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History's shadow : Native Americans and historical consciousness in the nineteenth century / Steven Conn.

By: Conn, Steven.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, c2004Description: xii, 276 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.ISBN: 0226114945 (alk. paper); 9780226114941 (alk. paper).Subject(s): Indians of North America -- History -- 19th century | United States -- Civilization -- Indian influences | Ethnology -- United StatesDDC classification: 973.04/97 LOC classification: E77 | .C75 2004Other classification: 15.85 | 73.06
Contents:
Native Americans and the problem of history, part 1 -- Images of history : Indians in American art -- Fade to silence : Indians and the study of language -- The past is underground : archaeology and the search for Indian history -- The art and science of describing and classifying : the triumph of anthropology -- Native Americans and the problem of history, part 2.
Summary: Who were the Native Americans? Where did they come from and how long ago? Did they have a history, and would they have a future? Questions such as these dominated intellectual life in the United States during the nineteenth century. And for many Americans, such questions about the original inhabitants of their homeland inspired a flurry of historical investigation, scientific inquiry, and heated political debate. [In this book, the author] traces the struggle of Americans trying to understand the people who originally occupied the continent claimed as their own. [He] considers how the question of the Indian compelled Americans to abandon older explanatory frameworks for sovereignty like the Bible and classical literature and instead develop new ones. Through their engagement with Native American language and culture, American intellectuals helped shape and define the emerging fields of archaeology, ethnology, linguistics, and art. But more important, the questions posed by the presence of the Indian in the United States forced Americans to confront the meaning of history itself, both that of Native Americans and their own: how it should be studied, what drove its processes, and where it might ultimately lead. The encounter with Native Americans, Conn argues, helped give rise to a distinctly American historical consciousness.-Dust jacket.
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Item type Current location Call number Status Date due Barcode
Book University of Texas At Tyler
Stacks - 3rd Floor
E77 .C75 2004 (Browse shelf) Available 0000001779412

Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-270) and index.

Native Americans and the problem of history, part 1 -- Images of history : Indians in American art -- Fade to silence : Indians and the study of language -- The past is underground : archaeology and the search for Indian history -- The art and science of describing and classifying : the triumph of anthropology -- Native Americans and the problem of history, part 2.

Who were the Native Americans? Where did they come from and how long ago? Did they have a history, and would they have a future? Questions such as these dominated intellectual life in the United States during the nineteenth century. And for many Americans, such questions about the original inhabitants of their homeland inspired a flurry of historical investigation, scientific inquiry, and heated political debate. [In this book, the author] traces the struggle of Americans trying to understand the people who originally occupied the continent claimed as their own. [He] considers how the question of the Indian compelled Americans to abandon older explanatory frameworks for sovereignty like the Bible and classical literature and instead develop new ones. Through their engagement with Native American language and culture, American intellectuals helped shape and define the emerging fields of archaeology, ethnology, linguistics, and art. But more important, the questions posed by the presence of the Indian in the United States forced Americans to confront the meaning of history itself, both that of Native Americans and their own: how it should be studied, what drove its processes, and where it might ultimately lead. The encounter with Native Americans, Conn argues, helped give rise to a distinctly American historical consciousness.-Dust jacket.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

During an era that denied the validity of the Native American peoples in the history of the United States, a few intrepid individuals opted to study Native American languages and cultures. Among them was Thomas Jefferson, who is credited with giving rise to archaeology in North America because of his interest in Native American artifacts, and artists like George Catlin and Benjamin West. As the times dictated, they used dispassionate, scientific methods to avoid sympathizing with the plight of their subjects. Conn (history, Ohio State Univ.) shows that by grappling with the Native American presence in this clear-eyed manner, these intellectuals were able to abandon outdated modes of thinking and develop a distinctly American history. This unique intellectual history is highly recommended for academic libraries supporting programs in art, anthropology, and Native American studies.-John Burch, Campbellsville Univ. Lib., KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

This is a big, complex, altogether impressive book that provides novel perspectives on a half dozen topics of major significance. Starting with an outline of the trajectory of Indians in US intellectual life from a pervasive, dynamic presence at the beginning of the 19th century to near nonexistence by its end, Conn (Ohio State Univ.) demonstrates how studies of Native Americans were absolutely crucial to the development of archaeology, ethnology, and linguistics in US academia. Eventually, all of these contributed to the emergence of the new discipline of anthropology, which nearly owes its very existence in the US to attempts to answer fundamental questions about Native Americans. But as anthropology increasingly monopolized the study of Native Americans, the larger and more central discipline of history, captivated by the idea of linear national progress, developed in a different direction, in part by virtually completely jettisoning interest in groups such as Indians that were seen as static, nonprogressive, and therefore nonhistorical. This is a fascinating book for anyone interested in Native American studies, race theory, the history of history, science, and social science in the US, or US cultural and intellectual history in general. ^BSumming Up: Highly recommended. All levels and libraries. K. Blaser Wayne State College

Author notes provided by Syndetics

Steven Conn is associate professor of history at Ohio State University. He is the author of American Museums and Intellectual Life , also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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