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Unit information: Red Power and Beyond: Post-war American Indian Ideology and Protest in 2019/20

Please note: Due to alternative arrangements for teaching and assessment in place from 18 March 2020 to mitigate against the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, information shown for 2019/20 may not always be accurate.

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Unit name Red Power and Beyond: Post-war American Indian Ideology and Protest
Unit code HIST30094
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Sam Hitchmough
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of History (Historical Studies)
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Red Power emerged in the 1960s, informing a powerful protest movement that is often associated with the occupation of Alcatraz Island (1969) and the siege at Wounded Knee (1973). It was underpinned by important ideological issues concerning the status and identity of American Indians in the United States. This unit explores the development of the Red Power movement from the early 1960s through the 1970s (rhetoric, symbolism, strategies) setting it within a variety of historical contexts (civil rights, Black Power, Vietnam, decolonisation), and then moves to engage with its multi-layered legacies. Themes and case-studies will be used to discuss a number of key issues since 1960 and include: the position of American Indians in the American cultural imagination and representation of American Indians in popular culture (film, television, sporting mascots, museums), repatriation, American Indian cultural resistance, the rise of ‘white shamanism’, the rise of gaming and casinos, land rights, and violence against indigenous communities.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. demonstrate knowledge of the significance of Indian-white relations to the United States since the early 1960s.
  2. demonstrate a critical understanding of key historical events, issues and ideologies, and their effects on both Native America and American popular culture more broadly.
  3. reflect critically and sensitively upon a variety of theoretical and ideological perspectives related to an understanding of changing Indian-white race relations in the US
  4. Critically assess and interpret primary sources and select pertinent evidence in order to illustrate specific and more general historical points
  5. Present their research and judgements in written forms and styles appropriate to the discipline and to level H/6

Teaching details

1 x 2-hour interactive lecture

1 x 1-hour workshop

Assessment Details

One 3000 word essay (50%) [ILOs 1-5]

One 2-hour exam (50%) [ILOs 1-5]

Reading and References

Robert Berkhofer, The White Man's Indian: Images of the American Indian from Colombus to the Present (1978)

Kevin Bruyneel, The Third Space of Sovereignty: The Postcolonial Politics of US-Indigenous Relations (2007)

Daniel Cobb (ed.) Say We Are Nations: Documents of Politics and Protest in Indigenous America since 1887 (2015)

C. Richard King, Unsettling America: The Uses of Indianness in the 21st Century (2013)

Sherry Smith, Hippies, Indians and the Fight for Red Power (2012)

Pauline Turner Strong, American Indians and the American Imaginary: Cultural Representation Across the Centuries (2013)