Marketplaces of remembering: violence, colonialism, and American innocence in the making of the Modoc War.

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Marketplaces of remembering: violence, colonialism, and American innocence in the making of the Modoc War.

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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.

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Cothran, Boyd D.. (2012). Marketplaces of remembering: violence, colonialism, and American innocence in the making of the Modoc War.. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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