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Society & Culture
History

New Books in Native American Studies

Updated 9 days ago

Society & Culture
History
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Interviews with Scholars of Native America about their New Books

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Interviews with Scholars of Native America about their New Books

iTunes Ratings

48 Ratings
Average Ratings
32
3
5
3
5

Great show

By TheWhyofSky - Aug 14 2018
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I think some of these reviews are misguided and not representative of the majority of episodes of this show. They are creating a vital dialogue of an oft neglected subject. Great job guys, great show

Pet Peeve

By Fran875 - May 14 2018
Read more
My only thing is the host, she breathes in the mic from the episodes I hear and it drives me nuts, other than that it’s a great show.

iTunes Ratings

48 Ratings
Average Ratings
32
3
5
3
5

Great show

By TheWhyofSky - Aug 14 2018
Read more
I think some of these reviews are misguided and not representative of the majority of episodes of this show. They are creating a vital dialogue of an oft neglected subject. Great job guys, great show

Pet Peeve

By Fran875 - May 14 2018
Read more
My only thing is the host, she breathes in the mic from the episodes I hear and it drives me nuts, other than that it’s a great show.
Cover image of New Books in Native American Studies

New Books in Native American Studies

Latest release on Jan 17, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 9 days ago

Rank #1: David Grann, “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” (Vintage, 2017)

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In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, the Osage rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.


In Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (Vintage, 2018) author and New Yorker staff writer David Grann (The Lost City of Z) narrates why and how, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. One of her relatives was shot. Another was poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more Osage were dying under mysterious circumstances, and many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered.


As the death toll rose, the newly created FBI took up the case, and the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to try to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including a Native American agent who infiltrated the region, and together with the Osage began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.


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Ryan Tripp is teaches history at several community colleges, universities, and online extensions. In 2014, he graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a Ph.D. in History. His Ph.D. double minor included World History and Native American Studies, with an emphasis in Linguistic Anthropology and Indigenous Archeology.

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Mar 26 2018

31mins

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Rank #2: Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States” (Beacon Press, 2014)

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When Howard Zinn published A People’s History of the United States in 1980, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz was thrilled. “I used it as a text immediately,” she remembers. Comrades in the movement anti-war movement, Zinn and Dunbar-Ortiz shared a belief that a radically different kind of history, freed from patriotic bluster, was desperately needed.


But Dunbar-Ortiz was also concerned by Zinn’s narrative. While the opening chapters on the genocide of Indigenous people were “like no other general U.S. history book,” Native Americans largely fell out of the story until the Red Power movements of the 1960s and 70s. “I kept saying to Howard, ‘What happened to the Indians? Why did they disappear until Alcatraz in 1969?'” Dunbar-Ortiz recounts. “He would say, ‘You have to write that book.'”


And so last year, Dunbar-Ortiz published An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Beacon Press, 2014). Covering several centuries in a brisk and moving narrative, this is a deeply unsettling tale. Dunbar-Ortiz lays bear a process of genocidal colonization and Indigenous resistance, the genesis of a American way of war born from frontier counterinsurgency and premised on annihilation, and how powerful origin myths continue to obscure the real history of this continent.

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Aug 17 2015

1hr 13mins

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Rank #3: Pekka Hämäläinen, “The Comanche Empire” (Yale UP, 2008)

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In his book, The Comanche Empire (Yale University Press, 2008), Pekka Hämäläinen refutes the traditional story that Indians were bit players or unfortunate victims of the white man’s conquest of the American West. Old maps that divided America into Spanish, French, and British territories, Hämäläinen argues, are “fictions” insofar as they entirely miss great indigenous contenders of military, economic, and political power. Such a one were the Comanches who fought, traded, and cooperated—often simultaneously—with European and Native American rivals, and rose to be a dominating power in the Great Plains for almost 200 years. The Comanche Empire brings a riveting narrative in a dialectical spirit to the fields of American, American Indian, Spanish and Mexican Imperial, and Borderlands histories.


