Columbus Day video roundup

Pocahontas screenshotWe’ve covered Columbus Day here at the blog before. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to distill academic rage and indignation into something short, pithy, and easily conveyed to undergraduates. I tend to resort to YouTube clips when I’m feeling particularly shouty. So I’d like to issue a call: what videos do you use to teach Columbus Day (or other prickly issues)? Please include a link and a short description of the video + how you use it.

I’ll start us off.

There’s this link, which features a Columbus Day segment on John Oliver’s show Last Week Tonight. The piece is called “How is this still a thing?” and features a teensy bit of profanity.

Because I’m teaching on Jamestown today, I will pair it with this clip from Disney’s problematic Pocahontas:

The lecture will get into some of the more nitty gritty details of the clip, but for the sake of summary I’ll say that I point out the “glory, God, and gold” triad that supposedly drives European colonization in the film, and ask students to think about how those motivations change from the Dutch to the French to the Spanish to the English. I’ll point to the rat scurrying up the gangplank as evidence of the Columbian Exchange in action (thanks, Columbus!) I’ll talk about the composition of the crew. And then the jump in the clip to the reprise will allow me to talk about the violence wrought by those goals, and should tie in well with the general Columbus Day snark I’ll be trying to channel.

So, readers, on this Columbus Day, what clips will you be thinking about as you head into the classroom?

3 responses

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Recently, Seattle and Minneapolis decided to celebrate “Indigenous People’s Day” in lieu of the problematic “Columbus Day.” Mexico and other Latin American countries celebrate Día de la Raza or Day of the Race. The merits of celebrating Columbus Day have been debated for some time. Rachel Hermann at the The Junto has provided a few links to videos that highlight just a few of the problems with Columbus Day.


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