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AMST 10 NOTES - AMST10 American studies explores the US...

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AMST10 3/30/2011 American studies explores the US through its history, diverse cultures and global role. It is different to many other degree courses because it combines a number of subjects including: history, literature, and politics. The Frontier Thesis and the Myth of the Vanishing Indian - read article on ecommons on this - Understanding the American promise (chapter) Frederick Jackson Turner’s Frontier Thesis , 1893 - lecture delivered at the Chicago World’s Columbia Exposition, 1893 (commemorated the arrival of Columbus and an opportunity to showcase American accomplishments and industrialization and technological advances. Close to 28 million people visited the exposition and they also included displays of native Americans and indigenous groups) - single most influential writing in American history - Turner is writing a few years after the frontier has been “officially closed” according to the 1880 Census - Establishes the direction of interpreting American history and culture throughout much of the 20 th century - Influences understanding of American national understanding - His thesis has been challenged but it still has a huge influence of American national identity - Emphasized history of America is history of westward expansion - The frontier breaks down regional, ethnic, and cultural divisions and creates a new national culture/identity as new people move to the frontier - Celebrates the meeting point of savagery and civilization (the frontier) - Native americans = facilitator and opponent of westward expansion - This unique experience of settling in the frontier creates a sense of freedom, self-expressionism, and nationalism - Native americans are viewed as “both a facilitator and opponent of westward expansion” - Overcame wilderness and established America = central story of American history - “The frontier is the line of the most rapid and effective Americanization… The fact is that here is a new product that is American” (Frederick Jackson Turner, 1893) - Separates us from Europe. - Native Americans did not have a history before European American arrived nor did they have a future in America - This new American identity form would make the Native Americans disappear - The frontier would soon to disappear - The frontier closed during this period and native americans were on the road to oblivion - The vanishing Indian = native Americans
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- “The End of the Frontier”: sculpture - Native Americans are underrepresented - This is an iconic image of the mindset of the time period and the themes in the frontier thesis about native Americans playing a role in the American identity - But once the frontier is closed/over the native americans were on the road to oblivion The Symbolic End of Indian Freedom WOUNDED KNEE - 1890: Wounded Knee Massacre left hundreds dead. Known as a battle but is actually a massacre.
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