Professor Hämäläinen is Rhodes Professor at the University of Oxford, specializing in early and nineteenth-century North American history especially in indigenous, colonial, imperial, borderlands, and environmental history—all topics that invite comparative discussion and a global view. His first book was When Disease Makes History: Epidemics and Great Historical Turning Points (2006); The Comanche Empire is his second book; he is currently working on a history of the Lakota-Sioux that will be published next year.


Krzysztof Odyniec is a historian of the Early Modern Spanish Empire specializing on culture, diplomacy, and travel. He completed his PhD in 2017 at UC Berkeley where he is now a Visiting Scholar; he also teaches at Los Medanos College and Berkeley City College.

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Jul 17 2018

54mins

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Rank #4: Matthew Restall, “When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History” (Ecco, 2018)

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On November 8, 1519, the Spanish conquistador Hernando Cortés first met Montezuma, the Aztec emperor, at the entrance to the capital city of Tenochtitlan. This introduction—the prelude to the Spanish seizure of Mexico City and to European colonization of the mainland of the Americas—has long been the symbol of Cortés’s bold and brilliant military genius. Montezuma, on the other hand, is remembered as a coward who gave away a vast empire and touched off a wave of colonial invasions across the hemisphere. But is this really what happened?

Matthew Restall, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Latin American History at Pennsylvania State University and President of the American Society for Ethnohistory, departs from this traditional telling in his When Montezuma Met Cortés: The True Story of the Meeting that Changed History (Ecco, 2018). Restall uses “the Meeting”—what he dubs their first encounter—as the entry point into a comprehensive reevaluation of both Cortés and Montezuma. Drawing on rare primary sources and overlooked accounts by conquistadors and Aztecs alike, Restall explores Cortés’s and Montezuma’s posthumous reputations, their achievements and failures, and the worlds in which they lived—leading, step by step, to a dramatic inversion of the old story. As Restall takes us through this sweeping, revisionist account of a pivotal moment in modern civilization, he calls into question our view of the history of the Americas, and, indeed, of history itself.


Ryan Tripp teaches history at several community colleges, universities, and online extensions. In 2014, he graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a Ph.D. in History. His Ph.D. double minor included World History and Native American Studies, with an emphasis in Linguistic Anthropology and Indigenous Archeology.

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Jun 01 2018

1hr 4mins

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Rank #5: Jennifer Graber, “The Gods of Indian Country: Religion and the Struggle for the American West” (Oxford University Press, 2018)

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The American West has always been home to many deities, argues Jennifer Graber in The Gods of Indian Country: Religion and the Struggle for the American West (Oxford University Press, 2018). Graber, an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Texas-Austin, tells the story of the Kiowa over the course of the long nineteenth century. For Kiowas, the continuation of well-established spiritual beliefs and practices sustained them in the face of great challenges, but at times these same elements were dynamic enough to change and adapt to fit new realities. Among the new realities were alliances with powerful neighbors such as the Comanche, with whom the Kiowa shared the Sun Dance ritual. Another was a growing rivalry and at times widespread bloodshed with Americans, whose Christian missionaries fought as much amongst themselves as they did for Native converts. Missionaries often operated under the guise of being “friends of the Indian,” even when their purposes were ultimately dispossession and cultural erasure. The Gods of Indian Country is a deep look at how one Native American society and their settler colonial conquerors  relied upon faith in the face of both success and failure, joy and sorrow, in a rapidly changing West.


Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

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May 08 2018

41mins

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Rank #6: Kim TallBear, “Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science” (University of Minnesota Press, 2013)

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Is genetic testing a new national obsession? From reality TV shows to the wild proliferation of home testing kits, there’s ample evidence it might just be. And among the most popular tests of all is for so-called “Native American DNA.”


All of this rests upon some uninterrogated (and potentially destructive) assumptions about race and human “origins,” however. In Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), Kim TallBear asks what’s at stake for Indigenous communities and First Nations when the premises of this ascendant science are put into practice.

