Thesis ID: CBB627267294

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

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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.

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Authors & Contributors
Archer, Seth
Bigelow, Allison Margaret
Bluea, Gwendolyn
Crowther, Kathleen M.
Delbourgo, James
Eamon, William C.
Journals
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
Publishers
Harvard University
Rutgers University
University of Oklahoma
Cambridge University Press
Ashgate
Berghahn Books
Concepts
Indigenous peoples; indigeneity
Colonialism
Traditional knowledge
Native American civilization and culture
Natural history
Science and race
People
Barba, Alvaro Alonso
Boas, Franz
Columbus, Christopher
Dampier, William
Eden, Richard
Mandeville, John
Time Periods
18th century
19th century
Early modern
17th century
Modern
16th century
Places
North America
Brazil
Great Britain
Mexico
Australia
Canada
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