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Current Projects

Knowledge Keeping in Empire

Library Company of Philadelphia, Germantown & Norristown R.R., photo, n.d.,

This project has developed from earlier work focused on American Indian education history big data analyses of popular magazines in the 19th and 20th centuries or rather, the learning and missed lessons that emerged through the process of colonization. With this apparent learning, there were also significant omissions, such as slavery and the rapid, often violent, colonization of the continent. What of these? Beginning with why people keep the knowledge they keep and what evidence we have of that, this project examines evidence of how people treat the living through foodways, and how people treat the dead through memorials and myths via three types of knowledge keeping: 1) keeping for, 2) keeping to, and 3) keeping from. Knowledge keeping for others looks at what persisted, how that knowledge was produced, and who maintained and modified that knowledge for specific people. Knowledge keeping to invokes toeing a line, and likewise examines the questions of what persisted, how it persisted, and to what end as well as the knowledge and cultural practices that have fallen away through curation or neglect. Knowledge keeping from  invokes occlusion and considers what has been put out of mind mask the past. Nostalgia, memory, and emotion thread through these types of knowledge keeping.

Past Projects

Walking Through Big Data

Adrea Lawrence, “50 Topic Models of 19th and 20th Century Children’s Magazines,” History of Education Society Annual Meeting, 6 November 2015, St. Louis, MO.

To have a sense of how the popular media portrayed daily life in the United States, I examined the most widely distributed children’s magazines in the 19th and early 20th centuries through topic modeling.  What I found were several topics oriented around knowledge, learning, and art; nature, landscapes, and animals; and, patriotism, war, and legend.  I expect to find these based on the close readings I had previous done of select children’s magazines.  What I didn’t expect to find was that colonization was ambient.  That is, it showed up in topics pertaining to the built environment and transportation.  Of the fifty topics identified, only on pertained directly to American Indians.  This surprised me, given that many children would have experienced colonization first had. I’m currently analyzing popular adult literary magazines from the same time period to see if similar topics surface.  I anticipate finding very similar patterns, but I hope to be surprised again.  I’m wondering, though, if silence—or amnesia—was a way of hardening the mainstream cultural belief in manifest destiny.  And, I’m wondering how this might have affected the long-term health outcomes of people regionally.  For example, we know that American Indians have a much greater likelihood of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.  Do similar patterns exist among other groups regionally?

Lessons from an Indian Day School: Negotiating Colonization in Northern New Mexico, 1902-1907. Lawrence:  University Press of Kansas, 2011.

This book is an education history, but it is not about the school.  Rather, it uses the school as a prism to study the educative processes associated with colonization and racialization in the American West.  Specifically, Lessons from an Indian Day School is a microhistory, or ethnographic reconstruction, of federal Indian policy implementation along the Rio Grande Valley during the first decade of the twentieth century.  Drawing from the correspondence between Clara D. True, a Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) day school teacher stationed at Santa Clara Pueblo, and Clinton J. Crandall, the superintendent of the Santa Fe Indian School and the northern Pueblos region, this book examines how federal Indian policy was interpreted and appropriated by a variety of actors during an intense period of colonization in the United States.  Through the sites of the Santa Clara day school and the Santa Fe Indian School, U.S. government agents, Pueblo Indians, and Hispanos actively negotiated federal Indian policy from positions within their respective communities and appropriated—thereby making—policy to suit their own needs and desires.

Selected Book Chapters and Journal Articles

Image: “Rand McNally & Co.” New Twelve Inch Terrestrial Globe [Gores]., map (Rand McNally and Company, 1891), Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. 20540-4650 USA,
Lawrence, A. (2019).  Precolonial Education History in the Western Hemisphere and Pacific.  In Eileen Tamura and John Rury (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of the History of Education.  New York: Oxford University Press.
Lawrence, A. (2015). “Remedying Our Amnesia.” Education’s Histories. Published on 12 June.
Lawrence, A. (2014). “Epic Learning in an Indian Pueblo: A Framework for Studying Multigenerational Learning in the History of Education.” History of Education Quarterly. 54(3): 286-302.

Figure 2. Critical Review and Wikipedia Contribution Structures, Student 5. Created by Adrea Lawrence for this analysis and essay using Microsoft Excel.
Lawrence, A. (2013).  Learning How to Write Traditional and Digital History.  In Jack Dougherty and Kristen Nawrotski (Eds.), Writing History: How Historians Research, Write, and Publish in the Digital Age.  Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press.

An Indian Boy in the Trail, Crow Reservation, Montana, 1909. Photograph by Joseph Dixon. Courtesy of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, Wanamaker Collection, Indiana University, Bloomington, I.N., W-2394.
Lawrence, A. (2014).  “Our Trickster, the School.” Â [serialized article] Education’s Histories. Published in four parts on 1 May, 8 May, 15 May, and 22 May 2014.
Lawrence, A., Cooke, B. (2010). “Law, Language, and Land:  A Multi-method Analysis of the General Allotment Act and Its Discourses.”  Qualitative Inquiry. 16(3), 217-229.