Affiliate News: Dissertation on Indigenous Proprietors Across Empires in North America

August 15th, 2019  |  Published in Latest news

CSTMS affiliate, Julia Lewandoski, recently filed her dissertation titled “Small Victories: Indigenous Proprietors Across Empires in North America, 1763-1891.” This dissertation makes three major interventions. First, by focusing on small polities, rather than the large Native nations that dominate eighteenth and nineteenth-century historiography, it offers an alternative to familiar narratives of military conquest, land cession treaties, and reservation confinement. Small polities often faced erasure and benign neglect instead of targeted colonialism. They transformed settler legal processes into the diplomatic channels they lacked to defend land and articulate political authority. Second, it reconceptualizes the development of territorial state sovereignty in North America as a process of accommodation and negotiation, in which multiple imperial legal regimes continued to play unpredictable roles long after geographic borderlands disappeared. Third and finally, it casts property ownership itself as a malleable and diffuse set of practices across the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. See below for a copy of the abstract.

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