2013-14 Catalog

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Offering Description

American Frontiers, Homelands, and Empire


Spring 2014 quarter

Kristina Ackley Native American studies , Zoltan Grossman geography
Fields of Study
American studies, Native American studies, community studies, cultural studies, education, geography, history and international studies
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Native American studies, American studies, immigration studies, geography, elementary and secondary education, law and humanities.

This program repeats the fall quarter content of the fall-winter program American Frontiers, Homelands, and Empire. Students who take the fall quarter program may not sign up for the spring repeat program.

Students will explore the juxtaposed themes of Frontier and Homeland, Empire and Periphery and the Indigenous and Immigrant experience. We will use 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. We will take as our starting point a critique of Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Frontier Thesis”—that the frontier is "the meeting point between savagery and civilization"—as a racist rationale for the colonization of Native American homelands. We 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 and recent immigrant communities. We will connect between the ongoing 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. These patterns involve 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 its effects are coming back home and will be contested again.

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 firsthand the life stories of local individuals and communities to understand their narratives of conflict, assimilation, resistance and survival. 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 foundational skills in writing, research, and analysis.

Schedule and Location
Online Learning
Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online
Greener Store
Required Fees
$120 for a field trip to the Quileute and Makah nations.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
January 29th, 2014 This program is now offered to Freshmen and Sophomores only.
October 9th, 2013 New opportunity added.