Tuesday, January 15, 2008

John Kicza and Native American Societies

Our first course reading is "The Native Societies of the Americas before contact," from John E. Kicza's book Resilient Cultures: America's Native Peoples Confront European Colonization, 1500 - 1800.

Here's a link to Kicza's website at Washington State University, where he's the chair of the history department: http://libarts.wsu.edu/history/faculty-staff/kicza.asp

Kicza uses a somewhat different terminology from what I have introduced thus far in class to characterize general types of societies in the Americas. Specifically, he frames his discussion in terms of "sedentary imperial societies," "semisedentary societies," and "nonsedentary or nomadic societies." To translate this into terms more frequently used by anthropologists, Kicza's "sedentary imperial societies" would correspond to agricultural states, "semisedentary societies" would correspond to horticultural tribes and chiefdoms, as well as a few relatively sedentary intensive foraging societies, and "nonsedentary or nomadic societies" would correspond to nomadic foraging bands.

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