TallBear, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas-Austin and enrolled Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, conducted years of research on the politics of “human genome diversity,” decoding the rhetoric of scientists, for-profit companies, and public consumers. The result is a vital and provocative work, tracing lineages between racial science and genetic testing, “blood talk” and “DNA talk,” and the undemocratic culture of a field which claims it can deliver us from racism.

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Nov 23 2013

59mins

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Rank #7: Pekka Hämäläinen, "Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power" (Yale UP, 2019)

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The names of Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse are often readily recognized among many Americans. Yet the longer, dynamic history of the Lakota - a history from which these three famous figures were created - remains largely untold. In Lakota America: A New History of Indigenous Power (Yale, 2019), historian Pekka Hämäläinen, author of The Comanche Empire, aims to provide a comprehensive history of Lakota migration, expansion, resistance, survival, and resilience. In turn, Hämäläinen tells the story of a people who “were - and are - shapeshifters with a palpable capacity to adapt to changing conditions around them and yet remain Lakotas.” With the Lakota as its primary historical agents, Lakota America recontextualizes the history of North America in terms of Lakota actions, interests, and power.

Hämäläinen starts with the history of the Oceti Sakowin in the seventeenth-century western Great Lakes. From there, Hämäläinen follows the Lakota’s western trajectory, first to the Mnisose (Missouri River), and then to the sacred Paha Sapa (Black Hills). In both instances of relocation, the Lakota reinvent themselves while retaining their distinct identity and place in the world. Thanks to - rather than in spite of - their adaptive capacities, says Hämäläinen, the Lakota repeatedly exercise their control of their own destiny as well as the arc of North American history more broadly. Lakota America places the Lakota at the center of North American history, tracing its course up to the present day, and illuminating how generations of shapeshifting has ensured the endurance and resilience of Lakota peoples, sovereignty, and history today.

Annabel LaBrecque is a PhD student in the department of history at UC Berkeley. You can find her on Twitter @labrcq.

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Nov 22 2019

38mins

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Rank #8: David J. Silverman, "This Land Is Their Land" (Bloomsbury, 2019)

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What really happened at “the first Thanksgiving”? In This Land is Their Land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth Colony, and the Troubled History of Thanksgiving (Bloomsbury, 2019), historian David J. Silverman reveals the complex history surrounding the 1621 feast that every November many Americans associate with silver-buckled Pilgrim costumes, Squanto and Massasoit, and miraculous feats of friendship. Silverman bust these myths - and the many others - that skew American interpretations, understandings, and depictions of the Wampanoag peoples’ relationship with Plymouth colonists.

This Land is Their Land painstakingly recounts the events leading up to and resulting from the Wampanoag-English alliance, and how the manipulation of this history continues to impact the present. Upon landing at Plymouth Rock four hundred years ago this November, English Separatists were swept up into the powerful currents of a dynamic indigenous world, populated with diverse peoples with diverse interests. Native figures such as Ousamequin, Tisquantum, Corbitant, Epenow, and others occupy center stage in This Land is Their Land, encouraging readers to forego stereotypical depictions of powerful Englishmen and passive Native peoples for a more truthful rendition of Anglo-Native interactions on and around present-day Cape Cod. Silverman draws on twenty years of research and work alongside Wampanoag linguists, historians, and educators in an effort to construct a more honest history of the now-famous Wampanoag-English encounter. Underlying this history is the present reality of Wampanoag peoples who continue to commemorate the last Thursday in November as their Day of Mourning. Illuminating the damages still wrought by colonization and colonial mythologies, This Land is Their Land will leave many readers with much to chew on at the Thanksgiving table.

Annabel LaBrecque is a PhD student in the Department of History at UC Berkeley. You can follow her on Twitter @labrcq.

