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History's ShadowNative Americans and Historical Consciousness in the Nineteenth Century$
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Steven Conn

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226114941

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226115115.001.0001

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Native Americans and the Problem of History, Part 1

Native Americans and the Problem of History, Part 1

(p.1) 1 Native Americans and the Problem of History, Part 1
History's Shadow
University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines Native Americans as objects of study and as subjects of intellectual discourse in the nineteenth century. This study amounts to an intellectual history whose major actors are the Euro-American men (and occasionally women) who, for a variety of reasons and with a variety of motivations, took it upon themselves to study, record, and write about Native Americans. Neither intellectual historians nor historians of Native Americans have really considered fully how the curiosity that Indians aroused—and the ways that curiosity was pursued—shaped the nineteenth-century American mind. Studying Indians constituted a central, if now largely forgotten, part of the nation's intellectual discourse, defining American science and social science, and shaping conceptions of the nation's history.

Keywords:   Native Americans, intellectual history, social science, American science, nation's history, nineteenth century, intellectual discourse

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