Comparative Conquests, Colonization, and Resistance in the Americas

Ethnic Studies 259                                                                                     Ross Frank
Spring 2002                                                                                              Office:   SSB 227
Wednesday 9 – noon, SSB 233                                                                 Phone:   534-6646

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Student papers for class discussion:

Part I:

Thuy - Middle Ground

Faye - Subaltern Speaks

Monika - Cultivating a Landscape of Peace

Part II:

Miguel - Normalizing Conquest

Kalim - Indian's New World

Larissa - About Hawai'i

Course Description

The course will offer a comparative survey of the impact of European interactions with Native nations and populations in the New World, from Peru to Canada. Readings will emphasize modes of initial interaction, patterns of European colonization and Native adaptation and resistance, and broader changes in Native culture and cosmology as a result of conquest and colonization.

The readings will provide a basis for you to develop a historiographical framework for considering the study of situations of colonial contact in the Americas. Among the important facets of your framework will be responses to the following:

  1. How have authors used and read different sources and incorporated methodologies?
  2. Where does theory enter works about the colonial enterprise in the New World?
  3. How do historical and academic voices normalize conceptions of space, race, sexuality, and gender?
  4. How can colonized and subaltern voices, meaning, and perspectives emerge from historical study?
  5. How do and how should cosmology and religion fit within these studies?


Seminar assignments will consists of:

1) group discussions of the weekly readings in the seminar meeting;
2) extra readings presentations;
3) two seminar presentations over the quarter (or a research paper option);
4) and two papers in which you engage the material from the week chosen above (3) in comparison with readings from previous weeks.

Individual work will be evaluated as follows:

A. Discussion and seminar presentations make up 50% of the grade.
B. The two written papers make up 50% of the grade, weighted equally.

I am happy to meet to give periodic evaluations of your work in the seminar; you may also make appointments at any time.


Readings are marked according to the following:

R         on reserve online at:  http:/
G         available at Groundwork Bookstore.
D        distributed in class.
+         extra readings presentation candidate.

Week 1: Introduction and course organization

Week 2: Mexico – Aztec and Maya

Cortés, Hernán, and Anthony Pagden. Letters from Mexico. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1986, 2nd and 3rd Letter. R

del Castillo, Bernal Diaz. The Conquest of New Spain. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1963. J. M. Cohen, trans., 140-307. R

Boone, Elizabeth Hill. Incarnations of the Aztec supernatural: the image of Huitzilopochtli in Mexico and Europe. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1989. R+

Clendinnen, Inga. Ambivalent conquests : Maya and Spaniard in Yucatan, 1517-1570. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987. G

Townsend, Richard F. State and cosmos in the art of Tenochtitlan, Studies in pre-Columbian art and archaeology ; no. 20. Washington: Dumbarton Oaks Trustees for Harvard University, 1979. R+

Sahagún, Bernardino de, Arthur J. O. Anderson, and Charles E. Dibble. Book 12: The Conquest of Mexico General history of the things of New Spain. Santa Fe, N.M.,: School of American Research, 1970. D+

Week 3: Peru – Inka

Andrien, Kenneth J. Andean Worlds : Indigenous History, Culture, and Consciousness under Spanish Rule, 1532-1825. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001. G

Silverblatt, Irene, “ Becoming Indian in the Central Andes of Seventeenth-Century Peru”
, in Gyan Prakash, ed. After Colonialism: Imperial Histories and Postcolonial Displacements. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995, 279-298. R

Week 4: Northern Mexico and the US Southwest

Gutiérrez, Ramón A. When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away : Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1991. G+

Anderson, Gary Clayton. The Indian Southwest, 1580-1830 : Ethnogenesis and Reinvention. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999. G+

Spivak, Gayatri, “Can the Subaltern Speak”, in Carey Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg, ed., Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 1988. R

Week 5: The Great Lakes / Woodlands

White, Richard. The Middle Ground : Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815. Cambridge ; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991. G

Week 6: Northeast US - Iroquois

Dennis, Matthew. Cultivating a Landscape of Peace : Iroquois-European Encounters in Seventeenth-Century America. Ithaca/Cooperstown, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, New York State Historical Association, 1993. G

Richter, Daniel, “War and Culture: The Iroquois Experience”, William and Mary Quarterly, 40 (1983), 528-559. R

Week 7: Southeast, Colonial and Beyond – Choctaw and Catawba

Galloway, Patricia Kay. Choctaw Genesis, 1500-1700. Indians of the Southeast. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995. G+

Merrell, James Hart, and Institute of Early American History and Culture (Williamsburg Va.). The Indians' New World : Catawbas and Their Neighbors from European Contact through the Era of Removal. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989. G+

Week 8: Southern Plains and Southwest - Comanche

Hämäläinen, Pekka, “The Western Comanche Trade Center: Rethinking the Plains Indian Trade System”, Western Historical Quarterly, 24:4 (1998): 485-513. R

Foster, Morris W. Being Comanche : A Social History of an American Indian Community. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1991. G

Week 9: Alternative Epistomologies

Basso, Keith H. Wisdom Sits in Places : Landscape and Language among the Western Apache. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1996. G

Adelman, Jeremy and Steven Aron, “From borderlands to borders: Empires, nation-states, and the peoples in between in North American history”, American Historical Review. 104:3 (1999): 814-841. R

Forum Essay: Responses, American Historical Review. 104:4 (1999): R

“ Introduction: Borders and Borderlands”, 1221.
Evan Haefeli, “A Note on the Use of North American Borderlands”, 1222-1225.
Christopher Ebert Schmidt-Nowara, “Borders and Borderlands of Interpretation”, 1226-1228.
John R. Wunder; Pekka Hamalainen, “Of Lethal Places and Lethal Essays”, 1229-1234.
Adelman, Jeremy and Steven Aron, “Of lively exchanges and larger perspectives”, 1235-1239.

Duara, Prasenjit. Rescuing History from the Nation : Questioning Narratives of Modern China. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1995, Introduction, Part 1: Chapter 1, 3-50; Chapter 2, 51-82. R

Week 10: Late Conquest - Hawaii

Liliuokalani, Queen of Hawaii, Hawaii's story by Hawaii's queen, Liliuokalani. Published Boston, Lee and Shepard, 1898, 1-9, 226-261, 262-288, 376-393. R

Haunani-Kay Trask, “Politics in the Pacific Islands: Imerialism and Native Self-Determination”, Amerasia 16 (1990), 1-19. R

Kame'eleihiwa, Lilikalaa, Native land and foreign desires. Honolulu : Bishop Museum Press, 1992, 1-3, 227-327, 341-355, 379-391. D

Tobin, Jeffrey, “Cultural Construction and Native nationalism: Report from the Hawaiian Front.” In Rob Wilson and Arif Dirlik, eds. Asia/Pacific as Space of Cultural Production. Durham: Duke University Press, 1995. 147-169. R

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