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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : History

Undergraduate Course: Indigenous Peoples and U.S. History (HIST10514)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryNeither a relic of the distant past nor a footnote, Indigenous Americans played central roles in U.S. history. This course explores their story and the broader role of settler colonialism in American life.
Course description North America was not empty when European settlers arrived. But the history of indigenous Americans is not one of inevitable decline, it is not over -- and it is central to the story of the wider history of the U.S. This course explores over two centuries of indigenous American history from multiple perspectives, including episodes of violent conflict, cultural exchange, religious, technological, and political innovation, and resilience. We will discuss why the encounter of Europeans and Native Americans became so violent, as well as what settler colonialism and how it was integral to the formation of the United States and its rise to global power.

Ranging from the syncretic religion of the Ghost Dance to the brutal massacres at Sand Creek and Wounded Knee, from a nascent Comanche Empire to what is possibly the world's oldest democracy among the Haudenosaunee, across Cherokee slaveholders and Osage oil barons, and continuing to the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline, we will read a nuanced and diverse array of primary and secondary sources.

Content note: The study of History inevitably involves the study of difficult topics that we encourage students to approach in a respectful, scholarly, and sensitive manner. Nevertheless, we remain conscious that some students may wish to prepare themselves for the discussion of difficult topics. In particular, the course organiser has outlined that the following topics may be discussed in this course, whether in class or through required or recommended primary and secondary sources: explicit descriptions/discussions of violence and genocide, racism and racist slurs, and kidnapping/child abuse; it may also touch on sexual assault, ableism, and misogyny. While this list indicates sensitive topics students are likely to encounter, it is not exhaustive because course organisers cannot entirely predict the directions discussions may take in tutorials or seminars, or through the wider reading that students may conduct for the course.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements A pass or passes in 40 credits of first level historical courses or equivalent and a pass or passes in 40 credits of second level historical courses or equivalent.

Students should only be enrolled on this course with approval from the History Honours Programme Administrator.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesVisiting students should have at least 3 History courses at grade B or above (or be predicted to obtain this). We will only consider University/College level courses. Applicants should note that, as with other popular courses, meeting the minimum does NOT guarantee admission.

** As numbers are limited, visiting students should contact the Visiting Student Office directly for admission to this course. **
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 22, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 174 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 80 %, Practical Exam 20 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework:
1000 word Essay outline and bibliography (15%)
3000 word Final Research Essay (65%)

Non-Written Skills:
Participation (20%)
Feedback Students are expected to discuss their coursework with the Course Organiser at least once prior to submission, and are encouraged to do so more often. Meetings can take place with the Course Organiser during their published office hours or by appointment. Students will also receive feedback on their coursework, and will have the opportunity to discuss that feedback further with the Course Organiser.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. articulate the key historical arguments and debates around settler colonialism and its role in U.S. and global history;
  2. integrate this knowledge into their broader course of study around historical narratives and change over time;
  3. develop their communication skills regarding history coursework in multiple registers and forms, for different audiences;
  4. both autonomously and cooperatively assemble, pursue, and complete an independent research project.
Reading List
Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang, 'Decolonization Is Not a Metaphor', Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society 1 (1), 2012, 1-40.

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (Boston: Beacon Press, 2014).

Christine Delucia, Memory Lands: King Philip's War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2018).

Susan Sleeper-Smith, Indigenous Prosperity and American Conquest: Indian Women of the Ohio River Valley, 1690-1792 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2018).

Robert Miller, 'American Indian Constitutions and Their Influence on the United States Constitution', Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 159 (1), 2015, 32-56.

Tiya Miles, The Ties that Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005).

Pekka Hämäläinen, The Comanche Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2008).

Ari Kelman, A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2013).

Philip Deloria, Indians in Unexpected Places (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004).

Louis Warren, God's Red Son: The Ghost Dance Religion and the Making of Modern America (New York: Basic Books, 2017).

Nick Estes, Our History Is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the Long Tradition of Indigenous Resistance (New York: Verso, 2019).
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Graduates of this course will be able to:

demonstrate familiarity with the ideas and histories of settler colonialism and their role in shaping the modern world
integrate these ideas and histories into broader historical narratives of the changing role of indigenous peoples in U.S. and global history over time
develop an independent research project incorporating both primary and secondary sources in class and sources independently researched
articulate some of the scholarly debates around the role of indigenous peoples in the history of North America and globally
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Robert Suits
Tel: (0131 6)50 6693
Course secretary
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