Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Alexandra J Harmon
HSTAA 331
Seattle Campus

American Indian History I to 1840

History of indigenous peoples and their descendants in the area that now constitutes the United States, from the eve of European discovery of the Americas to 1840. Emphasis on relations between indigenous peoples and immigrants. Offered: jointly with AIS 331.

Class description

Indigenous Americans' worlds at the time of Columbus's first voyage, early shock waves in indigenous societies resulting from Europeans' discovery of the Americas, Indians' relations with the first colonists, Christian proselytizing and Indians' reactions, repercussions for Indians of imperial rivalries, Indian economic strategies in the face of European colonization, political changes in Indian societies, early U.S. government Indian policies, U.S. expansion to the Mississippi and the consequences for Indians.

Student learning goals

Appreciation of Indians' important role in the long European struggle for control of North America and its resources

Awareness of Indian perspectives on events in first decades of European settler colonization

Enhanced ability to analyze relations between peoples of significantly different cultures

Strengthened reading, writing, and analytical skills

Cognizance of the early historical roots of American Indians' present political and economic status

General method of instruction

Readings do not include a textbook that provides a survey narrative of events and developments during the period covered by this course. Instead, activities in class -- lectures, discussion, and a variety of exercises -- provide the essential framework for making sense of readings, which include primary sources and essays that consider important selected aspects of Indian experiences in an era of dramatic change.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites, but prior completion of a college history course and/or American Indian studies course is recommended.

Class assignments and grading

50-100 pages of reading each week, two short graded essays that do not require outside research, a final essay examination, and participation in a debate that will entail a short writing assignment. There will be occasional exercises or quizzes graded on a credit/no credit basis.

The grade for each assignment -- first paper, second paper, exam, and debate contribution -- constitutes 20% of a student's course grade. So does class participation, which is based in large part on the credit/no-credit exercises. This cumulative grade will be raised by a few points if the grades on assignments have improved steadily and substantially during the quarter.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Alexandra J Harmon
Date: 05/10/2012