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Oct 28 2019

46mins

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Rank #9: Joseph Genetin-Pilawa, “Crooked Paths to Allotment: The Fight over Federal Indian Policy after Civil War” (UNC Press, 2012)

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Despite what you may have learned in undergraduate surveys or high school textbooks, the nineteenth century was not one long and inexorable march toward Indian dispossession — the real story is far more tragic. As historian Joseph Genetin-Pilawa masterfully relates in his new book Crooked Paths to Allotment: The Fight over Federal Indian Policy after the Civil War (University of North Carolina Press, 2012), Native and non-Native reformers developed a host of viable policy alternatives to allotment and forced assimilation in the post-Civil War years.


Seizing the ferment of Reconstruction, dynamic figures like Ely Parker — briefly featured in Speilberg’s Lincoln — attempted to harness the power of a growing federal government to protect indigenous nations from rapacious land loss and cultural genocide, only to be outmaneuvered by elite “humanitarian” forces who equated dispossession with progress. Adeptly synthesizing the study of American political development with post-colonial thought, and demonstrating an keen attentiveness to human agency within the limitations of larger structures, Genetin-Pilawa excavates the “repressed alternatives” of late nineteenth century Indian policy, destabilizing a narrative too often presented as inevitable.

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Dec 13 2012

1hr 13mins

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Rank #10: Michael L. Oberg, “Peacemakers: The Iroquois, the United States, and the Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794” (Oxford UP, 2015)

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On November 11, 2015, leaders and citizens of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy–Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora–will gather in the small lakeside city of Canandaigua, New York to commemorate the 221st anniversary of a monumental treaty.


Negotiated between the Confederacy and representatives of new federal government in the autumn of 1794, the Treaty of Canandaigua recognized the sovereign status of the Six Nations as separate polities with the right to the “free use and enjoyment” of their lands. While state and private actors would soon violate the accord, seizing ever more Haudenosaunee territory, the Canandaigua Treaty remains a binding expression of “peace and friendship” between the the Confederacy (commonly known as the Iroquois) and the United States.

Michael L. Oberg tells this remarkable story of intercultural diplomacy in Peacemakers: The Iroquois, the United States, and the Treaty of Canandaigua, 1794 (Oxford University Press, 2015). Distinguished Professor of History at SUNY-Geneseo, Oberg narrates the twists and turns of war, dispossession, and resilience that brought sixteen hundred Haudenosaunee delegates, including Red Jacket, Cornplanter, and Handsome Lake, to a council with Colonel Timothy Pickering, an official representative of President George Washington.


“Brother, we the Sachems of the Six Nations will now tell our minds,” Red Jacket declared in 1794. “The business of this treaty is to brighten the Chain of Friendship between us and the fifteen fires.” The Haudenosaunee continue that effort today.

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Nov 10 2015

1hr 13mins

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Rank #11: Rosalyn LaPier, "Invisible Reality: Storytellers, Storytakers, and the Supernatural World of the Blackfeet" (U Nebraska Press, 2017)

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In Invisible Reality: Storytellers, Storytakers, and the Supernatural World of the Blackfeet(University of Nebraska Press, 2017), author Rosalyn LaPier, an associate professor in environmental studies at the University of Montana, complicates several narratives about Native people and the nonhuman world. Rather than “living in harmony with nature,” as stereotyped by the ecological Indian mythos, the Blackfeet people of the northern plains believed they could marshal supernatural forces to bend the nonhuman world to their will. Stories and narratives about these powerful supernatural forces from Native voices filtered through white anthropologists notes and recordings via a robust storytelling economy that existed on the Blackfeet Reservation during the early decades of the twentieth century. Rather than “exploiting Grandma,” Blackfeet storytellers used their leverage as keepers of Indigenous knowledge to extract cash payments from whites seeking Blackfeet narratives and knowledge. LaPier’s book is part personal narrative, part environmental history, and part religious studies analysis of the Blackfeet and their worldview during the tumultuous transition between independence and reservation life and emphasizes the resilience of Blackfeet religion and spiritual practices up to today. Invisible Reality won multiple prizes from the Western History Association in 2018, including the inaugural Donald L. Fixico Prize in American Indian and Canadian First Nations History.

