  Early Grade Reports will indicate if you have academic performance or attendance issues and specific steps you can take and resources available to help you improve.  It is common for students to be unaware of or over-estimate their academic performance in classes so this will help you be aware early on of your progress and provide strategies for success in the classroom.  You will receive an email during the 5th week of classes. It is important to read the entire email carefully.  (Official Early Alert language.)


Peer Mentors


One of your best resources on this campus is your peers, especially those who have been there, done that. In this class we are fortunate to have someone who is specially trained and willing to help you become familiar with academic life at UW Oshkosh.  The peer mentor will attend campus events with the class, answer your questions about the campus, help you with your ePortfolio, and refer you to various resources. You should not hesitate to get to know our mentor as (s)he is an important part of the Quest I experience. 


 On Maps Works


MAP-Works (Making Achievement Possible Works) is a survey that is all about you!  To help you have a wonderful first-year of college, we need you to take this survey.  You will receive an email from inviting you to take the survey.  Advisors, hall directors, instructors and many other people on campus will use this information to help you be successful and to provide you with what you need.  You will receive a report with suggestions on how achieve your goals; please review it.  [Suggestion: Please bring your MAP-Works survey report with you when you come to talk with me during the office hour chat that we will schedule (or “your meeting with your peer mentor”.]




1) Any paper written for this class must be original. Any idea or quoted text, paraphrased or refer, will have to be properly DOCUMENTED. Plagiarism is an offense with severe penalties. All written work has to be done by the student alone. To view the discipline code of UW-Oshkosh, go to:

Academic Integrity

The University of Wisconsin is committed to a standard of academic integrity for all students. The system guidelines state: "Students are responsible for the honest completion and representation of their work, for the appropriate citation of sources, and for respect of others' academic endeavors." (UWS 14.01, Wisconsin Administrative Code)

Students are subjected to disciplinary action for academic misconduct, which is defined in UWS 14.03, Wisconsin Administrative Code. Students on the UW Oshkosh campus have been suspended from the University for academic misconduct.

Students are encouraged to review the procedures related to violations of academic honesty as outlined in Chapter WWS 14, Wisconsin Administrative Code. The system guidelines and local procedures are printed in the  of Wisconsin Oshkosh Student Discipline Code 2008-2009 and can be found on the Dean of Students website at

Specific questions regarding the provisions in Chapter UWS 14 (and institutional procedures approved to implement Chapter UWS 14) should be directed to the Dean of Students Office. 


Required Readings


Loew, Patty Indian Nations of Wisconsin. Wisconsin Historical Society Press, 2013

The rest of the readings will be in electronic format in our course home in D2L. All discussions will be posted in D2L.





Authors of our primary texts


Indigenous Stories of Origin

Popol Vuh Maya (Selections in English)

“Legend of the Suns”Aztec (Poem)

Inca stories of creation (Selections)

Stories of Origin by the Winnebago

Europeans in the New Wold, Explorers in Latin America

Christopher Columbus “Letter to the King and Queen of Spain” and“Letter to Santangel

Americo VespucciLetter to Piero Soderini

Bernal Díaz del Castillo Verdadera historia de la Conquista de México (Selections in English)

Pedro de Ciesa de León The Incas (Selections in English)

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Comentarios Reales (Selections in English)

Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca (link) and Video “Cabeza de Vaca”

Explorers in Wisconsin

Indian Nations “Early History” “Ho-Chunk”

How the Winnebago First Came with the French”


Father Allouez in Winnebago

Marquette Mississipi Voyage 1673

Carver Travels through North America

Geographical Description of Winnebago for Settlers

Reverend D.O Van Slyke, “Found at Last the Veritable Garden of Eden”

Narratives of Settlement in Wisconsin

William Powell’s Recollections

Diary of a Girl Pioneer in the Wisconsin Wilderness

Indian Nations “Urban Indians”



1) Class attendance and participation is very important. Students can only miss ONE class without penalty. You should reserve this absence for an emergency or short illness. After the first absence, the grade will go down for unjustified absences.  Some excused absences are permitted for religious holidays or in case of illness documented by a physician.

