Showing posts from September, 2017

Comanches All Around

This edition of History Spaghetti comes from Ryan Booth, a Ph.D. student in history. Here, Ryan reviews two recent works that demonstrate the significant impact of Native Americans in the history of the American Southwest. The first, Pekka Hämäläinen’s The Comanche Empire (2008), challenges us to re-consider our conceptions of Indian political, economic, and military power in the Southwest by seeing the Comanches as an imperial power. Just like the Spanish and American empires in the Southwest, between 1700 and 1850 the Comanche empire “imposed their will upon neighboring polities, harnessed the economic potential of other societies for their own use, and persuaded their rivals to adopt and accept their customs and norms” (pg.4). Hämäläinen, Rhodes Professor of American History at Oxford University, avoids the “cameo-appearance” narrative of American history, where Indians only show up for a moment before disappearing, by centering Indians in our understanding of the eighteenth- and n…

Half-Baked Alaskan History

by Karl Krotke-Crandall

Alaska’s history is a quagmire. Working alongside burgeoning historians of the Pacific Northwest, I am often left pondering why Alaskan history exists in the historical journals of the region. Americanists routinely submit their works to publications such as Pacific Northwest Quarterly on topics which merely scratch the surface of the history of our northernmost state. 2017 marks the sesquicentennial of the sale of Alaska to the United States from Imperial Russia in 1867. Such a significant milestone presents an opportunity to visit the question of who is writing the history of the forty-ninth state.

As historians, we divide our interests between nations, both past and present, to offer works that neatly fit into well-defined fields. The profession also gives us defined time frames in which to place our studies- as modernists, early modernist, or perhaps as ancient historians. This concept allows students to specialize themselves into a field in which they may…