Stephen Hausmann is an Assistant Professor of US History at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He teaches courses on modern US history, environmental history, and Indigenous history and is currently working on his book manuscript, an environmental history of the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.

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May 16 2019

58mins

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Rank #12: Liz Conor, “Skin Deep: Settler Impressions of Aboriginal Women (UWA Publishing, 2016)

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In an activist application of her scholarly discipline, Dr Liz Conor’s Skin Deep: Settler Impressions of Aboriginal Women (UWA Publishing, 2016) acknowledges its dual potential to disturb and to incite a reckoning – giving life to Audre Lorde’s famous quote that the learning process is something to be incited, like a riot. Using travelogues, cartoon strips, missionary diaries, paintings and lithographs, just to name a few, Dr. Conor’s consultation of a vast colonial archive challenges the amnesia in our national record and, accordingly, the racism and misogyny of our cultural imaginary. Recreating the settler-colonial imaginary and the tropes and stereotypes it projected in the imperial enterprise of knowledge production about Aboriginal women, Skin Deep exposes the interlocking oppressions of gender and race that manifested in the 18th, 19th and 20th century. From the innocent native-belle, to the beaten captive bride, the cannibalistic mother to the bare-footed domestic worker, the sexualised metonym of the virginal land to the unsightly, malevolent matriarch, the Aboriginal women was reduced by the settler to a canvas – recklessly painted with the ideologies, expectations and ambitions of the empire – making the Aboriginal women devastatingly skin-deep.


Taylor Fox-Smith is teaching gender studies at Macquarie University and researching the gender gap in political behaviour and psychology at the United States Studies Centre in Sydney, Australia. Having received a Bachelor of International and Global Studies with first class Honours in American Studies at the University of Sydney, Taylor was awarded the American Studies Best Thesis Award for her work titled The Lemonade Nexus. The thesis uses the theme of marital infidelity in Beyonce’s 2016 visual album Lemonade as a popular cultural narrative of institutional betrayal, and parallels it with police brutality in Baltimore city. It argues that the album provides an alternative model of political formation which can help to understand redemption in the wake of an urban uprising. Rewriting the traditional protest to politics narrative with an iterative nexus named after the album, Taylor’s research continues to straddle political science, gender studies and popular culture.

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Mar 16 2017

51mins

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Rank #13: Jeffrey Ostler, "Surviving Genocide: Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas" (Yale UP, 2019)

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Jeffrey Ostler’s Surviving Genocide: Native Nations and the United States from the American Revolution to Bleeding Kansas (Yale University Press, 2019) is the first of what will be a two-volume set that comprehensively chronicles the devastating effects of U.S. expansionism on Native Nations. Surviving Genocide covers the eastern United States from the 1750s to the start of the Civil War. In it Ostler makes the compelling argument that American democracy relied on Indian dispossession and what officials claimed to be “just and lawful” wars to remove and kill Indians who resisted. Importantly, Ostler’s book documents the resilience of Native people, showing how they survived genocide in the face of serious and diverse threats to their existence.

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Sep 11 2019

53mins

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Rank #14: Gregory D. Smithers, "Native Southerners: Indigenous History from Origins to Removal" (U Oklahoma Press, 2019)

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In his book, Native Southerners: Indigenous History from Origins to Removal(University of Oklahoma Press, 2019), Dr. Gregory D. Smithers effectively articulates the complex history of Native Southerners. Smithers conveys the history of Native Southerners through numerous historical eras while properly reinterpreting popular misconceptions about the past in a way that is compelling and easy to understand. Smithers expresses the rich and complex history of Native Southerners as it was while exposing the reality of settler colonialism and U.S. removal policies. As shown throughout the book, Native Southerners were constantly adapting to a changing world. But ultimately Native Southerners flourished, leading Smither to state, “My, how the architects of removal and assimilation failed.”