2) I give a daily grade from 3 to 0 for participation as follows:

a.     3 Student participates actively in the discussion. Student shares observations that reveal analysis and illustrates that she/he has read the material carefully. Student asks questions, volunteers and/or leads in collective class activities.

b.     2 Student shows evidence of having read the readings assigned but does not make an effort to analyze of participate voluntarily in the discussion. He/she volunteers answers/discussions occasionally.

c.     1 Student is in class but has not read the reading assigned. Does not participate individually or in group.

d.     0 Student is not in class.

3)  There are not make up exams.

4) Absolutely prohibited to have cell phones on. If a student texts in class, I will take the phone away and return it to its owner when class is over.



Attendance and class participation


 Essays/quiz (2)


2 Short papers

20% (10% each)

Final Project 2  (first draft 30% second draft 10%


Leading discussion




Grading Scale


A= 93-100

A- = 92-90












Important Dates for Papers, Quizes and Presentations

Question for Essay Quiz on Sustainability


First Essay quiz on Sustainability in D2L, Friday September 13

First paper due in D2L Dropbox: Thursday Oct 3 or Friday, October 4th

Second paper due in D2L Dropbox: Tuesday Nov 5th

Third paper due D2L Dropbox and in ePortfolio: Tuesday November 19th



Fourth paper due in D2L Dropbox: Tuesday December 3rd

Second essay-quiz on sustainability Tuesday December 10


Final recapitulative paper due in D2L Dropbox: Thursday December 12th



Essays Evaluation Sheet


First presentation: Comparison/Discussion of the letters of Columbus and Americo Vespucci, Tuesday October 1

Second presentation: Comparison/Discussion of the narratives by Bernal Díaz del Castillo and Pedro de Ciesa de León, Tuesday October 8th

Third presentation: Comparison/Discussion of the narratives by Inca Grcilaso de la Vega and Jean de Lery: Tuesday October 15th

Fourth presentation: Discussion on Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca’s link and video: Tuesday October 22nd

Fifth presentation: Discussion of “Early History” from Indian Nations of Wisconsin pp 1-22 and “The Encounter of French and Winnebago,” Tuesday, October 29th

Sixth presentation: Comparison/Discussion on the readings of Allouez and Marquette, Tuesday, November 5th

Seventh presentation:  Comparison/Discussion of the physical and ideological geography of Wisconsin in “Description of Winnebago for settlers” and “Found at last, the Garden of Eden” Tuesday, November 19th

Eighth presentation: Comparison/Discussion of William Powell’s and the Pioneer girl on Wisconsin, Tuesday, December 3rd


Presentations, Dates and Presenters

Section 1 (9:40-11:30)

Section 2 (1:20-2:50)



Explorers in Wisconsin

Thursday 24

Indian Nations of Wisconsin read “Early History” pages 1-22

Indian Nations of Wisconsin read “Ho-Chunk” pages 45-58


First Week



Ninth Week

Thursday 5

What is Sustainability?

Definitions of Sustainability

Read Wade Davis “The Spirit of Place”

How do we make a sense of place?

Discussion of Sense of place Choosing a place of your own


Tuesday 29

How the Winnebago First Came with the French and the Origin of the Decora Family pages 65-69

Father Allouez pages 142-152  

Fifth Presentation

Second Week

Indigenous Stories of Origin



Tuesday 10

What is culture?

Mesoamerican Cultures

Thursday 31

Father Allouez 153-160

Start reading Marquette Mississipi Voyage 1673 Introduction pages 223-226  

Thursday 12

Presentation of the Popol Vuh  

Popol Vuh Read 13-16 and 38-49.

Popol Vuh English Youtube part 1                        

Popol Vuh English Youtube part 2

Legend of the Suns”, Interpretation of the Legend of the Suns (Aztec origins)

On Friday, September 13, students will write a four paragraph essay on sustainability in D2L

Tenth Week

Third Week

Tuesday 5

Marquette Voyage 227-239

Black Robe

Second paper due in D2L

Sixth presentation

Tuesday 17

Inca Chronology

Inca stories of creation read pp1-2.

Winnebago stories of creation:

The Winnebago Origin Myth read page 1

Discussion of Inca Stories and Ho-Chunk/Winnebago

Genesis 1

Genesis 2


***You will write a comparison of the views about the origin of the world of these indigenous cultures. Paper due on Friday, October 4th or Saturday October 5th in D2L.

