Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Unsettled Histories: Indigenous Peoples and the United States, 1770s-Present HIST4283

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course examines the intertwined histories of indigenous North Americans and the US settler state, from the treaty-making of the Revolutionary period to contemporary debates over Native American sovereignty. Students will explore various topics related to indigenous-settler relations, including frontier warfare, territory / environment, removal / elimination, cultural imperialism, and survivance.  


15 x 1-hour lectures and 5 x 1-hour seminars over ten weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available on MyCampus

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes who qualify under the University's 25% regulation.

Excluded Courses





Primary Source Document Analysis (1500 words) -35%

Research Essay (3000 words) - 65%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Analyse the role of indigenous individuals and polities in the shaping of the US settler state.

■ Consider and assess new approaches / challenges to the writing of US and North American indigenous histories.

■ Develop students' abilities as historians by evaluating and critiquing primary and secondary source documentation on weekly topics of study.

■ Review relevant scholarly articles and primary sources and present their findings to their peers.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Explain how interactions between indigenous and settler populations underpinned US continental expansion.

■ Incorporate indigenous perspectives into their understandings of US history.

■ Explain the relationship between indigenous groups and the US federal government from 1776 to the present.

■ Critically assess salient historiographical questions and debates surrounding the period of US history under study.

■ Construct reflective and convincing written arguments based on their readings of primary and secondary source literature.

■ Debate complex topics related to US / indigenous history, both as individuals and in small group settings.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.