Gregory D. Smithers is an American historian with a particular interest in the rich history of the Cherokee people, Indigenous history in the Southeast, and environmental history. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of California, Davis. He has taught in California, Hawaii, Scotland, and Ohio. He currently lives in Richmond, Virginia, where he is a professor of American history and Eminent Scholar in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Colin Mustful has an M.A. in history from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and is currently a candidate for an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Augsburg University. You can learn more about his work at his website: www.colinmustful.com.

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Jun 27 2019

1hr 6mins

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Rank #15: Jason Pierce, “Making the White Man’s West: Whiteness and the Creation of the American West” (UP of Colorado, 2016)

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The West, particularly the mountain West of states like Colorado, Utah, Idaho, has long had an image as a land of white men. This image dates to the 19th century, yet it is counterintuitive. Before it became a white man’s paradise, the West was the land of Native Americans, immigrants, Hispanics, and even occasionally free blacks. In his new book, Making the White Man’s West: Whiteness and the Creation of the American West (University Press of Colorado, 2016), Jason Pierce (Associate Professor of History at Angelo State University) examines this transformation. Initially, the West was treated as a space to send the others of society, including primarily non-whites, in order to keep the Eastern United States more racially pure. Yet, when gold was discovered and the West became a desirable location for white inhabitants, the image had to be remade. Pierce examines how this was done and how the image of the West continued to be contested. He also discusses how violence helped disempower the non-white inhabitants of the region and render their continued presence less threatening to the idea of a white man’s country.


In this episode of the podcast, Pierce discusses the book and his key findings about this process. He discusses how he got interested in the region as a native Coloradan. He explains why this transformation occurred and how some of the interesting figures worked hard to remake the West’s image. He also discusses serendipitous moments in the research process and the present and future racial image of the region.


Christine Lamberson is an Assistant Professor of History at Angelo State University. Her research and teaching focuses on 20th century U.S. political and cultural history. She’s currently working on a book manuscript about the role of violence in shaping U.S. political culture in the 1960s and 1970s. She can be reached at clamberson@angelo.edu.

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Sep 26 2016

53mins

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Rank #16: Alexus McLeod, “Philosophy of the Ancient Maya: Lords of Time” (Lexington Books, 2018)

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The ancient Maya are popularly known for their calendar, but their concept of time and the metaphysics surrounding that conception are not. In Philosophy of the Ancient Maya: Lords of Time (Lexington Books, 2018), Alexus McLeod reconstructs an ancient Mayan metaphysical system based on key texts and other artifacts plus using analogies with ancient Chinese philosophical thought. On his view, the Maya held that we can understand everything in temporal terms but that everything does not reduce to time, and that humans have a role in constructing manifest time and organizing the manifest world. McLeod, who is associate professor of philosophy and Asian studies at the University of Connecticut, also considers Mayan views of essences, truth, personal identity, and meaning.

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Apr 16 2018

1hr 5mins

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Rank #17: Daniel Immerwahr, "How to Hide an Empire: The History of the Greater United States" (FSG, 2019)

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“Is America an Empire?” is a popular question for pundits and historians, likely because it sets off such a provocative debate. All too often, however, people use empire simply because the United States is a hegemon, ignoring the country’s imperial traits to focus simply on its power. Dr. Daniel Immerwahr’s book How to Hide an Empire: The History of the Greater United States (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2019) corrects this by explicitly focusing on the country’s territories and territories overseas possessions.

Dr. Immerwahr begins at the country’s founding as apprehension over aggressive westward settlement gave way to enthusiastic land grabs by pioneers such as Daniel Boone. Propelled by an astonishingly high birth rate and immigration, Euroamericans displaced indigenous peoples. In addition to this more familiar narrative, other factors drove territorial expansion. A desperate need for fertilizers led to the annexation of nearly one hundred “guano islands” in the Pacific and Caribbean, followed by the annexation of even more territory following the Spanish-American War in 1898. These new territories, including Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Guam, and others enjoyed an uneasy relationship with the United States: they did not enjoy constitutional protections but nevertheless had a close relationship with what they called the mainland. While the United States backed away from traditional colonialism after 1945, what emerged instead was a “pointillist empire” that depended on bases and new uses of older territory to function.

