News from the Department

Courtesy of Shuko Tamao

By Felicia Jamison, Ph.D. student, Department of History

On Wednesday evening, the UMass Amherst History Department hosted a talk by Professor Ned Blackhawk of Yale University as part of the 2013-14 Annual Lecture. Blackhawk, a specialist in Native American history, discussed the limited historiography of indigenous peoples in America. The field of Native American Indian Studies has grown substantially since its origin in the late twentieth century, however, there is still much to uncover about the complex and violent history of these indigenous peoples.

In recent years there has been an increase in the scholarship of Western and borderland histories. In his groundbreaking historical narrative Violence Over the Land, Blackhawk recounts the violent history of early seventeenth-century America and its lasting effects on the indigenous peoples of the Great Basin region. It is commendable that scholars are filling in the numerous gaps of American historiography; however, each new work on the subject broaches more questions that have yet to be answered. How does a nation make peace with its violent past? How can said past be incorporated into the traditional national narrative? Is it possible to change the engrained legacy of marginalized peoples as innately inferior? Read More