Seventeenth-Century Views of Wisconsin

Thursday 7

Carver Travels through North America View of Winnebago and Indian Queen pages 32-38 starting from the line “The Winnebagos…”

Europeans in the New World, Explorers in Latin America


Thursday 19

Age of Exploration, Geographical Visions

Christopher Columbus “Letter to the King and Queen of Spain” pp 273-277 Letter to Santangel” pp263-271

Christopher Columbus Biography

Discussion of Columbus’ writings

Eleventh Week

Fourth Week

Nineteenth Century Views: Settlement in Wisconsin

Tuesday 12

Geographical Description of Winnebago for Settlers read the part on Winnebago

Found at last, the Veritable Garden of Eden, by the Reverend D.O Van Slyke 1886 pages 1-20

Tuesday 24

Christopher Columbus,

Americo Vespucci Biography

Americo Vespucci pages 112-126

Thursday 14

Class with Alex Rivera room Clow 103


Thursday 26 There is no class.Read Americo Vespucci pages 127-139

Twelfth Week

Fifth Week

Tuesday 19

Found at last, the Veritable Garden of Eden, by the Reverend D.O Van Slyke 1886 pages 20-40

Seventh presentation


Narratives of Settlement in Wisconsin

Thursday 21

William Powell’s Recollections pages 1-16

Quiz on the Winnebago explorers and Indian Nations

Tuesday 1

Americo Vespucci, 127-139

First presentation

Americo Vespucci Biography

Americo Vespucci discussion after presentation

Thirteenth Week


Thursday 3

Bernal Díaz del Castillo pp 172-176

Bernal Díaz del Castillo Biography

Bernal Díaz del Castillo Discussion

First paper comparing the views of the indigenous stories of origin due on October 5th.

Tuesday 26

William Powell’s Recollections pages 16-26

Diary of A girl Pioneer in the Wisconsi Wilderness

Sixth Week


Tuesday 8

Bernal Díaz del Castillo  pp 187-195

Bernal Díaz del Castillo Discussion

Pedro de Cieza de León  pp 108-111, 143-149

Second presentation

Thursday 28





Thursday 10

Pedro de Ciesa de León  pp 156-158, pp 256-259

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega pp15-16, pp 26-33


Seventh Week

Fourteenth week


Tuesday 15

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega pp 243-245

Jean de Lery pp 56-68, pp 78-85, pp 100-111

Third Presentation

Tuesday 3

Read Indian Nations of Wisconsin “Urban Indians” 159-176

Read the Winnebago Sustainability page


Building a More Sustainable Future in Wisconsin


Read the Oshkosh Sustainability page


Sustainable Resources in Oshkosh

Eight presentation

Thursday 17

Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca link 

Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de vaca Video

Thursday 5

Peer reviewing. Bring a draft of your final paper to be “peer reviewed”

First Draft of final Paper due on Friday, December 6th at 11:30 p.m

Second Quiz on sustainability December 7th and 8th 11:00 p.m

Eight Week

Tuesday December10th

Work on second draft for final project

Tuesday 22

Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca

Quiz/Exam on the readings from Columbus to Cabeza de Vaca

Fourth presentation

Thursday 12

Second Draft of final paper Due in D2L and upload paper to eportfolio

An important link on nature


How to Analyze a Literary Text

Document Analysis Worksheet

Critical Analysis of a Literary Text

Another link on Literary Textual Analysis with Examples


Additional Readings not required


On Discovery

Discovery and Reformation


On Native Americans of Winnebago

History of the Winnebago group

Mother Earth Journal


On Wisconsin an History

Women History in Wisconsin and Fur trade

American Journeys

Wisconsin Historical Society

Turning Point, Stories of Settlers in Wisconsin 19th Century

Hints for Emigrants from a German Immigrant of Calumet WI



Letter of Reverend Father Etienne de Carheil to Monsieur Louis Hctor de Vallieres, governor on the situation of the fur trade, alcoholism, an abuses during seventeent-century in Wisconsin

Seventy-two years Recollection of WI


Nineteen-Century Narratives of Settlement

The Journal of Sarah Foote on her journey to settle from Ohio to Winnebago

Settlement of Green Lake County

Reminiscences of the North West  Mary Ann Brevoort Bristol daughter of Major Henry Brevoort on her experience with Native Americans and life during the nineteenth century

Settlement of Green Lake County