Founders College presents ‘Remembering the Modoc War’ by Boyd Cothran

Remembering the Modoc War partial book cover

York history Professor Boyd Cothran will present at the launch of his book Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence, which explores the struggle over memory of how the war really played out.

Remembering the Modoc War book coverThe launch will take place Jan. 15, from 12:30 to 2:30pm, at 305 Founders College, Keele campus.

The event will include a presentation of the book and a roundtable discussion featuring the research of Douglas Hunter, Stacy Nation-Knapper and Dr. Andrew Watson. Everyone is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served.

By examining representations of the Modoc War (1872-73) in the context of rapidly expanding cultural and commercial marketplaces, Cothran shows how settlers created and sold narratives of the conflict that blamed the Modocs. These stories portrayed Indigenous people as the instigators of violence and white Americans as innocent victims.

Cothran, a professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, examines the production and circulation of these narratives, from sensationalized published histories and staged lectures, featuring Modoc survivors of the war to commemorations and promotional efforts to sell newly opened Indian lands to settlers. As Cothran argues, these narratives of American innocence justified not only violence against Indians in the settlement of the West, but also the broader process of United States territorial and imperial expansion.

Cothran has contributed to the Shaw Historical Library Journal in Unforgiving Landscape, Lava Beds, National Monument and the Modoc War. He has also written for the International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, as well as American Indian Quarterly.