Boyd D. Cothran

Department of History

Associate Professor

Office: Vari Hall, 2132
Phone: 416 736-2100 Ext: 66959
Emailcothran@yorku.ca

I am an associate professor of U.S. History in the Department of History at York University in Toronto, Ontario.

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My current research investigates the intersection of cultural history and critical Indigenous studies with special focus on historical memory, historiography, and popular representations of American Indigenous peoples. I am currently working on a book tentatively titled Marketplaces of Remembering: American Innocence and the Making of the Modoc War, which will focus on the historiography of the Modoc War (1872-1873), California’s so-called last Indian war, to explore the complex and often overlooked relationship between how Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals alike have remembered incidents of U.S.-Indian violence and the marketplaces – the systems, institutions, procedures, social relations, and arenas of trade – within which those remembrances have circulated. I argue that individuals have shaped their historical remembrances of the conflict, transforming an episode of Reconstruction Era violence and ethnic cleansing into a redemptive narrative of American innocence as they sought to negotiate these marketplaces. My aim in looking at these cultural and commercial associations is to delve into the question of how, since the nineteenth century, they have been directly related to the widespread belief that the Modoc War and other incidents of U.S.-Indian violence were ultimately justified and the tendency to view the westward expansion of the United States within the framework of inevitability.

Degrees

PhD, University of Minnesota


Research Interests

U.S. Cultural History, Indigenous Peoples, American West, Historical Memory, Historiography, Political Economy, Settler Colonialism, and American Innocence

All Publications

Books

Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence

Book Chapters

“The Lava Beds Monument and the Making of California’s Last Indian War.” In Unforgiving Landscape: Lava Beds National Monument and the Modoc War (Klamath Falls: Shaw Historical Library, 2011), 121-132.

Journal Articles

“Exchanging Gifts with the Dead: Lava Beds National Monument and Narratives of the Modoc War.” International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 4:1 (Spring 2011): 30-40

“Working the Indian Field Days: The Economy of Authenticity and the Question of Agency in Yosemite Valley, 1916-1929.” American Indian Quarterly 34:2 (Spring 2010): 194-223.

Book Reviews

“Book Review: LeeAnna Keith’s The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction, History: Reviews of New Books 39:3 (Spring 2011): 80.

“Book Review: Allison Varzally’s Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring Outside Ethnic Lines, 1925-1955, History: Reviews of New Books 36:3 (Spring 2008): 103.

Upcoming Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall 2017 AP/HIST3622 3.0  The U.S. Civil War in American History and Public Memory  LECT  
Fall/Winter 2017-2018 AP/HIST4699 6.0  Selected Topics in US History SEMR  


I am an associate professor of U.S. History in the Department of History at York University in Toronto, Ontario.


My current research investigates the intersection of cultural history and critical Indigenous studies with special focus on historical memory, historiography, and popular representations of American Indigenous peoples. I am currently working on a book tentatively titled Marketplaces of Remembering: American Innocence and the Making of the Modoc War, which will focus on the historiography of the Modoc War (1872-1873), California’s so-called last Indian war, to explore the complex and often overlooked relationship between how Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals alike have remembered incidents of U.S.-Indian violence and the marketplaces – the systems, institutions, procedures, social relations, and arenas of trade – within which those remembrances have circulated. I argue that individuals have shaped their historical remembrances of the conflict, transforming an episode of Reconstruction Era violence and ethnic cleansing into a redemptive narrative of American innocence as they sought to negotiate these marketplaces. My aim in looking at these cultural and commercial associations is to delve into the question of how, since the nineteenth century, they have been directly related to the widespread belief that the Modoc War and other incidents of U.S.-Indian violence were ultimately justified and the tendency to view the westward expansion of the United States within the framework of inevitability.

Degrees

PhD, University of Minnesota

Research Interests:

U.S. Cultural History, Indigenous Peoples, American West, Historical Memory, Historiography, Political Economy, Settler Colonialism, and American Innocence

All Publications

Books

Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence

Book Chapters

“The Lava Beds Monument and the Making of California’s Last Indian War.” In Unforgiving Landscape: Lava Beds National Monument and the Modoc War (Klamath Falls: Shaw Historical Library, 2011), 121-132.

Journal Articles

“Exchanging Gifts with the Dead: Lava Beds National Monument and Narratives of the Modoc War.” International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 4:1 (Spring 2011): 30-40

“Working the Indian Field Days: The Economy of Authenticity and the Question of Agency in Yosemite Valley, 1916-1929.” American Indian Quarterly 34:2 (Spring 2010): 194-223.

Book Reviews

“Book Review: LeeAnna Keith’s The Colfax Massacre: The Untold Story of Black Power, White Terror, and the Death of Reconstruction, History: Reviews of New Books 39:3 (Spring 2011): 80.

“Book Review: Allison Varzally’s Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring Outside Ethnic Lines, 1925-1955, History: Reviews of New Books 36:3 (Spring 2008): 103.


Teaching:

Upcoming Courses

TermCourse NumberSectionTitleType 
Fall 2017 AP/HIST3622 3.0  The U.S. Civil War in American History and Public Memory  LECT  
Fall/Winter 2017-2018 AP/HIST4699 6.0  Selected Topics in US History SEMR