Thesis ID: CBB627267294

'The Indians Say': Settler Colonialism and the Scientific Study of North America, 1722 to 1848 (2021)


E. Bennett Jones (Author)
Pearson, Susan J. (Advisor)
Barnett, Lydia (Advisor)

Northwestern University
Pearson, Susan J.
Barnett, Lydia
Publication date: 2021
Language: English

Publication Date: 2021
Physical Details: 221

“‘The Indians Say’: Settler Colonialism and the Scientific Study of North America, 1722 to 1848” examines the issue of evidence and credibility within natural history by following the circulation of Indigenous testimony through Anglophone networks of scientific knowledge production. By merging the history of science with Native American and Indigenous studies, this dissertation makes two interrelated arguments: first, that during the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries information sharing between Indigenous peoples and Anglophone naturalists was both controlled by Indigenous actors and political in nature; and second, that the scientific credibility of Indigenous testimony was informed by colonial ideology and politics. Instead of prevailing scientific norms shaping American settler science, the reverse was true. Using four chronological case studies centered in the early eighteenth-century Carolina piedmont, the late eighteenth-century Eastern Woodlands, the early nineteenth-century Upper Mississippi River valley, and mid nineteenth-century Samoa, this dissertation demonstrates that colonial politics influenced naturalists’ decisions to cite Native American sources. In all four cases, Anglophone naturalists only had access to Indigenous testimony as a result of Indigenous diplomacy and information sharing practices. Moreover in each of these instances, Anglophone naturalists Mark Catesby, Benjamin Smith Barton, John James Audubon, and Titian Ramsay Peale each relied on Indigenous testimony and expertise, but the intellectual value these naturalists ascribed to this same information waxed and waned in direct response to settler colonial Indian policy.

Citation URI

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Book Seth Archer; (2018)
Sharks Upon the Land: Colonialism, Indigenous Health, and Culture in Hawai'i, 1778-1855 (/p/isis/citation/CBB725520854/) unapi

Thesis Christopher Michael Blakley; (2019)
Inhuman Empire: Slavery and Nonhuman Animals in the British Atlantic World (/p/isis/citation/CBB485703529/) unapi

Article Sarah Irving-Stonebraker; (2017)
“The Sagacity of the Indians”: William Dampier’s Surprising Respect for Indigenous Knowledge (/p/isis/citation/CBB079440616/) unapi

Article Alana Lajoie-O’Malley; Kelly Bronson; Gwendolyn Blue; (2023)
‘Consent’ as epistemic recognition: Indigenous knowledges, Canadian impact assessment, and the colonial liberal democratic order (/p/isis/citation/CBB021888380/) unapi

Article Adi Estela Lazos Ruíz; Claudio Garibay Orozco; (2023)
The Great Chichimeca Landscape: Pre-Hispanic Natural Resources Use (/p/isis/citation/CBB618213679/) unapi

Book Ned Blackhawk; Isaiah Lorado Wilner; (2018)
Indigenous Visions: Rediscovering the World of Franz Boas (/p/isis/citation/CBB479858176/) unapi

Book Allison Margaret Bigelow; (2020)
Mining Language: Racial Thinking, Indigenous Knowledge, and Colonial Metallurgy in the Early Modern Iberian World (/p/isis/citation/CBB877754784/) unapi

Thesis Calandra McCool; (2016)
Native American Stories as Scientific Investigations of Nature: Indigenous Science and Methodologies (/p/isis/citation/CBB631274656/) unapi

Book Heaton, Matthew M.; (2013)
Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry (/p/isis/citation/CBB001202372/) unapi

Article Nelson Sanjad; Ermelinda Pataca; Rafael Rogério Nascimento dos Santos; (2021)
Knowledge and Circulation of Plants: Unveiling the Participation of Amazonian Indigenous Peoples in the Construction of Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Botany (/p/isis/citation/CBB714153328/) unapi

Thesis Gustave Lester; (2023)
Mineral Lands, Mineral Empire: Mapping the Raw Materials of US Industrial Capitalism, 1780-1880 (/p/isis/citation/CBB989620319/) unapi

Book Harrison, Simon; (2012)
Dark Trophies: Hunting and the Enemy Body in Modern War (/p/isis/citation/CBB001200727/) unapi

Book Householder, Michael; (2011)
Inventing Americans in the Age of Discovery: Narratives of Encounter (/p/isis/citation/CBB001201653/) unapi

Article Vanessa Finney; (2022)
Dining on Geologic Fish: Claiming the Australian Ceratodus for Science (/p/isis/citation/CBB705441361/) unapi

Book Johnson, Michael L.; (2007)
Hunger for the Wild: America's Obsession with the Untamed West (/p/isis/citation/CBB000930096/) unapi

Article William Eamon; (2018)
Corn, Cochineal, and Quina: The “Zilsel Thesis” in a Colonial Iberian Setting (/p/isis/citation/CBB085994099/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Archer, Seth
Bigelow, Allison Margaret
Bluea, Gwendolyn
Crowther, Kathleen M.
Delbourgo, James
Eamon, William C.
Environmental history
Canadian Historical Review
Centaurus: International Magazine of the History of Mathematics, Science, and Technology
Comparative Studies in Society and History
Environment and History
History and Anthropology
Harvard University
Rutgers University
University of Oklahoma
Cambridge University Press
Berghahn Books
Indigenous peoples; indigeneity
Traditional knowledge
Native American civilization and culture
Natural history
Science and race
Barba, Alvaro Alonso
Boas, Franz
Columbus, Christopher
Dampier, William
Eden, Richard
Mandeville, John
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
Early modern
17th century
16th century
North America
Great Britain

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment