Marketplaces of Remembering: Violence, Colonialism, and American Innocence
in the Making of the Modoc War explores the intersection of cultural history and critical
indigenous studies with special focus on historical memory, historiography, and popular
representations of American Indians. It focuses on the historiography of the Modoc War
(1872-1873), California’s so-called last Indian war to explore the complex and oftenoverlooked
relationship between how Natives and non-Natives alike have remembered
incidents of U.S.-Indian violence and the marketplaces – the systems, institutions,
procedures, social relations, and arenas of trade – within which those remembrances have
circulated. It argues that individuals have shaped their historical remembrances of the
conflict, transforming an episode of Reconstruction Era violence and ethnic cleansing
into a redemptive narrative of American innocence as they sought to negotiate these
marketplaces. My aim in looking at these cultural and commercial associations is to delve
into the question of how, since the nineteenth century, they have been directly related to
the widespread belief that the Modoc War and other incidents of U.S.-Indian violence
were ultimately justified and the tendency to view the westward expansion of the United
States within the framework of inevitability.
The dissertation locates American capitalism and colonialism at the center of our
understanding of both violence in the American West and popular representations of the
American Indian experience. Moreover, it breaks new methodological ground by reading
traditional memory studies sources (e.g. novels, plays, commemorations, reenactments,
memorials, and speeches) along side less orthodox memory studies sources (e.g. pension
files, local histories, and promotional literature) to produce a materialist interpretation of
historical knowledge production. Above all, it seeks to show how the Indian wars of the
nineteenth century did not end with the cession of hostilities in 1873, 1890, or 1898, but
have been reproduced through the marketplaces of remembering U.S.-Indian violence.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. February 2012. Major: History. Advisors: Jean O’Brien, Kevin Murphy. 1 computer file (PDF), ix, 339 pages.
Cothran, Boyd D..
Marketplaces of remembering: violence, colonialism, and American innocence in the making of the Modoc War..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.