Global Indigenous Struggles Since 1900

This exhibit showcases the research projects carried out by students in the Fall 2014 section of Global Indigenous Struggles since 1900. This course took global, transnational, and macro-historical approaches to understanding the history of the world's indigenous communities since the turn of the twentieth century. Each week, students read about and discussed various issues that Native peoples around the world face, as well as the ways in which indigenous communities have responded to them, since 1900. Given its sweeping subject matter, the course offered only a glimpse into the many and varied Indigneous communities around the world.

To cover as much time and space as possible, the course was thematically and geographically oriented. Students explored Native rights issues in the context of the slow development of human and indigenous rights law over the course of the twentieth century, culminating in the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigneous Peoples in 2007. The primary goal of the final assignment in this class was to give students an in depth understanding of an indigenous community or issue of their choosing.

For the final assignment in this course, students had to prepare a 1,300 word (about four page) research essay on the history (or one aspect of the history) of an indigenous community of their choosing, from anywhere in the world. Final drafts of each paper have been posted on this website.

The purposes of this exercise were threefold: First, students learned how to conduct academic-quality research and writing and to revise it for publication online. Second, students focused on the kind of writing historians (along with everyone else) are being asked to do more and more in our increasingly digital world: write brief, engaging articles that are informative and analytical yet accessible to the interested public. Even if for non-history majors, practicing short-form writing serves all students as they learn how to distill large amounts of information down to tightly-written assessments that they, their clients, colleagues, and superiors could depend on for quality of form, conciseness, and argumentation. Finally, unlike standard end-of-term papers that students write and forget about, this assignment's online presence offers a tangible product to benefit students in job interviews or graduate school applications for years to come.

The students put a great deal of effort into these projects. The instructor elected not to copyedit or reformat the notes sections of the essays, in order to provide readers with the most accurate reflection of student work as possible. Remember that these are single-semester course assignments written by undergraduates of a variety levels of experience writing and analyzing historical issues, not specialists publishing in professional journals.

That said, we hope you find our exhibit informative and valuable!


Course instructed by Eric Zimmer, Fall 2014, University of Iowa..