Wabash College
PSC 378-02: The “Indian Question” in the Americas
Spring 2001

Professor Andrew Schlewitz
Office: Baxter 115a
Office Hours: MWF: 10:20-11:10am; TTh: 1:10-2:25pm; or by appointment
Office Phone: 361-3166; Home Phone: 364-9136 (mailbox 2)
E-mail: schlewia@wabash.edu

Course Description:

The “Indian Question” haunted the young states of the 19th Century Americas. Trying to consolidate control over territory, or expand that territory, and forge a national identity, North and South American governments confronted indigenous groups who resisted that control and identity. The “Indian Question” was, then, what to do about such resistance?

The answers varied—from exile and destruction to forced assimilation and accommodation. We will study these answers with a focus on the United States, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, and Peru. The intent of this course is not only to gain knowledge of how these answers varied, but why. We will also think together about the ways these answers to the “Indian Question” shaped political development in the Americas, and what those answers bequeathed to later generations.

Course Goals: By the end of the course, students will:

•be able to relate key similarities and differences among the American states in terms of how they treated indigenous populations over the 19th and 20 centuries;
•know the varied ways by which indigenous peoples responded to state efforts to shape and control them;
•be familiar with different approaches to understanding indigenous groups’ relations with states, namely, essentialist, political culture, political economy, and post-modern;
•understand be prepared to evaluate two or more possible explanations of why Indian-state relations in the Americas varied;
•and practice critical reading and writing skills, as well as collaborative research in the seminar format.

Required Readings:

*Perry, Richard J. From Time Immemorial: Indigenous Peoples and State Systems. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1996.
•Mallon, Florencia E. Peasant and Nation: The Making of Postcolonial Mexico and Peru. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995.

Course Requirements (share of final grade in parentheses):

*Attendance and participation (10%). This course is a seminar, a collaborative effort by the instructor and students to investigate and understand a particular phenomenon. Attendance and the participation are therefore not only expected, they are necessary if this course is produce anything worthwhile.

*Commentaries (10%). Each student will have two opportunities to lead the discussion on the day’s reading. Commentaries are not summaries of the reading. The commentator may affirm or challenge the reading, or use it to illuminate a related topic.

•Research paper (70% in total). This assignment will be completed using the following steps:

--research topic and question (5%)

--annotated bibliography, including at least four references (5%)

--refined topic and question, and outline (5%)

--first complete draft, 15-20 pages, presented to the seminar; students must bring copies to the class session before the presentation, enough for all seminar participants (5%)

--final draft (50%)

•Discussant (10%). When it comes time for students to present their work to other seminar members, one student will act as a discussant, starting the conversation with a careful, thoughtful critique (no more than 10 minutes), and afterward, moderating the discussion.

Date Reading Topic Other
Jan 11 US Articles of the Confederation; US Constitution Introduction Research assignments for comparing constitutions
Jan 16 Constitutions compared.
Jan 18 Alderman & Kennedy, “Freedom of Religion; ”White, “The Office of Indian Affairs” Native Americans and the US state
Jan 23 Debo, ch. 1 Essentialist Approach
Jan 25 Perry, Preface and chs. 1-2 Political Economy Culture Approaches
Jan 30 Mallon, ch. 1 Post modern Approach Country assignments
Feb 1 Perry, ch. 3 Mexico
Feb 6 Mallon, ch. 2 Mexico
Feb 8 McCreery reading Guatemala
Feb 13 Mallon, ch. 6 Peru
Feb 15 Perry, ch. 4 US
Feb 20 Meinig reading US
Feb 27 Perry, ch. 5 Canada Mid-Semester
Mar 1 - - - Discuss student research ideas Research Topics due (bring 9 copies)
Mar 6-8 Spring Break
Mar 13 Perry, ch. 8 Comparative work
Mar 15 Mallon, ch. 10 Comparative work
Mar 20 - - - Individual consultations Annotated bibliography due
Mar 22 - - - Individual consultations Refined topic and outline due
Mar 27 - - - “Once Were Warriors” Dinner and movie at my place, 6pm
Mar 29 - - - Research
Apr 3 - - - Research
Apr 5 - - - Presentation
Apr 10 - - - Research O’Neil submits rough draft
Apr 12 O’Neil rough draft (McCullem discussant) Presentation Wallace and Metz submit rough drafts
Apr 17 Wallace rough draft (O’Neil discussant) Metz rough draft(Ashton discussant) Presentation Lynch and Widener submit rough drafts
Apr 19 Lynch rough draft(Metz discussant) Widener rough draft(Wallace discussant) Presentation McCullom and Ashton submit rough drafts
Apr 24 McCullom rough draft(Lynch discussant) Ashton rough draft (Widener discussant) Presentation Lynch comments on McCullom paper;
Widener comments on Ashton paper.
Apr 26 Joint critique of Perry Not optional--Treat this as a final!
April 30 Final drafts due, 10am.

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