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Award-winning author Tony Horwitz discusses the research and writing process for his book A Voyage Long and Strange: On the Trail of Vikings, Conquistadors, Lost Colonists, and Other Adventurers in Early America (2008).
Charles Mann’s book 1491: New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus (Knopf, 2005) won the US National Academy of Sciences’ 2006 Keck Award for the best book of the year. In this lecture he looks at new research on pre-Columbian America. Mann concludes that the Americas had been heavily populated and developed before the arrival of Columbus but then were rapidly depopulated by the introduction of European and African diseases, giving Europeans the mistaken idea that the land was a vast, empty wilderness.
James F. Brooks, Director of the School of American Research Press, is author of Captives and Cousins: Slavery, Kinship, and Community in the Southwest Borderlands (2002), which won the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, the Bancroft Prize, and the Francis Parkman Prize. Using a regional approach, Professor Brooks explores the complex stories of captivity and slavery that followed the spread of capitalism and colonialism in North America. In this lecture, he discusses how his research led him to discover systems of slavery among Native Americans and their Spanish and Mexican neighbors.
In this lecture Elliott West, a professor of history at the University of Arkansas, describes how the introduction of Old World phenomena such as guns, horses, and new diseases affected the Native peoples of the New World. Those who accepted new technology gained huge societal advantages. On the other hand, European diseases ravaged the indigenous people of the New World who had no inherent immunity to the imported germs.
Daniel Wildcat is a Yuchi member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma and Director of the American Indian Studies Program at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. He discusses the importance of distinguishing between the variety of languages, cultures, and habitats among American Indian tribes both in the past and today, and urges teachers to disabuse their students of some of the often-repeated stereotypes about Native peoples that persist in American culture. In this presentation he focuses on the practical awareness of and interaction with the environment among American Indian groups.
Brian DeLay, associate professor of history at the University of California, Berkeley, discusses how the backwater of western Europe emerged from the devastation of the fourteenth century to generate the power, wealth, knowledge, institutions, and energy to initiate and develop a worldwide expansion.