What is this class about?
When and how did people first get to the islands of the Pacific? What was life like once they arrived? This course encompasses the history of the human occupation of the tropical Pacific islands, especially Island Southeast Asia (ISEA), and Oceania. This is a huge area covering nearly 1/3 of the earth's surface, with a fascinating and varied human history. Modern humans first appear in this region over 40,000 years ago and there is evidence for other hominim species even earlier. Other parts of the region were some of the last places on earth to be discovered and occupied by humans. We will focus on the current debates about island biogeography, human migrations, long distance maritime trade, political structures, culture contact and colonialism, with an emphasis on the analysis of the primary archaeological and documentary data.
Meet your instructor, Peter Lape
I am an archaeologist, professor in the Department of Anthropology and Curator of Archaeology at the Burke Museum. My research is focused on Island Southeast Asia, where I am currently exploring trade and human responses to climate change from 4,000 to 1,000 years ago on small tropical islands in eastern Indonesia. I am fascinated by small islands. I also love sailing and kayaking and dream of being a surfer.
What can you learn in this class?
- Figure out the strange and wonderful ways anthropologists and archaeologists see the world around them.
- Understand the geography and chronology of the human occupation of the tropical Pacific island region as known from current archaeological data, as well as from genetic, linguistic and documentary evidence.
- Examine the limits of that data, current questions and debates in the archaeology of the region in the context of the history of social and political factors that have shaped those debates.
- Develop analytical reading, writing and public speaking skills.
What are the assignments and how are grades calculated?
This is a discussion-oriented course with minimal instructor lectures. For this to work, we all need to do the assigned reading on time and be prepared to participate in enthusiastic talking and questioning when we meet as a group. I find grading to be a deeply unpleasant task, and I wish we could all just enjoy our time together learning new things. But UW doesn't work that way, so here is how I will figure out what grade to give you at the end of the quarter:
- 30% class participation, discussion board reading responses and in-class writing
- 20% map quiz
- 10% island report
- 20% public article paper (including peer review of other's papers)
- 20% grant proposal paper (including peer review of other's papers)
Note: There will likely be changes to the syllabus over the course of the quarter to allow for guest speakers, field trips and inclusion of any newly published research, so check this Canvas site frequently. However, criteria and due dates for major assignments will not change.
How to contact me outside of class meeting times:
Please use the Canvas message system. Please start your message with a polite greeting and use a helpful subject heading. Also, please be nice, spell things correctly, and use complete sentences. I will answer your message as soon as I can within normal business hours.
What are the rules and policies?
- Late submissions will not be accepted unless you make alternate arrangements prior to the due date. Get those assignments in on time or accept the consequences.
- Please notify me in advance if you have to miss a class meeting, a quick email before class is sufficient. We will miss you.
- Please do not email asking for a summary of a class you missed (that is what your fellow students are for).
- I welcome ongoing feedback about the class. Please feel free to send me suggestions for improvement at any time during the quarter.
- You are expected to produce your own work in this class. Plagiarism or any other form of cheating will not be tolerated. There won't really be any good opportunities to cheat, actually. All students are expected to uphold the University of Washington standard of student conduct.
- I am committed to meeting the needs of all class participants. The Disabled Student Services (DSS) Office coordinates academic accommodations for enrolled students, University staff, and academic personnel with documented disabilities. I am happy to discuss ways of expanding access in the classroom that are not only mandated by law.