American Frontiers: Homelands and Empire
NEW! Last Updated: 02/03/2010
Fall, Winter and Spring quarters
Faculty Signature Required: Winter quarter. Spring quarter.
Major areas of study include Native American Studies, American history, geography, cultural studies, immigration studies, and community studies
Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 25% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.
Accepts Winter Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, with signature. Interested students should contact faculty by email or at the Academic Fair, December 2, 2009. Students should expect to complete catch-up work during the winter break and be prepared for a major project in winter quarter.
Accepts Spring Enrollment: This program will accept new enrollment, with signature. Interested students should contact faculty by email or at the Academic Fair, March 3, 2010. New students will need to complete some catch-up work and prepare for a research project in spring quarter.
In recent years, many have challenged the "Frontier Thesis" first articulated by Frederick Jackson Turner--that the frontier is "the meeting point between savagery and civilization"--as a racist rationale for the colonization of Native American homelands. We will take as our starting point a critique of the Turner thesis and will consider alternative histories of Anglo-American expansion and settlement in North America, with interaction, change and persistence as our unifying themes. We will study how place and connection is nurtured, re-imagined, and interpreted, particularly in Indigenous communities. We will connect between the on-going process of "Manifest Destiny" in North America and subsequent overseas imperial expansion into Latin America, the Pacific, and beyond. The colonial control of domestic homelands and imperial control of foreign homelands are both highlighted in recent patterns of recent immigration, involving many "immigrants" who are in fact indigenous to the Americas, as well as immigrants from countries once conquered by the U.S. military. The American Empire, it seems, began at home and is coming back home, and will be contested again.
Students will explore the juxtaposed themes of Frontier and Homeland, Empire and Periphery, and the Indigenous and Immigrant experience. We will be using historical analysis (changes in time) and geographic analysis (changes in place) to critique these themes, and will turn toward cultural analysis for a deeper understanding of race, nation, class, and gender. In fall quarter, we will track the historical progression of the frontier across North America and overseas, and the territorial and cultural clashes of immigrant and colonized peoples. We will hear the life stories of local individuals and communities to understand their narratives of conflict, assimilation, resistance, and survival. In the first part of winter quarter, we will look at contemporary case studies that show the imprint of the past in the present, and how 21st-century North American communities are wrestling with the legacies of colonization, imperialism and migration. In particular, we will examine the overlapping experiences of Native Americans and recent immigrants, and Indigenous territories and migrations that transgress or straddle the international border as defined by "Homeland Security."
This program offers ideal opportunities for students to develop skills in writing, research, and analysis by studying scholarly works, conducting ethnographic fieldwork (observation, interviewing, documentation of social life), and utilizing technology (digital media, audio and video documentation, and mapping) in partnership with local communities. From mid-winter to mid-spring, students will undertake an extended project of their choice using place (homeland, empire, and migration) as their interpretative frameworks. This project will include the option of combining research with internship or other community service, particularly with Indigenous peoples or immigrant communities in Washington state or elsewhere in the U.S. The faculty will provide strong support and anticipate that the projects will be substantive and of great value to both the student and local communities.
Credits: 16 per quarter
Internship Possibilities: Winter and Spring only with faculty approval
Special Expenses: $60 for an overnight trip.
Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in American Studies, Native American Studies, geography, elementary and secondary education, law, and humanities
|October 28th, 2009||Winter enrollment details added.|
|February 3rd, 2010||Spring enrollment details added.|