The Center administers the Ahmanson Undergraduate Research Scholarships to support undergraduate students.
Up to ten undergraduate scholarships are offered every year to support undergraduate student research at the Clark Library. These are intended for UCLA upper-division students who enroll in a designated course (usually open to upper division students from any UCLA department) or in a recognized departmental honors program in which an assigned research project requires the use of Clark materials. Program details, seminar descriptions and requirements, and application procedures are announced each year.
2014-2015: Fall Quarter
Pirates of the Caribbean?
(HIST 191C, Fall 2014)
Instructor: Carla Gardina Pestana , UCLA Department of History
Pirates of the Carribean?, the Ahmanson undergraduate seminar for Fall 2014, will be directed by Professor and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World, Carla Gardina Pestana , History, UCLA. Sessions will be held off-campus at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library on Mondays from 1:00–3:50 p.m. Enrollment is limited to ten participants, and those who successfully complete the course requirements will receive an award of $1,000.
Long before Captain Jack Sparrow, pirates have fascinated and terrified. A worldwide phenomenon, piracy became popularly associated with the Caribbean Sea in the seventeenth century. Its many small islands and accessible harbors made the Caribbean ideal for sea raiders, attracted by the great wealth of the Spanish empire. The Spanish claimed the Caribbean as their exclusive possession, declaring it illegal for ships of any other nation to enter those waters. Any that did so could be classified as pirates, and treated accordingly by the authorities. In this context famous Elizabethan swashbucklers such as Sir Francis Drake visited the Spanish West Indies on raids made famous in popular publications. The most famous pirate accounts, those of Alexandre Exquemelin and Daniel Defoe, recounted later attacks, including Henry Morgan’s dramatic assault on Panama City. Pamphleteer wrote of captured pirates who underwent trial and execution, and the reading public snapped up accounts of their exploits, confessions and grisly deaths. Some famous pirates straddled the line between explorers and sea raiders, such as William Dampier who contributed to knowledge of American natural history even as he reported his adventures. Given the popularity of pirates in literature, then as now, the history of piracy offers much to explore.
How does our popular image of pirates then and now fit the reality? Why did the Caribbean attract pirates? How did they relate to other forms of seaborne violence (such as imperial warfare)? Since challenges always await researchers in the archives, we will ask if pirates present any particular difficulties to the historian. Given that pirates engaged in illegal activities, how and why did they come to leave traces of their histories?
This course will give students an opportunity to use the original sources held in the Clark Library to explore the history, the context and the significance of piracy in the early modern era. We will begin by reading together a few sources in common or from a shared reading list about the history of and context for piracy, before exploring the primary sources that will form the basis of individual research projects. Students will present to the group the result of collaborative explorations as well as the results of their preliminary research into the pirate archive; each person will also have an opportunity to draft and rewrite a research paper.
Interested applicants should submit the following documents to Professor Carla Pestana's mailbox in the History department: a letter about their interest in the class, print-out of their DPR, and a resumé containing contact information. These documents are due Friday, May 16, 2014; interviews will be held the following week. Please send any questions about the application or course to
The annual Ahmanson undergraduate seminar is held 13 miles east of campus at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. Complimentary shuttle service between campus and the Clark Library to attend the class can be arranged if enough students indicate they need transportation.
Questions about the program:
Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies
310 Royce Hall, UCLA
Questions about the Library:
William Andrews Clark Memorial Library
2520 Cimarron Street, L.A. 90018
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