Transnational Futures of Indigenous Studies

Editors of the Yale Indian Papers Project recently returned from a successful trip to England where they continued work at the National Archives (TNA) of the United Kingdom, presented a paper at a conference at the University of Oxford, renewed relationships with faculty, staff and students, and established new connections with the British Library, the British Museum, and the University of London’s Institute of the Americas.

The first several days were spent at TNA in Kew photographing documents and conducting historical and biographical research associated with the Connecticut Colony Collection, 1604-1783, a National Endowment for the Humanities and Yale-funded phase of the larger Indian Papers Project.  Approximately 450 images were taken of documents spanning 30 separate collections.  Once processed, the images and accompanying transcriptions and annotations will be available to researchers via the New England Indian Papers Series Electronic Archive.

From Kew, editors traveled northwest to the University of Oxford, where they presented a paper titled “The Mohegan Effect: Navigating the Native Atlantic World in the Digital Age” at  the Transnational Futures of Indigenous History conference.  Hosted by the Rothermere American Institute and convened by Pekka Hämäläinen, Rhodes Professor of American History, Oxford University, and Ned Blackhawk, Professor of American History & American Studies, Yale University, this was the first of what will hopefully become a reoccurring event.

The two day conference showcased the leadership in and commitment to Native and Indigenous Studies of both universities.  In addition to the Yale and Oxford contingent, participants represented Umeå University, Luleå University of Technology, the University of East Anglia, Linnaeus University’s Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies, the University of Oulu, the University of British Columbia at Vancouver, and the University of Sheffield. The quality of the papers was matched only by the level of discussion and collegiality between sessions!

A final day was spent in London where editors, with Yale and Oxford students and faculty, attended a special viewing of some of the British Library’s Native American collections, including prints, drawings, books, maps, and manuscripts many of which complement material held by the Indian Papers Project’s institutional partners.  The day concluded with a lunch and series of informal discussions with the faculty and staff of the University College of London’s Institute of the Americas, faculty from Archaeology and History, and the Curator of the Americas of the British Museum.

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