2024-2025: CFP "Rethinking the 'Indian Wars'"

Co-sponsored by Clements Center for Southwest Studies at Southern Methodist University and the Arizona Historical Society co-organized by Catharine R. Franklin (Texas Tech University), Maurice Crandall (Arizona State University), and Lance R. Blyth (United States Air Force Academy)

Indian Wars group black and white photoThe so-called “Indian Wars,” once the subject of great interest by scholars, have become practically the exclusive domain of popular historians. If, as recent work suggests, we cannot understand U.S. history without understanding American Indian history then it follows that we cannot understand Native history without understanding the conflicts between Indigenous groups and the United States. We believe that it is time to “rethink” the Indian Wars—the series of armed clashes in which Native peoples sought to defend their land (at times with the aid of Indigenous allies) from Euroamerican encroachment. By emphasizing Indigenous agency and acknowledging the limitations of an approach that stresses only the power of the U.S. federal government, we seek to complicate this story.

This symposium invites scholars to think about the Indian Wars in new ways. We embrace a broad geographical, chronological, and thematic frame, stretching across the North American continent from the pre-colonial to the post-Reconstruction eras and beyond. We seek proposals drawing upon the fields of borderlands history, legal history, environmental history, Native history, ethnohistory, and military history, as well as anthropology, archaeology, and security studies, among others, while emphasizing such topics as territoriality, sovereignty, diplomacy, economy, peacemaking, politics, violence, conflict, strategy, and memory, along with specific campaigns and battles. 

We encourage submissions from graduate students, early and mid-career scholars, scholars without a university affiliation, and especially Indigenous scholars. Several senior scholars have already agreed to participate, including Ari Kelman, Darren Parry, and Sherry Smith. We expect that all those chosen will work and re-work their contributions in order to place them in dialogue with each other. We will pursue an aggressive publishing schedule to ensure the timely release of the edited volume.

Proposals consisting of a one-page CV and a 500-word description of the chapter emphasizing how it fits the theme should be sent to lance.blyth@afacademy.af.edu by September 15, 2023; all participants will be notified of their status by November 1, 2023. First drafts of the chapters, consisting of roughly 5,000 words (exclusive of notes), will be due on September 1, 2024. The symposium will meet at SMU’s satellite campus in Taos, NM in October 2024, and then again at a second meeting and public presentation in Tempe, AZ in April 2025.

Please direct any questions to Lance Blyth at lance.blyth@afacademy.af.edu

Image: "Apache scouts drilling with rifles, Fort Wingate, New Mexico" NAID: 530918.