American Indian History


Beginning with the post-Ice Age migrations to the Americas and Native American origin stories, and ending with current developments in tribal sovereignty, this course will introduce students to deep history of Native North America.  Using archeological and anthropological sources, the course will begin with a detailed exploration of the pre-contact world, covering such issues as resource use, trade, diplomacy, and migrations.  The course will then move to the era of contact with Europeans, with particular emphasis on relations with the Spanish, French, and English.  Topics such as disease, diplomacy, intercultural communication, slavery, and trade, among others, will be covered.  By the end of the 17th Century Native America was an entirely different place.  The remainder of the course will explore, over three centuries, the consequences of contact. Using primary and secondary sources, we will cover such topics as mutually beneficial trade and diplomatic relations between Natives and newcomers; the politics of empire; U.S. expansion; treaties and land dispossession; ecological, demographic, and social change; pan-Indian movements; legal and political activism; and many, many others. Students will write 4 papers between varying in length from 4-8 pages. There are no exams. 

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts