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Describes how recent archaeological research has transformed long-held myths about the Americas, revealing far older and more advanced cultures with a greater population than were previously thought to have existed.
Up until very recently it was believed that in 1491, the year before Columbus landed, the Americas, one-third of the earth's surface, were a near-pristine wilderness inhabited by small roaming bands of indigenous people. But recently unexpected discoveries have dramatically changed our understanding of Indian life. Many scholars now argue that the Indians were much more numerous, were in the Americas for far longer and had far more ecological impact on the land than previously believed. This knowledge has enormous implications for today's environmental disputes, yet little has filtered into textbooks and even less into public awareness. Mann brings together all of the latest research, and the results of his own travels throughout North and South America, to provide a new, fascinating and iconoclastic account of the Americas before Columbus.
Education for Tomorrow A Biocentric, Student-Focused Approach to Education Reform Michael Risku University of the Incarnate Word, USA and Letitia Harding University of the Incarnate Word, USA There are many books on the market which discuss indigenous ways of knowing, and bemoan western society’s seeming lack of interest in anything other than scientific fact-based knowledge. Equally plentiful are the writings of critical theorists who consider today’s public education system to be divisive, and manipulated by those in power to ensure that their children have the educational advantages needed to maintain the elite hierarchical status quo. Education for Tomorrow is unique in that it brings both of these approaches together first by examining the ways that indigenous people and women of all cultures acquire and pass on knowledge, and the deleterious effects that enforced Eurocentric systems have had on that process. The authors then turn to public schools to explore the influences, both good and bad, that today’s programs have on the distribution of opportunities afforded to all children in the United States. Finally, they offer suggestions for a revolutionary education system which highlights the need for all students to have the encouragement and freedom to look critically and rationally at their lives and at their relationship with the natural world. This can be achieved by looking back to the pedagogical methods of our indigenous ancestors, and forward to a time when all children, regardless of ethnic or socio-economic heritage, are taught in such a way that every aspect of their lives is addressed, nurtured, valued, and enhanced.
If you were a boy growing up in pre-Columbian America, you would learn how to hunt, grow crops, or fish for your dinner. If you were a girl, you’d learn how to skin animals and use the hides to make clothing, or twist the fibers of plants to make yarn. You might also be a builder—taking bark and sewing it to saplings to make a shelter called a wigwam. Even though you wouldn’t go to school, you’d learn everything you needed to know to become a happy and healthy member of society. Older members of the clan would teach you. Find out how the many cultures across the land, from the Thules and the Iroquois to the people of the Great Plains, lived, loved, and celebrated life in the Americas before European settlement.
This essential introduction to American studies examines the core foundational myths upon which the nation is based and which still determine discussions of US-American identities today. These myths include the myth of »discovery,« the Pocahontas myth, the myth of the Promised Land, the myth of the Founding Fathers, the melting pot myth, the myth of the West, and the myth of the self-made man. The chapters provide extended analyses of each of these myths, using examples from popular culture, literature, memorial culture, school books, and every-day life. Including visual material as well as study questions, this book will be of interest to any student of American studies and will foster an understanding of the United States of America as an imagined community by analyzing the foundational role of myths in the process of nation building.
1493 for Young People by Charles C. Mann tells the gripping story of globalization through travel, trade, colonization, and migration from its beginnings in the fifteenth century to the present. How did the lowly potato plant feed the poor across Europe and then cause the deaths of millions? How did the rubber plant enable industrialization? What is the connection between malaria, slavery, and the outcome of the American Revolution? How did the fabled silver mountain of sixteenth-century Bolivia fund economic development in the flood-prone plains of rural China and the wars of the Spanish Empire? Here is the story of how sometimes the greatest leaps also posed the greatest threats to human advancement. Mann's language is as plainspoken and clear as it is provocative, his research and erudition vast, his conclusions ones that will stimulate the critical thinking of young people. 1493 for Young People provides tools for wrestling with the most pressing issues of today, and will empower young people as they struggle with a changing world. From the Hardcover edition.
In the traditional narrative of American colonial history, early European settlements, as well as native peoples and African slaves, were treated in passing as unfortunate aberrations in a fundamentally upbeat story of Englishmen becoming freer and more prosperous by colonizing an abundant continent of "free land." Over the last generation, historians have broadened our understanding of colonial America by adopting both a trans-Atlantic and a trans-continental perspective, examining the interplay of Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the flow of goods, people, plants, animals, capital, and ideas. In this Very Short Introduction, Alan Taylor presents an engaging overview of the best of this new scholarship. He shows that American colonization derived from a global expansion of European exploration and commerce that began in the fifteenth century. The English had to share the stage with the French, Spanish, Dutch, and Russians, each of whom created alternative Americas. By comparing the diverse colonies of rival empires, Taylor recovers what was truly distinctive about the English enterprise in North America. He focuses especially on slavery as central to the economy, culture, and political thought of the colonists and restores the importance of native peoples to the colonial story. To adapt to the new land, the colonists needed the expertise, guidance, alliance, and trade of the Indians who dominated the interior. This historical approach emphasizes the ability of the diverse natives to adapt to the newcomers and to compel concessions from them. This Very Short Introduction describes an intermingling of cultures and of microbes, plants, and animals--from different continents that was unparalleled in global history. Oxford's Very Short Introductions series offers concise and original introductions to a wide range of subjects--from Islam to Sociology, Politics to Classics, Literary Theory to History, and Archaeology to the Bible. Not simply a textbook of definitions, each volume in this series provides trenchant and provocative--yet always balanced and complete--discussions of the central issues in a given discipline or field. Every Very Short Introduction gives a readable evolution of the subject in question, demonstrating how the subject has developed and how it has influenced society. Eventually, the series will encompass every major academic discipline, offering all students an accessible and abundant reference library. Whatever the area of study that one deems important or appealing, whatever the topic that fascinates the general reader, the Very Short Introductions series has a handy and affordable guide that will likely prove indispensable.

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