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Indiana University history professor to present 2017 Harrison Distinguished Lecture on April 19

Indiana University history professor to present 2017 Harrison Distinguished Lecture on April 19

Dr. Christina Snyder, Thomas and Kathryn Miller Associate Professor of History at Indiana University-Bloomington, will present WKU’s 2017 Harrison Distinguished Lecture on April 19.

Dr. Snyder’s lecture on The Rise and Fall and Rise of Civilizations: Indian Intellectual Culture during the Removal Era will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Mass Media and Technology Hall Auditorium. A book signing will follow.

The event, sponsored by WKU’s Department of History, is free and open to the public.

Dr. Snyder is a historian of colonialism, race and slavery, with a focus on North America from the pre-contact era through the 19th century. Her first book, Slavery in Indian Country: The Changing Face of Captivity in Early America, was published by Harvard University Press in 2010. Her latest book, Great Crossings: Indians, Settlers, and Slaves in the Age of Jackson, was published this year by Oxford University Press. She also is the author of more than 25 articles and review essays.

About her presentation: Dr. Snyder will address Indian intellectual history and, more broadly, a reconsideration of Indigenous engagement with global networks forged by the communications revolution. It focuses on Native American students and alumni who attended Choctaw Academy outside of Lexington, the first federally controlled Indian boarding school in the United States. The school operated from 1825 to 1848, a formative period of U.S. imperialism, when federal Indian policy shifted from assimilation to removal. In justifying this change, Jacksonian officials sought to redefine the nature of Indianness -- away from a primarily political identity based on membership in a foreign nation and toward a racial category associated with primitivism. She focuses on Indian scholars who pushed back, using varied tools assert Native sovereignty and modernity. Evidence drawn from their coursework and post-graduate lives reveals that Choctaw Academy’s students combined Indigenous knowledge with what they learned at school, a powerful alchemy which enabled them to theorize broadly about colonialism, nationalism, and even the nature of history. Far from a straightforward story of alienation, the students’ engagement with their coursework demonstrates how young Indian intellectuals used their studies to articulate a more empowering and useful narrative of both American and global history.

About the Harrison Distinguished Lecture series: The Harrison Lecture series was established in 1993 through the generosity of Lowell and Penny Harrison. Professor Harrison was a longtime faculty member of the WKU Department of History and a widely respected scholar of U.S. history.

Contact: Tony Harkins, (270) 745-3149; or History Department, (270) 745-3841

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