Zeb Larson is a PhD Candidate in History at The Ohio State University. His research is about the anti-apartheid movement in the United States. To suggest a recent title or to contact him, please send an e-mail to zeb.larson@gmail.com.

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Mar 07 2019

1hr 18mins

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Rank #18: Daniel J. Sharfstein, “Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War” (Norton, 2017)

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Daniel J. Sharfstein, Professor of Law and History at Vanderbilt University, narrates a postbellum struggle that raged in the Northern Rockies in Thunder in the Mountains: Chief Joseph, Oliver Otis Howard, and the Nez Perce War (W.W. Norton and Company, 2017). In the summer of 1877, General Oliver Otis Howard, a champion of African American civil rights during Reconstruction, ruthlessly pursued hundreds of Nez Perce families who resisted moving onto a reservation. Standing in his way was Chief Joseph, a young leader who never stopped advocating for Native American sovereignty and equal rights. Thunder in the Mountains is the spellbinding story of two legendary figures and their epic clash of ideas about the meaning of freedom and the role of government in American life.


Ryan Tripp is an adjunct instructor for several community colleges, universities, and online university extensions. In 2014, he graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a Ph.D. in History. His Ph.D. double minor included World History and Native American Studies, with an emphasis in Linguistic Anthropology and Indigenous Archeology.

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Jan 24 2018

1hr 15mins

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Rank #19: Lisa Brooks, “Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War” (Yale UP, 2018)

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Lisa Brooks, Associate Professor of English and American Studies at Amherst College, recovers a complex picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance in Our Beloved Kin: A New History of King Philip’s War (Yale University Press, 2018). Brooks narrates the stories of Weetamoo, a female Wampanoag leader, and James Printer, a Nipmuc scholar, whose stories converge in the captivity of Mary Rowlandson. Through both a narrow focus on Weetamoo, Printer, and their network of relations, and a far broader scope that includes vast Indigenous geographies, Brooks leads us to a new understanding of the history of colonial New England and of American origins. Brooks’s pathbreaking scholarship is grounded not just in extensive archival research, but in the land and communities of Native New England, illuminating the actions of actors during the seventeenth century alongside an analysis of the landscape and interpretations informed by tribal history. Readers can also participate in a remapping of the “First Indian War,” later renamed “King Philip’s War.”


Ryan Tripp is an adjunct instructor for several community colleges, universities, and online university extensions. In 2014, he graduated from the University of California, Davis, with a Ph.D. in History. His Ph.D. double minor included World History and Native American Studies, with an emphasis in Linguistic Anthropology and Indigenous Archeology.

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Jan 17 2018

1hr 6mins

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Rank #20: Joe Jackson, "Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary" (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2016)

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Black Elk witnessed some of the most monumental moments in the history of the Lakota and the Northern Great Plains: Red Cloud’s War, the Battle of the Little Bighorn, the murder of Crazy Horse, Wounded Knee. In his compelling new biography, Black Elk: The Life of an American Visionary (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2016), award-winning nonfiction writer and journalist Joe Jackson tells the story of this place and these events through the chronicle of Black Elk’s life. As one of the most globally famous practitioners of Lakota spirituality, Black Elk’s life is well known. Jackson uses an array of sources to breathe new life into his story and presents the complicated, sometimes tragic, sometimes hopeful figure within his historical context. Jackson’s prose is crisp and vibrant, and the narrative of Black Elk’s religious and personal lives make for a page-turning story. Black Elk: The Fife of an American Visionary won the 2017 Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians.

Stephen Hausmann is a doctoral candidate at Temple University and Visiting Instructor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently writing his dissertation, a history of race and the environment in the Black Hills and surrounding northern plains region of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana.

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Jan 11 2019

1hr 10mins

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