Dauril Alden

  • Professor Emeritus

Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1959.

Fields: Colonial, Latin America
Phone: 206-543-7972
Office: SMI 10 |

I came to Seattle in mid-September 1959 with a newly-minted Berkeley Ph.D. and an
annual salary of $5,000 and four dependents. I was one of three members of the class of '59, the
others being Gordon Griffiths (my former instructor in Early Modem European), and Peter
Sugar. Our arrival brought the Department up to 16 members. In subsequent years I left the
department temporarily to teach at Berkley, Columbia University, and the University of
Michigan. Thanks to a series of fellowships, including a Guggenheim, I also lived and conducted
research in Brazil Portugal, India, Australia, Italy, and England and lectured there and in Japan
and China.

But the Department always remained my home base. My initial responsibilities included
developing a series of courses concerning the history of Latin America, colonial to the present,
building our library holdings on Latin America (with a stipend of $300. per year, plus whatever I.
could wheedle out of Ken Allen, the Assistant Librarian), and teach in sections of the
Department's World Civilization course, for which I wa9 manifestly un having never
had any work in Ancient, or, Medieval history save for Iberia.

Over the years I taught basic surveys in Latin American history, the history of Brazil, the
history of Mexico, and, with Dan Waugh, "Europe Discovers the World" an audio-visual course
from beginnings to the end of the 18th century. My graduate courses included a colloquium in
comparative American colonial history, the usual field courses from colonial beginnings to
modem Latin America, and dissertation seminars, including three successive years of overloads
only one of which was compensated. (At one time or another most of my 14 Ph.D.’s were

I also developed a series of senior topical colloquia (498s). Among others, they included
"The Art of Detection"; '"'The Historian as Detective," "Comparative Aspects of the Problem of
Poverty in England, the US, Latin America, and Asia," and a two-quarter practical sequence on
the writing of history.

For more than two decades I taught my Latin American surveys during evenings. I did sofirst
deliberately because I enjoyed teaching mostly older blue-collar students. Somehow, given my ·
personal background as a onetime street newspaper vendor, sand smuggler, janitor, letter carrier,
high school dropout and WW2 sailor I related better to such students than I did to fraternity and
sorority youngsters. Each quarter I invited some of my evening students to take individual
reading courses (HST 499) with me. Their number varied between one and nine. We met once a
week to discuss agreed-upon topics and to evaluate written essays. It was of great satisfaction to
see those students participate in the Department's Spring convocation when they received
degrees they had been seeking fur years.
. .
In my publications I have ventured into various fields. They have included a number of
articles, some of which earned prizes, in bibliographical, demographic, ecclesiastical, and economic history. The first of my books, Royal Government in Colonial Brazil (Berkeley, 1969),
was completed during a year when I lived in a wildness cabin on Whidbey Island. That study
led to my second book The Making of an Enterprise: The Society of Jesus in Portugal, in
Empire, and Beyond. 1540-17 50 (Stanford. 1996), which received a major international and a
national prize, and was the first of what are supposed to be three volumes). While working on
two book projects I asked to write the biography of a leading specialist concerning both
Dutch and Portuguese colonial histories, and the result was Charles R. Boxer, An Uncommon
Life: Soldier. Historian, Teacher, Collector, Traveler (Lisbon 2001).

Since 1995 I have become primarily concerned with the completion of a study concerning
the activities of misnamed Barbary pirates and their European and American rivals, 16th to early
19th centuries, from Ottoman Turkey to the Atlantic. It rests partly on archival materials that I
have collected over the years but mostly on primary and secondary sources in five languages
generously provided by more than 95 archives and libraries here and abroad. Each year I promise
my patient Harvard UP editor that the Ms. will be finished. (I am trying to that pledge both
to him and to my wife.)

From time to time I am asked whether I miss being an active member of the Department.
My response is that I miss colloquies with bright students at whatever level, and I very much
miss cherished friends, especially Robert E. Burke, Vernon Carstensen and Gordon Griffiths.

Dauril Alden


The Making of an Enterprise: The Role of the Jesuits in Portugal, its Empire, and Beyond, 1540-1750. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996.


"God's Share of the King's? The Jesuits and the Payment of Tithes in Colonial Brazil." Solicited by the editor of Colonial Latin American Review I, Nos. 1-2 (1992): 185-200.