Fear, Honor, and Amnesia in Learning to Colonize the American West
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. One of the most interesting findings in the archives were divergent beliefs about and practices of both biomedical and sociocultural health among different Pueblo Indian communities, their Hispano neighbors, and Anglo interlopers. Ideas about health, illness, and betterment undergirded how land and taxes were negotiated, how learning happened and was expected to happen, and how relationships should be performed. Fear, Honor, and Amnesia begins with question of how communities and individuals within them experienced colonization and the extent to which trauma was or was not a grounding feature of that experience. Genetic researchers have recently demonstrated that trauma can change the genetic expressions of not only those who experience the trauma initially, but also their progeny. What then, might this look like in the documentary and photographic record? And, how did communities and individuals attend to their experiences?
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
|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.|
|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.|
|Lawrence, A. (2014). “Our Trickster, the School.” [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.|