The Invasion of America: The Native American Response to the European Colonisation of North America, 1492-1763 module (HY31037)

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Module code


  • Level 3
  • Semester 2
  • 24 places
  • History - School of Humanities
  • Coursework 100%


This module examines the relationship between Europeans and Native Americans from first contact to the end of the Seven Years' War. It focuses on examining the forces that transformed Native American life during these centuries.

Students will discover that Native Americans were not passive "victims" of white colonial expansion, but active participants in the definition of their fate. By focusing on the key forces that transformed Native American life, trade, disease, religion, and warfare, this course demonstrates the complex patterns of interaction. The module studies a range of cultures and how they responded to contact and requires students to think about the nature of societies very different from our own.

Key issues we will discuss include:

  • The role of trade in transforming Native American cultures
  • Comparative missionary efforts
  • Frontier warfare and its impact on both Indian and white societies
  • Changing European perspectives of the "savage"
  • The causes and impact of epidemic disease amongst native peoples
  • The role of "cultural go-betweeens" and "cultural brokers"
  • Ethnohistory as an historical approach


Dr Matthew Ward


This module is assessed as follows:

  • One 3,500 essay  (30%)
  • One seminar presentation (15%)
  • One module journal (30%)
  • One Wiki project (25%)


Introductory Reading

  • Colin Calloway., New Worlds for All. (Baltimore, 1997)
  • Colin Calloway., The Scratch of a Pen: 1763 and the Transformation of North America. (Oxford, 2006)
  • James Merrell., Into the American Woods. (New York, 1999)
  • Daniel Richter., Facing East from Indian Country. (Cambridge, 2001)
  • Ian Steele, Warpaths: Invasions of North America. (Oxford, 1994)

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This module is available on following courses: